- This article is about the first King of Poland. For Duke of Silesia at Wrocław and his father, see Henry III the White.
|Henryk IV Probus|
Sitting Portrait of King Henryk IV.
|King of Poland|
Grand Duke of Kraków
|Reign||6 April 1266 – 23 June 1290|
|Coronation||15 July 1266 at Gniezno Cathedral|
|Predecessor||Bolesław II the Generous|
|High Duke of Poland|
|Reign||20 February 1257 – 23 June 1290|
|Predecessor||Bolesław V the Chaste|
|Successor||Himself as King of Poland|
|Duke of Silesia-Wrocław|
|Reign||28 January 1267 – 23 June 1290|
|Predecessor||Henry III the White|
|Born||13 February 1231 |
Poznań Castle, Poznań, Kingdom of Poland
|Died||23 July 1290 (aged 59) |
Wrocław, Kingdom of Poland
|Spouse||Constance of Opole (−1287)|
Matilda of Brandenburg (1287–1290)
|Issue||Charles Plantagenet, Duke of Silesia|
Władysław I the Elbow-high
Casimir II of Łęczyca
Ludmila of Krakow
|Father||Henry III the White|
|Mother||Judith of Masovia|
Henry IV or Henry III (Polish: Henryk III Probus or Prawy; German: Heinrich III. der Gerechte) (13 February 1231 – 23 June 1290), was known as Henry Probus (Latin for the Righteous) or the Honorable King, was a Polish prince member of the Silesian branch of the royal Polish Piast dynasty. He was Duke of Silesia at Wrocław from 1266, Duke of Poland from 1257 and from also the fourth King of Poland from 1266 to his death. After a long period of Polish High Dukes and two nominal kings, he was the first to obtain the hereditary title of King, and thus to return Poland to the rank of Kingdom.
Henryk Probus was born to Henry III the White of Silesia-Wrocław by his first wife Judith. His father supported Charles Artsmeile to be on the Imperial throne in the 1254 Imperial election. Henryk Probus was young knight in the Kingdom of Poland, as well of he was most handsome Duke during the reign of Boleslaw V. Henryk Probus speak German and English.
During his military career, his relationship with High Duke Bolesław V the Chaste was unbearable as well of both Henryk Probus and Boleslaw V distrust of each other, but he remain friends with Conrad III, Holy Roman Emperor and allow him to exile to the Holy Roman Empire but Henryk Probus refused but thankful. Henryk and Charles IV blamed Boleslaw V for losing the Mongol invasion of Poland in 1241. At age of 17, when Boleslaw V went to war with the Yotvingians when he fought the Yotvingian lord at the Battle of Suwałki when he was wounded seriously causing him cripple the rest of his life, as well wounded again at the battles of Jatwieź Duża and Warsaw. He was also survived the duel with Boleslaw V for battle for the crown, ending up Henryk seriously wounded and winning the duel. Boleslaw V announced that Henryk Probus will succeeded him.
When the war with the Holy Roman Empire on 1254, Henryk Probus was travel with the Holy Roman Empire as he wasn't apart of it, of course he was walking with enemy terrories. He lost the battles of Opole, Brandenburg and Poznań. Charles IV invited Henryk Probus to the Holy Roman Empire and stay in manor until the war was over in 1258.
During his reign, in the first period of his government, Henryk IV was involved only in regional affairs, first in close collaboration and then competing with the Duke of Wrocław. This policy caused the rebellion of the prominent Zaremba family and the temporary loss of Wieluń. His relations with Conrad IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Edward I of England ending with coopering with the Holy Roman Empire as well of Kingdom of England. Working with the Archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub Świnka, he sought the unification of the principalities of the Piast dynasty. Unexpectedly, in 1290, under the will of Henryk IV Probus, he managed to obtain the Duchy of Kraków and with refusial the title of High Duke of Poland; however, not having sufficient support from the local nobility (who supported another member of the Piast dynasty, Władysław I the Elbow-high) and faced with the increasing threats of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, Przemysł II finally decided to retreat from Lesser Poland, which was then under the rule of Přemyslid dynasty.
