Piast dynasty

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This article is about a Polish dynasty. For other uses, see Piast (disambiguation).
Piast
POL województwo wielkopolskie COA.svg
Country
Titles
Founded 960
Founder semi-legendary Piast, son of legendary Chościsko
Final ruler Casimir the Great, in the Kingdom of Poland, and George IV William of Legnica, in the Silesian duchies
Dissolution 1370, in the Kingdom of Poland, and 1675, in the Duchies of Silesia
Cadet branches

The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. The first documented Polish monarch was Prince Mieszko I (c. 930–992). The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir III the Great.

Branches of the Piast dynasty continued to rule in the Duchy of Masovia and in the Duchies of Silesia, until the last male Silesian Piast died in 1675. The Piasts intermarried with several noble lines of Europe, and possessed numerous titles, some within the Holy Roman Empire.

Origin of the name[edit]

The early dukes and kings of Poland regarded themselves as descendants of the semi-legendary Piast the Wheelwright (Piast Kołodziej), first mentioned in the Cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum (Chronicles and deeds of the dukes or princes of the Poles), written c. 1113 by Gallus Anonymus. However, the term "Piast Dynasty" was not applied until the 17th century.[3][4] In a historical work the expression Piast dynasty was introduced by the Polish historian Adam Naruszewicz, it is not documented in contemporary sources.

History[edit]

The first "Piasts", probably of Polan descent, appeared around 940 in the territory of Greater Poland at the stronghold of Giecz. Shortly afterwards they relocated their residence to Gniezno, where Prince Mieszko I ruled over the Civitas Schinesghe from about 960. The name Polani, from Slavic: pole ("field"), did not appear until 1015. The Piasts temporarily also ruled over Pomerania, Bohemia and the Lusatias, as well as Ruthenia and, by pawning, the Hungarian Spiš region in present-day Slovakia. The ruler bore the title of a duke or a king, depending on their position of power.

The Polish monarchy had to deal with the expansionist policies of the Holy Roman Empire in the west, resulting in a chequered co-existence, with Piast rulers like Mieszko I, Casimir I the Restorer or Władysław I Herman trying to protect the Polish state by treaties, oath of allegiances and marriage politics with the Imperial Ottonian and Salian dynasties. The Bohemian Přemyslid dynasty, the Hungarian Arpads and their Anjou successors, the Kievan Rus', later also the State of the Teutonic Order and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were mighty neighbours.

The Piast position was decisively enfeebled by an era of fragmentation following the 1138 Testament of Bolesław III Krzywousty. For nearly 150 years, the Polish state shattered into several duchies, with the Piast duke against the formally valid principle of agnatic seniority fighting for the throne at Kraków, the capital of the Lesser Polish Seniorate Province. Numerous dukes like Mieszko III the Old, Władysław III Spindleshanks or Leszek I the White were crowned, only to be overthrown shortly afterwards. The senior branch of the Silesian Piasts, descendants of Bolesław III Krzywousty's eldest son Duke Władysław II the Exile, went separate ways and since the 14th century were vassals of the Bohemian Crown.

After the Polish royal line and Piast junior branch had died out in 1370, the Polish crown fell to the Anjou king Louis I of Hungary, son of late King Casimir's sister Elizabeth Piast. The Masovian branch of the Piasts became extinct with the death of Duke Janusz III in 1526. The last ruling duke of the Silesian Piasts was George William of Legnica who died in 1675. His uncle Count August of Legnica, the last male Piast, died in 1679. The last legitimate heir, Duchess Karolina of Legnica-Brieg died in 1707 and is buried in Trzebnica Abbey. Nevertheless numerous families, like the illegitimate descendants of the Silesian duke Adam Wenceslaus of Cieszyn (1574–1617), link their genealogy to the dynasty.

Coat of arms[edit]

About 1295, Przemysł II used a coat of arms with a white eagle – a symbol later referred to as the Piast coat of arms or as the Piast Eagle.[5]

Piast rulers[edit]

Piast kings and rulers of Poland appear in list form in the following table. For a list of all rulers, see List of Polish monarchs.

Dukes of the Polans[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Chościsko
  • Latin: Semovit filius Past Ckosisconis, Pazt filius Chosisconisu
  • Duke
9th century 9th century 9th century A legendary ruler of the Polans, father of Piast the Wheelwright Polans (Tribe)
Piast the Wheelwright
  • Polish: Piast Kołodziej
    Latin:
    Past Ckosisconis, Pazt filius Chosisconisu
  • Duke
9th century 9th century 9th century A legendary ruler of the Polans
Son of Chościsko, father of Siemowit
Founder of the Piast dynasty
Piast
Siemowit
  • Ziemowit
  • Duke
9th century 9th century 9th century A semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of Piast the Wheelwright and Rzepicha Piast
Lestek
  • Leszek, Lestko
  • Duke
9th / 10th centuries 9th / 10th centuries 9th / 10th centuries A semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of Siemowit Piast
Siemomysł
  • Ziemomysł
  • Duke
10th century 10th century 10th century A semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of Lestek Piast

