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The Slippery Memory of Men

East Central and Eastern

Europe in the Middle Ages,

General Editor
Florin Curta

Volume 21

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/ecee

The Slippery Memory of Men

The Place of Pomerania in the

Medieval Kingdom of Poland


Paul Milliman

Cover illustration: Prussia from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, sive Atlas Novus in quo Tabul et
Descriptiones Omnium Regionum, Edit a Guiljel et Ioanne Blaeu, 1645. University of California
(Blaeu AtlasEuropae Septentrionalia & Orientalia)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Milliman, Paul.
The slippery memory of men : the place of Pomerania in the medieval Kingdom of Poland /
by Paul Milliman.
pages cm. (East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 4501450, ISSN 1872-
8103 ; volume 21)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-90-04-18274-5 (hardback : acid-free paper) ISBN 978-90-04-24380-4 (e-book)
1.Pomerania (Poland and Germany)History.2.PolandHistory14th century.3.Teutonic
KnightsHistoryTo 1500.4.BorderlandsPolandHistoryTo 1500.5.Borderlands
GermanyHistoryTo 1500.6.Pomerania (Poland and Germany)RelationsPoland.
7.PolandRelationsPomerania (Poland and Germany)I. Title.
DK4600.P6765M55 2013

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Acknowledgments........................................................................................... vii
List of Abbreviations....................................................................................... xi
Maps..................................................................................................................... xiii

Introduction . ................................................................................................. 1

1.. A iugo principum Polonie, a iugo Theutonicorum:

Pomerania and the South Baltic Frontier of Latin Christendom
in the Early Thirteenth Century........................................................ 23

2..Dealing with the Past and Planning for the Future:

Contested Memories, Conflicted Loyalties, and the Partition
and Donation of Pomerania in the Late Thirteenth Century..... 65

3.. The Restorations of the Kingdom of Poland and

the Foundation of the Teutonic Ordensstaat at the Turn of the
Fourteenth Century.................................................................................. 94

4.. Immortalis Discordia: Eternal Enmity, Massacre,

and Memorialization in the German-Polish Borderlands............ 139

5.. Pomerania between Poland and Prussia: Lordship,

Ethnicity, Territoriality, and Memory................................................. 196

Conclusion........................................................................................................ 255

Appendix 1.The Procurator-General of the Teutonic Knights

Pleads His Case to the Papal Curia Concerning the Gdask
Massacre, 1310.......................................................................................... 263
Appendix 2.The Claims Submitted by the Polish Procurators
in 1320......................................................................................................... 267
Appendix 3. The Claims Submitted by the Royal Procurator
in 1339......................................................................................................... 269

Bibliography..................................................................................................... 279
Index................................................................................................................... 313

I owe a great deal to a great many people and institutions, far more than I
could ever hope to repay or fully acknowledge here. But, I will do my best,
because I truly appreciate all the help I have received over the years.
First, I would like to thank all of the organizations that funded my
research, travel, and language training. The Cornell Institute for European
Studies provided FLAS fellowships to help me develop my Polish language
skills. The History Department at Cornell provided funding for language
training in Germany and research in Poland, as well as funding to start
work on a first draft and revise the final draft of my dissertation. I also
want to thank the American Council of Learned Societies, whose grant
of a Dissertation Fellowship in East European Studies afforded me the
time to collect my thoughts and share my research on a topic unfamil-
iar to most scholars outside of East Central Europe. An additional grant
from ACLS allowed me to travel to Poland to get feedback on my work
from experts on this topic. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars provided invaluable resources for me to continue researching and
revising, including a diligent research assistant, Jakub Olszowiec. At the
University of Arizona I am deeply grateful to the Deans of the College of
Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Head of the History Department,
Kevin Gosner, who ensured that I would have the time and resources to
finish revising this book.
I also want to thank all of the individuals who helped make this book
possible. First I want to thank my former adviser at Cornell, Paul R. Hyams,
both for his confidence in me and for his willingness to allow me to leave
the friendly confines of Western Europe to pursue my own interests. I
also want to thank Susanne Pohl, David S. Powers, and E. Wayles Browne,
from whom I also learned so much at Cornell, as well as my friend, Alizah
Holstein, who showed me that it is possible to finish a dissertation. I am
also grateful to all of the other outstanding teachers I have had over the
years, in particular Stephanie Frank at Parkersburg Catholic High School.
Thank you for your patience and guidance and for helping to make me
both a better scholar and a better person. This task was continued by all
of the excellent teachers I had at Ohio Wesleyan University who made me
want to become a professor and encouraged me to go to graduate school.
To James Biehl, Jan Hallenbeck, Donald Lateiner, Mark Gingerich, Rich-
ard Spall, Cynthia Bland, Carol Neumann de Vegvar, and so many others,
viii acknowledgments

I want to say thank you. I hope I can inspire my students as much as you
inspired me. I was fortunate as an undergraduate to be able to work with
real medieval manuscripts, and for this (as well as for her friendship and
generosity) I want to thank Hilda Wick in Special Collections. I also want
to thank all of the other librarians at OWU for allowing me to learn from
you. Libraries are the centers of universities, and my experiences working
with you deepened my commitment to scholarship. I also want to thank
the Interlibrary Loan staffs at Cornell and the University of Arizona for
helping me track down articles from obscure Polish journals, as well as
the wonderful librarians at the Wilson Center, the Library of Congress,
and Polska Akademia Nauk Biblioteka Gdaska.
I am also grateful to Piotr Grecki, Anna Adamska, and Emilia Jamro-
ziak, all of whom took time to share their work with me and offer com-
ments on my research. I am deeply grateful in particular to Paul Knoll,
who paved the way for me. Without his research, the idea of studying
medieval Poland would have been too daunting a task. His encourage-
ment and guidance over the years have meant the world to me. I also
want to thank Florin Curta for encouraging me to publish my book in this
series. Wiesaw Sieradzan and Aleksandra Lenartowicz were kind enough
to invite me to the international conference they organized on the trials
between Poland and the Teutonic Knights in 2009 in Poland, where they
were gracious hosts. I also want to thank Karol Polejowski and his family
for sharing their home with me during one of my stays in Gdask and also
for obtaining research materials for me which are difficult, if not impos-
sible, to find in the US.
I especially want to express my gratitude to my colleagues and friends
in the History Department at the University of ArizonaKevin Gosner
(again), Susan Karant-Nunn, Steve Johnstone, Doug Weiner, Ute Lotz-
Heumann, Alison Futrell, Martha Few, Susan Crane, and everyone else.
I cannot imagine a more supportive and nurturing environment for junior
faculty. I also want to thank everyone in the History Department at Lake
Forest College for making me feel so welcome and helping me to transi-
tion from graduate student to professor during a one-term lectureship.
I also want to thank my students over the years at Cornell, Lake Forest,
and Arizona, and in particular several graduate students in the Division
for Late Medieval and Reformation StudiesSean Clark, Paul Buehler, and
Adam Duker. Teaching and research go hand-in-hand, and I was able to
develop my skills as a scholar through working with all of youdocendo
discimus. I also owe an enormous debt to my wonderful editors at Brill,
acknowledgments ix

Julian Deahl and Marcella Mulder, for their help in guiding me through an
unfamiliar process and for their seemingly inexhaustible patience.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my family, especially my
wife and son. Kate and Bram, this book is dedicated to you.
Thank you one and all for your generous support, careful guidance, and
remarkable understanding. (Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone
here. I will make it up in the next book.)

CDPrCodex Diplomaticus Prussicus, ed. Johannes Voigt. 6 volumes.

Knigsberg: Borntrger, 18361861.
DusburgPeter von Dusburg. Chronica terre Prussie, ed. Max Tppen,
SRP I 3219; reprinted with German translation and annotation by
Klaus Scholz and Dieter Wojtecki. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buch-
gesellschaft, 1984.
KDWKodeks dyplomatyczny Wielkopolski, ed. Ignacy Zakrzewski, et al.
11 Volumes. Pozna: Nakadem Biblioteki Krnickiej and Pastwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 18771999.
Labuda, HP I/1Gerard Labuda, ed. Historia Pomorza. Tom I do roku 1466.
Part 1. Pozna: Wydawnictwo Poznaskie, 1972.
Lites I (2)Lites ac res gestae inter Polonos Ordinemque Cruciferorum,
ed. Ignacy Zakrzewski. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Pozna: Nakadem Biblioteki
Krnickiej, 1890.
Lites I (3)Lites ac res gestae inter Polonos Ordinemque Cruciferorum.
Tomus I: Causa Junivladislaviae et Brestiae-Cujaviae Anno 13201321, ed.
Helena Chopocka. Wrocaw: Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk,
Lites IILites ac res gestae inter Polonos Ordinemque Cruciferorum, ed.
Ignacy Zakrzewski. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Pozna: Nakadem Biblioteki Krnickiej,
MPHMonumenta Poloniae Historica, ed. August Bielowski, et al.
6 Volumes. Lww: Nakadem Wasnym / Krakw: Nakadem Polskiej
Akademii Umiejtnoci, 18641893. Reprint, Warszawa: Pastwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 19601961. Series nova, Warszawa: Pastwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1962.
PlUBPommerellisches Urkundenbuch, ed. Max Perlbach. Danzig: Bertling,
1882. Reprint, Aalen: Scientia Verlag, 1969.
PrUBPreussisches Urkundenbuch, ed. Rudolph Philippi, August Sera-
phim, Max Hein, et al. 6 Volumes. Knigsberg: Hartungsche Verlags-
druckerei, 18821944 / Marburg: NG Elwert, 19642000.
SRPScriptores rerum Prussicarum, ed. Theodor Hirsch, Max Tppen,
and Ernst Strehlke. 5 Volumes. Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel, 18611874;
reprint, Frankfurt am Main: Minerva GMBH, 1965.
xii list of abbreviations

TheinerVetera Monumenta Poloniae et Lithuaniae gentiumque finiti-

marum historiam illustrantia. Tomus Primus: Ab Honorio Pp. III usque
ad Gregorium Pp. XII. 12171409, ed. Augustin Theiner. Rome: Typis Vati-
canis, 1860.

17 18 19 20
55 55


54 Malbork 54


Naklo Wyszogrod

53 Toru 53


17 18 19 20
0 50 100
Map 1:The Pomeranian-Prussian-Polish Borderland (Created at:
xiv maps

15 20 25


55 55

Gniezno Plock
Poznan Warsaw


Prague Krakw
50 50


15 20 25
0 200 400
Map 2: East Central Europe (Created at: http://www.aquarius.geomar.de/
maps xv

Source: Paul W. Knoll, The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe,
13201370 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 53.

Map 3:Poland in the Fourteenth Century


This book approaches the issue of medieval state formation by analyzing

how the people living within two nascent states in the early fourteenth
centurythe kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat
understood their shared histories and how their memories of this past
informed their sense of belonging to recently created political communi-
ties. It focuses on processes rather than structures, representations rather
than manifestations. The nuts and bolts of administration and lawyerly
arguments about the state have a place in what follows, but the main
topic of analysis is the rapid transformation of relations between Poles
and the Teutonic Knights in the 1320s and 1330s. Within a generation, a
century of cooperation between the Knights and Poles was forgotten, as
both sides began to see their former allies as their eternal enemies.
Talking about medieval states has its perils. Many modernists scoff
at the idea of medieval states, and medievalists also disagree about the
applicability of this term to the Middle Ages.1 Yet, far more dangerous
than such academic disputes is what could be called pernicious medieval-
ism, i.e. the use of the distant past to justify modern atrocities. Although
many scholars, most notably Joseph Strayer, have shown that state forma-
tion in the Middle Ages had a profound impact upon the development of
modern states,2 there have been several unfortunate side effects to this
type of analysis, especially teleological concerns with tracing the origins
of modern states and nations backward.3 These problems have been par-
ticularly striking in the historiography of East Central Europe, in which
the traditional conceptual framework of a thousand-year-long Drang nach
Osten lends itself to a preoccupation with scouring the source materials
for anecdotal medieval evidence to explain modern ethnic and national

1 For example, see the debate in the Journal of Historical Sociology between Rees Davies
and Susan Reynolds: R.R. Davies, The Medieval State, the Tyranny of a Concept? Journal
of Historical Sociology 16 (2003), 280300; Susan Reynolds, There Were States in Medieval
Europe: A Response to Rees Davies, Journal of Historical Sociology 16 (2003), 550555.
2 Joseph R. Strayer, On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1970).
3 Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2002).
2 introduction

conflicts.4 The historical events in this ethnic, religious, and political bor-
derland were not always characterized by conflict,5 and as Benedykt Zien-
tara cautions, even when conflicts did occur, they were certainly not based
on the same concepts of contention that emerged in the modern era.6 Yet,
keeping these caveats in mind, as a number of medievalists have pointed
out, the hardening of identities and social and political boundaries is not
entirely a modern phenomenon.7 In the late Middle Ages, people chose or
were forced to choose to identify themselves according to linguistic, legal,

4There is a huge literature on this topic in Polish and German, which was until recently
lumped together with a whole host of other topics (including the peaceful settlement in
East Central Europe of Germans and other western Europeans, who had been invited
by Slavic lords) as the Drang nach Osten. Because of this terms associations with nine-
teenth-century nationalism and twentieth-century Nazism, it has for the most part been
scrapped, only to be replaced by the deceptively benign Ostsiedlung or the even more
problematical Ostkolonisation, which has tempted some scholars, including Jan Piskor-
ski, the leading Polish scholar on the historiography of this topic, to try to apply post-
colonial theory to German-Slavic interactions in the Middle Ages [Jan M. Piskorski, After
Occidentalism: The Third Europe Writes Its Own History, in Historiographical Approaches
to Medieval Colonization of East Central Europe: A Comparative Analysis against the Back-
ground of Other European Inter-Ethnic Colonization Processes in the Middle Ages, ed. Jan M.
Piskorski (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 723]. Certainly most of the earlier
works (and unfortunately too many of the later ones) were polemical and nationalistic,
and equally unfortunately most anglophone scholars either have been turned off by the
unfamiliar and unpronounceable names of people and places or are just not particularly
interested in what happened outside of western Europe. Yet, it is unlikely that a post-
colonial discourse culled from disparate twentieth-century experiences is going to pro-
vide a more useful framework to explore these complex medieval issues. In fact, appeals
to post-colonialism might just undermine the advances made in this field by reorienting
the emigration of Germans to the east within an imperialist project once again. While I
share Piskorskis frustration at the removal by western Europeans of significant parts of the
European peninsula from Europe, as recent events have shown, the concept of Europe
(geographically, culturally, historically, ethnically, legally, religiously, etc.) is still part of a
contentious, constantly changing, and continuing debate.
5Paul W. Knoll, Economic and Political Institutions on the Polish-German Frontier in
the Middle Ages: Action, Reaction, Interaction, in Medieval Frontier Societies, ed. Robert
Bartlett and Angus MacKay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 151174.
6Zientara also draws attention to the equally prevalent fallacy espoused by some
historians that contemporary nations are a direct continuation of the medieval lineage of
ethnic communities [Nationality Conflicts in the German-Slavic Borderland in the
13th14th Centuries and Their Social Scope, Acta Poloniae Historica 22 (1970), 209].
7Richard C. Hoffman, Outsiders by Birth and Blood: Racist Ideologies and Realities
around the Periphery of Medieval European Culture, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance
History 6 (1983), 324; Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and
Colonial Change, 9501350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); John Gillingham,
The Beginnings of English Imperialism, Journal of Historical Sociology 5 (1992), 391409;
Rees R. Davies, Presidential Address: The Peoples of Britain and Ireland, 11001400, Trans-
actions of the Royal Historical Society 6th Series I. Identities 4 (1994), 120; II. Names,
Boundaries and Regnal Solidarities 5 (1995), 120; III. Laws and Customs 6 (1996), 123;
IV. Language and Historical Mythology 7 (1997), 124.
introduction 3

cultural, historical, political, and biological categories that in some ways

corresponded to modern notions of ethnicity, or as some scholars would
have it, nationality (although the use of the latter term in a medieval
context seems even more problematical because of the knee-jerk reac-
tion of identifying modern nations with medieval ones).8 For this reason,
one should bear in mind that this type of identity was also informed by
chronologically and geographically specific factors, which need to be con-
sidered in order to avoid any facile comparisons between modern and
medieval concepts of group identity formation.9 Because these processes
played out primarily on the borderlands of Europe, however, the role of
group identity is often omitted from traditional state-formation historiog-
raphy. The methodological orientation of traditional studies of state for-
mation lends itself to focusing on the success stories of the Middle Ages,
i.e. sovereign, territorial nation-states (read England and France), thereby

8In addition to the above authors, see especially Simon Forde, Lesley Johnson, and
Alan V. Murray, eds., Concepts of National Identity in the Middle Ages (Leeds: Leeds Studies
in English, 1995), a collection of essays written in response to Benedict Andersons over-
simplified views of political community in the Middle Ages [Benedict Anderson, Imagined
Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London and
New York: Verso, 1991)]. For the applicability of the term nation in pre-modern history,
see the essays in Len Scales and Oliver Zimmer, eds., Power and the Nation in European
History (Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), particularly the
essays by Susan Reynolds, The Idea of the Nation as a Political Community, 5466, and
by John Breuilly, Changes in the Political Uses of the Nation: Continuity or Discontinu-
ity? 67101. Also see Alfred P. Smyth, ed., Medieval Europeans: Studies in Ethnic Identity
and National Perspectives in Medieval Europe (Houndmills, UK and New York: Palgrave,
1998), and Claus Bjrn, Alexander Grant, and Keith J. Stringer, eds., Nations, Nationalism
and Patriotism in the European Past (Copenhagen: Academic Press, 1994). Compare these
to earlier writings on nationalism in the Middle Ages: C. Leon Tipton, ed., Nationalism in
the Middle Ages (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972); Halvdan Koht, The Dawn
of Nationalism in Europe, American Historical Review 52 (1947), 265280; Gaines Post,
Public Law, the State, and Nationalism, in Studies in Medieval Legal Thought: Public Law
and the State, 11001322 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), 434493; Ernst H.
Kantorowicz, Pro patria mori in Medieval Political Thought, American Historical Review
56 (1951), 472492.
9An illustrative example of the need to look beyond modern ethnic labels is the strug-
gle of the Lbeck merchants in the Prussian city of Elblg (German: Elbing) to gain their
own particular form of German law (ius teutonicorum), Lbeck town law, instead of the
type of German law that the Teutonic Knights had developed for the towns in their state,
Chemno (German: Kulm) town law. As Edwin Rozenkranz points out, with all the restric-
tions imposed by the Teutonic Knights on Lbeck law, the Lbeckers would have been
better off just accepting Chemno law. Yet, the law that one chooses (or is forced) to live
under has more than just economic implicationsit is a central feature in defining ones
identity [Edwin Rozenkranz, Prawo Lubeckie w Elblgu od XIII do XVI wieku, Rocznik
Gdaski 51 (1991), 535].
4 introduction

marginalizing the rest of Europe and minimizing the roles of competing

structures of identity formation and variant paths to state formation.10
In order to overcome these methodological obstacles in an attempt to
shed some new light on what Robert Bartlett has called the making of
Europe in the Middle Ages, this book analyzes the formation of two states
on the frontier of Latin Christendom. More specifically, it analyzes the
history of a disputed borderland between these two statesthe duchy
of Pomeraniain order to analyze how this duchy was pushed from the
political periphery into an ideologically central place within the historical
consciousness of the populaces of the two emerging states that contended
over it.11 The difficulty with this approach is that this medieval borderland
state, roughly corresponding to the areas of the Polish Corridor and Free
City of Danzig / Gdask that divided Germany during the interwar years,
came to symbolize modern Polish-German conflict, and these later dis-
putes inevitably had an impact on how scholars have viewed the medieval
history of this region.12

10 This is more the case for France than for England. A number of British scholars have
recently begun to analyze in detail the role of Englands Celtic Fringe in the formation of
the medieval English state. See in particular R.R. Davies, The First English Empire: Power
and Identities in the British Isles 10931343 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
11 I use the term Pomerania to refer to the region between the eba and Wisa
(Vistula) rivers in modern Poland, which in Polish is called Pomorze Wschodnie (East
Pomerania) or Pomorze Gdaskie (Danzig Pomerania); in German it is called Pom-
merellen or Westpreuen (West Prussia), whereas Pommern denotes west Pomerania.
Although the dukes of west Pomerania did refer to the region they governed as Pomera-
nia in the early thirteenth century, later in the century they more commonly referred
to it as Slavia. The boundaries between these two halves of Pomerania shifted several
times during the course of the Middle Ages, as the duchies fragmented between various
members of the ducal families, or else were incorporated into larger polities. In addition,
west and east Pomeranian dukes, as well as the kings of Denmark and the margraves of
Brandenburg fought over the central Pomeranian lands of Sawno and Supsk throughout
the thirteenth century.
12 Problems of different peoples at different times using different languages to refer
to the same places can seemingly be easily overcome (at least in scholarshippolitics
aside), by just providing all of the relevant names. Unfortunately, this can quickly become
unwieldy. I have tried to provide both Polish and German names for many places (unless
an English one exists), but by no means for all. This has not always been easy. It is fine for
precisely defined natural entities like bodies of water, but man-made entities, like Pomera-
nia, present a more difficult task, because the supposedly common assumptions about
the natural boundaries of regions are often not shared. Therefore, the different languages
demarcate areas with boundaries which are sometimes coterminous, but often not. This
problem also persists for individuals, who often had overlapping political identities and
spoke several languages. I have tried to refer to people according to modern orthographic
representations in whatever ethnic identifier they seem to have used most often.
introduction 5

Until relatively recently both Polish and German scholars approached

the issue of Polands and the Teutonic Knights rights to Pomerania along
nationalistic lines.13 The reasons for this depended upon both the intellec-
tual and the political currents of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. First, the formation of a united Germany and the reemergence
of Polish nationalism coincided with the creation of scientific historiog-
raphy in the nineteenth century.14 As a result, a historiographical conflict
developed in which both sides scoured the archives to prove the historical
validity of their claims to this land. While this conflict widened our textual
knowledge of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Pomeranian history, it
also obfuscated our understanding of these texts by viewing the medieval
documents through the lens of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-
century conflicts. Polish and German scholars appeared as modern advo-
cates of their respective states historical rights to this land, employing
documents which had either been unavailable to or deemed unimport-
ant by fourteenth-century litigants to prove their cases for their medieval
compatriots. Assuming that the medieval disputants had the same per-
fect knowledge of the past that they did, these modern historians accused
the other side of presenting deliberately mendacious or tendentious argu-
ments and inventing histories which bore no relation to history wie es
eigentlich gewesen. In the past few decades, however, both Polish and
German scholars have taken a more objective approach to this topic, and
the following analysis builds upon the contributions of these historians.
Yet, these modern historiographical biases perfectly illustrate one of the
central issues that this book examines. The fact that this historiographical
dispute over Pomerania lasted so long is also an indication of just how dif-
ficult this conflict was to judge in the Middle Ages. This was not simply a
matter of the two sides spinning the facts to present the best possible case.
This of course happened in the Middle Ages, just as it does todaythere
are (at least) two sides to every story. Sometimes this was the result of an
intentional desire to make the past conform to the needs of the present,
but this process of remembering and forgetting was not necessarily always

13For an analysis of German nationalists appropriation of the history of the Teutonic

Knights see Michael Burleigh, The Knights, Nationalists, and the Historians: Images of
Medieval Prussia from the Enlightenment to 1945, European History Quarterly 17 (1987),
14This was by no means limited to modern Polish-German historiographical disputes.
Patrick J. Geary analyzes the employment of history and philology as tools of nationalism
in The Myth of Nations.
6 introduction

mendacious or tendentious. The two parties constructed their arguments

from an imperfect history of the past. There was some selection inherent
in the process of writing an accusation and a defense, but there was also
an earlier stage of selection, a natural selection of the social memory.
This structural amnesia buried the memories of some past events that
no longer made sense in the present, while privileging other memories
that might now seem irrelevant or insignificant to the modern historian.
I will return to this issue of social memory below. For now it suffices to
say that just as in modern national (or nationalistic) historiography biases
can be implicit or explicit, and the tension and interplay between these
factors are of vital significance for understanding how the contemporary
political situations in early fourteenth-century Pomerania, Poland, and
Prussia helped to inform and transform these peoples remembrances of
past events.
The title of this book comes from the introduction to a chronicle written
in the mid-fourteenth century by the abbot of the Cistercian monastery
at Oliwa, which had been founded by the dukes of Pomerania, was briefly
controlled by the kings of Bohemia and Poland, and was at the time of
the chronicles composition subject to the Teutonic Knights. The abbot
tells his readers that he is writing his chronicle because of the slippery
memory of men [propter lubricam hominum memoriam], which com-
peted with his need to preserve the possessions and privileges granted to
his monastery by contenders to the memory of the duchy of Pomerania.15
The modern disputes over Pomerania just add more layers to what had
already become a contentious topic by the fourteenth century.
Before discussing the overall shape of this book and the methodology
employed, the briefest of historical outlines is necessary to introduce the
reader to a region that is most likely unfamiliar groundthe southern
Baltic littoral. By the late twelfth century, the former kingdom of Poland
had become a fragmented political landscape of small duchies ruled by
various branches of the royal Piast dynasty. In this political borderland
society, these Polish dukes cooperated or contended with each other or
with the neighboring German, Slavic, and Baltic rulers as the situation
demanded. In the region of Pomerania, where the Piasts exercised only
nominal control, an independent duchy, ruled by native aristocrats, began
to emerge. In the 1220s, on the left bank of the Vistula River, one of these

15Chronica Olivensis, ed. Wojciech Ktrzyski, in MPH 6: 310.

introduction 7

Pomeranian dukes, witopek, began to build a state at the expense of the

neighboring Polish dukes. At roughly the same time, the Teutonic Knights
(a military order formed in the Holy Land in the late twelfth century) were
settled in the region of Chemno, on the right bank of the Vistula, by one of
the Polish dukes, Konrad of Mazovia. Initially the Teutonic Knights were
treated as any one of the other religious orders in the region. The Polish
dukes made pious donations to the Knights, granting them large tracts of
land, from which they could fund their crusade against the neighboring
pagans. By the early fourteenth century, though, the historical memories
of these two states had been entirely reversed. The Pomeranian dukes,
who had been presented in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Polish chron-
icles as apostates and predatory lords, were remembered as loyal subjects
of an imagined kingdom of Poland, while the Teutonic Knights, who had
been presented in thirteenth-century Polish chronicles as a shield of Latin
Christendom, had become the eternal enemies of Poland, who had been
illegally appropriating Polish lands for a century. How and why had these
new historical traditions been constructed and accepted?
The nature of the documentary evidence concerning the reemergence
of the kingdom of Poland at the turn of the fourteenth century provides
a unique opportunity to analyze how people living within this state con-
structed and reconstructed their views of the past to fit their present
circumstances. Most surviving records of the formation of historical con-
sciousness in the Middle Ages preserve only the views of elites without
any recognition of how their ideas were transmitted to, received by, and
transformed within the communities whose voices they were supposed
to represent. For medieval Poland, however, we have the opportunity to
examine how communities within the Polish realm constructed their own
views of their collective identity and history as well as how the views of
these communities helped to inform the views of the elites who tradi-
tionally appropriated the role of preserving memories and propagating
In 1320 and 1339, in the aftermath of two periods of conflict between
Poland and the Ordensstaat, the papacy commissioned legates to conduct
inquiries into the claims by the Polish kings that the Teutonic Knights
had illegally appropriated lands belonging to Poland. The lengthy tes-
timonies of over 150 witnesses from these two trials provide evidence
about how representatives of different social and cultural groups in
Poland (from peasants through the great ecclesiastical and secular mag-
nates, men and women, Poles and Germans) thought about the history
8 introduction

of Poland, particularly about the historical place of Pomerania within

this state.16 Although the witnesses were asked by the judges-delegate to
respond to articles proposed by royal lawyers who presented the kings
version of history, the witnesses often took this opportunity to talk about
whatever they felt relevant, sharing their personal memories of events or
memories which had been passed on to them by family members, friends,
lords, peasants, or other members of the various secular and ecclesiastical
communities to which they belonged. They also presented reasons that
went well beyond the scope of what they were askedtheir own views on
history, ethnicity, language, law, and custom, and what role these played
in defining where and what the kingdom of Poland was.
Several historians have rightly criticized earlier scholars for using these
testimonies anecdotally and injudiciously.17 Heeding their advice, I pres-
ent a detailed analysis of the discourse of this trial testimony, as well as
the contemporary chronicles and charters (which are of vital importance
for understanding the Teutonic Knights side of the story, since they chose
not to participate in the trials) to explore how the judges, disputants, and
witnesses thought about identity, territoriality, and sovereignty. I also use
studies of social memory to explain how and why the fourteenth-century
memories of the borderland society of the thirteenth century were buried
under recently created memories of bordered lands,18 as hardened politi-
cal and cultural identities began to coincide with rigidly defined secular
and ecclesiastical borders.
In recent years Patrick Geary, Chris Wickham, Matthew Innes, and other
medievalists have shown how useful sociological and psychological work
on social memory can be in helping us to understand medieval percep-
tions of the past.19 These studies of memory have shown that the acts of

16It should be noted that neither women nor peasants actually testified at the trials,
but several witnesses cited them as sources of information about the past.
17Sawomir Gawlas argues that these testimonies were not comprehensively analyzed,
serving usually as a source of quotations for already prepared theses [Verus heres: Z
bada nad wiadomoci polityczn obozu Wadysawa okietka w pocztku XIV wieku,
Kwartalnik Historyczny 95 (1988), 80]. Similarly, William Urban notes that these sources
have often [been] used naively [The Teutonic Knights: A Military History (London: Green-
hill Books / St. Paul: MBI Publishing), 2005].
18I borrow this terminology, with some modifications in its usage, from Jeremy Adel-
man and Stephen Aron, From Borderland to Borders: Empires, Nation-States, and the
Peoples in between in North American History, American Historical Review 104 (1999),
19I have relied primarily upon Matthew Innes definitions of social memory and struc-
tural amnesia presented in Memory, Orality, and Literacy in an Early Medieval Society,
Past and Present 158 (1998), 336. Innes defines social memory as the shared views about
introduction 9

remembering and forgetting were active, complex processes, which were

often contingent upon particular, and to us seemingly trivial, circum-
stances of the moment.20 I want to emphasize that, following Matthew
Innes, I am using the term social memory as a category of knowledge
that exists beyond [and not in opposition to] formal historiographical
writing.21 I also want to make it clear that I am using the concept of social
memory neither as an antonym nor as a synonym for history.22 Rather, I
have been influenced by the discourse of social memory studies because
it provides a methodology that attempts to understand the processes of
historical consciousness beyond the confines of the traditional subjects
of historiographical analysis, which is particularly useful in the case of
witness testimony. The testimonies from the Polish-Teutonic Knights
trials allow us to examine the production, transmission, and reception
of knowledge in a way that is not possible simply by extrapolating from
traditional historiographical accounts alone. Nevertheless, the fact that
we have these charters and chronicles for comparison makes these tes-
timonies even more valuable and helps us to better understand the

the past [beyond formal historiographical writing] which inform the identity of a social
group and thus act as a potent guide to action in the present (5); he defines structural
amnesia in oral tradition as that which has no utility in terms of current social institu-
tions, which cannot legitimate, explain, or educate, [and thus] is forgotten in a process
of natural selection (31). For other medievalists uses of the concept of social memory
see Patrick J. Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the
First Millennium (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); James Fentress and Chris
Wickham, Social Memory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992); Chris Wickham, Gossip and Resis-
tance among the Medieval Peasantry, Past and Present 160 (1998), 324; Elizabeth A.
Castelli, Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (New York: Columbia
University Press, 2004); Lucie Dolealov, ed., The Making of Memory in the Middle Ages
(Leiden: Brill, 2010); the leading Polish historian of these trials, Helena Chopocka, refer-
enced Maurice Halbwachs seminal study [On Collective Memory, ed. and trans. Lewis A.
Coser (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992)], but she does not explicitly explain
her methodological assumptions in the use of this concept [Comments on the Historical
Culture of the Polish Nobility in the 14th Century, in The Polish Nobility in the Middle Ages,
ed. Antoni Gsiorowski and trans. Aleksandra Rodziska-Chojnowska (Wrocaw: Zakad
Narodowy im. Ossoliskich, 1984), 246].
20 Geary, Phantoms, 178.
21 Innes, Memory, 5.
22 In On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse, Kerwin Lee Klein criti-
cizes scholars for misusing memory in both of these ways: In preface after preface, an
author declares that it would be simplistic to imagine memory and history as antitheses
and then proceeds to use the words in antithetical ways in the body of the work. [...]
Instead of simply saying history (perhaps for the thousandth time in the lecture or the
monograph), we may substitute public memory or collective memory with no theoreti-
cal aim other than improving our prose through varying word choice [Representations 69
(2000), 4546].
10 introduction

complex processes that produced expressions of historical consciousness

in various forms.
Some critics of social memory methodology have justly criticized the
removal of the individual from the study of social memory.23 In an essay
addressing this issue, Jeffrey K. Olick has attempted a rapprochement
between individualist and collective approaches to memory by differ-
entiating collective from collected memory.24 In his schema, collected
memory is the aggregated individual memories of members of a group,25
whereas collective memory refers to public discourses about the past as
wholes or to narratives and images of the past that speak in the name of
collectivities.26 This point ably illustrates canon law concepts of proof
and so makes social memory a particularly useful framework for analyz-
ing these documents, because the judges were interested in both what an
individual knew and what the community knew. They asked each witness
for his own recollections of the past, but they also wanted to establish
that this information was common knowledge [publica vox et fama].
This, however, is not what we would think of today as hearsay evidence.
In fact, by the turn of the fourteenth century it was established that if
a crime were notorious, (which the royal procurators argued and the
judges asked the witnesses about in 1320 and 1339), the judges were per-
mitted to proceed in a summary fashion in some parts of the process...
[bound to preserve only] the summons to court (citatio) and a judgment
(sententia).27 Because the Knights refused to participate in the trials or to

23In Writing the Individual Back into Collective Memory, Susan A. Crane makes an
argument that is well worth keeping in mind as we think about how the witnesses viewed
their own roles in the trials: It should not be an exaggeration to tell students (or any audi-
ence) that they become historians the moment they begin to think about historythat
part of their learning experience constitutes participation in the transmission of historical
memory, which they translate into personal experience as soon as they speak or write
about it. Perhaps the practice of history, redefined as the active participation in remem-
bering and forgetting within collective memory by each member, can become character-
istic of historical consciousness, rather than simply reference to the knowledge of history
[American Historical Review 102 (1997), 13841385].
24Jeffrey K. Olick, Collective Memory: The Two Cultures, Sociological Theory 17 (1999),
25Olick, Collective, 338.
26Olick, Collective, 345.
27Kenneth Pennington, Due Process, Community, and the Prince in the Evolution of
the Ordo iudiciarius, Revista internazionale di diritto comune 9 (1998), 947; also available
online: http://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/Law508/procedure.htm (accessed 21 June 2012).
introduction 11

recognize the competency of the courts, the judges were at pains to estab-
lish the notoriety of their crimes, so they could proceed in their absence.
Some of the witnesses had legal training, and this influenced their
understanding of these terms of art. For instance, Archdeacon Maciej of
Pock (who had received a Masters degree in Parisone of three wit-
nesses with a university degree),28 gave a very legalistic and revealing
response to the judges question about the definition of notoriety: this
is notorious, because it requires no proof and because it is manifest to
everyone.29 Most of the witnesses, however, were not knowledgeable
about canonical concepts of proof. Some tried to emphasize the validity
of their beliefs by employing hyperbole. One witness remarked that the
whole world knows,30 while another stated that he heard it not from
100, but from 1000, and it is said by everyone.31 Still, the witnesses did
not claim that there was common knowledge when they did not know
that it existed. One witness said that he did not know [common knowl-
edge] to be expressed about ten of the articles.32 In addition, although
the majority of the witnesses did not know Latin, and so the lawyers argu-
ments and judges questions had to be translated into Polish or German,
it is apparent from their testimonies that they understood what com-
mon knowledge was, as it was expressed in a variety of ways and not as a
generic statement crafted by the notaries. The witnesses were aware that
they were speaking not only for themselves, but also for the various com-
munities to which they belonged. They were in a sense writing history,
placing their personal experiences and those of their family and friends
within the larger framework of the social and political communities to
which they belonged. In A History of Polish Culture Bogdan Suchodolski
somewhat dismissively states that in the early modern era the history
of Poland was shrunk into household gossip.33 The same could be said
about late medieval Poland, but this is a very good thing for our purposes.
As Jan Vansina persuasively argues, Rumor is the process by which a

28 Andrzej Radzimiski, Kanonicy poccy w wietle zezna na procesie polsko-

krzyackim w Warszawie w 1339 r., Studia Pockie 13 (1985), 136137.
29 ...hoc est notorium, quod nulla indiget probacione et omnibus est manifestum...
[Lites I (2), 163].
30 ...totus mundus scit [Lites I (2), 187].
31 ...non a centum, sed a mille et ab omnibus dicitur... [Lites I (2), 210].
32 ...nescivit exprimere [Lites I (2), 210].
33 Bogdan Suchodolski, A History of Polish Culture, trans. E.J. Czerwiski (Warsaw: Inter-
press, 1986), 80. I want to thank Dan Vaillancourt for this reference.
12 introduction

collective historical consciousness is built.34 Gossip and rumor might

be pejorative terms today, things we are better off ignoring, but the histo-
rian of the Middle Ages cannot do so, because there is perhaps no better
way to discover the development of widespread historical consciousness
than to study publica vox et fama. In late medieval Europe this was accept-
able as proof not only in a court of law, but also in the court of public
opinion. The consensus of the community was proof enough: everyone
knows this is true, so it is true.
Representations of the past, including both written and oral histories,
were informed and transformed by each other. These memories were
also influenced by the particular circumstances in which they were col-
lected. The testimonies of the witnesses at the two trials were collected
and written down within the framework of a particular political and legal
discourse, as were the stories about the past collected and written down
in chronicles. At the same time, these written accounts were retold and
combined with new interpretations of the past to form new narratives.
Even official histories in the forms of chronicles, charters, and court
documents were malleable and subject both to the machinations of dis-
putants and the structural amnesia of the social memories of the societies
represented by the disputants.35
What we see in the witnesses testimonies is not such an expression
of the collective memory of the Polish regnum and ecclesia as the Polish
kings would have perhaps liked, but rather the collected memories of
more than 150 individuals, each presenting his own testimonial chronicle,
his own interpretation of the publica vox et fama that informed his his-
torical, geographical, and political knowledge of the kingdom of Poland.36

34 Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition as History (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), 6.
35For more on this, see the discussion of orality and literacy in chapter 5.
36Both Helena Chopocka and Wiesaw Sieradzan have pointed out the formal similari-
ties between the witnesses testimonies and chronicles. Chopocka first referred to these
testimonies as kleine chronikalische Werke von Personen, and Sieradzan latter developed
her ideas. Although the similarities in structure are interesting, neither author analyzed
the similarities in process in acquiring and transmitting knowledge between the testimo-
nies and chronicles [Helena Chopocka, Chronikalische Berichte in der Dokumentierung
der Prozesse zwischen Polen und dem Deutschen Orden, in Geschichtsschreibung und
Geschichtsbewusstsein in spten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke
Verlag, 1987), 471481; Wiesaw Sieradzan, Aussagechroniken in der Quellensammlung
Lites ac res gestae inter polonos ordinemque cruciferorum, in Die Geschichtsschreibung in
Mitteleuropa. Projekte und Forschungsprobleme, ed. Jarosaw Wenta (Toru: Wydawnictwo
Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1999), 277289].
introduction 13

Through these testimonies we can observe and analyze the making of

polities (to use John Watts phrase)37 in ways that traditional historio-
graphical and legal sources simply do not permit. Rather than a polished,
lawyerly reason of state argument, the witnesses present a warts-and-all
representation of what living in a kingdom meant to people who were
not yet fully cognizant of all the rights and responsibilities that this
new form of political organization was based upon. These testimonies
provide a snapshot of a society in transition from political fragmentation
to political centralization. For modern researchers, the value of these tes-
timonial productions of the state is, in fact, in the very diversity of the
views expressed.
In the Middle Ages, as today, people belonged to numerous overlap-
ping and sometimes conflicting social groups, which presented multiple
identities to choose from or be cast into. I have tried to keep this in mind
so as not to privilege political consciousness as the main indicator of iden-
tity. At the same time, though, one of the main aims of this study is to
analyze the development of widespread political consciousness in an age
in which its traditional conveyers (print and electronic media, public edu-
cation, professional armies, etc.) were absent.38 Large, public ceremonies,
like these trials or the intermittently convened assemblies of the great
men of the realm, were the one form of mass communication that existed
at this time. One of the main questions I seek to answer is how people
from different social communities expressed their sense of belonging to
a large-scale political community. Similarly, I explore why these people
believed that they had a common identity and history not only among
themselves, but also with people whom they had never met in lands most

37John Watts, The Making of Polities: Europe, 13001500 (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity Press, 2009).
38Although these and other modern technologies can help to form and spread public
opinion, publica vox et fama also played an important role in communities with more
limited technologies, as several historians of the Middle Ages have demonstrated: Bernard
Guene, Lopinion publique la fin du Moyen ge (Paris: Perrin, 2002); Christian Krtzl,
Fama Publica, Fama Sanctitatis: Zu Kommunikation und Information im Sptmittelalter,
in Roma, Magistra Mundi: Itineraria Culturae Medievalis, ed. Jacqueline Hamesse (Louvain-
la-Neuve: Federation des Instituts dEtudes Medievales, 1998), 493501; Thelma Fenster
and Daniel Lord Smail, ed., Fama: The Politics of Talk and Reputation in Medieval Europe
(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003); Julien Thry, Fama: lopinion publique comme
preuve judiciaire Aperu sur rvolution mdivale de linquisitoire (XIIeXIVe sicle), in
Les lites rurales dans lEurope mdivale et moderne, ed. Jean-Pierre Jessenne and Franois
Menant (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2007), 119147.
14 introduction

of them had never visited. In other words, what did it mean to be part
of a kingdom, and how did these perceptions change in the two decades
between the restoration of the kingdom of Poland in 1320 (a few months
before the commencement of the first trial against the Teutonic Knights)
and the second trial in 1339?
From a historiographical standpoint, I am working within a much larger
tradition than the political history of the south Baltic littoral in the thir-
teenth and fourteenth centuries. The early fourteenth century produced
several important collections of witness testimonies, which historians
have ably mined (or excavated la Le Roy Ladurie) for insights into how
people in the Middle Ages (especially non-elites, whose voices are gener-
ally silenced in traditional historical documents) thought about religion
and transgression, gender and sexuality, space and time, and the produc-
tion and transmission of knowledge, among other topics. The most famous
of these testimonies come from the records of the inquisitions of heretics
in southern France (especially the Cathars)39 and the trials against the
Templars,40 although in recent years testimonies from canonization trials

39For analyses of these sources possibilities and limitations see John H. Arnold, Inqui-
sition and Power: Catharism and the Confessing Subject in Medieval Languedoc (Philadel-
phia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001), 115 and Louisa A. Burnham, So Great a Light,
So Great a Smoke: The Beguin Heretics of Languedoc (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008),
16. For other studies using these sources see Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou: The
Promised Land of Error, trans. Barbara Bray (New York: George Braziller, 1978); Megan
Cassidy-Welch, Testimony from a Fourteenth-Century Prison: Rumour, Evidence and
Truth in the Midi, French History 16 (2002), 327; Alan Friedlander, The Hammer of the
Inquisitors: Brother Bernard Dlicieux and the Struggle against the Inquisition in Fourteenth-
Century France (Leiden: Brill, 2000); Alan Friedlander, ed., Processus Bernardi Delitiosi: The
Trial of Fr. Bernard Dlicieux, 3 September8 December 1319 (Philadelphia: American Philo-
sophical Society, 1996).
40For the Templar trials in general see Jochen Burgtorf, Paul F. Crawford, and Helen
Nicholson, eds., The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (13071314) (Burlington: Ashgate,
2010); for France see Malcolm Barber, The Trial of the Templars, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press, 2006); for Iberia see Alan Forey, The Fall of the Templars in the
Crown of Aragon (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001); for Cyprus see Anne Gilmour-Bryson,
The Trial of the Templars in Cyprus: A Complete English Edition (Leiden: Brill, 1998); for
Italy see Anne Gilmour-Bryson, The Trial of the Templars in the Papal State and the Abruzzi
(Citt del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1982); for the British Isles, see Helen
J. Nicholson, The Knights Templar on Trial: The Trial of the Templars in the British Isles,
13081311 (Stroud: The History Press, 2009), and The Trial of the Templars in the British
Isles, Sacra Militia: Rivista di Storia degli Ordini Militari 4 (2004), 2959.
introduction 15

from throughout Europe41 and proofs of age in England42 have also been
analyzed in detail. The testimonies from the Polish-Teutonic Knights tri-
als deserve the same sort of attention.
There are of course countless methodological problems with accepting
testimonies at face value, whether they are based on publica vox et fama,
witnessing the events, or reading about these events in official documents.
Such testimonies are limited by the very aspect that makes them so fas-
cinating for the historianthe need to historicize events and create a
plausible narrative. Jan Vansina explains: Memory typically selects cer-
tain features from the successive perceptions and interprets them accord-
ing to expectation, previous knowledge, or the logic of what must have
happened, and fills in the gaps in perception.43
Yet, despite these limitations (or perhaps because of them) these rich
sources are valuable resources for helping historians understand early
fourteenth-century mentalities. They provide us with a unique oppor-
tunity to analyze orality and literacy, memory and forgetting, how law
is understood by non-professionals, the development of historical con-
sciousness, group identity formation, territoriality, sovereignty, and a
host of other topics of great interest to historians in general and medieval-
ists in particular. Unfortunately, despite the fact that they are written in
good Latin and have been available to scholars for more than a century,44
they remain unknown to most historians outside of Poland. German

41Robert Bartlett, The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the
Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); Michael Goodich, Violence and
Miracle in the Fourteenth Century: Private Grief and Public Salvation (Chicago: The Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 1995); Michael Goodich, Microhistory and the Inquisitiones into
the Life and Miracles of Philip of Bourges and Thomas of Hereford, in Medieval Narrative
Sources: A Gateway into the Medieval Mind, ed. Werner Verbeke et al. (Leuven: Leuven
University Press, 2005), 91106; Krtzl, Fama Publica; Laura A. Smoller, Miracle, Mem-
ory, and Meaning in the Canonization of Vincent Ferrer, 14531454, Speculum 73 (1998),
429454; Jussi Hanska, The Hanging of William Cragh: Anatomy of a Miracle, Journal of
Medieval History 27 (2001), 121138; Ronald C. Finucane, The Rescue of Innocents: Endan-
gered Children in Medieval Miracles (New York: St Martins Press, 1997); Gran Brnhielm
and Janken Myrdal, Miracles and Medieval Life: Canonization Proceedings as a Source
for Medieval Social History, in Procs de canonization au Moyen ge: aspects juridiques et
religieux, ed. Gbor Klaniczay (Rome: Ecole Franaise de Rome, 2004), 101116.
42John Bedell, Memory and Proof of Ages in England 12721327, Past and Present 162
(1999), 327.
43Vansina, 5.
44Lites ac res gestae inter Polonos Ordinemque Cruciferorum vol. I, 2nd ed., ed. Ignacy
Zakrzewski (Pozna, 1890); also available online: http://kpbc.umk.pl/dlibra/docmetadata?
id=22383&from=publication&tab=3 (accessed 21 June 2012).
16 introduction

historians before the Second World War tended to regard the trial records
as historiographically worthless,45 while German scholars after 1945 have
largely ignored these documents altogether.46 Paul W. Knoll used these
sources in his magisterial The Rise of the Polish Monarchy,47 and Anna
Adamska has analyzed these sources in her continuing work on literacy
in the Middle Ages,48 but these and the work of French historian Sylvain
Gouguenheim49 represent the extent of secondary sources available to
non-Polish speakers, except for a handful of translated essays by Polish
scholars.50 Conversely, these documents have been analyzed in great
detail by a number of Polish historians, particularly Helena Chopocka,51

45For the most extended critique of the shortcomings of these testimonies see Irene
Ziekursch, Der Proze zwischen Knig Kasimir von Polen und dem deutschen Orden im Jahre
1339 (Berlin: Emil Ebering, 1934).
46One notable exception is Hartmut Boockmann, Der Deutsche Orden und Polen im
14. Jahrhundert, in Der Deutsche Orden: Zwlf Kapitel aus seiner Geschichte (Munich: Beck,
1981), 138150.
47Paul W. Knoll, The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe,
13201370 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1972).
48Anna Adamska, The Kingdom of Poland versus the Teutonic Knights: Oral Tradi-
tions and Literate Behaviour in the Later Middle Ages, in Oral History of the Middle Ages:
The Spoken Word in Context, ed. Gerhard Jaritz and Michael Richter (Krems: Medium
Aevum Quotidianum / Budapest: Department of Medieval Studies, Central European Uni-
versity, 2001), 6778.
49Sylvain Gouguenheim, Le process pontifical de 1339 contra LOrdre Teutonique,
Revue historique 647 (2008), 567603; Sylvain Gouguenheim, Les Chevaliers Teutoniques
(Paris: Tallandier, 2007).
50Sarah Layfield also used evidence from the 1320 trial in her recent Ph.D. thesis, The
Papacy and the Nations of Christendom: A Study with Particular Focus on the Pontificate
of John XXII (13161334) (Durham University, 2008), 5880.
51Helena Chopocka, O protokoach procesw polsko-krzyackich w XIV i XV wieku,
in Venerabiles, nobiles et honesti. Studia z dziejw spoeczestwa Polski redniowiecznej.
Prace ofiarowane Profesorowi Januszowi Bieniakowi w siedemdziesit rocznic urodzin i
czterdziestopiciolecie pracy naukowej, ed. Andrzej Radzimiski, Anna Supruniuk, and Jan
Wroniszewski (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1997), 421431;
Helena Chopocka, wiadkowie procesu polsko-krzyackiego w 1339 r., Pamitnik Bib-
lioteki Krnickiej 23 (1993), 2335; Chopocka, Chronikalische; Helena Chopocka, Die
Zeugenaussagen in den Prozessen Polens gegen den Deutschen Orden im 14. Jahrhundert,
in Der Deutschordensstaat Preuen in der polnischen Geschichtsschreibung der Gegenwart,
ed. Udo Arnold et al. (Marburg: N.G. Elwert, 1982), 165188; Helena Chopocka, Gal-
hard de Carceribus i jego rola w sporze polsko-krzyackim w XIV wieku, in Europa
SowiaszczyznaPolska. Studia ku uczczeniu profesora Kazimierza Tymienieckiego,
ed. Czesaw uczak (Pozna: Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewcza w Poznaniu, 1970),
135143; Helena Chopocka, Procesy Polski z Zakonem Krzyackim w XIV wieku: Studium
rdoznawcze (Pozna: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1967); Helena Chopocka,
Losy wyroku wydanego w 1321 r. na procesie polsko-krzyackim w Inowrocawiu, Rocz
niki Historyczne 31 (1965), 153182; Helena Chopocka, Tradycja o Pomorzu Gdaskim w
zeznaniach wiadkw na procesach polsko-krzyackich w XIV i XV wieku, Roczniki His-
toryczne 25 (1959), 65142.
introduction 17

Janusz Bieniak,52 and Wiesaw Sieradzan.53 These excellent studies have

served as able guides, but what I attempt below is something rather dif-
ferent from my predecessors. First, I have analyzed these sources within a
larger European context, rather than just concentrating on developments
within Poland. Also, whereas Polish historians have tended to focus either
on one trial or on both the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century trials, I have
chosen to concentrate exclusively on the two fourteenth-century trials to
better analyze the dramatic changes in Poland within a single generation.
I have also provided a detailed analysis of the Polish-Pomeranian-Prussian
borderland of the thirteenth century based on contemporary charters and
chronicles, which helps to place the events described in the trial records
within their proper historical context.
The purpose of the analysis of this borderland society in the first part
of the book is to evaluate the thirteenth-century evidence in order to situ-
ate this conflict within a historical framework of thirteenth-century rela-
tions between Poland and the Teutonic Knights. This does not mean that
one should regard this section as the real history against which to judge

52Janusz Bieniak, Udzia duchowiestwa zakonnego w procesie warszawsko-uniejows-

kim w 1339 roku, in Klasztor w kulturze redniowiecznej Polski: Materiay z oglnopolskiej
konferencji naukowej zorganizowanej w Dbrowie Niemodliskiej w dniach 46 XI 1993
przez Instytut Historii WSP w Opolu i Instytut Historyczny Uniwersytetu Wrocawskiego, ed.
Anna Pobg-Lenartowska and Marek Derwich (Opole: Wydawnictwo w. Krzya, 1995),
467490; Janusz Bieniak, Przebieg procesu polsko-krzyackiego z 1339 roku, Pamitnik
Biblioteki Krnickiej 23 (1993), 522; Janusz Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego
z lat 13201321 (inowrocawsko-brzeskiego), in Balticum: Studia z dziejw polityki, gospo-
darki i kultury XIIXVII wieku ofiarowane Marianowi Biskupowi w siedemdziesit rocznic
urodzin, ed. Zenon Hubert Nowak (Toru: Wydawn. Towarzystwa Naukowego, 1992),
4959; Janusz Bieniak, Postanowienia ukada kpiskiego (15 February 1282), Przegld
Historyczny 82 (1991), 209232; Janusz Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego
z 1339 roku, Acta Universitatis Nicolai Copernici. Historia 24 (1990), 2450; Janusz Bien-
iak, rodowisko wiadkw procesu polsko-krzyackiego z 1339 r., in Genealogiakrgi
zawodowe i grupy interesu w Polsce redniowiecznej na tle porwnawczym, ed. J. Wroniszew
ski (Toru: Uniwersytet Mikoaja Kopernika, 1989), 535; Janusz Bieniak, Milites w pro-
cesie polsko-krzyackim z 1339 roku, Przegld Historyczny 75 (1984), 503551; Janusz
Bieniak, Litterati wieccy w procesie warszawskim z 1339 roku, in Cultus et cognito: stu-
dia z dziejw redniowiecznej kultury, ed. Stefan Kuczyski et al. (Warszawa: Pastwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1976), 97106.
53Sieradzan, Aussagechroniken; Wiesaw Sieradzan, Rycerstwo kujawsko-dobrzy-
skie w procesie polsko-krzyackim w Warszawie w 1339 r., Ziemia Dobrzyska 3 (1995),
722; Wiesaw Sieradzan, Das nationale Selbstbewutsein der Zeugen in den Prozessen
zwischen Polen und dem Deutschen Orden im 14.-15. Jahrhundert, in Nationale, ethnische
Minderheiten und regionale Identitten in Mittelalter und Neuzeit, ed. Antoni Czacharowski
(Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1994), 161170; Wiesaw Siera
dzan, wiadomo historyczna wiadkw w procesach polsko-krzyackich w XIVXV wieku
(Toru: Wydawnicto Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1993).
18 introduction

the memories which emerged in the early fourteenth century. Instead,

one should view this section as a separate analysis of how the Teutonic
Knights and their neighbors and benefactors sought to reposition them-
selves in the ever-changing world of the thirteenth-century political, reli-
gious, and social borderland that was the south Baltic littoral. In order
to provide continuity with the second part of the book, I have chosen
to examine this world through the prism of a series of disputes between
the Teutonic Knights and their neighbors which were settled by papal
legates. Yet, there are important differences between the thirteenth- and
fourteenth-century trials. First, the thirteenth-century documents are
not nearly as detailed as those from the fourteenth century. In addition,
the thirteenth-century litigants were forced to respond to ever-changing
political circumstances, while the participants in the fourteenth-century
trials had a chronological distance from events which allowed them to fit
the earlier narratives of dispute into a broader historical framework. Yet,
even though these events were far fresher in the minds of the thirteenth-
century disputants than those in the early fourteenth century, they were
still open to contestation as both sides attempted to forge a history of the
past conducive to their present goals and changing memories. This juxta-
position of the trials from these two centuries is intended to provide the
historical background necessary to understand the profound changes that
took place in relations between the Teutonic Knights and their neighbors
and benefactors over the course of a century.
The first two chapters of this book analyze the competing state-forma-
tion activities of the dukes of Pomerania and the Teutonic Knights dur-
ing the thirteenth century by examining a series of trials and mediated
settlements, which ended two periods of conflict between these emerging
states. This section situates Pomerania within an early thirteenth-century
south Baltic littoral that was both a religious frontier and a political bor-
derland of Slavic, Baltic, and German lordships, which contended with
or cooperated with each other not on the basis of ethnicity, but rather as
the situation demanded. When at the end of the thirteenth century, the
last native duke of Pomerania died without a son, the surrounding Ger-
man and Slavic lords fought to control not only the physical landscape of
Pomerania, but also the memory of Pomeranias historical place within
their states. As noted above, the purpose of this section is not to provide
a benchmark against which to judge the veracity of the memories of the
fourteenth-century disputants, but rather to examine the history of this
duchy beyond the competing modern teleologies of a German Drang nach
introduction 19

Osten or a Polish restoration of a unified kingdom in order to provide the

historiographical distance necessary to analyze the fourteenth-century
The first chapterA iugo principum Polonie, a iugo Theutonicorum:
Pomerania and the South Baltic Frontier of Latin Christendom in the
Early Thirteenth Centuryexamines how Duke witopek of Pomerania
created an independent duchy by cultivating relationships with western
translocal organizations (Cistercians, Dominicans, Lbeck merchants)
as well as with the papacy in order to legitimize his revolt against his
Polish overlords. At the turn of the thirteenth century the Vistula River
served as a boundary demarcating the eastern frontier of Latin Christen-
dom. Missionaries and merchants began flooding into this frontier in the
first decades of the thirteenth century to reap the spiritual and economic
bounties of this land. witopek, whose duchy was located at the mouth
of the Vistula and was therefore uniquely placed as a bridgehead for the
incorporation of Prussia into Latin Christendom, positioned himself as a
permanent crusader for the papacy and attempted to establish his main
city of Gdask (German: Danzig) as the entrept for this region. How-
ever, when the frontier was pushed further east by the successes of one of
the translocal organizations that witopek had sponsored, the Teutonic
Knights (who were also expanding into lands that witopek thought of
as his own), this bridgehead became a roadblock for the merchants and
missionaries in Prussia. The duke of Pomerania, abandoned by his former
allies, led an insurrection of the Prussian neophytes, which had important
implications for both the Pomeranians and Prussians, as a series of papal
legates recognized the authority of the Teutonic Knights to direct the
Prussian mission, to the detriment of witopeks own state-formation
The second chapterDealing with the Past and Planning for the Future:
Contested Memories, Conflicted Loyalties, and the Partition and Donation
of Pomerania in the Late Thirteenth Centuryanalyzes the ephemeral
nature of political entities and alliances on the south Baltic littoral. In the

54My approach is in some ways similar to Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinskis use of the con-
cept imaginaire / Vorstellungswelt, which I have found particularly useful. As she explains:
What we look for, then, is not necessarily objective history but the self-interpretation
of an epoch. That is, although we try to pin down the facts of a given event, the way the
event was processed and represented by contemporaries is equally important [Renate
Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Poets, Saints, and Visionaries of the Great Schism, 13781417 (Univer-
sity Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006), 13].
20 introduction

series of internecine wars that broke out immediately after witopeks

death, the dukes two brothers and two sons scrambled to ally themselves
with one or more of the surrounding predatory lordships. Although they
tried to take advantage of the existing rivalries among their neighbors to
strengthen their own positions, in the end, all of them had promised parts
or the entirety of their lands to their allies. In the end, the Pyrrhic victor
of this warwitopeks eldest son, Mciwjwas left to deal with his
neighbors competing claims on his newly acquired lands, as well as with
the fact that because he did not have a son, he would have to choose and
have the secular and ecclesiastical magnates of his duchy approve of an
heir. These unfinished narratives of dispute would lay the foundation for
the fourteenth-century claims to this duchy made by the Teutonic Knights
and the kings of Poland. However, because both the fourteenth-century
disputants and their modern advocates used these contending and con-
tradictory claims to argue for either the Polish or German affiliation of
this duchy, this chapter will analyze all of these agreements within their
particular historical circumstancesa contentious, ethnically diverse
borderland society in which the Pomeranian dukes appealed to both their
German and Slavic neighbors for help.
The third chapterThe Restorations of the Kingdom of Poland and
the Foundation of the Teutonic Ordensstaat at the Turn of the Fourteenth
Centuryserves as a bridge between the first two and last two chapters.
It provides the historical background to an important transitional period
in the history of East Central Europe. The turn of the fourteenth century
saw not only the emergence of the Teutonic Ordensstaat and the res-
toration of the kingdom of Poland, but also the extinction of the ruling
dynasties in the other powers of the region. The kingdoms of Bohemia
and Hungary and the mark of Brandenburg came to be ruled by dynasties
that were intimately involved in the conflicts between the papacy and
the empire concerning the right to supreme authority over Latin Chris-
tendom. Therefore, this chapter will present the history of the formation
of the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat at the turn of the
fourteenth century and their military and legal conflicts during the first
half of this century within a larger European context.
The final two chapters analyze the testimonies from more than 150 wit-
nesses in the two trials between Poland and the Ordensstaat as well as
letters, chronicles, and annals written by the secular and regular clergy
in Poland, Prussia, and Pomerania. I employ the methodologies of social
memory studies outlined above to analyze how the memories of coopera-
introduction 21

tion between Poles and Germans in the Prussian mission were replaced
by recently constructed memories of eternal enmity between these two
peoples. This analysis of social memory is particularly useful in ensuring
that the voice of the individual is not buried by a determinist discourse of
state-sponsored historical consciousness, which is particularly important
considering the disconnect that often existed between the judges ques-
tions, the witnesses testimonies, and the royal procurators arguments in
the trials.
The fourth chapterImmortalis Discordia: Eternal Enmity, Massacre,
and Memorialization in the German-Polish Borderlandsanalyzes the
evolution of the story of the Teutonic Knights sack of the town of Gdask
during their conquest of Pomerania in 1308. In the three decades between
the Knights conquest of Pomerania and the second trial between Poland
and the Knights in 1339, new conflicts broke out between the disputants,
which located the memory of the Gdask massacre within a larger frame-
work of a discourse of wrongs promulgated by both sides. Both parties
presented themselves as the victims in these conflicts and both sides
attempted to instrumentalize the memory of the past to legitimize their
claims to disputed territories. However, within these various official ver-
sions of the past, we can also discern how the emerging historical con-
sciousness of the subjects of these two states made the broad outlines
presented to them by their rulers conform to their own views of the past.
Through a critical reading of these various histories, especially the wit-
nesses testimonies, this chapter examines how the changing political
circumstances of the three decades between the massacre and the 1339
trial affected the formation of social memory within these two states by
exploring the tension and interplay between the crusading culture which
united the two states as shields of Latin Christendom and an emerging
ethnic and political enmity which divided them.
The fifth chapter Pomerania between Poland and Prussia: Lordship,
Ethnicity, Territoriality, and Memory explores how memories of thir-
teenth-century Pomerania changed during the course of the early four-
teenth century in response to the conflicts between the Teutonic Knights
and Poland. As the thirteenth-century borderlands were transformed in
the early fourteenth century through a complex process of remembering
and forgetting into bordered lands of strictly demarcated political bound-
aries, many people living in these borderlands came to understand that
identity, like memory, was a slippery concept. As an increasingly statist
discourse came to challenge the discourse of mission and crusade, these
22 introduction

people were forced to choose sides as the shield of Latin Christendom

fractured. This chapter also examines how the relationship had become
so bitter by 1339 that the king of Poland sought to reclaim all of the lands
ever given by Polish rulers to the Teutonic Knights. In their articles of
dispute the royal procurators tried to present a version of history that
legitimized this royal depiction of the past, but their attempt at historio-
graphical lawyering met with limited success, because the witnesses did
not easily consume legal arguments based the concept of ratio regni, the
inalienability of the lands of the kingdom and the historical rights of the
rulers of Poland to all of the lands of the ancient Polish regnum.55 This
chapter also analyzes the witnesses views of ethnicity and their political
and geographical knowledge in more detail. Finally it analyzes the role of
orality and literacy in memory and forgetting.
Even though these conflicts played out on the periphery of Europe,
their records, particularly the witnesses testimonies, provide us with illu-
minating insights into the history of medieval mentalities regarding some
of the most important developing ideologies of medieval European states.
However, unlike the traditional studies of the emergence of medieval poli-
ties, which focus on lawyerly arguments and canned histories written by
propagandists, these testimonies provide us with the means to examine
how both rank-and-file administrators and those who had no role in gov-
ernance conceived of the state. By taking the discourse of medieval state
formation away from the exclusive purview of lawyers and studying it if
not from-the-bottom-up, then at least from-the-middle-out, we can see
that royal propagandists clever theories were not always easily consumed
by those who ran the state, much less by those they governed. Finally, I
hope that these insights into the processes of state formation in medieval
East Central Europe might also shed some new light on similar processes
in the rest of medieval Europe and perhaps on the role of social memory
in group identity formation today. In many ways, the turn of the four-
teenth century was just as important for the Europeanization of Europe
as the turn of the twenty-first century, and in both periods this process
takes place as much at Europes frontiers as in its center.56

55I owe the concept of historiographical lawyering to Mark Osiel, Mass Atrocity, Col-
lective Memory, and the Law (New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 1997).
56Bartlett, Making, 269291.