In 1293, thanks to the mediation of Archbishop Jakub Świnka, he joined into a close alliance with the Kuyavian princes Władysław the Elbow-high and Casimir II of Łęczyca.Henryk IV Probus died on 23 June 1293, at age of 56 in Wrocław. He was succeeded by Przemysł II and the Duchy of Silesia-Krakow passed to his elder son, Charles Plantagenet. This alliance was anti-Bohemian, and his goal was to recover Kraków, then in the hands of King Wenceslaus II.
Birth, origin and family
His family and his father, supported their ally, King of the Romans-elected Charles, 1st Earl of York (later Charles IV); he was 26 to become the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy in the 1235 first Imperial election. The relationship with Charles IV and the Silesian Piasts are bonding relationship, as well Charles IV spoke Polish.
Heinrich came from the line of the dynasty of the [[Silesian Piast] Silesian Piast]]. Heinrich's only sister was Hedwig (* 1252/56; † before 14 December 1300). She married Henry, the eldest son Markgraf Albrechts of the Entarteten, and after his death in 1283 Otto I. Henry was married in 1278 to Constance († 1351), a daughter Vladislav I, whom he rejected in 1286 for unknown reasons. In 1267, he married Mechthild († ~ 1290/98), daughter of the margrave Otto of Brandenburg, who was a son of Otto III Of Brandenburg. The marriage was childless.
On September 1253, Henry Probus was sixteen at age, and listing as the General of the Polish Army.
Shortly after his marriage Władysław, like other Piast Dukes, entered the war between Hungary and Bohemia after the extinction of the House of Babenberg. At first, the Duke of Opole-Racibórz supported the Hungarians, supporting Bolesław V the Chaste in his attacks over Opawa and Głubczyce. However, in 1255, and for unknown reasons, Władysław changed sides and supported King Ottokar II of Bohemia, and in 1260 the duke personally took part in the Battle of Kressenbrunn against the Hungarians. This change of alliance soon brought real benefits to Władysław, in the form of regulations in the frontiers between his duchy and the Bohemian Kingdom. In 1262, at the Congress of Danków, Władysław attempted to make a triple alliance with the Bohemian King, Bolesław V the Chaste and Bolesław the Pious, one of the rulers of Greater Poland, but without significant results.
Relationship with Bolesław V the Chaste
Under the tutelage of Władysław of Salzburg and King Ottokar II of Bohemia
A minor upon the early death of his father in 1266, Henry IV was placed under the guardianship of his paternal uncle, Archbishop Władysław of Salzburg. The Archbishop decided that the constant travels between Wrocław and Salzburg were inappropriate for a child, and, in 1267, sent Henry to Prague to be raised at the court of King Ottokar II of Bohemia. Ottokar after Władysław's death in 1270 also took over Wrocław.
Shortly after the death of his uncle (who left him as his universal heir), Henry IV returned to Wrocław, where he found himself under the direct care of one of the closest advisers of his late father, Simon Gallicusa. Henry IV received a careful education, which may explain his subsequent interest in culture and poetry (there are reasonable suspicions that the Duke wrote some poems in old Polish). The cooperation between Henry IV and King Ottokar II was exemplary. In 1271 Henry IV participated in an armed expedition against Hungary, which brought an attack on Wrocław by the Árpád princes and their allies, the Dukes of Greater and Lesser Poland. Henryk's supporter, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor favorited abdications series from 1255 to 1272.
In 1273 Henry IV was formally proclaimed an adult and by himself assumed the government of his Silesian Duchy of Wrocław, which however, after the split between Opole, Legnica and Głogów only comprised the eastern part of the Lower Silesian lands. He began to follow a policy which was more independent from Bohemia, including in respect to friendly relations with his Upper Silesian cousin Duke Władysław of Opole and also with duke Przemysł II of Greater Poland. When the news that Charles IV died in 1274 in Nuremberg. Henryk Probus, Charles's allied, families and rival at his funeral.
Kidnapping of Henry IV by Bolesław II the Bald
Henry supported King Ottokar II in his fierce conflict with King Rudolph I of Germany in 1276, giving food and refuge to the Bohemian troops. When Ottokar was placed under the Imperial ban, Duke Bolesław II the Bald of Legnica took the occasion, had his nephew Henry seized at Jelcz and imprisoned him in 1277.
