Ladislaus of Salzburg

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Władysław of Salzburg also known as of Wroclaw (Polish: Władysław Salzburski or Władysław Wrocławski, Czech: Vladislav Slezský, German: Wlodizlaus von Schlesien) (c. 1237 – 27 April 1270), was a Duke of Wroclaw since 1248 (as co-ruler of his brother and nephew), since 1255 Chancellor of Bohemia, since 1265 Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, from 1266 Regent of the entire Duchy of Wroclaw and since 1268 Bishop of Wroclaw.

He was the fifth and youngest son of Henry II the Pious, Duke of Wroclaw, by his wife Anna, daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia.


The black eagle of the Silesian Piasts

After his father's death in the Battle of Legnica (9 April 1241), Władysław's older brother Bolesław II the Bald assumed his guardianship. With the approval of their mother and with the purpose of not divided the paternal lands, Władysław and his brother Konrad were sent to study in Padua, with the idea that both became priests in the future. In 1248, his brother Henry III the White assumed the government over Wroclaw after made the land division with their older brother Bolesław II. Władysław was chosen co-ruler of Henry III and Konrad supposedly became in the co-ruler of Bolesław II; however, the Duke of Legnica refused to share the power with anybody. Konrad fled to Greater Poland and eventually obtain Glogow as his own land. In the case of Henry III and Władysław, the cooperation between the brothers was a mutual agreement with few opportunities to frictions, as Władysław was mainly in Prague at the court of his cousin King Ottokar II of Bohemia. The role of Władysław in the Duchy of Wroclaw was limited to receive his rents; Henry III took under his hands all the government.

With the help of the Bohemian king, however, Władysław continued his spiritual career: about 1255 he became a provost of the St Peter and Paul collegiate church at Vyšehrad (part of Prague) and thus was appointed Royal Chancellor (this post was exclusively reserved just for the Vyšehrad provosts). He was elected Bishop of Bamberg in 1257, but had to resign, as he received no dispensation Pope Alexander IV due to his young age. Backed by Ottokar II he was elected Bishop of Passau in 1265 and Prince-Bishop of Salzburg in the same year, this time with consent of Pope Clement IV. The final chord of his great Church's career was his nomination in 1268 to the Bishopric of Wrocław. Władysław, of course, didn't accept this new post without sacrificing the Archbishopric of Salzburg, but thanks to his influence in Prague and Rome, was appointed apostolic administrator with all the rights as a Bishop.

On 3 December 1266 Henry III the White died. In his will, he left Władysław the guardianship of his infant son Henry IV Probus and with this, the regency of the whole Duchy. Henry III's government wasn't too beneficial to the church; Władysław, now as a Bishop and also regent, wasn't inclined to preserve the prerogatives of the nobility, but at the end he was forced to accept this.

The Bishop-Regent was an advocate, with his late brother Henry III, for the canonization of their paternal grandmother, Duchess Hedwig of Wroclaw (neé of Andechs). In 1267, the process was finally ended and she became in Saint Hedwig of Andechs. This was certainly Władysław's great personal success and give prestige to the whole family.

Władysław died on 27 April 1270. In his will, he left his rights over the half of the Duchy of Wroclaw to his nephew Henry IV Probus. There is some evidence that the cause of death of the young Bishop (with not more than thirty-three years) was poisoning. Guilty of this crime have to be among the nobility, who four years earlier apparently killed Henry III the White, and almost twenty years later his nephew Henry IV shared the same fate. Władysław's death was likely, however, natural, which indicates the place of death, Salzburg. If the Polish nobility wanted to kill him, could make this when he was in Wroclaw and not chosen a long journey to Austria to eliminated the Bishop-Regent. In addition, the mere fact of mentioning the same source (the Chronicle of the Silesian Piast Dukes and his likes) stated that the subsequent death of the Dukes of Wroclaw in a short term appears to be somewhat suspect. Likely source of sensational suit has gone, but few credible rumors. The sudden death of a young prince caused by natural factors in the time when the medical service was not the best could easily be interpreted as a poisoning. Władysław was buried in the Cathedral of Salzburg.

Without doubts, Władysław fulfilled his duties honestly, a strange attitude among the medieval princes. When he was Archbishop of Salzburg and shortly afterwards received the title of the Diocese of Wroclaw, the administrator was able to combine the two positions so that no one can say that these features overwhelm them. The last four years of life he was in constant travels between Salzburg and Wroclaw.


Preceded by
Bolesław II the Bald
Duke of Wrocław
with Henry III (until 1266)
and Henry IV (since 1266)

Succeeded by
Henry IV Probus
Preceded by
Ulrich of Seckau
Archbishop of Salzburg
Succeeded by
Frederick II of Walchen
Preceded by
Thomas I
Bishop of Wrocław
Succeeded by
Thomas II