Janusz III of Masovia

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Janusz III Mazowiecki
Janusz Mazowiecki.jpg
Janusz III Mazowiecki
Born 1502
Died 9 or 10 March 1526
Occupation Duke
Spouse(s) no
Children none
Parents Konrad III Rudy & Anna Radziwiłł

Janusz III Mazowiecki (or Janusz III of Masovia) (1502–1526) was a Polish duke of Masovia, and the last male of the Masovian Piast dynasty.

Until 1518 Masovia was under the regency of his mother Anna Radziwiłł, then Janusz shared the regency with his brother Stanisław until Stanisław's death in 1524. After Janusz's own heirless death in 1526 the Duchy of Masovia was annexed into the Kingdom of Poland.


Janusz was the younger son of Konrad III Rudy and Anna Radziwiłł, born in winter 1502. After his father's death in 1503 Janusz and his brother Stanisław inherited the Czersk Land, and with support of Alexander Jagiellon, the throne of Duchy of Masovia, but due to their young age the throne was taken by their mother, Anna, who became the regent.

In 1518 both brothers were invited to the wedding of Sigismund I the Old and Bona Sforza. Janusz and Stanisław fought on the Polish side during the Polish-Teutonic War (1519–1521).

Anna reigned well past the time that both brothers had reached the age at which they could become rulers. Eventually the increasing disapproval of local nobility resulted in Anna officially transferring power to her sons in 1518, but she continued to rule the Duchy de facto until 1522.

After their mother's death both brothers quickly became known for their love of "women and wine". Both brothers acted as co-rulers until Stanisław's death in 1524. However Janusz ruled only until his death in the night of 9 to 10 March 1526. He was buried in St. John's Cathedral, Warsaw. With his death, the male line of Masovian Piasts, originating with Siemowit III of Masovia died out.

The death of both brothers caused unrest, and accusations that they were murdered became widespread. Eventually, King Sigismund himself looked into the matter, and concluded that there was no foul play. A contemporary historian, Marcin Bielski, suggested that both brothers died due to alcohol poisoning; others suggested tuberculosis.

Soon after Janusz's death the Duchy of Masovia was annexed into the kingdom of Poland, despite resistance from some of the Masovian nobility who tried to retain their independence and argued that the Duchy should be inherited by the female relatives (such as Anna or Sophia of Masovia). The Polish king refused to recognize their demands, and stood by the agreements that made him the heir to the Duchy, reuniting it with Poland. The Duchy, which would become a significant asset of the Polish Jagiellon dynasty, would retain some autonomy until 1576.

Last of the Masovian Piasts: Janusz (1503-1526), Stanisław (1500-1524), Anna (1498-1557)

He is one of the characters on the famous painting by Jan Matejko, Prussian Homage.


This article incorporates information from the revision as of 9 September 2007 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.