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):
1019-1023 In west Pomerania quelling pagan revival/revolt.
1021 Moravia occupied by Oldrich's son Bretislav.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
1076 Smialy attacks Vratislav (currently Henry IV's faithful
vassal), occupies Meissen. ("recently occupied by Vratislav" -- as
Henry's ally vs Saxons?)
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.
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)
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.
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.