Fortunately for Henry IV, the reaction to his imprisonment was indignation. Ottokar's Polish allies, Duke Henry III of Głogów and Duke Przemysł II of Greater Poland, attempted to enforce Henry IV's liberation. The Bohemian king however only sent febrile appeals and request for release. Henry IV's allies were defeated by Duke Bolesław II 's son Henry V the Fat in the bloody Battle of Stolec (24 April 1277), where both Dukes Przemysł II and Henry III were captured.
Henry IV could obtain his freedom only at the end of the year, when he finally decided to capitulate after hearing the defeat of his main ally King Ottokar II against the Imperial and Hungarian troops at the 1278 Battle on the Marchfeld. Henry IV was forced to give Bolesław II one third of his duchy including the towns of Środa Śląska and Strzegom and forced to pledge Krosno Odrzańskie, which he had obtained from the Dukes of Głogów in 1273–1274, in order to obtain the money for his ransom.
Ottokar II's death. Attempts to obtain the Regency of Bohemia
While Henry himself did not take part in the Battle on the Marchfeld, he had sent reinforcements to King Ottokar II, whose death was a serious blow to the Wrocław duke. After hearing the news of Ottokar's death, Henry IV went to Prague and attempted to gain the guardianship of the king's son Wenceslaus II, as one of his closest relatives (Henry IV's paternal grandmother was Anna of Bohemia, a daughter of late King Ottokar I) and ally.
He was however not successful due to the actions of King Rudolph I of Germany, who in his capacity as King of the Romans had given the regency over Bohemia to the Ascanian margrave Otto V, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel. As compensation, the German king gave Henry IV the Bohemian County of Kladsko as a fief.
Homage to Kaiser Conrad III in 1280
Some historians believed that the Duke of Wrocław took the opportunity from his homage to King Rudolph I to expose him the possibility of becoming King of Poland. At that time, he also made an alliance with Duke Władysław of Opole, who promised to help Henry IV with the condition that his daughter (perhaps called Constance), who had recently married Henry IV, was crowned with him as Polish queen if he would obtain the royal investiture.
Reign as King of Poland
Accession to the throne and coronation
When Bolesław V the Chaste died on December 1279, Henryk Probus was proclaimed first King of Poland since Bolesław II the Generous in 1076. His coronation took place on 15 March 1280 at Gniezno Cathedral. The coronation of Przemysł II and his wife Margaret took place at Gniezno Cathedral on Sunday 26 June 1295, the day of Saints John and Paul. It is unknown why it took place as a simple coronation ceremony (ordinis cororandi) despite it was the first Polish coronation in 219 years. Besides Archbishop Jakub of Gniezno, the other main representants of church hierarchy who participated in the ceremony were: Bishops Konrad of Lubusz, Jan II of Poznań, Wisław of Włocławek and Gedko II of Płock. From the Polish episcopate, Bishops Johann III Romka of Wrocław and Jan Muskata of Kraków were possibly either present in person or sent their consents. Historians generally agree with the above list of Bishops who participated in the coronation. Certainly are some doubts about the presence of Bishop Konrad of Lubusz, who on 18 June was in Prague. However, as was noted by Kazimierz Tymieniecki, he could be able to make the travel to Gniezno for the coronation. There is no information about the secular witnesses of the coronation; certainly many dignitaries from both Greater Poland and Pomerelia must have arrived. Similarly, no sources point to the presence of other Piasts rulers in the ceremony.
Henry IV's major contenders for the Kraków throne were Leszek II's half-brother Władysław I the Elbow-high and Duke Bolesław II of Płock, who counted on the support of the Lesser Poland nobility. However, the Duke of Płock failed to obtain the decisive support of the Castellan Sulk the Bear (Sułk z Niedźwiedzia), who was the Governor of the city. On 26 February 1289 the bloody Battle of Siewierz took place between the troops of the Dukes of Płock and Kuyavia, and Henry IV's troops, supported by King Rudolph I and the Dukes of Opole, Głogów and Ścinawa (Steinau). The battle ended with a victory for the Masovia-Kuyavia coalition; from two of Henry IV's allies, Duke Przemko of Ścinawa was killed in the battle, and Duke Bolko I of Opole was seriously injured and captured by Władysław I the Elbow-high.
