Part Two (1019-1091)

Collected by Leszek z Szczytna

These notes were compiled from English language resources as a personal reference for my historical re-enactment activities, were not originally intended as a formal scholarly work, or for public release.  I am not a credentialed historian, and cannot read Polish or Latin.   The bibliography may not include all sources.  When sources disagreed, I chose the best synthesis in my own judgment.  Comments and speculations are my own, and may not align with scholarly consensus. 

These notes have been broken into four sections for easier loading and are organized chronologically. Please indicate which section you are interested in (unless you are already there):

  • Part One (623-1018)
  • Part Two (1019-1091)
  • Part Three (1092-1144)
  • Part Four (1145-1194; Bibliography)

    1019-1023 In west Pomerania quelling pagan revival/revolt.

    1021 Moravia occupied by Oldrich's son Bretislav.


  • July 13- Henry II dies. Hail Conrad II. Pope John XIX takes office.


  • Easter Sunday - Boleslaw Chrobry's coronation (perhaps crown granted due to Chrobry's poor health, in belief that it would/wouldn't matter in chaos of succession).
  • 17 June - Chrobry dies aged 57 survived by 7 children from 4 marriages. sons Bezprym, Mieszko II, and Otto. Mieszko II succeeds, even though second son, at Chrobry's wish.
    Mieszko II well educated. Fluent in Latin, and Greek (rare).
    Conrad II has trouble with Rudolph of Burgundy, Lotharingia (as usual), and Stephen (Istvan) of Hungary over a claim on Bavaria (by marriage). Mieszko II is friendly, or actually allied to all three. Conrad buys off Canute of Denmark with territory (and only got a truce for his money, obviously running scared), and plots with Bezprym and Otto vs Mieszko. (wife Rycheza, and stepmother Oda also possibly involved)

    1026 Plot discovered, Bezprym exiled to Rus, Otto to Empire. Internal strife in Poland keeps Mieszko from supporting rebellion in Empire during fall, while Conrad II in Rome for coronation.

    1027 Rebellion quelled in Germany. Mieszko gets handle on Poland.

    1028 Mieszko attacks Saxony while Canute at war with Norway, and Istvan of Hungary (independently?) fighting Germans. Mieszko loots and ravages east Saxony, then turns north up Oder to police West Pomerania.

    1029 Conrad II invades area near Budziszyn. No luck. withdraws.


  • Jan 2 - Thietmar of Ostmark dies. Major succession struggle.
  • Feb - Mieszko II, with Luticians, loot area between Saale and Elbe rivers. Luticians brutalize populace, and trash many churches. In cahoots, Hungarians attack Bavaria.
  • Summer - Conrad II and Czechs, under Bretislav, counterattack Hungarians, as Mieszko is pulled east by Kievians taking Belz (and Grody Czerwienskie?) (Bezprym's influence?). Stalemate in Bavaria. Otto gathers support in Empire.

    1031 Conrad and Istvan make peace. Empire attacks in fall. Mieszko caught between Conrad and Rus, with trouble internally as well, sues for peace. Forfeits all plunder from 1030, and lower Lusatia. Turns east. Bezprym attacks thru Grody Czerwienskie with Russians. Many dissident Poles join. Mieszko fights for a month and flees to Bohemia (Oldrich is angry with Conrad). One chronicle reports the some Bohemian Knights 'used leather thongs to crush his (Mieszko II's) genitalia in such a way that he would never sire again.'

    Bezprym takes the throne. Major reactionary movement vs. church and sovereign by magnates. Bezprym sends regalia to Conrad II. Rycheza, Mieszko's wife and Conrad's cousin, accompanies mission. Conrad welcomes her and gives right to be queen for rest of life (She was in on it! the bitch!) (Mieszko favored bastard elder son Boleslaw, sent her son, Kazimierz, to monastery.) Bezprym evidently prime weasel. Toadying to Conrad II, and despotic rule at home angers supporters. Most probably at Otto's instigation, he is assassinated within six months. Otto succeeds and is assassinated before year is out.

