Viola, Duchess of Opole
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Viola's origins are disputed by historians. Chronicler Jan Długosz noted that she was originally from Bulgaria. A more popular hypothesis about Viola's parentage was given by Władysław Dziewulski, who stated that Viola could have been a daughter of Kaloyan of Bulgaria or his successor, Boril, but this theory has been challenged by Wincenty Swoboda. The historian J. Horwat put forward another hypothesis that Viola could have been a Hungarian princess, daughter of King Béla III, from his second marriage to Margaret of France, or his son and successor, Emeric.
Arguments for Viola's Bulgarian origin involve her marriage to Casimir I, as she was not mentioned in any Polish source before the duke's departure on the Fifth Crusade. According to one hypothesis, the marriage of Casimir I and Viola may have been arranged by King Andrew II of Hungary. On the way home, the Hungarian King arranged several marriage contracts between his children and the courts he visited: one of which was the engagement of his daughter Anna Maria to the Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen II. As a near kinswoman of the Tsar of Bulgaria, Viola could have become engaged to Casimir I (a close associate of King Andrew II), returning with the King in order to meet her future husband.
According to another hypothesis, Casimir I became close to an unknown Hungarian knight, a relative of the King and commander of the Hungarian troops, which in January 1218 in Mount Lebanon had been depopulated. This would suggest that the marriage between the Duke of Opole and the king's near kinswoman Viola was performed before the embarkation on the crusade, around 1217.
Casimir I died on 13 May 1230. According to his will, Viola was appointed regent of the Duchy on behalf of their sons, Mieszko II and Władysław, who had yet to attain their majority. Despite her efforts to maintain an independent rule, she was finally forced to share and later to renounce the regency of Opole-Racibórz to Henry I the Bearded, Duke of Wrocław.
In 1233 and probably with the consent of the Duke of Wrocław, Pope Gregory IX issued a Bull, under which the young dukes were removed from the care of their mother and given to the Archbishop of Gniezno and the Bishops of Wrocław and Olomouc. A year later, in 1234, to calm the rebellion that had been caused by this decision, Henry I the Bearded gave Kalisz and Wieluń to Casimir I's sons, taking full control of Opole-Racibórz, but without denying their hereditary rights.
Viola and her children moved to Kalisz, where they remained after Henry I's death in 1238, because his son and successor, Henry II the Pious, took over the regency of Opole-Racibórz. However, soon after, Mieszko II began to claim government over his duchy. Henry II was forced to accept this, and by late 1238 or early 1239 Mieszko II returned to Opole and began his independent rule. Viola and her second son Władysław were expected to remain in Kalisz, which held power under the guidance of Henry II. Viola remained as regent of the Duchies of Kalisz and Wieluń on behalf of Władysław until 1241, when he was declared an adult and able to rule by himself.
Mieszko II died on 22 October 1246 without issue. In his will, he left all his land to his brother Władysław, except Cieszyn, which was given to Viola as her Oprawa wdowia. She ruled this land for the next five years until her death, when Cieszyn was reunited again with the Duchy of Opole-Racibórz.
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of 2 May 2009 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.
- "Viola genere et natione Bulgara, Ducissa de Opole, moritur"
- Cawley, Charles, SILESIA, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012,[better source needed]
- Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Piast". Genealogy.EU.[self-published source][better source needed]
- KAZIMIERZ I OPOLSKI
- This theory was problematic, because almost all the known sources stated that Queen Margaret, after the premature and difficult birth of her only son from her first marriage in 1177, remained unable to bear any other children.
Mieszko II the Fat as Duke of larger area
|Duke of Cieszyn
merged by the Duchy of Opole-Racibórz