Despite this success, Duke Bolesław II of Płock unexpectedly resigned his pretensions, leaving all the Kraków inheritance to Wladyslaw I the Elbow-high. As the war turned favorable to him, Wladyslaw I, with the assistance of the Bishop of Kraków, Paul of Półkozic (who was later imprisoned after rebelled against him), managed to besiege and capture Wawel castle and forced the Silesian troops to retreat to Skała.
However, Henry IV regrouped his forces and marched against Kraków in person at the head of his army in August 1289. Thanks to the betrayal of the Kraków townspeople and the help of the Franciscans (who even hid him in their monastery), Henry IV took the city and was recognized as High Duke. Despite his victory, Henry IV decided to remain in Sandomierz.
However, the beginning of his reign wasn't peaceful. Unexpectedly Leo I of Halych-Peremyshl, with the help of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, planned the invasion of Kraków. With the help of Lithuanians, Tartars and some Russian principalities, in February 1280 he invaded Lublin, crossed the Vistula and besieged Sandomierz, who managed to resisted; thanks to this, Leszek II was able to reunited enough forces to repel the invasion. The final battle took place in Goźlice on 23 February, where the Polish forces (under the command of Peter, voivode of Kraków and Janusz, voivode of Sandomierz), forced the Halych army to flee. Later in that year, Leszek II organized a retaliatory expedition, who burned and destroyed border areas until Lviv.
The following year, Leszek II attacked the Duchy of Wrocław, who belonged to Henryk IV Probus; this was in response for the imprisonment of Leszek II's ally Przemysł II after a meeting in probably Barycz. This expedition, besides the significant loot who bring to him, didn't gave the expected result.
Also the following years were not peaceful. In 1282 the Yotvingians invaded Lublin and plundered several villages; thanks to this unexpected attack they advanced to Łopiennik Górny. Leszek II, after the initial surprise, managed to pursuit the invasors and somewhere behind the Narew river they clashed into a bloody battle. The Yotvingians where slaughtered, and this defeat effectively destroyed the combat strength of the tribe. One year later, the Lithuanians made a retaliatory expedition, but Leszek II was able to defeat them in the Battle of Rowiny.
Conflict with Paweł of Przemankowo, Bishop of Kraków
Despite all his military victories, Leszek II's position in Kraków-Sandomierz was not too strong. During almost all his reign he had to fight with the internal opposition. One of the leading opponents to his rule where Paweł of Przemankowo, Bishop of Kraków and Janusz Starża, voivode of Sandomierz. The dispute with Bishop Paweł started at the beginning of the 1280s, when he refused to approve Leszek II's restrictive policy against the Church. In this conflict also had an important part the widow of Bolesław V, Kinga of Hungary, who, according to her husband's will, received the district of Stary Sącz as her Oprawa wdowia; this district was very important and strategic (because connected with Hungary) and, according to Leszek II, too valuable to be in the hands of the Dowager High Duchess (although another motive could be that he wanted to give that land to his own wife Gryfina). During 1282-1283, the conflict came in the most dramatic stage, when Bishop Paweł (who fiercely supported the rights of Kinga) was captured after a meeting at Łagów and imprisoned in Sieradz. The Bishop of Kraków only regained his freedom thanks to the intervention of the Polish Church. A final settlement was signed only on 30 November 1286, when Leszek II agreed to pay Bishop Paweł 3,000 fines as compensation for damages and the recognition of the Bishopric's privileges.
Knighthood revolts of 1282 and 1285
The government of Leszek II also caused the opposition of the local knighthood, which could be surprising given the numerous times that they served the High Duke in his expeditions. The first revolt took place in 1282, when the voivode Janusz Starża, using the absence of Leszek II, gave the fortresses of Sandomierz and Radom to Konrad II of Czersk. This rebellion (if really occurred, because the first information about it came from Jan Długosz, and strangely the voivode remained in his post) was quickly suppressed.