    1032 Mieszko returns to shambles. Tribal magnates pushing hard. Emperor takes advantage, mobilizes. Mieszko forced to sign treaty dividing Poland with cousin Dietrich.

    1033 Mieszko reunites Poland while Conrad is busy with Luticians and Czechs (Remember Bohemian vacation?). No details, certainly messy business, deepens domestic divisions.


  • May 10 - Mieszko murdered by his swordbearer. (Succeeded by Boleslaw? facts hazy)

    Bretislav succeeds Oldrich of Bohemia, declares campaign vs Poland to avenge Chrobry's invasion.

    1034-1037 (Boleslaw tries to purge enemies, and unite kingdom?)

    1037 Boleslaw assassinated. Last of Chrobry's line, Kazimierz Odnowiciel emerges from monastery, and tries for throne. Defeated, escapes to Empire. Utter chaos reigns in Polska.

    1038 Bretislav's Polish campaigns begins. Meets only minor resistance, pillaging, and enslaving at will. Loots many churches, including relics of St. Wojciech, the body of his brother Gaudenty-Radzim, and the bodies of the Five Martyrs(?). Loss of relics severe blow to continuance of metropolitan at Gniezno. Occupies Silesia on way home.

    Cupbearer to Mieszko, Maslaw (possible conspirator in Mieszko and Boleslaw's assassinations), emerges as Prince of Mazovia.

    Pomerania breaks away, and reverts to paganism. (probably never too securely Christian.) Pagan revivals common, especially strong in Wielkopolska, and Silesia. Open season on churches, clergy, foreigners, and all allies of Piasts, and/or central rule.

    1039 Kazimierz gathers support in Empire. Family ties (uncles - Ezzo of Lotharingia, and Herman, Archbishop of Cologne.) and Imperial concern over Bretislav (continuing policy of fomenting division amongst Slavs [as if they needed fomenting]) yields 500 troops. With reinforcements from loyal (or desperate) border areas, occupies much of Poland vs little resistance. Knowing undependability of imperial aid and favor, makes alliance with Jaroslav of Kiev, marries sister (daughter?), Dobroniega, to guard against recurrence of attack on two fronts. Prepares for war with Bretislav.

  • June 4 - Conrad II dies. Son, Henry III succeeds. Though only 21 years old, Henry well prepared by tenure as king of Germany, and training and confidence of father. Crowned without major opposition. Kazimierz makes common cause vs Bretislav, who is trying to establish a church metropolitan in Prague (sounds familiar! seeking a Crown?). Bretislav diplomatically stalls campaign for rest of 1039. Enlists Peter the Venetian (Peter Orseolo) of Hungary, by expelling exiled pretenders (of younger Arpad line), Andras, Bela, and Levente from Bohemia. They flee to Poland and fight with Kazimierz to re-establish former Piast realm. Bretislav also allied with Pomerania, and Mazovia vs Poland.


  • Summer - Henry III attacks Bohemia. Hungary both reinforces Bretislav, and attacks to pin Bavarians. Henry III ambushed with heavy losses, retreats. Margrave of Meissen retreats when Henry does. End of campaign for year.

    Birth of Boleslaw II.

    Capital moved from Gniezno to Krakow.

    1041 Peter the Venetian (Peter Orseolo) overthrown. Bohemia loses ally. Samuel Aba rules to 1044, then Peter again to 1046.

    Empire strikes back. Army guided through high mountain passes (guides supplied by ??) past border defenses. Sever, Bishop of Prague, and many magnates side with Henry III (opposed to Bretislav or scared of Henry?). Bretislav decides against defensive stand at Prague, and sues for peace. Poland's participation uncertain, but likely. Recorded that ally Jaroslav of Kiev weakened Mazovian diversion. Probable that Mazovians and Pomeranians (allied with Bretislav) pinned Kazimierz to large extent. Original treaty ordered reparations, and return of prisoners from invasion of 1038. Bretislav talented diplomat. At Regensburg got terms reduced. Poland received nothing. Kazimierz's petition to Curia vs Bretislav and Bishop Sever over relics and destruction of churches also comes to naught. Czechs bribe judges, and penalty is token - endowment of a monastery.

