Leszek II the Black

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Leszek II the Black
Jan Matejko, Leszek Czarny.jpg
19th century portrait by Jan Matejko
High Duke of Poland
Reign 1279–1288
Predecessor Bolesław V the Chaste
Successor Henryk IV Probus
Duke of Sieradz
Reign 1261–1288
Predecessor Casimir I of Kuyavia
Successor Władysław I the Elbow-high
Duke of Kuyavia
Reign 1273–1278
Predecessor Bolesław the Pious
Successor Ziemomysł
Spouse Gryfina
House House of Piast
Father Casimir I of Kuyavia
Mother Constance of Wrocław
Born c. 1241
Brześć Kujawski
Died 30 September 1288

Leszek II the Black (Polish: Leszek Czarny) (c. 1241 – 30 September 1288), named after his black hair, was one of the High Dukes of the fragmented Kingdom of Poland. He ruled from 1279 to 1288, and was married to Gryfina of Halych. The marriage remained childless.[1]


Leszek Czarny was the eldest son from the marriage of Duke Casimir I of Kuyavia to his second wife Constance of Wrocław, daughter of High Duke Henry II the Pious from the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty. His nickname, the Black (in Latin Niger) appears for the first time in the 14th century Franciscan Chronicle, Kronika Dzierzwy. In 1257, after the death of his mother, his father married for the third time, to Euphrosyne of Opole. The marriage soon became a source of conflict in the family. Leszek's new stepmother drove her husband's previous children from their inheritance, among them the future Polish king Władysław I the Elbow-high. Some chronicles accuse the duchess of attempting to poison her step-children.

Gryfina and Leszek, painting by Jan Matejko, 1879

In 1261, Leszek's father, stuck in an ongoing conflict with Duke Bolesław the Pious of Greater Poland, had to cede the Duchy of Sieradz to Leszek. Though he was the eldest son, the Duchy of Kuyavia proper passed to his younger brother Ziemomysł after their father's death in 1267. Leszek himself was designated to succeed Bolesław V the Chaste, cousin of his father, as High Duke in the Seniorate Province of Kraków. After Ziemomysł was expelled by Bolesław the Pious due to his alliance with the Pomerelian duke Sambor II, Leszek also became Duke of Kuyavia in 1273, but allowed his brother to return five years later.

Leszek assumed the throne of Kraków in 1279. During his reign, Mongol forces led by Nogai Khan invaded Poland for the third time in 1287.

He married Gryfina, daughter of the Rurikid prince Rostislav Mikhailovich, who was received at the court of King Béla IV of Hungary. The monarch later gave one of his daughters as wife to Rostislav and entrusted to him the administration of the region of Slavonia in the Hungarian Medieval Kingdom. The marriage of Leszek and Gryfina turned out to be an unhappy one, as she publicly accused her husband of never having consummated it. The couple had no children, and eventually were forced to escape to Hungary during a Tatar invasion.


Konrad I of Masovia
died August 31, 1247
Casimir I of Kuyavia
died December 14, 1267
Agafia of Rus
d. after August 31, 1247
Leszek Czarny
d. September 30, 1288
Henry II the Pious
died April 9, 1241
Constance of Wrocław
zm. February 21 between 1253 and 1257
Anne of Bohemia
died June 23, 1265

See also[edit]


Leszek II the Black
Born: c. 1241 Died: 30 September 1288
Preceded by
Bolesław V the Chaste
High Duke of Poland
Duke of Kraków

Succeeded by
Henryk IV Probus
Preceded by
Casimir I of Kuyavia
Duke of Sieradz
Succeeded by
Władysław I the Elbow-high
Preceded by
Casimir I of Kuyavia
Duke of Łęczyca
Succeeded by
Casimir II of Łęczyca
Preceded by
Bolesław the Pious
Duke of Inowrocław
Succeeded by
Ziemomysł of Kuyavia
Preceded by
Bolesław the Pious
Duke of Sandomierz
Succeeded by
Boleslaus II of Masovia