The conflict between Duke witopek of Pomerania and the Teutonic

Knights, which grew out of western European missionary activities on the
south Baltic littoral, has traditionally been characterized in Polish scholar-
ship as the first in a series of conflicts between Poland and the Teutonic
Ordensstaat, despite the fact that Polish dukes fought with the Knights
against witopek.1 A similar view can be found in early twentieth-
century German historiography, only instead of simply a Polish-German
conflict, it is presented as a Slavic-German conflict, another episode in the
Drang nach Osten.2 All Polish and German historiography on this topic
should not be characterized this way.3 For the most part, however, even

1One of the leading twentieth-century Polish historians of the Teutonic Knights, Mar-
ian Biskup, is a proponent of this view. He argues that only the duke of Gdask Pomera-
nia, witopek, who ruled in the middle of the 13th century, saw the danger inherent in
the fact that the Teutonic Knights had settled on the Baltic [The Role of the Order and
State of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia in the History of Poland, Polish Western Affairs
2 (1966), 347]. Similarly, Andrzej Wojtkowski takes Helena Chopocka to task for calling
the 1320 trial the oldest acts of the Lites [ac res gestae inter Polonos Ordinemque Crucif-
erorum], because he argues that both the dispute between witopek and the Knights
(the subject of this chapter) and the dispute between his son, Mciwj, and the Knights
(the subject of the next chapter) were the first Polish-Teutonic Knights trials [Procesy
polsko-krzyackie przed procesem z lat 13201321 (Olsztyn: Osrodek Badan Naukowych
im. W. Ktrzynskiego, 1972), 35, quoting Helena Chopocka, Wstp, in Lites ac res ges-
tae inter Polonos Ordinemque Cruciferorum. Tomus I: Causa Junivladislaviae et Brestiae-
Cujaviae Anno 13201321 (Wrocaw: Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 1970), xi].
2Franz Engelbrecht, who wrote one of the first and still most complete German his-
tories of the duchy of Pomerania in this period, characterized this conflict as ein Nation-
alkampf des pommerschen Slawentums gegen das Deutschtum [Das Herzogtum Pommern
und seine Erwerbung durch den Deutschorden 1309 (Potsdam: Robert Mller, 1911), 18].
3Stella Maria Szacherska, for example, has explored in great detail the role that
Denmark played in the formation of the duchy of Pomerania and the Prussian mission
[Valdemar IIs Expedition to Pruthenia and the Mission of Bishop Christian, Mediaeval
Scandinavia 12 (1988), 4475]. Similarly, in his study of west Pomerania, Jrgen Petersohn
has pointed out that this area was not the subject of a unitary push to the east by either
Germandom or Christendom, but was instead a borderland contested by various Polish,
German, and Danish secular and ecclesiastical forces [Der sdliche Ostseeraum im kirchlich-
politischen Krftespiel des Reichs, Polens und Dnemarks vom 10. bis 13. Jahrhundert: Mission,
Kirchenorganisation, Kultpolitk (Kln: Bhlau, 1979)]. The Baltic crusades and colonization
24 chapter one

the most nuanced historians have tended to deny agency to the peoples
living on the south Baltic littoral, as their histories were incorporated into
the medieval states that came to rule over them. Rather than focus on how
these peoples were acted upon by western Europeans (including Poles),
this chapter instead examines how the peoples living on this periphery
of Latin Christendom were able to take advantage of the new economic
and diplomatic technologies introduced from the West to modernize and
legitimize their own state-formation activities.4 The main transmitters of

of the south Baltic littoral have also been the subject of a number of recent studies in
English: Elspeth Jane Carruthers, Making Territories in the High Middle Ages: The Role
of Foundation Charters in the German Colonization of the Vistula River, in Migration in
History: Human Migration in Comparative Perspective, ed. Marc S. Rodriguez and Anthony
Grafton (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2007), 134; Elspeth Jane Carruthers,
Christianization and Colonization on the Medieval South Baltic Frontier, Ph.D. diss.,
Princeton University, 1999; Alan V. Murray, ed., The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Bal-
tic Frontier (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009); Alan V. Murray, ed. Crusade and Conversion on
the Baltic Frontier, 11501500 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001); Nils Blomkvist, The Discovery
of the Baltic: The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (AD 10751225)
(Leiden: Brill, 2005); Iben Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes and the Baltic Crusades 11471254
(Leiden: Brill, 2007); Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades, new ed. (London: Penguin,
1997); Mikoaj Gadysz, The Forgotten Crusaders: Poland and the Crusader Movement in the
Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
4I have found particularly thought-provoking Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron,
From Borderlands to Borders: Empires, Nation-States, and the Peoples in between
in North American History, American Historical Review 104 (1999), 814841. I want to
emphasize, however, that I am using some of the concepts developed in their essay as
heuristic tools. The North American borderlands were complex and to a certain extent sui
generis, and I do not intend to draw facile comparisons between the borderland regions
of medieval Europe and those in North America. Historians in general and medievalists
in particular have used the concepts of frontier and borderland in a number of ways
over the years, so I think it is appropriate and important for me to explain exactly how
I am using these concepts. For the purposes of this book, the frontier is a zone of interac-
tion between two or more supranational, territorially defined entities, in this case Latin
Christendom and lands controlled by pagans and Orthodox Christians. A borderland is
a space of overlapping claims of political jurisdiction between two or more states. Bor-
dered lands, a concept employed in the second part of this book, refers to strictly demar-
cated state boundaries, i.e. hard boundaries, as opposed to the soft boundaries inherent in
borderlands. Medievalists were among the first proponents of the use of frontier studies
for comparative history [James Westfall Thompson, Profitable Fields of Investigation in
Medieval Studies, American Historical Review 18 (1913), 490504] and have continued to
employ and adapt this concept to study areas of cultural interaction, especially on the
periphery of Latin Christendom. For some recent theoretical and historiographical essays
by medievalists about frontiers, see David Abulafia, Introduction: Seven Types of Ambi-
guity, c. 1100c. 1500, in Medieval Frontiers: Concepts and Practices, ed. David Abulafia
and Nora Berend (Aldershot, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2002), 134; Nora Berend,
Medievalists and the Notion of the Frontier, Medieval History Journal 2 (1999), 5572;
William Urban, The Frontier Thesis and the Baltic Crusade, in Crusade and Conver-
sion on the Baltic Frontier 11501500, ed. Alan V. Murray (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 4571;
Daniel Powers and Naomi Standen, Introduction, in Frontiers in Question: Eurasian
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 25

these new technologies were papal legates and the translocal organiza-
tions of merchants and missionaries who flooded this frontier in search
of political, economic, and spiritual rewards.5
These westerners also brought another new technology, one that played
an important role in how witopeks actions in the early thirteenth cen-
tury would be remembered by later generationswriting.6 This chapter

orderlands, 7001700, ed. Daniel Powers and Naomi Standen (New York: St. Martins,
1999), 131; Giles Constable, Frontiers in the Middle Ages, in Frontiers in the Middle Ages,
ed. Outi Merisalo (Louvain-la-Neuve: Fdration Internationale des Instituts dtudes
Mdivales, 2006), 328; Nikolas Jaspert, Grenzen und Grenzenrume im Mittelalter: For-
schungen, Konzepte und Begriffe, Grenzrume und Grenzberschreitungen im Vergleich:
Der Osten und der Westen des mittelalterlichen Lateineuropa, ed. Klaus Herbers and Nikolas
Jaspert (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2007), 4370.
5I have chosen to call groups like the Cistercians, Dominicans, and the Lbeck mer-
chants translocal rather than international or transnational, because they are rooted spe-
cifically, at least at this time in East Central Europe, in the local contexts in which they
are established, rather than in any national framework [Richard Southern referred to the
Cistercians as the first effective international organization in Europe. Western Society
and the Church in the Middle Ages (New York: Penguin, 1970), 255; cited in Robert Bartlett,
The Making of Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 228]. Although both
the mendicants and military orders were grouped into larger territorial organizations, the
boundaries of which were sometimes highly contested by the end of the thirteenth century
[see for example Karl Borchardt, The Hospitallers in Pomerania: Between the Priories of
Bohemia and Alamania, in The Military Orders. Volume 2: Welfare and Warfare, ed. Helen
Nicholson (Aldershot, UK and Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1998), 295306; John B. Freed, The
Friars and the Delineation of State Boundaries in the Thirteenth Century, in Order and
Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honor of Joseph R. Strayer, ed. William C. Jordan,
et al. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), 3140, 425428], in the early thirteenth
century, these networks were too sparse to matter much. Similarly, I have chosen not to
refer to these organizations as non-governmental, because they did have rules and regula-
tions through which they were governed, and they fought hard to preserve their govern-
mental structures, as the example of the Lbeck merchants attempts to have the Teutonic
Knights recognize Lbeck law for Elblg demonstrates [see below and Edwin Rozenkranz,
Prawo Lubeckie w Elblgu od XIII do XVI wieku, Rocznik Gdaskie 51 (1991), 535]. In
fact it is not a lack of governmental organization that characterized these organizations,
but rather a lack of territorial organization. Although these organizations did possess sub-
stantial territories throughout Latin Christendom, they were united by institutional rather
than territorial connections. This being said, however, these organizations were not averse
to territorialization. Both Cistercian bishops and Lbeck merchants attempted to establish
territorial states along the south and east Baltic littoral in the thirteenth century, and the
Teutonic Knights actually succeeded in doing so by the early fourteenth century. The ter-
ritorial demands and ambitions of these translocal organizations would have a profound
impact on the development of the south Baltic littoral.
6The majority of early written records come from the translocal organizations that
were the recipients of the grants. The Pomeranian dukes did not develop chanceries
until later in the thirteenth century, so at this time they were dependent upon translocal
organizations to communicate directly with Western Europe. For discussions of recent
developments in the study of medieval literacy in East Central Europe, see Anna Adam-
ska, The Study of Medieval Literacy: Old Sources, New Ideas, in The Development of
26 chapter one

takes its title from two fourteenth-century chroniclers interpretations of

thirteenth-century events in the formation of an independent duchy of
Pomerania. The first, written by the abbot of the Cistercian monastery
of Oliwa near Gdask, praises Duke witopek, the nephew of the mon-
asterys founder, for freeing the duchy of Pomerania from the yoke of the
princes of Poland.7 The second chronicle, written by a priest of the Teu-
tonic Knights, imagines an arrogant witopek badly miscalculating the
strength of his enemies and telling his Pomeranian and Prussian troops
that they would be forever free from the yoke of the Germans, just before
the Teutonic Knights cut them to pieces.8 As these two very different
expressions of a similar theme illustrate, the memory of the independent
duchy of Pomerania occupied a problematic place in later medieval con-
ceptions of the south Baltic religious, ethnic, and political frontier.
Thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Polish and Teutonic Knights
chroniclers, however, attempted to simplify this frontier by directly link-
ing witopeks rebellion against the Polish dukes in 1227 with his part
in the Prussian uprisings against the Teutonic Knights, which began more
than a decade later. The Chronicle of Great Poland,9 written at the turn of
the fourteenth century, states:

Literate Mentalities in East Central Europe, ed. Anna Adamska and Marco Mostert (Turn-
hout: Brepols, 2004), 1347; for general developments in the study of medieval literacy,
see Leidulf Melve, Literacy-Aurality-Orality: A Survey of Recent Research into the Oral-
ity/Literacy Complex of the Latin Middle Ages (6001500), Symbolae Osloenses 78 (2003),
7Erat enim vir bellicosus et adversus omnes sibi infestos victoriosus, qui se victrici
manu excussit a iugo principum Polonie se et sua viriliter defendendo (Chronica Olivensis,
ed. Wojciech Ktrzyski, in MPH 6: 311312).
8Crastina die faciemus, quod Pomerani et Prutheni a iugo Theutonicorum in per-
petuum absolventur (Dusburg III.55). I have elected to use the older edition of Peter von
Dusburgs chronicle [ed. Max Tppen, in Scriptores rerum Prussicarum (Leipzig: Verlag von
S. Hirzel, 1861), 1: 3219] because it is widely available in libraries and online, while the
new edition by Jarosaw Wenta and Sawomir Wyszomirski [Petrus de Dusburgk, Chronica
Terrae Prussiae (Krakw: Nakadem Polskiej Akademii Wyszomirski, 2007)] has unfortu-
nately had limited circulation outside of Poland. However, I refer to Dusburgs work using
book and chapter numbers so that the reader can consult either edition.
9There were and still are two Polands within PolandWielkopolska (Great or Greater
Poland), which is the region around Gniezno and Pozna) and Maopolska (Little or Lesser
Poland), which is the region around Krakw. For a discussion of the origins of these dist-
inctions see Gerard Labuda, W sprawie pochodzenia nazw: Wielkopolska i Maopolska,
Przegld Zachodni 10 (1954), 112119.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 27

Thus, witopek, the traitor, who shamefully and nefariously installed him-
self in the duchy of Pomerania, caused the baptized Prussians living under
the rule of the bearded ones [the Teutonic Knights] to rise up....10
This chronicle makes it clear that his wicked counsel caused the Prus-
sians to rebel against their lords, just as witopek had rebelled against
his lords.11
Similarly, the thirteenth-century Teutonic Knights account of the
Translatio et miraculum sanctae Barbarae, while blaming witopeks
revolt against the Polish dukes on his ancestors, still juxtaposes this event
with the Prussian rebellion witopek led against the Knights:
...there was a certain duke named witopek, a desperate tyrant and
pseudo-Christian, who, while he was...born from progenitors who were
simple knights, his said progenitors killed their lord and prince...violently
usurping for themselves the duchy and the name of duke of Pomerania....
This witopek...joining with the said neophytes [Prussians] frequently
caused the brothers [Teutonic Knights] men and other Christians...to be
killed or captured.12
This thirteenth-century account situates Pomerania within the Polish
political landscape before the arrival of the Teutonic Knights on the

10Swanthopelcus itaque proditor, qui se ipsum pudorose et nepharie in ducem Pomo-

ranorum creaverat, Pruthenos baptizatos sub dicione barbatorum constitutos...insurgere
fecit [Chronica Poloniae Maioris, ed. Brygida Krbis, Monumenta Poloniae Historica (War-
saw: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1970), n.s. 8: 88]. Interestingly, in this account
witopek is called a capitaneus. While this could just be a generic term for leader, it
is more probable that this account was influenced by the introduction of this office (Pol-
ish: starosta) into Poland by the absentee Bohemian kings in 13001306. Similarly, in the
early fourteenth-century chronicle written by a Franciscan named Dzierzwa or Mierswa,
witopek is called procurator Maritime regionis of a Polish kingdom which did not
exist (Miersuae Chronicon, MPH 3: 47). See chapter five for an analysis of this interpolation
of fourteenth-century political conceptions back into a thirteenth-century world in which
they did not exist.
11 ...ab eorum fidelitate suo pravo consilio subtrahens... (Chronica Poloniae Maioris,
n.s. MPH 8: 88).
12...fuit quidam dux nomine Swantopolcus desperatus tyrannus et pseudocristianus
qui cum esset...natus a progenitoribus suis de simplicibus militibus, dicti progenitores
sui dominum et principem proprium...interfecerunt, usurpantes violentes sibi ducatum
vel nomen ducis Pomeranie.... Hic Swantopolcus...dictis neophitis se confederans hom-
ines fratrum et alios christianos...pluries fecit occidi et captiuari [Translatio et miracula
sanctae Barbarae, ed. Max Tppen, in Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, ed. Theodor Hirsch,
Max Tppen, and Ernst Strehlke (Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel, 1863; reprint, Frankfurt am
Main: Minerva GMBH, 1965), 2: 404405.]
28 chapter one

By the early fourteenth century, however, the Teutonic Knights had

conveniently forgotten about Polands historical rights to Pomerania,
which they then possessed and over which they were fighting with the
kingdom of Poland both on the battlefield and in the courtroom. The
Knights chronicler, Peter von Dusburg, writing in the 1320s, did still link
the political and religious perfidy of witopek, the son of the devil, only
now it was entirely against the Teutonic Ordensstaat, rather than against
Poland, and the murder of the Polish Duke Leszek has been replaced by
the slaughter of 4000 Christian (and perhaps understood by Dusburg and
his audience also to be German) inhabitants of Prussia.13 Yet, despite their
differences, all of these chronicle accounts make it clear that in the minds
of both the Polish dukes and the Teutonic Knights, witopeks actions
had threatened to rend asunder not only the frontier of Latin Christen-
dom, but also the two new states that were emerging on this frontierthe
kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat.
Polish and German historians have long debated the related issues of
the emergence of an independent duchy of Pomerania, the simultaneous
intensification of the Prussian mission, and the invitation of the Teutonic
Knights to Prussia. There is not room here to offer a comprehensive,
nuanced analysis of development of this rich and contentious historiog-
raphy. Suffice it to say that one result of the parameters set by this his-
toriographical dispute has been that the emergence of an independent
duchy of Pomerania in the thirteenth century has not been adequately
considered outside of the framework of the restoration of the kingdom
of Poland and development of the Teutonic Ordensstaat. As explained in
the introduction, this issue was further problematized by the fact that this
patch of land at the mouth of the Vistula, which roughly corresponds to
the interwar Polish Corridor and Free City of Danzig, was also the sub-
ject of disputes between the modern states of Poland and Germany. Add
to this mix the fact that this region is home to a large ethnic minority (the

13Dusburg, III.35: Non longe postea idem Swantepolcus filius dyaboli congregavit ite-
rum dictos neophitos apostatas, et ingredientes armata manu hostiliter partes superiores
scilicet terram Pomesanie et Colmensem rapina et incendio devastabant expugnantes et
penitus destruentes omnia castra et municiones preter tria scilicet Thorun, Colmen et
Redinum. De populo eciam Dei ad laudem et gloriam eius ibi habitante trucidaverunt IIII
milia, sic quod tota terra Prussie videbatur Cristianorum sanguine rubricata (Dusburg
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 29

Kaszb) and it is easy to understand how anachronistic admixtures of

nationalism have made their way into the medieval disputes.14
These anachronisms, however, were not entirely modern constructs. At
the turn of the fourteenth century, the then defunct duchy was incorpo-
rated first into the kingdom of Poland and then into the Teutonic Ordens-
staat. Both polities attempted to appropriate its history through the writing
and propagation of chronicles and especially through the legal documents
of two trials between these states in 1320 and 1339, which included the
testimonies of more than 150 witnesses. Anachronistic representations of
thirteenth-century views on ethnic identity, political and ecclesiastical
affiliation, and the right to rule figured prominently in these fourteenth-
century disputes, as chapters four and five demonstrate.
My purpose here, however, is not to delve into the dark ages of ethno-
genesis, against which Patrick Geary has so ably warned us,15 nor to favor
one dispute narrative over another, as both of these methodologies have
blinded some researchers to the local and translocal political, religious,
and economic forces at work in the Vistula delta.
In order to understand the early thirteenth-century history of the Vistula
delta, it is important to consider the true frontier nature of this region:
it was a religious (pagan, Latin, Orthodox), ethnic (Germanic, Slavic,
Baltic), political (German, Polish, Danish, Prussian) frontier. For a more
complete understanding of the competing interests and complex motiva-
tion of the inhabitants of this frontier, one must explore not just how the
western superiors (the papacy, the grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights,
the general chapters of the Cistercians and Dominicans, and the Lbeck
town council) attempted to use their agents to impose their own vision
of this frontier on the locals, but also how the indigenous peoples, in this
case the Pomeranian dukes, built and legitimized an independent state

14Brunon Synak, The Kashubes Ethnic Identity: Continuity and Change, in The Ethnic
Identities of European Minorities: Theories and Case Studies, ed. Brunon Synak (Gdask:
Uniwersytet Gdaski, 1995), 155166; James Minahan, Kashubians, in Encyclopedia of the
Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups around the World (Westport, CT: Greenwood
Press, 2002), 2: 960965. For an analysis of how this ethnic minority was used in early
twentieth-century disputes over Pomerania see Michael Burleigh, Germany Turns East-
wards: A Study of the Ostforschung in the Third Reich (London: Pan Books, 2002; 1st ed.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 53, 122, 186.
15Patrick Geary refers to the nineteenth and early twentieth-century historiographical
attempts to directly link modern nations with medieval peoples as toxic waste [The Myth
of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002),
30 chapter one

by manipulating the new avenues of authority provided by the translocal

religious and economic organizations that flooded into the region to stake
their claims to the spiritual and economic bounties offered by what they
considered to be a virgin land. First it is necessary to analyze how Latin
Christians perceived Pomerania in the twelfth century.

The Conquest of Pomerania and Christianization of the

South Baltic Littoral in the Twelfth Century

The conquest and conversion of the Baltic littoral from the twelfth to the
fourteenth centuries was carried out not only by Germans and Scandina-
vians, but also by Slavs, particularly the Polish Piast dukes, who sought to
expand their own domains at the expense of the neighboring Slavic and
Baltic pagans. Their primary fields of operation were Pomerania (the sec-
tion of Baltic coast bounded by the Oder and Vistula rivers) and Prussia
(between the Vistula and Memel rivers). The Polish dukes turned their
attention first to Pomerania.
In a series of campaigns in the first decades of the twelfth century,
Duke Bolesaw Krzywousty (11021138) subjugated the whole of Pomera-
nia to his rule.16 Almost a century later, the Polish chronicler Wincenty
Kadubek presented this as a reconquest, an expansion of Polands natu-
ral boundaries to the Baltic, which were acquired at the time of Polands
moment of primary acquisition17 during the reign of Polands first two
rulersMieszko I (ca. 960992) and Bolesaw Chrobry (r. 9921025).
Yet, there is nothing in the contemporary sources to suggest that early
twelfth-century Poles thought in these terms.18 The first chronicler of the
Poles, Gallus Anonymus, writing during the time of Bolesaw Krzywoustys

16Tadeusz Manteuffel, The Formation of the Polish State: The Period of Ducal Rule, 963
1194, trans. Andrew Gorski (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1982), 105118.
17Patrick Geary explains that modern nationalists have distorted modern states rela-
tionships with polities in the past by claiming that this moment of primary acquisition
...established once and for all the geographical limits of legitimate ownership of land
[...]...when their people...established their sacred territory and their national iden-
tity (Geary, Myth, 12, 156). Medieval propagandists were also aware of the utility of these
claims. R.R. Davies has studied in detail how Edward Is conflict with Britains Celtic
Fringe produced one of the most remarkable medieval examples of the deployment and
distortion of the past in the service of the present [The First English Empire: Power and
Identity in the British Isles 10931343 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 35].
18For an analysis of the changing place of Pomerania in Polish chronicles written over
the course of two centuries, see Jacek Hertel, Pomorze w myli politycznej kronikarzy
Polski piastowskiej (Anonim Gall, Wincenty Kadubek, kronikarz wielkopolski), in Prace
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 31

campaigns against the Pomeranians, calls them and the Prussians most
savage nations of pagan barbarians.19 Pomeranians, separated from the
Polish duchies to the south by dense forests and vast wetlands that fed
the Note River, were the other.20 Even though Poles and Pomeranians
were similar in one of the key markers of identitylanguagetwelfth-
century Poles (at least as represented by a western European chronicler
living in Poland) regarded the Pomeranians as a different people, because
like their Baltic neighbors, the Prussians, they were pagans and therefore
Part of the motivation for Wincentys arguments for the antiquity of
Polands rights to Pomerania might have been that Polands political and
ecclesiastical authority in the region was quickly declining. In 1124, a new
bishopric was established in Wocawek in Kujawy, including the archdea-
conate of Pomerania, which covered the eastern part of this land.22 In the

z dziejw pastwa i zakonu krzyackiego, ed. Antoni Czacharowski (Toru: Uniwersytet

Mikoaja Kopernika, 1984), 947.
19 ...barbarorum gentilium ferocissimas nationes... [Gallus Anonymus, Gesta Prin-
cipum Polonorum, trans. by Paul W. Knoll and Frank Schaer (Budapest: Central Euro-
pean University Press, 2003), 1213]. It should be pointed out that Gallus does talk about
Bolesaw Chrobrys conquest and conversion of the Pomeranians and Prussians, but he
makes it clear that by the time he was writing, they had reverted to paganism. In fact,
Gallus describes many conflicts between the Polish rulers and the pagan Pomeranians. For
more on Gallus see Krzysztof Stopka, ed., Gallus Anonymus and His Chronicle in the Con-
text of Twelfth-Century Historiography from the Perspective of the Latest Research (Krakw:
Polska Akademia Umiejtnoci, 2010).
20Kazimierz laski, Granica wielkopolsko-pomorska w okresie wczesnego feudalizmu,
Przegld Zachodni 12 (1954), 91; Herbord, an author of one of the vitae of Otto of Bamberg,
recounts the difficulties of crossing from Poland to Pomerania in the early twelfth century,
due to the horrible and vast forest and the marshes that hindered their carts [...nemus
horrendum et vastum, quod Pomeraniam Poloniamque dividit. [...]...loca palustria
quadrigas et currus praepedientia... Herbordus, Herbordi Dialogus de vita Ottonis epis-
cope babenbergensis, ed. Rudolf Kpke and Georg Heinrich Pertz (Hannoverae: Impensis
Bibliopoli Hahniani, 1868), chapter 2.10, at page 60].
21 Jan Powierski, Die Stellung der pommerellischen Herzge zur Preuen-Frage im 13.
Jahrhundert, in Der Deutschordensstaat Preuen in der polnischen Geschichtsschreibung
der Gegenwart, ed. Udo Arnold, et al. (Marburg: N.G. Elwert, 1982), 104. Interestingly Gallus
also links the Pomeranians with another border people with whom the Poles had linguistic
affinity and with whom they would briefly be united at the turn of the fourteenth century
for this very reasonthe Bohemians. See Gallus, 181184 and Edward Skibinski, Identity
and Difference: Polish Identity in the Historiography of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Cen-
turies, in Birth of Identities: Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages, ed. Brian Patrick
McGuire (Copenhagen: Medieval Centre, Copenhagen University, 1996), 96.
22Peter Kriedte, Die Herrschaft der Bischfe von Wocawek in Pommerellen: von den
Anfngen bis zum Jahre 1409 (Gttingen: Vanderhoeck und Ruprecht, 1974); Hermann Frey-
tag, Das Archidiakonat Pommerellen der Dizese Wloclawek im Mittelalter, Altpreussi-
sche Monatsschrift 41 (1904), 204233.
32 chapter one

west, ecclesiastical control was first granted to the missionary Bishop Otto
of Bamberg (the Apostle of the Pomeranians, as one of his hagiographers
called him),23 while in 1140 another new bishopric, subject to the Polish
metropolitan at Gniezno, was established for west Pomerania.24 In the
years following Bolesaws death in 1138, however, Poland fragmented into
numerous duchies ruled by various branches of the royal Piast dynasty.
As these duchies came to be consumed by internecine warfare, the west
Pomeranians broke away from the suzerainty of the Polish dukes.25 Fol-
lowing this manifestation of political independence, the bishop of Kamie
(the see for west Pomerania) was also able to secure his independence
from the Polish church in 1188.26
The rulers of east Pomerania, while remaining subject to the Polish
church, also attempted to exercise a greater degree of independence.
Although technically under the suzerainty of various Polish dukes, by the
late twelfth century the members of the leading Pomeranian noble fam-
ily began to style themselves dukes and carry out such ducal functions
as the foundation of monasteriesthe most famous of these being the
Cistercian monastery at Oliwa, just outside of Gdask, which was founded
in 1186.27 Oliwa became the mausoleum of the ducal family, and its monks
functioned as the preservers of the memory of their founders and bene-
factors. These monks also, as Gerard Labuda has argued, alongside the
formal church, constituted a second path of international contacts, in
particular with the papacy, being at the same time an indispensable orga-
nizing factor of political life....28 The fact that the Pomeranian rulers

23For Ottos missionary work in Pomerania see Charles H. Robinson, trans., The Life of
Otto, Apostle of Pomerania, 10601139, by Ebo and Herbordus (New York: Macmillan, 1920);
see also Klaus Guth, The Pomeranian Missionary Journeys of Otto I of Bamberg and the
Crusade Movement of the Eleventh to Twelfth Centuries, in The Second Crusade and the
Cistercians, ed. Michael Gervers (New York: St. Martins Press, 1992), 1323.
24Jerzy Koczowski, A History of Polish Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 2000), 16.
25Micha Sczaniecki, Political Ties between Western Pomerania and Poland, up to
the 16th Century, in Poland at the XIth International Congress of Historical Sciences in
Stockholm, ed. The Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of History (Warsaw: Pastwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1960), 81101.
26Koczowski, History, 16.
27There is a huge bibliography on this monastery in both Polish and German. For a
brief English introduction to its founding see Szacherska, Valdemar, 4549; in German,
see Heinz Lingenberg, Die Anfnge des Klosters Oliva und die Entstehung der deutschen
Stadt Danzig (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1982); in Polish see Kazimierz Dbrowski, Opactwo
cystercw w Oliwie od XII do XVI wieku (Gdask: GTN, 1975).
28Labuda, HP I/1, 403.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 33

intended this monastery to function as a window to the west can also be

surmised from the fact that they recruited monks from the west Pomera-
nian monastery at Kobacz, which had been founded by Danish monks
affiliated with Clairvaux, rather than from a Polish monastery, all of which
were affiliated with the Morimund branch of the Cistercians.29
While we do not know a great deal about the genealogy or activities of
the Pomeranian dynasty during the twelfth century, the picture becomes
clearer in the early thirteenth century. The paterfamilias at this time was
Duke Mciwj I. While earlier members of the family might have just been
calling themselves dukes, Mciwj was widely regarded as the duke of
Pomerania by both the Polish clergy whose charters he witnessed and
the invading King Valdemar II of Denmark, to whom he did homage in
1210.30 As Labuda points out, even though the dependence on the Danes
had a temporary character, it nevertheless subverted the previous legal-
political relation of the rulers of Gdask to the Polish principate.31 Even
before Mciwjs death in 1219 or 1220, his eldest son, witopek, had
begun to take over his fathers policies of building an independent state
on the strategically and economically important lands at the mouth of the
Vistula River. However, as we will see below, witopeks younger broth-
ers would come to develop their own ideas about what this state should
look like.
Following the Danish incursion into Pomerania, witopek accepted
again the Polish dukes claims to suzerainty over his land by performing
homage to Duke Leszek of Krakw in the principal Pomeranian city of
Gdask in 1217.32 At this same time witopek also married into the Pol-
ish Piast dynasty through his union with Eufrozyna, the sister of Duke
Wadysaw Odonic of Kalisz.33 With these two acts, witopek was more
closely drawn into the political machinations of his neighbors to the south.
These relations would become even closer in the following years. After
his brother-in-law, Wadysaw Odonic, was expelled from his lands by his
uncle, Duke Wadysaw Laskonogi of Great Poland, he eventually sought
refuge at witopeks court, where in 1219 he married his brother-in-laws

29David H. Williams, East of the Oder: An English Introduction to Its Medieval Cister-
cian Settlement and Economy, Cteaux 29 (1978), 243.
30PlUB #15; Szacherska, Valdemar, 44.
31Labuda, HP I/1, 405.
32Labuda, HP I/1, 406.
33Labuda, HP I/1, 406; liwiski, Poczet, 29.
34 chapter one

sister, Jadwiga.34 witopek was now doubly bound to the interests of

Wadysaw Odonic.
In addition to cultivating alliances with Poles, witopek also began to
look for additional allies from the west. During the 1220s he strengthened
Gdask by installing in it two emerging translocal organizations. First, he
granted extensive privileges to a colony of Lbeck merchants, 35 who were
quickly supplanting the Scandinavians as the chief traders on the Baltic
and had already established colonies in other Baltic ports.36 Next, on the
advice of his ecclesiastical superior, Bishop Micha of Kujawy, he founded
a convent for another emerging translocal organization that was taking a
great interest in the Baltic frontier of Christendomthe Dominicans
who came to Pomerania apparently to fulfill St. Dominics intentions to
lead a mission in Prussia.37 Both of these translocal organizations pro-
vided witopek with additional avenues of communication with West-
ern Europe, which he immediately used to strengthen and legitimize his
own state-formation activities.
witopek apparently blamed Wadysaw Laskonogi for instigating the
Prussian invasion of Pomerania in 1226, which had laid waste large areas
of his duchy, including Oliwa, so he asked the Dominicans to help him in
his dispute with the duke of Great Poland.38 In May 1227, in a response to
a request written by the Dominicans in Gdask, Pope Gregory IX praised
witopeks devotion to the Prussian mission and asked some Polish cler-
ics to look into accusations that certain unnamed princes of Poland had
cooperated with pagans in injuring witopek and his brothers.39 Despite
this papal support, however, the Polish dukes still considered themselves

34Labuda, HP I/1, 406; liwiski, Poczet, 29.

35PlUB #33.
36For the early development of Lbeck and the Hanse, see Philippe Dollinger, The Ger-
man Hansa, trans. and ed. D.S. Ault and S.H. Steinberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press,
1970); for the early role of Lbeck merchants in Polish and Pomeranian trade, see Henryk
Samsonowicz, Lubeczanie z ziemi Polski w XIII w., Acta Universitatis Nicolai Copernici.
Historia 24 (1990), 144153; see also Henryk Lesiski, Pocztki i rozwj stosunkw polsko-
hanzeatyckich w XIII wieku, Przegld Zachodni 5/6 (1952), 130145.
37PlUB #34; Jerzy Koczowski, Dominicans of the Polish Province in the Middle Ages,
in The Christian Community of Medieval Poland: Anthologies, ed. Jerzy Koczowski (Wrocaw:
Ossolineum, 1981), 86; Dariusz Aleksander Dekaski, Pocztki zakonu dominikanw prow-
incji polskoczeskiej (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdaskiego, 1999), 84117; see
also Jerzy Koczowski, Dominikanie polscy nad Batykiem w XIII w., Nasza Przeszo 6
(1954), 83126; Christoph T. Maier, Preaching the Crusades: Mendicant Friars and the Cross
in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 47.
38Labuda, HP I/1, 406; Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 353.
39PlUB #35 and Theiner #304.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 35

the Pomeranian dukes superiors, and still expected them to submit to

their judgment.40
When later in the same year war broke out again between the two
Wadysaws, the three other leading dukes of PolandDuke Leszek the
White of Krakw, Duke Henry the Bearded of Wrocaw, and Duke Kon-
rad of Mazoviasummoned the Wadysaws and witopek to an assem-
bly at Gsawa, on the Polish-Pomeranian border, to settle the dispute.
Wadysaw Laskonogi showed up as expected, but on 23 November 1227
Wadysaw Odonic and witopek arrived at the head of a large army,
and in the ensuing battle, Duke Leszek was killed. Although contem-
poraries and modern historians differ in their assessment of blame for
what is known in Polish scholarship as the Gsawa tragedy, the imme-
diate result of this battle was the de facto independence of the duchy of
Pomerania.41 As the surviving Polish dukes quickly turned on one another
in an attempt to claim Leszeks lands, witopek was free to continue
expanding his state without interference from Poland.
Yet, at the same time that witopek was asserting his independence,
a new translocal organization was making its presence felt on this fron-
tierthe Teutonic Order. What made this organization different from the
ones that witopek had been supporting is that during the course of
the thirteenth century they attempted to create a territorial state in the
Vistula delta, in the process claiming lands that witopek considered
his own. Such border conflicts would eventually lead to fifteen years of
intermittent legal and armed conflict between witopek and the Teu-
tonic Knights. In the beginning, however, their relationship was defined
by cooperation rather than contention, as witopek viewed them as
just another translocal organization taking part in the Prussian mission.
In order to understand how their interests came to diverge, it is first nec-
essary to take a step back and analyze the development of the Prussian
mission up to the arrival of the Teutonic Knights.

40For an extended discussion of the political relationship between the dukes of

Pomerania and Poland at the turn of the thirteenth century, see Gerard Labuda, Stanow-
isko prawno-polityczne ksit Pomorza Nadwilaskiego na przeomie XII i XIII wieku,
Zapiski Historyczne 66 (2001), 195226.
41 Labuda, HP I/1, 407. For a summary of the various chroniclers accounts of and
modern historiographical debates on the Gsawa tragedy, see Monika Bruszewska-
Gombiowska, Biskup wocawski Micha: Dziaalno kocielna, gospodarcza, polityczna
(12201252) (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Marpress, 2002), 103121. For the immediate after-
math in Great Poland see Sawomir Pelczar, Wojny Wadysawa Odonica z Wadysawem
Laskonogim w latach 12281231, redniowiecze Polskie i Powszechne 5 (2009), 100126.
36 chapter one

The Development of the Prussian Mission:

From Episcopal State to Ordensstaat

witopek was not the only person who saw an opportunity to create
a new state on the frontier of Latin Christendom. While he was carv-
ing out an independent duchy for himself, the papacy was beginning to
take a greater interest in the expansion of this frontier across the Vistula
River into Prussia. Papal involvement in the conversion of Prussia had
been erratic until the beginning of the thirteenth century. The missionar-
ies, Bishop Adalbert (Polish: Wojciech) of Prague and Bishop Bruno of
Querfurt, found martyrdom there around the year 1000. Bishop Otto of
Bamberg and Bishop Henry of Moravia had planned missions there in the
mid-twelfth century.42 But real attempts to convert the Prussians were not
made until the first decade of the thirteenth century.
As in the mission that had taken root a few decades earlier in Livo-
nia, the preaching of the Prussian mission was entrusted to the Cister-
cians, who took the leading role in the missionary program of the Church
before the introduction of the mendicant orders later in the thirteenth
century.43 In the first decade of the thirteenth century the Prussian mis-
sion was conducted by the Cistercians of the Polish monastery of ekno
under the direction of the archbishop of Gniezno.44 It seems that at this
time the archbishop of Gniezno was actively propagating the cult of
St. Adalbert, who had been martyred in Prussia in 997 and whose death is
intimately linked to the foundation of the Polish church and state.45 Part
of this program included the casting of monumental bronze doors for the

42Lszl Psn, Prussian missions and the invitation of the Teutonic Order into Kul-
merland, in The Crusades and the Military Orders. Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval
Latin Christianity, ed. Zsolt Hunyadi and Jzsef Laszlovszky (Budapest: Central European
University, Department of Medieval Studies, 2001), 429; for Adalbert and Bruno, see Ian
Wood, The Missionary Life: Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe, 4001050 (Harlow: Pear-
son, 2001), 207244.
43See Louis J. Lekai, The Cistercians: Ideals and Reality (Kent, OH: Kent State University
Press, 1977), 5264.
44The main events of this mission have been recounted in varying degrees of detail in
a number of places; in English, see Szacherska, Valdemar, and Psn.
45For the story about the relationship between Adalbert and Poland, see Michael Bor-
golte, ed, Polen und Deutschland vor 1000 Jahren. Die Berliner Tagung ber den Akt von
Gnesen (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2002); Teresa Dunin-Wsowicz, St Adalbert: Patron
Saint of New Europe, in Europes Center around AD 1000, ed. Alfried Wieczorek and Hans-
Martin Hinz (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2000), 551552; Jerzy Strzelczyk, The Gniezno Assembly
and the Creation of the Gniezno Archbishopric, in Europes Center around AD 1000, ed.
Alfried Wieczorek and Hans-Martin Hinz (Stuttgart: Theiss, 2000), 319321.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 37

archiepiscopal cathedral in Gniezno, which depicted Adalberts mission-

ary activity and martyrdom among the Prussians.46
By the end of the first decade of the thirteenth century, however,
Christian, a west Pomeranian monk from Oliwa, had replaced the abbot
of ekno as leader of this mission. Zenon Nowak has speculated that this
change of leadership might have arisen from a dispute in the Cistercian
chapter general between the Morimund and Clairvaux branches, because
Abbot Gottfried of ekno was condemned for fraudulently acting like a
bishop and leading monks away from their monasteries.47
Christian quickly enlisted the help of both Duke Mciwj I of Pomera-
nia and King Valdemar II of Denmark, whose invasion of east Pomerania
and Prussia in 1210 Stella Maria Szacherska has linked with Danish plans
to colonize Prussia. According to Szacherskas theory, Valdemar pressured
Mciwj and some Prussian lords to donate Santyr on the right bank of
the Vistula and a fort at the mouth of the Pregola river in eastern Prus-
sia to demarcate the boundaries of his intended future conquests.48 In
any event, Valdemar never returned to Prussia, concentrating instead on
Estonia before he was defeated and imprisoned in 1223.49
Tadeusz Manteuffel took a different approach to Christians involvement
in the Prussian mission. Comparing his activities to the state-formation
activities of the bishops of Riga, he argued that Christian was attempting
to found an ecclesiastical state in Prussia, led by the Cistercians.50 There

46Jadwiga Irena Daniec, The Bronze Door of the Gniezno Cathedral, in Studies in
Polish Civilization, ed. Damian S. Wandycz (New York: Institute on East Central Europe,
Columbia University, 1971), 482489.
47De monacho quondam Lugdunensi [ekno] abate qui fraudulenter se fingit epis-
copum, committitur domino Cistercii, et super hoc domino papae scribat. Monachi autem
qui cum eo inordinate vagantur, nisi usque ad Pascha ad domos proprias revertantur, pro
fugitivis habeantur [Statuta capitulorum generalium ordinis Cisterciensis ab anno 1116 ad
annum 1786, ed. Josephus-Mia Canivez (Louvain: Bureaux de la Revue, 1933), 1: 373; quoted
in Zenon Nowak, Milites Christi de Prussia. Der Orden von Dobrin und seine Stellung in
der preussischen Mission, in Der geistlichen Ritterorden Europas, ed. Josef Fleckenstein
and Manfred Hellmann (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1980, 341)]. This was appar-
ently a common problem in the missionary activities of the Cistercians, because as Lekai
notes, the records of the General Chapter abound in restrictive and punitive measures
against vagabond monks and unauthorized preachers (Lekai, Cistercians, 62).
48Szacherska, Valdemar, 75.
49For Denmarks role in the conquest of Estonia see William Urban, The Baltic Crusade
(DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1975), 2nd ed. (Chicago: Lithuanian Research
and Studies Center, 1994)the references below are to the first edition; see also Grethe
Jacobsen, Wicked Count Henry: The Capture of Valdemar II (1223) and Danish Influence
in the Baltic, Journal of Baltic Studies 9 (1978), 326338.
50Tadeusz Manteuffel, Prba stworzenia cysterskiego pastwo biskupiego w Prusach,
Zapiski Historyczne 18 (1952), 157173.
38 chapter one

are some problems with this theory, however. First, as Szacherska has
pointed out, neither the Cistercians at Oliwa nor those in Poland were
particularly helpful, prompting Innocent III to complain to the chapter
general in 1212 about their uncooperativeness.51 In addition, Christian also
complained to the papacy that the Pomeranian and Polish dukes adjacent
to Prussia were attempting to cash in on the mission by subjecting the
Prussian neophytes to their rule.52 Christian maintained his close con-
nections with Rome, attending the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. Here
he demonstrated the fruits of the mission to Innocent III by bringing with
him Prussians to be baptized. He was rewarded for his efforts by being
consecrated as bishop of Prussia.53 In the first years of Honorius IIIs
pontificate, Christian was given even greater control over the Prussian
mission, obtaining the rights to call a crusade, to consecrate additional
bishops and build cathedrals, and perhaps most importantly, the arch-
bishop of Gniezno was stripped of his legatine powers over the mission.54
The main problem that faced Christian, however, was that he needed
an armed force to help defend the proselytized lands. As had happened
in the early years of the Livonian mission, Christian constantly had to
leave his bishopric to recruit crusaders.55 This problem was exacerbated
following the battle at Gsawa in 1227, as the neighboring Polish dukes
spent their energy fighting each other instead of leading crusades. In Man-
teuffels opinion, in order to create a truly independent episcopal state,
Christian needed a force like the Swordbrothers of Livonia, who had
emerged as a military order in Livonia at the beginning of the thirteenth
century.56 The dukes of Pomerania had founded monasteries for two
western military orders on the left bank of the Vistulathe Hospitallers
and the Knights of Calatrava.57 Neither of these orders proved to be very

51Szacherska, Valdemar, 66; PrUB I/1 #6.

52Szacherska, Valdemar, 66; PrUB I/1 #7.
53Szacherska, Valdemar, 67.
54Szacherska, Valdemar, 6869; PrUB I/1 #15, #19, #30.
55Szacherska, 7273; Henry of Livonia begins each of the chapters covering the first
years of Bishop Alberts reign with him coming from or going to Germany [James A.
Brundage, trans., The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1961; reprint, New York: Columbia University Press, 2003)].
56See Urban, Baltic, 5359; Friedrich Benninghoven, Der Orden der Schwertbrder. Fra-
tres Milicie Christi de Livonia (Kln: Bhlau, 1965).
57The Hospitallers were founded in Pomerania in 1198 (PlUB #9). For the history of
this foundation and the role of the Hospitallers in East Central Europe, see Paul Vincent
Smith, Crusade and Society in Eastern Europe: The Hospital and the Temple in Poland
and Pomerania, Ph.D. diss. (University of London, School of Slavonic and East European
Studies, 1994). The presence of the Knights of Calatrava in Pomerania remains a puzzle.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 39

effective in the mission because of the small size of the houses, so most
likely following the example of the bishop of Riga, Christian decided to
found a new military orderthe Knights of Christ. This new order (also
known as the Knights of Dobrzy, because this land was granted to them
by Duke Konrad of Mazovia) was composed mostly of knights from Chris-
tians native Mecklenburg.58 Despite the endowment of this new order
with fairly extensive lands by the Polish and Pomeranian dukes, it was
still too small to have much of an effect on the mission.59 At the same

There is no record of when they were founded or how the Pomeranian dukes heard about
this Spanish military order. The Knights of Calatrava first appear as witnesses to a charter
granted to Oliwa in 1224, which makes sense considering their association in Spain with
the Cistercians. It is tempting to see this as a form of medieval modeling, where the Cis-
tercians tried to apply the same successful formula in Prussia that had worked in Iberia.
There are two problems, however, with the theory that the Knights of Calatrava were put
in place to protect the Cistercian monastery at Oliwa. First, they were located some dis-
tance away from Oliwa. Second, they were associated with the Morimund branch of the
Cistercians, while Oliwa belonged to the Clairvaux branch [Francis Gutton, LOrdre de
Calatrava (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1955), 220222]. In any event, they did not prevent the sack
of Oliwa and the murdering of its monks by the Prussians in 1226 (MPH 6: 353), and after
appearing as witnesses in another charter in 1230 (PlUB #43), they disappear from the his-
torical record. A brief article from the nineteenth century remains the only work devoted
exclusively to this orders activities in the Prussian mission [Ronuald Frydrychowicz, Der
Ritterorden von Calatrava im Tymau bei Mewe, Altpreussische Monatsschrift 27 (1890),
315320; see also Gerard Labuda, Ze studiw nad najstarszymi dokumentami Pomorza
Gdaskiego, Zapiski Historyczne 18 (1953), 130135].
58PrUB I/1 #67; Nowak, 349; Manteuffel tried to place their founding considerably
earlier, but Nowak has demonstrated that this did in fact take place in 1228, the year of
the papal recognition of this order (PrUB I/1 #68, #69; see also PrUB I/1 #66, #67, #70).
It should be pointed out, however, that not all historians agree with Nowak. In a recent
essay, Maria Starnawska, a leading Polish historian of the military orders in Poland, dated
their foundation to 12161217 [Military Orders and the Beginning of Crusades in Prussia,
in The Crusades and the Military Orders: Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Chris-
tianity, ed. Zsolt Hunyadi and Jzsef Laszlovszky (Budapest: Central European University
Press, 2001), 420]. In addition to Manteuffel, Nowak, and Starnawska, the following Polish
and German historians have also studied the role played by the Knights of Dobrzy in
the Prussian mission: Walter Kuhn, Ritterorden als Grenzhter des Abendlandes gegen
stliche Heidentum, Ostdeutsche Wissenschaft 6 (1959), 2642; Stella Maria Szacherska,
Pierwsi protektorzy biskupa Prus Chrystiana, in Wieki rednieMedium Aevum. Prace
ofiarowane Tadeuszowi Manteuffel w 60 rocznic urodzin, ed. Aleksander Gieysztor, et al.
(Warszawa: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1962), 129141; Gerard Labuda, O nada-
niu biskupa Chrystiana dla Dobrzycw z roku 1228, Roczniki Humanistyczne 20 (1972),
4349; W. Polkowska-Markowska, Dzieje Zakonu Dobrzyskiego. Przyczynek do kwestii
krzyackiej, Przegld Historyczny 2 (1926), 145210.
59Nowak explains that even though the Teutonic Knights chronicler, Peter von
Dusburg, states that there were only 15 knights, if their support personnel were included,
this number could be pushed up to 150, but this was still a very small force (Nowak,
Milites, 348). Even the Livonian bishops, who could rely on the help of the much larger
Swordbrothers, still went to Germany every year to recruit crusaders.
40 chapter one

time that Duke Konrad and Bishop Christian were founding this new mili-
tary order, they also began talks to found another military order, one that
had experience fighting in the Levant, an order that would profoundly
alter the political landscape of the eastern Baltic littoralthe Hospital of
St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem [Hospitale sancta Marie Theutonico-
rum Jherosolimitani], better known in English as the Teutonic Knights.
The exact events surrounding the extent of Duke Konrad of Mazovias
grants to the Teutonic Knights has been one of the most contentious
subjects in Polish and German scholarship since the middle of the nine-
teenth century. Part of the problem results from the fact that as men-
tioned above, both the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat
attempted to manipulate the memory of their historical relationship dur-
ing the course of their military and legal disputes in the early fourteenth
century. Another problem, pointed out by both German and Polish schol-
ars, is that thirteenth-century contemporaries were already at work on
the manipulation of reputation and memory through the production of
forgeries intended to expand their rights and privileges.60 One recent Pol-
ish historian, Tomasz Jasiski, who attempts to sort through both levels
of manipulation, points out in a reevaluation of the thirteenth-century
sources that:
Both Polish and German historiography look at the beginnings of the Teu-
tonic Knights in Prussia from the perspective of later events. This leads to an
oversimplification and schematization of the complicated relations which
occurred in reality.61
As Jasiski correctly observes, this is an extremely complicated issue and
what follows, due to the necessities of space, is only a very brief outline.
My goal here is simply to position the arrival of the Teutonic Knights in

60Historians, however, disagree as to which documents were forgeries. For the specif-
ics of this debate, see Gerard Labuda, ber die angeblichen und vermuteten Flschun-
gen des Deutschen Ordens in Preuen, in Flschungen im Mittelalter IV: Diplomatische
Flschungen (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1988), 2: 499522; Tomasz Jasiski,
Okolicznoci nadania ziemi chemiskiej Krzyakom w 1228 roku w wietle dokumentu
owickiego, in Balticum: Studia z dziejw polityki, gospodarki i kultury XIIXVII wieku
ofiarowane Marianowi Biskupowi w siedemdziesit rocznic urodzin, ed. Zenon Hubert
Nowak (Toru: Wydawnictwo Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, 1992), 151163; Tomasz
Jasiski, Kruschwitz, Rimini und die Grundlagen des preussischen Ordenslandes: Urkunden-
studien zur Fruhzeit des Deutschen Ordens im Ostseeraum (Marburg: N.G. Elwert, 2008);
Marian Dygo, The Golden Bull Allegedly Issued in 1226 by Frederick II for the Teutonic
Order, Questiones Medii Aevi Novae 3 (1998), 221244.
61 Jasiski, Okolicznoci, 151.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 41

Poland within the main topic of this chapterwitopeks state-forma-

tion activities.
In 1226 Wadysaw Odonic, witopeks brother-in-law, donated
some lands to the Knights.62 Around the same time Konrad and Chris-
tian approached the Knights with the offer of granting them the land of
Chemno, a region previously granted to Christian by Konrad in 1222.63
From 1228 to 1230, both Konrad and Christian, with the consent of Kon-
rads family, the Mazovian magnates, and the neighboring Polish bish-
ops and dukes, donated to the Teutonic Knights extensive possessions,64
which were confirmed by Pope Gregory IX.65 In 1230 Gregory also con-
firmed the Knights rights to whatever pagan lands they could conquer.66
This issue of rights to conquered lands would eventually lead to conflict
between Christian and the Knights. But in the early years of the arrival
of the Knights in Prussia, the relationship between all of the participants
in the Prussian mission was characterized by cooperation rather than
If Christian was attempting to carve out a Cistercian state in Prussia
modeled on the Livonian ecclesiastical state, as Tadeusz Manteuffel has
argued, then he did so, initially at least, with the support of the surround-
ing Polish bishops, the Polish and Pomeranian dukes, and the other reli-
gious and military orders in region. Although there were certainly tensions
between the Polish and Pomeranian dukes, as well as between the various
translocal organizations, Bishop Christian managed to coordinate their
efforts. Even the abbots of ekno and Ld, whom Christian had pushed
out as directors of the Prussian mission, now supported the bishop, argu-
ing that the Teutonic Knights should march into battle under Christians
banner rather than their own.68 This situation, however, would rapidly
deteriorate during the 1230s for a number of reasons. Among these were

62Psn, 437; Urkunden und erzhlende Quellen zur Deutschen Ostsiedlung im Mittel-
alter, ed. Herbert Helbig and Lorenz Weinrich (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesell-
schaft, 1970), 2: #49.
63PrUB #41.
64PrUB I/1 #64, #65, #71, #73, #75, #76, #77, #78.
65PrUB I/1 #72.
66PrUB I/1 #80.
67Most of the relevant historical analyses of the Knights arrival in Prussia are in Pol-
ish and German. Psn provides a good analytical account that places this event in larger
European contexts; also see William Urbans narrative account, The Prussian Crusade (Lan-
ham, MD: University Press of America, 1980), 2nd ed. (Chicago: Lithuanian Research and
Studies Center, 2000). The references below are to the first edition.
68PrUB I/1 #74.
42 chapter one

the arrival of the papal legate, William of Modena, the capture of Bishop
Christian by the Prussians, and the state-formation activities of the Teu-
tonic Knights, which put them at odds with both Bishop Christian and the
neighboring Polish and Pomeranian dukes.
In the early years of the Prussian mission, the archbishop of Gniezno
functioned as the papal legate to Prussia.69 On 31 December 1224, how-
ever, Pope Honorius III appointed Bishop William of Modena as his legate
for Prussia and Livonia as well as many other lands on the Baltic littoral.70
This commission was followed three days later by a bull directed to the
Livonian and Prussian converts informing them that the papacy was tak-
ing them under the protection of St. Peter.71 On 9 January, the pope also
informed William that his commission included not only caring for the
faithful, but also the evangelization of the barbarous nations.72 These
three bulls indicate that the papacy had decided the missions on the
eastern Baltic littoral had become too important to be left to the locals.
Honorius would now directly control the mission through his legate, Wil-
liam. Williams first stop was Livonia, because the mission there had been
endangered by years of fighting between the German and Danish coloniz-
ers and missionaries.73 During Williams time in Livonia, his interpreter,
Henry, prepared a chronicle informing him of the history of the Livonian
mission.74 Henry also recorded Williams achievements, describing how
everyone in the region respected his authority, how he forced the Danes
to give the Germans disputed lands,75 made peace between these two

69Rozenkranz, Wojna, 205, n. 10.

70PrUB I/1 #53
71 PrUB I/1 #54.
72PrUB I/1 #55. In November of the same year, Honorius further showed his commit-
ment to the Prussian and Livonian missions by taking Lbeck under the special protection
of the apostolic see so that it could function as the main port of departure for crusaders to
the eastern Baltic (PrUB I/1 #57).
73These two activities of baptism and subjugation went hand-in-hand, as Danish and
German missionaries raced against one another to baptize as many pagans as possible,
eventually handing out holy water to some neophyte leaders, so that they could baptize
neighboring villages before competing missionaries could arrive there: [The Danes] bap-
tized some villages and sent their men to the others to which they could not come so
quickly, ordering great wooden crosses to be made in all the villages. They sent the rustics
with holy water and ordered them to baptize the women and children. They tried thereby
to anticipate the Rigan priests and sought in this manner to put the land into the hands
of the king of the Danes (Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, 189).
74James A. Brundage, The Thirteenth-Century Livonian Crusade: Henricus de Lettis
and the First Legatine Mission of Bishop William of Modena, Jahrbcher fr Geschichte
Osteuropas ns 20 (1972), 19.
75Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, 234.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 43

parties,76 settled disputes between the Germans and the neophytes,77 and
always admonished the Germans not to hurt their subjects by excessive
exactions or undue harshness.78 By the time that William arrived in Prus-
sia in 1228, he apparently found the situation to be well managed, because
he spent the following five years in Silesia, Germany, and Italy, before
returning again to Livonia in 1234.79
During his brief stay in Prussia, however, William apparently cultivated
the friendship of Duke witopek and his son, Mciwj, because in a bull
from June 1231, Pope Gregory IX took the duchy of Pomerania under the
protection of the apostolic see on the recommendation of both the legate
and the Dominicans of Gdask.80 In addition to the de iure recognition
of witopeks sovereignty, the pope also promised the duke spiritual
We, therefore, entreat your nobility, enjoining you for the remission of your
sins, to resist the pagans in Prussia and defend the neophytes, equipping
yourself thus powerfully and manfully, so that thereafter the mighty Roman
church would be bound to you, and you could gain the reward of eternal
life from God.81
Gregory was, in effect, authorizing witopek to become a permanent
crusader, whose lands (like those of other crusaders), would be protected
so that he could advance the Prussian mission and defend its accom-
plishments. Although this chapter focuses on the pragmatic aspects of
witopeks policy of using the Prussian mission to forward his own state-
formation goals through his patronage of military orders as well as the Cis-
tercians and Dominicans, it is entirely possible that he imagined himself
to be creating a crusader state, a bulwark to help defend the boundaries
of Latin Christendom. As noted in the introduction to this chapter, later
Polish and Teutonic Knights chronicles depicted him as a pseudo-Chris-
tian and apostate, but one must not ignore this dukes genuine religious
motivations. All the contemporary evidence suggests that witopek saw
himself as a full partner in the Prussian mission. His problem was that his

76Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, 235.

77Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, 233.
78Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, 234.
79Regesten des Bishofs Wilhelm von Modena, in SRP 2: 122124.
80PlUB #44.
81 PlUB #44: Rogamus igitur nobilitatem vestram in remissionem vobis peccaminum
iniungentes, quatenus ad resistendum paganis in Prussia et defendendum neophitos vos
ita potenter et viriliter accingatis, quod exinde vobis Romana ecclesia fortius obligetur et
a deo possitis eterne vite stipendia promereri (PlUB #44).
44 chapter one

neighbors, especially the Teutonic Knights, had a very different idea about
the direction of this mission.
When William finally returned to Prussia in 1234, the situation had
changed dramatically. In 1233 Bishop Christian was captured by the
Prussians,82 and the strained alliance of competing territorial and spiri-
tual ambitions that he had held together quickly began to crumble. The
following year the papacy attempted to fill the power vacuum left by
Christian. In August Gregory placed the Teutonic Knights lands directly
under the protection of the papacy.83 In September he wrote bulls plac-
ing the Knights in Williams custody,84 notifying Duke Konrad of Mazovia
and the bishops of Kujawy and Mazovia about this change in leadership
of the Prussian mission,85 authorizing the preaching of a crusade,86 and
promising indulgences to those already fighting in Prussia87 as well as to
the Prussian neophytes88 if they helped the Teutonic Knights. This final
crusade conducted jointly by the Polish and Pomeranian dukes and the
Teutonic Knights took place in the winter of 12341235.89 However, this
year marked a sea change in relations between the participants in the
Prussian mission, as the various parties fell into numerous legal and mili-
tary disputes which would last most of the next two decades.
In the fall of 1235, William had to arbitrate a dispute between Kon-
rad and the Knights, which broke out as a result of the union of the now
leaderless Knights of Dobrzy with the Teutonic Knights.90 The Teutonic
Knights wanted to keep Dobrzy, but Konrad argued that he had given
this to an organization that was now defunct, so it should be returned to
him. William was able to arbitrate a settlement, in which in exchange for
certain other possessions, the confirmation of those grants already made,
and the payment of 300 marks of silver, the Teutonic Knights agreed to

82Powierski, Stellung, 111.

83PrUB I/1 #108.
84PrUB I/1 #111.
85PrUB I/1 #110, #112.
86PrUB I/1 #114.
87PrUB I/1 #115.
88PrUB I/1 #116.
89Dusburg notes that Duke Konrad of Mazovia, his son, Duke Kazimierz I of Kujawy,
Duke Henryk I Brodaty (the Bearded) of Krakw and Wrocaw, Duke Wadysaw Odonic
of Great Poland, Duke witopek, his brother Sambor, and many other noblemen and
potentates from between the Vistula, Oder, Bbr, and Note rivers [i.e. Poland], took part
in a crusade, which included building a castle for the Knights at Marienwerder (Polish:
Kwidzyn) on the right bank of the Vistula (Dusburg III.10).
90PrUB I/1 #119.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 45

restore Dobrzy to Konrad. In the following year the Knights also turned
against their other founder in Prussia, the imprisoned Bishop Christian.
First, the Knights began to dismantle the physical infrastructure of
Christians episcopal state by conquering his episcopal see of Santyr.91 On
30 May 1236, it looked like they had succeeded in the complete eradi-
cation of Bishop Christian from the political landscape of Prussia, when
Pope Gregory IX told his legate, William, to divide Prussia into dioceses
and de consilio et assensu of the Teutonic Knights to consecrate three
Dominicans as bishops of those dioceses.92 By now William was obviously
and incontestably in charge of the Prussian mission, and his two closest
collaborators were the Knights and the Dominicans.93 Bishop Christian
and the Cistercians had been removed from their leadership role of the
By the time that Christian finally managed to ransom himself from the
Prussian Sambians in 1238,94 competing interests had already driven the
former collaborators too far apart, leaving him as the bishop of Prussia in
name only. In this same year, witopek began to pursue a policy that
was at odds with other participants of the Prussian mission. The follow-
ing section analyzes how the relations with translocal organizations that
witopek had so carefully cultivated over the previous decade quickly
collapsed as the disputes between himself and his former alliesthe
Teutonic Knights, the duke of Kujawy, the bishop of Wocawek, and his
younger brothersescalated into fifteen years of intermittent warfare.

