Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty

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Fragmentation of Poland between the sons of Bolesław III in 1138:
  Seniorate Province of Władysław II.
  Silesian Province of Władysław II.
  Masovian Province of Bolesław IV.
  Greater Poland Province of Mieszko III.
  Sandomierz Province of Henry.

  Łęczyca Province of Salomea of Berg.
  Pomeranian vassals under the rule of Władysław II.

The Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty was a political act by the Piast duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland,[1] in which he established rules for governance of the Polish kingdom by his four surviving sons after his death. By issuing it, Bolesław planned to guarantee that his heirs would not fight among themselves, and would preserve the unity of his lands under the House of Piast. However, he failed; soon after his death his sons fought each other, and Poland entered a period of fragmentation lasting about 200 years.[2]

Provisions[edit]

Bolesław III issued the document around 1115-1 (between the birth of his son Leszek and the rebellion of Skarbimir); it would be enacted upon his death in 1138.[3]

Poland subdivided into five provinces among the sons of Bolesław

Bolesław divided the country into five principalities:

The youngest son Casimir II the Just was not assigned any province; it is speculated that he was born after Bolesław's death, or he was destined for a religious career.

The senioral principle established in the testament stated that at all times the eldest member of the dynasty (the Senior Prince, the Princeps or High Duke) was to have supreme power over the rest (Dux, the Dukes) and was also to control an indivisible "seniorate province" : a vast strip of land running north-south down the middle of Poland, with Kraków (the Kingdom of Poland's capital) its chief city. The Senior's prerogatives also included control over the Pomeranian vassals in Pomerelia, a fief. The Senior was tasked with defense of borders, the right to have troops in provinces of other Dukes, carrying out foreign policy, supervision over the clergy (including the right to nominate bishops and archbishops), and minting of currency.

Aftermath[edit]

The senioral principle was soon broken, with Władysław II attempting to increase his power and his younger half-brothers opposing him. After initial success (taking over the Łęczyca Land after the death of Salomea), he was eventually defeated and expelled from Poland in 1146. Only with the help of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa his sons managed to retain the Silesian Province in 1163, losing the Seniorate, which had passed to their uncle Bolesław IV. This led to a period of nearly 200 years of Poland's feudal fragmentation; the estrangement of the Silesian Piasts deepening after the death of Duke Henry II the Pious at the disastrous Battle of Legnica in 1241.

The Polish throne at Kraków remained contested between the descendants of Bolesław's III sons. Once Duke Władysław I the Elbow-high, a descendant of Bolesław IV, was crowned King of Poland in 1320, he would reign on a smaller dominium, with Pomerelia lost to the State of the Teutonic Order and Silesia mostly vassalized by the Kingdom of Bohemia.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bieniak J., Powstanie księstwa opolsko-raciborskiego jako wyraz przekształcania się Polski w dzielnicową poliarchię, (w:) Sacra Silentii Provintia. 800 lat dziedzicznego księstwa opolskiego (1202-2002), Opole 2003, s. 37-81.
  • Bieniak J., Polska elita polityczna XII wieku, cz. I, (w:) Społeczeństwo Polski średniowiecznej t. II, Warszawa 1982, s. 29-61,
  • Buczek K., Jeszcze o testamencie Bolesława Krzywoustego, „Przegląd Historyczny” 60, 1969, z. 4, s. 621-637,
  • Dowiat J., Polska – państwem średniowiecznej Europy, Warszawa 1968, s. 225-229,
  • Dalewski Z., Władza Przestrzeń Ceremoniał. Miejsce i uroczystość stanowienia władcy w Polsce średniowiecznej do końca XIV w, Warszawa 1996, s. 72-85.
  • Dworsatschek M., Władysław II Wygnaniec, Wrocław 1998, s. 13, 36-51.
  • Gawlas S., O kształt zjednoczonego Królestwa. Niemieckie władztwo terytorialne a geneza społeczno-ustrojowej odrębności Polski, Warszawa 2000, s. 78-79.
  • Labuda G., Testament Bolesława Krzywoustego, (w:) Opuscula Casimiro Tymieniecki septuagenario dedicata, Poznań 1959, s. 171-194.
  • Labuda G., Zabiegi o utrzymanie jedności państwa polskiego w latach 1138-1146, „Kwartalnik Historyczny” 66, 1959, z. 4, s. 1147-1167,
  • Łowmiański H., Początki Polski, t. VI cz. I, Warszawa 1985, s. 134-165,
  • Maleczyński K., Testament Bolesława Krzywoustego (recenzja z: G. Labuda, Testament...), „Sobótka” 16, 1961, z. 1, s. 109-110
  • Natanson-Leski J., Nowy rzut oka na podziały według statutu Bolesława Krzywoustego, „Czasopismo Prawno-Historyczne”, t. 8, 1956, z. 2, s. 225-226.
  • Rymar E., Primogenitura zasadą regulującą następstwo w pryncypat w ustawie sukcesyjnej Bolesława Krzywoustego, cz. I „Sobótka” 48, 1993, z. I, s. 1-15, cz. II „Sobótka” 49, 1944, z. 1-2, s. 1-18,
  • Sosnowska A., Tytulatura pierwszej generacji książąt dzielnicowych z dynastii Piastów (1138-1202), „Historia” 5, 1997, nr 1, s. 7-28.
  • Spors J., Podział dzielnicowy Polski według statutu Bolesława Krzywoustego ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem dzielnicy seniorackiej, Słupsk 1978,
  • Teterycz A., Rządy księcia Henryka, syna Bolesława Krzywoustego w ziemi Sandomierskiej, (w:) Mazowsze, Pomorze, Prusy. Gdańskie Studia Historyczne z Dziejów Średniowiecza t. 7, red. B. Śliwiński, Gdańsk 2000, s. 245-269
  • Wojciechowski T., Szkice historyczne jedenastego wieku, „Kwartalnik Historyczny” 31, 1917, s. 351 i następna.,