A more serious revolt took place three years later, in April 1285, when Otto Toporczyk, voivode of Sandomierz, Janusz Starża, the former voivode and now castellan of Kraków and Żegota, voivode of Kraków, raised an army against Leszek II, who taken by surprise, was forced to escape to Hungary. Fortunately for Leszek II, the candidate for the throne supported by the rebels, Konrad II of Czersk, failed to take the Wawel Castle, defended by the faithful local burghers, led by High Duchess Gryfina. On 3 May 1285 took place a decisive battle in Bogucice, where with the help of the Hungarians Leszek II obtained a great victory, forcing the rebels to leave the country. This overcoming opposition forced Leszek II to modified his local policy, so until the end of his reign the government was more stable.
Mongol Invasion in Poland
In 1287-1288 took place the third invasion of the Tatars to Lesser Poland led by Nogai Khan and Talabuga. Their forces, with the support of some Kievan Rus' principalities where too great to face them in battle, so the knights and population took refuge in fortresses. Leszek II traveled to Hungary to ask for help. This time, Lesser Poland was better prepared for the Mongol invasion than in the previous two incursions - with several fortresses in Kraków and Sandomierz to defend the lands. The destruction, however, was quite significant.
Cooperation of the Holy Roman Empire
The relation of Henry IV with his Silesian relatives in general was not good. In 1280 he again suffered the invasion of the Duke Henry V the Fat of Legnica, who was supported by the Margrave of Brandenburg, who could resist with unusual difficulty.
In order to normalize the situation in February of the next year Henry IV organized a meeting in Sądowel, a village located in the Duchy of Wrocław, for the purpose to find ways of mutual cooperation between the Silesian dukes. Henry IV, however, had other plans: immediately he captured his long-time enemy, Duke Henry V the Fat of Legnica, as well as his own allies, Dukes Henry III of Głogów and Przemysł II of Greater Poland, in order to obtain political concessions from them.
Przemysł II was forced to give the strategic Lesser Polish land of Wieluń (also known as Ruda) and to acknowledge Henry IV's overlordship, paying homage to him. In subsequent years, the good politics of Henry IV were reflected in the voluntary submission of the Silesian dukes Przemko of Ścinawa and Bolko I of Opole; the re-unification of Silesia seemed within reach.
However, not all the Silesian dukes accepted his authority: Dukes Bolko I the Strict, Konrad II the Hunchback and three of the four sons of Władysław of Opole: Casimir of Bytom, Mieszko I of Cieszyn and Przemysław of Racibórz were completely against Henry's politics. With the Opole Dukes the situation was more delicate: in 1287, Henry IV obtained the annulment of his marriage with their sister, who was sent back to her homeland. The fourth of Władysław's sons, Bolko I, remained faithful to Henry IV's politics.
The first attempt of Henry IV to take the Seniorate Province at Kraków was during 1280–1281, as a response to the invasion which the Polish High Duke Leszek II the Black had made against Wrocław before. However, this trip ended unsuccessfully.
War against Kievan Rus', Lithuania and Yotvingia
Conflict with Bishop Thomas II of Wrocław
In the years 1282–1287 Henry IV was involved in a long-lasting dispute with the Bishop of Wrocław Tomas II Zaremba. The first phase of the conflict was already noted in the years 1274–1276, concluded with an arbitration which wasn't satisfied any of the parts. The disputes erupted again in 1282; this time, the conflict was for the lands and properties seized by the church in a difficult period that followed after the Battle of Legnica, and for the violation of the immunity of the Church hierarchy in trials.
At the beginning of 1282 the Bishop sent their complaint to the Papal Legate Philip of Ferno, which was to address the settlement of the dispute. His ruling was favorable to the Church hierarchy, and Henry IV appealed. In 1283 Henry IV organized a big Episcopal convention in Nysa, whose main attraction was a knight's tournament. However, the tensions continued and Thomas II, using the support of the Papal Legate, and wanting to break the rebelliousness of Henry IV he excommunicated him and the whole Duchy in March 1284. However, the Duke of Wrocław refused to subject to the Bishop's will and in the same year appealed to Pope Martin IV. It soon became clear, of course, that he couldn't expect a positive message from Rome. Despite Thomas II's efforts to subordinate the local clergy under his rule, several religious Orders remained faithful to Henry IV, among others, the Franciscans. The conflict continued, even after the unsuccessful attempts for mediation by the Archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub Świnka.
