Piast the Wheelwright
|Piast the Wheelwright|
|Piast plate by Walery Eljasz-Radzikowski (1841–1905)|
|Successor||Bolesław the Forgotten|
|House||House of Piast (founder)|
Legend and aftermath
The chronicle tells the story of an unexpected visit paid to Piast by two strangers. They ask to join Piast's family in celebration of the 7th birthday of Piast’s son, Siemowit (a pagan rite of passage for young boys). In return for the hospitality, the guests cast a spell making Piast's cellar ever full of plenty. Seeing this, Piast's compatriots declare him their new prince, to replace the late Prince Popiel.
If Piast really existed, he would have been the great-great-grandfather of Prince Mieszko I (c. 930–92), the first historic ruler of Poland, and the great-great-great-grandfather of Bolesław Chrobry (967–1025), the first Polish king.
Two theories explain the etymology of the word Piast. The first gives the root as piasta ("hub" in Polish), a reference to his profession. The second relates Piast to piastun ("custodian" or "keeper"). This could hint at Piast's initial position as a maior domus (majordomo), or a "steward of the house", in the court of another ruler, and the subsequent takeover of power by Piast. This would parallel the development of the early medieval Frankish dynasties, when the majordomos (Mayors of the Palace) of the Merovingian kings gradually usurped political control.