Piast dynasty

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Piast
POL Przemysł II 1295 COA.svg
Country
Ethnicity Polish, Bohemian, Silesian
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
Titles
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 are said to have 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.

No one in over a 1000 years of Polish history bore the first name Piast[5].

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 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.[6]

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]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Chościsko
  • Latin: Semovit filius Past Ckosisconis, Pazt filius Chosisconisu
  • Duke
9th century9th century9th centuryA legendary ruler of the Polans, father of Piast the WheelwrightPolans (Tribe)
Piast the Wheelwright
  • Polish: Piast Kołodziej
    Latin: Past Ckosisconis, Pazt filius Chosisconisu
  • Duke
9th century9th century9th centuryA legendary ruler of the Polans
Son of Chościsko, father of Siemowit
Founder of the Piast dynasty
Piast
Siemowit
  • Ziemowit
  • Duke
9th century9th century9th centuryA semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of Piast the Wheelwright and RzepichaPiast
Lestek
  • Leszek, Lestko
  • Duke
9th / 10th centuries9th / 10th centuries9th / 10th centuriesA semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of SiemowitPiast
Siemomysł
  • Ziemomysł
  • Duke
10th century10th century10th centuryA semi-legendary ruler of the Polans, son of LestekPiast

Dukes and Kings of Poland[edit]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Mieszko I of Poland
  • Duke
ca. 940 – 25 May 992ca. 960992Son 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 1025Duke: 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 103410251031Son of Bolesław I and Emnilda of LusatiaPiast
Bezprym
  • Duke
ca. 986 – 103210311032Son of Bolesław I and Judith of Hungary (disputed)Piast
Otto Bolesławowic
  • Duke
1000 – 103310321032Son of Bolesław I and EmnildaPiast
Theodorick
  • Dytryk
  • Duke
after 992 - after 103210321032 /1033Grandson of Mieszko I and Oda of HaldenslebenPiast
Mieszko II Lambert
  • Duke
ca. 990 – 10/11 May 103410321034RestoredPiast
Bolesław the Forgotten
  • Polish: Bolesław Zapomniany
  • Duke
before 1016 – 1038 or 103910341038 /1039Semi-legendary, existence disputedPiast
Casimir I the Restorer
  • Polish: Kazimierz I Odnowiciel
  • Duke
(1016-06-25)25 June 1016 – 28 November 1058(1058-11-28) (aged 42)10391058Son of Mieszko II and Richeza of LotharingiaPiast
Bolesław II the Bold
  • Polish: Bolesław II Szczodry / Śmiały
  • King of Poland
    King
ca. 1041 or 1042 – 2 or 3 April 1081 or 1082Duke: 1058
King: 1076
Duke: 1076
King: 1079
Son of Kazimierz I and Maria Dobroniega of KievPiast
Władysław I Herman
  • Duke
ca. 1044 – 4 June 110210791102Son of Kazimierz I and Maria DobroniegaPiast
Zbigniew
  • Zbygniew
  • Duke
ca. 1073 – 8 July 111311021107Son 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)11071138Son 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]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Władysław II the Exile
  • Polish: Władysław II Wygnaniec
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
1105 – 30 May 115911381146Son 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 117311461173Son 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 120211731177Son 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 119411771190Son 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 120211901190RestoredPiast
Casimir II the Just
  • Polish: Kazimierz II Sprawiedliwy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1138 – 5 May 119411901194RestoredPiast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 122711941198Son 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 120211981199RestoredPiast
Leszek I the White
  • Polish: Leszek Biały
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1186 – 24 November 122711991199RestoredPiast
Mieszko III the Old
  • Polish: Mieszko III Stary
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1127 – 13 March 120211991202RestoredPiast
Władysław III Spindleshanks
  • Polish: Władysław III Laskonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1161/66 – 3 November 123112021202Son 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 122712021210RestoredPiast
Mieszko IV Tanglefoot
  • Polish: Mieszko I Plątonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1130 – 16 May 121112101211Son 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 122712111225RestoredPiast
Henryk I the Bearded
  • Polish: Henryk I Brodaty
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1165 – 19 March 123812251225Grandson 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 122712251227Restored
Assassinated
Piast
Władysław III Spindleshanks
  • Polish: Władysław III Laskonogi
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1161/66 – 3 November 123112271229RestoredPiast
Konrad I of Masovia
  • Polish: Konrad I Mazowiecki
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1187/88 – 31 August 124712291232Son 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 123812321238RestoredPiast
Henryk II the Pious
  • Polish: Henryk II Pobożny
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1196 – 9 April 124112381241Son of Henry I and Saint Hedwig of Andechs (Saint Hedwig of Silesia)
Also 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 – 122512411241Son 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 124712411243RestoredPiast
Bolesław V the Chaste
  • Polish: Bolesław Wstydliwy
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
21 June 1226 – 7 December 127912431279Son of Leszek the White and Grzymislawa of LuckPiast
Leszek II the Black
  • Polish: Leszek Czarny
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
ca. 1241 – 30 September 128812791288Paternal 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 131312881288Grandson 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 129012881289Paternal 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 131312891289RestoredPiast
Władysław I the Elbow-high
  • Polish: Władysław I Łokietek
  • High Duke
    Supreme Prince
1261 – 2 March 133312891289Grandson 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 129012891290RestoredPiast

Kings of Poland (Reunification attempts)[edit]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
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]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Władysław I the Elbow-high
  • Polish: Władysław I Łokietek
  • King of Poland
    King
1261 – 2 March 133313201333Restored
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)13331370Son 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. ^ [1] No actual person bore the name Piast
  6. ^ Górczyk, Wojciech, "Półksiężyc, orzeł, lew i smok. Uwagi o godłach napieczętnych Piastów" http://histmag.org/?id=3057&act=ac

External links[edit]