Dukes and Kings of Poland[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Mieszko I of Poland
  • Duke
ca. 940 – 25 May 992 ca. 960 992 Son of Siemomysł
First Christian monarch
Misico, dux Wandalorum
Piast
Bolesław I the Brave
  • Bolesław I the Great
    Polish:
    Bolesław I Chrobry (Wielki)
  • King of Poland
    King
967 – 17 June 1025 Duke: 992
King: 18 April 1025
Duke: 18 April 1025
King: 17 June 1025
Son of Mieszko I and Dobrawa of Bohemia
First to be crowned King
Regnum Sclavorum, Gothorum sive Polonorum
Piast
Mieszko II Lambert
  • King of Poland
    King
ca. 990 – 10/11 May 1034 1025 1031 Son of Bolesław I and Emnilda of Lusatia Piast
Bezprym
  • Duke
ca. 986 – 1032 1031 1032 Son of Bolesław I and Judith of Hungary (disputed) Piast
Otto Bolesławowic
  • Duke
1000 – 1033 1032 1032 Son of Bolesław I and Emnilda Piast
Theodorick
  • Dytryk
  • Duke
after 992 - after 1032 1032 1032 /1033 Grandson of Mieszko I and Oda of Haldensleben Piast
Mieszko II Lambert
  • Duke
ca. 990 – 10/11 May 1034 1032 1034 Restored Piast
Bolesław the Forgotten
  • Polish: Bolesław Zapomniany
  • Duke
before 1016 – 1038 or 1039 1034 1038 /1039 Semi-legendary, existence disputed Piast
Casimir I the Restorer
  • Polish: Kazimierz I Odnowiciel
  • Duke
(1016-06-25)25 June 1016 – 28 November 1058(1058-11-28) (aged 42) 1039 1058 Son of Mieszko II and Richeza of Lotharingia Piast
Bolesław II the Bold
  • Polish: Bolesław II Szczodry / Śmiały
  • King of Poland
    King
ca. 1041 or 1042 – 2 or 3 April 1081 or 1082 Duke: 1058
King: 1076
Duke: 1076
King: 1079
Son of Kazimierz I and Maria Dobroniega of Kiev Piast
Władysław I Herman
  • Duke
ca. 1044 – 4 June 1102 1079 1102 Son of Kazimierz I and Maria Dobroniega Piast
Zbigniew
  • Zbygniew
  • Duke
ca. 1073 – 8 July 1113 1102 1107 Son of Władysław I and Przecława of Prawdzic coat of arms (disputed)
First jointly with Władysław I 1098-1102
Piast
Bolesław III Wrymouth
  • Polish: Bolesław III Krzywousty
  • Duke
(1086-08-20)20 August 1086 – 28 October 1138(1138-10-28) (aged 52) 1107 1138 Son of Władysław I and Judith of Bohemia
First jointly with Władysław 1098-1102
Introduced senioral principle
Piast

