Battle of Hundsfeld
|Battle of Hundsfeld|
Woodcut from Kronika Polska by Marcin Bielski, 1597
|Kingdom of Poland||Holy Roman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Bolesław III Wrymouth||Henry V of Germany|
The Battle of Hundsfeld or Battle of Psie Pole was allegedly fought on 24 August 1109 near the Silesian capital Wrocław between the Holy Roman Empire in aid of the claims of the exiled Piast duke Zbigniew against his ruling half-brother, Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland. It was recorded by the medieval Polish chronicler Bishop Wincenty Kadłubek of Kraków in his Chronica seu originale regum et principum Poloniae several decades later.
The contemporary author Gallus Anonymus in his Gesta principum Polonorum, written between 1112 and 1118, mentioned several armed encounters with the Imperial forces led by King Henry V of Germany. After Bolesław had invaded the Bohemian territory of Duke Svatopluk, the German king in turn started a campaign to Poland and laid siege to the towns of Bytom Odrzański and Głogów, before he moved further down the Oder River and marched against Wrocław, though to no avail.
According to Wincenty Kadłubek, the Germans were ambushed by the Polish forces and the result was a complete victory of Bolesław, whereafter King Henry withdrew from Poland. Because of the many corpses left by the battle, he remarked that the "dogs which, devouring so many corpses [of the fallen], fell into a mad ferocity, so that no one dared venture there." The site became known as "dogs' field" (Polish: Psie Pole, German: Hundsfeld) and the battle a part of the collective memory of the Polish nation. Kadłubek's relation is however unsubstantiated; it was already questioned in the late 19th century Encyklopedia Powszechna by Samuel Orgelbrand. Present-day historians claim this "great battle" was rather an unimportant skirmish, and the Chronica, written at the court of Bolesław's son Casimir II the Just almost hundred years after this incident, in this topic is not reliable.
The site is now part of the Psie Pole district of modern Wrocław.
- "S. Orgelbranda Encyklopedia Powszechna", Warsaw 1902, vol. XII, page 406
- M. Kaczmarek, "Bitwa na Psim Polu", in: Encyklopedia Wrocławia, Wrocław 2000