    Birth of Wladyslaw I Herman (possibly late 1040, after Boleslaw II)

    1042 Accounts of some success vs Pomeranians.

    1043 Kazimierz Odnowiciel's sister, Gertruda marries Iziaslav Jaroslavovich to further strengthen Rus-Pole alliance, and secure aid in re-subduing Pomerania and Mazovia.


  • Spring - Mazovia retaken with Russian aid. Maslaw killed in battle. Pomeranian reinforcements arrive late - repulsed.
  • June - German chronicles record that Kazimierz Odnowiciel, Bretislav, and Ziemomsyl (Zemuzil) of Pomerania appear before Henry III at court in Merseburg for arbitration of differences. absence of Maslaw of Mazovia indicates that Mazovia must have already fallen in spring 1046 (Maslaw KIA), and that previously accepted date of 1047 was mistake of Russian chronicler.- (ref. Stanislaw Ketrzynski)

    Andras takes over in Hungary. Pole-Hungarian friendship.

    (Matilda of Canossa, Countess of Tuscany born to Boniface II and Beatrice, daughter of Duke of Upper Lorraine.)

    1046 - 1050 Internal consolidation. East Pomerania secured.

    Planning vengeance in Bohemia. Bretislav loyal vassal since peace of Regensburg. Direct attack likely to anger Henry III. Kazimierz Odnowiciel awaits break.

    1050 Henry busy with internal rivalries (Conrad of Bavaria, and Duke Godfrey of Lotharingia), and Hungarian border clashes. Kazimierz surprises Czechs, recovers Silesia. Bretislav appeals to Henry, who threatens, but is too ill to mount campaign.

  • Nov. - Kazimierz appears at Goslar promises to return Silesia, and is returned to favor.

    1052-1053 Margrave Boniface II of Tuscany assassinated. Widow Beatrice marries her cousin, Duke Godfrey of Lotharingia. (Beatrice's liaison with the rebel Godfrey indicates that Tuscany was part of the opposition, supporting theory of Henry III's instigation of Boniface's assassination.)

    1054 Kazimierz has yet to return Silesia, but with his strong imperial connections, and Henry III's continuing problems with Conrad of Bavaria, Godfrey of Lotharingia, and Hungary, Henry can't afford conflict.

  • May 22 - at Quedlinburg Henry awards Silesia to Kazimierz, at a cost of 500 silver, and 30 gold, marks per year to Bretislav. Major diplomatic victory, and proof that Poland was 'back.'

    Jaroslav of Rus (Kiev) dies, Russo-Pole friendship holds.


  • Jan. 10 - Bretislav dies. Succession war.


  • Oct. 5 - Henry III dies. Regency for 6-year-old Henry IV (his mother, Agnes.) struggling to control power bids. Regency reconciles with Godfrey of Lotharingia. Andras of Hungary violates agreement with brother Bela and names his son, Salamon as heir, gets him betrothed to Henry III's sister, Judith. Bela flees to Poland, serious chill in Hungary-Poland relations.

    1058 Kazimierz Odnowiciel, on death bed, in another attempt to reduce successional strife, melds Slavic tradition of estate division, and Chrobry's plan of designated heir - Law of the Seniorate. Eldest inherits suzerain power in the state, but all princes inherit (semi-)independent provinces.

    Boleslaw Szczodry (the Munificent), or Smialy (the Bold), inherits crown. Younger brothers Wladyslaw Herman and Mieszko get territories (location and extent unknown).