High Dukes of Poland (Fragmentation of the Kingdom)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Władysław II the Exile
  • Polish: Władysław II Wygnaniec
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
1105 – 30 May 1159 1138 1146 Son of Bolesław III and Zbyslava of Kiev
Also Duke of Silesia
Exiled by his brothers
Piast
Bolesław IV the Curly
  • Polish: Bolesław Kędzierzawy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1125 – 5 January 1173 1146 1173 Son of Bolesław III and Salomea of Berg
Also Duke of Masovia
Piast
Mieszko III the Old
  • Polish: Mieszko III Stary
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1127 – 13 March 1202 1173 1177 Son of Bolesław III and Salomea
Also Duke of Greater Poland
Piast
Casimir II the Just
  • Polish: Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1138 – 5 May 1194 1177 1190 Son of Bolesław III and Salomea
Also Duke of Wiślica and Sandomierz
Piast
Mieszko III the Old
  • Polish: Mieszko III Stary
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1127 – 13 March 1202 1190 1190 Restored Piast
Casimir II the Just
  • Polish: Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1138 – 5 May 1194 1190 1194 Restored Piast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 1227 1194 1198 Son of Casimir II and Helen of Znojmo
Also Duke of Sandomierz
Piast
Mieszko III the Old
  • Polish: Mieszko III Stary
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1127 – 13 March 1202 1198 1199 Restored Piast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 1227 1199 1199 Restored Piast
Mieszko III the Old
  • Polish: Mieszko III Stary
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1127 – 13 March 1202 1199 1202 Restored Piast
Władysław III Spindleshanks
  • Polish: Władysław III Laskonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1161/66 – 3 November 1231 1202 1202 Son of Mieszko III and Eudoxia of Kiev
Also Duke of Greater Poland
Piast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 1227 1202 1210 Restored Piast
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
  • Polish: Mieszko I Plątonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1130 – 16 May 1211 1210 1211 Son of Władysław II and Agnes of Babenberg
Also Duke of Silesia
Piast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 1227 1211 1225 Restored Piast
Henryk I the Bearded
  • Polish: Henryk I Brodaty
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1165 – 19 March 1238 1225 1225 Grandson of Władysław II, son of Bolesław I the Tall and Krystyna
Also Duke of Silesia
Piast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 1227 1225 1227 Restored
Assassinated
Piast
Władysław III Spindleshanks
  • Polish: Władysław III Laskonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1161/66 – 3 November 1231 1227 1229 Restored Piast
Konrad I of Masovia
  • Polish: Konrad I Mazowiecki
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1187/88 – 31 August 1247 1229 1232 Son of Kazimierz II and Helen of Znojmo
Also Duke of Masovia
Piast
Henryk I the Bearded
  • Polish: Henryk I Brodaty
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1165 – 19 March 1238 1232 1238 Restored Piast
Henryk II the Pious
  • Polish: Henryk II Pobożny
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1196 – 9 April 1241 1238 1241 Son of Henry I and Saint Hedwig of Andechs (Saint Hedwig of Silesia)
Slso Duke of Wroclaw and Greater Poland
Fell at Battle of Legnica
Piast
Bolesław II Rogatka
  • Bolesław II the Horned
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1220 – 1225 1241 1241 Son of Henry II and Anne of Bohemia
Also Duke of Silesia
Piast
Konrad I of Masovia
  • Polish: Konrad I Mazowiecki
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1187/88 – 31 August 1247 1241 1243 Restored Piast
Bolesław V the Chaste
  • Polish: Bolesław Wstydliwy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
21 June 1226 – 7 December 1279 1243 1279 Son of Leszek the White and Grzymislawa of Luck Piast
Leszek II the Black
  • Polish: Leszek Czarny
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1241 – 30 September 1288 1279 1288 Paternal grandson of Konrad I of Masovia
Maternal grandson of Henry II
Son of Casimir I of Kuyavia and Constance of Wrocław
Piast
Bolesław II of Masovia
  • Boleslaw II of Płock
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1251 – 20 April 1313 1288 1288 Grandson of Konrad I of Masovia
Duke of Masovia
Piast
Henryk IV Probus
  • Polish: Henryk IV Prawy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1257/58 – 23 June 1290 1288 1289 Paternal grandson of Henryk II
Maternal grandson of Konrad I
Son of Henry III the White and Judyta of Masovia
Duke of Lower Silesia
Piast
Bolesław II of Masovia
  • Boleslaw II of Płock
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1251 – 20 April 1313 1289 1289 Restored Piast
Władysław I the Elbow-high
  • Polish: Władysław I Łokietek
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
1261 – 2 March 1333 1289 1289 Grandson of Konrad I of Masovia
Son of Kazimierz I of Kujawia and Euphrosyne of Opole
Piast
Henryk IV Probus
  • Polish: Henryk IV Prawy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1257/58 – 23 June 1290 1289 1290 Restored Piast

Kings of Poland (Reunification attempts)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Przemysł II
  • Premyslas, Premislaus
  • King of Poland
    King
(1257-10-14)14 October 1257 – 8 February 1296(1296-02-08) (aged 38) High Duke: 1290
King: 1295
High Duke: 1291
King: 1296
Grandson of Henryk II
Son of Przemysł I and Elisabeth of Wrocław
Also Duke of Poznań, Greater Poland and Pomerania
Piast

Kings of Poland (Reunited Kingdom)[edit]

Name
Lifespan
Reign start
Reign end
Notes
Family
Image
Władysław I the Elbow-high
  • Polish: Władysław I Łokietek
  • King of Poland
    King
1261 – 2 March 1333 1320 1333 Restored
Re-united the Kingdom of Poland
Piast
Casimir III the Great
  • Polish: Kazimierz III Wielki
  • King of Poland
    King
(1310-04-30)30 April 1310 – 5 November 1370(1370-11-05) (aged 60) 1333 1370 Son of Władysław I the Elbow-high and Jadwiga of Kalisz
Regarded as one of the greatest Polish monarchs
Piast

Female Piasts[edit]

Queen consorts[edit]

Denar Princes Polonie, 11th century (in the times of Bolesław I Chrobry), one of the most famous coins in the history of Polish coinage.

Priesthood[edit]

Poland in the times of the Piast dynasty (992-1025)

Archbishops[edit]

Bishops[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A. Małecki, Studya heraldyczne [Heraldic Studies], vol. I, Lwów 1890, pp. 268-285; M. L. Wójcik, Ród Gryfitów do końca XIII wieku. Pochodzenie — genealogia — rozsiedlenie, Historia CVII, Wrocław 1993, p. 39.
  2. ^ Rodowód książąt pomorskich Edward Rymar Książnica Pomorska, 2005, page 53
  3. ^ Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN Warsaw 1975 vol. III p. 505
  4. ^ "Piast Dynasty". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 March 2011. The name Piast was not applied to the dynasty until the 17th century. 
  5. ^ Górczyk, Wojciech, "Półksiężyc, orzeł, lew i smok. Uwagi o godłach napieczętnych Piastów" http://histmag.org/?id=3057&act=ac

External links[edit]