A Divergence of Interests: The Fifteen Years War, 12381253

The multivalent political, ecclesiastical, and economic forces at play in

the Prussian mission had provided witopek with the allies he needed
both to develop his state economically and to defend it against the politi-
cal claims of the Polish dukes. The duchy of Pomerania was positioned as

91 Powierski, Aspekt, 269.

92PrUB I/1 #125.
93In the winter of 12351236 Gregory authorized the Dominicans to preach another
crusade against Prussia (PrUB I/1 #121). By 1238 the Dominicans had two convents in
Prussia, in Chemno and Elblg [Janusz Trupinda, Wizerunek dominikanw w kronice
Piotra z Dusburgaobraz rzeczywisty czy oficjalna propaganda polityczna Zakonu Nie-
mieckiego? in Dominikanie. GdaskPolskaEuropa, ed. Dariusz Aleksander Dekaski,
Andrzej Goembnik, and Marek Grubek (Gdask: Dominkaskie Centrum w. Jacka / Pel-
plin: Wydawnictwo Diecezji Pepliskiej Bernardium, 2002), 535].
94Powierski, Stellung, 115.
46 chapter one

a bridgehead to Prussia, and the new legal discourse of papal protection

under the aegis of a permanent crusade led by a papal legate had provided
witopek with the opportunity to legitimize his state in an international
forum. As the Teutonic Knights took over the Prussian mission, however,
and made the transformation from a translocal organization to a territo-
rial state, this frontier of Latin Christendom quickly turned into a border-
land pressed by predatory Polish dukes and the Teutonic Knights. Such
a borderland environment made witopek a less appealing ally to the
translocal organizations he had previously supported. He was abandoned
by Lbeck and the Dominicans when both the surrounding territorial and
ecclesiastical rulers attempted to impose their authority on him, while at
the same time his younger brothers attempted to break away from his
dominion. In such an environment, he turned to the only other border-
landers who were in a similar situationthe Prussian neophytes subject
to the unduly burdensome lordship of the Teutonic Knights.
As the Knights took over Bishop Christians lands and began to expand
the boundaries of their holdings to the north, the ensuing conflict between
witopek and the Knights over possession of the Vistula delta would
come to reflect how this frontier of Latin Christendom was quickly turn-
ing into a contentious borderland of competing Christian states. The con-
flict between these two emerging states quickly drew into its orbit all of
the surrounding secular and ecclesiastical rulers, the pagan and neophyte
Prussians, and the translocal organizations that were staking their claims
to positions on this frontierthe Cistercians, Dominicans, Franciscans,
Lbeck, and the papacy. This was not a frontier in which a superior west-
ern power acted upon a backward society, but rather an arena of conflict
in which the competing political, economic, and religious forces brought
to bear by various parties were defined by ever-changing boundaries of
influence and shifting alliances in an attempt to remake the political and
religious landscape.
The series of legal and military conflicts which Edwin Rozenkranz has
labeled the Fifteen Years War,95 resulted from the competing state-forma-
tion activities of witopek and the Teutonic Knights, as both parties tried
to establish hegemony over the Vistula delta. witopek saw the Knights
conquest of Bishop Christians see at Santyr in 1236 as a direct threat to
his duchy, while Sambor, witopeks younger brother, saw this as an

95Edwin Rozenkranz, Wojna pitnastoletnia: Pomorze Gdaskie w walce z Zakonem

Krzyackim w latach 12381253, Gdaskie Zeszyty Humanistyczne 10 (1967), 202238.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 47

opportunity to strengthen his own position within Pomerania.96 The

Knights helped Sambor fortify his castle at Gorzdziej, but witopek
marched with an army from Gdask and defeated his brother and the
Knights.97 Sambor fled to his in-laws in Mecklenburg to try to obtain
reinforcements, while the Knights went back to trying to conquer Prussia.
witopek, however, still faced the revolt of his youngest brother, Raci-
bor, as well as a dispute with his ecclesiastical superior, Bishop Micha of
Kujawy, who excommunicated him in 1237.98 Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy
used this as a pretext to invade Pomerania and conquer the town of
Bydgoszcz, which lay on the border between Pomerania and Kujawy.99
witopek compensated for this loss by capturing his brothers and seiz-
ing their lands and by concluding an alliance with the Prussians, which
resulted in the sack of Elblg and the release of Bishop Christian in 1238.100
By 1238, however, most of the parties were ready to make peace. First,
witopek made peace with his youngest brother, Racibor.101 Baej
liwiski speculates that their sister, Witosawa, might have played the
role of peacemaker in this dispute, because in 1238 Racibor made a grant
to the Premonstratensian convent at ukowo, where she was a nun.102
Sambor was not released until March of the following year,103 but it
should be pointed out that witopek also made a substantial donation
to ukowo in November 1239, which was witnessed by Sambor, as well as

96Powierski, Stellung, 113. It is difficult to say why exactly the brothers fell out. Inter-
necine warfare was certainly common in Poland, usually resulting from inheritance dis-
putes. But, witopek appears to have had a good working relationship with his younger
brother Warcisaw I, before he died between 1227 and 1233. Perhaps this was because
Warcisaw and witopek were around the same age, while Racibor and Sambor were
almost 20 years younger. It is entirely possible that he continued to treat them more
like his children than his brothers, even after they attained their majority. In fact, both
Peter of Dusburg and Sambors own grandson would remember Sambor and Racibor as
witopeks sons [Dusburg III.213; Lites I (2), 282].
97Powierski, Stellung, 114; Rozenkranz, Wojna, 209; PlUB #113.
98Peter Kriedte, Die Herrschaft der Bischfe von Wocawek in Pommerellen: von den
Anfngen bis zum Jahre 1409 (Gttingen: Vanderhoeck und Ruprecht, 1974), 76.
99Powierski, Stellung, 115.
100Powierski, Stellung, 115.
101 Racibor witnessed his brothers treaty with the Knights in June 1238, so he must
have been freed before then (PlUB #65).
102liwiski, Poczet, 43; PlUB #67. In 1246 Witosawa (then Abbess of ukowo) also func-
tioned as a peacemaker in witopeks dispute with the bishop of Kujawy. ...illam com-
positionem, que mediante sorore mea magistra de Succow inter me et venerabilem patrem
Michaelem episcopum Cuiauie et Pomeranie fuerit habita... (PlUB #93). Bishop Micha
also apparently rewarded Witosawa with a grant to her convent for her help (PlUB #91).
103Powierski, Stellung, 117.
48 chapter one

by their mother, Zwinisawa.104 It seems that the women in this family

were doing their best to keep the three brothers from killing each other.
When their mother died in 1240, Sambor also made a grant to this con-
vent pro salute anime matris mee.105 Nothing was said about his broth-
ers, perhaps because Sambor was already planning to break the peace his
sister and mother had made. In any case, he was not the only one who
was preparing for war.
witopek also concluded peace treaties with both the Teutonic
Knights and the bishop of Kujawy in 1238, but both of these treaties left
the path open for further hostilities. In the treaty made with the Knights in
June, witopek promised not to make any alliance with the pagan Prus-
sians, but it did not prevent him from allying with the Prussian neophytes.
He also promised that he and the Knights would resolve their bound-
ary dispute at a later time.106 According to witopeks treaty with the
bishop, concluded in November, witopek was forced to pay indemni-
ties for withholding the episcopal revenues from his lands.107 witopeks
infringements of episcopal rights, however, were not limited to the eco-
nomic realm. In addition to his presumed right to assent to the appointing
and discharging of priests, he also thought that he had the right to render
judgment and punishment on matrimonial cases.108 This treaty is interest-
ing, however, not only because of its demonstration of the level at which
witopek tried to micro-manage the affairs of his state, but also because
it was arbitrated by the two mendicant orders. In fact, this dispute was
arbitrated in the Franciscan convent in Inowrocaw, in Kujawy, which had
been recently founded by Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy.109 The introduction

104PlUB #69.
105PlUB #71, #72.
106PlUB #65; the designation for boundaries used in this treaty [metis...que vulgariter
graniza dicuntur] is interesting, because the German word Grenze is derived from the
Slavic granica. The inhabitants of the Baltic littoral were thinking in terms of territorially
defined space with boundaries of varying degrees of precision long before the Teutonic
Knights and other German settlers surveyed the landscape. For an extended analysis with
many detailed examples of how boundaries functioned both on the ground and in the
minds of the inhabitants of East Central Europe, see Hans-Jrgen Karp, Grenzen in Ost-
mitteleuropa whrend des Mittelalter (Kln: Bhlau, 1972); for a detailed analysis of how
medieval Poles marked these boundaries, see Ryszard Kiersnowski, Znaki graniczne w
Polsce redniowiecznej, Archeologia Polski 5 (1960), 257287.
107PlUB #66.
108Nec instituat nec destituat sacerdotes nisi cum consensus eius. Item causas matri-
moniales non iudicet et uxores pro delictis maritorum... (PlUB #66).
109Dariusz Karczewski, Konwent franciszkanw inowrocawskich w redniowieczu,
Ziemia Kujawska 10 (1994), 1317.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 49

of the Franciscans into the Prussian frontier would have a profound

impact on the relations between witopek and the Dominicans, because
it introduced a challenger to the Dominicans preeminent place as mis-
sionaries to the Prussians. This relationship was already strained because
the Dominicans had just founded a convent in Elblg, which witopeks
Prussian allies had sacked, and one of the provisions of the settlement
included witopek making amends to the Dominicans of Gdask.110 Jan
Powierski argues that the founding of the Dominican convent in Elblg
signified that the Dominicans had already chosen to side with the Knights
as leaders of the Prussian mission.111 This argument is further supported
by the fact that the Knights had also founded a Dominican convent in
Chemno in the mid-1230s,112 and that the papal legates 1236 mandate
to consecrate three Dominicans as the new bishops of Prussia depended
upon the counsel and assent of the Knights.113 In light of this, the Prus-
sian sack of Elblg had not only harmed the convent in that town, but also
hindered the Dominicans endeavors to control the ecclesiastical struc-
ture of Prussia due the reappearance of Bishop Christian. The fact that
the Knights founded a Franciscan convent in Toru in 1239 might also
have given the Dominicans pause for concern that their position in Prus-
sia might be undermined if they continued to support witopek.114
The sack of Elblg also strained relations with witopeks other
translocal allyLbeck, which had founded a colony there in the 1230s.115
witopek took pains to try to retain Lbecks support. Around 1240,
causa perpetue amicicie, he significantly lightened and simplified the
tolls the Lbeckers had to pay in the port of Gdask, and he also freed
the merchants completely from ius naufragii.116 In the 1220s the Lbeck-
ers and witopek had negotiated a complex system of tolls and duties
depending upon the size of the ships and whether they were sailing up

110Item precipimus, ut Predicatoribus de Gdanzc, secundum quod promisit, satisfa-

ciat (PlUB #66).
111 Powierski, Stellung, 114.
112Trupinda, 535.
113PrUB I/1 #125.
114Labuda, Dzieje, 226227.
115Henryk Samsonowicz, Elblg w zwizku miast hanzeatyckich w XIII i XIV w., Rocz-
nik Elblski 12 (1991), 920.
116PlUB #74; Ius naufragii, also called the right of wreck, was the right of a ruler of a
territory to the shipwrecked goods that washed ashore. For an analysis of the evolution of
this concept in a European context, see Rose Melikan, Shippers, Salvors, and Sovereigns:
Competing Interests in the Medieval Law of Shipwreck, Journal of Legal History 11 (1990),
50 chapter one

or down the Vistula. The Lbeckers also had to pay a fee for the return of
their shipwrecked goods and sailors, which varied depending on the size
of the ship.117 While these concessions significantly lessened the amount
of income derived from the Lbeckers, they were far better than the eco-
nomic and political disaster that would result from Lbeck fighting against
witopek. The Knights, however, could promise more. In December 1242
the Prussian landmaster promised the Lbeckers extensive territorial pos-
sessions in Prussia in exchange for their military support.118
By this time, the Knights had also recruited additional allies. witopeks
brothers had turned to the Knights by 1242 for aid, and in September Duke
Konrad of Krakw (formerly of Mazovia) and his sons, Duke Bolesaw of
Mazovia and Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy, signed an alliance directed explic-
itly against witopek, which Bishop Micha of Kujawy witnessed and
sealed.119 The inclusion of Konrad and his sons in this alliance is somewhat
surprising, considering that just two years earlier Konrad and Bolesaw
had complained to the papal legate, William, that the Knights were trying
to take the land of Lubawa from them, a land they claimed their ancestors
acquired from the hands of the Prussians with their sword and shield.120
The Knights responded to this by reminding the dukes that they had been
invited to Prussia because the dukes were too weak to defend even their
own patrimony, so it was unlikely that they actually possessed these other
lands.121 The fact that this dispute was finally resolved only in their treaty
with the Knights against witopek demonstrates just how much of a
threat the dukes of Mazovia considered him to be. The main reason for
this coalition seems to be that witopek was trying to control navigation
on the Vistula. In order to fill the ducal coffers and take advantage of the
strategic location of his duchy, witopek built a fort along the Vistula at
Sartowice, and began collecting tolls from ships traveling on the Vistula.122
The two main towns in the OrdensstaatChemno and Toruwere
upstream of this fort, so the Knights would have to pay tolls on all the

117 PlUB #33.

118 The Knights promised that not only could they found a town in Prussia, but that
they could also have half of the still unconquered land of Sambia (Rozenkranz, Prawo,
89; PrUB I/1 #140).
119PlUB #78.
120...parentes eorum et ipsi acquisissent eam de manibus Prutenorum cum gladio et
clipeo suo (PrUB I/1 #132).
121 Ad quod respondebant fratres et Pruteni, qui erant ibi, hoc non esse verisimile
neque uerum, cum nec Mazouiam, que est ducum hereditas, a Prutenis potuerint defen-
sare (PrUB I/1 #132).
122Labuda, HP I/1, 446.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 51

ships going to and from these towns to western Europe. This annoyed the
Polish dukes as well, who were also upstream of witopeks duchy. In
addition, both Duke Kazimierz and the Teutonic Knights had captured
some of witopeks castles on the Vistula in the previous conflict, so it
seems that both parties were concerned with the free movement of goods
and people along this river. This is stated explicitly in the treaty: We [the
Polish dukes] promise truly to the mentioned brothers [the Knights], that
their men...should be immune from all exactions both in the waters and
the lands in the duchy of Pomerania.123 The Vistula River, which had just
a decade earlier demarcated the boundary between Latin Christendom
and paganism, had now become a vital economic and military artery,
which all the surrounding rulers were eager to control.
There were still two other figures with claims to both jurisdiction over
the Vistula delta and direction of the Prussian missionthe papal legate,
William of Modena, and Christian, the titular bishop of Prussia. Chris-
tians release from captivity had placed William in an awkward position.
William had supported the Knights as the military and spiritual leaders of
the mission in Christians absence, and after his release Christian began
to complain to the pope about not only the injustices the Knights had
inflicted upon himseizing Santyr and usurping his episcopal rights
but also how they were hindering the Prussian mission by preventing
pagans from being baptized and oppressing the neophytes.124
Gregory seems to have been troubled by Christians complaints, and
he appointed several clerics to investigate these charges in 1240.125 Unfor-
tunately for Christian, Gregory died a year later, and his successor was
not as receptive to his complaints. In July 1243, one month after ascend-
ing the papal throne, Pope Innocent IV ordered William to divide Prussia
into four dioceses.126 At the same time he also informed Christian of what
he had done, and told him to pick one of the dioceses as his new bish-
opric.127 In the fall of 1243, Christian prepared a vidimus of all the rights
granted to him by Innocent IVs predecessorsInnocent III, Honorius III,
and Gregory IXwhich was witnessed by the abbots of eleven Cistercian

123Promisimus vero fratribus memoratis, quod homines eorum tam per aquas quam
per terras in ducatu Pomeranie ab omni exactione...sint immunes... (PlUB #78).
124PrUB I/1 #134.
125PrUB I/1 #134.
126PrUB I/1 #142, #143; Innocents election actually took place almost two years after
Gregorys death, a period in which the papal throne sat vacant after the two-week reign of
Celestine IV in the fall of 1241.
127PrUB I/1 #144.
52 chapter one

monasteries in France, Germany, and Poland, and then sent to the pope.128
Curiously, the abbots of both Christians former monastery of Oliwa and
Oliwas mother house of Kobacz were absent. In fact, all of the abbots
were from monasteries belonging to the Morimund branch of the order,
including Morimund itself. It is difficult to tell why Oliwa had refused to
take part. Perhaps Oliwa had already felt enough of the destructive effects
of witopeks conflict with the Knights.129 Or perhaps, they were just
ready to cede the role that they had previously held in the mission. At
the same time that Christian and the Cistercian abbots were submitting
their complaint to the pope, Innocent IV was entrusting the preaching
of the Baltic crusade exclusively to the Dominicans.130 Three years later
the Cistercian chapter general decided that monks of the Order were to
recite the Seven Penitential Psalms and seven Our Fathers for the success
of the Dominican and Franciscan missions, effectively marking the end
of the Cistercian missions.131
In spite of the declining position of the Cistercians in the Prussian mis-
sion, Christian apparently still commanded the respect of some of the
Prussian neophytes. Jan Powierski has suggested that Christian might
have played a role both in inciting the Prussians to rebel and in having
them submit to witopeks leadership.132 In the winter of 12421243 war
broke out between witopek and his allies (the Prussian neophytes) and
the Teutonic Knights and their allies (the dukes of Poland, witopeks
brothers, and Lbeck). Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy and Duke Przemys I of
Great Poland invaded Pomerania from the south and seized the border-
land castles of Wyszogrd and Nako respectively.133 Przemys, however,
abandoned the war after capturing Nako, and despite Kazimierzs contin-
ued support, witopek and the Prussians still managed to capture most
of Prussia from the Teutonic Knights in 12431244.134 At this stage in the
conflict, Lbecks aid proved to be invaluable to the Knights, who had lost
all of their holdings except for five centers on the Baltic coast and the Vis-
tula River.135 The Lbeckers fleet kept these isolated centers supplied and
disrupted communications between witopek and his Prussian allies on

128PrUB I/1 #153.

129Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 353.
130PrUB I/1 #146, #148, #151.
131 Lekai, Cistercians, 62.
132Powierski, Stellung, 120.
133Powierski, Stellung, 121.
134Powierski, Stellung, 121.
135Rozenkranz, Prawo, 910.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 53

the other side of the river. By 1244, with Lbecks help, the Knights had
recovered most of their lands. Unfortunately for the Lbeckers, however,
the Prussian landmaster who had signed the agreement promising them
lands in Prussia was removed from his post, and now that the danger had
passed his replacement was unwilling to bestow such generous grants.136
These events set off a series of disputes between Lbeck and the Knights,
which are beyond the scope of this chapter but are of great interest for
studying competing forms of German law.137 In any event, at this time
the Lbeckers appear to have given up on both of their former allies. They
set out for Sambia in 1246, conquering for themselves the pagan lands
promised to them by the Knights, and returned to Lbeck with pagans
whom they baptized in the Church of St. Mary, broadcasting their rights
to this land in a large public spectacle.138 The Lbeck town council also
sent a letter to the Knights boasting about these events.139
At this same time, relations between the Knights and the papacy were
also beginning to break down, because William had been recalled to
Rome to prepare for the First Council of Lyon.140 At first it appeared that
this change in leadership of the Prussian mission would not affect the
Knights relationship with the papacy. In the first week of February 1245,
Pope Innocent IV decided to deal with both witopek and Christian.
He wrote a letter to the new papal legate, Henry, a Dominican who had
served as Williams chaplain,141 telling him to inform Christian that he
had to take possession of one of the new Prussian bishoprics within two
months, or else lose his episcopal rights.142 In addition, he wrote a letter
to the Knights, praising them for fighting for the faith in Prussia,143 and he
also informed them that Williams chaplain, Henry, would be taking over
Williams duties, because his presence was needed at the papal curia.144
What he did not tell them, however, was that he had instructed Henry
and the archbishop of Gniezno to lift the sentence of excommunication

136Rozenkranz, Prawo, 10.

137See Rozenkranz, Prawo, 1016.
138Urban, Baltic, 178; Lbeckisches Urkundenbuch (Lbeck: Asschenfeldt, 1843), 1 #194.
139PrUB I/1 #189.
140Urban, Baltic, 179.
141 PlUB #82.
142PrUB I/1 #166.
143PlUB #83 and PrUB I/1 #162.
144PrUB I/1 #164.
54 chapter one

that had been imposed on witopek and his Prussian allies if they did
penance for their sins.145
Innocent also wrote a letter to witopek himself, condemning him for
the fact that even though he had been excommunicated for eight years
(he was excommunicated by the bishop of Kujawy in 1237), he contin-
ued to ally himself with pagans against the Knights and crusaders, stating
that those who hear about the excess of such an error are astounded.146
After this condemnation, however, the tone of the letter changes, as he
implores witopek to change his ways:
Thus, we entreat you by the cross and blood of the lord Jesus Christ...to
return to the pious bosom of mother Church and to the business of Christ,
which is carried out in Prussia...so that from this you will position yourself
favorably with the king of heaven and the apostolic see....147
Despite all of witopeks transgressions, Innocent still thought of him as
a partner in the Prussian mission, and despite referring to him in his let-
ter to the archbishop of Gniezno as an enemy of God and persecutor of
the faith,148 the pope still appealed to the spiritual rewards that awaited
witopek if he once again joined the Prussian crusade [negotium Christi,
quod in Pruscia geritur]. Apparently witopek took Innocents words to
heart, because the Knights chronicler, Peter von Dusburg, noted that
witopek, who the day before was so hard-headed and obstinate in his
perfidy, now wanted to return to the bosom of holy mother Church.149
Although this was a common enough expression, and Dusburg was writ-
ing 80 years after the fact, witopek might have genuinely feared that his
soul was in danger. After all, getting a letter from the pope was a pretty
big deal for a minor duke like witopek, and in addition to the heav-
enly rewards, Innocent had also promised his special graces [speciales
gratias].150 In any event, this treaty was not confirmed until October of

145PlUB #82, #84.

146Stupent, qui audiunt tanti erroris excessum... (PlUB #81).
147Te itaque per domini Jhesu Christi crucem et sanguinem obsecramus...ad pium
rediens matris ecclesie gremium negotium Christi, quod in Pruscia geritur...ut ex hoc celi
regem constituas tibi propritium et apostolica sedes... (PlUB #81).
148hostis dei et fidei persecutor (PlUB #84).
149...pridie tam dure cervicis fuit et obstinatus in perfidia...vellet redire ad sancte
matris ecclesie gremium... (Dusburg III.39).
150PlUB #84.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 55

the following year,151 after Innocent had dispatched a new legate to Prus-
sia, Abbot Opizo of Mezzane.152
As Jan Powierski and William Urban have pointed out, 1246 marked a
sea change in relations between the papacy and the Knights. Jan Powier-
ski has argued that not only did Opizo release witopek from the ban of
excommunication imposed by the bishop of Kujawy,153 but he also might
have excommunicated the Knights.154 At the First Council of Lyon in 1245
Innocent had excommunicated and deposed Emperor Frederick II, who
had been a staunch supporter of the Knights. During this conflict between
Frederick and Innocent, the Knights occupied a precarious place, because
both men believed that the Knights were working as the agents of their
enemy. As a result, Frederick seized their possessions in Sicily, while Inno-
cent pressured them in Prussia.155
The Knights also experienced an illusory victory when Bishop Christian
of Prussia died in December 1245, as Innocent then decided to establish
an archbishopric in Prussia, to be governed by the then archbishop of
Armagh, Albert Suerbeer.156 Because the Knights did not want to sub-
mit to an archbishop, they told him it was unsafe in Prussia, so he went
to Lbeck, the staging ground of the Baltic missions, and occupied the
vacant bishopric there.157 His treatment by the Knights encouraged Albert
to become witopeks ally. However, because he was kept away from
Prussia, the duke of Pomerania had to deal with another new papal repre-
sentative, Archdeacon Jacques of Laonthe future Pope Urban IV (1261
1264), who would take a much harsher stance on witopeks activities
than Opizo had done.158

151PlUB #93.
152Innocent wrote to Henry on 7 October 1245 informing him that Opizo was taking
over control of the Prussian mission (PrUB I/1 #170).
153As noted above, this was made possible because witopeks sister had mediated
an agreement between her brother and the bishop (PlUB #93).
154Powierski, Stellung, 122; Tabulae ordinis Theutonici, ed. Ernst Strehlke (Berlin:
Weidmann, 1869; reprint, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975) #499, #504, #507.
155Klaus Militzer, From the Holy Land to Prussia: The Teutonic Knights Between
Emperors and Popes and their Policies until 1309, in Mendicants, Military Orders, and
Regionalism in Medieval Europe, ed. Jrgen Sarnowsky (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 73. See
also Nicholas Morton, The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land 11901291 (Woodbridge: The
Boydell Press, 2009).
156Powierski, Stellung, 123; PrUB I/1 #176; see also Urban, Prussian, 199213.
157Urban, Prussian, 201; Urban, Baltic, 180.
158Innocent had appointed Cardinal-Deacon Peter Capocci of St. George as his legate
to Poland and Pomerania in March 1247 (PlUB #94), but he apparently never made it
there, because Archdeacon Jacques of Laon was appointed legate of Poland, Prussia, and
56 chapter one

In October 1247, before the appointment of the new legate, the arch-
bishop of Gniezno and the bishop of Chemno had met on an island
in the Vistula (which separated their two provinces) to try to arbitrate
a more permanent settlement for the dispute between witopek and
the Knights.159 This agreement would serve as a guide for Jacques, who
had been commissioned by the pope to make a long-lasting truce.160 It
should be underscored that witopeks Prussian allies are now referred
to as neophytes, whereas previously they had been called pagans.
Although, as noted above, the fourteenth-century chronicles of the Poles
and the Teutonic Knights depicted witopek as an enemy of the faith
who encouraged his Prussian allies to apostatize, there is little contem-
porary evidence to support this view. The papacy never once used its
main weaponthe crusadeagainst witopek. Although there were
plenty of crusaders in Prussia who certainly participated in the conflict
against the duke of Pomerania, crusading privileges were never granted
explicitly to fight witopek. Instead, the popes treated him as they did
any intransigent Christian ruler, with threats of excommunication. This
weapon would have been of little use against an apostate. In fact, as noted
above, the pope did not just want witopek to stop fighting the Knights.
He was recruiting him to take an active part in the Prussian crusade once
again. As for witopeks allies, the true nature of their religiosity was
revealed by the Peace of Christburg, in which they were represented as
true Christians. This lengthy document, which the legate and the bishop
of Chemno negotiated with witopeks Prussian allies in February 1249,161
served as something of a constitution for the Prussian inhabitants of the
nascent Teutonic Ordensstaat. It guaranteed the Prussian neophytes
expansive rights and privileges and protected them from the undue exac-
tions that Bishop Christian had complained about and which had prob-
ably prompted the Prussians to rebel.
witopek, however, did not fare as well. This was due in large part
to the fact that the issue that had alienated the Knights from the pope
the Knights longstanding support for Emperor Frederick IIwas not as

Pomerania in November (PlUB #97, #98, #99, #99a, #99b). Peter was appointed legate to
Spoleto, Ancona, Tuscany, and Campagna-Marittima in April 1249 [D.P. Waley, Constitu-
tions of the Cardinal-Legate Peter Capocci, July 1249, English Historical Review 75 (1960),
159PrUB I/1 #194 and PlUB #96.
160PlUB #100.
161 PrUB I/1 #218; for a discussion of the privileges granted to the neophytes see Urban,
Prussian, 209212.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 57

pressing for Innocent after Fredericks army was defeated in the battle
of Parma in February 1248.162 In the peace settlement mediated by the
papal legate in November 1248, witopek was forced to give several dis-
puted borderland territories to the Knights and was denied the right to
claim any indemnities from the Knights for the lands he lost to the Polish
dukes.163 It was a humiliating peace, and to make matters worse, the fol-
lowing month Jacques excommunicated witopek because of his mis-
treatment of his brothers, who were awarded the lands that witopek
had seized from them.164
Having failed in his attempt to use translocal organization to accom-
plish his expansionist goals, witopek now turned to the only other
people who seemed to be dissatisfied with the Knights leadership of
the Prussian mission, the displaced members of the Prussian ecclesias-
tical hierarchyArchbishop Albert of Prussia and Bishop-elect Tetward
of Sambia.165 Tetwards bishopric was still unconquered by the Knights,
while the archbishop was still sitting in exile in Lbeck. Because of these
two ecclesiastics associations with both Lbeck and the Dominicans,
witopek also attempted to use these men to reestablish relations with
his original allies from the 1220s. Albert was both a Dominican and the
bishop of Lbeck, while the Dominican Tetward was the titular bishop
of Sambia, the region of Prussia that had been promised to Lbeck by
the Knights in exchange for their help fighting witopek. The duke of
Pomerania hoped to resolve his dispute with Lbeck in order to reestab-
lish Gdask as an entrept for the region, just as he also hoped that by
winning over the Dominicans to his cause, they might plead his case to the
papacy in order to ease the harsh conditions of the peace imposed on him
by the papal legate. But, at the same time, his dispute with Bishop Micha
of Kujawy had taught him that the only way to be truly independent from
the Polish dukes was to remove the archdeaconate of Pomerania from the
bishopric of Kujawy, so that he could more easily control the ecclesiasti-
cal revenues. It seems, therefore, that he also sought to take advantage of
the changing episcopal system that was emerging in the Baltic to free his
duchy from the Polish church.166

162See Joseph R. Strayer, The Political Crusades of the Thirteenth Century, in A His-
tory of the Crusades. Volume 2: The Later Crusades 11891311, ed. Robert Lee Wolff and Harry
W. Hazard (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 355.
163PlUB #110, #111.
164PlUB #114.
165Powierski, Stellung, 126; Labuda, HP I/1, 527; PrUB I/1 #225.
166For an analysis of Tetwards activities see Bruszewska-Gombiowska, 173178.
58 chapter one

Unfortunately for him, his attempts to use these men to renegotiate a

settlement with the papal legate, reestablish friendly relations with the
Dominicans and the Lbeckers, and found an autonomous bishopric
in Pomerania all proved to be unsuccessful. To begin with, Albert was
a highly divisive figure, who refused to negotiate with the Knights leg-
ates. When one legation came to Lbeck in July 1249, Albert stayed out of
town for over a week, because he was occupied with other business, and
both the Dominicans and Franciscans witnessed the legates complaint
about the archbishops intransigence.167 In October, Innocent informed
both parties that they had to appear before him in Lyon by the following
Easter.168 The settlement reached by the judges-delegate in this dispute,
including the former papal legate in Prussia, Bishop William of Modena,
did not really settle anything. William and his colleagues essentially told
Albert and the Knights to lump their losses and get on with the business of
running the crusade [crucis et fidei negotium].169 Nothing was said about
the fact that Albert was prevented from taking up his office in Prussia.
In fact, this settlement was designed to bury the past in order to plan for
the future. One of the provisions of the settlement was that if pagans of
any land want to convert to the faith, the same archbishop with the bish-
ops and above said brothers [the Teutonic Knights] should receive them
kindly and benevolently under tolerable and decent conditions.170 The
papacy, in fact, already knew which people would be converted, because
Mindaugas, the ruler of Lithuania had approached the Teutonic Knights
about the possibility of an alliance with them against a rebellious prov-
ince in exchange for his conversion to Christianity.171 The dispute between
Albert and the Knights was hindering the Lithuanian mission. In order to
end it, the pope agreed in March 1251 that Albert would be given Riga in
Livonia as his see after the death of the bishop there.172 The attention of
the papacy as well as Archbishop Albert was now focused further east on

167The Knights legate had Lbecks mendicants bear witness to the fact that Albert
had made no attempt to contact him during his stay in the city (PrUB I/1 #223).
168PrUB I/1 #225.
169PrUB I/1 #240.
170...si pagani alicuius terre ad fidem converti voluerint, idem archiepiscopus cum
episopis et fratribus supradictis eos comiter et benigne suscipiet sub conditionibus tol-
lerabilibus et honestis (PrUB I/1 #240).
171 S.C. Rowell, Lithuania Ascending: a Pagan Empire in East-Central Europe, 12951345
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 51.
172PrUB I/1 #241; Urban, Baltic, 186.
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 59

Livonia and Lithuania, which meant that witopek was losing his lever-
age as defender of the Prussian mission.
witopek then turned to Tetward, the Dominican bishop-elect of
Sambia, whom the Knights were still preventing from entering his bish-
opric.173 The duke of Pomerania hoped for a great deal from his alliance
with Tetward. First, he wanted Tetward to help him reestablish friendly
relations with the Dominicans and through them with the papacy. He
also saw in him the possibility of reestablishing friendly relations with
the Lbeckers, who as mentioned above had conquered part of Sambia,
despite the fact that the Knights reneged on their promise to grant this
land to them. Finally, he granted Tetward all of the bishop of Kujawys
possessions in Pomerania in hopes of securing an autonomous bishopric.174
None of these actions succeeded. Instead, they led to witopeks final
settlement with the Knights in 1253.
As noted above, the Dominicans had succeeded in replacing the Cister-
cians as the papacys directors of the Prussian mission in the 1230s and
1240s. By the 1250s, however, their preeminent position was beginning to
be challenged by both the Franciscans, who came to Prussia a decade after
the Dominicans, and the Teutonic Knights themselves. Although Arch-
bishop Albert was a Dominican, as were Bishops Heidenrich of Chemno
and Ernst of Pomezania, in 1249 Innocent IV named Heinrich von Stritt-
berg, a priest of the Teutonic Knights, as bishop of Warmia.175 Heinrich
was replaced in 1251 by Anselm von Meissen, another priest of the Teu-
tonic Knights.176 Also, despite the fact that the Dominican Heidenrich
crowned Mindaugas king of Lithuania in 1251, the Knights also succeeded
in getting a priest from their order installed as bishop of Lithuania.177 In
this climate, there was little that Tetward could do, and in February 1253
he, in fact, lost his own office to the Franciscan John of Diest178 after the

173Labuda, HP I/1, 527.

174Labuda, HP I/1, 527.
175PrUB I/1 #219.
176Gerard Labuda and Marian Biskup, Dzieje zakonu krzyackiego w Prusach:
gospodarkaspoeczestwopastwoideologia (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Morskie, 1986),
177Koczowski, Dominicans, 87; PrUB I/1 #273.
178Labuda, Dzieje, 169; Urkundenbuch des Bistums Samland, ed. C.P. Woelky and
H. Mendthal (Leipzig: Duncker and Humblot, 1891), 1: #18. For more on John, see Williell R.
Thomson, Friars in the Cathedral: The First Franciscan Bishops, 12261261 (Toronto: The
Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1975), 5257.
60 chapter one

Franciscans in Toru complained about witopeks alliance with pagans

and acts of violence against the Prussian neophytes.179
Tetwards attempts to make amends with Lbeck in witopeks name
had, however, met with some interest at meetings in Wismar in June 1251,180
and Lbeck in April 1252.181 Nevertheless, a Lbeck colony would not
return to Gdask until 1263.182 The Lbeck merchants had begun to look
further east, and witopek had lost his connection to the city after Tet-
ward was charged in June 1253 with unjustly occupying lands belonging to
the bishop of Kujawy.183 Already removed from his bishopric in Sambia,
he was then denied his claim to found a new bishopric in Pomerania.
After this, he disappears from the historical record.
In 1253 witopek was reminded that he must live alongside not only
Poles and Germans, but also the Slavic rulers of west Pomerania, when
Duke Barnim I invaded his western frontier in an attempt to recover
Sawno and Supsk,184 which witopek had taken in the 1220s and 1230s.185
In 1253 witopek also received his last papal bull. In this letter Innocent
reminded him that finally after the divisions of wars, the massacre of
many, and much damage, his legate, Jacques, had made a peace which he
had sworn to and signed with his seal, but which he broke all the same.186
There was no attempt to reenlist witopek in the Prussian crusade, and
the peace treaty that he did finally sign with the Knights in July 1253 all
but precluded him from participating in any more crusades, because if he
entered the Knights lands with a force of 100 knights or more, he would
have to cede Gdask to the Knights.187 It was unlikely that witopek
would take the chance that his knights would be interpreted as crusaders
rather than invaders or that the Knights would even ask for his help. This
was the end of witopeks career as a crusader.
In the end, witopeks associations with the emerging translocal orga-
nizations that would come to dominate the Balticthe Teutonic Knights,

179PrUB I/1 #259.

180PlUB #133.
181 PlUB #137.
182PlUB #204.
183PlUB #138.
184Powierski, Stellung, 126.
185Labuda HP I/1, 405406.
186...tandem post guerrarum discrimina, multorum stragem et plurima dampna...(PlUB
#144 and PrUB I/1 #264).
187...si nos deinceps terram predictorum magistri et fratrum cum centum viris equiti-
bus vel pluribus hostiliter invaserimus...castrum Danense et terra cum pertinentiis omni-
bus ad predictorum fratrum dominium devolvatur... (PlUB #156 and PrUB I/1 #271).
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 61

the Dominicans, and Lbeckersproved to be an unsatisfactory path

to state formation. While witopek did eventually normalize relations
with Lbeck ten years after the end of the war, his brother, Sambor, had
already cultivated relationships with all of the economic powers of the
region. Sambor founded his own Lbeck colony in his port city of Tczew
and also granted the burghers from towns in the OrdensstaatChemno,188
Toru,189 and Elblg190freedom from tolls in his lands. In addition, he
rewarded the Teutonic Knights with extensive lands in the Vistula basin.191
Needless to say, witopek no longer supported the Knights. Nor did he
fight against them, however. When the Prussians rebelled again in 1260,
he sat on the sidelines, letting the Knights determine the development of
this new Christian land.192 Instead, he chose to further endow his ances-
tral monastery of Oliwa,193 which had also given up on playing any role in
directing the Prussian mission. Oliwas association with witopek would
continue to cause the monks many problems, even after he had made peace
with the Knights, because Sambor tried to take lands belonging to what he
thought of as witopeks monastery in order to found his own Cistercian
monastery and further develop his own nascent duchy.194 This led to a long-
lasting dispute, but it was one that was left to his eldest son, Mciwj, to
resolve. In 1266 witopek died and was buried with his ancestors at Oliwa.

Conclusion: The Closing of the Vistula Frontier195

The frontier duchy of Pomerania had loomed large in the ambitions of

the westerners who flooded into the pagan-Christian frontier in the first

188PlUB #136 and PrUB I/1 #257.

189PrUB I/1 #258.
190PlUB #161 and PrUB I/1 #318.
191 PlUB #134 and PrUB I/1 #254, PlUB #145 and PrUB I/1 #263; PlUB #159 and PrUB I/1 #283.
192Powierski, Stellung, 127; for the Great Prussian Uprising see Urban, Prussian, 243
268 and Christiansen, 208209.
193PlUB #202, #209.
194See chapter two.
195I borrow the title of the conclusion from Archibald R. Lewis [The Closing of the
Medieval Frontier 12501350, Speculum 33 (1958), 475483], but I am using this concept in
a very different way. Lewis comment that in Eastern Europe after 1250 one notices a simi-
lar contraction of Western European influence cannot be supported (479). The Teutonic
Knights continued to expand to the east in the late thirteenth century, and during this
same time the Lbeck merchants formed the Hanse, which linked the markets of Eastern
and Western Europe. In fact, it was the expansion of the frontier further to the east that
closed the Pomeranian frontier.
62 chapter one

decades of the thirteenth century. Within a generation, however, this for-

mer bridgehead had become a roadblock. Whereas the Vistula had been
the boundary of Latin Christendom, with the first Prussian episcopal see
located just across this boundary, within a few decades the conquests of
the Teutonic Knights and King Mindaugas of Lithuanias conversion to
Christianity in 1251 had pushed the bounds of Latin Christendom con-
siderably further east.196 By mid-century it looked to the papacy as if
paganism would be wiped out in Europe if not for troublemakers like
witopek, who were inciting the neophytes to revolt. witopek had
earlier managed to locate himself and his duchy at the vanguard of papal
plans for the then terra incognita, which resulted in the papacy legitimiz-
ing witopeks independence from the Polish dukes in 1227 and 1231. The
papacy continued to try to cultivate witopeks help in the Prussian cru-
sade throughout his conflict with the Knights, up until 1253. At this point
Pope Innocent IV came to view him as an impediment to the Teutonic
Knights further conversion of the pagan Baltic peoples, so he was com-
memorated in the final bull as an enemy of Christendom.
The memory of witopeks accomplishments also suffered at the
hands of the Teutonic Knights and the Polish rulers, who contended over
this duchy in the decades after his death. His role in the Prussian mission
was written out of their histories, as they attempted to bury the memory
not only of witopek, but also of the borderland society that had allowed
him to emerge as an independent ruler. Fourteenth-century Poles and
Teutonic Knights attempted to impose their own competing, simplified
visions of order on a complicated world of overlapping political, ecclesi-
astical, and economic jurisdictions and ever-changing markers of group
and individual identity.
By the time of the 1320 and 1339 trials, as we will see in chapter 5,
the Polish witnesses had completely forgotten about witopek, while
his son, Mciwj, was commemorated as a loyal Polish prince, who held
Pomerania in the name of an imagined kingdom of Poland, to which this
land had belonged ab antiquo. Similarly, as mentioned above, some early
fourteenth-century Polish chroniclers remembered the early Pomeranian
dukes as royal officials in a kingdom which did not actually exist.
At the same time, the Teutonic Knights, who since 13081309 had
been in possession of the duchy of Pomerania, vilified witopeks

196It should be pointed out that the Lithuanian mission was a complete failure, ending
with Mindaugas apostasy and eventual murder in 1263 (Rowell, Lithuania, 51).
a iugo principum polonie, a iugo theutonicorum 63

s tate-formation activities. Peter von Dusburg, whose criticism of the duke

of Pomerania has been outlined above, has witopek imparting these
words to his heirs on his deathbed:
After the war arose between me on the one hand and the brothers of the
German House on the other, I always grew weaker; I fought against them
by fair means and foul and in all kinds of ways, but I accomplished nothing,
because God is with them and fights for them. Therefore my counsel is that
you never oppose them, but honor them with all reverence.197
Even this long-vanquished troublemaker had to be made to recognize the
Teutonic Knights destiny to found a territorial state on the Baltic littoral.
In the end the monks at Oliwa were the only ones to preserve
witopeks memory and the memory of the borderland society of the
thirteenth century, because in the fourteenth century they were still
affected by these memories. Although the Teutonic Knights were the
lords of Pomerania in the fourteenth century, many rulers from different
states had held it in between witopeks death in 1266 and the Knights
conquest in 13081309. In order to preserve the memories of the grants
made by all their former benefactors, the monks could not buy into the
emerging statist discourse of the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic
Ordensstaat, which attempted to appropriate the memory of Pomera-
nia for political purposes. This is why Oliwas abbot wrote a chronicle
of his monastery in the middle of the fourteenth century which praised
witopek.198 Although the following chapters will furnish frequent illus-
trations of the ways that the abbots of Oliwa functioned as their lords
advocates during the Knights occupation of Pomerania, they were not

197Postquam inter me ex una parte et fratres domus Theutonice ex altera bellum cre-
vit, ego semper decrevit; per fas et per nefas et modis variis impugnavi eos et non profeci,
quia Deus cum eis est et pugnat pro eis. Unde consulo, quod nunquam vos eis opponatis,
sed cum omni reverencia honorate (Dusburg III.128).
198According to Jarosaw Wenta, the Chronica Olivensis (MPH 6: 290350) was writ-
ten down in the late 1350s or early 1360s [Studien ber die Ordensgeschichtsschreibung am
Beispiel Preuens (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 2000), 225],
while Christoph Friedrich Weber dates the chronicle ca 134851 [Chronica Olivensis,
in The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, ed. Graeme Dunphy (Leiden: Brill, 2010),
381]. Wojciech Ktrzyski, the editor of this chronicle, points out that the author of the
chronicle was probably Polish, because he used Polish names for people and places rather
than their German equivalent, and was most likely the abbot of Oliwa, who had the Pol-
ish name Stanisaw (MPH 6: 284, 269). Pomeranian did not figure as a separate ethnic
identifier for Ktrzyski, but Baej liwiski has recently argued that the chronicler came
from the Pomeranian knighthood [Kilka uwag o autorstwie Kroniki oliwskiej i opacie
Stanisawie, Roczniki Historyczne 73 (2007), 129138]. Some scholars have argued that the
author of the chronicle was actually the prior of Oliwa, Gerhard von Brunswalde.
64 chapter one

pawns of the Teutonic Knights. Christoph Friedrich Weber is certainly

correct that this chronicle was produced to inform the Knights of Oliwas
rights and privileges.199 But, this required the author to remind the Knights
about the complexities of the thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century
borderland society in which Oliwa had gained its rights and privileges,
the memory of which the Knights were doing their best to efface in their
own fourteenth-century chronicles. This perhaps explains why the author
of this chronicle went to such pains to reconcile the Knights memory of
witopek with the institutional memory of his monastery:
...and although the aforesaid prince, as is written above, had done so much
against the brothers and the order, I think, nevertheless, that he did not
do such things without good reason, especially since the ancient monks of
Oliwa in his day, who knew his life best, left behind in writing such things
concerning his virtues: that he was merciful, a lover of God and his servants,
especially the religious; moreover, he was a just judge, first of widows and
orphans, then of others; in addition, he was a doughty defender of his lands
and men, a clement judge, yet not so severe an avenger of wrongs done to
his own person.200
This monk represented witopek as the perfect lord, especially in the
eyes of his predecessors. Of course, it is difficult to determine whether
this author actually believed this, or whether he, like Peter von Dusburg,
was just instrumentalizing witopeks memory for his own purposes
in this case, to instruct his present lords, the Teutonic Knights, in the
requirements of good lordship, by demonstrating that even the Knights
most bitter enemy possessed these excellent qualities. Yet, as members of
a translocal organization charged with the preservation of witopeks
deeds and the salvation of his soul, the Cistercians of Oliwas spiritual and
temporal welfare depended on making sure that this dukes memory was
not buried by either the kingdom of Poland or the Teutonic Ordensstaat.
As we will see in the following chapters, the critical distance that these
Cistercians could take in these disputes over the memories of the past was
not often available to others.

199 Weber, 382.

200...et licet prefatus princeps talia, ut prescriptum est, contra fratres et ordinem
fecerit, estimo tamen ipsum sine racionalis motionis causa talia non fecisse, precipue
cum fratres antiqui monachi Olyvenses ipsius contemporanei, qui vitam ipsius optime
noverunt, de virtutibus suis talia reliquerunt in scriptis: quod fuit misericors et amator
Dei et servorum eius, maxime religiosorum; fuit eciam iustus iudex primo viduarum et
orphanorum, deinde aliorum; fuit insuper strennuus defensor terrarum suarum et homi-
num, clemens iudex nec severus ultor iniuriarum in personam suam illatarum (MPH 6:



The previous chapter has suggested ways in which witopek attempted

to take advantage of the duchy of Pomeranias position on the frontier of
Latin Christendom to build an independent state, which was legitimized
by his role as a leader of the Prussian mission. Yet, when the Teutonic
Knights quickly pushed the frontier of Latin Christendom further east, his
duchy was transformed into a borderland state, subject to his neighbors
predations. Although witopek maintained the peace with the Teutonic
Knights until his death and did not take any further military actions
against his brothers or participate in the Great Prussian Uprising of 1260,
he was left to deal with the internal and external complexities of ruling a
borderland duchy. He fought border wars with the neighboring Polish and
west Pomeranian dukes, and he had to contend with his brothers state-
formation activities in lands that bisected his own.
This contentious situation was exacerbated by witopeks division of
his possessions between his sons following his death in 1266. WarcisawII,
the younger son, was for some reason awarded the northern and more
prosperous lands of the duchy, centered on the port city of Gdask and
the familys ancestral monastery at Oliwa. Mciwj IIdespite the fact
that he was the eldest son, had fought beside his father for more than
two decades, and had been held as surety by the Teutonic Knights during
their dispute with his fatherwas relegated to the geographically more
extensive but economically and strategically weaker southern lands of the
duchy, centered on the recently founded city of wiecie. Historians have
long debated why witopek favored his younger son at the end of his life,
but whatever his motivations for doing so, they sowed the seeds for a new
period of internecine warfare along the south Baltic littoral.1 Mciwj was

1A number of historians have drawn attention to the fact that in the last year of his
life, witopek referred to Warcisaw as dilectissimus filius meus in the witness list of
a charter (PlUB #208), suggesting from the superlative that witopek had come to favor
66 chapter two

determined to capture the lands to which he thought himself entitled, just

as Warcisaw was determined to remove this pretender. The two brothers
uncles, Sambor and Racibor, whose lands bisected those of Mciwj and
Warcisaw, were unavoidably drawn into the ensuing conflict, and as in
the wars of the 1230s-1250s, so too were their neighbors.2
In the series of internecine wars that broke out almost immediately
after witopeks death, all four Pomeranian dukes scrambled to ally
themselves with one or more of the surrounding predatory lordships.
Although they tried to take advantage of the existing rivalries among their
neighbors to strengthen their own positions, in the end, all of them had
promised part or the entirety of their lands to their allies. When the wars
finally ended, Mciwj, the last man standing, was left to deal with his
neighbors competing claims on his newly acquired lands. These unfin-
ished narratives of dispute would lay the foundation for the fourteenth-
century claims to this duchy made by the Teutonic Knights and the kings
of Poland. In order to understand the complexities of these competing
claims, it will first be necessary to analyze the chain of events that set
them in motion.

The Pomeranian Civil War, 12661273

Even before witopeks death in January 1266, his sons and brothers
began cultivating relationships with the surrounding rulers to strengthen
their own positions. The first to do so were witopeks brothers. As the
previous chapter has illustrated, the Teutonic Ordensstaat was built not
only through conquest, but also through the pious donations of the sur-
rounding Polish and Pomeranian secular and ecclesiastical authorities. The
Knights did run afoul of some of their former benefactors (for example,
the dukes of Mazovia had disputes with the Knights in 1235 and 1240),3 but
most of the neighboring dukes still believed in the Knights cause, includ-
ing witopeks brothers, Racibor and Sambor, who rewarded the Knights

the only surviving son from his second and still living wife over his middle-aged son from
his previous marriage. See for example Baej liwiski, Poczet ksit gdaskich: Dynastia
Sobiesawicw XIIXIII wieku (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Marpress, 1997), 54; Jan Powierski,
Ukad kamieski (1264) na tle stosunkw midzy ksitami pomorski, Krzyackami i
Prusami w latach szedziesitych 13 wieku, Rocznik Olsztyski 8 (1968), 11.
2For the division of the territories, see Labuda, HP I/1, 529530.
3See chapter one.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 67

for their help in their dispute with witopek by granting them extensive
lands in their recently restored possessions.
As described in the previous chapter, Racibor had joined Sambor in
his struggle against their elder brother. Racibor had been imprisoned by
witopek, but he was eventually released and given free possession of
his inheritance of Biaogarda on the eba River in the western part of the
duchy.4 While we do not know a great deal about Racibors life, we do know
that at some point before his death, which most likely occurred in 1272,
he joined the Teutonic Knights and donated the entirety of his property
to them.5 Some scholars have speculated that he might even have gone to
the Mediterranean to fight for the Knights.6 In any event, it is important
to stress here that the Teutonic Knights were not defined primarily as a
German political organization at this time. They were still regarded first
and foremost as a religious order, and the idea that a Pomeranian duke
would have given his lands in veram...elemosinam7 and pro suarum ac
parentum suorum animarum remedio8 should not be regarded cynically.
The fact that the Knights provided military aid in addition to spiritual
rewards must have been seen as an added bonus.9 Besides, many of the
members of the other religious orders in Poland, especially the mendi-
cants who preached in cities which contained large German populations,
were of German descent. The hard ethnic lines that would be drawn in
later centuries were still fluid at this time.10

4 For a brief biographical account of his life, see liwiski, Poczet, 4344.
5 We learn about this from the settlement Mciwj made with the Teutonic Knights in
1282: ...de quadam parte Pomeranie, que ad eosdem fratres devoluta fuerat, ut dicebant,
ex collatione quadam Ratyborii...qui per ingressum religionis eorundem fratrum se et sua
deo et ipsi domui sancta Marie dedicaverat... (PlUB #336; #337).
6 Mikoaj Gadysz, The Forgotten Crusaders: Poland and the Crusader Movement in the
Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 363; liwiski, Poczet, 44.
7 See PlUB #279; Dusburg III.213. Dusburg attempts to strengthen the Knights claims
to Pomerania by stating that each of witopeks four sons (actually two sons and two
brothers) gave the entirety of their possessions to the Knights, except for Mciwj. He also
mistakenly has Warcisaw, rather than Racibor (whose name he did not even remember)
joining the Teutonic Knights. I quote this passage in its entirety and analyze it in greater
detail below.
8 PlUB #280.
9 Attempts were made by the Knights, the Polish rulers, and the papacy to maintain
this position well into the fourteenth century, even after the relationship between the
Ordensstaat and the kingdom of Poland had degenerated into open warfare.
10These blurry lines are expressed in a 1278 letter written by the Teutonic Knights to
the Polish knights living in Chemno, reminding them (in German!) that they have to fight
in Poland and Pomerania as well as in Prussia (PlUB #298). In addition, in the 1339 trial,
several ethnic Poles who had fought with the Teutonic Knights against Poland testified for
the Polish side in the trial. Chapters four and five have extended discussions of ethnicity.
68 chapter two

Sambor had also allied himself with the Teutonic Knights, although
he was simultaneously cultivating relationships with the dukes of Poland
and Mecklenburg, as well as the king of Denmark and the town council
of Lbeck. In addition, his grants were not made exclusively to the Teu-
tonic Order,11 but also to their subjects. In April 1252 Sambor, who now
called himself duke of Pomerania, rewarded the burghers of Chemno
and Toru for their fidelitatis constantia in his conflict against his
brother with the free passage of goods throughout his lands.12 He also
looked further west for assistance. In 1248 he married his eldest daughter,
Magorzata (Margaret), to the future King Christopher I of Denmark, and
in 1260 he granted Lbeck law to his port city of Tczew.13 He also used
the connections with his in-laws in Mecklenburg14 to challenge the posi-
tion of the traditional ducal monastery at Oliwa.15 In 1260 he granted a
village in Pomerania to the abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Doberan
in Mecklenburg, and around the same time he founded his own Cistercian
monastery in lands that he had previously granted to Oliwa.16 Through
his own grants to the Teutonic Knights as well as witopeks grants to
the Dominicans, Sambor had learned that monasteries could be used as
weapons in disputes. They were markers of lordship that also provided
lines of communication with the rest of Latin Christendom. Unfortunately
for him, in this case, these connections proved to be a liability. Oliwa com-
plained to the papacy about this violation of its rights, and Pope Urban IV
appointed the abbots of two west Pomeranian, Premonstratensian monas-
teries in Usedom (Polish: Uznam) and Belbuk (Polish: Biaobok) as judges-

11 PrUB I/1 #263; PlUB #133, PlUB #159.

12 PrUB I/1 #257, #258; PlUB #136.
13 Lbeck law was not granted to Gdask again until 1263 (PlUB#204). As discussed in
the previous chapter, witopek had asked the Dominican bishop-elect of Sambia to try
to patch things up between himself and the Lbeckers in 1251 and 1252, after Lbeck had
supported the Teutonic Knights in the wars of the previous decade, but his legation had
been unsuccessful (PlUB #133, #137).
14 He was married to Duchess Matylda (Mechtild) of Mecklenburg.
15 For the history of this new monastic foundation, see Romuald Frydrychowicz,
Geschichte der Cistercienserabtei Pelplin und ihre bau- und Kunstdenkmler (Dsseldorf:
L. Schwann, 1905).
16 See PlUB #183 and #184, although the latter is a later forgery and should be used care-
fully. Sambors daughter, Magorzata, also maintained close relations with the monastery
at Doberan, choosing it as her final resting place in 1282 (liwiski, Poczet, 60). For the his-
tory of Doberan, see Sven Wichert, Das Zisterzienserkloster Doberan im Mittelalter (Berlin:
Lukas, 2000).
dealing with the past and planning for the future 69

delegate in 1262.17 Four years later, the papal legate in Poland, Cardinal
Guido, Presbyter of St. Lawrence in Lucina, authorized these two judges to
excommunicate Sambor.18 The fact that this sentence was delivered just a
few months after his brothers death did not bode well for Sambor, as his
nephews took this opportunity to invade his duchy and drive him from
it early in 1267.19 This began nearly a decade of intermittent, internecine
warfare between Sambor, Warcisaw, and Mciwj.20 The precise details
and chronology of events of this war need not concern us here, but the
shifting alliances and conflicting grants which took place during this con-
flict are complicated and need to be discussed more fully.
Mciwj had begun looking for allies even before his fathers death,
possibly because he already knew that he would not be receiving the
lions share of his fathers duchy. In 1264, in Camin (Polish: Kamie) in
west Pomerania, Mciwj, who had already become duke of wiecie,
made a rather curious arrangement with Barnim, his dear kinsman
[dilecto...consanguineo] and duke of west Pomerania.21 Mciwj prom-
ised Barnim not only his own lands after his death, but also the lands of
his brother and father, which would devolve to him after their deaths.22
As we will see later in this chapter and the next, it was common for Polish
and Pomeranian dukes who did not have a male heir to name successors.
We will also see that these testaments were seldom ratified, either because
of changing positions between the two men (for example, the birth of a

17 PlUB #191; Urban was perhaps more interested in this dispute than another pope
might have been, because of the years he spent in Pomerania as a papal legate (when he
was Archdeacon Jacques of Laon) trying to resolve the dispute between witopek and
the Teutonic Knights.
18 PlUB #212.
19 Powierski, Stellung, 127; PlUB #218.
20 For an analysis of this war see Kazimierz Jasiski, Wojna domowa na Pomorzu
Gdaskim w latach 1269/701272 ze szczeglnym uwzgldnieniem roli rycerstwa i
monowadztwa, Spoeczestwo Polski redniowiecznej 3 (1985), 135187; Edward Rymar,
Walka o Pomorze Gdaskie w latach 12691272, Rocznik Gdaski 47 (1987), 533.
21 PlUB #206; Barnims mother, Mirosawa, was witopeks sister (liwiski, Poczet,
2728). For a detailed analysis of this agreement, see Powierski, Ukad; see also Franz
Engelbrecht, Das Herzogtum Pommern und seine Erwerbung durch den Deutschorden 1309
(Potsdam: Robert Mller, 1911), 1924.
22 Igitur notum esse volumus tam presentibus quam posteris, quod nos de mera nos-
tra liberalitate dilecto nostro consanguineo domino Barnim illustri Slauorum duci ac suis
heredibus contulimus et donavimus totam terram nostram Scwecensem cum omnibus ter-
minis, iuribus aliisque suis attinentiis possidendum in omnibus et per omnia eo iure, quo
nos ipsam tenuimus ac possedimus, eiusdem terre possessione nobis, quamdiu vixerimus,
tantummodo reservata. Conferimus etiam ei suisque heredibus et donamus terras, castra,
civitates, villas et universa dominia, que ad nos devolvi poterunt vel devolventur a patre
nostro et a fratre, cum omni iure post obitum nostrum libere possidenda (PlUB #206).
70 chapter two

son or a falling out between them), or because the nobles in their lands or
the neighboring dukes opposed these inheritances. One should look upon
these agreements as provisional treaties that might give someone a claim,
but certainly not exclusive rights, to the promised lands. This is an impor-
tant point to keep in mind in this and the next chapter concerning the
series of events that led to the reappearance of the kingdom of Poland.
Scholars have debated who Mciwj had in mind as a possible enemy
when he made this treaty, because he ended up fighting against almost all
of his relatives and neighbors. Jan Powierski has convincingly argued that
Mciwj and Barnim were entering into an alliance against the Teutonic
Knights (Mciwjs perennial foes) and the margraves of Brandenburg
(who threatened both dukes and were beginning to take an active role
in the Prussian crusades),23 as well as against Sambor and his daughter,
Margaret, who was ruling as regent in Denmark.24 It seems that Barnim,
however, was unwilling to wait and hope that Mciwj and his brother
died without sons. Just after Mciwj and Warcisaw invaded Sambors
lands, Barnim invaded Sawno, in central Pomerania, just as he had done
in 1253, during witopeks conflict with the Knights.25 This would not be
the only time that the Pomeranian dukes allies capitalized on the interne-
cine Pomeranian warfare to carve out bits of the duchy for themselves.
Despite these apparently unilateral actions on Mciwjs part,26 rela-
tions between the two brothers did not break down immediately after
their fathers death in January 1266.27 They jointly conquered their uncle
Sambors territory with the help of the Prussian neophytes. Because of
Sambors close relations with the Knights, as well as Mciwjs traditional
alliances with the Prussians subject to the Knights rule, the Knights were
brought into the conflict. Facing Barnims invasion from west Pomerania,
Warcisaw made peace with the Knights in August 1267. This should not,
however, be viewed as a separate peace, because the treaty was drafted
in Mciwjs capital city of wiecie by Mciwjs chaplain and notary,

23In the winter of 12551256, Margrave John led a crusade to Prussia, but because the
winter was unusually warm, the swamps did not freeze over, making campaigning impos-
sible; a decade later he returned with his brother, and this time, the crusade was more
successful, resulting in the building of a castle, which was named Brandenburg in their
honor (Dusburg III.77, 125127).
24Powierski, Ukad, 20, 32.
25See chapter one.
26Neither witopek nor Warcisaw witnessed Mciwjs treaty with Barnim.
27Powierski, Stellung, 127.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 71

Meinhard.28 Mciwj was also forced to make peace in January of the fol-
lowing year, when a large group of crusaders, led by King Pemysl Ottokar
II of Bohemia arrived in Prussia. In fact, the king of Bohemia mediated
the peace, which was sworn to by both parties in Chemno.29 While
these treaties with the Teutonic Knights would continue to be honored
for the remainder of the dukes lives, peace in Pomerania would prove
to be short-lived. By the end of the following year, all of the powers in
this region (except the Teutonic Knights) would be drawn into open con-
flict through an unrelated but interconnected series of internal revolts in
Pomerania and Kujawy.
Let us turn first to Pomerania. In April 1269 Mciwj enlisted the sup-
port of the margraves of Brandenburg by agreeing to hold his possessions
from them in fee.30 As Gerard Labuda remarks, this is one of the most
peculiar feudal arrangements in the history of Pomerania, because at first
glance it explained nothing of the reasons for Mciwjs behavior.31 It
does indeed appear that Mciwj is giving away everything and getting
nothing in return, but as Mciwjs 1264 agreement with Duke Barnim has
shown, he apparently thought of these arrangements as conditional and
provisional. His nobles, however, apparently did not. Later in the year he
was captured by his own barons and handed over to his brother.32 Edward
Rymar points out that the reason Mciwjs men turned against him was
because they did not want to submit to the margraves.33 But, neither his
earlier grant to the margraves nor his nobles reactions to it prevented
Mciwj from promising parts of his duchy to the Teutonic Knights, whom
he was able to contact during his imprisonment.34 Despite these prom-
ises, neither the margraves nor the Teutonic Knights came to Mciwjs

28 PlUB #222.
29 PlUB #225, #226; for more on the peace treaties of 12671268 see Gerard Labuda,
Pomorsko-krzyacki zatarg graniczny z roku 1267/1268. Przyczynek do migracji Prusw na
Pomorze Gdaskie, Zapiski Historyczne 50 (1985), 187194; Kazimierz Jasiski, Pomorsko-
krzyackie ukady pokojowe z 1267 i 1268 roku, Zapiski Historyczne 47 (1982), 103115.
30 PlUB #238.
31 Labuda, HP I/1, 530531.
32 ...captum et traditum ei per suos barones... (Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH
ns 6: 49).
33 Rymar, Walka, 23; for the margraves aspirations in Pomerania, see Hermann Krabbo,
Danzig und die askanischen Markgrafen von Brandenburg, Preussische Jahrbcher 177
(1919), 4754; see also Jzef Spors, Rzekome tytuy prawne Brandenburgii do Pomorza
Gdaskiego opierajce si na potwierdzeniach z 1231 i 1295 r., in Personae, Colligationes,
Facta, ed. Janusz Bieniak (Toru: Zakad Nauk Pomocniczych Historii Instytutu Historii i
Archiwistyki UMK w Toruniu, 1991), 240247.
34 Powierski, Stellung, 128.
72 chapter two

defense. He was instead saved by other Pomeranians, who, Rymar argues,

had been angered by Warcisaws decision to name his nephew, Duke
Wisaw II of Rgen, as his successor, because the west Pomeranian dukes
had consistently interfered in central Pomerania.35 Warcisaw fled first to
Elblg in Prussia and then to Kujawy.36
Sambor had already been looking for support in both of these states.
After he was chased out of Pomerania, he had sought to gain a new ally by
marrying his daughter, Salomea, to Duke Siemomys of Kujawy.37 Unfor-
tunately for him, his timing could not have been worse, because in 1269
Siemomyss men rose up against him.38 The reason for the revolt given by
the Chronicle of Great Poland is that Siemomys listened to the Teutonic
Knights instead of the great men of his duchy.39 However, as Kazimierz
Jasiski argues, this was not simply an example of ethnic conflict, but
rather the result of tensions between the great men of Kujawy, includ-
ing Bishop Wolimir, and their new duke, Siemomys, who succeeded his
father in 1267.40 The Kujawians asked for the help of Duke Bolesaw of
Great Poland, and by 1271 Siemomyss entire duchy had submitted to

35Rymar, Walka, 31.