    Facts incomplete - Boleslaw approximately 15 years old. Regency probably under princess Dobroniega. Regency gets good start due to power vacuums in Empire and Bohemia. Regency continues Kazimierz's Policies, especially continuing to rebuild church after 1037-1038 debacle. Boleslaw called Szczodry, and Smialy for his positive attributes of courage, strength, and generosity. He was also known to be arrogant, rash, easily angered, and more interested in glorious undertakings than the routine of rule and diplomacy. Possibly result of growing up in an 'easy' period of Polish history, and not being tempered by successional rivalry.

    Andras of Hungary courting Empire, and has son-in-law, Vlatislav, on fast track to rule in Bohemia. Large threat to Poland! Bela, given Polish troops to help, overthrows Andras.

    1059 Pope Nicholas II elected.

    1061 Boleslaw takes control - end of regency. Bela takes over Hungary. Andras KIA, Salamon and Judith flee to Imperial court.

  • Feb. - Vratislav succeeds in Bohemia. Boleslaw knows he will be enemy of ally Bela. Encourages younger pretenders, and stops paying rent on Silesia (see 1054).
  • Summer - Boleslaw attacks Bohemia. Lays siege to Hradec (in Moravia), but is surprised (too arrogant or impulsive to secure flanks?) and forced to withdraw in haste (retreat).

    Pope Nicholas II dies (cause?). Anselm of Lucca elected pope. Imperial regent, Agnes, contests election and seeks to install Bishop Candalous of Parma as Honorius II by force, beginning 5-year struggle in Italy. Godfrey of Lotharingia and Matilda of Canossa (Tuscany) among papal defenders.

    1062 Imperial regency's campaign to restore Salamon in Hungary fails.

    1063 Imperial campaign vs Bela, under Henry IV's leadership succeeds. Bela dies (KIA? executed? assassinated? natural causes?). Salamon victorious, expels rival cousins (Bela's kids). Vratislav of Bohemia weds Smialy's sister Swietoslawa. Thaw in Pole-Czech relations. Possibly responsible for Czech absence from Imperial force in Hungarian campaign. Polish military aid for Bela vs Empire unknown (doubtful). (Maybe after Imperial loss of 1062, Bela didn't ask?)

    1064 Poles support Bela's son Geza, in recovering independent principality ruled by Bela under Andras. (Supports view that Czech initiative intended to keep Czechs out of Bela's overthrow.)

    1065 Mieszko (Boleslaw's brother) dies. Cause unrecorded.

    1066 Pomerania revolts following major pagan, and nationalist revival spreading from Obodrites and through Polabian areas. Smialy's willingness to 'write off' area that Chrobry valued so highly unexplained. Military capability evident from other successes. (Possible fixation on Bohemia/Hungary? Reason?).

    Agnes's 'pope,' Candalous, driven from Rome. Anselm of Lucca takes office as Alexander II.

    1069 Iziaslav Jaroslovich, and Gertruda (Mieszko II's daughter), overthrown in Kiev. Boleslaw leads campaign and restores them to throne.

    Duke Godfrey of Lotharingia dies. Matilda of Canossa marries his son, Godfrey the Hunchback, continuing Tuscany/Lotharingian alliance, even though Godfrey supports Emperor.

    1071 Smialy raids Bohemia. Henry IV demands arbitration in Meissen. Smialy ignores him, and refuses tribute due from capitulation of Mieszko II.

    1072 Second annual raid on Bohemia.


  • April 22 - Pope Gregory VII elected. Ardent reformer, opposes Emperor's use of religious power for secular ends. Natural ally vs Henry. Smialy submits Gniezno metropolitan to Gregorian reform, and negotiates for restoration of Crown.
  • August - Henry IV declares campaign vs Poland. Saxon lords seize moment to revolt, whole northern Empire follows. No attack vs Poland, but Smialy gathers defenses and allies for future.

    Iziaslav exiled from Kiev by brother, Sviatoslav (again).

    1074 Saxons still revolting. Smialy writes off Iziaslav, signs pact with Sviatoslav to prevent dual front attack. Iziaslav seeks aid in Empire. Geza overthrows Salamon of Hungary. Salamon flees to Empire; gains Henry's aid by vassal oath. Restoration campaign total loss.