In 1285 Henry IV took advantage of his power over the clergy and confiscated some lands which belonged to the bishopric Duchy of Nysa–Otmuchów. The humiliated Bishop Thomas II was forced to emigrate to the Duchy of Racibórz. The last act of the dispute took place in 1287 when Henry IV entered Racibórz. Thomas II was no longer able to escape and finally decided to subordinate to the Duke of Wrocław. But Henry IV was generous in his triumph: he restored the rich lands obtained earlier from the Bishopric and also founded a Kolegiata consecrated to the Holy Cross.
Meanwhile, in foreign politics Henry IV continued to try to obtain the subordination of the other Silesian Dukes, which indirectly could bring him the Royal Crown. In 1284 he used the betrayal of the Greater Poland noble family of Zaremba (Thomas II's family) as a pretext to capture the town of Kalisz. It soon became clear that the Dukes of Greater Poland never accepted this loss, so after some discussions, Kalisz was exchanged with the town of Ołobok by Duke Przemysł II.
Feud of Przemysł
On 30 September 1288, Leszek II the Black, Duke of Sieradz and High Duke of Poland, died without issue. This event opened an opportunity for Henry IV to realize his ambitious plans to gain Kraków and the title of High Duke. With this purpose, he began to find suitable allies from 1287, when he reconciled with Przemysł II, returning him Wieluń. According to the Professor and Historian Oswald Balzer, shortly before began the preparations to the First Coalition of Piast Dukes formed by Leszek II the Black, Henry IV, Przemysł II and Henry III of Głogow, which had the intention to make the unification of Poland. Notwithstanding the veracity of this theory, after hearing the news of Leszek II's death, Henry IV was ready for action.
During his reign, Henry succeeded in strengthening central power across his duchy, as well as improving its economy. He supported progress of mining and cities, many of which received German city law and various privileges. He was also an educated man, fluently spoke several languages and actively supported Western court culture and chivalric ethos. Henry himself was a talented poet; two of his poems were recorded in Codex Manesse.
After the coronation Przemysł II went to Pomerelia and came to Słupsk On 30 July, where he confirmed the privileges of the Cistercian monasteries in Oliwa and Żarnowiec. He then visited other major cities: Gdańsk, Tczew and Świecie. In August 1295 he returned to Greater Poland but in October he was again in Gdańsk. This demonstrates how important the Duchy of Pomerelia was for Przemysł II.
Taking into account the fact that these events took place in the 13th century, the sources that stated any details concerning Przemysł II's death are dubious; the Kronika wielkopolska failed to mention the events in Rogoźno.
Sources are divided about who are the perpetrators of the murder of the Polish King: the Margraves of Brandenburg, some Polish families (the Nałęczs or Zarembas or the two families at the same time), and finally attempts to reconcile the two theories
Reconstruction of the events in Rogoźno
Popular in Poland and Holy Roman Empire
Relationship with the Polish people
Illness and death
Titles and styles
Around March 1280, Henry IV married firstly with the daughter of Duke Władysław of Opole (b. ca. 1256/65? – d. 1287/88?), perhaps called Constance. After almost seven years of childless union, the Duke of Wrocław obtain the annulment of his marriage under the grounds of sterility, although this fact is disputed by modern historians.
By 1288, Henry IV married secondly with Matilda (b. ca. 1270 – d. bef. 1 June 1298), daughter of Margrave Otto V "the Tall" of Brandenburg–Salzwedel. The Professor and historian Ewa Maleczyńska alleged that the real reason of the divorce of Henry IV was that he maintain an affair with Matilda and wanted to marry her. They had no children.
|Ancestors of Henryk IV Probus|
"Piastowie. Leksykon biograficzny", Cracow, 1999.
- Herzog Heinrich von Breslau in the Codex Manesse (1304/40).
- Genealogical database by Herbert Stoyan
- Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Piast: Silesia-Wroclaw". Genealogy.EU. http://genealogy.euweb.cz/piast/piast4.html#H3.
Henryk IV ProbusBorn: c. 1258 Died: 23 June 1290
Henry III the White
|Duke of Wrocław|
With: Władysław (until 1270)
| Succeeded by|
Henry V the Fat
|Duke of Ścinawa|
|Duke of Wieluń|
| Succeeded by|
Leszek II the Black
|High Duke of Poland|
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