36Wodarski, witopek and Mciwj II, 424425.
37liwiski, Poczet, 6465.
38Kazimierz Jasiski, Porozumienie kujawsko-pomorskie w 1280 r., Zapiski Histo-
ryczne 21 (1955), 1723.
39Anno denique predicto primates terre Cujauie cernentes, quod Semomisl dux
eorum ipsis spretis Fratrum Barbatorum [the Teutonic Knights] interim consiliis eorum
utebatur in omnibus sequens favores, adheserunt Boleslao duci Polonie. Semomisl vero se
tam confuse derelictum prospiciens Boleslao duci Polonie nobile castrum Cruszuiciense
dono assignavit, ut ipsius industrioso favore milicie Cuyauie reconciliatus ipsos ad sue
obediencie gremium revocaret (Kronika Wielkopolska, MPH ns 8: 124). Some scholars, like
Konstantin Symmons-Symonolewicz, have also seen broader ethnic implications for this
revolt, arguing that Siemomyss preferential treatment of the Germans also contributed
to the revolt [National Consciousness in Poland until the End of the Fourteenth Cen-
tury: A Sociological Approach, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 8 (1981), 256].
In the settlement drafted in 1278, Duke Przemys II of Great Poland, who was mediating
the dispute between Siemomys and his brother, Leszek, who had taken over control of
Kujawy, stated that German knights would be prevented from serving in his duchy until
the third generation: ...quod predictus Zem. dux Cuyavie frater noster, Teuthonicales
milites et filios militum Teuthonicalium in terra et curia sua servare denegaret (KDW
I #482). Kazimierz Jasiski, however, argues that there were probably very few German
knights in Kujawy; but this provision might have been made against the increasing num-
ber of German settlers in the villages and towns, because the document also says that
Siemomys would have to obtain the consent of his barons before locating towns in the
duchy: ...Zem. volens locare civitates vel villas cum consilio maturo baronum suorum...
(Jasiski, Porozumienie, 1920; KDW 1 #482).
40Jasiski, Porozumienie, 1718; Derwich, 228.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 73

Bolesaws rule.41 Siemomys welcomed allies in this conflict and entrusted

to Warcisaw the castle of Wyszogrd on the Pomeranian-Kujawian-Great
Polish borderland.42 Because Mciwj was thus threatened from the south
by Warcisaw and from the west by Warcisaws ally, Duke Wisaw II of
Rgen,43 and the Teutonic Knights had been the traditional allies of his
uncles, Sambor and Racibor, Mciwj appealed to the margraves of Bran-
denburg for help, offering them Gdask as a reward.44 Yet, it is difficult
to believe that he actually intended to permanently cede this town to the
margraves, considering Mciwjs track record of making vain promises
and the fact that Pomerania was being torn apart because he had gone to
war with his brother over control of Gdask. When his brother unexpect-
edly (although probably not accidentally)45 died in Wyszogrd in 1271, he
no longer needed the margraves help. Nevertheless, this did not prevent
his ally from taking not only the promised reward of Gdask, but also
Tczew, the other major town in Pomerania, with the collaboration of the
German burghers in the two towns.46
In the 1271 letter promising Gdask to the margraves, Mciwj still
referred to the Lbeck colony in Gdask as burgensibus Theuthonicis
fidelibus.47 But when Mciwj recalled these events in 1283 and 1290,
he would refer to the German inhabitants of Pomerania as committing
treason [crimen lese maiestatis].48 Yet, as with the rebellion in Kujawy,
the reason for the burghers collaboration with the occupying margraves
was far more complicated than ethnicity alone. Mciwj was not opposed
simply because the German burghers preferred a German lord. Rather,
the Lbeck burghers preferred a lord who would be amenable to confirm-
ing their extensive privileges and perhaps granting new ones. The south
Baltic littoral might have become a borderland of contentious predatory
states, but as Sambors dispute with Oliwa illustrated, translocal organiza-

41 Powierski, Stellung, 128.

42 Krystyna Zieliska, Zjednoczenie Pomorza Gdaskiego z Wielkopolsk pod Koniec XIII
w.: Umowa Kpiska 1282 r. (Toru: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1968), 24. This
castle had been controlled by the dukes of Pomerania until, as mentioned in the previous
chapter, witopek lost it to Siemomyss father, Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy.
43 Rymar, Walka, 30.
44 PlUB #250.
45 liwiski states that although the exact cause of his death is unknown, he probably
died at the hands of Mciwjs supporters (Poczet, 55).
46 Wodarski, witopek, 426.
47 PlUB #250.
48 PlUB #365, #464.
74 chapter two

tions could still play an important role in the formation or destruction of

those states.
Warcisaw and Sambor had both proven themselves to be strong allies
of the Lbeck merchants. As mentioned above, Sambor had founded
a Lbeck colony in Tczew in 1260. Similarly, in the first two years of
Warcisaws reign in Gdask, he promised the Lbeckers freedom of move-
ment within his lands, freedom from ius naufragii,49 and a lifetime of
friendship.50 Now that Warcisaw had died and Sambor had been driven
out of Tczew, the Lbeckers had to wonder where they stood, especially
because Mciwj had taken part in his fathers wars against them.51 The
margraves of Brandenburg, on the other hand, had gone to Lbeck in
August 1272 to promise the town council that Lbeck merchants would
be free from all tolls and ius naufragii not only in Gdask, but throughout
Pomerania and along the Vistula River.52
Mciwj now turned to the only neighboring ruler who he had not
fought against, Duke Bolesaw of Great Poland. As described above, the
Kujawians had turned to Bolesaw when they rebelled against Siemomys,
and so if Bolesaw was not actually Mciwjs ally in his war against
Sambor and Warcisaw, he was at least the enemy of his enemies. It is dif-
ficult to determine what relationship these two entered into. The Annals
of the Pozna Chapter use the language of lordship [impetravit consilium
et auxilium], although there is no mention of Mciwj doing homage to
Bolesaw.53 However, considering Mciwjs earlier performance of hom-
age to the margraves of Brandenburg, this seems a possibility, although not
a prerequisite for his help. Bronisaw Wodarski correctly points out that
Bolesaw, who had long been at war with the margraves, probably feared
the strategic advantage that possession of Pomerania would have given to
Brandenburg.54 In any event, in January 1273 Bolesaw and Mciwj drove
the margraves men out of Pomerania.55

49 witopek had already promised this to the Lbeck merchants of Gdask in 1240.
See chapter one.
50 PlUB #220, #232. ...promittimus amiciciam vobiscum tempore vite nostre... (PlUB
#220); also worth mention is the fact that Warcisaw fled first to Elblg, where there was a
Lbeck colony. Perhaps he was trying to enlist the support of the Lbeckers as well as the
Knights before he joined forces with Sambor in Kujawy.
51 See chapter one.
52 PlUB #254, #255.
53 Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 50.
54 Wodarski, witopek, 426; Zieliska, Zjednoczenie, 1417.
55 Labuda, HP I/1, 532.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 75

The nature of this borderland society, however, dictated that Mciwj

and the margraves would not remain enemies for long. In September 1273
Mciwj renewed his alliance with the margraves, receiving the central
Pomeranian lands of Sawno and Supsk from them in fee and promising
to aid the margraves against all of their enemies, except Duke Bolesaw.56
Yet, Mciwj gained little from this agreement, because Duke Wisaw II of
Rgen, Warcisaws heir-designate, maintained control of central Pomera-
nia until he sold it to the margraves in 1277.57 When the margraves did not
grant the lands to Mciwj, he campaigned with Duke Bolesaw against
them in 1278.58 The close relationship that developed between these
dukes lasted until Bolesaws death in 1279 and would be remembered by
Bolesaws successor, Duke Przemys II, who also succeeded to Mciwjs
duchy in 1294 and in the following year became the first king of Poland in
more than two centuries.
Although this has been a complicated narrative, a few major themes
should be underscored. First, the fluidity of amity and enmity is striking.
Alliances were dissolved as quickly as they were made. Second, ethnic-
ity did not determine the nature of these alliances. Poles fought for and
against Germans and vice versa. Finally, the success or failure of a dukes
policies depended upon the approval of the secular and ecclesiastical
magnates of the duchy. The arrangements made between the rulers of
the various states were not worth the parchment they were written on
without the consent of their men. It is important to keep all of these issues
in mind as the fallout from this civil war is analyzed.
During a decade of intermittent warfare, many promises were made to
the surrounding Polish and German rulers by all the dukes of Pomerania
in an attempt to gain superiority over the entirety of the duchy. In the
end, however, it was Mciwj who succeeded in driving his kinsman out
of the duchy and winning the war. The deaths of Sambor, Racibor, and
Warcisaw without male heirs in the years immediately after the reso-
lution of the conflict should have made Mciwjs authority in Pomer-
ania absolute. Yet, because of the promises made both by himself and
his relatives, this proved to be a Pyrrhic victory. The resolution of this
conflict was just the beginning of a new conflict, as the surrounding Pol-
ish and German rulers struggled for the next half century, both on the

56PlUB #256.
57PlUB #285.
58Labuda, HP I/1, 532.
76 chapter two

battlefield and in the courtroom, to gain control of Pomerania. In what

follows I shall analyze the course of the first phase of this dispute and its

Dealing with the Past:

Resolving Conflicting Claims in Pomerania, 12741281

By the time of Sambors death in 1276, much of Pomerania had been

promised elsewhere. The disputants had granted parts of the duchy to
the Teutonic Knights, and Mciwj had twice disposed of the entirety of
the duchy, first to the dukes of west Pomerania and then to the margraves
of Brandenburg. In addition, some of the lands granted by Sambor to the
Knights had previously been granted to his new Cistercian monastery of
New Doberan, which had itself been founded on lands taken from the
Cistercian monastery at Oliwa. Added to these conflicting grants was the
problem of inheritance. Warcisaw died without any children, but he had
designated Duke Wisaw II as his heir. Racibor also died childless, but
upon entering the Teutonic Order, Racibors property devolved to the
Knights. Sambor, on the other hand, was survived by five daughters, all
of whom had been dispossessed by Mciwj, and one of whom, Salomea,
was married to Duke Siemomys of Kujawy, who also had pretensions
to parts of the duchy of Pomerania. When the deposed duke of Kujawy
returned to power in 1278, he was committed to recovering not only the
lands taken from his wife and her sisters, but also the borderland castle
of Wyszogrd, which Mciwj conquered after Siemomys had entrusted
it to Warcisaw.59 Further compounding this problem was the fact that
Mciwjs first marriage had produced only daughters, and his second
marriage was to Eufrozyna, the middle-aged, widowed wife of Duke
Kazimierz I of Kujawy, who already had three young sons, including
Siemomys and the future king of Poland, Wadysaw okietek. Mciwj
had to spend the next six years trying to reconcile all of the promises
made by himself and his brother and uncles in these numerous conflict-
ing grants.
He had already begun to try to resolve the dispute between Oliwa and
New Doberan in 1274, a couple of years before his uncles death.60 The
document recording this is interesting for a number of reasons. First,

59Jasiski, Porozumienie, 2627.

60PlUB #260.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 77

instead of just sending the monks back to Mecklenburg, Mciwj appro-

priated Sambors grant and positioned himself as the new founder of the
monastery, thus obliterating the memory of his uncle and legitimizing his
own position as the sole source of authority in Pomerania. Second, this
donation illustrates that through his alliance with Duke Bolesaw of Great
Poland, he might have started to see his activities as contributing to Polish
unity in the face of external aggression. He refers to founding the mon-
astery for the honor of Saints Mary, Benedict, and Bernard, but he also
adds the name of the martyr and bishop Stanisaw. Stanisaw had been
the bishop of Krakw during the reign of the last king of Poland, Bolesaw
the Bold, in the late eleventh century.61 According to the Vita maior that
was written by the Dominican Wincenty of Kielcza several years after
Stanisaws canonization in 1253, God cursed Bolesaw for murdering and
dismembering the bishop in 1079 with an appropriate punishmentthe
division of his kingdom.62 Yet, because the bishops body miraculously
healed without scars, Wincenty writes that one day the kingdom of Poland
will once again be unified.63 It should be pointed out, however, that this
saint might also have appealed to Mciwj because his own duchy had
been partitioned and reunited under his rule. It is difficult to know what
Mciwj made of the story, and it is only by viewing this event through a
teleological lens that we can think that the only possible interpretation is
that the son of the man who freed Pomerania from the yoke of the Polish
princes64 wanted in 1274 to reunite his duchy with Polish duchies and
thus take the initiative in the restoration of the kingdom of Poland.
Whatever his nephews views on who the patron saint of the monastery
should be, Sambor was not yet ready to relinquish his rights of patron-
age to the new Cistercian foundation, at least not to his nephew. Having
been chased out of Kujawy after the defeat of his son-in-law, Sambor had
taken refuge with the Teutonic Knights in Elblg. In March 1276 Sambor

61 Tadeusz Grudziski, Bolesaw the Bold, called also the Bountiful, and Bishop Stanis-
laus: The Story of a Conflict, trans. Lech Petrowicz (Warsaw: Interpress Publishers, 1985).
62 Agnieszka Ronowska-Sadraei, Pater Patriae: The Cult of Saint Stanislaus and the
Patronage of Polish Kings 12001455 (Krakw: Wydawnictwo UNUM, 2008), 6572; see
also Jerzy Koczowski, The Church and the Nation: The Example of the Mendicants in
Thirteenth-Century Poland, in Faith and Identity: Christian Political Experience, ed. David
Loades and Katherine Walsh (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 4755; Aleksandra Wit-
kowska, The Thirteenth-Century Miracula of St. Stanislaus, Bishop of Krakow, in Procs
de canonisation au Moyen ge: aspects juridiques et religieux, ed. Gbor Klaniczay (Rome:
cole Franaise de Rome, 2004), 149163.
63 Vita Sancti Stanislai Cracoviensis episcopi, ed. Stanisaw Ktrzski, MPH 4: 391392.
64 See chapter one.
78 chapter two

confirmed his earlier grants to New Doberan as well as Mciwjs grant,

showing that he was still in control of this monastery, and while he appre-
ciated the grant made by his dear relative [dilecti cognati nostri], his
confirmation was needed to validate the grant.65 A few days later he con-
ferred the land of Mewe (Polish: Gniew) on the Knights66 and promised in
a separate document to compensate the Knights if they were ever dispos-
sessed of this land by Oliwa or his son-in-law, Duke Siemomys, although
oddly he did not mention Mciwj.67 Jan Powierski has questioned how
voluntary this donation was, considering that Sambor left Prussia almost
immediately after signing these documents.68 Yet, whatever their rela-
tionship at this time, both Sambor and the Knights were well aware of
the contentious nature of this grant, assuming that it might very well be
invalidated by a trial. As such, one should consider the possibility that
Sambor was driven by genuine religious motivations, hoping to ensure
his salvation by providing a just and equitable settlement for both his
new Cistercian foundation and the long-time beneficiaries of his alms, the
Teutonic Knights.
In 1276 and 1277 Mciwj changed his strategy of dealing with the new
monastery. Instead of erasing Sambor from the historical record, Mciwj
now tried to put his uncle in his historical place. In 1276 Mciwj recon-
firmed his father and uncles grant of Mewe to Oliwa in 1229,69 while in
1277 he confirmed Sambors and his fathers grants to his [Mciwjs]
monastery.70 By pairing Sambor with his father, he relegated him to the
past, a past that was no longer relevant, because Mciwj was now the
only duke of Pomerania. Whether Sambor was already dead by 1277 or
if he died a year later is not terribly important, because whatever the
case, Mciwj had already appropriated Sambors memory for his own
purposes.71 Mciwj, however, did not comment on the grant that Sam-
bor had made in 1275 of a church in Tczew and some nearby villages to
the Cistercian nuns at Chemno in order to found a daughter-house in
Pomerania.72 If he had to take over the financial burdens of dealing with
Sambors grants, then he planned to reap the political rewards. Nothing

65 PlUB #277.
66 PlUB #278.
67 PlUB #280.
68 Powierski, Stellung, 129.
69 PlUB #284.
70 PlUB #292.
71 liwiski locates his time of death between 1276 and 1278 (Poczet, 42).
72 PlUB #272.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 79

could be gained from granting a convent in the Teutonic Knights lands

permission to found a daughter-house in Pomerania, as this would give
the Knights an added incentive to claim the Pomeranian lands granted to
them by Mciwj and his relatives.
In 1278 Mciwj also reached out to two other religious orders in Pomer-
ania. First, he asked the Dominicans in Gdask to found a new convent
in Supsk.73 As described above, the margraves of Brandenburg had prom-
ised Mciwj that he could hold central Pomerania in fee when this area
was in fact held by Duke Wisaw II of Rgen. Yet, after Wisaw sold it to
the margraves in 1277, they made no attempt to bestow it upon Mciwj.
The foundation of monasteries could be very important for the demarca-
tion of state boundaries in East Central Europe,74 and the foundation of
a convent with Dominicans from Gdask would certainly have strength-
ened Mciwjs claims to this disputed borderland.75 In 1278 Mciwj
also granted the village of Lubieszewo (German: Liebschau), outside of
Tczew, to the Hospitallers. This was undoubtedly done, as he claims, for
the remission of his sins and for his parents souls, but it is also possible
that he was trying to secure allies in his approaching dispute with the
Teutonic Knights.76 The number of grants made in the years following the
Pomeranian civil war to all the monasteries in Pomerania suggests that
the dux tocius Pomoranie, as he now called himself, was attempting to
represent himself as a defender of ecclesiastical interests in order to coun-
terbalance his refusal to fulfill the promises made to the Teutonic Knights.
He also sought allies outside of Pomerania. In 1280 he endowed the
Cistercian monastery of Ld in Great Poland with a number of villages77
and granted the bishop of Pock in Mazovia lands in Pomerania.78 Although
it would be a mistake to judge these grants cynically as solely political

73PlUB #301.
74Karl Borchardt, The Hospitallers in Pomerania: Between the Priories of Bohemia
and Alamania, in The Military Orders. Volume 2: Welfare and Warfare, ed. Helen Nicholson
(Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998), 295306; John B. Freed, The Friars and the Delineation of State
Boundaries in the Thirteenth Century, in Order and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays
in Honor of Joseph R. Strayer, ed. William C. Jordan, et al. (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1976), 3140, 425428. Emilia Jamroziak has demonstrated that this also occurred
along the English-Scottish border [Border Communities between Violence and Opportu-
nities: Scotland and Pomerania Compared, in Britain and Poland-Lithuania: Contact and
Comparison from the Middle Ages to 1795, ed. Richard W. Unger (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 124].
75In 1280 he also reconfirmed and expanded his fathers grants to the Dominicans in
Gdask (PlUB #315).
76PlUB #300.
77PlUB #314.
78PlUB #319.
80 chapter two

acts, it seems fair to say that by giving away small pieces of his duchy to
a number of different recipients, he was trying to get as many people as
possible interested in the well being of his state in order to prevent having
to give away large pieces of his duchy to the Teutonic Knights.
This assessment is borne out by the fact that Mciwj also met
with Duke Siemomys of Kujawy, Sambors son-in-law, to try to resolve
Sambors daughters inheritance issues.79 In the fall of 1280, these two
dukes met in Rzepka on the Pomeranian-Kujawian borderland. As dis-
cussed above, Siemomys had been Sambors most loyal supporter since
he married Sambors daughter, Salomea, in 1268. This alliance, however,
benefited Sambor little, because during the three years of the most intense
fighting in the Pomeranian civil war, 12691271, the duke of Kujawy was
preoccupied with a revolt of his ecclesiastical and secular magnates
against his rule in favor of accepting Duke Bolesaw of Great Poland.80
When Siemomys returned to power in 1278 he began to stake his claim
not only to the borderland castle of Wyszogrd (which Siemomyss father,
Duke Kazimierz, had taken from Mciwjs father, witopek, in 1243, but
which Siemomys had in turn lost back to Mciwj in 1271), but also to his
father-in-laws former possessions in Pomerania, centered on Tczew.81 As
a result of this meeting Mciwj agreed to provide Sambors daughters
with estates in Pomerania in exchange for being able to retain possession
of Wyszogrd for the rest of his life.82
Having made peace with his former enemy in Kujawy, Mciwj turned
once again to the issue of the disputed land of Mewe, which Sambor had
promised first to Oliwa, then to his new monastery, and then to the Teu-
tonic Knights. In 1281 Mciwj again confirmed Sambors grant of Mewe to
Oliwa, this time providing exact boundaries.83 This was almost certainly
done in preparation for the impending settlement of the Knights claims
to this same land. It would be much easier to deal in specific rather than
abstract space. In addition, Mciwj persuaded the prior of the Gdask
Dominicans and the parish priest of Gdask to witness this document in
order to provide additional sources of authority.

79 Jasiski, Porozumienie.
80 Jasiski, Porozumienie, 1718.
81 Jasiski, Porozumienie, 2332.
82 Jasiski, Porozumienie; Labuda, HP I/1, 533; Zieliska, Zjednoczenie, 43; PlUB #317a,
#384, #671, #672.
83 PlUB #326.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 81

1282The Origin of the Teutonic Knights

and Polish Kings Claims to Pomerania

By 1282 Mciwj had to the best of his ability dealt with the past concern-
ing Sambors grants to his children and the Cistercians. Now he had to
come to terms with the grants made by himself and his relatives to the
Teutonic Knights. There was also the question of who would inherit his
duchy after his death, as all previous candidates had become his enemies
during the 1270sDuke Barnim of west Pomerania, the margraves of
Brandenburg, and Duke Wisaw II of Rgen. In addition, Mciwjs ally
and cousin, Duke Bolesaw of Great Poland, had died without a son in
1279, so that duchy passed to the late duke of Great Polands nephew,
Przemys II.84 Mciwj had apparently quickly developed a close tie with
the new duke of Great Poland, because when Przemys was captured by
Duke Henryk IV of Wrocaw85 in February 1281, Mciwj began organiz-
ing a military expedition to Silesia before Przemys was eventually freed.86
The very next year, when compelled to return to Silesia to stand trial in
front of the papal legate, Bishop Philip of Fermo, in the matter of the
Teutonic Knights claims to significant parts of his duchy, Mciwj passed
through the duchy of Great Poland, where he made an agreement with
Przemys that was to have great implications in the fourteenth century for
both the Teutonic Ordensstaat and the kingdom of Poland.
With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to see the year 1282 as a mile-
stone in medieval Polish history. Two events occurred early in that year
which would later be seen as key moments in the Poles changing rela-
tionship with the Teutonic Knights which underlay the restoration of the
kingdom of Poland. The first was the Kpno agreement, in which the heir-
less Duke Mciwj of Pomerania pledged his lands to his cousins son,
Duke Przemys II of Great Poland. The second was the Milicz agreement
between Duke Mciwj and the Teutonic Knights, by which the Knights
gained their first possessions on the left bank of the Vistula River. The
Kpno agreement has been viewed by many Polish historians as the begin-
ning of the restoration of the kingdom of Poland, because one year after

84Bolesaws mother was witopeks sister, Jadwiga (liwiski, Poczet, 7879; Der-
wich, 226227).
85See chapter three for more on Henryk.
86Zieliska, Zjednoczenie, 4546; also see the charters from 1288 in which Mciwj
recalls that his dear son, Przemys (unser lyber son Prsemisl, PlUB #438; unser lieber
sohn Przimisl, PlUB #439) was captured by the duke of Wrocaw.
82 chapter two

Mciwjs death in 1294 the first coronation of a Polish king since 1076
took place. The Milicz agreement, on the other hand, has been viewed as
the first effort by the Teutonic Knights to conquer Pomerania and build
a land-bridge to the Empire, which they subsequently did in 13081309.
Both of these readings, however, lean heavily on the prophetic qualities
of hindsight. Without this, both events emerge as far more complicated
and much less determinative than has occasionally been argued in the
past. Some Polish historians, like Baej liwiski and Janusz Bieniak, have
begun to draw attention to the fact that even the union of the duchies of
Pomerania and Great Poland can hardly have seemed inevitable in the
1280s.87 After all, Mciwj had already promised his duchy twice before.
The fact that the most recent recipient of Mciwjs attentions was Pol-
ish rather than German was not as important then as fourteenth-century
sources and modern historians later argued. Instead, one should perhaps
view this initially as one more attempt at borderland diplomacy, seeking
to preserve the duchy of Pomerania against its predatory neighbors by
allying with one of them.
In fact, the union of the duchies of Pomerania and Great Poland would
have seemed unlikely a decade earlier. Pomerania, which had intermit-
tently been under the suzerainty of Polish dukes, was ruled by a native
aristocracy, not by the Polish Piast dynasty that ruled in the other lands of
the historical kingdom of Poland. In fact, as explained in the first chapter,
twelfth-century Polish chronicles had portrayed the Pomeranians as the
historical enemies of Poland, savage barbarians comparable to the pagan
Prussians. In the same vein, the independent duchy of Pomerania came
into being when Mciwjs father, witopek (who was still remembered
in early fourteenth-century Polish chronicles as an enemy of Poland and
the Christian faith) killed his Polish overlord. Mciwj himself had joined
in the hostilities against the Polish dukes, only becoming their ally during
the 1270s. He had also first turned west to the duke of west Pomerania
and the margraves of Brandenburg for allies when his uncles and brother
turned east to the Teutonic Knights in their internecine fighting. It was
only towards the end of this war that Mciwj began to look south, to the
Polish dukes.
I do not wish to belabor this point, but it is important to keep Pomera-
nias independence in mind in order not to be swept away by the tele-
ologies of the fourteenth-century disputants or their nineteenth- and

87See chapter three.

dealing with the past and planning for the future 83

twentieth-century advocates. What occurred in 1282 did not determine

that the Teutonic Knights would eventually take over Pomerania in
13081309.88 Nor did it forecast that this peripheral duchy would form
part of the nucleus of a restored kingdom of Poland in 1295. Most impor-
tantly, neither the Knights nor the Poles could have predicted that dis-
puted claims to Pomerania would end their century of cooperation and
spawn medieval and modern histories which characterized this remote
region as the central place in an alleged perennial conflict between Poles
and Germans. All of these events were based on contingencies and cir-
cumstances which will require careful scrutiny in the following chapters.
The point here is to examine these agreements within their specific his-
torical contexts in order to better understand how they were used by the
two litigants in the fourteenth century to legitimize their claims to dis-
puted territories.

The Milicz Agreement:

The Teutonic Knights Expand across the Vistula

As already noted in chapter one, Andrzej Wojtkowski attempted to locate

this dispute as well as witopeks dispute against the Knights within the
context of the later trials between the kingdom of Poland and the Teu-
tonic Ordensstaat.89 This methodology, however, is misguided for a num-
ber of reasons. First, neither of these two states existed yet in 1282. Thus,
to argue that what occurred in Pomerania affected any other Polish duchy
besides Great Poland, would be to posit a non-existent feeling of Polish
solidarity among numerous contentious dukes. Second, Wojtkowski fol-
lows the fourteenth-century Polish lawyers attempts to bury the history
of cooperation between the Teutonic Knights and the dukes of Pomerania
and Poland under the later history of conflict between the Ordensstaat
and the kingdom of Poland. It is telling that although all the Pomera-
nian dukes appealed to the Knights for help, the Knights did not become
directly involved in the fighting and did not attempt to take by force the
lands they had been promised. Any simple equation of the Knights claims

88For an example of the common claim that the Knights annexation of parts of Pomer-
ania was nothing more than a prelude to the conquest of the entire duchy, see Labuda: In
this way the Teutonic Knights...pav[ed] the way for further annexations (HP I/1, 534).
89Andrzej Wojtkowski, Procesy polsko-krzyackie przed procesem z lat 13201321
(Olsztyn: Osrodek Badan Naukowych im. W. Ktrzynskiego, 1972).
84 chapter two

to certain Pomeranian lands in 1282 with their claims to the entirety of the
duchy of Pomerania in 1320 and 1339 is counterproductive and distorts the
nature of the relationship between the Teutonic Knights and the Polish
and Pomeranian dukes in the thirteenth century.
This being said, both this trial and the fourteenth-century ones demon-
strate that the Knights were very capable lawyers and diplomats, who knew
how to argue the legality of their claims before the papacy. In March 1276
the Knights had Sambor confirm his grant to them of Mewe and promise
to compensate them for their loss if either the monks of Oliwa or Sambors
daughter and son-in-law deprived them of this grant.90 As noted above,
Jan Powierski has questioned whether Sambor actually made this grant
voluntarily, since he left Prussia immediately afterwards.91 It is certainly
conceivable that Sambor was coerced into turning against his daughter,
although considering his dispute with Oliwa, he seems unlikely to have
needed much encouragement to favor the Knights over his brothers mon-
astery. These charters were witnessed not only by Teutonic Knights, but
also by citizens of Lbeck, the councilors, parish priest, and Dominican
prior of Elblg, the bishop of Chemno, and even the abbot of Sambors
new monastery, who was apparently ensuring that the Knights claims to
these lands would not invalidate his own monasterys rights. At the same
time, the Knights had King Rudolph I Habsburg of Germany confirm the
unspecified grants given to the Knights by Racibor and Mciwj.92
It is not clear when the Knights actively began to pursue their claims to
these lands, but March 1276, when they had the above-mentioned grants
certified, seems a likely date. In any event, in the compromise settlement
reached with the Knights six years later, Mciwj acknowledges that he
had met with the Knights only after many admonitions and summonses
[post plures monitiones et citationes].93 The compromise reached shows
that both sides were beginning to think differently about territoriality.
Although Mciwj and the Knights agreed on Sambors grant of Mewe,
located on the Vistula River, it appears that the Knights did not want and
Mciwj did not want to give them Racibors possessions in Biaogarda,
because they were in the western part of the duchy. Instead, Mciwj
granted the Knights a series of properties along the Vistula River, which as
Gerard Labuda points out was more or less territorially equivalent to the

90 PlUB #278, #279.

91 Powierski, Stellung, 129.
92 PlUB #280.
93 PlUB #336.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 85

castellany of Biaogarda.94 The exchange of territories with Mciwj dem-

onstrates that the Knights wanted contiguous territory. It also strongly
suggests that Mciwj did not want them positioned on his western bor-
der, despite the fact that his grant to them of possessions in this disputed
borderland should have signaled to all that Mciwj was the legitimate
lord of central Pomerania, and their position there could have helped to
deter invasions from the neighboring predatory lords. In Mciwjs mind
(although most Polish dukes did not yet share his opinion), the Knights
were no longer acceptable as Grenzhter to use Walter Kuhns term.95
Negotiations dragged on for another year because these grants involved
not only Mciwj and the Knights but also the ecclesiastical magnates
of Pomeraniathe bishop of Kujawy and the abbots of Oliwa and New
Doberaneach of whom expected compensation. In July 1283 all of these
personages met with Mciwj and the Teutonic Knights in wiecie and
resolved most of their differences.96 In September 1284 Mciwj again met
with the Knights and the bishop of Kujawy,97 but Mciwj did not hand
over the last of the promised possessions until April 1285.98 After this
date, the Teutonic Knights all but disappear from Mciwjs documentary
record, which is not surprising because Mciwj had intended the Milicz
agreement to serve as the definitive history of the past and future rela-
tions between the dukes of Pomerania and the Teutonic Knights. As part
of the arbitrated settlement, the Teutonic Knights promised to hand over
to the papal legate all of the previous privileges that they held from any of
the dukes of Pomerania.99 This provision, however, did not give Mciwj
complete control over the memory of the Milicz agreement or the history
of relations between the dukes of Pomerania and the Teutonic Knights.
A half century later, the Teutonic Knights chronicler, Peter von Dusburg,
would simplify this complex dispute by removing all of the parties except
for Mciwj, who in Dusburgs mind carried on his fathers tradition of
hindering the Knights sacred mission:

94Labuda, HP I/1, 533; for a detailed discussion of these and the other possessions the
Knights held in Pomerania before 1308, see Pawe Czaplewski, Co posiadali Krzyacy na
Pomorzu przed jego zajciem w r. 13081309? Zapiski Historyczne 10 (1936), 273287.
95Walter Kuhn, Ritterorden als Grenzhter des Abendlandes gegen stliche Heiden-
tum, Ostdeutsche Wissenschaft 6 (1959), 770.
96PlUB #362, #363, #364, #365, #368.
97PlUB #376, #377, #378, #379, #380.
98PlUB #391, #392.
99Promiserunt etiam dicti magister et fratres omnia privilegia, que ab ipso duce
M[estwino] vel patruis eius seu quibuscunque aliis habent...in nostris manibus libere
resignare... (PlUB #336).
86 chapter two

witopek, formerly duke of Pomerania, who is discussed above, had four

sons: Mciwj, the first born, whom as it is said, he gave as a hostage, Sam-
bor, Warcisaw, and a certain other one. That Warcisaw was made a brother
of the Order of the German House, and he gave as alms to the Brothers of
the German House in Prussia the part of the aforesaid duchy which was
granted to him. Sambor, seeing that he could not live from his part hon-
orably according to the dignity of his status, surrendered it to the afore-
said brothers so that they provided the necessities of life for him and his
family. The fourth brother did likewise, and so that this donation would
be strengthened and be strong in perpetuity, these three renounced each
act of law or fact which was admissible to them or their successors in the
said duchy, giving their letters concerning this to the brothers reinforced
with the protection of their seals. But Mciwj, hearing this, violently occu-
pied these three parts of the duchy of Pomerania and detained his brothers
against their will for many years. Finally arrived lord Philip, the bishop of
Fermo and the legate sent to the land of Poland by the Apostolic See, before
whom Master Konrad von Tierberg complained about the violence that the
said Mciwj committed against the Brothers of Prussia in these three parts
of the aforesaid duchy, and to prove that the brothers had a full right in
these he produced the mentioned privileges. When he had heard the plead-
ing from both sides and the brothers had given him the aforesaid privileges
and whatever other rights they had in these properties, the legate framed a
settlement between them in this wise: the Brothers of the German House
were to have the territory called Wanceke in the said duchy of Pomera-
nia where now is located Mewe castle, and thus all discord between them
should cease. As a result in the year of the Lord 1283 the brothers transferred
Potterberg castle from the Chemno land and with this building they built
Mewe castle in that place above the Vistula where it is now located to the
praise and glory of Jesus Christ.100

100Swantepolcus quondam dux Pomeranie, de quo superius est premissum, quatuor

habuit filios: Mestowinum primogenitum, quem ut dictum est, dedit in obsidem, Sam-
borium, Warceslaum et quendam alium. Iste Warceslaus factus fuit frater ordinis domus
Theutonice et partem ducatus predicti, que ipsum contingebat, dedit fratribus domus
Theutonice in Prussia in elemosinam. Samborius videns, quod de parte sua non posset
honeste secundum status sui dignitatem vivere, tradidit eam predictis fratribus, ut ipse et
familie sue in necessariis providerent. Idem fecit quartus frater, et ut hec donacio firma
esset et in perpetuum valitura, hii tres renunciaverunt omni actioni iuris vel facti, que ipsis
vel eorum successoribus in dicto ducatu competebat, dantes super hoc literas suas fratri-
bus sigillorum suorum munimine roboratas. Mestowinus autem audiens hec violenter has
tres partes ducatus Pomeranie occupavit et invitis fratribus detinuit multis annis. Tandem
venit dominus Philippus episcopus Firmanius legatus a sede apostolica missus ad terram
Polonie, coram quo frater Conradus de Tirbergk magister conquestus fuit de violencia,
quam dictus Mestowinus fecit fratribus de Prussia in hiis tribus partibus ducatus predicti,
et ad probandum se et fratres habere merum ius in illis, obtulit privilegia memorata. Aud-
ita ergo utriusque partis allegacione et resignatis privilegiis predictis a fratribus et quicquid
habebant iuris in hiis bonis, idem legatus ordinavit composicionem inter eos hoc modo,
quod fratres domus Theutonice haberent territorium dictum Wanceke in dicto ductatu
dealing with the past and planning for the future 87

The fact that Dusburg pairs this arbitrated settlement with the translation
of one of the Knights castles on the eastern bank of the Vistula to their
new possessions on the western bank of the Vistula is significant. This
reconstruction and reuse of a castle that helped to subdue the Prussian
pagans provided a physical commemoration of the resolution of the con-
flict and symbolically linked this new territory to the Prussian crusades
through the use of spolia.
The construction of a castle in Pomerania was a symbolic act of pos-
session as well as a pragmatic means of defending this possession. It was
not at this time a physical expression of the Knights plans to conquer the
whole of Pomerania. It is hard to believe that the Knights were just bid-
ing their time until Wadysaw okietek chanced to come along and ask
them to defend Gdask from the margraves of Brandenburg in 1308. The
breakdown in public order following the murders of Przemys II in 1296
and Vclav III a decade later provided ample opportunities for the Knights
to position themselves as the lords of Pomerania, if that had been their
plan. Nevertheless, the Knights certainly remembered the half century of
conflict with the dukes of Pomerania, and wished to defend themselves
from a duke who not only had fought them for decades, but from whom
they had to prize their gift. In addition, Pomerania was still a borderland
state contested by Polish and west Pomeranian dukes as well as by the
margraves of Brandenburg. The Knights, as a military order, would have
wanted to be able to defend their possession themselves, rather than rely-
ing on the goodwill of secular rulers, who often targeted the strategically
located monastic houses. Mciwj did not apparently consider their castle
a threat. He and the Knights maintained peaceful relations throughout the
rest of his reign, just as his father had done after his own final settlement
with the Knights in 1253. Now that he had settled his dispute with the
Knights, only one issue arising from the Pomeranian civil war remained:
Who would succeed him as duke of Pomerania?

Pomeranie, ubi nunc situm est castrum Gymewa, et sic cessaret omnis discordia inter eos.
Unde fratres anno Domini MCCLXXXIII transtulerunt de terra Culmensi castrum Potter-
bergk et cum edificiis eius castrum Gymewam edificaverunt in eum locum super Wiselam,
ubi nunc situm est ad laudem et gloriam Iesu Cristi (Dusburg III.213).
88 chapter two

The Kpno Agreement and the

Restoration of the Kingdom of Poland

In February 1282, on his way to the meeting with the Teutonic Knights,
Mciwj and Duke Przemys II concluded an agreement in which Mciwj
bequeathed to his dear little son [dilecto filiolo nostro] his duchy of
Pomerania.101 As mentioned above, this was not the first time the duchy
had been promised to the dukes of Pomeranias neighbors or kinsmen. In
1264 Mciwj had promised it to Duke Barnim I of west Pomerania and
in 1269 he had accepted the duchy in fee from the margraves of Branden-
burg. Similarly, his brother, Warcisaw, had bequeathed his duchy to Duke
Wisaw II of Rgen. What made this promise different is that it actually
took effect following Mciwjs death in 1294. The fact that this happened
was not simply because Mciwj and Przemys said it would, but because
they spent a decade convincing their secular and clerical magnates that
it must happen. The details of this process will be examined in the next
chapter. The purpose here is simply to examine how the dukes justified
the succession agreement, especially in light of the fact that there were
still others with claims to the duchy, particularly Duke Wisaw, who made
his intentions to succeed his uncle, Mciwj, clear in a letter to the mar-
graves of Brandenburg in 1289.102
As we have seen, the idea that Pomerania and Great Poland would be
peacefully united under a single ruler must have seemed impossible in the
mid-thirteenth century. First, witopek and Mciwj fought the dukes of
Great Poland for control of the borderland castle of Nako, on the Pomera-
nian side of the Note River. In 1242 the Great Polish dukes entered the
Fifteen Years War on the side of the Teutonic Knights, capturing Nako.
Similar, in 1256, a couple of years after the resolution of this conflict, the
Annals of the Pozna Chapter record that Mciwj recaptured Nako, the
key to the whole of Poland [clavis tocius Polonie].103 However, despite
these lingering border conflicts, some earlier Polish historians advanced
the argument that Mciwj turned to the dukes of Great Poland for help to

101 PlUB #333.

102 The language of this letter is striking in that Wisaw fully expects he might have to
fight for the duchy and so promises to divide it with the margraves in exchange for their
help: post mortem domini Mystwiny nunc ducis Pomeranie totam suam terram, sive gwer-
rando cum violentia sive placitando cum amicitia eam obtinuerimus... (PlUB#448).
103 Jasiski, Zapis, 176; Powierski, Stellung, 117, 126; Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej,
MPH ns 6: 35.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 89

combat German aggression and protect Polish interests in Pomerania.104

In other words, if Pomerania could not remain an independent duchy, it
was better that it go to a Polish ruler than a German one. Similarly, the
lawyers and witnesses in the fourteenth-century trials would argue that
because Pomerania had been part of the historical kingdom of Poland
it should naturally pass to the Polish ruler. Yet, contemporaries seem to
have seen neither ethnicity nor regnal solidarity as determining factors for
the eventual unification of Pomerania and Great Poland.
The argumentation of Mciwj and Przemys contained little talk of eth-
nicity. Given the prominence of such factors in the union of Poland and
Bohemia in 1300 and the sufferings of both Pomerania and Great Poland
at the hands of the German margraves of Brandenburg, they surely would
have raised questions of ethnicity if these had been important to them.
In addition, the idea that Pomerania was once a part of Poland and now
should be again finds no place among the reasons the dukes gave for why
Mciwj chose Przemys as his heir. Instead, the men used the language
of family and friendship to explain this bequest.
The notation on the back of one of the copies of the Kpno agree-
ment, apparently written by the Chancellor of Great Poland or one of his
scribes in dorso of the original immediately after its acquisition from the
Pomeranian chancellor, who sealed the document,105 provides a fuller
justification for this agreement than the main text:
These are the reasons why the duke of Pomerania gives his duchy to the duke
of Poland: because the progenitors of the duke of Poland were always sup-
porters, defenders, and protectors of the duchy of Pomerania; also, because
Duke Przemys himself, both in defending and protecting the aforesaid
duchy, vigorously opposed the enemies of the same duchy, and he regards
the same duke of Pomerania as a father and reveres him like a father and
has served him and his duchy in all ways, up to the spilling of his blood
and the blood of his men, etc.106

104See among others Zieliska, Zjednoczenie, 5; Jasiski, Zapis, 177; Jan Baszkiewicz,
Powstanie zjednoczonego pastwa polskiego na przeomie XIII i XIV wieku (Warszawa:
Ksiaka i Wiedza, 1954).
105Bieniak convincingly refutes the earlier argument of Krystyna Zieliska on date and
authorship (Powstanowienia ukadu kepiskiego, 215).
106Hec sunt cause quare dux Pomoranie donat ducatum suum duci Polonie, quia
progenitores ducis Polonie semper fuerint fautores, defensatores et protectores ducatus
Pomoranie; item quia dux Premislyus ipsum, tam in defendendo quam in tuendo ducatum
predictum se opposuit viriliter hostibus pro eodem ducatu, et ipsum ducem Pomoranie
habet pro patre et reveretur tamquam patrem, et omnia servicia sibi et suo ducatui usque
90 chapter two

As Bieniak points out, such motivations were also at odds with the
justifications for this agreement remembered by the witnesses in 1339,
especially the childlessness of Mciwj, which dominated the plot in the
testimonies from 1339.107 While the witnesses in 1339 would present
this event as a devolution of a lordship to a political superior, in light
of the way that Mciwj characterized Przemys in his charters (his
dear son)108 as well as the way Przemys presented Mciwj to Mciwjs
subjects in the months before the latters death (his dear uncle) it
seems that in the minds of contemporaries family relationships mat-
tered most.109 Wisaw II used his relationship to Mciwj to justify his
own claims to the duchy, so it was necessary that Przemys use the same
methods to justify his rule in Pomeraniahe had inherited the land from
a close relativenot that it had devolved to him because of the childless-
ness of a vassal. It took another half century and two decades of continu-
ous rule under Polish kings for Poles to make such statist arguments about
Polish rulers rights to lands that were part of the ancient regnum.
In 1320 and 1339 many of the witnesses were unsure why Przemys had
inherited from Mciwj, or for that matter why Wadysaw okietek inher-
ited from Przemys, and those who did have memories of these events
gave numerous and often conflicting explanations based on both kin-
ship and kingship. Some witnesses remembered the complex dynastic
world of thirteenth-century Poland in which numerous duchies appeared
and disappeared with the birth of one relative or the death or exile of
another. But, for the majority of the witnesses within the newly restored
kingdom of Poland, such memories of the fragmented duchies of the thir-
teenth century were buried under recently created memories of kingship,
especially in the later trial. For the majority of the witnesses in this trial,
Mciwj and the rest of the dukes of Pomerania had functioned as agents
of a line of kings which they had come to believe had ruled Poland since
time immemorial. Therefore, it was only natural that at the time of the
death of the last of these dukes, the ancient Polish land of Pomerania
would once again come under the direct rule of the king of Poland at

ad sui et suorum effusionem sangwinis exhibendo etc. (Bieniak, Powstanowienia ukadu

kepiskiego, 215; KDW 3 #2033).
107Bieniak, Powstanowienia ukadu kepiskiego, 215.
108Mciwj used this terminology in the Kpno agreement as well as in later
109PlUB #516, #517, #518. Mciwj was not Przemyss uncle, but rather his second
cousin. Przemyss grandfather, Wadysaw Odonic, married Mciwjs aunt, Jadwiga, and
Mciwjs father, witopek, married Wadysaws sister, Eufrozyna. See chapter three for
a more detailed analysis of these documents.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 91

that time, Przemys II. The witnesses were apparently ignorant (willfully
or not) of the fact that Przemyss coronation in 1295 had ended a more
than two century-long interregnum in Poland. Unlike many modern Pol-
ish historians, they did not see the Kpno agreement as the main event
in the restoration of the kingdom of Poland, because in their minds the
kingdom of Poland had always existed.


This chapter has attempted to illustrate two main points. The first contin-
ues a theme raised initially in the first chapter: the thirteenth-century dis-
putes between the Teutonic Knights and their neighbors and benefactors
should not be seen in the same light as the Polish-Teutonic Knights trials
of the early fourteenth century. In the thirteenth-century disputes the Teu-
tonic Knights position in relation to the various Polish and Pomeranian
dukes with whom they contended and cooperated was far more compli-
cated than the simpler image of the national struggle that emerged in the
memories of the litigants in the fourteenth century. The landscape of this
borderland society was characterized by overlapping political and eccle-
siastical jurisdictions continually open to contestation. Just as the various
rulers of these fluid polities frequently attempted to strengthen their posi-
tion through changing alliances, so the ecclesiastical superstructure of this
borderland was also subject to constant transformations, as clerics sought
to harden the soft boundaries between their own jurisdictional areas. At
the same time, translocal religious and civic organizations also played a
role in shaping the political landscape of this borderland, as rulers sought
to expand their power by developing translocal monastic and economic
networks to strengthen their emerging states. In this context and in con-
trast to the views of those in the fourteenth century, the Teutonic Knights,
despite their state-formation activities in the thirteenth century, should
be seen as just one of the numerous, contentious, translocal organiza-
tions used by the various lords in this borderland to strengthen their own
positions against both their Christian and pagan neighbors. When the
representatives of the various religious organizations of Pomerania came
to meet their new secular lord, Duke (soon to be King) Przemys II, just
before Mciwjs death in 1294, the Teutonic Knights were there beside
the Cistercians and the archdeacon of Pomerania.110 It would take the

110See chapter three.

92 chapter two

memory of two decades of conflict between the kings of Poland and the
Teutonic Knights to transform the Knights into Polands eternal enemy,
incapable of ever having been part of the kingdom of Poland.
Second, within this distant stateless borderland society all the dis-
putants, both secular and religious, ultimately recognized and often
welcomed the authority of the papacy to resolve their disputes. A thou-
sand miles away from Rome, the popes exercised an authority in Poland,
Pomerania, and Prussia, which was in stark contrast to their declining
authority over western European potentates. Just when jurists in the
more established states in the west were beginning to thunder against
the overarching claims of papal sovereignty,111 the emerging states of
new Europe started to look to the papacy for the legitimization of their
existence.112 Thirteenth-century popes administered a large part of this
bulwark of Latin Christendom through a few legates, who became involved
in disputes, which must have seemed relatively insignificant in light of
what was happening in Western Europe. Yet, in their squabbling over
unpronounceable places in unknown lands, these Germans, Prussians,
Poles, and Pomeranians both gave and received legitimacy through the
idea of papal sovereignty. Although the various disputing parties spent
at least as much time fighting each other as they did fighting the pagans
and schismatics on their borders, these disputes leave no doubt that the
missionary project in this part of Latin Christendom was directed from
Rome and governed by administrators sent from Western Europe, who
possessed sufficient authority to prevent the breakdown of the papal proj-
ect of pushing the bounds of Latin Christendom further to the east. The
maintenance of this authority would become more problematical in the
fourteenth century, however. Despite the appeals to the papacy made by
both Poland and the Teutonic Knights and the eventual success of the

111Joseph R. Strayer, The Laicization of French and English Society in the Thirteenth
Century, Speculum 15 (1940), 7686; reprinted in Medieval Statecraft and the Perspectives
of History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 251265; Gaines Post, Public Law,
the State, and Nationalism, in Studies in Medieval Legal Thought: Public Law and the State,
11001322 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964), 434493.
112Stanisaw Szczur, La papaut dAvignon face aux conflits en Europe Centrale au
XIVe sicle. Quaestiones medii aevi novae 4 (1999), 87106; Jean Gaudemet, Le role de
la papaut dans la rglement des conflits entre tats aux XIIIe et XIVe sicles, Recueil
de la Societ Jean Bodin 15 (1961), 79106; Sarah Layfield, The Papacy and the Nations of
Christendom: A Study with Particular Focus on the Pontificate of John XXII (13161334).
Ph.D. diss. Durham University, 2008; Sarah Layfield, The Papacy and the Nations of Scot-
land and Poland c.12501334, in Britain and Poland-Lithuania: Contact and Comparison
from the Middle Ages to 1795, ed. Richard W. Unger (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 87102.
dealing with the past and planning for the future 93

papacy in arbitrating a settlement between the parties, statist discourse

was beginning to be at odds with the internationalist language of Christi-
anitas. Once the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat came
to see their own state-formation activities as incongruent with the larger
project of the expansion of Latin Christendom directed by the papacy,
they began to seek other avenues of conflict resolution, including arbi-
tration by the neighboring kings of Bohemia and Hungary and self-help
remedies in the form of years of open warfare.
The following chapters will examine the tension and interplay between
these two seemingly incompatible discourses in the development of the
public perception of the history of the conflicts between the rulers of
Poland and the Teutonic Knights during the first four decades of the four-
teenth century. They will also draw upon far richer source materials. As
this and the previous chapter have illustrated, the surviving documents
from the thirteenth century record only the stated goals or the final results
of these disputes and provide very little information about the processes
involved in the papal legates execution of their commissions. The law-
suits between the Teutonic Knights and the archbishop of Riga in 1312
and the kingdom of Poland in 1320 and 1339 reveal far more about the
nature of these conflicts because notarial records of the trial acts survive,
including the testimonies of nearly 200 witnesses. These records will be
analyzed in the final two chapters to examine the processes of the for-
mation of group identity, the development of historical consciousness,
and other attributes of state formation, crucial topics which these two
chapters have had to treat superficially because of the limitations of the
thirteenth-century sources. First, however, in order to place these four-
teenth-century disputes within the larger European context in which they
should be analyzed, the next chapter will provide a brief outline of the
late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century events that influenced the
conflicts between Poland and the Teutonic Knights.



The present chapter is intended to provide background to the political

events that occurred in Poland between Duke Mciwj of Pomeranias
death in 1294 and the Peace of Kalisz, which ended the conflict between
the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat in 1343. During this
half-century, East Central Europe underwent profound political transfor-
mations, which brought this previously peripheral region more directly
into the consciousness of western Europeans.1 The native dynasties of
Polands two neighboring kingdoms, Bohemia and Hungary, died out
and were replaced by German and French royal dynastiesthe Luxem-
burgs and Angevins respectively. Similarly, the extinction of the Ascanian
dynasty of Brandenburg (the descendants of Albrecht the Bear) led to the
establishment of the emperors son as margrave of Brandenburg.2 At the
same time, the transformation of the Teutonic Knights from a translocal
religious organization to a territorial state was strengthened by the trans-
fer of its headquarters from Acre to Venice to Marienburg (Polish: Mal-
bork) in Prussia. In addition, while the Baltic crusades of Scandinavians
and Germans had succeeded in subjecting nearly all of the pagan peoples
in northeastern Europe, those who remainedthe Lithuanianswere
brought under the rule of Grand Duke Gediminas (13151342), who insinu-
ated to the papacy that he might be willing to accept baptism in order to
strengthen his political position. Finally, during the pontificates of John
XXII (13161334) and Benedict XII (13341342), the papal curia also showed

1Andrzej Feliks Grabski, Polska w opiniach Europy Zachodniej XIVXV w. (Warszawa:

Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1968); Andrzej Feliks Grabski, Polska w opiniach
obcych, XXIII w. (Warszawa: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1964).
2Albrecht the Bear was one of the key figures in the twelfth-century expansion of the
Empire across the Elbe [Johannes Schultze, Die Mark Brandenburg (Berlin: Duncker &
Humblot, 1961), 1: 6395; Friedrich Lotter, The Crusading Idea and the Conquest of the
Region East of the Elbe, in Medieval Frontier Societies, ed. Robert Bartlett and Angus
MacKay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 301303; Eberhard Schmidt, Die Mark Branden-
burg unter den Askaniern, 11341320 (Kln: Bhlau, 1973)]. For the transition from the Asca-
nians to the Wittelsbachs, see Schultze, Die Mark Brandenburg, 2: 950.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 95

a greater interest in looking for both allies and revenues in East Central
Europe during its conflict with Emperor Ludwig IV (13141347). The trans-
local economic and monastic networks that had linked this periphery of
Latin Christendom to the center during the previous century were now
strengthened by political and dynastic ties that bound these states to a
larger European entity.
The following account of the political history of this region in the late
thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries will focus primarily on relations
between the kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat. However,
as the fates of these two emerging states became inexorably linked to the
other states of East Central Europe as well as to the conflict between the
emperor and the papacy, their activities will be analyzed within a larger
European context. This chapter will also draw attention to the fact that
in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries there was not one,
linear renovatio regni Poloniae, but rather a series of restorations, during
each of which the kingdom of Poland took a different shape, with the
duchy of Pomerania playing a more or less important role in the actual or
imagined kingdom.

Prelude to the Restorations: Polish Duchies and the Polish Church

in the Decade before Przemys IIs Coronation

As mentioned in the previous chapter, according to the agreement made

in 1282 between Duke Mciwj II of Pomerania and Duke Przemys II of
Great Poland, these two duchies were united after Mciwjs death in
1294. Earlier Polish and German historians were divided as to the signifi-
cance of this event. For many earlier German historians, this was nothing
more than a personal union of two duchies, and a short-lived one at that,
which did not provide the fourteenth-century kingdom of Poland with
any particular rights to Pomerania.3 Many earlier Polish historians, on the
other hand, saw in this union a manifestation of the desire to end the
period of fragmentation and restore the ancient Polish kingdom, which
meant that Pomerania had to be part of any future Polish state.4 Though

3The most forceful proponent of this view was Irene Ziekursch, Der Proze zwischen
Knig Kasimir von Polen und dem deutschen Orden im Jahre 1339 (Berlin: Emil Ebering,
1934), 77, 154.
4See, for example, Kazimierz Jasiski, Zapis Pomorza Gdaskiego przez Mszczuja w
1282, Przegld Zachodni 56 (1952), 189.
96 chapter three

both of these arguments have merits and limitations, it is important to

try to assess what Przemyss contemporaries thought of this union and
not what it meant for later relations between Poland and the Ordens-
staat. The Pomeranians did do homage to Przemys as their lord before
he became king of Poland, and Mciwj did dedicate a monastery to the
recently canonized Stanisaw, who was in effect the patron saint of the
movement to restore the Polish kingdom.5 Yet, whatever the intentions of
the founders of this union, in late thirteenth-century Poland these inten-
tions were always open to contestation by the surrounding rulers as well
as the nobles and burghers within their own duchies.
The smooth transition of lordship in Pomerania demonstrates the merit
of Janusz Bieniaks and Baej liwiskis arguments that these two duch-
ies already operated as one political unit in the decade before Mciwjs
death, with the duke of Pomerania recognizing the duke of Great Poland
as his lord.6 However, it was certainly not clear in the 1280s that the union
of these two duchies would lay the groundwork for the restoration of the
kingdom of Poland. For more than 200 years Polish duchies had been
united and divided upon the deaths of their rulers, depending upon the
number of their heirs, and none of these dukes had ever become king.
Therefore, the particular circumstances that led to the reemergence of
the Polish kingdom through the union of these two duchies need to be
analyzed in some detail.
Numerous historians have argued that there is evidence of a nascent
Polish national consciousness emerging in the second half of the thir-
teenth century.7 This national consciousness was expressed in a number

5See chapter 2.
6Janusz Bieniak, Postanowienia ukada kpiskiego (15 February 1282), Przegld
Historyczny 82 (1991), 209232; Baej liwiski, Pomorze Wschodnie w okresie rzdw ksi-
cia polskiego Wadysawa okietka w latach 13061309 (Gdask: Muzeum Archeologiczne w
Gdasku, 2003), 4750.
7Paul W. Knoll, National Consciousness in Medieval Poland, Ethnic Studies 10 (1993),
6584, and Konstantin Symmons-Symonolewicz, National Consciousness in Poland until
the End of the Fourteenth Century: A Sociological Approach, Canadian Review of Stud-
ies in Nationalism 8 (1981), 249266 provide a good overview in English, while Sawomir
Gawlas, Stan bada nad polsk wiadomoci narodow w redniowieczu, in Pastwo,
nard i stany w wiadomoci wiekw rednich, ed. Aleksander Gieysztor (Warsaw: PWN,
1990), 149194, provides a more comprehensive survey of the Polish historiography of the
issue; Piotr Greckis Assimilation, Resistance, and Ethnic Group Formation in Medieval
Poland: A European Paradigm? in Das Reich und Polen: Parallelen, Interaktionen, und For-
men der Akkulturation im hohen und spter Mittelalter, ed. Thomas Wnsch and Alexander
Patschovsky (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2003), 447476, is a nuanced analysis of how eth-
nic identity was performed at this time in courtrooms and chronicles.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 97

of ways, most notably in the form of hostility towards Germans and the
desire for the restoration of a unified Polish kingdom. More recently some
Polish historians, especially Sawomir Gawlas, have quite correctly argued
against taking too strong a view of Polish national consciousness in the
thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.8 Yet, while this sense of Pol-
ishness was perhaps not as widespread as some earlier Polish historians
would have us believe, it is undeniable that at least in some circles, there
was a longing for the restoration of the kingdom. Such sentiments were
particularly strong among certain members of the clergy, who hoped that
a stronger state would better protect ecclesiastical rights. Foremost among
these clerics was the archbishop of Gniezno, Jakub winka (12831314),
whose metropolitan see was located just 30 miles from Przemyss ducal
capital of Pozna.
Some scholars have seen Jakub winka as both the architect of the
restoration of the kingdom of Poland and one of the key figures in the
development of a Polish national consciousness.9 Whatever his role in
attempting to unify the various contending duchies, he proved himself
to be an avid defender of the Polish church, guarding against what he
perceived as German incursions. In 1285 he wrote a letter to the College
of Cardinals complaining about Germans in general and the Franciscans
in Silesia, Prussia, and Pomerania in particular, because they had seceded
from the Polish province to join the Saxon one.10 At a synod of the Polish
church in the same year he also instituted a statute for the conserva-
tion and preservation of the Polish language requiring priests to give ser-
mons and instruct students in Polish.11 This was obviously directed against

8See especially Sawomir Gawlas, Verus heres: Z bada nad wiadomoci poli-
tyczn obozu Wadysawa okietka w pocztku XIV wieku, Kwartalnik Historyczny 95
(1988), 77104.
9For biographies of the archbishop, see Daniel Buczek, Archbishop Jakub winka,
12831314: An Assessment, in Polish Studies in Civilization, ed. Damian S. Wandycz (New
York: Columbia University Institute on East Central Europe, 1971), 5461; Wadysaw Kara-
siewicz, Jakub II winka, arcybiskup gnienieski (Pozna: Nak. Poznanskiego Towarzy-
stwo Przyjacio Nauk, 1948); Tadeusz Silnicki and Kazimierz Gob, Arcybiskup Jakub II
winka i jego epoka (Warszawa: Pax, 1956).
10KDW I #616; see also John B. Freed, The Friars and the Delineation of State Bound-
aries in the Thirteenth Century, in Order and Innovation in the Middle Ages: Essays in
Honor of Joseph R. Strayer, ed. William C. Jordan, et al. (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1976), 3140, 425428; John B. Freed, The Friars and German Society in the Thirteenth
Century (Cambridge, MA: The Medieval Academy of America, 1977).
11 Moreover, we have established that every Sunday all priests must explain the Lords
Prayer and the Hail Mary to the people in Polish in place of a sermon.... [...] In addi-
tion, we have established for the conservation and promotion of the Polish language: no
98 chapter three

immigrant German clerics as well as the German parishioners they cared

for, but Polish linguistic nationalism12 or anti-German sentiment does
not necessarily equate with a desire for the restoration of the kingdom
of Poland.13
In retrospect it may appear natural that Poland was moving towards
unification in the late thirteenth century, but to contemporaries it must
have seemed improbable and perhaps not particularly desirable. Due to
the absence of primogeniture the lands that had been controlled by the
last Polish duke with any claim to superiority over the ancient kingdom
of Poland, Duke Bolesaw III Krzywousty, continued to fragment after his
death in 1138, so that by the 1280s there were well over a dozen duchies

r ectors of schools are to be placed in conventual and cathedral churches or any other
places whatsoever, unless they know Polish properly and can explain the authorities to
the boys in the Polish language. [Statuimus etiam, ut omnes presbyteri singulis diebus
dominicis...oracionem dominicam et Salutacionem Virginis gloriose...loco sermonis
exponere populo debeant in Polonico.... [...] Statuimus insuper ad conservacionem et
promocionem lingwe Polonice: in singulis locis ecclesiarum kathedralium et conventua-
lium, et aliis quibuscunque locis non ponantur rectores scolarium, nisi linguam Polonicam
proprie sciant, et possint pueris auctores exponere in Polonica lingua (KDW 1 #551)].
12I borrow this phrase from Robert Bartlett, who points out that a growing strand of
linguistic nationalism or politicized linguistic consciousness emerges in the later Middle
Ages. A symptom of the identification of language and people is the use of the word for
language in contexts where it almost certainly means people [The Making of Europe
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 201]. This strand of thinking was also pres-
ent in late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century Poland. For more on this concept in a
European context see Len Scales, Bread, Cheese and Genocide: Imagining the Destruction
of Peoples in Medieval Western Europe, History 92 (2007), 284300.
13winka was undoubtedly anti-German and was prone to refer to Germans as dog
heads (see below), yet his concerns about the Polish language were more complex than
simple chauvinism. He was first of all always conscious of the need to communicate with
ones congregation in ethnically diverse communities. In some Polish cities Germans
constituted the majority of the inhabitants, and many villages were also settled largely
by Germans. In fact, it has been estimated that Germans might have represented 1/6 of
the population of late-thirteenth century Poland (250,000 of 1.5 million) [Paul W. Knoll,
Economic and Political Institutions on the Polish-German Frontier in the Middle Ages:
Action, Reaction, Interaction, in Medieval Frontier Societies, ed. Robert Bartlett and Angus
MacKay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 162]. winka perhaps feared that the linguistic
exclusion of certain Polish communities from full participation in the celebration of
masses would have dangerous consequences for their salvation. Second, he probably also
feared the rise of German cultural dominance in urban centers and ducal courts. Medieval
Polish was not a literary language, so Poles inevitably turned to either Latin or German.
As Benedykt Zientara points out, German [was] the language of sophisticated courts
[Melioratio Terrae: The Thirteenth-Century Breakthrough in Polish History, in A Republic
of Nobles: Studies in Polish History to 1864, edited and translated by J.K. Fedorowicz (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 43]. For example, Duke Henryk IV Prawy of
Wrocaw, who ruled over one of the regions of Poland most heavily populated by Germans,
is represented in the early fourteenth-century Codex Manesse as a Minnesnger: http://
digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg848 (accessed 20 June 2012).
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 99

ruled by dukes of the royal Piast dynasty. Rarely did these dukes recognize
another as a superior authority, and disputed inheritances often led to
internecine warfare, as the previous two chapters have illustrated. Some
dukes were of course more powerful than othersbecause they had come
to rule larger regions through conquest, inheritance, or marriageand
these dukes did attempt to exert some control over the weaker dukes, but
they were not particularly effective.
By the end of the 1280s, Duke Henryk IV Prawy of Wrocaw had emerged
as the most powerful duke in Poland.14 He controlled two of the most impor-
tant regions of Poland. His inheritance, Silesia, was by far the most eco-
nomically advanced duchy in Poland.15 And in 1288 he defeated Wadysaw
okietek (the future king of Poland but at that time only a minor duke)
in a battle for Little Poland, which had been controlled by Wadysaws
brother, Leszek II Czarny.16 Possession of Little Poland was economically
desirable but even more important ideologically. Its capital, Krakw, had
emerged during the later thirteenth century as an important center of Pol-
ish unity, because it housed the relics of St. Stanisaw, who had become the
patron saint of the restoration movement after his canonization in 1253.17
Even though the idea of the kingdom of Poland had reentered the
public consciousness (at least in some circles), it is difficult to know
whether Henryk had any pretensions to the throne, because Polish dukes
were remarkably restrained in their titulature throughout the thirteenth
century.18 If he did, these goals were not realized, because he was mur-
dered in 1290 (a common fate for rulers in this part of the world around
the turn of the fourteenth century).19 Yet, his will does not suggest that the

14Paul W. Knoll, The Rise of the Polish Monarchy: Piast Poland in East Central Europe,
13201370 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 1517.
15For a detailed analysis of the economic development of Silesia, see Piotr Grecki,
Economy, Society, and Lordship in Medieval Poland, 11001250 (New York: Holmes and
Meier, 1992).
16Knoll, Rise, 1516.
17Jerzy Koczowski, The Church and the Nation: The Example of the Mendicants in
Thirteenth-Century Poland, in Faith and Identity: Christian Political Experience, ed. David
Loades and Katherine Walsh (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 4755. See also Agnieszka
Ronowska-Sadraei, Pater Patriae: The Cult of Saint Stanislaus and the Patronage of Polish
Kings 12001455 (Krakw: Wydawnictwo UNUM, 2008).
18Aleksander Swieawski, Dux regni Poloniae i haeres regni Poloniae. Ze studiw nad
tytulatur wadcw polskich na przeomie XIII i XIV wieku, Przegld Historyczny 80
(1989), 429438.
19In addition to the murders of King Przemys II of Poland in 1296 and King Vclav III
of Bohemia and Great Poland in 1306 (discussed below), there was also the murder of King
Albrecht I of Germany in 1308.
100 chapter three

nification of Polish lands was foremost in his mind. Because he did not
have a son, his first cousin, Duke Henryk of Gogw, was awarded his Sile-
sian possessions, while a more distant relative, Duke Przemys II of Great
Poland was granted Little Poland.20 Because the latter did not have a male
heir, they had apparently agreed that Henryk of Gogw, Przemyss first
cousin, would acquire his lands after Przemyss death.21 This arrangement
need not concern us, however, because it was never realized.
Burghers, knights, and nobles also played an important role in deciding
who would be their ruler, and these men chose not to honor their late
lords will. The burghers of Wrocaw chose another Silesian duke, Henryk V
Gruby, of the closer region of Legnica, while the inhabitants of Little
Poland recognized the lordship of King Vclav II of Bohemia, the son of
King Pemysl II Ottokar, in whose court Henryk of Wrocaw had been
raised.22 The king of Bohemia continued his advance into Poland, taking
the duchy of Sandomierz from Wadysaw okietek in 1292, and in the
same year forcing him to do homage for the duchy of Sieradz.23 Vclav
also strengthened his position in the region by accepting homage from a
number of Silesian dukes24 and marrying his sister to Duke Bolesaw II of
Mazovia in 1291.25 At the time of Przemyss coronation in 1294, the king
of Bohemia directly or indirectly controlled more of the ancient Polish
kingdom than the newly minted king of Poland did.
This brief excursus on the succession to Duke Henryk of Wrocaws
lands demonstrates how deeply fragmented and fiercely contested the
regions of the former kingdom of Poland remained. It also shows that
the Polish duchies were not exclusive entities, fixed in space. They could
be incorporated into surrounding non-Polish polities, as the Bohemian
acquisition of Krakw demonstrates, or they could incorporate surround-
ing polities ruled by non-Piast dukes, as Przemyss inheritance of the
duchy of Pomerania demonstrates. This was a far more fluid society than
some later historians (both medieval and modern) would have us believe.
Contemporary documents make it clear that Pomeranians, Poles, and
Bohemians thought of themselves as similar peoples based on the mark-
ers of medieval ethnicitylanguage, custom, and law. The dividing line

20Knoll, Rise, 17.