    1075 Saxons still revolting. Smialy attacks Henry IV, forcing retreat from Saxony.

    Papal legates arrive to begin reformation in Gniezno. Crown negotiations proceeding (slowly) in Rome. Pope Gregory VII kicks off reform by nullifying Henry's 'lay investiture' of clerics to the sees of Milan, Fermo, and Spoleto.

  • Dec. 24 - Imperial supporters KIDNAP POPE GREGORY DURING CHRISTMAS EVE MASS! They intend to deliver him up to Henry IV, but enraged Romans rescue Gregory.

    1076 Smialy attacks Vratislav (currently Henry IV's faithful vassal), occupies Meissen. ("recently occupied by Vratislav" -- as Henry's ally vs Saxons?)

  • Jan. - End of Imperial regency. Henry IV renounces fealty to Pope Gregory VII, accusing him of 'licentiousness and necromancy' and calling on the clergy to depose him. Gregory responds by excommunicating Henry, and giving him one year to beg forgiveness. Excommunication fuels Saxon (and other?) revolts.
  • Feb. - Godfrey the Hunchback of Lotharingia assassinated in Antwerp.
  • Dec. - Henry departs for Italy to make up with Pope Gregory.
  • Dec. 25 - Coronation of Boleslaw II Smialy (Szczodry). Big Affair. Chronicles report 15 Bishops, though Poland didn't have that many. Possibly papal legates participated, or some from another episcopate. Empire outraged and concerned at breakaway, and at elevation of Gregorian ally. Lots of discontented potential Imperial allies in Poland as well.

    Boleslaw known for temper and autocracy.
    Magnates, strong since fall of Mieszko II, fear power loss.
    Wladyslaw Herman facing loss of succession status.
    Many opposed to Gregorian reforms in clergy.


  • Jan. 25th thru 28th - Henry stands outside Countess Matilda's castle at Canossa (in the Apennines Mts.) barefoot in the snow, wearing only a coarse woolen shirt until admitted on the 28th to prostrate himself at Pope Gregory's feet, and beg forgiveness. Gregory grants absolution. ("Come to Canossa" - Swallow pride, eat crow, etc.) Henry IV in serious struggle with Rudolph of Swabia for Imperial throne.
  • April - Geza dies. Smialy aids Geza's brother Laszlo to throne, despite try by Salamon with Czech troops.

    Sviatoslav dies. Polish troops aid Iziaslav to throne at request of Apostolic See.

    1078 Opposition cabal includes bishop of Prague Jaromir-Gebhard, new chancellor of Empire. Poland's forces spread out. Time ripe.

    1079 Internal revolt aided by Vratislav of Bohemia. Henry IV attacks Hungary to pin Laszlo.

  • April 11 - Boleslaw fighting good fight until he orders execution and dismemberment of captured conspirator Bishop Stanislaw of Krakow (Bishop Stanislaw later canonized). Enemies multiply. Boleslaw flees to Hungary hoping for aid. 'One could say much of how King Boleslaw was exiled from Poland, but it should be said that the anointed should never seek corporal revenge against the anointed, for it is a sin. It harmed him greatly when he traded sin for sin by severing the members of the Bishop's body for his act of treason. We do not justify the Bishop's treason, nor do we recommend the vile vengefulness of the King, but let us stop here in the middle and describe how the King was received in Hungary...' (No further entry made.) - Gall(us) Anonim

    Boleslaw Smialy assassinated in Hungary.
    Boleslaw's son, Mieszko, remains in Hungary.