21 Knoll, Rise, 17.
22Knoll, Rise, 15, 1718.
23Kazimierz Pacuski, Mazowsze wobec walk o wadze w Polsce na przeomie XIII/XIV w.,
Kwartalnik Historyczny 85 (1978), 595.
24Knoll, Rise, 18.
25Pacuski, 594.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 101

between these peoples was blurry, so that it was difficult to tell where
Poland was and who was a Pole. However, as Archbishop winka made
clear, the one institution that held these disparate duchies together at this
time was the Polish church. The church was to play an even greater role
in imagining what form the kingdom of Poland would take after a reified
Papal conception of the ancient kingdom made its way into the discourse
of the later disputes between Poland and the Teutonic Knights. In the late
thirteenth century, however, the kingdom that emerged encompassed just
a small part of the ancient regnum.

The First Restoration of the Kingdom:

The Union of the Duchies of Pomerania and Great Poland

The union of Pomerania and Great Poland following the death of Duke
Mciwj II of Pomerania has stood out in Polish history as a crowning
achievement of diplomacy, which laid the foundation for the restoration
of the kingdom of Poland. Yet, as explained above, duchies were very
fluid units in this area. It was common enough for them to fragment or
be annexed by neighbors, depending upon the number of heirs a duke
had. In fact, it might not be too much of an exaggeration to argue that
one of the greatest factors in the unification of Poland at the turn of the
fourteenth century was that more and more dukes died without sons,
necessitating the formation of larger political units. Nevertheless, the
political entity that emerged when Przemys succeeded Mciwj was new
in important ways. What made the union of Pomerania and Great Poland
different from other contemporary mergers of Polish duchies deserves an
Janusz Bieniak has argued,26 and other Polish researchers now agree,27
that from the time of the Kpno agreement in 1282, Mciwj held Pomera-
nia in Przemyss name. In other words, the arrangement was similar to the
agreement that Mciwj made with the margrave of Brandenburg in 1269.
Yet, without the consent of the Pomeranian nobility, Mciwjs donation
would not have been recognized. Henryk of Wrocaws subjects did not
follow the will of their duke, and as we shall see below, the Great Polish
and Pomeranian nobles deliberately contradicted Przemyss intentions

26Janusz Bieniak, Postanowienia ukadu kpiskiego (15 lutego 1282), Przegld Histo-
ryczny 82 (1991), 209232.
27For an outline of the historiography of this subject see liwiski, Pomorze, 4849.
102 chapter three

that his duchy would pass to Duke Henryk of Gogw after his death. In
order to make this agreement work, Przemys and Mciwj spent nearly
a decade convincing the Pomeranian secular and ecclesiastical magnates
that it would be advantageous for them.28 However, even in the final years
of his life Mciwj apparently still hoped he might produce a male heir;
in 1288 he annulled his marriage to his middle-aged wife of thirteen years
and ran off with a Premonstratensian nun. The Oliwa Chronicle condemns
this action and blames this sin for his inability to produce an heir,29 but
it is questionable whether any son produced from this union would have
been recognized as a legitimate heir, as liwiski has pointed out, both
because of the scandal and because this nun was not of ducal blood.30
In any event, no son was born, and in the fall of 1294 Mciwj became
deathly ill.
Przemys was apparently informed immediately about Mciwjs ill-
ness, because he appears in Pomerania at the beginning of October. On
his way to Gdask he confirmed privileges granted by his dear uncle
(patruus noster dilectus), as he had taken to calling Mciwj in order to
strengthen the familial bond between the two.31 Their relationship was
actually a bit more complex: Przemyss grandfather, Wadysaw Odonic,
married Mciwjs aunt, Jadwiga, and Mciwjs father, witopek, mar-
ried Wadysaw Odonics sister, Eufrozyna.32 But, despite these complexi-
ties, the familial relationship between the two dukes was strong. One of
the justifications presented by Przemyss chancellor for the Kpno agree-
ment was that Przemys regarded and revered Mciwj as his father.33 In
fact, it is important to underscore that Przemyss right to succession was
based more on this imagined close familial link than any institutional
rights of Polish dukes to this land. Przemys acquired Pomerania through
inheritance to a son rather than devolution to a political overlord.
These Pomeranian charters were witnessed by Mciwjs officials as
well as by the archdeacon of Pomerania, the abbots of the Cistercian

28Bieniak, Postanowienia.
29...because he lived illegitimately and used for sex a sacred bride of Christ...God
deprived him of his seed for a legitimate successor.... [...quia illegitime vixit et sponsam
Christi sanctimonialem...suo commercio adaptavit, Deus privavit sui seminis legitimo
successore... (Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 315)].
30liwiski, Pomorze, 4950.
31PlUB #516, #517, #518.
32See chapter 1 and liwiski, Poczet, 29.
33...ipsum ducem Pomoranie habet pro patre et reveretur tamquam patrem... (Bie-
niak, Postanowienia, 215; KDW 3 #2033).
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 103

monasteries at Oliwa and Pelplin, and a brother of the Teutonic Order.

It is interesting that the Cistercian abbots and the representative of the
Teutonic Knights also appear in a document confirming Mciwjs grant
of a year earlier freeing the burghers of Elblg from tolls in Pomerania.
Elblg had been founded by Lbeck merchants, who also had colonies in
the two principal Pomeranian port cities of Gdask and Tczew.34 Even
though no merchants are listed by name, they might have been among
the unnamed aliis quam pluribus fide dignis mentioned at the end of the
witness list. It seems that everyone with any vested interest in Pomera-
nia had come to Gdask to witness and guarantee the transition from
Mciwj to Przemys. The Teutonic Knights presence also shows that
they approved of Przemyss succession to Pomerania, despite the claims
of the margraves of Brandenburg. There was no reason that the Knights
and the margraves should be allies simply because they were Germans
any more than the various Polish dukes should cooperate simply because
they were Poles. As demonstrated in the previous two chapters, the ethno-
political justifications of the fourteenth century were not present in this
thirteenth-century borderland.
Przemys did not yet assume the title duke of Pomerania in any of these
charters. He waited until Mciwjs death on Christmas day to incorporate
Pomerania into his titulature. Until then he was careful to attempt no
active governance in this land. Mciwjs officials were left in place, and
except for a brief trip to wiecie in April 1295,35 Przemys did not concern
himself with his newly acquired duchy until after his coronation as king of
Poland on 26 June 1295. Immediately afterwards, however, Przemys per-
ambulated Pomerania, visiting all of the major townsSupsk (30 July),36
Gdask (9 August),37 Tczew (11 August),38 and wiecie (15 August).39 He
also appeared again in Gdask in October to confirm the possessions of
Oliwa and Pelplin in the presence of the important secular and ecclesi-
astical officials of Pomerania.40 The instant recognition by the Pomera-
nians of Przemys not only as their lord, but also as their king, suggests
that Przemyss aspirations to restore the kingdom of Poland had been

34PlUB #518 confirms PlUB #504.

35PlUB #522.
36PlUB #527.
37PlUB #528.
38PlUB #529.
39PlUB #530.
40PlUB #531 and #533.
104 chapter three

c irculating for some time and that the Pomeranians had accepted being
governed under this new type of lordship.
Yet, despite the fact that the restoration of the kingdom must have
involved a considerable amount of planning, there has been some discus-
sion about whether this coronation was carried out with papal consent or
whether it was obtained after the fact, because no surviving bull autho-
rizes the coronation. Tomasz Jurek, however, has convincingly argued that
Archbishop winka had in fact obtained papal consent before he crowned
Przemys the first king of Poland in more than 200 years.41 Interestingly
enough, he connects this act with a conflict between Poland and the Teu-
tonic Knights concerning the archbishop of Gnieznos claimed superiority
over the bishopric of Chemno.42 Pomerania and Chemno became inexo-
rably linked in the minds of fourteenth-century Poles as ancient Polish
lands seized from the kingdom by the avaricious Teutonic Knights,43 and
it is possible that Archbishop winka was already trying to strengthen his
claim to ecclesiastical superiority over this bishopric based on its histori-
cal relationship to the ancient Polish kingdom. In any case, despite his
failure to gain superiority over Chemno, winka did succeed in persuad-
ing the pope to restore the office of king of Poland.
The coronation, which took place in Gniezno cathedral on 26 June 1295,
was the first conducted in Poland in more than two centuries. There was
no established coronation ordo, so the participants were to a large degree
creating both the meaning and symbolism of this event as well as the
rights and responsibilities of the king de novo.44 Unfortunately, this cer-
emony barely registered in the chronicles, which is remarkable consider-
ing what an unprecedented event it was. According to the Annals of the
Pozna Chapter, the coronation was attended by four of the six bishops
of the Polish church (five of seven including the archbishop), while the

41 Tomasz Jurek, Przygotowanie do koronacji Przemysa II, in Przemys II: Odnowie-

nie Krlestwa Polskiego, ed. Jadwiga Krzyaniakowa (Pozna: Instytut Historii UAM, 1997),
42Jurek, Przygotowanie, 171.
43See chapter five.
44The first surviving coronation ordo comes from the sixteenth century. Zbigniew
Dalewski, Ceremonia koronacji Przemysa II, in Przemys II: Odnowienie Krlestwa Pols-
kiego, ed. Jadwiga Krzyaniakowa (Pozna: Instytut Historii UAM, 1997), 205; see also
Aleksander Gieysztor, Gesture in the Coronation Ceremonies of Medieval Poland, in
Coronations: Medieval and Early Modern Ritual, ed Jnos M. Bak (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1990), 152162; also available online: http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/
ft367nb2f3/ (accessed 20 June 2012).
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 105

other two bishops expressed their consent.45 This document does not list
any important secular magnates, however, which might indicate some
displeasure at the idea of belonging to a kingdom. A decade earlier, some
of the Great Polish nobles, led by a member of the powerful Zarba fam-
ily, had revolted against Przemys II, handing over the strategically and
economically important town of Kalisz to Duke Henryk Prawy of Wrocaw
in 1284.46 It is entirely possible that many magnates worried about how
living under a king would affect their positions, but they were not the only
ones who were troubled. The coronation must also have upset the mar-
graves of Brandenburg, who had been expanding to the east at the expense
of the Great Polish dukes,47 had long desired control of the entirety of
Pomerania,48 and perhaps feared the consequences of Przemyss eleva-
tion in rank for their formerly Polish holdings. Therefore, on 8 February
1296, less than a year after his coronation, Przemys was murdered, most
likely by agents of the margraves, aided by certain Great Polish nobles.49

The First Interregnum: The Election of Wadysaw okietek (12961300)

Przemys had intended, according to Janusz Bieniak, that in the event of

his death without a male heir his lands were to be divided between his
first cousin, Duke Henryk of Gogw, and the dukes of Szczecin, with the
former holding Great Poland directly, and the latter holding Pomerania

45Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 53; see also Dalewski, 210211.

46Kazimierz Jasiski, Rola polityczne monowadztwa wielkopolskiego w latach 1284
1314, Roczniki Historyczne 29 (1963), 216224.
47Edward Rymar, Wadcy Brandenburgii na dzisiejszych ziemiach polskich, zwaszcza
w Nowej Marchii i na Pomorzu w latach 12001319 (Itinerarium), Rocznik Supski (1988
1989): 2752; Edward Rymar, Stosunki Przemysa II z margrabiami brandenburskimi ze
starszej linii askaskiej w latach 12791296 in Przemys IIOdrodzenie Krlestwa Pol-
skiego, ed. Jadwiga Krzyaniakowa (Pozna: Institut Historii UAM, 1997), 123144.
48Hermann Krabbo, Danzig und die askanischen Markgrafen von Brandenburg, Pre-
ussische Jahrbcher 177 (1919): 4754; Jzef Spors, Rzekome tytuy prawne Brandenburgii
do Pomorza Gdaskiego opierajce si na potwierdzeniach z 1231 i 1295 r., in Personae,
Colligationes, Facta, ed. Janusz Bieniak (Toru: Zakad Nauk Pomocniczych Historii Insty-
tutu Historii i Archiwistyki UMK w Toruniu, 1991), 240247.
49Karol Grski, mier Przemysa II, Roczniki Historyczne 5 (1929), 170200; Kazimierz
Jasiski, Tragedia rogoziska 1296 r. na tle rywalizacji wielkopolsko-brandenburskiej o
Pomorze Gdaskie, Zapiski Historyczne 26 (1961), 65104; Edward Rymar, Prba iden-
tyfikacji Jakuba Kaszuby, zabjcy krla Przemysa II w powizaniu z ekspansj branden-
bursk na pnocne obszary Wielkopolski, in NiemcyPolska w redniowieczu, ed. Jerzy
Strzelczyk (Pozna: Wydawn. Nauk. Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu,
1986), 203222.
106 chapter three

in Henryks name.50 The inhabitants of Pomerania and Great Poland,

however, chose to ignore Przemyss intentions and instead elected Duke
Wadysaw okietek of Kujawy as their lord. Kazimierz Jasiski has pointed
to the closer relations between Great Poland and Kujawy, including
Wadysaws marriage to Przemyss cousin, Jadwiga, and the Pomeranians
unfamiliarity with the distant duke of Gogw as the main factors that led
to the election of the neighboring duke of Kujawy.51 One could also point
to the fact that for more than a decade Wadysaws mother had been
married to Mciwj II, but their divorce in 1288 would have invalidated
whatever tenuous claims he might have had to his step-fathers duchy.52
In any event, despite his election by the important men in both Pomera-
nia and Great Poland, Wadysaw did not obtain the royal title. He also
did not immediately obtain the consent of the neighboring Polish dukes.
Henryk intended to claim what he viewed as his inheritance, if neces-
sary over the objections of Przemyss former subjects. So, one month after
the kings death, Wadysaw and Henryk met the barons of Great Poland
at Krzywi in an attempt to reconcile the will of the live barons with the
will of their dead king. They chose Krzywi because it was located about
halfway between Henryks capital at Gogw and the Great Polish capital
of Pozna. The Obra River, on which the town is located, was to serve as
a new political boundary between Wadysaws lands and Henryks lands.53
This division, however, was intended to be a temporary one. Wadysaw
adopted Henryks infant son, Henryk II Wierny, and promised that when
the young duke came of age, he would govern the land of Pozna. In addi-
tion, if Wadysaw died without a male heir, the younger Henryk would
inherit the whole of the duchy of Great Poland. This document said noth-
ing about either duke or their descendants assuming the royal title, but
less than two months later Wadysaw was confirming charters as the
duke of the kingdom of Poland and lord of Pomerania,54 implying that
whatever the terms of the settlement with Henryk, Wadysaw considered
himself the true heir to Przemyss kingdom. Wadysaw might have tried
to retake Krakw from Vclav in 1296 and thus obtain the royal title,55

50Bieniak, Postanowienia, 232; as discussed in the previous chapter, Mciwj had ear-
lier turned to Duke Barnim I of Szczecin as a possible heir in 1264.
51 Jasiski, Rola, 227232.
52liwiski, Poczet, 78; Maria Derwich, ed., Monarchia Piastw 10381399 (Warszawa:
Bertelsmann / Wrocaw: Wydawnictwo Dolnolskie, 2003), 239.
53KDW II #745.
54KDW II #746 and PlUB #540.
55Knoll has suggested this (Rise, 21).
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 107

but whatever Wadysaws intentions and pretensions he never referred

to himself as king.56 In fact, Aleksander Swieawski has drawn attention
to the fact that no thirteenth-century Polish duke, not even Wadysaw
or Henryk, ever used the title king in any of the surviving documents;
instead both opted for the title heir to the kingdom of Poland.57
Wadysaws rule in Pomerania was also contested by his twenty-year-
old nephew. Leszek, Duke Sambor of Pomeranias grandson, went to
Gdask from his main base at Inowrocaw in May 1296. While in [his]
castle of Gdask [in castro nostro Gdanzk] in the first year of [his] rule in
Pomerania [anno primo principatus nostri in Pomorania], he met with the
abbot and brothers of Oliwa monastery and confirmed privileges granted
by Sambor and Mciwj as duke of Pomerania by the mercy of God [dei
miseracione dux Pomoranie] in the presence of the officials of the duchy.58
This document could not have expressed his intentions to rule this duchy
more strongly. He was in possession of the duchys main town, and his
rule was sanctioned by the most important religious community in the
land, as well as by the previous regimes administrators. This, however,
is the only surviving document in which Leszek calls himself duke of
Pomerania. Because of this gift, Oliwa would preserve the memory of his
lordship in its mid-fourteenth-century chronicle,59 but these two texts are
the only references to his brief reign as duke of Pomerania. A month later
Leszek was referring to himself as simply the ruler of Kujawy.60 Also, in
his testimonies from the 1320 and 1339 trials, Leszek presented himself
as a loyal follower of his uncle. Exactly how Wadysaw took control of
the duchy from his nephew is difficult to determine, but Leszeks change
of heart is explored in more detail in chapter five. For now, it suffices
to point out that Wadysaw apparently took little interest in Pomerania.
Usually dukes confirmed their subjects charters, but in the first years of
Wadysaws reign in Pomerania, the secular and ecclesiastical officials of
the duchy wrote and witnessed each others charters.61 Wadysaw does

56Maria Bieliska, Kancelaria Wadysawa okietka w latach 12961299. Ze studiw

nad kancelari wielkopolsk, Studia rdoznawcze 6 (1961), 2180.
57Swieawski, 429430.
58PlUB #541.
59...the duchy of Pomerania did not have a legitimate successor, but the knights at
first called Duke Leszek of Kujawy, who held the duchy for some time. [...ducatus Pomer-
anie nullum habuit legitimum successorem, sed milites primo vocaverunt ducem Cuiavie
Lestkonem, qui ad tempus ducatum tenuit (Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 315316)].
60liwiski, Pomorze, 58; Dokumenty kujawskie i mazowieckie przewaanie z XIII w., ed.
Bolesaw Ulanowski (Krakw: Akademia Umiejtnoci, 1887), #58.
61PlUB #547, #548, #549.
108 chapter three

not even appear to have visited the duchy until January 1298.62 Although
he took a more active interest in Pomerania throughout 1298, by this
time Henryk was beginning to challenge his rule there. In June, Henryk
promised the archbishop of Gniezno as well as the bishops of Pozna and
Kujawy, that he would protect their interests in Pomerania.63 The secular
and ecclesiastical magnates of Pomerania and Great Poland had appar-
ently grown tired of what they perceived as Wadysaws poor governance.
Yet, despite the arrangements with Henryk, when Wadysaws subjects
rebelled against their lord, they did not turn to the Polish Henryk, but
rather to the king of Bohemia.
The Annals of the Pozna Chapter listed the evils of Wadysaw and
his henchmen as justifications for his banishment from his lands and the
election of King Vclav II of Bohemia as king of Poland.64 But, the accep-
tance of Vclav as ruler of Poland had in fact already been set in place by
Wadysaw himself, when in August 1299 he acknowledged that he held all
of his lands in fee from the king of Bohemia.65 The next year Wadysaw
fled to Hungary,66 and Vclav was crowned king of Poland.

The Second Restoration of the Kingdom:

The Union with the Kingdom of Bohemia (13001306)

The idea of the unification of some Polish duchies under the rule of the
king of Bohemia must not have seemed as shocking to contemporaries
as it did to some later Polish scholars.67 As outlined above, Vclav II had
already been ruling in Little Poland and Sandomierz for a decade and had

62PlUB #552 and #553.

63PlUB #560 and KDW II #787.
64Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 5354. The significance of this passage is
analyzed in more detail in the next two chapters.
65KDW II #818 and PlUB #582.
66Knoll, Rise, 23; Jan Dbrowski, Z czasw okietka, Studya nad stosunkami polsko-
wgierskimi w XIV w., Rozprawy Akademii Umiejtnociwydzia historyczno-filozoficzny,
series II 34 (1916), 278326; Adam Kodziski, Problem wgierskiej pomocy dla okietka w
r. 13046, Sprawozdanie Akademii Umiejtnociwydzia historyczno-filozoficzny 41 (1936),
67Many Polish historians have viewed the years of Bohemian rule as a speed bump on
the path to state formation, but Paul Knoll has identified several important administrative
reforms during this time. For the Polish historiography on this topic and a positive assess-
ment of Bohemian administrative reforms, see Paul W. Knoll, Wladyslaw Lokietek and the
Restoration of the Regnum Poloniae, Medievalia et Humanistica 17 (1966), 57; for a posi-
tive assessment by a Polish historian, see Jerzy Dowiat, Polskapastwem redniowiecznej
Europy (Warszawa: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1968), 292303.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 109

accepted homage from quite a number of Polish dukes during the 1290s.
In addition, some contemporaries apparently felt that Poles and Bohemi-
ans were similar peoples:
...thus there will be for the Bohemians and us one king and a common,
amicable law of coexistence. For those who differ little in their dialect of
the Slavic language will agree upon a king and rejoice under one prince.
For those who speak the same language mostly embrace relationships of
love and closeness.68
Such claims of ethnic affinity should not be taken too far, however, since a
fourteenth-century Bohemian chronicler put these words into the mouths
of Poles at a meeting from which Bohemians were absent. On the other
hand, both the Annals of the Pozna Chapter and the Oliwa Chronicle
emphasize (albeit in somewhat conventional language) that the years of
Bohemian rule were characterized by peace and justice.69 It seems that
contemporaries did not view this as a foreign occupation, but rather as
the restoration of the social order after Wadysaw. In fact, the Bohemian
chronicler quoted above emphasized that the Poles turned to Vclav as
an auctor et amator pacis, and not just because of the two peoples com-
mon ethnicity.70 The cantankerous Archbishop winkas contemptuous
response to the speech of a German bishop after the coronation, that it
would have been best if he were not a dog head and a German,71 should
not be seen as a condemnation of the coronation,72 but ratheras has
been demonstrated above and as the chronicler explainsa manifesta-
tion of the fact that he was such a bitter rival of the Germans that he was
accustomed to call them only dog heads.73

68...sic erit Bohemis et nobis unus rex et communis convivendi amicabilis lex. Con-
venient enim in rege et sub uno gaudebunt principe qui non multum dissonant in idi-
omate Slauice lingwe. Nam qui idem lingwagium locuntur, plerumque amoris se arcioris
nexibus complectuntur [Petri Zittavienviensis Chronicon Aule Regiae in Fontes Rerum
Bohemicarum, ed. Josef Emler (Pragae: Nkl. NF Palackho, 1884), 4, 81].
69Under King Vclav great peace and justice acquired strength in Poland, as in the
time of his heir. [Sub quo rege Wenceslao maxima pax et iusticia viguit in Polonia
tamquam temporibus ipsorum heredum (Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 54)].
Under his protection the kingdom of Poland rejoiced in all its parts for all of the peace
and tranquility. [Sub cuius umbra regnum Polonie in omnibus partibus suis gavisum fuit
pacis omnimoda tranquillitate (Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 316)].
70Petri Zittavienviensis Chronicon Aule Regiae Chronicon, 81.
71 ...iste optime predicasset, si non caninum caput et Theutunicus esset (Petri Zit-
tavienviensis Chronicon Aule Regiae, 82).
72As suggested by Knoll, Rise, 22.
73...tam acer Theutonicorum emulus erat, quod ipsos solum canina capita nominare
solebat (Petri Zittavienviensis Chronicon Aule Regiae, 82).
110 chapter three

In any event, this example of linguistic affinity...serv[ing] political pur-

poses, which Robert Bartlett compares to the Scottish Bruces attempts to
rule over Ireland in 13151318, was only one of several arguments used by
the Bohemians to legitimize their rule over Poland.74 It was one thing to
displace a duke, but quite another to usurp a kingdom, and such an action
required recognition by a higher authority. A month before his coronation
Vclav obtained from his former brother-in-law, King Albrecht I Habsburg
of Germany, the right to conquer and rule Wadysaws lands as an impe-
rial fief.75 Of course the fact that, unlike Bohemia, Poland was not part of
the Empire did not seem to bother the would-be emperor. Vclav further
strengthened his claims to the kingdom of Poland by marrying Przemyss
daughter, Ryksa-Elbieta, in 1303.76
Wadysaw also sought to plead his case before a still higher authority,
appealing to Pope Boniface VIII, who in 1302 denied Vclavs claims to
the Polish throne.77 Although Boniface was undoubtedly displeased that
Vclav had assumed the Polish crown without his authorization, the pope
chose to support Wadysaw mainly to gain his support for the papal can-
didate for the vacant throne of Hungary.78 In the fourteenth century, the
fates of the kingdoms of Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary became insepa-
rable, as the ruler of one kingdom often ruled (or at least claimed to rule)
one or both of the other kingdoms.79 Therefore, a brief digression on the
disputed Hungarian succession and the Bohemian rulers claims to both
Hungary and Poland is necessary.

74Bartlett, Making, 202. For more on the comparisons between Poland and Scotland
at this time, see Sarah Layfield, The Papacy and the Nations of Scotland and Poland
c. 12501334, in Britain and Poland-Lithuania: Contact and Comparison from the Middle
Ages to 1795, ed. Richard W. Unger (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 87102. S.C. Rowell sees this appeal
to west Slavic unity as a conscious harking back to the glories of the ninth-century west
Slavonic empire of Great Moravia [The Central European Kingdoms, in The New Cam-
bridge Medieval History. Volume V: c.1198c.1300, ed. David Abulafia (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1999), 762].
75...tibi ex gratia speciali concedimus, ut quicquid de terra illustrissimi Ladislai ducis
Maioris Polonie, quam occupant, tibi subiugare poteris, a nobis et dicto Romano imperio a
te et tuis heredibus teneri volumus perpetuo titulo feodali (KDW II #832).
76Derwich, 226.
77Knoll, Rise, 24; Vetera Monumenta historica Hungarium sacram illustrantia. Tomus
Primus: Ab Honorio Pp. III usque ad Clementem Pp. VI. 12161352, ed. Augustin Theiner
(Rome: Typis Vaticanis, 1859), #628.
78Knoll, Rise, 2324.
79Claude Michaud, The Kingdoms of Central Europe in the Fourteenth Century, in
The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume IV: c. 1300c. 1415, ed. Michael Jones (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 735763.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 111

In Hungary Andrew III, the last ruler of the rpd dynasty, died in
January 1301. Because he died without a male heir, a dispute arose among
the Hungarian magnates, who chose two competing candidates for the
throneVclav III (son of King Vclav II of Bohemia and Poland) and
Charles Robert (the grandson of King Charles II of Naples). Both of these
men were related to the Hungarian royal dynasty, but as Pl Engel points
out, these candidates were attractive to the powerful Hungarian barons,
because they were both minors and could hopefully be easily controlled.80
In 1301 each faction crowned its own candidate, after which open warfare
broke out among their supporters.81 Because Wadysaw supported Pope
Boniface VIIIs candidate, Charles Robert, it was to him that Wadysaw
appealed for aid after the popes death in 1303.82 By the following year
Charles Robert was able to help Wadysaw, because most of the barons
had given their support to him, as had King Albrecht I of Germany, even
though both candidates were his nephews.83 In 1304 Charles Robert and
King Albrecht of Germany invaded Bohemia,84 while Wadysaw was
given Hungarian troops to invade Poland.85
When Vclav II died in June 1305, his son assumed the title Vclav, by
the grace of God, King of Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland,86 even though
his support in Hungary had all but vanished, and both Wadysaw and
Duke Henryk of Gogw had begun to challenge his rule in certain parts
of Poland.87 Despite these setbacks, he still viewed the Polish lands as his
to dispose of as he wished, so in 1305 he proposed granting Pomerania to
the margraves of Brandenburg in exchange for Meissen.88 This trade was
never realized, but the proposal would have lasting implications for the
later struggles between the kings of Poland and the Teutonic Knights, as
the Knights would come to base the defense of their possession of Pomera-
nia upon this arrangement. This document also demonstrates the difficul-
ties of governing a state that was not yet used to functioning as a united
polity. Although we have no record of what the Pomeranians thought of

80Pl Engel, The Realm of St. Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary, 8951526, trans.
Tams Plosfalvi and Andrew Ayton (London: I.B. Taurus, 2001), 129.
81 Engel, 128129.
82Knoll, Rise, 24.
83Engel, 129.
84Engel, 129.
85Knoll, Restoration, 56.
86For examples, see PlUB #634 and #640.
87Knoll, Restoration, 56.
88PlUB #640.
112 chapter three

this proposed trade, later events demonstrate that at least some of them
were not averse to severing their recently formed connections to Poland
and submitting to the rule of the margraves of Brandenburg.
The sense of the separateness of the disparate regions of the kingdom of
Poland was further exacerbated by the fact that the Vclavs ruled Poland
as absentee lords, appointing capitaneii (starostas) to govern the various
provinces of Poland in their place. This was a system they had already put
into practice in Little Poland and which they then extended to the lands
formerly under Wadysaws control.89 Most of the capitaneii were Bohe-
mians, but in some places, particularly in distant Pomerania, members
of a local noble family, the wicas, were put in charge of governing the
province.90 The Bohemian kings, however, also needed additional military
aid to defend the duchy in the face of the 1301 invasion by Duke Sambor
of Rgen, the son of Duke Wisaw II, who had threatened to invade and
occupy Pomerania a decade earlier.91 In order to help defend Pomerania,
the Teutonic Knights sent troops to Gdask and were rewarded by the
king with extensive possessions in Pomerania.92 The margraves of Bran-
denburg did not invade Pomerania at this time, although they had prom-
ised Sambors father that they would,93 nor did the Teutonic Knights try
to keep possession of Gdask. The partition of Pomerania between Bran-
denburg and the Knights, which took place later in the decade, arose from
a unique set of circumstances and not from some anachronistic idea that
Prussia should be territorially linked with Germany.94 Let us now, there-
fore, examine the events that led to the separation of Pomerania from the
kingdom of Poland.

The Second Interregnum: The Division of the Kingdom between

Wadysaw okietek and Henryk of Gogw (13061320)

Despite the alleged aspirations of Poles and Bohemians to live in unity,

this new political entity did not last long. The childless Vclav III was

89Knoll, Rise, 27.

90Labuda, HP I/1, 538539.
91 Labuda, HP I/1, 538; see chapter two for a discussion of Wisaws claims on the
92PlUB #634; Labuda HP I/1, 538; Pawe Czaplewski, Co posiadali Krzyacy na Pomorzu
przed jego zajciem w r. 13081309? Zapiski Historyczne 10 (1936), 278281.
93PlUB #448.
94I explore these anachronistic interpretations of the reason for the conquest of
Pomerania in some detail in the next chapter.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 113

urdered in Olomouc in August 1306, before he ever set foot in Poland as

its king.95 This ended the Pemyslid dynasty and set off a power struggle
similar to the one that was still raging in Hungary. Initially it looked like the
Habsburgs would gain control of the kingdom, as King Albrecht installed
his son, Rudolph as king of Bohemia in 1306, in spite of the previous elec-
tion of Duke Henry of Carinthia, who was married to Vclav IIIs sister,
Anna.96 In order to strengthen his claim to the throne, Rudolph married
Ryksa-Elbieta, Przemys IIs daughter and Vclav IIs widow, in October
1306.97 However, Rudolph died the following year and Albrecht was mur-
dered in 1308.98 After Rudolphs death, Henry of Carinthia became king of
Bohemia, but faced strong opposition because of his poor governance, so
the Bohemian magnates turned to the new king of Germany, Henry VII
(formerly Count Henry IV of Luxemburg), who had been elected in May
1308.99 In 1310 King Henry VII deposed Henry of Carinthia, married his
fourteen-year-old son, John, to Elizabeth, Vclav IIIs sister, and had John
crowned king of Bohemia.100
While the successors of the former king of Bohemia and Poland were
fighting in Bohemia, Wadysaw was able to reconsolidate his position in
Poland. Yet, not everyone was thrilled about Wadysaws return. He faced
opposition in almost all of his former lands, especially in the duchy of
Pomerania. Although the wicas did initially swear their allegiance to
Wadysaw, the duke then denied them reimbursement for the expenses
they had incurred in their administration of the duchy and forced them to
pay the bishop of Kujawy a heavy indemnity of 2000 marks for the eccle-
siastical funds they had sequestered for the administration of Pomerania.101
Seeing what they had witnessed before, and what contemporary sources
have described as Wadysaws fickleness, the wicas turned to the mar-
graves of Brandenburg, who occupied the duchy in 1307.102 Wadysaw
was unable to defend Pomerania himself, so he turned to his good friends,
the Teutonic Knights, to help defend Pomerania and its main center of
Gdask. His family had long had good relations with the Knights. His

95Knoll, Rise, 25.

96Ji Spvek, The Cistercians, Princess Elizabeth, and the Establishment of the
Luxemburg Dynasty in the Lands of Bohemia, trans. Petr Charvt, Cteaux 47 (1996), 60.
97Derwich, 226.
98Spvek, 60.
99Spvek, 61.
100Spvek, 6466.
101 PlUB #650; Chronica Olivensis, 317318; Labuda I/1, 540.
102PlUB #656.
114 chapter three

grandfather, Duke Konrad of Mazovia had founded the Knights in Poland,

and his brother, Siemowit, was related through marriage to two of the
Knights main commanders in Prussia.103 It, therefore, must have come as
quite a shock to him to hear that on the night of 13 November 1308, after
driving away the margraves army, the Knights turned on Wadysaws
men, took the town for themselves, and in the process murdered many
people in Gdask.104
In the spring of the following year, Wadysaw met with the Knights
in the village of Grabie on the Polish-Prussian borderland to discuss the
conquest of Gdask.105 There is no surviving documentary evidence of
this meeting, most likely because nothing was resolved there, so we must
instead rely on testimony from the 1339 trial to piece together the details.
The witnesses gave varying accounts of this meeting, but the basic story
that comes across is that the Knights told Wadysaw to sell the land
to them in order to settle the debts they had incurred while guarding
Gdask, but he refused.106 As a result, the Knights proceeded to conquer
the rest of Pomerania. Polish scholars have begun to adopt the position
that both sides were genuinely surprised by the intransigence of the other
side. As Julian Judziski points out: Before the negotiations in Grabie,
okietek did not realize how much significance the Order attached to
the possession of this land, nor thereby did the Teutonic Knights have a
good grasp of how important it was for the unifying Polish state.107 Duke
Wadysaw, however, was not the only person with a claim to Pomerania,
so the Knights turned to their recently defeated enemies, the margraves
of Brandenburg, for legitimization of their conquest.

103Kazimierz Jasiski, Rola Siemowita ksicia dobrzyskiego w stosunkach polsko-

krzyackich w 1308/1309 r., Zapiski Kujawsko-Dobrzyskie Seria A Historia 1 (1978), 83; in
a 1306 grant to the Knights, Siemowit refers to Konrad, the Prussian landmaster, as our
dear kinsman [nostro dilecto consanguineo] (PrUB I/2 #854).
104The issues of the wicas and the Knights betrayals are analyzed in detail in the
next chapter.
105liwiski, Pomorze, 489499; Julian Judziski, Ukady polsko-krzyackie z 1309 roku
w sprawie zwrotu Pomorza Gdaskiego, Komunikaty Mazursko-Warmieskie 23 (1994),
147153; Kazimierz Tymieniecki, Ukady Wadysawa okietka z zakonem krzyackim po
zajciu Pomorza, Roczniki Korporacji Studentw Uniwersytetu Poznaskiego Pomerania
3 (1928), 1018.
106Lites I (2), 305306, 389.
107Judziski, Ukady, 152153; see also liwiski, Pomorze, 496; Kazimierz Jasiski,
Zajcie Pomorza gdaskiego przez Krzyakw w latach 13081309, Zapiski Historyczne
31 (1966), 35; Jzef Judziski, Stanowisko Biskupw Pruskich wobec Wydarze Gdaskich
1308 roku, Komunikaty Mazursko-Warmiskie 100 (1968), 191.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 115

In June and July 1310, the Knights formally bought the rights to Pomera-
nia from the margraves of Brandenburg for 10,000 marks,108 secured the
surrender of rights to the land from all other claimants except Duke
Wadysaw of Poland,109 and had these transactions further legitimized
by an imperial confirmation.110 However, at the same time that the Teu-
tonic Knights were attempting to legitimize their conquest of Pomerania,
the archbishop of Riga was attempting to use the conquest of Pomerania
to further his own dispute against the Knights. In 1310 he brought it to the
attention of the papal curia that the Knights had sacked Gdask and in
the process murdered 10,000 Christians.111 Just how he contrived to weave
this story into the narrative of his dispute with the Knights is a matter for
the next chapter. Here it is enough to note that Wadysaw did not have
any part in the presentation of this information to the pope. Earlier histo-
rians thought that Wadysaw brought this matter to the popes attention,
but more recently scholars have come to agree that Wadysaw played no
role in the events leading up to the trial in Riga in 1312.112 In fact, Janusz
Bieniak has argued that Wadysaw tacitly resigned himself to the fait
accompli, immediately removing the title duke of Pomerania from his
charters.113 The de iure boundaries of the Polish ecclesia also shrank at this

108PlUB #685.
109See liwinski, Pomorze, 548560 for an outline of this process. 10 March 1310 the
margraves got Duke Henryk of Gogws sons to renounce their claims (PlUB #682) and 12
April 1310 they convinced Duke Wisaw III of Rgen to renounce his claims (PlUB #683).
For Duke Henryks sons claims see the 1296 agreement between Henryk and Wadysaw
(KDW II #745), which is discussed above. Wisaws claims to Pomerania stretched much
further into the past, but were apparently well remembered. Wisaw IIIs grandfather had
married Mciwj IIs sister, Eufemia, around 1240, so Wisaw was the great-grandson of the
founder of the duchy of Pomeraniawitopek (liwiski, Poczet, 5051, 78). In addition,
see the discussion above about Duke Sambors attempts to conquer the duchy in 1301 and
the discussions in the previous chapter about the alliance between Wisaw IIIs father,
Wisaw II, and Duke Warcisaw II of Pomerania.
110 PlUB #688.
111 Theiner #204.
112 For the historiography of this dispute, see Andrzej Wojtkowski, Procesy polsko-
krzyackie przed procesem z lat 13201321 (Olsztyn: Osrodek Badan Naukowych im.
W. Ktrzynskiego, 1972), 2755.
113 Janusz Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321 (inowrocawsko-
brzeskiego), in Balticum: Studia z dziejw polityki, gospodarki i kultury XIIXVII wieku
ofiarowane Marianowi Biskupowi w siedemdziesit rocznic urodzin, ed. Zenon Hubert
Nowak (Toru: Wydawn. Towarzystwa Naukowego, 1992), 49. Bieniak also notes that in
a document in which Wadysaw joined an anti-Brandenburg coalition led by the king of
Denmark, he once again called himself lord of Pomerania, but he does not continue to
use this title in further correspondence [Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z
lat 13201321, 50; KDW #976; see also Knoll, Rise, 35].
116 chapter three

time to more closely coincide with the de facto boundaries, when in 1310
the disputed province of Chemno was also relinquished to the Knights
by the nationalistic Polish metropolitan, Jakub winka.114
The concessions were not all one-directional, however. In the spring of
1313 the Knights agreed to give Wadysaw some property in Dobrzy, which
had been donated by Wadysaws brother, Duke Siemowit of Dobrzy,
and to repay 600 marks which the wica family had kept from the bishop
of Kujawy during their administration of Pomerania.115 Though the value
of these donations did not even come close to compensating Wadysaw
for the loss of Pomerania, Wadysaws main concern at this time was
regaining the heart of Przemyss kingdomthe duchy of Great Poland
and for this he needed peace with the Teutonic Knights. It appeared at the
beginning of the 1310s that the powerful secular and ecclesiastical figures
in Poland had either resigned themselves to the emergence of a Teutonic
Ordensstaat at the mouth of the Vistula or were more concerned with
fighting each other for control of Great Poland, Little Poland, and Silesia,
far away from the concerns of the Baltic.
Following the end of Bohemian rule in Poland, Duke Henryk of Gogw,
designated by Przemys as his successor in Great Poland, had gained con-
trol of that land. He also began in 1306 to style himself by the grace of
God heir to the kingdom of Poland,116 a title that his eldest son, Hen-
ryk II Wierny, continued to use after his fathers death in 1309.117 Despite
Wadysaws earlier arrangements with Henryk of Gogw and his sons,
which guaranteed them lands in Great Poland, by 1314 Wadysaw had dis-
possessed Henryks sons of all of their possessions in Great Poland, push-
ing them back into their ancestral lands in Silesia.118 In this year Bieniak
argues that a fundamental change took place in Wadysaws internal

114Urkundenbuch des Bistums Culm, ed. Carl Peter Woelky (Danzig: P. Bertling, 1885)
115Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321, 49; PrUB II #185,
116...Dei gracia heres regni Polonie... (KDW II #904, #907, #908, #914, #915, #926,
117KDW II #930, #932, #939, #940.
118See Knoll, Rise, 34; Karol Potkaski, Walka o Pozna (130612), Rozprawy Akademii
Umiejtnociwydzia historyczno-filozoficzny 38 (1899), 275294; Karol Potkaski, Zaj-
cie Wielkopolski (rok 1313 i 1314), Rozprawy Akademii Umiejtnociwydzia historyczno-
filozoficzny 47 (1905), 158171.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 117

and external policies.119 He immediately took over the title of heir to the
kingdom of Poland, even calling himself king in one document.120
Wadysaw had also succeeded in putting down revolts in Krakw. In
1310 his long-standing dispute with Bishop Jan Muscat of Krakw ended
with the bishops exile,121 and in 1312 he had the leaders of the burgher
revolt in Krakw executed.122 By 1314, Wadysaw had regained control of
all of the lands he had governed before his exile except Pomerania. Yet,
despite these territorial gains and Wadysaws pretensions to the throne,
it was by no means predetermined that the royal office would be restored
to Poland. Przemyss reign of less than a year and six years of absentee
rule by the Bohemian kings could hardly have acculturated the residents
of the lands ruled by Wadysaw to the idea that they were part of a united
polity that should be ruled by a king. This was still a loose confederation
of separate duchies bound to the personal lordship of Wadysaw in which
local interests far outweighed any sense of Polish national unity.
The only thing that united these lands other than Wadysaws recently
acquired and much contested lordship was their affiliation to the arch-
bishopric of Gniezno. This institution suffered a major setback in 1314,
when Archbishop Jakub winka and Pope Clement V both died. John XXII
was not enthroned until 1316, and Archdeacon Borzysaw of Pozna, the
archbishop-elect who spent three years at the papal curia, died in Avi-
gnon less than a year into his archiepiscopate.123 Wadysaws chancellor,
Archdeacon Janisaw of Gniezno, had traveled to Avignon with Borzysaw,
so John appointed Janisaw as archbishop of Gniezno.124 Despite these
setbacks, these two archbishops laid the groundwork for the institution
of a trial against the Teutonic Knights for the recovery of Pomerania.125
When Janisaw returned to Poland in 1318, Wadysaw convened a gen-
eral assembly in Sulejw, which was attended by the secular and eccle-
siastical magnates from all of Wadysaws lands, except Great Poland.126

119 Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321, 50.

120KDW II #964, #965. Curiously, these two documents using very different titles for
Wadysaw were drafted on the same day.
121 Knoll, Rise, 32; Knoll, Restoration, 6162.
122Knoll, Rise, 33; Knoll, Restoration, 62.
123Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321, 54, 59.
124Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321, 51, 59.
125Bieniak, Geneza procesu polsko-krzyackiego z lat 13201321, 59.
126Knoll, Rise, 36; Janusz Bieniak, Wiec oglnopolski w arnowie 37 czerwca 1319 r.
a geneza koronacji Wadysawa okietka, Przegld Historyczne 54 (1973), 469; Wadysaw
Abraham, Stanowisko kurii papieskiej wobec koronacji okietka, in Ksiga pamitkowa
118 chapter three

Because of the evidence of Wadysaws good governance during the pre-

vious four years, including generous grants to ecclesiastical institutions,127
this assembly decided to appeal to the pope for both the reinstatement
of the royal office in Poland and also for the commencement of a trial
against the Knights. The Great Polish magnates met with Wadysaw and
accepted these proposals at Pyzdry a week later.128
Bishop Gerward of Kujawy was chosen to present these petitions to
the pope, yet he was not Wadysaws pawn. Though the archdeaconate
of Pomerania was part of Gerwards bishopric, Gerward remained on good
terms with the Knights until 1317, when they began to quarrel over the
appointments of priests in Pomerania.129 In addition to his dispute with
the Knights, he was also involved in a boundary dispute with the neigh-
boring bishop of Pock130 and property disputes with the wicas and the
Hospitallers in Pomerania and Wadysaws nephews, dukes Kazimierz
and Przemys, in Kujawy.131 He came to Avignon to represent his own
interests as well as Wadysaws, and on 17 August 1319 he was able to
convince the pope to write a letter to the archbishop of Gniezno on his
own behalf.132 His attempts to plead Wadysaws case were less success-
ful, at least initially.
Three days after John XXIIs letter of support for Gerward, the pope took
up the issue of Wadysaws coronation. Although the pope acknowledged
Wadysaws claims that a unified kingdom could better serve the Church,
he was not certain that Wadysaw was the man to lead this kingdom,
because King John of Bohemia had pretensions to the throne through his
succession to the lands ruled by the previous kings of Bohemia.133 In truth,
external events greatly influenced the popes decision regarding both
King Johns claims to the Polish crown and the Teutonic Knights claims
to Pomerania. Because both of Wadysaws enemies were allies of King
Ludwig IV of Germany, John XXII hoped that the elevation of Wadysaw
and the granting of his trial against the Knights would help to secure a

Uniwersytetu Lwowskiego ku uczczeniu pisetnej rocznicy fundacyi Jagielloskiej Uniwersy-

tetu Krakowskiego (Lww: Nakadem Senatu Uniwersytetu Lwowskiego, 1900), 134.
127Knoll, Restoration, 64.
128KDW II #1000; Knoll, Rise, 37; Bieniak, Wiec, 469470.
129Knoll, Rise, 37; Kazimierz Tymieniecki, Studya nad XIV wiekiem I. Proces polsko-
krzyacki z lat 13201321, Przegld Historyczny 21 (19171918), 131148.
130Tymieniecki, Studya 56.
131 Gawlas, Verus heres, 97.
132Analecta Vaticana, 12021366, ed. Jan Ptanik. Monumenta Poloniae Vaticana III
(Krakw: Akademia Umiejtnoci, 1914), #149.
133KDW II #1013; Theiner #226.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 119

papal ally in East Central Europe.134 So, in September he authorized both

the trial against the Knights135 and the coronation of Wadysaw.136 Both
of these issues, however, would remain highly contentious for the next
two decades.

The Third Restoration of the Kingdom: Wadysaw okieteks

Coronation and the First Trial between the Kingdom of Poland
and the Teutonic Knights, 13201321

On 20 January 1320 Wadysaw was crowned king of Poland by Archbishop

Janisaw of Gniezno. This coronation ceremony, however, did not take
place in the traditional siteGniezno Cathedralbut rather in Wawel
Cathedral, in the citadel overlooking Krakw.137 Paul Knoll provides a
number of practical reasons for the change of venue, including the dis-
tance of Krakw from the Teutonic Knights and the growing economic
and political importance of Little Poland (the region around Krakw),138
but Gerard Labuda argues that there was a symbolic significance as well.139
Vclav II had been crowned in Gniezno, so a coronation there could give
strength to King John of Bohemias claims to the Polish throne. Just as
new crowns had to be made for the ceremony because the Bohemians
still possessed the old ones,140 so also was a new ceremonial site needed
to bury the memory of Bohemian rule in Poland. In fact, as will be seen in
chapter five, by the time of the second trial against the Knights in 1339 the
Bohemian period of rule was almost completely erased from the memo-
ries of the Poles. In the first trial, however, the idea of kingship was still
new and, as we will see below, did not yet register in the consciousness of
the Polish witnesses, even though some of them had certainly been at the
coronation, which took place just a few short months before they testified.141

134Bieniak, Wiec, 470.

135Lites I (3), 68; Theiner #231.
136Abraham, Stanowisko, 3334.
137Knoll, Rise, 39.
138Knoll, Rise, 39.
139Gerard Labuda, Przeniesienie koronacji krwlewskich z Gniezna do Krakowa w XIV
wieku, in CracoviaPoloniaEuropa, ed. Waldemar Bukowski and Jerzy Wyrozumski
(Krakw: Wydawn. i Druk. Secesja, 1995), 54.
140Knoll, Rise, 39.
141Sawomir Gawlas is one of the first Polish historians to draw attention to the fact
that the concept of a regnum Poloniae was still not understood by most people living in
Poland at this time (Verus Heres, 7781, 100103).
120 chapter three

On February 19, less than a month after the coronation, the three
judges delegated by the papacyArchbishop Janisaw of Gniezno, Bishop
Domarat of Pozna, and Abbot Mikoaj of the Benedictine monastery at
Mogilno in Great Polandordered the grandmaster and certain com-
manders to appear in Inowrocaw in Kujawy before April 16 to answer
Wadysaws charges that they were unjustly possessing Pomerania.142
Only the Knights procurator, however, appeared before the court, and
he did so only long enough to lodge a protest against the proceedings.143
By the end of May the judges had decided to proceed in the Knights
absence. The royal procurators presented seven articles of dispute, which
they intended to prove. These are listed in appendix two, but they can be
summarized as follows: Wadysaw was the legitimate lord of Pomerania,
and the Knights had dispossessed him, as everyone knew. Although Pope
John XXIIs bull authorizing the trial pointed out that Pomerania was part
of the kingdom of Poland,144 and the royal procurators included this argu-
ment in a later restatement of the articles of dispute,145 this argument
was for some reason not presented to the witnesses. I will discuss the
implications of this omission in more detail in chapter five. For now, let
us return to the trial.
Twenty-five witnesses were interrogated by the judges-delegate in the
summer of 1320. Some of these men were Wadysaws former administra-
tors in Pomerania. As Sawomir Gawlas points out, however, among them
were also several people who were more directly involved with Bishop
Gerward of Kujawys disputes against the bishop of Pock and the Hospi-
tallers in Pomerania than with Wadysaws dispute against the Teutonic
Knights. This made for a certain randomness in the composition of the
witnesses,146 which might suggest that the repossession of Pomerania
was not as high a priority for Wadysaw as some historians have argued.
In fact, during the course of the trial, Wadysaw seems to have been more
concerned with the Bohemian claims to his throne, because he spent
much of his time arranging the marriage of his daughter, Elbieta, to King
Charles Robert of Hungary.147

142Lites I (3), 1819.

143Lites I (3), 1920.
144...terra sua Pomoranie...que de regno Polonie fore dinoscitur... [Lites I (3), 7].
145...idem dominus rex, tunc tamen adhunc dux existens, esset in possessione terre
Pomoranie que est pars regni Polonie.... ...grave dampnum et magnum preiudicium et
diminucionem dicti regni [emphasis mine]... [Lites I (3), 74].
146Gawlas, Verus Heres, 98.
147Knoll, Rise, 42.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 121

In any event, by the beginning of October the judges had finished exam-
ining the witnesses. Although most of the witnesses were not asked about
all of the articles, all of the witnesses said that the articles they heard were
true. According to them, Wadysaw had exercised temporal jurisdiction in
Pomeraniahe received fealty oaths, appointed administrators, collected
revenues, and pronounced judgments. But, the majority of the witnesses
also discussed an event that was left out the articlesthe Gdask massa-
cre, which is the subject of the next chapter. Both in this trial and the one
in 1339, the judges gave the witnesses considerable leeway to present their
own version of events. The judges would ask whether an article were true
and how the witness knew this. Sometimes the judges would ask about
specifics, but for the most part, the witnesses were given free reign to
express their own views in their own words, which the notaries recorded
in the first person. Of course, for more than half of the witnesses, these
were not exactly their words, because the laymen were interrogated in
Polish (and perhaps German as well),148 regardless of whether they knew
Latin.149 The judges in this trial and the next also made no attempt to rec-
oncile contradictory facts presented in the testimonies. The deposition of
each witness was treated as a separate story, without reference to earlier
depositions. Each witness was, in a sense, presenting his own testimo-
nial chronicle, as Helena Chopocka and Wiesaw Sieradzan have argued.150
This idea of the agency of the witnesses is worth bearing in mind as we
examine their testimonies in more detail in the following two chapters.
For now, it is sufficient to say that the witnesses convinced the judges of
the veracity of Wadysaws accusations, which should not be surprising,

148There were two burghers from Brze among the witnesses, both named Thylo, who
as Kazimierz Tymieniecki points out, were probably of German descent (Tymieniecki,
Studya, 123), but the trial acts only record that the articles were read to them wlgariter
[Lites I (3), 43, 46].
149The only witness to testify at both trials, Wadysaws nephew, Leszek, was examined
in Polish in the first trial [Lites I (3), 2829], while in the second trial he was examined in
Latin [Lites I (2), 375377]. For a discussion of Leszeks education, see Janusz Bieniak, Lit-
terati wieccy w Procesie Warszawskim z 1339 roku, in Cultus et Cognito: Studia z Dziejw
redniowiecznej Kultury, ed. Stefan Kuczyski et al. (Warsaw: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo
Naukowe, 1976), 98100.
150Helena Chopocka, Chronikalische Berichte in der Dokumentierung der Prozesse
zwischen Polen und dem Deutschen Orden, in Geschichtsschreibung und Geschichtsbe-
wusstsein in spten Mittelalter, ed. Hans Patze (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1987),
471481; Wiesaw Sieradzan, Aussagechroniken in der Quellensammlung Lites ac res ges-
tae inter polonos ordinemque cruciferorum, in Die Geschichtsschreibung in Mitteleuropa.
Projekte und Forschungsprobleme, ed. Jarosaw Wenta (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu
Mikoaja Kopernika, 1999), 277289.
122 chapter three

considering that the Knights refused to participate in the proceedings, at

least until the reading of the definitive sentence on 9 February 1321.
The Knights procurator decided that the time to plead his case had
come only when one of the notaries was already reading the judges sen-
tence. The result was a shouting match, because neither of them would
defer to the other [neutro ipsorum alteri deferente].151 The archbishop
was not able to restore the court to order until the next day. At this time
he finished reading the sentence, which ordered the Knights to return
Pomerania, pay Wadysaw an indemnity of 30,000 marks, and reimburse
Wadysaws procurators for the 150 marks they had spent on the trial.152
The Knights procurator did, however, get the court to record the objec-
tions he had raised the previous day.
While Siegfried, the Knights procurator, argued a number of proce-
dural issues,153 his main objection was that the judges-delegate ought to
have recused themselves because Wadysaw was their temporal lord, and
all of their temporal possessions and their churches were located in his
dominion, as a result of which they would favor him.154 In addition, Sieg-
fried singled out the archbishop in particular as one of Wadysaws for-
mer temporal administrators and a current member of the kings council.155
While the Knights lawyer could have phrased his objection more diplo-
matically, he was well within his rights to object to the judges-delegate
according to canon law.156 Siegfried also presented the judges with the
outline of the argument that the Knights intended to make before the
papacy or some other judge of higher competence:
...the lord king complains that the master and brothers of the German
House robbed him of his land of Pomerania, but it will be proved more
clearly than by the midday light before the lord pope or any qualified judge
how that land was neither his nor his fathers nor his grandfathers nor his

151Lites I (3), 66.

152Lites I (3), 75.
153Lites I (3), 5663.
154...vester dominus in temporalibus et omnia bona vestra temporalia et ipse ecclesie
vestre in suo dominio et districtu sint sita, et ob hoc nimis sitis faventes eidem... [Lites I
(3), 63].
155...fuistis balivus et capitaneus terre sue Kalisiensis et estis de familiari consilio
suo... [Lites I (3), 63]; Helena Chopocka points out that in addition to being Wadysaws
chancellor, Janisaw was also the kings starosta in Great Poland and Kujawy [Lites I (3),
63, n. 254].
156For a discussion of this issue illustrated by a late thirteenth-century case from Italy,
see Richard H. Helmholz, Canonists and Standards of Impartiality for Papal Judges Del-
egate, Traditio 25 (1969), 386404.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 123

great-grandfathers, but after the death of lord Mciwj devolved by just title
to the king of Bohemia and finally to the margraves of Brandenburg and
from them to the brothers....157
Yet, even as they challenged the courts competency, the Knights still
wished to counter the arguments advanced at this trial in preparation for
their appeal to Avignon.
For this reason, immediately following the reading of the judges sen-
tence on 10 February 1321 the Knights procurator asked for a copy of the
trials acts.158 He also asked that his request be read into the trial acts,
because he regarded the sentence as not only against the Knights but also
against God and justice.159 Furthermore, he requested that the copy be
made as soon as possible [mox...et sine alia temporis interpolacione],
because [he] rightly regarded [the judges] as adversaries and unjust
judges and will have suspicion of [them] changing the acts.160 For our
purposes it is highly advantageous that this copy was made, because the
Polish copy, which was stored in Janisaws house, was destroyed in the
Knights invasion of Poland in 1331.161 One may wonder whether this act
was a deliberate attempt to destroy the archival memory of the new Pol-
ish kingdom, simply an act of vengeance against a judge whom they felt
had wronged them, or an unintended consequence of the sack of one of
the major centers of the Polish kingdom. In any event the Poles preserved
only the record of the definitive sentence, which was incorporated into
the trial acts of 1339.162
Using this notarized copy of the acts as well as their own records of
the sale of Pomerania from a decade earlier, the Knights procurators
in Avignon appealed the sentence to the papacy.163 Unfortunately for

157...conqueratur dominus rex, quod magister domus Theutonice et fratres spolia-

verunt eum terra sua Pomoranie, nam probabitur luce meridiana clarius coram domino
papa vel quovis iudice competenti, quomodo terra illa nec sua nec patris sui nec avi nec
proavi sui fuit, sed post mortem domini Mestwini ad regem Bohemie et tandem ad mar-
chionem Brandenburgensem et ab illis ad fratres tytulo iusto devenit... [Lites I (3), 65].
158A notarized copy was finished a month later, on March 9th [Lites I (3), 81].
159...contra Deum et iusticiam... [Lites I (3), 77].
160...quia vos tamquam adversarios et iniquos iudices iure habeo et habebo de muta-
cione actorum suspectos [Lites I (3), 77].
161Helena Chopocka, O protokoach procesw polsko-krzyackich w XIV i XV wieku,
in Venerabiles, Nobiles et Honesti: Studia z dziejw spoeczestwa Polski redniowiecznej, ed.
Andrzej Radzimiski, Anna Supruniuk, and Jan Wroniszewski (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uni-
wersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1997), 424.
162Lites I (2), 123124.
163Lites I (3), 85102; Helena Chopocka, Losy wyroku wydanego w 1321 r. na proce-
sie polsko-krzyackim w Inowrocawiu, Roczniki Historyczne 31 (1965), 153182; Helena
124 chapter three

the Knights, however, the issue of Pomerania had become linked to the
Knights refusal to pay Peters Pence in Chemno. Peters Pence was an
annual tax paid from papal fiefs, like Poland, whose first ruler to accept
Christianity, Mieszko I, placed his lands under the protection of the
papacy.164 Its collection in the past seems to have been haphazard, but
John XXII both regularized the payment and presented a much expanded
vision of the territories that had to pay. As he wrote in 1317, Peters Pence
must be paid by everyone within the ancient boundaries of the said
duchy [Poland] and also throughout...Chemno...[by people] of any
nationality....165 As this statement makes clear, this was not a Polish
tax in the sense that only Poles were responsible for paying it, but rather a
tax that had to be collected throughout all of the historically Polish lands,
even the ones that had been given to the Knights a century earlier. This
issue would continue to have important implications for the course of
the dispute between Poland and the Knights. For now, however, it pro-
vided the Polish side with leverage in the dispute, because Pope John had
named Archbishop Janisaw and Bishop Gerward of Kujawy as collectors
of Peters Pence in Poland. In May 1321 he authorized these men to place
the diocese of Chemno under interdict.166 The Knights would continue
to appeal both the sentence and the interdict throughout the 1320s,167 but
by that time the pope was preoccupied with more important events in
East Central Europethe attempted conversion of the Lithuanians and
the imperial election.

Missions and Political Crusades in East Central Europe, 13221332

Through a series of wars as well as diplomatic and marriage alliances

Grand Duke Gediminas was in the process of building what would become

hopocka, Procesy Polski z Zakonem Krzyackim w XIV wieku: Studium rdoznawcze

(Pozna: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1967), 100113.
164For the history of the Polish submission to Rome, see Jan Ptanik, Dagome iudex.
Przyczynek krytyczny do genezy witopietrza w Polsce (Krakw: Spka Wydawn. Polska,
1911); Tadeusz Manteuffel, The Formation of the Polish State: The Period of Ducal Rule,
9631194 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1982), 5455; Zygmunt Wojciechowski,
Mieszko I and the Rise of the Polish State (Toru and Gdynia: Baltic Institute, 1936), 139141;
KDW I #2.
165...ab omnibus infra dicti ducatus antiquos limites nec non et per...Culmen-
sem...cuiuscunque nacionis... (KDW II #991).
166Theiner #257.
167Lites I (3), 98102; PrUB II #504; CDPr II #121, #122.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 125

the largest state in Europe at the time of his death in 1342.168 Although the
ruler of Lithuania had converted to Christianity in the mid-thirteenth cen-
tury, Latin Christianity had failed to take root in Lithuania, and a decade
after his 1253 coronation, Mindaugas was murdered by his disgruntled
subjects.169 Yet, while Mindaugus state had been a small pagan duchy,
Gediminas state was a large, multi-confessional empire that included
numerous Orthodox Ruthenians. Gediminas also maintained good rela-
tions with some of his Latin neighbors. In 1313 he married one of his daugh-
ters to Duke Wacaw of Pock (who also testified against the Knights in
1320),170 and in 1316 he helped defend his son-in-law during the Mazovian
civil war.171 Although familial loyalty certainly played a role in Gediminas
decision to support his son-in-law, he was also motivated by the fact that
Wacaws half-brothers were allied with his main enemies, the Teutonic
Knights.172 He was also allied with Archbishop Friedrich of Riga, who had
spent the last decade in Avignon defaming the Knights for the abuses
he accused them of in conjunction with his report to the papacy about
the Gdask massacre.173 In 1322 Gediminas added his own complaints to
the archbishops, describing how the Knights had persecuted his people,
but promising that if the pope would make peace, he would himself be
willing to fidem catholicam recipere.174 Exactly what message the grand
duke had intended to convey to his Franciscan scribe came to be ques-
tioned in the following years, but the pope understood it as a willingness
to convert Lithuania to Latin Christianity. In 1323 the Knights in Livonia
made a peace treaty with Gediminas, but those in Prussia petitioned the
pope not to make peace with the Lithuanians.175 In August 1324, how-
ever, Pope John XXII ordered the Prussian Knights to make peace with
the Lithuanians or else be excommunicated.176
While John XXII was dealing with the intransigence of the Prussian
Knights, he was also forced to deal with King Ludwig IV of Germany, who

168S.C. Rowell, Lithuania Ascending: a Pagan Empire in East-Central Europe, 12951345

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), xxii, 82117.
169Rowell, Lithuania, 51; Micha Giedroy, The Arrival of Christianity in Lithuania:
Early Contacts (Thirteenth Century), Oxford Slavonic Papers n.s. 18 (1985), 130.
170Lites I (3), 3031.
171 Stephen C. Rowell, Pious Princesses or the Daughters of Belial: Pagan Lithuanian
Dynastic Diplomacy, 12791423, Medieval Prosopography 15 (1994), 5051.
172Rowell, Pious, 51.
173Rowell, Lithuania, 190; see also chapter four.
174Rowell, Lithuania, 195196.
175Rowell, Lithuania, 210214.
176Analecta Vaticana, 12021366, #175.
126 chapter three

had made his son, Ludwig, the margrave of Brandenburg in 1323, before
the pope had recognized him as emperor.177 In March 1324 John excommu-
nicated Ludwig, and in the following year the archbishop of Riga excom-
municated the Livonian Knights, because the pope thought the Knights
were supporting Ludwig.178 During the course of the popes conflicts with
the Ludwigs and the Knights, the Lithuanian mission had been delayed,
and when the papal legates finally arrived in Vilnius in November 1324,
Gediminas had changed his mind about converting, because his pagan
and Orthodox subjects had threatened him; mindful of Mindaugas fate,
he heeded their warning.179 He told the legates that he had not said that
he wanted to be baptized and that the Franciscans had apparently mis-
understood him.180 Yet, despite his unwillingness to convert, he still pro-
fessed his desire to maintain good relations with the pope. But by the time
of the papal legates return to Avignon in June 1325 he had already begun
to cultivate an alliance with another Latin powerKing Wadysaw of
In October 1325 Gediminas daughter, Aldona-Anna, married Wady
saws son, Kazimierz.182 Their union launched a military alliance between
these two states, which soon resulted in what imperial propagandists decried
as an atrocity that compared with the archbishop of Rigas presentation
of the Gdask massacre. According to the propagandists, Pope John XXII
had authorized Wadysaw to lead a crusade against the emperor, which
resulted in the sack of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and the enslavement of 6000
Christiansbooty taken by Wadysaws pagan Lithuanian allies.183 I ana-
lyze the implications of this event in the development of the memory of
the Gdask massacre in the next chapter. Here, I would like to draw atten-
tion to the fact that on 1 July 1325 Pope John XXII issued an indulgence
to the king and the inhabitants of Poland for the defense of the Catholic
faith in warfare or fighting in the kingdom of Poland and other lands of
the faithful and those aforesaid lands adjacent to the kingdom or in places

177Rowell, Lithuania, 217; Rasa Maeika and Stephen C. Rowell, Zelatores Maximi: Pope
John XXII, Archbishop Frederick of Riga and the Baltic Mission 13051340, Archivum His-
toriae Pontificiae 31 (1993), 38.
178Rowell, Lithuania, 222226; Maeika and Rowell, 54; CDPr II #111.
179Rowell, Lithuania, 223.
180Rowell, Lithuania, 222.
181 Rowell, Lithuania, 222224.
182Rowell, Pious, 46.
183For a discussion of the various German propagandists views on this event, see
Rowell, Lithuania, 234237.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 127

that will be or have been regarded as neighboring the same, against schis-
matics, Tatars, pagans, and other mixed nations of infidels....184 While
this missive seems to direct Polands attention to the east, there is a nota-
tion in the papal register that this indulgence was granted for the reinte-
gration of the kingdom and people of Poland, which the German people
are struggling in many different ways to rend asunder.185 At this distance
it is difficult to determine whether this bull was intended to authorize
Wadysaw to embark on a political crusade against his and the popes
German enemiesthe emperor and his son, as well as the Teutonic
Such a theory does, however, seem plausible in light of the fact that
the week before he wrote the crusading indulgence Pope John XXII had
sent letters to Wadysaw and the two papal legates about collecting
Peters Pence within the ancient boundaries of the kingdom of Poland,
which included the diocese of Chemnounder the control of the Teu-
tonic Knightsand the dioceses of Lebus (Polish: Lubusz) and Kammin
(Polish: Kamie)under the control of the margrave of Brandenburg.186
The facts that Chemno remained under interdict for the Knights refusal
to pay Peters Pence and the Knights possession of Pomerania was still
disputed must have greatly concerned the Knights, because around the
same time these papal documents were produced, the Knights procura-
tors were again in Avignon trying to convince the papal curia of the verac-
ity of their claims.187 They now approached Wadysaw with an offer to
pay him 10,000 marks, provide military aid, and found a monastery for
the salvation of his soul, if he would recognize the Knights rights to both
Chemno and Pomerania.188 The king refused.
Yet, it was not only the fear of a political crusade that motivated the
Knights to seek to secure these former Polish possessions. Following the
fall of Acre in 1291 they had moved their headquarters to Venice, presum-
ably to prepare for new crusades in the Holy Land. Then after the conquest

184...pro defensione catholice fidei in bello seu pugna in regno Polonie aliisque fide-
lium terris et partibus eidem regno adiacentibus supradictis, aut vicinis eisdem habitis et
habendis, contra scismaticos, Tartaros, paganos aliasque permixtas nationes infidelium...
(Analecta Vaticana, 12021366, #186).
185Pro reintegratione regni et gentis Polonie, que Theotonice gentes nituntur multi-
pliciter laniare (Analecta Vaticana, 12021366, #186). Theiner (#334) leaves this sentence
out, but he does not explain why.
186PrUB II #513; Theiner #326; PrUB II #514; Theiner #328.
187PrUB II #504.
188Lites I (2), 288; Knoll, Rise, 49; liwiski, Pomorze, 546; Chopocka, Procesy, 109.
128 chapter three

of Pomerania, they decided to transfer the residence of the grandmaster

to Marienburg (Polish: Malbork) in Prussia.189 However, Karl von Trier,
the grandmaster from 1311 to 1324, was forced to return to Trier in 1317,
because of the unpopularity of his attempted reforms of the order.190 It
was therefore only under the next grandmaster, Werner von Orseln (1324
1330), that the Knights truly began to construct an Ordensstaat in Prussia.
Werner immediately commissioned one of the orders priests, Peter von
Dusburg, to write a chronicle linking the Knights activities in the Holy
Land to those in Prussia, which was presented as a new Holy Land, the
dowry of the Virgin Mary.191 Therefore, the preservation of the Knights
claims to Pomerania and Chemno became not just a dispute between
a religious order and its benefactor, but a border conflict between two
nascent states, aspiring to territorial sovereignty.
In order to strengthen their position against Poland, the Knights turned
to the independent Polish duchies in Mazovia and Silesia, which had not
joined Wadysaws kingdom. In January 1326 the grandmaster met with
the dukes of Mazovia192 and in August of the same year he formed an alli-
ance with Duke Henryk VI of Silesia.193 In July 1327 war broke out between
Wadysaw and the Knights, when the king sacked Pock, the capital city
of his former ally, Duke Wacaw of Mazovia.194 This event would mark the
beginning of a half-decade of violent conflict that would severely affect
not only the future relations between the Teutonic Ordensstaat and the
kingdom of Poland, but also how the past relations between these two
states were remembered by their subjects.
The Knights immediately drove the Poles out of Mazovia, and the two
parties signed a peace treaty.195 In February 1329, however, Wadysaw
broke this treaty and attempted to conquer Chemno while the Knights

189Dusburg III.304.
190Rowell, Lithuania, 191; Mary Fischer, Biblical Heroes and the Uses of Literature: The
Teutonic Order in the Later Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries, in Crusade and
Conversion on the Baltic Frontier 11501500, ed. Alan Murray (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 262;
Mary Fischer, The Books of the Maccabees and the Teutonic Order, Crusades 4 (2005),
5960; Klaus Militzer, From the Holy Land to Prussia: The Teutonic Knights between
Emperors and Popes and the Policies until 1309, in Mendicants, Military Orders, and
Regionalism, ed. Jrgen Sarnowsky (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 7181.
191 See chapter four for an extended discussion of this topic.
192PrUB II #540, #541, #542.
193PrUB II #563.
194Knoll, Rise, 50.
195Knoll, Rise, 50.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 129

were on crusade in Lithuania with King John of Bohemia.196 The fact that
Wadysaw attacked Chemno rather than Pomerania supports the idea
that he was conducting a political crusade for the papacy to force the
lands of the ancient regnum now controlled by Germans to pay Peters
Pence. Within two months, however, the Knights and the Bohemians had
succeeded not only in driving the Poles out of Chemno, but also in captur-
ing the Polish region of Dobrzy, over which the Knights and Wadysaws
grandfather, Duke Konrad of Mazovia, had disputed in front of a papal
legate in the 1230s.197 Throughout the rest of the year the Knights and
King John fought Wadysaw, who was now supported by troops sent by
his son-in-law, King Charles Robert of Hungary.198 However, in the follow-
ing two years, Wadysaw suffered further losses, as the Knights invaded
and sacked a number of cities within the kingdom of Poland, and then
conquered the borderland duchy of Kujawy, which had been Wadysaws
These wars had serious implications not only because of Polands ter-
ritorial losses of Dobrzy and Kujawy, but also because of a changing
power dynamic in the previously independent Piast duchies in Silesia
and Mazovia. From 1327 to 1331 nearly all of these dukes became King
John of Bohemias vassals.200 Although these regions were part of the Pol-
ish church, only a few of these duchies had belonged to any of the late
thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century versions of the kingdom of Poland,
and the only one they had joined was Vclavs. As Paul Knoll points out,
contrary to many Polish scholars arguments for the enduring Polishness
of Silesia, the inhabitants of these duchies had been drawn into the cul-
tural and economic orbits of Germany and Bohemia long before they
pledged political allegiance to King John.201 In an earlier context, the fact
that the ethnically Polish dukes of Mazovia and Silesia had chosen to
ally themselves with the surrounding non-Polish rulers would have been
unremarkable. As we have seen, these alliances occurred time and again
throughout the thirteenth century and into the fourteenth century. By the
1330s, however, the soft ethnic and political boundaries that had allowed

196Knoll, Rise, 51.

197 See chapter 1.
198 Knoll, Rise, 5455.
199Knoll, Rise, 5558.
200Jerzy Wyrozumski, Miejsce Procesu Polski z Zakonem Krzyackim w 1339 r. w Poli-
tyce Kazimierz Wielkiego, Pamitnik Biblioteki Krnickiej 23 (1993), 37; Knoll, Rise, 5154,
201Knoll, Rise, 5960.
130 chapter three

these dukes this freedom were being hardened. More and more frequently
the rulers of the small polities that had dominated the political landscape
of East Central Europe for the past two centuries were being forced by the
larger, emerging states to choose more permanent political identities.

The First Years of Kazimierzs Reign: Attempted Arbitration, 13331338

When Wadysaw died in 1333 his only son, Kazimierz, succeeded him as
king of Poland. Although Kazimierz was later known as the Great, Jerzy
Wyrozumski points out that one should take note that in the early period
of his reign, Kazimierz the Great was in practice ruler only in Little Poland
and Great Poland....202 These were the two most important regions in
Poland, with the former being the main political center of the kingdom,
based on the new capital of Krakw, while the latter was the ecclesiasti-
cal and ancient political capital of the kingdom, based in Gniezno and
Pozna respectively. However, like the French kings during the period of
feudal anarchy, Kazimierzs influence over the outer regions of his theo-
retical kingdom was limited. In addition to the lands of his fathers king-
dom which had been lost to the Teutonic Knights (Kujawy and Dobrzy),
two other lands belonging to the Polish ecclesia and ruled by Piast dukes
(Silesia and Mazovia), had never joined Wadysaws kingdom. A few of
the duchies in these lands were independent, but as outlined above, the
majority of them had recognized the superiority of the king of Bohemia.
Kazimierz was also faced with the problem that King John of Bohemia still
formally claimed to be king of Poland. Even within the Polish kingdom,
however, the relationship of King Kazimierzs four cousinsKazimierz,
Leszek, Przemys, and Wadysawremained difficult to characterize,
because they were territorial rulers in their own right.203 While during
the previous two centuries the theoretical right of the senior Piast to rule
as primus inter pares was widely recognized, we have seen that it certainly
was not an inviolable right. Also, there had never been a peaceful transi-
tion from one ruler of Poland to the next in the previous forty years, and
after the murders of Przemys and Vclav III, the kingdom had fragmented
into smaller polities. Although these men had died without sons, the idea
that the kingdom of Poland was a state that would outlive its ruler was a
novel concept; one cannot project later constitutional developments back

202Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 38.

203Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 3738.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 131

upon a past in which they did not exist. Poles in the 1330s were still grap-
pling with the idea of what if meant to be part of a kingdom.
In order to secure the safety of his position, Kazimierz made peace trea-
ties with all of his fathers former enemiesthe Ordensstaat, Branden-
burg, and Bohemiaand agreed to let the kings of Bohemia and Hungary
arbitrate his dispute with the Knights.204 Kazimierz even offered to marry
his eldest daughter, Elbieta, to the emperors son.205 The idea behind
this marriage proposal was perhaps not only to reclaim some of the lands
Poland lost to Brandenburg, but also to pressure the kings of Bohemia and
Hungary, both of whom had a claim on the kingdom of Poland (John of
Bohemia as heir to the Vclavs and Charles Robert of Hungary through
his marriage to Kazimierzs sister) into a more equitable settlement in his
dispute with the Knights.206 Yet, according to Bieniak, the Polish church
would not condone his alliance with the enemy of the papacy, so they
convinced Kazimierz to try to get the new pope, Benedict XII (13341342)
to approve a new trial against the Knights in January 1335.207
In the summer of 1335 Benedict did indeed order two cardinals to exam-
ine the Polish complaints, but one died and the other became occupied
in other business, so nothing came of it.208 The Knights did produce two
important documents as a result of this inquiry, however. The first was a
vidimus of the Knights privileges to the disputed territories, which they
showed to Archbishop Janisaw in September 1335.209 The second was a
legal brief, written in German, which traced the history of the Knights dis-
pute with the kings of Poland back into the late thirteenth century.210 The
Knights considered the impending trial a serious threat for which they
had to prepare their procurator-general in Avignon. They also convinced
the Dominicans and Franciscans, including those in the Polish territories
occupied by the Knights, to write amicus briefs to the papacy.211 Kazimierz,

204Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 3840; Knoll, Rise, 6570.

205Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 39; Knoll, Rise, 6870.
206Janusz Bieniak, Przebieg procesu polsko-krzyackiego z 1339 roku, Pamitnik Bib-
lioteki Krnickiej 23 (1993), 56.
207Bieniak, Przebieg, 67.
208Bieniak, Przebieg, 8.
209Bieniak, Przebieg, 89; Die Berichte der Generalprokuratoren des Deutschen Ordens
an der Kurie. Erster Band: Die Geschichte der Generalprokuratoren von den Anfngen bis
1403, ed. Kurt Forstreuter (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1961), #93.
210 Antoni Prochaska, Z Archiwum Zakonu Niemieckiego. Analekta z wieku XIV i XV,
Archiwum Komisyi Historyczne 11 (19091913), 219235, 241252. This document will be
examined in detail in the following chapters.
211 PrUB III #17 and #20.
132 chapter three

however, countered the Knights claims by promising the papacy 15,000

marks, or half the indemnities the Knights had been sentenced to pay in
1321.212 Yet, before this inquiry could proceed any further, negotiations
began for an arbitrated settlement.
In August 1335 Polish legates met with the kings of Hungary and Bohe-
mia in the town of Trenn in the kingdom of Hungary to resolve the dis-
pute between John and Wadysaw over the formers claims to the Polish
throne.213 King John proposed that he would relinquish his royal rights in
Poland in exchange for the recognition by Kazimierz of his rights to lord-
ship over the Silesian and Mazovian dukes.214 On 1 November Kazimierz
came to the Hungarian town of Visegrd to discuss this issue with John
and to hear Johns and Charles Roberts proposals concerning his conflict
with the Knights.215
First to be discussed was the dispute between Poland and Bohemia.
For the price of 20,000 Prague groszy John would renounce his claims to
the Polish crown.216 It was also decided that Kazimierz would marry his
daughter, Elbieta (despite her previous offer to the emperors son), to
Johns grandson, John.217 As Paul Knoll points out, Charles Robert could
not have been happy about this, because this would give the Luxemburgs
a claim to the Polish throne that would challenge his own claim through
his marriage to Kazimierzs sister.218 But, both Elbieta and John were still
too young to marry, and nothing came of this proposal.219
The arbiters then turned their attention to Kazimierzs dispute with the
Knights. It was decided that the Knights should return the lands they had
taken in the wars of the 1320s and 1330s, but that Kazimierz would in return
recognize their possession of Pomerania, Chemno, Michaowo (which
Kazimierzs cousin, Leszek, had sold to the Knights in 1317), and some
other properties.220 In addition, neither side would be allowed to claim
any indemnities from their years of fighting.221 Although the grandmaster

212Bieniak, Przebieg, 910.

213 Knoll, Rise, 7374; Engel, 137; Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 40.
214 Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 40.
215 Engel, 137; Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 40; Knoll describes the grandeur of this meeting
and the gifts the king of Hungary bestowed upon the other kings in some detail (Rise,
216 Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 41. See Knoll, Rise, 26 for a discussion of this coin.
217 Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 41; Knoll, Rise, 78.
218Knoll, Rise, 78.
219 Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 41; Knoll, Rise, 78.
220Lites I (2), 448; Knoll, Rise, 79. For the sale of Michaowo, see chapter five.
221Lites I (2), 448449.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 133

was anxious to have this decision confirmed by Kazimierz, the king of

Poland had already complained to the pope about the settlement, and in
1336 he gave Benedict XII the promised donation of 15,000 to look into
his dispute with the Knights.222 As Janusz Bieniak points out, this meant
the renewed acknowledgment of the validity of the Inowrocaw verdict
[from 1321].223
In the meantime, Kazimierz and the Knights again attempted to set-
tle their dispute out of court. In 1337 Kazimierz met with King John of
Bohemia in Inowrocaw, a Kujawian city occupied by the Knights.224 The
agreement was similar to the one in 1335, and also similarly never came to
anything. But, by this time Kazimierz had gained a new ally in his dispute
against both the Knights and King JohnGalhard,225 the papal-legate in
Poland during the 1330s, who presented a detailed report to Pope Benedict
XII in 1337 complaining about the difficulties he encountered in Polish
lands controlled by Germans and Bohemians.226 This letter was brought
to Avignon by the nephew of the bishop of Krakw,227 who was appar-
ently also charged with convincing the pope to authorize a new trial,
as he returned to Poland in 1338 with the bull commanding Galhard to
investigate Kazimierzs claims.228 Meanwhile, both the Knights and King
John scrambled to find allies to support them in their disputes against
First, in March 1338, King Johns son, Margrave Charles of Moravia (the
future Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV), met King Charles Robert in
Visegrd, the site of the failed 1335 arbitration.229 The 1338 meeting proved

222Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 4142; Bieniak, Przebieg, 10.

223Bieniak, Przebieg, 10.
224Knoll, Rise, 9193.
225There has been some dispute about his place of origin, de Carceribus, although
the consensus now seems to be that he was from Carcs. For biographical information
and his activities in Poland, see Helena Chopocka, Galhard de Carceribus i jego rola w
sporze polsko-krzyackim w XIV wieku, in EuropaSowiaszczyznaPolska. Studia ku
uczczeniu profesora Kazimierza Tymienieckiego, ed. Czesaw uczak (Pozna: Uniwersytet
im. Adama Mickiewcza w Poznaniu, 1970), 135143; Stanisaw Szczur, Wsppracownicy
Galharda z Carcs, kolektora papieskiego w Polski, in Homines et Societas: Czasy Piastw
i Jagiellonw, ed. Janusz Bieniak, et al. (Pozna: Wydawn. Poznanskiego Tow. Przyjacio
Nauk, 1997), 337344; Stanisaw Szczur, Pocztki dziaalnoci Galharda z Carcs, in Per-
sonae, Colligationes, Facta, ed. Janusz Bieniak, et al. (Toru: Zakad Nauk Pomocniczych
Historii Instytutu Historii i Archiwistyki UMK w Toruniu, 1991), 3338.
226Theiner #519.
227Bieniak, Przebieg, 11.
228Bieniak, Przebieg, 1112; Stanisaw Szczur, Dyplomaci Kazimierza Wielkiego w
Awinionie, Nasza Przeszo 66 (1986), 9293.
229Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 4243; Knoll, Rise, 9596.
134 chapter three

more successful. The Bohemians would agree to support the Hungarians

claim to the Polish throne if Kazimierz died without a male heir, pro-
vided Charles Robert could convince Kazimierz to formally renounce his
claims to Silesia and Mazovia, as the Polish king had not yet carried out
his promise to do so in 1335.230 Charles Robert also promised not to help
Kazimierz conquer Silesia and to return it to John after he became king of
Poland if Kazimierz managed to conquer it without his help.231 On 9 Feb-
ruary 1339, less than a week after the commencement of the trial against
the Knights, Kazimierz formally renounced his claims to these lands.232
In response to the Bohemian negotiations with Kazimierzs Hungarian
ally, the Knights turned to the papacys main enemy to legitimize their
position. In July 1338 the Knights obtained a letter from Emperor Ludwig,
in which he took the Knights possessions under his protection and for-
bade them to give away any of their lands or to be judged by the papal
court.233 They also gained further support from an unexpected source
the bishops of Kujawy and Pock, who had both been signatories to the
original 1335 appeal for a trial.234
Both bishoprics were located on both sides of the borders dividing the
kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat. Because of this, even
though both bishops were ethnic Poles, neither thought in the terms of
strictly demarcated state borders, because their jurisdictions cut across
these borders. In fact, not only did the bishop of Pock fail to answer the
summons to the trial, but he actively hindered the reading of the sum-
mons by refusing the nuncio of the judges-delegate admittance to Pock
castle.235 He and his chapter also wrote to the pope requesting that the
dispute be resolved without a trial.236 In fact, the bishop of Pock was
not the only borderland cleric who wanted a quick and peaceful political
settlement to this dispute. Between 1335 and 1338 a number of borderland
religious appealed to Pope Benedict XIIthe Dominicans of the Polish

230Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 4243; Knoll, Rise, 9596.

231Knoll, Rise, 96.
232Knoll, Rise, 97; for a detailed analysis of the numerous factors influencing Kazimi-
erzs decision, see Stanisaw Szczur, Okolicznoci zrzeczenia si lska przez Kazimierza
Wielkiego w roku 1339, Studia Historyczne 30 (1987), 519536; Roman Grodecki, Rozstanie
si lska z Polsk w XIV w. (Katowice: Wydawnictwo Instytutu lskiego, 1938).
233Lites I (2), 459460; PrUB III #183; Wyrozumski, Miejsce, 43; Bieniak, Przebieg,
13; Knoll, Rise, 99.
234Bieniak, Przebieg, 78.
235Lites I (2), 7778.
236CDPr III #12; PrUB III #198.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 135

province in 1335237 and the Franciscans of the provinces of Saxony and

Poland in 1335,238 mentioned above, as well as the abbot and convent
of the Cistercian monastery at Oliwa in 1338239urging him to resolve
the conflict amicably to minimize the further suffering of the Christian
people. This is not to deny that individuals from these organizations
were partisans. The abbot of Oliwa and the priors of the Dominican and
Franciscan chapters who drafted their letters lived in lands controlled by
the Teutonic Knights, and so praised them highly. Similarly, there were
Dominicans, Franciscans, and Cistercians from Polish houses (and even
canons from Pock in the Bohemian-controlled duchy of Mazovia) at the
trial. But, it is important to keep in mind that these religious institutions
recognized that there was more at stake for them than the redrawing of
political boundaries. They knew that they would suffer if open warfare
broke out again no matter where the boundaries were drawn. In addition,
the letters of the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Cistercians also placed
this conflict in the context of the larger struggle for the defense of Latin
Christendom against the neighboring Lithuanian pagans and Ruthenian
schismatics. The idea that the Teutonic Ordensstaat and the kingdom of
Poland were shields of Latin Christendom was a concept that the papacy
would turn to in the years after the trial, as it sought to make and main-
tain peace between them.240

The Second Trial between Poland and the Teutonic Knights, 1339

Although the pope gave his judges-delegateGalhard and another papal

revenue collector in Poland, Peter Gervaisconsiderable leeway in con-
ducting their investigation, he did not intend their sentence to bind
him, because the Knights did not have to submit to their authority and
could instead choose to appeal their case to Avignon.241 As Janusz Bien-
iak argues, the point of the trial for Kazimierz was not to regain all of
the former Polish territories that the Knights held, but instead to instill a
political and historical consciousness among his own subjects and hope-
fully to pressure both the Knights and the kings of Hungary and Bohemia

237Lites I (2), 449450; PrUB III #20.

238PrUB III #17.
239CDPr III #14.
240See the conclusion for more on this concept and the role it played in relations
between the papacy and the states of East Central Europe.
241Bieniak, Przebieg, 13.
136 chapter three

to accept a compromise more favorable for Kazimierz than the one from
1335 had been.242
To further these ends, the royal procurators had the court swear in 176
witnesses, although only 126 were able to testify. This was in part because
they were asked to testify about far more than the issues presented to the
witnesses in 13201321. On 6 February 1339, King Kazimierz of Poland and
Archbishop Janisaw of Gniezno formally accused the Teutonic Knights
of inflicting serious wrongs upon the Polish regnum and ecclesia. The trial
began in Warsaw, at that time a small town in one of the independent
Mazovian duchies, probably chosen for its neutral location,243 but also
because it was situated on the Vistula nearly equidistant from Krakw
and Marienburg (Polish: Malbork), the capitals of the two disputing states.
However, because this town was not equipped to handle a trial of this
magnitude, only the first and last phases of the trial were held there. The
Polish procurators presented 30 articles of dispute (listed in appendix
three), beginning with what they claimed was the first instance of the
Knights perfidytheir unlawful possession of Chemno, which had been
granted to them over a century earlier by Kazimierzs great-grandfather.
This was followed by complaints against the Knights conquest of Pomera-
nia in 13081309, the lands taken by the Knights in the wars of the 1320s
and 1330s, and the damages suffered by the Polish regnum and ecclesia
during these wars. As in the first trial, rather than respond to the kings
complaints, the Knights procurator stayed just long enough to state that
the Knights did not recognize the authority of the court, and just as in the
first trial, the judges proceeded without the Knights.244 Over the course
of the next four months the judges and their legates examined witnesses
in cities all over the kingdom of Poland. By early May, they had heard
enough, and announced that they would give their sentence on 15 Sep-
tember in Warsaw.
The judges ordered the Knights to return all the disputed lands and
to pay Kazimierz an indemnity of nearly 200,000 marks.245 In addition,
they were required to pay for the costs of the trial1600 marks. The next
month the judges informed the Knights that they had four months to com-

242Bieniak, Przebieg, 11.

243Knoll, Rise, 101.
244Bieniak, Przebieg, 15; Lites I (2), 8485; KDW II #1192.
245Lites I (2), 140.
the restorations of the kingdom of poland 137

ply with the sentence on pain of excommunication.246 However, because

the Knights refused to recognize the competency of the judges-delegate,
Kazimierz sent a legation to Avignon to argue his case before the pope.247

The Final Settlement, 13401343

The Knights permanent lawyers in Avignon apparently proved more

effective than the Polish legates, because in July 1341 Benedict XII autho-
rized the bishop of Krakw (who was in Avignon pleading Kazimierzs
case),248 as well as the bishops of Meissen and Chemno to arbitrate a
new settlement between the king and the Knights, based on conditions
very similar to those proposed in 1335, except that the Knights also had
to pay Kazimierz an indemnity of 10,000 marks.249 The next month the
pope wrote to Kazimierz informing him that he could not validate the
1339 ruling.250 In the following year Benedict died before the conflict had
been resolved.
When Clement VI inherited this problem in August 1342, he reissued
his predecessors bull from the previous year, imploring the arbiters to
come to some settlement in the dispute.251 When nothing was resolved
by the following June, he reissued the bull again, this time with more per-
sonal pleas for the restoration of peace, but by this time the Knights and
Kazimierz were already beginning peace negotiations.252
On 8 July 1343 the Knights legates met Kazimierz in Kalisz and the
two sides agreed that the Knights would retain possession of Chemno,
Pomerania, and certain other smaller possessions, while they would return
Dobrzy and Kujawy to Kazimierz.253 Two weeks later, King Kazimierz
and Grandmaster Ludolf Knig met on the borderland of their two states:
...there among a great multitude of nobles from both sides the king and

246Bieniak, Przebieg, 19; KDW II #1193.

247Bieniak, Przebieg, 19.
248Bieniak, Przebieg, 20.
249Transumpt in Clement VIs final settlement from 1343 (Theiner #581).
250Theiner #558.
251 Theiner #581.
252Theiner #590.
253KDW II #1220. For a detailed description of these proceedings, see Knoll, Rise,
138 chapter three

the master went to meet at the same time, greeting each other amicably.254
After the arbitrated settlement was read aloud, ...they sworethe
king on his crowned head and the master by touching the cross [on his
mantle]to firmly adhere to each and every one of these matters and
completed this act with a sincere kiss of peace on the mouth....255 The
implications of this peace settlement for Poland, the Teutonic Knights,
and the papacy will be examined in the conclusion.

254...rex et magister in magna multitudine nobilium ex utraque parte inibi insimul

convenerunt mutuo se amicabiliter salutantes (Lites II, 381).
255...rex per coronam capitis sui, et dominus magister tactu Crucis sue, iuraverunt
hec omnia et singula tenere firmiter et inplere osculo oris pacis sincere... (Lites II, 383).



On the night of 13 November 1308, the Teutonic Knights sacked the pros-
perous port city of Gdask, completely destroying the town and mur-
dering its 10,000 inhabitantsmen, women, and infants crying in their
cradles, whom even the enemies of the faith would have spared.1 At least
this was the story presented at the papal curia by Archbishop Friedrich
of Riga, who added this enormity to a litany of wrongs committed by the
Knights against the Christians they were supposed to be protecting from
neighboring pagans.2 This, however, was just one version of events. The
Knights immediately presented their own counternarrative and encour-
aged the bishops in Prussia to present their version of the story. To these
competing narratives would later be added the testimonies of the wit-
nesses in the trial of the archbishop of Riga against the Knights in 1312
and those in the two trials between the kings of Poland and the Teutonic
Knights in 1320 and 1339. These testimonies from more than 100 witnesses,
supplemented by letters, chronicles, and annals written by the secular and
regular clergy in Poland, Prussia, and Pomerania, provide a unique basis
for the study of the role of memorialization in the formation of group
identity in the Middle Ages.3

1 The massacre was the subject of an academic conference in 2008 to mark the 700th
anniversary of the event. Most of the papers presented were published in a volume edited
by Baej liwiski: Rze gdaska z 1308 roku w wietle najnowszych bada. Materiay z
sesji naukowej 1213 listopada 2008 roku (Gdask: Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Gdaska,
2009). I want to thank Karol Polejowski for bringing this conference to my attention and
presenting me with a copy of this book.
2PrUB 2 #13. See below for more information on the allegations. The phrase immortalis
discordia is used by Peter von Dusburg to refer to the Knights conflict with the burghers
of Riga (III. 269 and S. 16), but it could also easily refer to the perceived relations between
the Knights and the kings of Poland. For more on the archbishop of Riga, with whom the
burghers cooperated in their disputes with the Knights, see Kurt Forstreuter, Archbishop
Friedrich von Riga (13041341), Zeitschrift fr Ostforschung 19 (1970), 652665.
3This chapter was influenced by Benjamin Z. Kedars longitudinal approach, which
he employs in his analysis of the Jerusalem massacre at the end of the First Crusade and
which takes into account the changing perceptions of the event in both medieval and
modern sources [The Massacre of 15 July 1099 in the Historiography of the Crusades
Crusades 3 (2004), 1575].
140 chapter four

In the three decades between the Teutonic Knights conquest of Gdask

and the second trial between Poland and the Knights, new conflicts broke
out between the disputants, which located the memory of the Gdask
massacre within a larger framework of a discourse of wrongs promulgated
by both sides. Both parties presented themselves as the victims in these
conflicts and both sides attempted to instrumentalize the memory of the
past to legitimize their claims to disputed territories. However, within
these various official versions of the past, we can also discern how the
emerging historical consciousness of the subjects of these two states made
the broad outlines presented to them by their rulers conform to their
own views of the past. Through a critical reading of these various his-
tories, especially the witnesses testimonies from the two trials between
Poland and the Ordensstaat in 1320 and 1339, this chapter will examine
how the changing political circumstances of the three decades between
the massacre and the 1339 trial affected the formation of social memory
within these two states. By exploring the tension and interplay between
the crusading culture which united these two states as shields of Latin
Christendom and an emerging ethnic and political enmity which divided
them, this chapter will examine a number of questions: How were the
collective memories of the two emerging states contested by the collected
memories of the individual witnesses in the trials and other informants?
How did the discourse of these contested narratives change in light of the
mutable religious, social, and political circumstances of the recollections
and retellings of the story? And finally, what role did the memories of
atrocities and the characterizations of betrayal and victimhood play in
group identity formation?
In order to help make sense of how these complex issues interact,
the following analysis will be framed by Michael Schudsons Dynamics
of Distortion in Collective Memory, which identifies four key dynamics
in groups reinterpretation of past events to fit present circumstances:
instrumentalization, distanciation, narrativization, and conventionaliza-
tion.4 Let me be clear that I am using Schudsons concept of memory dis-
tortion as a heuristic tool. This analytical framework is meant neither to
be exhaustive of all the functions of memory as a situational construct

4Michael Schudson, Dynamics of Distortion in Collective Memory, in Memory Distor-

tion: How Minds, Brains, and Societies Reconstruct the Past, ed. Daniel L. Schacter (Cam-
bridge: Harvard University Press, 1995), 346364.
immortalis discordia 141

(for example, Daniel L. Schacter identifies seven sins of memory,5 which

might provide a more amenable framework considering the medieval sub-
ject matter) nor to imply that there is one true memory of the past, which
is consciously distorted to serve presentist agendas. Of course, the social
memory of the past is sometimes deliberately distorted by groups seeking
to create a common identity or by those seeking power through histori-
cal legitimization. However, as most scholars of social memory studies,
including Schudson, argue, collective memory...is always provisional,
always open to contestation and often actually contested.6 Perhaps no
memories are more contested than those of collective violence.7 There-
fore, this chapter will explore how and why the memories of the Gdask
massacre were contested, and how the discourse of these contestations
changed in light of different religious, social, and political circumstances.
This focus on memory distortion does not mean that the Gdask mas-
sacre was a legend, as some early twentieth-century German historians
argued.8 It is undeniable that serious scars were inflicted upon the bodies
of the residents of Gdask and the physical landscape of the city, as well
as upon the psyches of the witnesses to these atrocities and the families of
the victims. Rather, the point of this exercise is to try to understand how
this event was understood by different people at different times in differ-
ent circumstances during the first half of the fourteenth century.
Employing the framework constructed above, this chapter is divided
into six parts, with four parts focusing on one aspect of social memory
distortion, while the final two sections locate the massacre within its his-
torical and historiographical contexts. The first part analyzes the social
memory of the massacre as it developed during the period between 1308
and 1320, with special emphasis given to how the archbishop of Riga
instrumentalized the memory of the massacre in his dispute with the

5Daniel L. Schacter, The Seven Sins of Memory (How the Mind Forgets and Remembers)
(New York: Hougton Mifflin, 2001); see also Daniel L. Schacter, Searching for Memory: The
Brain, the Mind, and the Past (New York: Basic Books, 1996).
6Schudson, 360361. Schudson limits this function of collective memory to what
he calls liberal pluralistic societies, but as explained in the introduction and hopefully
demonstrated throughout this book, social memory was also a contested resource in pre-
modern societies.
7For recent studies on memory and collective violence see Mark Osiel, Mass Atrocity,
Collective Memory, and the Law (New Brunswick: Transactions Publishers, 1997); David E.
Lorey and William H. Beezley, eds., Genocide, Collective Violence, and Popular Memory: The
Politics of Remembrance in the Twentieth Century (Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 2002).
8Erich Keyser, Die Legende von der Zerstrung Danzigs im Jahre 1308, Zeitschrift des
Westpreussischen Geschichtsvereins 59 (1919), 165182.
142 chapter four

Teutonic Knightsin Schudsons words, how memory selects and dis-

torts in the service of present interests.9 The second part examines how
the distanciation of the lawyers, judges, and witnesses in the 1320 trial
affected their memories of these events. As Schudson argues, while the
passage of time results in a loss of detail, distance can give people his-
torical perspective on matters that may have been hard to grasp at the
time they happened.10 The third part analyzes what role this narrativiza-
tion of the memory of this event played in the historical writings of the
Teutonic Knights in the 1320s and 1330s, as well as in the versions of the
history of the conflict presented by Poland and the Knights in arbitrations
during the 1330s. An account of the past must choose a point to begin,
and in these inter-trial years, the two sides presented various versions of
when the wars between Poland and the Knights began in order either to
make peace or to continue the conflict.11 The fourth part analyzes how the
social memory of this event became conventionalized in Polish society by
analyzing the witnesses testimonies from the 1339 trial in the context of
the atrocities of the Polish-Teutonic Knights wars of the 1320s and 1330s.
When the royal procurators in this trial placed the conquest of Gdask
within the framework of an eternal enmity between Poland and the Teu-
tonic Knights, they memorialized this conflict and buried the memories of
earlier cooperation between the Knights and King Kazimierzs ancestors
as well as their shared mission of serving as shields of Latin Christen-
dom. The final two sections will relocate this dispute within the context
of the earlier amicable relations between Poland and the Knights and sort
through the modern historiography of the dispute in order to analyze why
the Knights chose to break their bonds of loyalty with the family of their
founders in Poland, as well as why by the 1330s the Poles had forgotten
about these bonds.

The Evolution of the Dispute to the 1320 Trial

Schudson makes a distinction between first-order instrumentalization,

which promotes a particular version of the past to serve present interests,
and second-order instrumentalization, which makes use of the past, and

9 Schudson, 351.
10Schudson, 349.
11 Schudson, 355.
immortalis discordia 143

distorts it, without necessarily favoring a particular vision of the past.12

We can see both of these types of instrumentalization at play in the incor-
poration of the memory of the Gdask massacre into the long-running
series of disputes between the Teutonic Knights and the archbishop of
Riga. As a general rule, however, the two litigants instrumentalized the
Gdask massacre in the first order, while the various witnesses (none of
whom were actual eyewitnesses, but rather people who learned about the
massacre through common knowledge, publica vox et fama) instrumental-
ized the event in the second-order, if at all.
The first written records of the Teutonic Knights invasion of Pomerania
come from four documents.13 The first of these is an undated list of articles
of dispute submitted by an unidentified procurator of the Teutonic Knights.14
There is general consensus, however, that this document was written dur-
ing the first half of 1310 by the procurator-general of the Knights in Avignon,
Konrad Bruel.15 These articles presented a narrative far more thoroughly
filled out than any of the narratives presented by the Polish procurators
in their own articles of dispute in 1320 or 1339. They cast the Knights as
victims in their conflict with the town of Gdask and the margraves of
Brandenburg. The Knights presented themselves as detached observers of
affairs in Pomerania, who were drawn into this land because of the duplic-
ity of the burghers of Gdask. These articles are listed and translated
in their entirety in appendix one, but they can be briefly summarized as
follows: The margraves of Brandenburg were granted Pomerania in fee
by King Albrecht I of Germany after the king of Bohemia died without a

12Schuldson, 353.
13Helena Chopocka has reprinted the excerpts from these documents relating to
Gdask Pomerania in Lites I (3), 103110. The references provided below are to Chopockas
14The entirety of this document is printed in August Seraphim, ed., Das Zeugenverhr
des Franciscus de Milano 1312 (Knigsberg: Thomas and Opermann, 1912), 179207, with
the Gdask articles (#58#72) at 186187; they are also reprinted in PlUB #696; Lites I (2),
427428; Lites I (3), 103105.
15See Chopockas notes in Lites I (3), 103104; see also Andrzej Wojtkowski, Procesy
polsko-krzyackie przed procesem z lat 13201321 (Olsztyn: Osrodek Badan Naukowych im.
W. Ktrzynskiego, 1972), 2728; Jzef Judziski, Stanowisko Biskupw Pruskich wobec
Wydarze Gdask 1308 roku, Komunikaty Mazursko-Warmieskie 100 (1968), 194196; for
a discussion of the position of procurator-general, see Jan-Erik Beuttel, Der Generalproku-
rator des Deutschen Ordens an der Rmischen Kurie: Amt, Funktionen, personelles Umfeld
und Finanzierung (Marburg: Elwert, 1999); for Konrads term as procurator-general, see
Kurt Forstreuter, Die Berichte der Generalprokuratoren des Deutschen Ordens an der Kurie.
Erster Band: Die Geschichte der Generalprokuratoren von den Anfngen bis 1403 (Gttingen:
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1961), 7690.
144 chapter four

male heir; Gdask was harboring sixteen criminals, who robbed not only
the Knights, but all the surrounding Christians; the Knights came to Gdask
with an army and told the burghers to surrender the criminals, which the
burghers finally did without bloodshed; afterwards the Knights withdrew
with their army, so they did not witness what happened, but they were
informed through publica vox et fama that the burghers destroyed their
own homes and left Gdask. This, however, was just one of the various
versions of the story that the Teutonic Knights would tell over the years,
modifying it to fit changing political exigencies.
Although unnamed, it is apparent that the charge they were address-
ing was the murder of the inhabitants of Gdask and the destruction of
the town. It also indirectly lays the groundwork for another anticipated
topic of disputethe Knights contested possession of Pomerania. This
story ignored the fact that the Knights were in possession of Pomerania
at the time these articles were written, while at the same time it identi-
fied the margraves of Brandenburg as the legitimate lords of Pomerania,
completely omitting the rival claims of Duke Wadysaw of Poland. This
is odd considering that the Knights had already entered into negotiations
with the margraves in 1309 to buy the land from them after negotiations
with Wadysaw failed.16 So, why did they present the margraves in such
a negative light, and why did they not present themselves as the rightful
lords of Gdask, meting out justice to criminals? Apparently, the Knights
still did not feel secure in their possession of the land, because they lacked
written confirmation of their rights to Pomerania. After the period 12 June
13 July 1310, when the Knights formally bought the rights to Pomerania
from the margraves of Brandenburg,17 secured the surrender of rights to
the land from all the claimants except Duke Wadysaw of Poland,18 and
had these transactions further legitimized by an imperial confirmation,19

16PrUB #676; Baej liwinski, Pomorze Wschodnie w okresie rzdw ksicia polskiego
Wadysawa okietka w latach 13061309 (Gdask: Muzeum Archeologiczne w Gdasku,
2003), 548549.
17PlUB #685.
18For an outline of this process, see liwinski, Pomorze, 548560. 10 March 1310 the
margraves got Duke Henryk of Gogws sons to renounce their claims (PlUB #682) and
12 April 1310 they got Duke Wisaw III of Rgen to renounce his claims (PlUB #683).
For Duke Henryks sons claims see the 1296 agreement between Henryk and Wadysaw
(KDW II #745), discussed in chapter 3. Wisaws claims to Pomerania stretched much fur-
ther into the past, but were apparently well remembered. Wisaw IIIs grandfather had
married Mciwj IIs sister, Eufemia, around 1240, so Wisaw was the great-grandson of the
founder of the duchy of Pomeraniawitopek (liwiski, Poczet, 5051, 78).
19PlUB #688.
immortalis discordia 145

a new version of the story could be (and was) written. But for the time
being the Knights had to present themselves as disinterested outsiders,
unconcerned with affairs in Gdask beyond the capture of the criminals
who had been plaguing their lands. This might also account for the rather
contrived explanation for the destruction of Gdask. It is too bad that
more of the records for the 1312 trial have not survived, because it would
have been interesting to see how the Knights would have proved that the
Gdask burghers destroyed their houses and abandoned the town of their
own volition.20
In any event, the procurator-general apparently failed to convince the
papal curia of the tenability of his orders position, because on 19 June
1310, Pope Clement V issued a bull asking two legates to look into the
allegations of the Knights misconduct in the archbishopric of Riga as well
as in Gdask.21 This was quite a damning document, presenting a litany of
wrongs allegedly committed by the Knights against the Christian popula-
tions they were supposed to be protecting. These included imprisoning
the archbishop of Riga and his staff, interfering in episcopal elections in
order to get members of their own order enthroned as bishops, making
alliances with pagans and supplying them with weapons, preventing the
proselytism of pagans, harassing the neophytes, encouraging apostasy,
destroying monasteries and churches, and the list goes on.22 Among these
offenses, the pope also noted that
It has recently come to our attention that the said preceptors and brothers
of the same hospital, stealing into the land of our dear son, the nobleman
Duke Wadysaw of Krakw and Sandomierz, in a hostile manner, killed
more than 10,000 people in the town of Gdask by the sword, inflicting
death upon infants crying in their cradles, whom even the enemies of the
faith would have spared.23
The fact that these accusations came at the same time that the various tri-
als against the Templars were being conducted throughout Europe must

20 See the discussion below of the Teutonic Knights attempts to force the burghers of
Tczew to voluntarily abandon their city, which is described in PlUB #668.
21 Archbishop John of Bremen and the papal chaplain, Master Albert of Milan, a canon
of Ravenna.
22 PrUB II #13.
23 Novissime vero ad nostrum venit auditum, quod dicti preceptores et fratres hos-
pitalis eiusdem dilecti filii nobilis viri Wladislai Cracovie et Sandomirie ducis terram
hostiliter subintrantes in civitate Gdansco ultra decem milia hominum gladio peremer-
unt infantibus vagientibus in cunis mortis exicium interentes, quibus eciam hostis fidei
pepercisset [PrUB II #13 and Lites I (3), 106].
146 chapter four

have caused the Teutonic Knights some concern.24 Therefore, because

of the growing criticism of the Teutonic Order in particular and military
orders in general after the loss of Acre in 1291, the Knights felt it neces-
sary to remind the papal curia that not only were they incapable of com-
mitting the atrocities described by the archbishop of Riga, but they were
also still relevant as defenders and administrators of the frontiers of Latin
In order to counter what they viewed as calumny, the Knights asked
three Prussian bishops25 and the Dominican Polish provincial chapter
(which included the lands of the Ordensstaat and happened to be meeting
in one of its towns that yearElblg) to respond to these accusations in
amicus briefs to the college of cardinals in Avignon. Both of these letters
defended the Knights, whom they portrayed as defenders of Christendom.
In fact, Polish historians have pointed out the similarities in these docu-
ments and have suggested that the Dominicans and Prussian bishops were
given a template to use by the Knights.26 Even an early twentieth-century
German historian pointed out the similarities in these two documents,
although he stopped short of suggesting that the Knights dictated the

24The investigation of the Templars began with the arrest of their members in France
in 1307. It should be pointed out, however, that the issues disputed in those trials dif-
fer considerably from the points of contention between the Teutonic Knights and the
archbishop of Riga. For new research on the Templar trials see Jochen Burgtorf, Paul F.
Crawford, and Helen Nicholson, eds., The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (13071314)
(Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010) and Malcolm Barber, The Trial of the Templars, 2nd ed. (Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). It is arguable that these trials played a role in
the transfer of the headquarters of both the Teutonic Knights to Prussia and the Hospi-
tallers to Rhodes in 13091311, but neither the campaign in Prussia nor the one in Rhodes
was undertaken as a direct response to this threat. The Hospitallers began their campaign
in Rhodes a year before the arrest of the Templars [Anthony Luttrell, The Hospitallers at
Rhodes, 13061421, in A History of the Crusades. Volume III: The Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Centuries, ed. Harry Hazard (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), 278313], while
the grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights did not rule from Malbork, in Prussia, until 1324
[Mary Fischer, Biblical Heroes and the Uses of Literature: The Teutonic Order in the Later
Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries, in Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Fron-
tier 11501500, ed. Alan Murray (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 262, and Klaus Militzer, From
the Holy Land to Prussia: The Teutonic Knights between Emperors and Popes and the
Policies until 1309, in Mendicants, Military Orders, and Regionalism, ed. Jrgen Sarnowsky
(Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 7181].
25Only three of the four Prussian bishops are listed as authors, because Bishop Chris-
tian of Pomezania died late in 1309, and the archbishop of Riga refused to confirm Ludolf,
the Pomezanian chapters choice, as the new bishop (Judziski, Stanowisko, 197).
26Helena Chopocka, Procesy Polski z Zakonem Krzyackim w XIV wieku: Studium
rdoznawcze (Pozna: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1967), 11; Judziski, Stano
wisko, 196.
immortalis discordia 147

contents of the letters to their authors.27 The authors not only discussed
similar themesthe fact that the Knights were able administrators and
defenders of the faithbut they also at times used identical language to
express these ideas. Part of the explanation for this is that both letters
were speaking directly to the charges leveled against the Knights in the
papal bull from earlier in the year. But, the similarities are too great for
this to be the only explanation.28 For example, both letters contain the
following sentence verbatim:
For they are men of mercy, loving justice and day after day everywhere
increasing the divine cult, in addition governing the state with great pru-
dence, and like true knights of Christ they continually set themselves up as
an impregnable shield for the faith against the assaults of infidels.29
There are also many other examples of such verbatim similarities between
the two texts. The texts do, however, differ in one fundamental aspect. The
Dominicans letter omits any reference to the Gdask massacre, while the
bishops letter mentions it explicitly:
...(never) in Gdask nor elsewhere did they spill the blood of innumerable
Christiansinfants and womenalthough they did seize certain of their
own men, traitors and enemies of theirs numbering 15 who were punished
by their sword.... ...nor, moreover, have we ever heard anything certain
of their violence against those subject to them, but on the contrary we are
most certain that they administer the state in such peace, discipline, and
justice, that as it were, innumerable people from diverse nations, lands,
and domains, abandoning their property which they possessed elsewhere,
go across into the colonies of the said brothers, wishing to live under their

27Beide Urkunden haben ziemlich den gleichen Inhalt, beide Urkunden laufen auf
dasselbe hinaus: Auf eine rckhaltlose Verteidigung des Ordens [Walter Friedrich, Der
Deutsche Ritterorden und die Kurie in den Jahren 13001330 (Knigsberg: Otto Kmmel,
1915), 37]. Compare this to Werner Roth, Die Dominikaner und Franziskaner im Deutsch-
Ordensland Preuen bis zum Jahre 1466 (Knigsberg: Drewes Buchdruckerei, 1918), 2829.
28Two other nearly identical letters appeared during the Knights dispute with Grand
Duke Gediminas of Lithuania in 13231324. More than half of the letter written by the
abbots of Oliwa and Pelplin in Pomerania in January 1324 is a verbatim copy of the Prus-
sian Franciscans letter of support for the Knights from November 1323 (PrUB II #447 and
#429). See also S.C. Rowell, Lithuania Ascending: a Pagan Empire in East-Central Europe,
12951345 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 213.
29Sunt enim viri misericordie diligentes iusticiam et divinum cultum de die in diem
ubilibet augmentantes, multa insuper prudencia gubernantes rem publicam et assidue
tamquam veri Christi milites contra insultus infidelium scutum inexpugnabile fidei se
exponent (PrUB II #19 and #20).
30...(nec unquam) in Danzich aut alibi sanguinem Christianorum incunabulis aut
mulierum innumerabilium effuderunt, licet quosdam, quos suos et suorum proditores et
148 chapter four

This version of the story is similar to the Knights procurators narra-

tive outlined abovefewer than 20 people were killed, and these were
men who had wronged the Knights and were subsequently brought to
justice. Incidentally, the bishops stated that these were the Knights men
traitorsnot just common criminals. This comment situates this act of
violence within the bishops larger message of the Knights role as able
administrators, because punishing criminals is an important part of lord-
ship. In fact, the Knights are such able administrators that people from
all over Christendom have migrated to their lands. It should be pointed
out, however, that the fact that the bishops presented essentially the same
story as the Knights should not be surprising, since two of the bishops,
Herman of Chemno and Siegfried of Sambia, were members of the Teu-
tonic Order.31 But what is to be made of the Dominicans letter?
As noted above, except for the omission of these two passages in the
Dominicans letter, the two documents are nearly identical. So, if this
were a form letter given to the Dominicans to sign off on, why did they
omit the information about the Gdask massacre? It seems unlikely that
the Dominicans would have been less aware of affairs in Gdask than the
Prussian bishops, because there was a Dominican convent in Gdask, and
its prior was probably at the provincial chapter. Polish scholars have taken
a number of viewpoints on this topic, attempting to explain both why the

inimicos deprehenderant numero quindecim animadverti suorum gladio.... (...) nec

eciam de certo unquam de violencia ipsorum in sibi subiectos audivimus, sed de contrario
sumus certissimi, quia in tanta pace et disciplina et iusticia administrant rem publicam,
quod quasi innumerabiles populi de diversis nacionibus terris et dominiis (relictis) pro-
priis, que alibi possederant, in dictorum fratrum transeunt, colonias sub ipsorum regimine
vivere cupientes (PrUB II #20). Earlier in the letter they also stated that the following is
not true: ...also not sparing in Gdask either according to age or sex, they spilled the
blood or made the blood be spilled of innumerable Christians, and that in those lands held
and possessed now for a little while by those knights of Christ, exercising tyranny, they
violently occupy and detain estates and possessions by law belonging to others [...eciam
non parcentes in Danzik etati vel sexui Christianorum innumerabilium sanguinem effud-
erint seu effundi fecerint et quod in terris ab ipsis Christi militibus iam dudum habitis et
possessis tirannidem exercentes predia et possessiones de iure pertinentes ad alios vio-
lenter occupant et detinent].
31As Gerard Labuda explains, Desiring the weakness of the metropolitan, the Teu-
tonic Knights wanted to appoint to the bishoprics their own candidates, as far as possible
brothers of the Teutonic Order. The most direct path to this goal led through control of
the chapters, who elected the bishops [Marian Biskup and Gerard Labuda, Dzieje Zakon
Krzyackiego w Prusach (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Morksie, 1986), 170]. By the end of the
thirteenth century the chapters of Chemno, Pomezania, and Sambia had all been incorpo-
rated into the Teutonic Order, so that only the chapter of Warmia remained independent.
See also Paul Reh, Das Verhltnis des deutschen Ordens zu den preussischen Bishfen im
13. Jahrhundert, Zeitschrift des Westpreussischen Geschichtsvereins 35 (1896), 121136.
immortalis discordia 149

section was left out and why the Dominicans wrote the letter in the first
place. Helena Chopocka argues that this section was left out because the
prior of the Dominican convent in Gdask was at the meeting, and Jzef
Judziski says that the news about the massacre was already widespread,
so that they apparently did not want to falsify the truth...as the Knights
procurator had done in his petition to the pope.32 More recently, how-
ever, Dariusz Dekaski has argued that the Dominicans drafted the letter
independently of any pressure by the Knights, because they felt a need
to maintain good relations with the Knights, and that this letter might
even have served as the template upon which the Prussian bishops wrote
their own version of events later in the month.33 Yet, despite the Domini-
cans best intentions in preserving a peaceful climate in which they could
preach, if they had known about such a slaughter, they certainly would
not have endorsed the Knights so heartily. Perhaps even for the Domini-
cans from Gdask who attended the provincial chapter, the fog of war
had not yet dissipated, and they were still unsure how to process events
that had taken place less than two years earlier.34 The stories told by the
Dominicans who testified two years later in Riga would also appear to
demonstrate that there was not yet an official position on these events
among the Dominicans of East Central Europe. Of the five who testified
against the Knights in 1312, three said they heard about the massacre but
did not know any details, one said he did not know anything about it,
and another said that he had heard some people say that it had happened
and others that it had not.35 Let us now turn to this trial to examine the
further transformations of the story of the Gdask massacre.
Perhaps the bishops and Dominicans appeals carried some weight in
the papal curia, because in the resulting trial, conducted in 1312 in Riga
by Francis of Moliano, the witnesses were asked to testify about 230 arti-
cles, only one of which (the 25th) concerned the destruction of Gdask.

32Judziski, Stanowisko, 197.

33Dariusz Dekaski, Postawa dominikanw polskich w latach 13101339 wobec kwestii
zajcia przez Krzyakw Pomorza Gdaskiego, Rocznik Gdaski 52 (1992), 2133; Dari-
usz Aleksander Dekaski, Dominikanie polscy wobec zajcia przez Krzyakw Pomorza
Gdaskiego w latach 13081309, in Dominikanie w rodkowej Europie w XIIIXV wieku:
Aktywno duszpasterska i kultura intelektualna, ed. Jerzy Koczowski and Jan Andzrej
Spie (Pozna: W drodze, 2002), 259270.
34Perhaps the Gdask Dominicans also felt that they had in some way been respon-
sible for the massacre, because Wilhelm, the prior of the Gdask convent in 1308, testi-
fied in 1339 that it had been his idea to ask the Knights to help defend Gdask from the
margraves [Lites I (2), 373].
35See below for references.
150 chapter four

The wording of the article has not survived, but we can guess from the
witnesses testimonies that it was similar to the wording of the papal bull
about the slaughter of 10,000 people, including infants in their cradles.36
Although the trial record is incomplete, we have the testimonies from
thirteen witnesses about the Gdask massacre.37 All but one of these wit-
nesses belonged to translocal religious ordersCistercians, Premonstrat-
ensians, Dominicans, Franciscanswhich had houses in or near Gdask,
so it seems that they were most likely informed about the massacre from
their brethren in Pomerania and Prussia. News of the massacre prob-
ably also traveled along the trade routes of the Baltic littoral from one
Lbeck colony to another, because one witness mentioned hearing about
the massacre in Germany [Alamania] and more specifically in Rostock,
Lbeck, and StralsundGerman cities.38 Not a single one of the wit-
nesses claimed to have seen the massacre himself, but several said that
they heard about it from those who had. The prior of a Cistercian mon-
astery in modern Estonia said that he heard it said by a certain monk
of the Cistercian Order that the monk himself saw the massacre of the
dead men, mentioned in the article, while he was passing through that
city named in the article at that time.39 A Cistercian monk at the same
monastery also heard about this from an eyewitness: Asked how he
knew, he responded, because the witness himself passed through the city
itself at the time when the brothers did those things in the city named
in the article, fourteen days after the aforesaid, and he heard that said
by the landlady in whose lodging he was staying.40 A Dominican in Riga
gave a more equivocal answer to the article, but he did not say which
story he believed:
he said that he heard it said by some people in the city of Riga that the
things contained in this article are true, and from a certain scribe who said

36The 19th witness said that he did not know whether 10,000 were killed, and the 16th
witness said that he did not know whether children were killed [Lites I (3), 109].
37Seraphim, Zeugenverhr, 9, 28, 47, 63, 64, 79, 90, 100, 111, 118, 123, 130, and 142; these
testimonies are also reprinted in Lites I (3), 107110, which will be referenced below.
38Lites I (3), 107108.
39...audivit dici a quodam monacho ordinis Cisterciensis, quod ipse monachus vidit
strangem hominum mortuorum, de qua in articulo fit mencio, dum transiret tunc tempo-
ris per civitatem illam articulo nominatam [Lites I (3), 108].
40Interrogatus, quomodo sciret, respondit, quia ipse testis tunc temporis, quando frat-
res illa die fecerant in civitate in articulo nominata, transivit per ipsam civitatem XIIII die
post predicta et audivit illa dici ab hospitissa, in cuius hospicio ipse hospitabatur [Lites
I (3), 108].
immortalis discordia 151

that he was in the city when those things were said to have happened he
said he heard it said that the things said in this article were not true.41
The judge also seems to have found the evidence against the Knights
to be equivocal, because this is the last we hear of the massacre until
the Knights are brought to court in 1320 by a new litigantthe newly
crowned King Wadysaw of Poland. The massacre, however, did not play
a role in the commissioning of this new trial. When Wadysaw appealed
to the pope in the late 1310s for a trial to investigate his claim to Pomera-
nia, he said nothing about the massacre, instead changing the narrative
of dispute from an emphasis on the enormities committed by the Knights
to an emphasis on the need to restore the normal relations between a
religious order and its benefactor.