    Wladyslaw installed by magnates as puppet prince. Total break with Smialy's policies on Gregorian reform, independence from empire and alliance with Hungary. (Magnates expect freer hand with weak prince at home, and strong empire farther away?) Sieciech, wojewoda and palatine under Smialy, and major conspirator in overthrow, becomes de facto head of state. Descendant of princes of Tyniec, he plans to become ruler de jure, and possibly replace Piasts as origin of new dynasty. (Position as palatine and wojewoda comparable to Merovingian major domus.) 'He did many cruel and intolerable things. For no good reason he sold men into slavery; others he exiled from the country and elevated men of low rank above those nobly born.'-- Gall Anonim

    1080 Wladyslaw Herman (no previous wife, concubinage) weds Judyta, sister of a Czech prince as pledge of Pole-Czech treaty. (Move deeper into Imperial/Czech sphere)

    Rudolf of Swabia killed in battle. Henry defies papal injunction vs lay investiture, is re-excommunicated, and begins campaign in Italy vs Gregory.

    1084 Easter - Henry IV with Gregory besieged in Castle San Angelo, and most of Rome in hand, his candidate, Guibert of Ravenna, claims papacy as Clement III (aka the anti-pope) and formally (re-)crowns Henry IV. Gregory is rescued by the Norman warlord, Robert Guiscard, whose troops free Gregory, but also sack Rome. Henry and Clement withdraw to Lombardy; Robert protects Gregory in Apulia (So. Italy)

  • Late - Gregory VII dies in Salerno. Pope Victor succeeds and returns to Rome.

    1085 Henry IV names Vratislav 'King of Bohemia and Poland,' giving Vratislav right of succession after Wladyslaw (no male heir at time).

    1086 Wladyslaw improves relations with Hungary and recalls Mieszko from exile to counter threat of Vratislav's claim.

  • Autumn - Boleslaw born to Wladyslaw (male heir!). Reduction of succession fear and Imperial restraint of Vladislav's desire to annex Polish territory leads to more pro-German policy.

    (Judyta dies in childbirth?)

    1087 Widowed Wladyslaw weds Judith (aka Judyta), Henry IV's sister, Salamon's widow, strengthening Imperial ties. (After all the Hungarian intrigues, married off to a Pole!) Sieciech, clever and handsome, gains favor of Judith, who helps him manipulate Wladyslaw Herman (apparently not difficult anyway). Wladyslaw convinced to send illegitimate son, Zbigniew, away from home in Krakow to Saxon monastery. (Possibly Judith aided Sieciech out of hate for Piasts who, repeatedly dethroned and exiled Salamon and her.)

    1088 Pope Victor dies. Urban II succeeds.

    1089 Mieszko assassinated. Sieciech probably involved. 'It is said that certain rivals, fearful that he would avenge his father, poisoned the boy of great talents, and those who were drinking with him barely escaped death.' -- Gall Anonim

    Anti-imperial Duke Welf V of Bavaria and Carinthia, marries Matilda of Canossa.

    1090 Sieciech runs campaign vs Pomeranian Vistula basin. Larger towns burnt to disperse opposition, left garrisons. Pomeranians rise up, sweep garrisons and range as far as the left bank of the Notec (Netze) River. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory... Campaign was primarily attempt to redirect growing opposition, and possibly to relocate/reduce troop strength (Warriors loyal to Smialy/Piasts? Use of levy from unfriendly magnates?).

    1091 Follow-up campaign unsuccessful. Siege of Naklo (Nakel), with Czechs, also fails.

    Henry IV back in Tuscany, fighting Matilda of Canossa, still trying to force acceptance of Guibert of Ravenna as Pope Clement III. Henry routed with major losses at Canossa.

    1091-1100 MAJOR CUSP IN POLISH HISTORY!! - Continuing North Italian conflict. Henry IV spread very thin and suffering a legitimacy crisis. A Poland united under a strong leader could have supplanted the Holy Roman Empire as the dominant force in Europe, or possibly become the center of the Empire. Strong leadership and canny diplomacy could have placed the Imperial crown on a Polish King (This could have circumvented the rival Welf and Hohenstaffen houses and placed the Emperor farther from European internal struggles and closer to the border of Moslem and Byzantine activity.) Of course, as in modern Yugoslavia, the lack of a strong outside threat could have been the long-awaited opportunity freeing the Mozni to further their ambitions, or their rights and freedom depending on one's sympathies.

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