Distanciation: The 13201321 Inowrocaw-Brze Trial

More than a decade elapsed before Duke (soon to be King) Wadysaw of

Poland seriously pursued his claims to Pomerania.42 This chronological
distance allowed Wadysaw to place the events that occurred in Pomera-
nia in 13081309 in historical perspective. Although Wadysaws appeal
to the pope asking for the trial has not survived, the papal bull authoriz-
ing the trial outlines Wadysaws claims to this land. In this bull there is
neither mention of a massacre nor of any specific acts of violence; there
is only the general violence of the Knights repaying Wadysaws familys
gifts by stealing his lands:
We accepted the serious complaint of our dear son, the nobleman Duke
Wadysaw of Poland, the master and brothers of the House of St. Mary of
the Germans not being present, maintaining that the late Duke Konrad of
Poland, grandfather of that same duke, first called the master and broth-
ers, whom he believed true defenders of the Catholic faith, to those parts
for the defense of the faith, and he freely conceded to them some movable
and immovable goods, and the said Konrad and his successors with benign
favor followed these up with others. But, showing no gratitude to the said
duke and extending the hands of rapacity towards his goods, they boldly
and illicitly robbed that duke of his own land of Pomerania, of the diocese

41 ...dixit, quod audivit dici ab aliquibus in civitate Rigensi, quod vera essent, que in
huiusmodi articulo continentur et a quodam scriptore, qui dicebat, quod fuerat in civi-
tate, quando illa dicebantur fuisse, dixit, quod audivit dici, quod non fuerant vera, que in
huiusmodi articulo dicuntur [Lites I (3), 110].
42 See the previous chapter for an analysis of the reasons for this delay.
152 chapter four

of Wocawek, which it is known should belong to the kingdom of Poland,

along with the men, vassals, castles, villages, possessions, and goods in it,
now occupying and detaining it against justice for eight years and more and
still violently detaining its fruits and revenues and produce without right
and unjustly, they refuse to return it to him at great cost to the duke himself
and immense damage to the aforesaid kingdom and in manifest scandal.43
This document makes it clear that this was a property dispute between
a religious order and a benefactors descendants. The Knights had taken
more than their due, and the memory of the violence committed against
Wadysaw was financial violencehe was deprived of the revenues from
this land. In fact, in the royal argumentation over the course of the fol-
lowing two decades, this financial violence and the call for indemnities
were far more pervasive than any calls for punishment for the murders of
Wadysaws subjects.
The royal articles also say nothing about the massacre in particular or
violence in general; instead, they simply present the story that the land
had belonged to Wadysaw, the Knights stole it from him, and every-
one knew about this (see appendix two). However, despite the gain in
historical perspective demonstrated by Wadysaws plea and the loss of
detail and emotional intensity exhibited by the royal procurators, both of
which Schudson identifies as hallmarks of the distanciation of memory,
the memory of the Gdask massacre (rze gdaska) as it has come to
be called in Polish historiography, predominates in the witnesses testi-
monies.44 For the witnesses, very few of whom actually witnessed the
massacre,45 these events have undergone what Schudson would call a

43[...] Gravem dilecti filii nobilis viri Wladislai ducis Polonie querelam accepimus,
continentem, quod magister et fratres domus s. Marie Theutonicorum non attendentes,
quod quondam Conradus dux Polonie avus eiusdem ducis eosdem magistrum et fratres,
quos veros credebat katholice fidei defensores, ad partes illas pro defensione ipsius fidei
primitus advocavit et nonnula inmobilia et mobilia bona liberaliter concessit eisdem, alias
eos dictus Conradus et successors sui benigne ac favorabiliter prosequendo; sed ipsi dicto
duci se reddentes ingratos et ad bona ipsius rapacitatis manus extendentes, illicite ducem
ipsum terra sua Pomoranie Wladislauiensis dyocesis, que de regno Polonie fore dinoscitur
temeritate propria spoliantes, illam cum hominibus, vasallis, castris, villis, possessionibus
et bonis existentibus in eadem contra iusticiam occuparunt et detinuerunt iam per octo
annos et amplius sicut adhuc detinent violenter, fructus ac redditus et proventus prove-
nientes ex illa percipientes indebite et iniuste, illam sibi reddere contradicunt in ipsius
ducis grave dispendium et regni predicti diminucionem enormem et scandalum manifes-
tum [Lites I (3), 69].
44For an analysis of the historiography of this topic see liwiski, Pomorze, 415432.
45The only witness who explicitly claimed to have witnessed the massacre rather than
just its aftermath is Dobrosaw, the 18th witness, who said that I saw all this with my own
eyes [...hoc totum oculis meis vidi; Lites I (3), 43].
immortalis discordia 153

sentimentalization of the past.46 Such a characterization, however, need

not be seen as demeaning the suffering of victims of the massacre. Instead,
we can view this as the need for the witnesses to make the abstract suffer-
ing of the victims real and immediate by providing detailsobserved or
imagined. Even without any sort of prompting by the procurators articles
or the judges questions, the majority of the witnesses remembered the
Gdask massacre and felt the need to tell the court about it. Fourteen
of the twenty-five witnesses spoke specifically about the massacre in
Gdask, while many of the others talked about the violence the Knights
inflicted either in Pomerania in general or in the other two major towns
Tczew and wiecie. None of the witnesses repeated the stories about the
Knights murdering 10,000 people, including babies crying in their cradles,
but some of the memories related by the witnesses come close to invoking
this imagery of wholesale slaughter.
Such depictions of massacres in the earlier Middle Ages are usually
reserved for assaults on heretics or non-Christiansthe slaughter of the
Albigensians at Bziers in 120947 and the massacre of the inhabitants
of Jerusalem in 109948 immediately come to mind.49 But, by the early
fourteenth century a new sense of otherness arose, as a result of which

46Schuldson views sentimentality as a negative function of memory (349), but this

need not be so. It would be more useful to see Schudsons problem of sentimentality in
light of what anthropologist Francesca Cappelletto calls a process of mythification. In
her analysis of the social memory of a massacre in a Tuscan village during the Second
World War, she notes that this memory came to include a questionable episode. Cappel-
letto, however, argues that this should not be understood as discrediting the veracity of
the accounts, but rather as part of a cultural construction. [...] The images that people
formed as they listened to the story are substitutes for direct experience... [Long-term
Memory of Extreme Events: From Autobiography to History, Journal of the Royal Anthro-
pological Institute n.s. 9 (2003), 255]. In other words, whether this particular event actu-
ally took place exactly as people remembered it is not especially important, because the
witnesses believed that it was well within the realm of probability, so it became a tell-
ing anecdote, symbolic of the larger atrocities. As Schacter argues, memories are records
of how we have experienced events, not replicas of the events themselves (Schacter,
Searching, 6). They also are records of how we have experienced hearing and talking about
these events. As we will see below, the Polish witnesses who heard about the massacre
through common knowledge [publica vox et fama] also incorporated such sentimental-
izing images into their testimonies.
47For a source-critical analysis of this event, see Elaine Graham-Leigh, Justifying
Deaths: The Chronicler Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay and the Massacre of Bziers, Mediae-
val Studies 63 (2001), 283303.
48For a detailed study of this event see Kedar, Massacre, 1575.
49Of course, persecution of religious minorities or other marginalized groups was not
limited to the early Middle Ages. For fourteenth-century examples, see David Nirenberg,
Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1996).
154 chapter four

instances of collective violence were often cast in terms of ethnic con-

flict, especially in ethnic borderland regions like the Iberian Peninsula,
the Celtic fringe of the British Isles, and East Central Europe.50 The turn
of the fourteenth century was a period of heightened ethnic enmity in
Europe in general and in Poland in particular, in which images of natural
or immemorial hostility came to dominate race relations in the frontier
regions.51 One early fourteenth-century French Dominican observed that
there is a natural enmity between [Poles] and Germans.52 However, one
should not see in this the origins of modern disputes between Poland and
Germany. As David Nirenberg has advised in his study of the massacres
of Jews, lepers, and Muslims in the early fourteenth century: The more
we restore to those outbreaks of violence their own particularities, the
less easy it is to assimilate them to our own concerns, as homogeneity
and teleology are replaced by difference and contingency.53 Bearing this

50Richard C. Hoffman, Outsiders by Birth and Blood: Racist Ideologies and Realities
around the Periphery of Medieval European Culture, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance
History 6 (1983), 324; Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and
Colonial Change, 9501350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Rees R. Davies,
The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles 10931343 (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2000); John Gillingham, The Beginnings of English Imperialism, Journal
of Historical Sociology 5 (1992), 391409. It should also be pointed out that at the same time
this new form of ethnic enmity was emerging on the peripheries of Latin Christendom,
states in the center, especially FranceGods chosen people led by the most Christian
kingwere sacralizing their wars against other Christians [Joseph R. Strayer, France: The
Holy Land, the Chosen People, and the Most Christian King, in Medieval Statecraft and
the Perspectives of History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), 300314; Colette
Beaune, The Most Christian King and Kingdom, in The Birth of an Ideology (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1991), 172193; Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The Kings Two Bodies
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), 232272; Christopher Tyerman, The Crusades:
A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 131135]. The Teutonic
Knights had already long held that the lands of their state were sacred and inviolable,
because they were the dowry of St. Mary, an idea they inherited from the bishops of
Livonia [The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, trans. James A. Brundage (New York: Colum-
bia University Press, 2003), 198200] and which was strengthened by the Knights own
associations with the Virgin and the Holy Landthey are the Hospital of the Germans of
St. Mary at Jerusalem. As we will see below, this discourse also figured into the dispute
between Poland and the Knights.
51 Bartlett, Making, 240; Bartlett also analyzes a number of examples from Poland of
this growing ethnic enmity within a European context (221235); also see the references
below in note 54.
52 ...naturale odium est inter ipsos et teotonicos [Anonymi descriptio Europae orien-
talis, ed. Olgierd Grka (Krakw: Sumptibus Academiae Litterarum, 1916), 56]; for a dis-
cussion of this quote within the context of German-Polish relations in the Middle Ages,
see Paul W. Knoll, Economic and Political Institutions on the Polish-German Frontier in
the Middle Ages: Action, Reaction, Interaction, in Medieval Frontier Societies, ed. Robert
Bartlett and Angus MacKay (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 152.
53 Nirenberg, 7.
immortalis discordia 155

caveat in mind, early fourteenth-century Polish sources suggest that as

Poland was once again becoming a viable political community, Poles were
more and more often defining themselves against an other, in this case
Despite these tendencies, however, we should not generalize too
broadly about a concept as problematical as ethnicity.55 Many Polish and
German scholars, writing during a period of renewed Polish-German con-
flict in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries tended to see the
Gdask massacre exclusively in terms of ethnic conflict. As more recent
Polish scholars have shown, however, the witnesses in the first trial did
not see it this way. There is no evidence of Polish-German enmity in the
1320 testimonies, and as Sawomir Gawlas points out, if the witnesses had
felt that this enmity played a role in the conflict, they most likely would
have expressed it, as the Polish witnesses did more than a decade earlier
in the trial conducted against Bishop Jan Muscat of Krakw.56 Moreover,

54Despite the Poles depictions of Germans as a united social and political force, it is
difficult to make a case that people living in Germany believed themselves to have a com-
mon ethno-political identity. For one scholars recent attempts to make a stronger case
for the development of a German state in the Middle Ages, see Len Scales, Late Medieval
Germany: An Under-Stated Nation? in Power and the Nation in European History, ed. Len
Scales and Oliver Zimmer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 166191. The
issues of ethnicity and political affiliation were extremely complicated. For example, quite
a number of the Polish witnesses in the 1339 trial were ethnic Germans, while ethnic Poles
had fought with the Teutonic Knights against Poland. Also, much of the anger at this time
in Poland was not directed against Polands German neighbors to the west and northeast,
but rather against German settlers and knights in Poland, the market dominant minori-
ties to use Amy Chuas term [World on Fire (New York: Anchor, 2003)], which the various
Polish dukes had induced to come to Poland during the thirteenth century with extensive
grants. See Benedykt Zientara, Melioratio Terrae: The Thirteenth-Century Breakthrough
in Polish History, in A Republic of Nobles: Studies in Polish History to 1864, ed. and trans.
J.K. Fedorowicz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 3148; Benedykt Zientara,
Foreigners in Poland in the 10th-15th Centuries: Their Role in the Polish Medieval Com-
munity, Acta Poloniae Historica 29 (1974), 528; Benedykt Zientara, Nationality Conflicts
in the German-Slavic Borderland in the 13th-14th Centuries and Their Social Scope, Acta
Poloniae Historica 22 (1970): 207225; Konstantin Symmons-Symonolewicz, National Con-
sciousness in Poland until the End of the Fourteenth Century: A Sociological Approach,
Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism 8 (1981), 249266; Paul W. Knoll, Economic,
151174; Paul W. Knoll, National Consciousness in Medieval Poland, Ethnic Studies 10
(1993), 6584.
55For an excellent recent analysis of this complicated issue in medieval Poland, see
Piotr Grecki, Assimilation, Resistance, and Ethnic Group Formation in Medieval Poland:
A European Paradigm? in Das Reich und Polen: Parallelen, Interaktionen, und Formen der
Akkulturation im hohen und spter Mittelalter, ed. Thomas Wnsch and Alexander Patscho-
vsky (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbecke, 2003), 447476.
56Sawomir Gawlas, Verus heres: Z bada nad wiadomoci polityczn obozu
Wadysawa okietka w pocztku XIV wieku, Kwartalnik Historyczny 95 (1988), 77104;
156 chapter four

the witnesses testimonies in 1320 do not present the massacre narrative

as a unifying national tragedy. This event did not contribute to a sense of
group identity of Poles as Poles, because there is no sense of commisera-
tion with the victims as Poles, but rather simply as Christians. The lan-
guage used by both sides at this time, as demonstrated above both by the
letters written in support of the Knights and in Wadysaws accusation
against them, was the language of Christian against infidel, rather than
German against Pole.
Intertwined with this religious discourse was the discourse of lordship.
According to Wadysaw, the Knights had betrayed the confidence of their
lord, stolen his property, and driven him from his lands. Not only that, but
these men who had been established in Poland by Wadysaws grandfa-
ther to help defend Christians had turned their swords against the very
Christians they were supposed to have been defending at a time when
Wadysaw was busy fighting schismatics.57 The discourse used by both
sides and their supporters in the 1310s and early 1320s incorporated the
imagery of lordship and religiosity rather than ethnicity. By the time of the
second trial, however, the conflict would be remembered differently, with
both ethnicity and political affiliation appearing at the forefront of the
witnesses testimonies. But, it is important to study the actual memories
presented by the participants in this trial rather than scour the sources for
evidence of the underlying potential memories that would emerge under
different political circumstances in 1339.58 Therefore, let us now turn to
the witnesses testimonies in order to understand how they made sense of
the Gdask massacre, as well as how they characterized the victims.
Bishop Gerward of Kujawy, the first witness to testify about the mas-
sacre, said that he heard from refugees from Pomerania who had taken
shelter in his see that a great slaughter was committed among the knights
and the Christian population [in Gdask].59 Duke Wacaw of Mazovia,60

for the trial records, see Analecta Vaticana, 12021366, ed. Jan Ptanik (Krakw: Akademia
Umiejtnoci, 1914), 7895.
57Bishop Gerward of Kujawy mentioned that Wadysaw could not defend Gdask because
he was busy fighting schismatics at the time [Lites I (3), 25]; see also Bronisaw Wodarski,
Stanowisko Rusi halicko-woyskiej wobec akcji zjednoczeniowej Wadysawa okietka i
jego powizanie z utrat Pomorza Gdaskiego, Zapiski Historczne 27 (1962), 333358.
58Both Gawlas (Verus Heres) and William Urban [The Teutonic Knights (London:
Greenhill, 2003), 284285] have commented on the inappropriate uses of these sources.
59...strage magna facta in militibus et populo christiano... [Lites I (3), 25].
60He was an independent Polish duke (the son of one of Wadysaws cousins), who in
1326 signed a peace treaty with the Teutonic Knights; as a result of this, in 1327 Wadysaw
sacked his chief city of Pock, which was also an episcopal see (Knoll, Rise, 50).
immortalis discordia 157

who had recently married a formerly pagan Lithuanian princess,61 used

similar language to describe the massacre: they seized [the town] and
committed the largest slaughter of the Christian population.62 Both of
these witnesses identified the victims primarily as Christians rather than
as Poles.
In addition, the witnesses also noted that the killing of the inhabit-
ants of Gdask was indiscriminate. Victims were not spared on account
of their age, sex, status, or even if they had taken sanctuary in a church.
As Wadysaws nephew, Duke Leszek of Kujawy stated:
Heinrich von Plotzke, coming to the duchy of Pomerania with a strong army
in the manner of an armed band of enemies, first assaulted the town of
Gdask and savagely killed 50 knights in addition to villagers, the number
of which I do not know, some in churches, some here and there, not sparing
any on account of sex or age.63
Judge Nasigniew of Kujawy also commented on the indiscriminate nature
of the killing:
Having taken it, they killed many knights and other Christian people, not
sparing (any on the basis of) nobility, sex, or age. And thus having conquered
the other castles successively, they occupied the whole land of Pomerania by
force, expelling from their possessions those knights who faithfully adhered
to the said lord king, then duke.64
These testimonies reveal much about the way the witnesses thought about
identityreligion, social status, age, sex, and lordship are the categories
of personhood that mattered most to the witnesses. In addition, physi-
cal space also helped to define the identity of a person. Anyone seeking
sanctuary in a church ought to have been exempt from the violence of
war, just as non-combatants defined by age, sex, or social status should
also have been spared.

61Stephen C. Rowell, Pious Princesses or the Daughters of Belial: Pagan Lithuanian

Dynastic Diplomacy, 12791423, Medieval Prosopography 15 (1994), 5051.
62...occupaverunt et stragem maximam fecerunt in populo christiano [Lites I (3), 31].
63Henricus dictus de Ploczk ad dictum ducatum Pomoranie cum exercitu valido hos-
tiliter manu armata accedens, primo opidum Gdanczc expugnavit et quinquaginta milites
preter villanos, quorum numero nescio, quosdam in ecclesiis, quosdam vero hinc inde,
immaniter occiderunt, non parcentes sexui vel etati [Lites I (3), 29].
64Quo expugnato multos milites et alium populum christianum occiderunt, non
parcentes nobilitati, sexui vel etati. Et sic aliis castris expugnatis successive totam ter-
ram Pomoranie potencialiter occuparunt, expulsis militibus de propriis bonis, qui dicto
domino regi, tunc duci, fideliter adherebant [Lites I (3), 36].
158 chapter four

The concept of space-defined identity is also underscored by Henryk,

the parish priest of the village of Miobd, near Tczew in Pomerania.
Testifying that he was in Pomerania at the time of the massacre, but not
in Gdask itself, he provided some particularly striking visual imagery of
the massacre:
And I know this, because I was in the aforesaid land when the Crusaders,
after conquering the said castle of Gdask, killed many men, so that dogs
were lapping up human blood. And they dragged one knight from the bel-
fry of the church and killed him; and they dragged another who wanted to
confess away from his confessor and they killed him, not permitting him to
confess. And I know this because I was there in the land.65
Despite these vivid recollections, however, he could not remember the year
in which the massacre took place.66 In fact, most of the witnesses either
did not know or were not sure when the massacre had taken place.67
Only one witness remembered the exact date of the massacre
the Pomeranian knight, yra: Asked about the day and the month, he
responded that they occupied Gdask and Tczew on the third day after
the feast of St. Martin [13 November]....68 This witness also added some
details about why he thought the Knights committed the massacre, which
were lacking in most of the other testimonies:
Having conquered [Gdask], they made a great slaughter there among the
Christian people, so that they cruelly killed 16 knights of excellent name who
ruled the same fort in the name of the lord king Wadysaw, then duke. After
this was done, they immediately proceeded to the castle of Tczew. Once
they had this by force, and the possessors of the castle had fled from fear

65Et hoc scio, quia fui in terra predicta, quando Cruciferi expugnato dicto castro
Gdanczk multos homines occiderunt, ita quod eciam canes sanguinem humanum lambe-
bant. Et unum militem de campanili ecclesie traxerunt et occiderunt et alium, qui confiteri
volebat, a confessore traxerunt, non permittentes confiteri ipsum occiderunt. Et hoc scio,
quia fui ibi in terra [Lites I (3), 4445].
66Asked about the year, he responded, I dont remember [Interrogatus de anno,
respondit, (quod) non recordor Lites I (3), 45].
67Many of them were also unsure about how long Wadysaw had ruled Pomerania
before the Knights conquest. In addition, not a single witness mentioned the fact that
Wadysaws governance of Pomerania had been interrupted by six years of Czech rule in
Pomerania and Poland. See chapter five for an analysis of this issue.
68De die et mense interrogatus, respondit, quod tercia die post festum s. Martini occu-
paverunt Gdanczk et Trschow... [Lites I (3), 35]. It seems odd that this witness marked
time according to liturgical time, but it is difficult to tell whether or not these were his
own words or such a designation was due to the translation by the notary, because none of
the other witnesses defined their chronologies with such specificity. He also used calendar
time to mark timethe number of weeks before the end of the year.
immortalis discordia 159

of the slaughter just mentioned, they soon burned the said castle, and thus
they ejected from their own property certain knights whom they suspected
of keeping their fealty to the said lord king, subjected the rest by power to
their dominion, and completely took over the said land. Finally, after an
interval of time, ten weeks before the end of the year, they surrounded the
castle of wiecie and attacked it with machines and other instruments of
war. I witnessed this, being at the time in the said castle gravely wounded
by an arrow, so that a scar still appears on my face. They then conquered
the said castle and thus occupied the whole duchy of Pomerania, which they
still hold under occupation.69
Here the purpose of the slaughter is to scare away Wadysaws garrisons in
Tczew and wiecie. Therefore, the great slaughter there among the Chris-
tian people of which yra speaks was committed against Wadysaws
men in Gdask castlethe 16 knights of excellent namenot against
the burghers in the town. The purpose of this violence, according to yra,
was also to compel Wadysaws other supporters either to abandon their
possessions and flee the land or submit to the Knights lordship. And, just
in case the judges doubted the veracity of his claims of the Knights vio-
lence, he could point to the scar on his face to prove that he was there
and had suffered at the hands of the Knights.
A couple of other witnesses also supplement yras belief that the targets
of the Gdask massacre were the Pomeranian nobles loyal to Wadysaw.
They relate that these men and their families were either murdered or
driven from the land. Czesaw, the custodian of Sandomierz, who had
been the parish priest in Gdask in 1308 testified that:
...when the Saxons [the margraves of Brandenburg] had attacked the land
of Pomerania, part of the castle of Gdask was ceded to the Crusaders from
Toru by royal mandate, so that they could aid the locals against the Saxons.
But after a while they ejected the locals from the whole of the castle and

69Quo expugnato magnam stragam fecerunt ibi in populo christiano, ita quod XVI
milites excellentes nominatos, qui nomine domini Wladislai regis, tunc ducis, municio-
nem rexerunt eandem, crudeliter occiderunt. Quo facto statim progressi sunt ad castrum
Trschow. Quo per vim habito fugientibus possessoribus castri pro timore stragis premisse,
mox dictum castrum cremaverunt et sic terram predictam totaliter occuparunt, eiectis
quibusdam militibus de propriis bonis, quos suspectos habebant de fidelitate dicto domino
regi conservanda, aliis sue dicioni potencialiter subiugatis. Tandem post temporum inter-
valla decem septimanis ante anni exitum vallaverunt castrum Suecze et impugnaverunt
machinis et aliis bellicis instrumentis, me teste, qui tunc fui in predicto castro graviter
wlneratus ex sagitta, ita quod adhunc cycatix in facie mea apparet, et expugnaverunt tunc
dictum castrum et sic totum ducatum Pomoranie occupaverunt et adhunc detinent occu-
patum [Lites I (3), 3435].
160 chapter four

powerfully invaded the town at night and killed the knights with their wives
and sons, and others fled to other lands.70
Dobrosaw z Jeowa, a cleric whose position neither at the time of the
trial nor at the time of the conquest of Pomerania was identified,71 told
a very similar story, but added a new elementthe alliance between the
margraves of Brandenburg and certain deceitful Pomeranians:
...lord Wadysaw, formerly duke, now king of the whole of Poland, pos-
sessed the whole land of Pomerania as the true heir. But after the margrave
of Saxony [Brandenburg] approached to attack Gdask with certain deceit-
ful Pomeranians, those who were in possession and control of the town and
castle of Gdask and the whole of Pomerania in the name of the aforesaid
king, then duke, in opposition to the aforesaid margrave, begged for help
from the Crusaders of the Order of St. Mary of the German House for a
fixed amount of money so they could defend themselves more strongly.
Once they [the Knights] had gotten themselves into the castle of Gdask,
however, they ejected the men of the aforesaid king Wadysaw from the
said castle, entering as tricksters and frauds, and finally strongly attacked
the city of Gdask, now thoroughly abandoned; they inhumanely killed the
Pomeranian knights who were stationed there in the name of the frequently
said lord king, dragging them away from the altars of the churches. [...]
And I saw all of this with my own eyes.72

70 ...cum Saxones impugnassent terrram Pomoranie, concessa fuit de mandato regis

pars castri Gdanczk Cruciferos de Thorun, ut contra Saxones auxilium prestarent terri-
genis. Sed ipsi postmodum caute de toto castro, eiecerunt terrigenas et potenter intra-
verunt de nocte civitatem et occiderunt milites cum uxoribus et pueris et alii ad terras
alias fugerunt [Lites I (3), 42].
71 We know he was a cleric because the trial records preserve the form of the oath the
witnesses had to swear and the fact that clerics would swear on the Gospels while laymen
would swear on a cross. Also, unlike the 1339 trial which distinguished between literatti
and illiteratti, in 1320 the witnesses were distinguished only as laymen or clerics, and the
articles were translated to laymen even if they were literate, as Leszek and Przemys were.
Dobrosaw swore on the Gospels and heard the articles in Latin, so he is undoubtedly a
cleric. Scholars have been arguing about Dobrosaws origin because there are a couple of
dozen villages in Poland that could be the modern Polish variant of the Jeschow identi-
fied in the trial records. Wiesaw Sieradzan thinks that Dobrosaw was the parish priest of
the village of Jeewo in Pomerania [Sieradzan, wiadomo, 177]. If this were the case,
though, it would contradict Jan of nins story about parish priests from Pomerania not
being able to testify in 1320 because of threats from the Knights [Lites I (2), 396]; but this
story is already doubtful, because Henryk, the parish priest of the village of Miobd, near
Tczew, testified in 1320 [Lites I (3), 4445].
72 ...dominus Wladislaus quondam dux, modo rex tocius Polonie terram Pomoranie
totam possedit ut verus heres. Marchione autem Saxonie cum quibusdam fraudulentis
Pomoranis ad expugnandum Gdanczk accedente, qui erant in possessione et regimine
civitatis et castri Gdanensis nomine predicti regis, tunc ducis, et tocius terre Pomoranie
adversus predictum marchionem, ut se possent forcius defensare, Cruciferorum ordinem
s. Marie de domo Theutonica sub premissa summa certe pecunie auxilium imploraverunt.
immortalis discordia 161

It is interesting that although these two men, like the other witnesses,
described the main victims of the massacre as knights, here the knights
are not Wadysaws administrators in Pomerania, but rather local Pomer-
anian knights who supported Wadysaw and should be distinguished
from the deceitful Pomeranians who did not. For some of the witnesses,
at least, there was still a distinction to be made between Pomeranians and
Poles. By the time of the next trial, however, all such distinctions would
be forgotten, as the suffering of the victims of the Gdask massacre was
linked to the atrocities committed against the Polish population within
the heartland of the kingdom of Poland during the wars of the 1320s and
1330s. The memory of these wars would also add a new dimension to the
concept of massacre in the minds of the Polish witnesses testifying about
what happened in Gdask.
Although the majority of the witnesses testified that there was indeed
a massacre in Gdask, their memories bear little resemblance to the story
first propagated by the archbishop of Riga in 1310. Yet, while no witnesses
estimated the loss of human life at 10,000, the lesser numbers of people
killed still constituted a massacre in their minds. These men were killed
crudeliter and inhumaniter. They were denied sanctuary, dragged from
the altars of churches, and not permitted to confess. And, not only that,
their wives and children were also targets of this slaughter.
In their very brief defense of their possession of Pomerania, the Knights
did not say anything about the Gdask massacre in particular or about
the conquest in general. In fact, they glossed over Wadysaws rule in
Pomerania completely, as discussed in the previous chapter. It seems
that in the minds of the Knights, they no longer felt the need to defend
themselves against the crime of slaughtering 10,000 Christians. Perhaps
this was because Wadysaw had failed to include this accusation either in
his appeal to the pope or in his articles of dispute; but it might also be that
they felt that they had already adequately acquitted themselves of such
a crime through their arguments in Riga and Avignon. For the Knights,
as for Wadysaw, the remaining issue was who had the better right to
Pomerania. And it was this issue that the Knights took to Avignon in their
appeal of the courts ruling.

Illi vero castrum Gdanczk intromissi, sic intrantes predicti regis Wladislai homines sicut
dolosi et fraudulenti de dicto castro eiecerunt et tandem civitatem Gdanczk potenter
expugnantes, civitate ipsa penitus desolata, milites Pomoranie, qui erant in ea locati nom-
ine sepedicti domini regis, inhumaniter occiderunt, de ecclesia ab alteri abstrahentes.
[...] Et hoc totum oculis meis vidi [Lites I (3), 43].
162 chapter four

Narrativization: The Evolution of the Dispute from the 13201321

Inowrocaw-Brze Trial to the 1339 Warsaw Trial

The Knights chose not to participate in the trial and refused to recog-
nize the authority of the judges-delegate to pass judgment upon them, as
discussed in the previous chapter, so they continued this dispute at the
papal curia. They also attempted to capitalize on the delay this achieved
and settle this dispute on their own terms, at first amicably, then through
violence, and then through arbitrated settlements. At each stage of this
conflict, new narratives of dispute were presented as justifications (either
for making war or making peace), and for most of these stories, the key
factor was which starting point the authors of these narratives chose as
the beginning of the dispute.
In 1324 or 1325,73 according to the 1339 testimony of Bishop Jan Grot of
Krakw, one of Wadysaws former chancellors:
...a certain treaty was considered between the said lord Wadysaw, for-
merly king of Poland, and the brothers of the Crusaders for the said land
of Pomerania, in which treaty the said brothers of the Crusaders offered
the said lord king 10,000 marks of pure silver, so that the said land should
remain with them, and they also gave him certain possessions which the said
Crusaders had within the land of Kujawy, the names of which he does not
remember, as he said, and nonetheless, the said Crusaders further wanted to
construct and endow a monastery of 18 ordained monks of whichever order
was more pleasing to the said lord Wadysaw, formerly king, to serve in the
said monastery in perpetuity for the salvation and remedy of the souls of
the said lord Wadysaw and his parents, and in addition, the said Crusad-
ers were willing to serve the said lord Wadysaw, formerly king, in all his
emergencies with a fixed number of armed knights, as he said.74

73Knoll, Rise, 49; liwiski, Pomorze, 546; Chopocka, Procesy, 109.

74...fuisse in tractatu quodam habito inter dictum dominum Wladislaum quondam
regem et fratres Cruciferos pro dicta terra Pomoranie, in quo tractatu dicti fratres Cruciferi
offerebant dicto domino regi X milia marcharum puri argenti et quod eis remaneret dicta
terra, et eciam dabant sibi quasdam possessiones quas habent dicti Cruciferi infra terram
Cuyavie, de quarum nominibus non recordatur ut dixit, et nichilominus ultra hoc volebant
construere et dotare dicti Cruciferi unum monasterium de XVIII fratribus presbyteris cuiu-
scunque religionis que magis placeret dicto domini Wladislao regi quondam, qui perpetuo
pro salute et remedio animarum dicti domini Wladislai et parentum suorum deberent in
dicto monasterio deservire, et insuper volebant servire dicti Cruciferi dicto domino Wla-
dislao quondam regi in omni necessitate sua cum certo numero militum armatorum ut
dixit [Lites I (2), 288].
immortalis discordia 163

Even though Wadysaw did not accept these terms, the above passage
demonstrates a couple of significant items. First, the massacre was appar-
ently not an issue which the Knights felt they needed to address. Second,
this document illustrates the liminal position of the Knights at this time.
The two parties were approaching the strictly demarcated borders that
would emerge in the 1339 trial, removing the Knights entirely from the
lands of the kingdom of Poland. But, at the same time, the Knights were
still viewed as both a religious and a military order, willing to care for both
the spiritual and military needs of the royal family.
A few years after this meeting, however, the relationship changed dra-
matically, as the Ordensstaat and the kingdom of Poland embarked on
a series of violent military campaigns against one another.75 This period
of heightened enmityin which each side recorded (both in writing
and through public opinion) the enormities committed by the other
sideflavored the terms of the dispute for both sides, especially because
Wadysaw was aided by the pagan Lithuanians in his wars against his
Christian neighbors. In their writings, the Knights now presented them-
selves and other Germans as victims of Wadysaws crimes against the
Christian community, while the Poles began to present themselves as vic-
tims of ethnically motivated German aggression. Let us first examine the
position of the Teutonic Knights.
In this period between the trials, the Teutonic Knights produced three
narrative accounts of the conflict between Poland and the neighboring
Christian peoples. The first, the Chronica Terre Prussie, was written by
a priest of the Teutonic Knights, Peter von Dusburg, in the mid-1320s
and traces the history of the Knights from their foundation until 1326.
This chronicle served two related purposes. It was an official history of
the Knights, commissioned by the first grandmaster to lead the Knights
from Prussia, Werner von Orseln.76 As such, it was also a legal document
that could be used to justify the Knights wars against their neighbors,
both pagan and Christian.77 It was intended to celebrate the Knights

75See Knoll, Rise, 4858.

76Mary Fischer, The Books of the Maccabees and the Teutonic Order, Crusades 4
(2005), 59; Mary Fischer, Biblical Heroes and the Uses of Literature: The Teutonic Order
in the Late Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries, in Crusade and Conversion on the
Baltic Frontier 11501500, ed. Alan V. Murray (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), 268.
77 Rasa Maeika, Violent Victims? Surprising Aspects of the Just War Theory in the
Chronicle of Peter von Dusburg, in The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier,
ed. Alan V. Murray (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009), 131.
164 chapter four

deeds in Prussia and to enhance its international reputation to enable

it to recruit and motivate knights and lay supporters.78 This was also
true of the second narrative, Di Kronike von Pruzinland.79 Nicolaus von
Jeroschins translation and elaboration of Peter von Dusburgs chronicle
into German was commissioned by the next grandmaster, Luder von
Braunschweig (13311335).
Although these chronicles are full of praise for Duke Konrad of Mazovia,
Wadysaws grandfather and the founder of the Knights in Poland, they
have nothing but contempt for King Wadysaw. In these works the Knights
presented themselves and other Christians as victims in Wadysaws wars
of aggression. Dusburg reported that in 1326 Wadysaw led an army of
pagan Lithuanians against the mark of Brandenburg. During the course
of this campaign, especially the sack of Frankfurt (an der Oder), 6,000
Christians, including many monks and nuns, were either killed or taken
into pagan lands in captivity.80 Information about this event (unlike the
Gdask massacre) was transmitted throughout Europe, because impe-
rial propagandists blamed Pope John XXII for employing a pagan army
in a political crusade against Emperor Ludwig IV. The details of what
one historian has referred to as the last struggle between empire and
papacy81 need not concern us here beyond their ramifications for East
Central Europe. In 1323 Ludwig named his eldest son, Ludwig, as margrave
of Brandenburg before obtaining the popes recognition of his position as
emperor; and he also invaded Italy.82 In 1324 the pope excommunicated
Ludwig and, according to S.C. Rowell, actively encouraged [the Polish]
princes to oppose Louis IV and his son.83 Brandenburg had long been
encroaching on the western border of Poland, so Wadysaw probably

78 Fischer, Biblical, 268. Dusburgs chronicle was supplemented by a brief continua-

tion until 1330.
79 Nicolaus von Jeroschin, Di Kronike von Pruzinland, ed. Ernst Strehlke, in Scriptores
rerum Prussicarum (Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel, 1861), 1: 291648; translated by Mary
Fischer as The Chronicle of Prussia by Nicolaus von Jeroschin: A History of the Teutonic
Knights in Prussia, 11901331 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010).
80 Dusburg III.361.
81 H.S. Offler, Empire and Papacy: The Last Struggle, Transactions of the Royal Histori-
cal Society 5th series 6 (1956), 2147. For more on the early fourteenth-century emperors
and their struggles with the papacy see Peter Herde, From Adolf of Nassau to Lewis of
Bavaria, 12921347, in The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume IV: c. 1300c. 1415, ed.
Michael Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 515550.
82 Rasa Maeika and Stephen C. Rowell, Zelatores Maximi: Pope John XXII, Arch-
bishop Frederick of Riga and the Baltic Mission 13051340, Archivum Historiae Pontificiae
31 (1993), 38; Rowell, Lithuania, 217.
83Rowell, Lithuania, 234236.
immortalis discordia 165

needed little incentive to attack. However, what elevated this conflict into
a morally reprehensible action in the minds of the Knights was that due
to his sons marriage to a Lithuanian princess in 1325, part of Wadysaws
army was composed of pagan Lithuanians.84 Chroniclers from all over the
empire condemned the pope for this act, with one calling it Johannis Pape
exsecrabile factum.85
Unlike the imperial propagandists, however, Peter von Dusburg did not
lay the blame for this atrocity at the feet of Pope John XXII. The Knights
occupied an uncomfortable position between the empire and the papacy
during times of conflict between these two claimants to universal author-
ity (as the dispute between Frederick II and Innocent IV in chapter one
also demonstrates). In 1324 the Knights were placed in another awkward
situation when the pope excommunicated the emperor.86 Because John
thought that the Knights were supporting the emperor, he also finally
issued a judgment in the 1312 dispute described above in favor of the
archbishop of Riga, who excommunicated the Knights in 1325.87 Because
of their precarious position, which necessitated the appearance of neu-
trality, Peter von Dusburg instead blamed Wadysaw for instigating the
assault on Brandenburg. However, despite Peter von Dusburgs condem-
nation of the Polish king, this passage is not anti-Polish. The Poles were
merely misled by a leader in league with pagans:
A certain Pole, grieving over such a large slaughter of Christians, following
this army, pretended to be a friend of the infidels, and when the place and
time were opportune he killed in the sight of many people Castellan David
of Grodno,88 the leader of this war, who inflicted infinite evils on the faith
and the faithful, as has been said earlier.89
The idea that these were not wars between Poles and Germans, but rather
between good Christians and those allied with infidels is also expressed in
passages in the continuation of Peter von Dusburgs chronicle. In describ-
ing Wadysaws invasion of Chemno in 1329 while the king of Bohemia

84Rowell, Lithuania, 232; Knoll, Rise, 4849.

85Rowell, Lithuania, 236.
86Maeika and Rowell, 40.
87Maeika and Rowell, 54.
88David was Prince of Pskov from 1322 (Rowell, Lithuania, 237).
89Hunc exercitum quidam Polonus dolens de tanta strage Cristianorum secutus fuit
simulans se amicum infidelium, et dum locus et tempus advenerat opportunum, David
castellanum de Gartha et capitaneum huius belli, qui infinita mala, ut premissum est, intu-
lit fidei et fidelibus, in conspectu plurium interfecit (Dusburg III.361).
166 chapter four

and the Teutonic Knights were on crusade in pagan lands, the chronicler
Behold and be astounded by this accursed sin: That king was previously a
duke and was recently established as king by the apostolic see, so that he
might be a more industrious, faithful, and active fighter for the holy church,
the faith, and the faithful. But now not only did he not defend the society of
the faithful, but he cruelly attacked those who defended them. And what is
worse: When the king of Bohemia and the master and their army were in the
act of fighting the infidels and avenging the injuries of the crucified Lord, he
perpetrated the evil, which we discussed above.90
In this chroniclers view, Wadysaw was made a king by the pope not for
his greater glory or the greater glory of his kingdom, but for the greater
glory of Christendom. Through his actions he was not only failing to live
up to his responsibilities, but was even undermining the efforts of oth-
ers who were trying to fight for the faith. The chronicler also makes it
clear that these are not merely offences against the Teutonic Knights in
particular or Christians in general, but against the Virgin Mary herself,
who appears in a dream to one of Wadysaws Hungarian allies and asks
him: Why are you destroying my land, founded on the blood of many
Christians?91 While earlier the Knights had presented their defense in
terms of legal rights, here they were appealing to moral rights. They
turned the tables on Wadysaw, appropriating the language that he had
earlier used about the Knights betraying their duty to defend Christians
and presenting him as a murderer and enslaver of Christians, who defiled
the memories of all those Christians who sacrificed their lives to reclaim
the Virgin Marys dowry.
Yet, despite Peter von Dusburgs and Nicolaus von Jeroschins attempt
to recast not only the Knights, but Christians in general as victims of the
evil King Wadysaw, they wrote nothing about the conquest of Pomera-
nia or the 1320 trial, which is somewhat puzzling since one would assume
that the Teutonic Knights would want to present their version of the story
in these official histories and justify their possession of this land. While it

90 Ecce stupendum et exsecrabile nefas: Iste rex antea fuit dux et noviter a sede apos-
tolica in regem institutus, ut esset sancta ecclesie, fidei et fidelium eo diligencior et fidelior
et magis strenuous propugnator. Nunc autem non solum non defendit cetum fidelium, sed
eos, qui defendunt, crudeliter impugnat. Et quod deterius est: Cum rex Bohemie et magis-
ter et exercitus eorum essent in actu impugnandi infidels et vindicandi iniuriam Domini
crucifixi, ipse maliciam, quam supra diximus perpetravit (Dusburg S.10).
91 Quare destruis terram meam multorum Cristianorum sanguine plantatam (Dusburg
immortalis discordia 167

is possible to see this as an admission by the chroniclers of the Knights

guilt in this matter, the fact is that these chronicles were sacred histories,
new books of Maccabees, which focused on the struggles against the infi-
dels for the propagation of the faith, not on boundary disputes with other
Christian rulers.92
It was most likely for this reason that the third source, outlining an
alternative narrative, was produced. This was a legal and political history
prepared by the Knights in Prussia to be used by their procurator-general
in Avignon, which focused exclusively on the wars between the kings of
Poland and the Teutonic Knights.93 This document traces the origins of the
conflict back into the thirteenth century, with a brief explanation of the
succession from Duke Mciwj of Pomerania to King Przemys of Poland
to King Vclav II of Bohemia. However, unlike the Knights arguments at
the 1320 trial, it traces their rights to govern this land back to the Knights
supposed promise to Mciwj, the last duke of Pomerania, to look after
the Pomeranians and not allow them to fall under any lord whom they
did not want. When the margraves of Brandenburg invaded Pomerania,
the Knights were reminded of their promise and came to the defense of
the Pomeranians. However, when the Knights learned that the margraves
were the true lords of Pomerania, which had been granted to them by
King Vclav II of Bohemia and Poland, the Knights offered to buy the land
from them, because the Pomeranians did not want the margraves as their
lords.94 It is at this point that Wadysaw enters the story. He demanded
Pomerania from the Knights, and when they refused, he invaded Prussia
and sent his legates to slander the Knights at the papal curia. There is
no mention of the 1320 trial, and the author of this document telescoped
Wadysaws attempts to reclaim the land and his invasion of Prussia to
make it appear that the events occurred sequentially rather than over the

92For an analysis of the Teutonic Knights as Maccabees, see Fischer, Books; Fischer,
Biblical; Fischer, Di Himels Rote: The Idea of Christian Chivalry in the Chronicles of the
Teutonic Order (Gppingen: Kmmerle, 1991); Alden Jencks, Maccabees on the Baltic: The
Biblical Apologia of the Teutonic Order, PhD diss., University of Washington, 1989.
93Antoni Prochaska, Z Archiwum Zakonu Niemieckiego. Analekta z wieku XIV i XV,
Archiwum Komisyi Historycznej 11 (19091913): 219235, 241252.
94The reason that the Pomeranians allegedly gave was that the margraves were Ger-
mans: ...sie sie nicht gerne czu hern hatten, wenne sie dutczes geczunges woren...
(Prochaska, 242243). Of course, the Knights were also Germans, which makes it difficult
to determine how they would argue this point at the papal curia. Perhaps they meant that
the Pomeranians did not want to become part of the Empire, which would have appealed
to the pope, because, as described in chapter one, the papacy had taken the duchy of
Pomerania under the special protection of St. Peter.
168 chapter four

course of more than a decade. There is also no mention of the Gdask

massacre, although there is a description of the Frankfurt massacre.95
The most important feature of this story is a new justification for why the
Knights became involved in the conflictPomeranian resistance first to
German rule and later to Polish rule. In this story, the Knights presented
themselves as protectors of the peoples in the duchies between Poland and
the Ordensstaatthe Pomeranians and the Mazovians, whom Wadysaw
attacked in 1327.96 The Knights cast Wadysaw in the same light in which
he had cast them in 1320, as a greedy predatory neighbor.
While the Knights were presenting this story at Avignon in 1335, they
were also pleading their case to the two arbiters who had taken it upon
themselves to try to resolve this conflict peacefullyKing John of Bohe-
mia and King Charles Robert of Hungary, with the former acting on behalf
of the Knights and the latter acting as the agent of King Kazimierz of
Poland.97 Although both sides were concerned with the loss of life and
destruction of property they had suffered in the wars, there is no mention
of the Gdask massacre, and in the end the arbiters maintained that
...all the damages, injuries, and any disturbances, incurred wherever by
the king of Poland and his subjects or by the Teutonic Knights and their
subjects, presently, henceforth and thereupon should be compensated in
full and removed, so that no petition or questioning may arise from others
between them concerning the same.98
In order to achieve a lasting compromise, the arbiters ordered the Knights
to return the lands they had taken in the wars of the 1320s and 1330s, but
they also ordered Kazimierz to let the Knights keep Pomerania
...in perpetual alms for the remedy of the souls of his predecessors and pro-
genitors and for his own salvation and also because of the good of perpetual
peace...by the same right and in the same way that the lands of Chemno
and Toru were donated and bequeathed to the brothers by his progenitors
and predecessors....99

95Prochaska, 247.
96See Knoll, Rise, 50.
97See Knoll, Rise, 7280.
98...omnia dampna, iniurie et quecumque molestie, quocumque modo hinc inde
illate, vel regi Polonie et eius subditis, sive Cruciferis vel eorum subditis, compensentur
et tollantur in toto, sic, quod de cetero inter ipsos super eisdem nulla petitio vel questio
oriatur [Lites I (2), 448449].
99 ...ob remedium animarum predecessorum suorum et progenitorum ac sue salutis
in perpetuam elemosynam nec non propter perpetue pacis bonum...eodem iure et modo,
immortalis discordia 169

Just as the pope had done in 1320, the arbiters recalled the past grants made
by Kazimierzs family, but unlike the pope, they also attempted to use this
distant past to bury the memory of the more recent years of violence.
Whereas the pope had written of the historical relationship between Kaz-
imierzs family and the Knights to shame the latter, the arbiters attempted
to produce a peace without shame for either sidea timeout in which
the years of dispute are to be forgotten and the historical relationship
restored by means of substantial new grants made by the descendant of
the Knights founder in Poland.
This settlement, however, failed to obtain its intended results, and in
1337 Kazimierz and the Knights again attempted to resolve their dispute
through an arbitrated settlement. The 1335 history written by the arbiters
had attempted to bury all memories of the early conflict both by awarding
Pomerania to the Knights on the same basis that Kazimierzs great-grand-
father had given Chemno to the Knightsas a pious endowmentand
also by denying either sides claim to any future indemnities. The history
presented by Kazimierz in his arbitrations with the Knights two years later
similarly attempted to bury the emergence of enmity between Poland and
the Knights in the 1320s.100 Kazimierz and the Knights reached an agree-
ment on 9 March 1337 concerning the Knights possession of Pomerania.
In this rather lengthy, notarized agreement,101 Kazimierz made many
promises both in his own name and in the name of just about everybody
who was anybody in his kingdom, as well as in the name of the absent
king and queen of Hungary (from all of whom he promised to later get
letters patent),102 that the Knights were entitled to keep the lands they
had possessed before the outbreak of war [ante motam gwerram], i.e.
before the wars of the 1320s and 1330s.103 This periodization of ante bellum
not only differentiates Wadysaws battles over Pomerania in 13081309
from his battles with the Knights in the late 1320s and early 1330s, but
also differentiates a period of justice and order from one of injustice and
mayhem; for the disputed lands possessed by the Knights ante motam
gwerram were possessed justly and reasonably [iuste et racionabiliter
possessis].104 Nothing much came of this arbitration, however, and when the

quo terre Culmensis et Thorunensis eisdem fratribus per progenitores et predecessores

suos fuerant donate et legate... [Lites I (2), 448].
100 See Knoll, Rise, 9093.
101 Lites I (2), 453458.
102 Lites I (2), 455.
103 Kazimierz used this phrase on a couple of occasions [Lites I (3), 455456].
104Lites I (2), 455.
170 chapter four

second trial commenced two years later the terms of the dispute would be
radically changed.105 In the 1339 trial the conflict over Pomerania was not
only once again cast in the light of the wars of the 1320s and 1330s, but
also was placed in a broader narrative of Teutonic betrayal, which had
supposedly begun when the Knights refused to return the Chemno land
to Kazimierzs great-grandfather.
As stated above, Wadysaw and the pope in 1320, Peter von Dusburg in
1326, the kings of Bohemia and Hungary in 1335, and Kazimierz himself in
1337 all framed the dispute over Pomerania and its resolution in terms of
the traditional role of the rulers of Poland as the Knights benefactors, and
they attempted to stress that the two disputants should be cooperating to
fight the infidels on their borders (and not making alliances with pagans
to fight each other). Other interested observers, especially the borderland
regular and secular clergy, like the Dominicans of the Polish province in
1335,106 the Franciscans of the provinces of Saxony and Poland in 1335,107
the bishop and chapter of Pock in 1338,108 and the abbot and convent
of the Cistercian monastery at Oliwa in 1338,109 many of whom held land
in both states as well as in their disputed borderlands, urged the pope
to resolve this conflict amicably, because its further prolongation meant
the continued suffering of the Christian people. Yet, while the idea that
a Christian identity should be stronger than a political or ethnic identity
was widespread (especially among borderland clerics) there was a grow-
ing discourse among the disputants that privileged political and ethnic
affiliation over the concept of Christendom. An early justification of the
conflict over Pomerania as an ethnic one was vocalized by the Knights
procurator-general in Avignon 1335, as mentioned above. A much stronger
appeal to ethnicity was voiced by the papal legate in Poland in 1337.
Galhard, the papal legate in Poland during the 1330s, presented a report
to Pope Benedict XII in 1337 in which he vented his frustration at the diffi-
culties in conducting his duties, especially the collection of Peters Pence,

105See Janusz Bieniak on the accomplishments of this arbitration [Odzyskanie zach-

odnich Kujaw przez Kazimierza Wielkiego w 1337 roku, Zapiski Historyczne 39.3 (1974),
106Lites I (2), 449450; PrUB III #18.
107PrUB III #17.
108CDPr III #12; incidentally, the bishop of Pock had been one of the subscribers to
Polands 1335 plea to the pope to initiate a new trial against the Knights. However, by 1338
he had changed his mind, even going so far as to prevent the summons from being read
in Pock castle and cathedral [Lites I (2), 7778]. The bishop of Kujawy had also signed the
original complaint only to absent himself from the 1339 trial (Bieniak, Przebieg, 78).
109CDPr III #14.
immortalis discordia 171

in lands controlled by Germans and Bohemians.110 In a lengthy, detailed

report about the state of his legation looking after papal interests and col-
lecting papal revenues in East Central Europe, he wrote:
...may it please your Holiness...to weigh the fidelity, devotion, and useful-
ness which your Camera has from the Poles against the devotion and useful-
ness which it has from the Germans or Bohemians; for such a difference is
as night is to day....111
Ethnic and political affiliation did not overlap neatly in this period, and
Galhards views reflected the opinions of many of the people in Poland
at this time, for whom there was a growing sense that ethnicity mattered
not just for who should be the legitimate lords of Pomerania, but also as
an underlying cause of the conflict between Poland and the Ordensstaat.
These views on political and ethnic cracks in the shield of Christendom
emerge very clearly in the witnesses testimonies submitted during the
trial convened by Galhard and his fellow judge-delegate in 1339.

Conventionalization: Remembering the Ethnic and

Economic Cleansing of Pomerania at the 1339 Trial

Although the Gdask massacre continued to occupy a place in the social

memory of the Polish witnesses, by 1339 their memories of this past event
had been influenced and perhaps eclipsed by the atrocities committed
by the Knights in their wars against Poland in the late 1320s and early
1330s, especially the Knights campaign throughout the kingdom of Poland
in 1331.112 Nineteen of the thirty articles deal with the violence of these
campaigns, which included massacres as well as the burning of churches,

110Peters Pence was an annual tax owed to the papal curia from the lands of the former
kingdom of Poland. In the early fourteenth century, the papacy took a more expansive view
of the lands owing this tax, which resulted in many conflicts between the papal legates and
the secular and ecclesiastical rulers of the lands neighboring the newly restored kingdom
of Poland. This tax also figured heavily in Polands attempts to reclaim the Chemno land
from the Teutonic Knights, as explained in chapter five.
111 ...placeat vestre Sanctitati...ponderare fidelitatem, devocionem et utilitatem,
quam vestra Camera habet a Polonis, et devocionem et utilitatem, quam habet a Theutoni-
cis vel Bohemis: nam tanta est differencia, sicut lucis ad tenebras... (Theiner, 395396).
112For an analysis of the witnesses testimonies about the violence committed by
the Teutonic Knights during these wars see Danuta Zydorek, In periculo mortis: niedole
ludnoci podczas najazdw krzyackich, in Mente et litteris: o kulturze i spoleczstwie
wiekw rednich, ed. Helena Chopocka, et al. (Pozna: Wydawn. Nauk. Uniwersytetu im.
Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu, 1984), 231238.
172 chapter four

monasteries, castles, towns, and villages, consuming or capturing count-

less animals, abducting men, and raping women.113 Kazimierzs lawyers
valued the damage caused by the Knights in 1331 at 115,000 marks, which
was more than twice the 45,000 marks he sought as compensation for
the destruction of Gdask and other Pomeranian towns and the occupa-
tion of Pomerania for 30 years.114 Even though the conquest of Pomerania
remained a contentious topic, it was one that was now viewed through the
lens of nearly a decade of violent conflict between Poland and the Ordens-
staat. In addition, the Pomeranian articles of dispute were preceded by
the royal procurators claims that the original grant made by Kazimierzs
great-grandfather, Duke Konrad of Mazovia, was also held illegally by the
Knights. As a result of this, the entire history of the relations between
the Knights and Poland was conventionalized within the framework of
betrayal and enmity.
The articles about the conquest of Pomerania (four through eight) pres-
ent the beginning of a narrative of collective violence committed by the
Teutonic Knights against the kingdom of Poland, culminating in wide-
spread destruction throughout the kingdom in 1331, which touched the
lives of far more Poles than the conquest of Pomerania did in 13081309.
Yet, it is odd that the articles submitted by the royal procurators, which
underscore the suffering inflicted upon the whole Polish people during
the wars of the 1320s and 1330s, position the violence of 13081309 as being
perpetrated solely against Wadysaws men in Pomerania, and not against
the general populace. Whereas in the articles about the later wars, the wit-
nesses were prompted to remember the rape of women and the destruc-
tion of churches and monasteries, here the violence is presented in a very
generalized manner against a very specific targetWadysaws repre-
sentatives. In fact, the articles do not even name Gdask as the site of
the mentioned massacre. Why were these acts of violence against Poles
treated differently by the Polish procurators, and how did the witnesses
respond to these differences?
Both the blandness of the articles and the chronological distance of the
events resulted in the fact that fewer witnesses mentioned the Gdask
massacre in 1339 than in 1320 (15 compared to 16), even though more wit-
nesses were asked about Pomerania (67 compared to 25), and the massa-
cre was even mentioned in the articles, which it was not in 1320. However,

113Articles 1930 [Lites I (2), 9598; appendix three].

11445,000 in article seven and 115,000 in article 30.
immortalis discordia 173

although fewer in number, the later testimonies are more descriptive than
the earlier ones. In addition, many of the 1339 witnesses had formulated
theories about why the Knights carried out the massacre, which most of
those in 1320 did not do. Yet, the 1339 testimonies, although more descrip-
tive and analytical, are less shocking in their presentation of specific acts
of violence. For example, there are no stories about people being dragged
out from the sanctuary of churches to be murdered. Their memories have
lost specificity and become conventionalized within the framework of
abstract violence against Poles in general rather than against particular
individuals. In the minds of the few witnesses who did testify about the
Gdask massacre in 1339, the memory of this event was transformed from
an act committed against the inhabitants of a particular city to a cam-
paign of ethnic and economic cleansing of the Poles in Pomerania.
Duke Kazimierz of Kujawy, who was holding part of Pomerania in 1308
as one of Wadysaws representatives, presented a picture of ethnic con-
flict, testifying that the Teutonic Knights killed all the Poles they could
find there [in Gdask], and that the Germans staying within the said
city of Gdask defrauded the Poles who were within it.115 By linking the
Teutonic Knights slaughter of Poles to the German burghers betrayal of
the Poles, he presented an ethnic conflict in which the German burghers
allied with the German order. Even though this was not really the case,
as the German burghers had united with the margraves of Brandenburg
against both Wadysaw and the Teutonic Knights, for this witness the
inhabitants of Gdask were simply divided into two ethnic groups, and
the violence there was perpetrated by Germans against Poles.
Duke Kazimierzs brother, Duke Leszek, testified that the Crusaders
from Prussia violently occupied [Pomerania] with arms and with a great
massacre of many knights and his brothers only just escaped being killed
by them.116 But, rather than talking specifically about the Gdask massa-
cre, he instead followed the wording of the article and spoke about gen-
eral violence directed against Wadysaws men in Pomerania, especially
his brothers. In 1320, however, Leszek said nothing about a massacre.117
It seems reasonable to conclude that in the intervening nineteen years

115...interfecerunt ibi omnes Polonos, quotquot potuerunt invenire.... ...Theutonici

stantes infra dictam civitatem Gdansk, defraudaverunt Polonos qui erant infra eam [Lites
I (2), 283].
116Cruciferi de Prussia ipsam occupaverunt violenter et cum armis cum magna strage
multorum militum....vix quod non fuerunt interfecti per eos [Lites I (2), 376].
117 Leszek was the only witness to testify at both trials [Lites I (3), 2829; Lites I (2),
2021, 375377].
174 chapter four

he incorporated the social memory of this massacre into the generalized

story of enmity between Poles and the Knights, who in the years just
before the first trial he had still regarded if not as friends, then at least as
business partners.118
The knight Marcin of Trzebcz also said that the violence he witnessed
was directed against Wadysaws men. He was sent by Duke Kazimierz to
meet Wadysaws men in Gdask castle. These men told Marcin to relay
the rather ominous message that even if they knew that tomorrow they
would lose their heads, they would still guard the castle in the name of
the same lord Wadysaw.119 He heard later that the Teutonic Knights,
coming with a large force to the said castle by trickery killed many
knights and other men in the said Gdask castle...but the witness who
is speaking was not present when the said massacres were committed.120
Although specific to Gdask, the version of the story he heard presented
the violence as directed against Wadysaws men in the castle, rather than
against the inhabitants of the town.
Similarly, Miecsaw of Konecko stated that he was not present in the
said land of Pomerania when the Crusaders from Prussia killed many
knights and other men in Gdask castle nor when they seized it, but when
he returned to the said land later, he heard from many that it was so done,
just as it is contained in the present article.121 Again, this witness heard
that the violence was committed primarily against Wadysaws men in
the castle. Other witnesses, such as witosaw, the palatine of Pomerania
at the time of the massacre, remembered the violence against Wadysaws
men as being more widespread: ...killing indiscriminately his knights
who were in the said land in so inhumane a fashion that no one can tell
the tale....122 witosaw incidentally explained the reason: Wadysaw

118 Leszek pawned the Michaowo land to the Knights in 1303, and then sold it to them
in 1317 [Irene Ziekursch, Der Proze zwischen Knig Kasimir von Polen und dem deutschen
Orden im Jahre 1339 (Berlin: Emil Ebering, 1934), 127137]. King Kazimierz also tried to get
this land returned to Poland at the 1339 trial (see appendix three, articles 1618).
119 ...si scirent quod cras decapitarentur, nichilominus castrum ipsum custodirent
nomine ipsius domini Wladislai [Lites I (2), 403404].
120 ...venientes cum magna potencia ad dictam castrum, fraudulenter milites et alios
homines multos in dicto castro Gdansk occiderunt...sed ipse testis qui loquitur ibidem
non fuit presens quando dicta strages fuit facta... [Lites I (2), 404].
121 ...non fuit presens in dicta terra Pomoranie, quando Cruciferi de Prussia inter-
fecerunt multos milites et alios homines in castro Gdansk nec quando ipsum ceperunt,
sed postea reversus ad dictam terram audivit a multis, ita factum fuisse, prout in presenti
articulo continetur [Lites I (2), 405].
122...interficiendo ibidem ipsius milites indistincte qui erant in dicta terra, ita inhu-
maniter, quod nullus potest hoc narrare... [Lites I (2), 389].
immortalis discordia 175

had refused to pay his debts to the Knights. This reasoning will be dis-
cussed in more detail below. Here, it is important to recognize that for the
majority of the witnesses, the victims of the massacre, whether specifically
in Gdask or in Pomerania in general, were Wadysaws knights and not
just Christians.123
This reconfiguring of the victims of the massacre is due in part to the
phrasing of the articles presented by Kazimierzs lawyers, especially the
seventh article, which mentioned the massacre of many knights and
men of the said king Wadysaw.124 Yet, for the most part, the witnesses
did not merely recite the articles, and as has already been pointed out,
only a small percentage of the witnesses even talked about the massa-
cre, even though they were prompted to do so by the article. We might
also conclude that many of the witnesses, themselves Wadysaws men,
undoubtedly felt that their brethren had suffered the brunt of the Knights
violence, or at least that they were the only people who counted, some-
times quite literally. In both trials witnesses attempted to quantify the
number of knights killed, while peasants and burghers are dismissively
described as innumerable if they are mentioned at all. Yet, while the dis-
tinction is made in both trials between nobles and commoners, men and
women, children and adults, clergy and laity, in the 1320 trial witnesses
made no ethnic distinctions between the victimsthey were all Chris-
tians. And the few witnesses who did make a distinction called the victims
locals or Pomeranians. By 1339, however, all of the victims had become
Poles, and the specifically Christian rhetoric of murdering people whom
even pagans would have spared or murdering people seeking sanctuary in
churches had been replaced by an entirely political discourse of murder-
ing the kings administrators.
Yet, while the Polish witnesses from the kingdom of Poland told essen-
tially the same story, some new perspectives were presented by Tomasz of
Zajczkowo, an ethnically Polish knight from the Ordensstaat who fought

123Gunter, the chancellor of Duke Trojden of Mazovia, also pointed out the politi-
cal motivations for killing the knights in Pomerania, but he did not clearly identify who
these knights werePomeranians or Wadysaws administrators: ...many knights were
killed by them, as he said. He also said that he had heard that unless they had killed the
said knights they could not have occupied the said land of Pomerania nor its villages and
castles, and they could not have held them for so long, nor would they have and hold any
today in the same land, as he said [...multis militibus interfectis ibidem per eos ut dixit.
Dixit eciam se audivisse, quod nisi dictos milites interfecissent, dictam terra Pomoranie
nec villas nec castra ipsius occupassent nec tamdiu tenuissent, nec hodie haberent nec
tenerent aliquid in eadem ut dixit Lites I (2), 145].
124Lites I (2), 95.
176 chapter four

for the Teutonic Knights during their conquest of Pomerania. In addition

to the claims of ethnic and political cleansing listed above, there also
emerged in his testimony the claim of what for want of a better phrase
could be called economic cleansing. Tomasz explained that the Teutonic
Knights massacred the inhabitants of Gdask so that they could better
colonize Pomerania: they killed many nobles and other commoners
within the said city of Gdask so that they could have the inheritances
of the same in perpetuity...and the witness who is speaking had been
and was always with the said Crusaders in the said army of the same.125
As both an eyewitness and a person who experienced the violence from
the other side, Tomaszs testimony offers some excellent insights into the
reasons for the massacre, which the victims of the violence and those they
told would not have been privy to. Two of the witnesses in the previous
trial had also testified about the Knights massacring entire families, but
these men did not explain why the Knights had done this. Instead they
presented these heinous acts as just another indication of the depravity of
the Knights, rather than an indication of specific goals of occupation.126
This testimony also raises the issue of culpability, for Tomasz was not
the only Polish witness who had fought in the Knights army. Bogusaw
azka, a knight from czyca who had fought with the Knights, also tes-
tified about the Pomeranian articles, but he did not say anything specifi-
cally about the Gdask massacre, leaving it at they killed many knights
and other men there [in Pomerania].127 He also avoided mentioning the
massacre in Kujawy in 1332, although it was mentioned in the tenth arti-
cle. His grandson, Micha azka, also fought for the Knights and testi-
fied at the 1339 trial. Although he was too young to talk about Pomerania,
he did discuss his role in the massacre in Kujawy, saying that such a
seizure and assault as it was could not have been done without the killing
of many men.128 Danuta Zydorek has seen this statement and a similar
one by Gowin Rykalicz, a burgher from Szadek who also took part in

125multos nobiles et alios ignobiles infra dictam civitatem Gdansk interfecerunt, ut

ipsorum hereditates possent perpetuo habere...ipse testis qui loquitur, semper fuit et erat
cum dictis Cruciferis in dicto exercitu eorumdem... [Lites I (2), 305].
126Count Piotr Drogosawic, judge of Pozna: ...occiderunt nobiles terre milites et
uxores eorum et pueros... [Lites I (3), 38]; Judge Micha of Sandomierz: ...occiderunt
milites et uxores eorum et pueros... [Lites I (3), 39].
127...multos milites et alios homines interfecerunt ibidem... [Lites I (2), 254].
128 ...talis capcio et expugnacio sicut fuit illa, non potest fieri sine interfeccione mul-
torum hominum... [Lites I (2), 274].
immortalis discordia 177

the massacre in Kujawy,129 as an indifferent commentary on the violence

going on around them, but it seems more likely that this was an attempt
to deflect blame from themselves.130 Micha testified immediately after
Gowin, and although the witnesses were examined singulariter et sigilla-
tim, this was not done in a soundproof chamber, so perhaps Micha picked
up on Gowins attempt to distance himself from any direct involvement
in the massacre. Warfare brings slaughter, but neither witness defined this
slaughter as inordinate. This is a particularly interesting interpretation of
violence considering that Bogusaw and Micha witnessed their son/father
(who fought for Wadysaw) being besieged by the Knights in Dobrzy
in 1329,131 while Gowins town was attacked by the Knights in 1331.132
It should be pointed out that these men distanced themselves (sometimes
quite literally, as Micha claims to have watched the battle from the other
side of the Vistula River) from the violence committed against their own
families and communities.133
Another level of understanding of the Gdask massacre in particular
and the violence of warfare in general is presented by the abbot of Oliwa,
the Cistercian monastery near Gdask. Although he did not testify at the
1339 trial, he wrote a chronicle a decade or two later in which he gave a
different spin to the Gdask massacre. According to him, it was in fact
animosity between the German burghers and the Teutonic Knights which
led to the massacre:
[The margraves of Brandenburg], having sent their knights, held the city
of Gdask with the aid of the aforementioned burghers and knights, and
there were daily conflicts and altercations among the knights enclosed in
the castle..., who held the castle for duke Wadysaw, on the one hand, and
the aforesaid burghers and knights, who favored the cause of the margraves,
on the other, and much despoiling and many evil things happened in the

129 ...talis expugnatio non potest fieri sine interfeccione hominum... [Lites I (2),
270]. It is difficult to know the role a literate burgher would have played in the battle. He
does not say that he fought, only that he was with the Knights army. For brief biographi-
cal information about him, see Wiesaw Sieradzan, wiadomo historyczna wiadkw w
procesach polsko-krzyackich w XIVXV wieku (Torun: Wydawnicto Uniwersytetu Mikoaja
Kopernika, 1993), 180; Janusz Bieniak, Litterati wieccy w procesie warszawskim z 1339
roku, in Cultus et cognito: studia z dziejw redniowiecznej kultury, ed. Stefan Kuczyski
et al. (Warszawa: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1976), 105.
130 Zydorek, 233234.
131 Lites I (2), 256, 275; for the relationship between Bogusaw and Micha see Siera
dzan, wiadomo, 175, 198.
132 Lites I (2), 97, article 24.
133 ...erat ex una parte fluminis Visle, et tunc vidit eos oculo ad oculum [Lites I (2),
178 chapter four

land on account of the princes discord, rending asunder the unity of the
knights [of the land]. Finally, those enclosed in the castle, seeing that they
had no redeemer, sent petitions for the lords of the land of Prussia to bring
them help against the city and the margraves people, and without further
ado brother Gunter of Schwartzberg was sent with Prussians, who together
with those who were inside the castle troubled with repeated assaults the
Pomeranians who were in the city.
Indeed, certain of the very rich burghers provoked the lords of the land
of Prussia with inordinate mockery and derisive gestures to the point that
the infuriated lords besieged the city with their powerful army and attacked
with cruel hearts. The burghers, however, seeing that they could no longer
resist the power of the lords and had no redeemer, surrendered the city,
which the lords entered with their army and ordered the slaughter of all
the Pomeranian knights they found in it. And lord Rudigerus, the abbot
of Oliwa, moved to compassion, put himself in danger, and received con-
fession, as far as he was permitted, in the midst of butchering spears and
swords, and had the slaughtered taken to Oliwa for burial in the cemetery
of St. Jacob outside the walls.
Afterwards in the year 1309 the lords of the Teutonic Knights, wanting
to humiliate the proud city, completely destroyed the fortifications of the
The slaughtered knights referred to in this version of events, as in some of
the 1320 testimonies, were the local, Pomeranian knights, not the knights
sent by Wadysaw, whom the witnesses in 1339 identified as the victims.
In fact, the Polish knights in the castle are presented as sharing in the
insults (if not the slaughter) of the Pomeranian knights. As the abbot of a

134...qui missis suis militibus civitatem Gedanensem tenuit cum auxilio civium et
militum predictorum et fuit cotidianus conflictus et altercacio inter milites inclusos in
castro...qui tenebant castrum ad manum ducis Wladislai, ex una parte et cives ac milites
predictos, qui fovebant causam marchionis parte ex altera et multa spolia et mala fiebant
in terra propter principum discordiam et unitatis militum [terrae] scissionem. Tandem
inclusi in castro videntes se non habere ullum redemptorem, miserunt ad dominos terre
Pruzie petentes, ut ferrent ipsis auxilium contra civitatem et marchionistas et continuo
missus fuit frater Guntherus de Swarczburk cum Prutenis, qui una cum hiis, qui erant in
castro, Pomeranis crebris insultibus eos, qui erant in civitate, molestabant.
Quidam vero ex civibus presumptuosi dominos terre Prusie ludibriis et subsanna-
cionibus incompositis provocabant in tantum, quod domini exacerbati cum exercitu
valido civitatem obsederunt et eam ferocibus animis oppungnaverunt. Videntes autem
cives, quod diucius potencie dominorum resistere non valerent nec ullum possent hab-
ere redemptorem, civitatem tradiderunt, quam domini cum suo exercitu intrantes omnes
milites Pomeranos [milites terra Pomeraniae], quos in ea reppererunt, iusserunt trucidari.
Et dominus Rudingerus abbas Olyvensis pietate motus se dedit periculo et inter iacula et
gladios trucidandorum, quatenus permissum fuit, confessionem recepit et trucidatos duci
fecit in Olyvam et sepeliri in cimiterio beati Iacobi ante claustrum.
Postea domini cruciferi superbiam civum humiliare volentes, municionem civitatis
penitus destruxerunt...anno Domini MCCCIX... (Chronica Olivensis MPH 6: 318319).
immortalis discordia 179

monastery which had been founded by the Pomeranian nobility and was
in the fourteenth century controlled by the Teutonic Knights, the author
of the chronicle was unlikely to see the Polish knights as victims of the
slaughter. In fact, at the beginning of his chronicle, he praised the early
thirteenth-century Pomeranian Duke witopek for cast[ing] off the
yoke of the princes of Poland.135 The victims in his mind were Pomera-
nians. The fact that the Pomeranian knights were massacred, while the
German burghers who had supposedly prompted the Knights attack were
left unharmed (except for the humiliation of having their fortifications
destroyed) raises questions about ethnicity that will be addressed in the
next chapter.
This discussion of the numerous manifestations of the Gdask massacre
nicely demonstrates the way conflicting accounts of this event emerged
and functioned within various social and political environments, shifting
the details, both great and small, as convenient to fit different social and
political circumstances. In order to better understand how these multiple
iterations of the same story fit into the social and political landscape of
the south Baltic littoral, a more detailed analysis of the origins of this con-
flict is now required.

Breaking the Bonds of Lordship: The Teutonic Knights Betrayal

in Light of the Treason of the wica Family

None of the articles in either trial describes what the Teutonic Knights
were doing in Gdask in the first place. They do not talk about the inva-
sion by the margraves of Brandenburg or the rejection of Wadysaws rule
by the powerful wica family. Wadysaw is supposed to have possessed
this land peacefully and quietly without any internal dissent. And by the
time of the second trial, he is supposed to have possessed Pomerania as
the king of Poland, even though his coronation took place twelve years
after the conquest. In fact, the Teutonic Knights are treated as outsiders
who conquered Pomerania, even though they already held vast posses-
sions there,136 and so were most likely concerned with the margraves
conquest even before Wadysaw asked for their help. Why did the royal
procurators choose to present the Knights conquest as an invasion by a
foreign army and not the betrayal of ones lord? Although Wadysaw cast

135See chapter one.

136See chapter two.
180 chapter four

his original appeal in terms of betrayal, it was a general sense of betrayal

based on the history of relations between his family and the Knights, not
the specific act of betrayal in Gdask. And, in any event, his lawyers con-
spicuously omitted all betrayal references in their articles of dispute. If
Wadysaw had intended that the Teutonic Knights betrayal function as
a major motif in the main narrative of disputes, the lawyers, judges, and
witnesses did not pick up on this. In fact, only a couple of the witnesses
in the first trial recalled that the Knights had originally come to Gdask as
Wadysaws agents rather than as foreign invaders, and both of these men
had themselves been present when the Knights came to Gdask castle
to help defend it from the margraves.137 The fact that the Knights were
formerly Wadysaws allies seems to have been buried under the memo-
ries of the atrocities they committed in Gdask (and throughout Poland
in the 1320s and 1330s), even though this certainly would have made their

137Count Piotr Drogosawic, judge of Pozna, explained that the Knights were hold-
ing the castle in Wadysaws name, but he did not explain why Wadysaw called them
to help hold the castle, when he already had men stationed there: I was present when
the Crusaders accepted part of the castle of Gdask from the lord king, and the Crusad-
ers stationed their men in their part of the castle, and the kings men were in the other
part. And then the Crusaders, under the pretense of friendship, made a small castle in
one part in the large castle of Gdask. This having been done, they ejected the kings men
from the large castle and then at nighttime secretly entered the city of Gdask in force
and carried out an abominable massacre and killed the noble knights of the land and
their wives and sons, and thus they occupied the city [fui presens, quando Cruciferi
receperunt partem castri Gdanczk a domino rege et in parte castri locaverunt homines
suos Cruciferi, et in parte alia erant homines regis. Et tunc Cruciferi sub specie amicie in
magno castro Gdanczk in una parte fecerunt parvulum castrum. Quo facto eiecerunt hom-
ines regis de magno castro et deinde nocturno tempore intraverunt furtim et potenter in
civitatem Gdanczk et abhominabilem stragem fecerunt et occiderunt nobiles terre milites
et uxores eorum et pueros et sic occupaverunt civitatem Lites I (3), 3738]. Judge Micha
of Sandomierz, who was also present when the Knights took possession of Gdask castle,
gave an account very similar to the one given by the palatine of Sandomierz, but unlike
the previous witness Micha provided an explanation of why the Knights were called to
Gdask: ...he responded that he had been present at the time of the decision to entrust
part of the castle of Gdask to the Crusaders to gain their help, because the Saxons were
invading the land of Pomerania. The Crusaders then made a small castle inside the larger
one, ejected the knights of the lord king from the castle, and then secretly entered the city
and killed the knights and their wives and sons, and thus occupied the city. [...] Asked
how he knew this, he responded that he came at that time with an army to help the
locals, but the Crusaders were very strong and quickly seized the castle before they could
[...respondit, quod fuerit presens circa ordinacionem, quando pars castri de Gdanczk
commissa fuit Cruciferis causa subsidii, quia Saxones invadebant terram Pomoranie, et
tunc Cruciferi facto modico castro in maiori castro eiecerunt milites domini regis de castro
et deinde furtim intraverunt civitatem et occiderunt milites et uxores eorum et pueros et
sic occupaverunt civitatem. [...] Interrogatus, quomodo hoc sciret, respondit, quod tunc
venerat cum execitu in subsidium terrigenis, sed Cruciferi erant valde potentes et subito
preoccupaverunt castrum Lites I (3), 39].
immortalis discordia 181

crime even more abominable. So, why did Wadysaws lawyers omit this
fact? Part of the explanation for this mode of argumentation might be that
the royal procurators wanted to bury the facts that Wadysaw was not in
such secure possession of Pomerania as they would have the court believe
and Wadysaw did not always honor his debts.
An early fourteenth-century Polish source, the continuation of the
Annals of the Pozna Chapter, paints a picture very different from the
royal procurators version of events. This account reminds readers that
Wadysaw had been exiled from Pomerania and Poland because of his
poor governance:
Item in the year of the Lord 1299, when during the time of Duke Wadysaw
the church suffered many injuries, as much from the aforesaid duke as from
his knights, namely the violations of cemeteries and the oppressions of
paupers, widows, and orphans, and all the goods of the churches and the
Church to annihilation, and other things which are too horrible to speak
of, Andrzej, by the grace of God bishop of Pozna, placed his whole diocese
under a general interdict, prohibiting the celebration of divine offices, etc.
Likewise in 1300 ad, the Poles, seeing the fickleness of the aforesaid Duke
Wadysaw, called upon King Vclav of Bohemia and accepted him as their
lord, having chased Wadysaw from all of his lands. Under King Vclav the
greatest peace and justice flourished in Poland, as in the time of his heirs.138
One copy of this source goes into even more detail about these events,
explaining that during this time the kings of Bohemia had been the kings
of Poland, and Pomerania was run by a family of Pomeranian nobles.
When Wadysaw returned to power, a dispute broke out between him
and this noble family:

138Item anno Domini Millesimo CC nonagesimo IX cum temporibus ducis Wladis-

lai ecclesia multas iniurias pateretur tam a predicto duce, quam a militibus eius, scilicet
violaciones cimiteriorum et oppressiones pauperum, viduarum ac orphanorum, omnium
bonorum ecclesiarum, ecclesie ad anichilacionem et alia que loqui horrendum est Andreas
Dei gracia episcopus ecclesie Poznaniensis in tota diocesi sua generale posuit interdictum
prohibens divina officia celebrare etc. Item sub anno Domini Millesimo CCC Poloni vid-
entes inconstanciam ducis Wladislai predicti vocaverunt Wenceslaum regem Bohemie et
in dominum sibi receperunt fugato Wladislao de omnibus terris eciam propriis. Sub quo
rege Wenceslao maxima pax et iusticia viguit in Polonia, tamquam temporibus ipsorum
heredum (Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 5354). The continuation of the Annals
of the Pozna Chapter was written at the beginning of the fourteenth century, according
to Brygida Krbis, the editor and annotator of the text (Roczniki Wielkopolskie, MPH, ns
6: xxxii). It carries the narrative through the events of 1310 and the Teutonic Knights pur-
chase of the Pomerania, but it says nothing about Wadysaws reconquest of the land of
Great Poland in 1314, so it must have been completed before then.
182 chapter four

Vclav II, king of Poland and Bohemia, having died in 1305, his son Vclav III
succeeded him, who reigned for only one year after the death of his father.
And when he was going to go against Krakw with his army, he was killed
in Olomouc by a certain unfaithful knight of his. When this one [Wadysaw]
was going from the forts of Pomerania to Krakw, the lord Palatine wica
and his son reminded him about a certain sum of money that they had
expended during the time when Pomerania had been abandoned by the
prince and they had governed the whole land themselves. When the lord
Duke Wadysaw refused to pay them, they with many other knights called
upon lord Waldemar, the margrave of Brandenburg, to accept the duchy of
Of the 150 witnesses in the two trials, only three discussed the reign of
the Vclavs, and of these only oneBishop Jan of Poznaplaced this
reign within its historical context.140 As the bishop of Pozna, he was
undoubtedly informed by the annals of his chapter, because the story that
he told has all the details of the above quotation. He was also informed
by his brother-in-law, Bogusza, who was Wadysaws judge in Pomerania.
Bishop Jans testimony is by far the most detailed, both because of his
conversations with his brother-in-law and also because of the information
he acquired from the written sources, which present a period of discord
between Wadysaw and his subjects that most of the other witnesses
seem to have forgotten. It is worth quoting this passage in its entirety:
...the barons and knights, nobles, burghers, and the whole land, both the
kingdom of Poland and the land of Pomerania, called lord Wadysaw,
formerly king, then duke of Kujawy, father of the lord Kazimierz, king of
Poland, and they chose him and accepted him as the true and legitimate
lord of the said land of Pomerania, and he held and possessed the said land
of Poland quietly and peacefully for about three years; finally, at that time,
on account of the wars and because the aforesaid lord Wadysaw, lord of
the aforesaid land of Pomerania, did not keep good justice and many dam-
ages, injuries, despoliations, and oppressions occurred in the said land of
Pomerania, such that it was almost completely deserted, and because the

139Wenczeslao secundo rege Boemie et Polonie defuncto anno Domini 1305 Wencz-
eslaus tercius filius eius succedit, qui uno solo anno post mortem patris regnavit. Et cum
iret versus Cracouiam cum suo exercitu, in Olomunyecz a quadam suo milite infideli est
interfectus. Quem dum de municionibus Pomeranie Cracouiam procederet, dominus
Swancza palatinus et filius eius monuerunt pro quadam summa pecunie, quam expender-
ant medio tempore, quo Pomerania principe erat desituta et ipsi terram gubernabant uni-
versam. Quam cum dominus dux Wladislaus eis solvere recusavit, ipsi cum aliis pluribus
militibus marchionem de Brandeburg dominum Wolimirum ad suscipiendum ducatum
Pomeranie vocaverunt (Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 54).
140See chapter five for a more detailed analysis of the implications of this omission.
immortalis discordia 183

said lord Wadysaw, the lord of the said land of Pomerania and king of
Poland, was unwilling to correct the said excesses or bring about justice
from the malefactors in the same, the nobles and the whole population
of that land of Pomerania and Poland opposed and contradicted the said
lord Wadysaw, the lord of Pomerania and king of Poland, and they ejected
him from the said lands of Pomerania and Poland and they accepted into
lordship the king of Bohemia, namely Vclav, and as long as he lived, they
adhered to him as their lord. This one having died and his son having been
killed a little while after his death, the said lord Wadysaw began to recover
and possess the said lands of Pomerania and Poland from which he had
been ejected; thus all the knights, nobles, and common people of the said
land of Pomerania were obedient to him and served him as their lord and
the lord of Pomerania, except a certain Piotrthe son of the palatine of the
said land of Pomerania, called wicawho was called the chancellor of the
said land of Pomerania, who tried to bring the margrave of Brandenburg
into the said land of Pomerania, which he could not accomplish because
the said lord Wadysaw, formerly king of Poland and lord of the said land
of Pomerania, captured the said Piotr and held him captive for a long time
in chains. Finally the said lord Wadysaw, having been occupied by certain
impediments in the land of Krakw, could not have the careful responsibil-
ity of guarding the land of Pomerania, and then he commissioned to gov-
ern the said land of Pomerania in his name his judge of Pomerania, named
Bogusza, the brother-in-law of the said witness who is speaking, the bishop
of Pozna. This one, lacking in funds and not capable of guarding the castles
of the same land of Pomerania, often wrote and reported to the said lord
Wadysaw, king of Poland and lord of the land of Pomerania, then duke of
Kujawy and Pomerania, that he should help him in the expenses or else he
would have to remove him from the rule and governance of the said land
of Pomerania; [Wadysaw] replied to him that he could not help him then
at the present, but that he could henceforth recover spoils from the land,
from which he could meet the said expenses, until he had the means to help
him. The said Bogusza, judge of Pomerania, wishing neither to make excess
of the said land of Pomerania, nor to despoil the said land, from a mandate
of the said lord Wadysaw, called the master and brothers of the Germans of
St. Mary from Prussia to help him and lord Wadysaw, in whose name he
held and governed the said land of Pomerania, and he located them in or
handed over to them half of Gdask castle, so that they made expenses
in the said castle for guarding it, and they would guard it having their
expenses together with him until lord Wadysaw paid to them, the master
and the brothers who were then, the expenses made for guarding the said
castle. Finally the said master and brothers of the Germans of St. Mary from
Prussia, who were then, having been brought into the said castle to guard
it together with the said Bogusza in the name of lord Wadysaw, made
and inflicted many injuries, threats, and troubles upon the said Bogusza,
whom, moreover, having been made a captive, they ejected and expelled
from the said castle of Gdask after introducing such a pact, that whenever
lord Wadysaw, lord of the said land of Pomerania, reminded them or asked
184 chapter four

about the restitution of the said castle and satisfied the expenses incurred
and expended by the said master and brothers in guarding the said castle of
Gdask, the master and brothers themselves were held to give and return,
completely and freely, the said castle of Gdask to the said lord Wadysaw,
lord of the said land of Pomerania; and concerning this they gave their let-
ters-patent to the said Bogusza, which the lord king of Poland has in his
treasury, as he believed.141

141...barones et milites, nobiles, cives et tota terra tam regni Polonie quam terre
Pomoranie vocaverunt dominum Wladislaum olim regem, tunc ducem Cuyavie, patrem
istius domini Kazimiri regis Polonie, et ipsum elegerunt et receperunt in dominum verum
et legittimum dicte terre Pomoranie, qui per tres annos vel circa dictam terram Polonie
tenuit et possedit pacifice et quiete; tandem, tum propter guerras et quia prefatus domi-
nus Wladislaus dominus prefate terre Pomoranie non erat bonus iusticiarius et multa
dampna, iniurie et spolia et oppressiones fiebant in dicta terra Pomoranie, taliter quod
fere fuit deserta in totum, quia dictus dominus Wladislaus dominus dicte terre Pomoranie
et rex Polonie nolebat dictos excessus corrigere nec iusticiam facere de malefactoribus in
eadem, nobiles et totus populus illius terre Pomoranie et Polonie se dicto domino Wladis-
lao domino Pomoranie et regi Polonie opposuerunt et contradixerunt, ipsumque a dictis
terris Pomoranie et Polonie eiecerunt et regem Boemie videlicet Wenceslaum in domi-
num receperunt, et quandiu vixit, sibi tamquam eorum domino adheserunt. Quo mortuo
et filio suo interfecto post mortem suam paulo post, dictus dominus Wladislaus incepit
dictas terras Pomoranie et Polonie de quibus eiectus fuerat recuperare et possidere, sic
quod omnes milites, nobiles et ignobiles dicte terre Pomoranie obediebant et serviebant
sibi sicut eorum domino et domino terre Pomoranie, excepto quodam Petro filio palatini
dicti terre Pomoranie, dicto Swancza, qui dicebatur cancellarius dicte terre Pomoranie, qui
conabatur introducere in dictam terram Pomoranie marchionem Brandeburgensem, quod
perficere non potuit, quia dictus dominus Wladislaus quondam rex Polonie et dominus
dicte terre Pomoranie captivavit dictum Petrum et longo tempore tenuit eum in vinculis
captivatum. Tandem occupato dicto domino Wladislao quibusdam impedimentis in terra
Cracovie, non potuit habere diligentem curam ad custodiendum terram Pomoranie, et
tunc commisit gubernandam dictam terram Pomoranie nomine suo iudici suo Pomoranie
dicto Bogussa, sororio dicti testis qui loquitur, episcopi Poznaniensis. Qui deficiens in
expensis et non sufficiens pro custodia castrorum ipsius terre Pomoranie, sepius scripsit et
nunciavit dicto domino Wladislao regi Polonie et domino terre Pomoranie, tunc duci Cuy-
avie et Pomoranie, ut sibi subveniret in expensis, vel alias ipsum haberet subportatum de
regimine et gubernacione dicte terre Pomoranie; qui rescripsit sibi, quod tunc ad presens
sibi subvenire non poterat, sed quod reciperet de terra spolia hincinde, unde posset, dic-
tas expensas facere, donec facultatem haberet sibi subveniendi. Qui dictus Bogussa iudex
Pomoranie, nolens facere excessum dicte terre Pomoranie nec dictam terram spoliare, de
mandato dicti domini Wladislai vocavit magistrum et fratres beate Marie Theutonicorum
de Prussia in audiutorium sibi et domini Wladislai, cuius nomine dictam terram Pomo-
ranie tenebat et gubernabat, et locavit eos seu tradidit eis medietatem castri Gdansk, ut
expensas facerent in dicto castro ad custodiendum et eum custodirent expensis suis una
cum eo, donec ipse dominus Wladislaus eis, magistro et fratribus qui tunc erant, solveret
expensas factas pro custodia dicti castri. Tandem dictis magistro et fratribus beate Marie
Theutonicorum de Prussia qui tunc erant introductis in dicto castro ad custodiendum illud
una cum dicto Bogussa nomine domini Wladislai, multas iniuras, minas et molestias dicto
Bogusse inferentes et facientes, ipsum eciam captivando de facto de dicto castro Gdansk
eiecerunt et expulerunt, tali pacto interpostio, quod quandocumque dominus Waldis-
laus dominus dicte terre Pomoranie eos moneret seu requireret super restitucione dicti
immortalis discordia 185

Neither here nor in the Annals of the Pozna Chapter, does Wadysaw
come off as a very positive character. Not only was he rejected by his sub-
jects in 1300 for his misrule, but he tells his representative in Pomerania to
loot the duchy to pay for its defense. The testimony does not say why Piotr
wica turned against Wadysaw and had to be replaced by Jans brother-
in-law, Bogusza. But the fact that Wadysaw did not have money to pay
Bogusza, prompting him to threaten to resign, might add further credence
to the Annals story about the wica family turning on Wadysaw after
he refused to pay them. Yet, the fact that he omitted this part of the story
and in fact differentiated the good period of Wadysaws rule from the
bad might lend itself to the explanation that he really did consider the
wicas betrayal as different from the earlier rejection of Wadysaws
rule. The Knights were also presented in a negative light, as they turned
on Bogusza after he had trusted them; but they also left him with a parting
gift, a letter promising to return the castle after Wadysaw repaid them
further complicating this witness conceptualization of betrayal. Why
would the Knights cast Bogusza into captivity and then expel him from
the castle, only to give him written confirmation that they would return
the castle to Wadysaw after he paid them for their service? One answer
might be that even after their dispute with Wadysaws representatives
in the castle (and Jan does not talk about any massacre) the Knights still
saw themselves as Wadysaws amici at this point.142
In fact, a few other witnesses remembered that the Knights had been
Wadysaws amici, and that is why they were called in to help. For
example, Piotr, the schoolmaster of Sandomierz, said that two Pomera-
nian knights came to Wadysaw and said that Saxons were harassing
them and that the knights loyal to Wadysaw had neither sufficient forces
nor funds to defend themselves, so Wadysaw asked for help from the
Knights, who were then his friends and beneficiaries of his almsgiving.143
witosaw, the palatine of Pomerania at the time of the Gdask mas-
sacre, presented a similar testimony:

castri Gdansk et satisfaceret de expensis factis et erogatis per dictos magistrum et fratres
in custodia dicti castri Gdansk, ipsi magister et fratres tenerentur dare et restituere plene
et libere dictum castrum Gdansk eidem domino Wladislao domino dicte terre Pomoranie;
et super hoc suas literas patentes dederunt dicto Bogusse, quas dominus rex Polonie habet
in thesauro suo, ut credit [Lites I (2), 150151].
142Another witness, Boguszas son, mentioned this document, but it has not survived
[Lites I (2), 158].
143...qui erant tunc amici sui et elemosinarii... [Lites I (2), 379].
186 chapter four

...when enemies arose in the land of Pomerania, and Bohemians and Sax-
ons laid waste to the whole land, and the burghers of the town of Gdask
rebelled against the said lord Wadysaw, formerly king, and his men and
officials, who held and guarded the castle there, then those who were guard-
ing and holding the said castle in the name of lord Wadysaw called the
Crusaders, who were friends of the said lord King Wadysaw, to help them
at the said castle of Gdask, and they held and defended the said castle in
the name of said lord King Wadysaw....144
Yet, only a handful of witnesses remembered that the Teutonic Knights
and Wadysaw had amicable relations before 1308.145 In addition to Piotr
and witosaw, the only other witnesses who related this were Canon
Przezdrzew of Poznathe son of Bogusza, Wadysaws representa-
tive in Gdaskand the Dominican Wilhelm, who had been prior of
the convent in Gdask at that time. In fact, Wilhelm says that he him-
self made the suggestion to Wadysaws men that they should ask the
Knights for help, because they were then friends of the said lord King
Wadysaw.146 Przezdrzew also remembered that they were his friends
up to that point then.147 All of these men had a very personal interest in
the remembrance of the Knights betrayal. Piotr, as Wadysaws scribe,
was present when the Knights refused to return the castle.148 Boguszas
son, Przezdrzew, was told by his father about how he and his men in
the castle had been betrayed by Wadysaws friends. Similarly, the for-
mer palatine of Pomerania, witosaw, also felt betrayed by men he had
trusted to help him. But the witness who possibly felt the most betrayed
was Wilhelm, the former Dominican prior of Gdask, because he said that

144cum crevissent inimici in dicta terra Pomoranie et Boemi et Saxones devastassent

totam terram et cives civitatis Gdansk rebellassent contra dictum dominum Wladislaum
quondam regem et eius homines et officiales qui tenebant et custodiebant castrum ibi-
dem, tunc illi qui dictum castrum custodiebant et tenebant nomine dicti domini Wladislai
vocaverunt Cruciferos, qui erant amici dicti domini Wladislai regis, in adiutorium sibi ad
dictum castrum Gdansk, et quod tenerent dictum castrum et defenderent nomine dicti
domini Wladislai regis... [Lites I (2), 389].
145Jasiski shows that not only were Wadysaw and the Knights friends, but Wadysaws
brother was related by marriage to two of the main commanders of the Teutonic Knights
(Rola, 7879).
146...qui tunc erant amici dicti domini Wladislai regis [Lites I (2), 373].
147...qui erant amici sui illo tunc... [Lites I (2), 158]. He was also one of the few
witnesses in the 1339 trial to remember that Wadysaw was still just a duke in 1308. The
issue of the transference of Wadysaws kingship into a time in which it did not exist is
explored in chapter five.
148Lites I (2), 379.
immortalis discordia 187

it was his idea to bring in the Knights.149 But these were not the only
men who had a personal stake in the Knights betrayal. Why did none
of the other witnesses remember that the Knights had come to Gdask
as friends? Also, why did only a small minority of the witnesses remem-
ber that as Wadysaws friends before the conquest of Pomerania they
agreed to help Wadysaws men defend Gdask from the three rebellious
parties mentioned by witosawthe rebelling Pomeranian nobles,
the margraves of Brandenburg, and the Gdask burghers? They instead
(incorrectly) remembered, following the articles, that the Knights were an
invading army that conquered a Pomerania which was governed without
any opposition to Wadysaws rule, because it was part of the kingdom
of Poland, and he was the king. We will analyze the implications of these
created memories in the next chapter. Here, the goal is to analyze the
discourse of the witnesses testimonies to see what they reveal about the
witnesses views on rebellion, just as in the first part we examined their
views on violence.
Many Polish historians have argued that the treason of the wicas was
a private act of rebellion.150 Even though Wadysaw had been rejected in
1300 by his subjects because of his misrule, some scholars, like Gerard
Labuda, contend that there was an important difference between the
two acts, because the treason of the wicas had the character of an
individual and private act, threatening the national integrity of the whole
region.151 Yet, while those few witnesses who testified about this event
remembered only the wica familys rejection of Wadysaws lordship, as
noted above, the Annals of the Pozna Chapter juxtapose these two rebel-
lions in such a way as to make them seem quite similar. While this pas-
sage does not exactly say that the wicas were justified in their actions,
it does present them as victims of Wadysaws fickleness, a fickleness
which had also caused the canons of the Pozna chapter great pain and
suffering. A similar story is also presented by the Oliwa Chronicle:

149Incidentally, only one of the witnesses in the first trial noted that the Knights took
over the castle under the appearance of friendship (sub specie amicie), and he was also
present when the Knights accepted the castle in Wadysaws name [Lites I (3), 37].
150Labuda HP I/1, 540541; Kazimierz Jasiski, Zajcie Pomorza gdaskiego przez
Krzyakw w latach 13081309, Zapiski Historyczne 31 (1966), 49; Friz Morr, Die Swen-
zonen in Ostpommern. Aufsteig und Herrschaft 12691357, Baltische Studien n.f. 41 (1939),
151Labuda, HP I/1, 541.
188 chapter four

But after [Wadysaw] had distributed the fortifications of the land accord-
ing to the pleasure of his will, when he wanted to return to Krakw, they
reminded him about a certain sum of money that the renowned lord pala-
tine wica and his sons had expended at a time when the prince of Pomer-
ania was destitute and they had governed the whole land themselves. When
duke Wadysaw refused to pay this to them, they and many other knights
called in the margrave of Brandenburg, lord Waldemar, to take over the
duchy of Pomerania.152
Yet, despite the prevalence of this story in two of the major narrative
sources from this period, fewer than ten witnesses remembered that
Wadysaws rule in Poland was not as ideal as his lawyers would have us
believe, pointing out that at least part of the reason for the Knights pres-
ence in Pomerania was due to internal dissent within the duchy.153 None
of them, except for Bishop Jan of Pozna, gave much historical background
for the reasons for the rebellion of either the wica family or the Gdask
burghers, and in fact, these two rebellions are usually lumped together,
even though the motivations of these two parties were very different. It
appears that neither the judges nor the lawyers nor the witnesses were
very interested in the motivations for these rebellions. Also, despite the
important role ethnicity played in the reasoning for the Gdask massacre,
not a single one of these witnesses mentioned ethnicity as a key factor in
the rebellion of the Gdask burghers and the wica family, even though
the rebellious burghers were Germans and the wica family certainly
had an affinity both for the German margraves and the German language,
which they used to write the letter of their acceptance of the margraves
lordship.154 Yet, despite these omissions, the witnesses were still uniform
in their condemnation of these revolts. These rebels were part of the king-
dom of Poland, and so their opposition to Wadysaws rule was wrong.
Some Polish scholars, however, have presented a more nuanced
approach to the wicas. Jzef Spors, for example, argues that the trea-
son of the wiecas (which he consistently puts in quotation marks) was
a result of a number of factors, and should be seen neither as simply a

152Postquam autem disposuerat de municionibus terre pro sue beneplacito voluntatis,

cum Kracoviam redire vellet, monuerunt eum pro quadam peccunie summa, quam expen-
derant, dominus Swencza palatinus et filii eius memorati medio tempore, quo Pomerania
principe destituta erat, et ipsi terram gubernaverant universam, quam cum dominus dux
Wladislaus eis solvere recusaret, ipsi cum aliis pluribus militibus marchionem de Bran-
deburg dominum Woldimirum ad suscipiendum ducatum Pomeranie vocaverunt...
(Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6: 318).
153Lites I (2), 150, 158, 191, 278, 305, 373, 380, 383, 389.
154PlUB #656.
immortalis discordia 189

private dispute between this family and Wadysaw nor as a borderland

family shopping around for the best deal from one of the surrounding
rulers. He points out that in refusing to acknowledge the service done
by Piotr wicawho ruled Pomerania after the end of Czech rule and
prevented Brandenburgs takeover of Pomerania at this timedepriving
him of his office and incomes, and forcing him to repay the bishop of
Kujawy for the sums he had sequestered during this period of anarchy in
Pomerania, Wadysaw had forced Piotrs hand. Although Piotr had collab-
orated with the Czech representatives in Pomerania, he had done homage
to Wadysaw and accepted him as lord of Pomerania as the witnesses
themselves remembered. It was only after what he viewed as his lords
breach of faith in telling him to repay the bishop of Kujawy for revenues
taken to govern the land (something that Bogusza told his brother-in-law,
Bishop Jan of Pozna, that Wadysaw had in fact told Bogusza to do) that
Piotr felt entitled to look for a new lord of Pomerania.155
In the end, both the procurators and the judges (despite the filter pro-
vided by John XXIIs letter appealing to the past relationship between
the duchy of Pomerania and the kingdom of Poland, as well as between
Wadysaws family and the Teutonic Knights)156 seemed more concerned
with the events of 13081309 than with their historical background. They
neglected not only to go back into the deeper past, but also to go back
even into the past immediately preceding the conquest, other than to
establish that Wadysaw at some time exercised temporal lordship in
the land by appointing officials, collecting revenues, and receiving loyalty
oaths from the inhabitants of Pomerania. As a result, only a handful of
the witnesses addressed what the Knights were doing in Pomerania in the
first place, and for the most part, these are the few eyewitnesses to the
events. Although the memory of the Gdask massacre made its way into
the social memory of the kingdom of Poland, the events surrounding the
Knights arrival in Pomerania, as well as the six years of Czech rule in
between Wadysaws reigns, remained simply potential memories, buried

155Jzef Spors, Rola polityczna wicw w kocu XIII i pocztku XIV w., Roczniki
Historyczne 46 (1980), 1738; for more on the role of this family in Pomeranian politics, see
liwiski, Pomorze, 85130; Morr, 3585.
156This letter was part of the definitive sentence from the first trial, which was the only
written evidence submitted by Kazimierz [Lites I (2), 123131]. The witnesses testimonies
from the first trial were destroyed during the Knights invasion of Poland in 1331 [Helena
Chopocka, O protokoach procesw polsko-krzyackich w XIV i XV wieku, in Venera-
biles, nobiles et honesti, ed. Andrzej Radzimiski, et al. (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu
Mikoaja Kopernika, 1997), 242].
190 chapter four

under newly created memories of an eternal kingdom of Poland, of which

a duchy of Pomerania ruled by Polish rather than Pomeranian dukes,
was an integral part. These themes are developed in more detail in the
next chapter.

Medieval and Modern Explanations for the Gdask Massacre

and the Conquest of Pomerania

Much ink has been spilled in an attempt to recreate the events of 13

November 1308. Both Polish and German historians have traditionally
approached the Gdask massacre by trying to establish what actually hap-
pened. When exactly did the massacre take place? How much of the town
was actually destroyed? Exactly how many people were killed?157 These
are certainly important questions, but as we have demonstrated above,
because numerous (and often conflicting) narratives emerged during the
three decades between the conquest of Gdask and the second trial, such
attempts have often resulted in little more than privileging some narra-
tives to the exclusion of others in an attempt to make educated guesses
about the extent of the violence inflicted upon Gdask.
In recent years, however, some scholars have turned their attention
to why the Knights attacked the city in the first place, a question which
seemed to have been of little concern to the lawyers, judges, or witnesses
in either one of the trials. While some witnesses did remember why the
Knights were asked to defend Gdask, very few of them explain why they
turned on Wadysaws administrators and conquered Pomerania. Late
nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Polish and German scholars,
examining modern maps rather than the political situation at that time,
and influenced by the recent memory of the unification of Germany and
its dismemberment after the First World War, argued that it was only nat-
ural that the Ordensstaat would want to be united with Germany.158 These

157For the various historiographical disputes, see liwiski, Pomorze, 403432.

158The originator (or at least chief propagator) of this landbridge to Germany theory
was Heinrich von Treitschke in his popular, Das deutsche Ordensland Preussen (1862): As
the land passed increasingly under cultivation, the Vistula ceased to be a natural frontier,
and the young colony could not maintain itself in default of direct communication with
the strong root of its powerwith Germany [translated by Eden and Cedar Paul as Tre-
itschkes Origins of Prussianism (The Teutonic Knights) (London: Allen and Unwin, 1942),
58]. German historians, like Walter Friedrich, followed his lead with some modifications:
Wir haben also die Eroberung Pommerellens als einen Akt der Notwendigkeit, als ein
Lebensbedrfnis des jungen Ordensstaats anzusehen und nicht als ein Kennzeichen der
immortalis discordia 191

scholars simply took for granted that a territoriality based on ethnicity is

what matters most. This idea, however, of Pomerania as a landbridge to
Germany displays a cartographic conception of geopolitics that would
have been incomprehensible in the Middle Ages. First, Germany was not a
centralized state in the Middle Ages; it was divided by numerous political,
cultural, linguistic, and legal differences. Second, Pomerania connected
the Teutonic Knights possessions with the mark of Brandenburg, whose
rulers were not exactly vigorous patrons of the Teutonic Knights.159 In
addition, the fact that the Knights had just driven the margraves out of
Gdask and that they sought out the margraves to legitimize their posses-
sion of Pomerania only after Wadysaw refused to do so seems to have
been ignored. Simply put, people in the early fourteenth century did not
share the same geopolitical and ethnographic cartography as those in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
So why did the Knights conquer Pomerania, if not as a landbridge
to Germany? In 1965 Henryk Samsonowicz presented a new theory,
which shifted focus away from geopolitics toward the economic motiva-
tions for the conquest.160 His arguments were based upon the conclu-
sions of recent archeological excavations in Gdask, which suggested
that the main economic centers in the town (i.e. the German settle-
ments) had been the target of the Knights destruction. When the Knights
established the first towns in their landsChemno and Toruthey
granted these towns rights according to what would come to be known
as Chemno law.161 This system of law allowed the Knights to control
the towns to a much greater extent than the system of law promoted by
the merchants from Lbeck. Lbeck merchants secured greater privileges
from the lords of the regions in which the towns were located, because

ruhelosen Natur dieses Militrstaats [Walter Friedrich, Der Deutsche Ritterorden und die
Kurie in den Jahren 13001330 (Knigsberg: Otto Kmmel, 1915), 83]. Poles also employed
this territorial logic of Germandom. For example, see Czaplewskis comments: The Teu-
tonic Knights were by no means satisfied with this acquisition. Their political-conquest
desires were directed not only into the interior of Prussia and towards the Baltic, but also
beyond the Vistula in the goal of forming a bridge through Pomerania linking the Empire
and Prussia [Pawe Czaplewski, Co posiadali Krzyacy na Pomorzu przed jego zajciem
w roku 1308/9? Zapiski Historyczne 10 (1936), 273].
159The margraves of Brandenburg did take part in the crusades in Prussia, but at home
they tended to favor the Hospitallers and Templars [Eberhard Schmidt, Die Mark Branden-
burg unter den Askaniern, 11341320 (Kln: Bhlau, 1973), 1: 128131, 153154].
160Henryk Samsonowicz, To gospodarcze wydarze 1308 roku na Pomorzu Gdaskim,
Przegld Historyczny 56 (1965), 202219.
161Edwin Rozenkranz, Ukad Toruski z 1233 roku oraz jego Rozszerzona Wersja
Chemiska z 1251 roku, Rocznik Gdaski 49 (1989), 165174.
192 chapter four

of the collective bargaining strength of their colonists across the Baltic

littoral. They had tried to found a town, Elblg, in the Ordensstaat in the
1230s and 1240s, but the Knights forced these merchants to accept many
restrictions on the traditional rights of the Lbeck law towns.162 When the
town finally received its location charter in 1246, the following provision
was made:
whatever is against God and our house, the city and the land, is thoroughly
excluded; in place of this, following the counsel of the brothers and the bur-
ghers and other distinguished men, something different will be established
which seems to be expedient for our house and the land and the city.163
The fact that the Lbeck colony in Gdask possessed rights that the
Teutonic Knights regarded as against God and our house might have
contributed to both the animosity between the burghers and the Knights
and the destruction of part of the town, both of which were recorded by
the abbot of Oliwa.
Jzef Spors, while acknowledging the economic rivalry between Gdask
and the Teutonic Knights own towns, points out that there were still
important political motivations for the Knights destruction of the town.164
The Knights did not choose to destroy the town just because of the
pro-Brandenburg orientation of the burghers or because of the rights
the burghers held according to Lbeck law.165 These two factors might
have played a role in the violence committed against the burghers on
13 November 1308, but they do not explain the further destruction of
Gdask which took place in 1309, in which, according to the Oliwa
Chronicle, the Teutonic Knights, wanting to humiliate the proud city,
completely destroyed the fortifications of the city....166 Spors argues that
the motivation for this second act was based on the Knights insecurity in

162See chapter one and Edwin Rozenkranz, Prawo Lubeckie w Elblgu od XIII do XVI
wieku, Rocznik Gdaski 51 (1991), 535.
163...quicquid sit contra deum et domum nostram, civitatem et terram, penitus sit
exclusum; loco cuius secundum fratrum consilium et civium et aliorum consilium dis-
cretorum statuetur aliud, quod domui nostre et terre et civitati visum fuerit expedire
(PrUB I/1 #181; Rozenkranz, Prawo, 13).
164Jzef Spors, Motywy polityczne represji krzyackich wobec miast pomorskich na
prawie lubeckim w 1308 roku, in Balticum: Studia z dziejw polityki, gospodarki i kultury
XIIXVII wieku ofiarowane Marianowi Biskupowi w siedemdziesit rocznic urodzin, ed.
Zenon Hubert Nowak (Toru: Wydawnictwo Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, 1992),
165Spors draws attention to the fact that in 1301 the Knights promised to preserve the
rights of the town if it ever came under their rule (Spors, Motywy, 296; PrUB I/2 #762).
166MPH 6: 318.
immortalis discordia 193

their possession of Pomerania.167 They destroyed the towns fortifications

because they wanted to return a weakened urban center to Wadysaw.
A similar fate was also proposed for Gdasks economic rival (and fellow
Lbeck law town) in PomeraniaTczew (German: Dirschau)which sur-
rendered to the Knights immediately after the conquest of Gdask. There
seems to have been some lasting hard feelings between the Knights and
the burghers of Tczew, however. On 6 February 1309 the mayor, council-
ors, and all the inhabitants in Tczew witnessed the drafting of a docu-
ment in which they promised that
...on account of the great harm and very many wrongs, which were dis-
cerned by us to have been inflicted upon the religious and honorable lords,
the master and brothers of the holy Order of the German House in Prus-
sia, in that damaging and wretched discord, which alas endured for a long
time between us and them, all our resources in goods and possessions are
in every way insufficient to satisfy the debt. Therefore, by the authority of
those present and having given faith [i.e. swearing an oath], we collectively
commit ourselves that immediately after the feast of Pentecost in the com-
ing year we will as a community leave the said town of Tczew, with the
intention of never at any time living in the said town or land of Pomerania
or returning there, except by the grace and with the express license of the
said master and brothers, however, we are free to go across to other prov-
inces and boundaries, cities, villages, and towns of the said brothers.168
Through the writing of this document, the Knights sought to preserve
the guilt of the Tczew burghers for the fate that befell their city, i.e. they
brought this upon themselves for the crimes of their town. The fact that
the Knights chose to tell this story of vengeance, rather than the one they
told in 1310 about Gdask (i.e. that the Knights had not punished the
town, but rather the burghers had chosen to leave their town for reasons
that escaped the Knights) perhaps owes to the fact that the conquest of
Tczew was relatively peaceful. As there was no story comparable to the

167Spors, Motywy, 298299.

168Nos magister consulum, consules ac universitas opidanorum in Dirsovia...propter
dampna gravia et inurias plurimas, que religiosis et honorabilibus dominis magistro et
fratribus ordinis sacre domus Theutunice in Pruscya in illa dampnosa et miserabili dis-
cordia, que inter eos et nos heu longo tempore perduravit, dinoscimur intulisse, omnes
facultates rerum et possessionem nostrarum ad satisfactionem debitam non sufficiant
quoquo modo. Auctoritate igitur presentium et fide data nos universaliter constringimus,
quod immediate post festum penthecostes hoc anno futurum de opido Dirsovie commu-
niter recedemus nullo unquam tempore intencione morandi in eis ad dictum opidum vel
terram Pomeranie redituri, nisi de dictorum magistri et fratrum gracia et licencia speciali,
ita tamen, quod ad provincias alias et dictorum fratrum terminos, civitates, villas et opida
nobis sit liberum nos transferre (PlUB #668).
194 chapter four

Gdask massacre, they could present themselves as in the right, because

there was no publica vox et fama to speak otherwise. However, after nego-
tiations with Wadysaw broke down a few months later and the Knights
successfully conquered the rest of Pomerania and purchased the rights to
Pomerania from the margraves of Brandenburg, they began to feel more
confident in their possession of Pomerania, and so they abandoned their
policy of the destruction and depopulation of the Pomeranian towns.169
The population of Tczew remained in place, and Gdask slowly began
to rebuild. The proud burghers depicted in the Oliwa Chronicle had been
sufficiently humbled.


In the end we can conclude that the story told by the archbishop of Riga
about the murder of 10,000 people in Gdask had a limited circulation.
Although the story spread, and through the various iterations of its retell-
ing acquired more details, no one again argued that so many people had
been killed. Yet, the consensus among the witnesses in 1312, 1320, and 1339
was that no matter how many people had been killed, there was indeed a
massacre. The explanation for why the events of 13 November 1308 quali-
fied as a massacre changed over time, though.
The witnesses in 1320 told stories of the enormity of the Knights crimes
similar to the archbishop of Rigas claims that the victims included chil-
dren crying in their cradlesmen seeking sanctuary in churches and
entire families. The prime marker of the identities of the victims of these
crimes, however, was their Christianity. Yet, as the stories evolved further
in the 1339 trial the victims of the massacre became Wadysaws repre-
sentatives in Pomerania. In addition, although only among the minor-
ity of the witnesses, a discourse of betrayal emerged in the witnesses
testimonies. Poland had been betrayed both by the Knights and also the
wica family.
The further people were in time from the events of 13 November 1308,
the less striking these memories became. The emphasis was less on the
particular suffering of the people of Gdask or Pomerania than on fitting
this narrative into the larger sufferings of the struggles between Poland
and the Ordensstaat. At the same time, narratives of betrayal emerged

169Spors, Motywy, 297300.

immortalis discordia 195

which were absent from the earlier social memory. The wicas (and to
a lesser extent the Knights) become traitors, while the earlier rejection of
Wadysaw by his subjects was forgotten by all but a couple of witnesses.
Wadysaw had come to be remembered as the legitimate lord of a king-
dom of Poland which did not actually exist at the time of the Knights
conquest of Pomerania. In addition, the Pomeranians had become Poles,
and the story of their suffering was linked to the story of the suffering of
the whole Polish people, meaning that it was no longer exceptional. In
the minds of the witnesses in the 1339 trial, such violence had become the
norm in the recent memory of relations between Poland and the Teutonic
Knights, and so had most likely always existed.
Certainly by locating the Gdask massacre within the context of an
imagined century-long conflict between the Teutonic Ordensstaat and
the kingdom of Poland, neither of which actually existed in the early
thirteenth century, the royal procurators changed the terms of the dis-
pute, burying the memories of earlier cooperation between the Knights
and King Kazimierzs ancestors as well as the Poles and Knights shared
mission of serving as shields of Latin Christendom. Yet, as the Teutonic
Knights made the transformation from a translocal religious organiza-
tion into a territorial state in the three decades between the conquest
of Pomerania and the 1339 trial, it became increasingly difficult for them
to maintain a purely religious identity. When peace was finally made in
1343, the Knights were granted Pomerania, not as the pious donation sug-
gested by the arbiters in 1335, but rather simply as a means of making
peace between two warring states. The common crusading culture of the
Knights and Kazimierzs family had been replaced by an environment of
heightened ethnic and political violence in which the Gdask massacre
had become nothing more than a footnote in a conventionalized history
of eternal enmity between these two states.



This chapter analyzes how the 1320 and 1339 trials helped to clarify what
the kingdom of Poland wasor at least what different individuals and
groups believed or wanted it to be. In particular, it examines the argu-
ments advanced about the historical and political affiliation between
the duchy of Pomerania and the kingdom of Poland as memories of thir-
teenth-century Pomerania changed during the course of the early four-
teenth century in response to the conflicts between the Teutonic Knights
and Poland. In addition to considering how the disputants changed
their strategies of argumentation in the two trials to deal with changing
political exigencies, it also explores how these political narratives fit into
the narratives constructed by smaller social groups, especially the fam-
ily histories of the dukes of Kujawy (who were descendants of both the
Pomeranian ducal dynasty and the Polish royal Piast dynasty) and the
secular and regular religious communities who held lands in Pomera-
nia, particularly the bishop of Kujawy and the Cistercians at Oliwa. By
exploring these nested identities,1 we can better examine the extent to
which the witnesses bought into the royal lawyers views of history,
territoriality, and sovereignty, and to what extent the witnesses took
these arguments and made them their own. Finally, I will draw upon the
royal arguments and witnesses testimonies concerning some of the other
disputed lands, particularly Chemnothe Knights foundation grant in
Prussiato help illuminate where contemporaries believed the boundar-
ies of Poland lay and who should be included within and excluded from
those boundaries. As will be demonstrated below, the mental maps of the
litigants, judges, and witnesses were often not coterminous.

1The process of group identity formation worked in both directions in the Middle Ages.
States tried both to carve a separate collective identity out of the broader concept of Latin
Christendom and to incorporate the collective identities of familial, secular, and religious
communities into the state. For the concept of nested identity and analyses of how these
processes work in the modern world, see Guntram H. Herb and David H. Kaplan, Nested
Identities: Nationalism, Territory, and Scale (Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield, 1999);
Juan Dez Medrano and Paula Gutirrez, Nested Identities: National and European Iden-
tity in Spain, Ethnic and Racial Studies 24 (2001), 753778.
pomerania between poland and prussia 197

Competing Claims of Succession in the Years between the Conquest of

Pomerania in 13081309 and the Inowrocaw-Brze Trial in 13201321

Before analyzing the trial records, it is first necessary to address the issue
of the better right to Pomerania, which has dominated modern historiog-
raphy on this topic. While the Knights were trying to defend themselves
in Avignon and Riga against accusations of perpetrating a massacre in
Gdask, they were also trying to secure the rights to their conquests in
Pomerania through negotiations with the two original competitors for
this landDuke Wadysaw of Poland and the margraves of Brandenburg.
Earlier scholarsboth Polish and Germanviewed the Teutonic Knights
as foreign invaders, who were long desirous of the lands at the mouth of
the Vistula and so used Wadysaws appeal for aid as a pretext to real-
ize their previously formulated goals of connecting their state with Ger-
many. As explained in the previous two chapters, there is little evidence
to support such claims. In 1301 (in a situation very similar to the one in
1308), King Vclav II of Bohemia and Poland asked the Knights to help
defend Gdask from an invading west Pomeranian duke. Gerard Labuda
calls this assistance an occupation, but he seems to be trying too hard
to present this event as a precedent for the Knights conquest of Gdask
in 1308.2 By the time Wadysaw asked for their assistance, the Knights
already possessed vast estates in Pomerania and so had a vested interest
in who had superior lordship over this land.3 They also were well aware
of the history of the land and knew that there were many people with at
least some claim to this duchy after the death of Vclav III in 1306.4 If we
look at the position of the Knights in this light, it could be argued that
they set themselves up as armed mediators or judges demanding a fee
for the resolution of the dispute between Wadysaw and the margraves
of Brandenburg. In addition, there was also the matter of the expenses
they had incurred guarding the town. As mentioned in the previous chap-
ter, the fact that the Knights had been Wadysaws allies [amici] up to

2Despite this point of view, Labuda admits that Vclav rewarded the Knights for their
service with substantial possessions in Pomerania (Labuda, HP I/1, 538). See also PlUB
#634, which is a confirmation by Vclav IIs son, Vclav III, of his fathers grants to the
Knights for their service.
3For the development of the Knights acquisitions in Pomerania before the conquest,
see Pawe Czaplewski, Co posiadali Krzyacy na Pomorzu przed jego zajciem w r. 1308
1309? Zapiski Historyczne 10 (1936), 273287.
4See chapter three for an analysis of their negotiations with the various claimants to
198 chapter five

the time of the Gdask massacre was forgotten by most of the witnesses.
Those who did remember, however, gave varying accounts about how the
Knights were to be rewarded for their assistance and whether this dispute
over money was the cause or result of the conquest of Gdask.5 Instead of
cynically viewing the Knights as opportunists seeking to legitimize their
wrongs by shopping around for the best deal on acquiring the rights to
Pomerania, it might be worth considering that perhaps the Knights really
did judge the margraves to have the better right (or at least rights equal
to Wadysaws) to Pomerania. Such a view has in fact been preserved
in one copy of an early fourteenth-century Polish source, the Annals of
the Pozna Chapter: the Teutonic Knights, having guarded the castle of
Gdask for a time, judging [Margrave] Waldemar to have the better right
to it, bought from him the whole of the land of Pomerania right up to the
boundaries of the land of Supsk....6 The abbot of the Cistercian monas-
tery at Oliwa, just outside of Gdask, also made similar arguments in the
mid-fourteenth century.7
Only within the last few decades has enough time passed for the histo-
riographical distance necessary to transcend the earlier nationalistic anal-
ysis of this topic. In 1981 Hartmut Boockmann pointed out the limitations
of both nationalistic historiographical traditions, explaining that modern
historians have wasted their time trying to make the case for one side or
the other: Der Markgraf von Brandenburg hat Rechte auf Pommerellen,
Polen hat sie ebenfalls. Die Frage, welches das bessere Recht gewesen ist,
wre naiv und jedenfalls nicht mit Sicherheit zu beantworten.8
Instead of acting like a modern advocate, arguing one side or the other
in an attempt to prove the veracity of either sides claims, Boockmann
instead correctly surmises that both parties had legitimate claims to

5Lites I (2), 151, 158, 305, 379, 380, 389.

6...cruciferi servato castro pro tempore Gdanensi illud a Wolimiro estimantes eum
melius ius habere et totam terram Pomeranie usque ad terminos terre Stolpensis emer-
unt... (Roczniki Wielkopolskie, MPH ns 6:54).
7...servato pro tempore castro Gdanensi, anno Domini MCCCIX a marchione Woldi-
miro, quem estimabant melius ius habere, totam terram Pomeranie usque ad terminos
terre Stolpensis emerunt... (Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6:319). Incidentally, the abbot of
Oliwa also remembers Wadysaw as a man who did not pay his debts to those who helped
him. As analyzed in the previous chapter, the abbot of Oliwa credits Wadysaws refusal
to repay the wica family for their governance of Pomerania as the cause of their break-
ing their oath to Wadysaw and their decision to choose the margraves of Brandenburg
as the lords of Pomerania.
8Hartmut Boockmann, Der Deutsche Orden: Zwlf Kapitel aus seiner Geschichte
(Mnchen: Beck, 1981), 145146.
pomerania between poland and prussia 199

Pomerania, and they presented their arguments in the best possible light.
Although this might not seem like such a revolutionary statement, none
of Boockmanns predecessorsPolish or Germandistanced themselves
enough from the subject matter to consider this seemingly simple idea.
Recently Baej liwiski, in what should be considered the definitive
book on the history of Pomerania at the turn of the fourteenth century,9
incorporated Boockmanns arguments and posits a thesis that would have
been anathema to an earlier generation of Polish scholars, who vehe-
mently maintained that Pomerania had always been part of Poland. He
argues that Wadysaw might have been aware that the Knights claims
to Pomerania could have been viewed by contemporaries as equal to if
not better than his own, because [he] did not administer the rights to
east Pomerania by the right of inheritance from his ancestors or kinship
with the extinct dynasty or bequests received from it or by earlier superior
rights over the former local dukes.10
In any event, the issue this chapter seeks to explore is not who actually
had the better right to Pomerania, but how the litigants tried to prove
their rights and how these arguments changed over time. Nor is the pur-
pose of this chapter to assay the historical evidence to determine relative
levels of truthfulness in the two sides arguments. Instead, it examines
why the two disputants crafted their arguments in the ways that they did
and how the arguments were consumed by their subjects and interested
parties in the international community.

Contending Claims to Lordship in Pomerania in the 1320 Trial

As outlined in chapter three, the recovery of Pomerania was closely linked

to Wadysaws attempts to obtain the Polish crown. Bishop Gerward of
Kujawy, Wadysaws legate in Avignon, secured both the bull for the
trial and the mandate authorizing Wadysaws coronation during the
same legation to Avignon.11 On 20 January 1320, in Krakw, Wadysaw
was crowned king of Poland, and less than a month later, on 19 February,

9 Baej liwiski, Pomorze Wschodnie w okresie rzdw ksicia polskiego Wadysawa

okietka w latach 13061309 (Gdask: Muzeum Archeologiczne w Gdasku, 2003).
10 liwinski, Pomorze, 546.
11 Wadysaw Abraham, Stanowisko kurii papieskiej wobec koronacji okietka,
in Ksiga pamitkowa Uniwersytetu Lwowskiego ku uczczeniu pisetnej rocznicy fun-
dayji Jagielloskiej Uniwersytetu Krakowskiego (Lww: Nakadem Senatu Uniwersytetu
Lwowskiego, 1900), 134.
200 chapter five

the trial against the Teutonic Knights commenced. One would think
that these two events would be linked in the minds of the witnesses in
this trial, but this was not the case. Instead, the witnesses judged that
Wadysaws recently acquired kingship had little to do with his claims
to Pomerania, because he had exercised temporal jurisdiction of the land
and was regarded by its inhabitants as their legitimate lord. He received
fealty oaths, appointed administrators, collected revenues, and pro-
nounced judgments. Yet, by 1339, the witnesses assembled by Wadysaws
son, Kazimierz, had come to think that Wadysaws kingship rather than
the lordship he exercised in Pomerania had everything to do with Kaz-
imierzs rights to the disputed duchy. Wadysaw was even remembered
as being king at the time of his possession of Pomerania, whereas the law-
yers in the first trial had differentiated Wadysaws period of ducal rule
from his period of royal rule.12 As a result, Kazimierzs (and by implication
his late fathers) rights to the Pomerania were the royal rights of the kings
of Poland based on its place within a historical kingdom of Poland that
did not actually exist at that time. Although the 1320 trial should not be
viewed backward through the lens of the 1339 trial, it is important to keep
these changes in argumentation in mind as we analyze the earlier trial
records, because the transformations of the Polish social memory within
a single generation is striking. Therefore, this section will lay the founda-
tion for exploring how and why the narrative of dispute evolved from one
of legitimate lordship to one of royal rights. It will also explore what this
transformation tells us about the changing place of the Teutonic Knights
and the dukes of Pomerania in the witnesses recollections of the history
of the kingdom of Poland.
In his 1319 bull authorizing the trial, Pope John XXII stated explicitly
that Pomerania is part of the kingdom of Poland.13 At the end of the
trial the royal procurators also justified Wadysaws claims to Pomerania
in similar terms in a restatement of their arguments, which the judges-
delegate incorporated into their sentence.14 The arguments that they had
proposed at the beginning of the trial, however, and those that were put to
the witnesses by the judges completely omitted any reference to Pomera-
nia being part of the kingdom of Poland. Instead, Wadysaws lawyers

12The first article of dispute submitted by Wadysaws procurators makes this explicit
(see appendix two).
13...terra sua Pomoranie...que de regno Polonie fore dinoscitur... [Lites I (3), 7].
14...idem dominus rex, tunc tamen adhunc dux existens, esset in possessione terre
Pomoranie que est pars regni Polonie...[emphasis mine] [Lites I (3), 74].
pomerania between poland and prussia 201

presented this dispute simply as the Knights betrayal of the benefactors

of their order. The papal bull authorizing the trial was written in response
to a now lost petition by Wadysaw, but judging by the papal reply to this
petition, Wadysaw framed the dispute in terms of the historical relation-
ship between his family, as dukes of Poland, and the Teutonic Knights,
who repaid the kindness shown to them with treachery. This document
makes it clear that in Wadysaws mind the Teutonic Knights very much
existed within the framework of the Polish state. They had long been the
recipients of benefices bestowed by the rulers of Poland, and they had
been established in Poland by a grant made by his grandfather, Duke
Konrad of Mazovia. It appears that Wadysaw was attempting simply to
normalize relations between a religious order and its patron, not to dis-
possess the Knights from the estates they already held in Pomerania or to
exclude them from the boundaries of the kingdom of Poland.15
Although these relations would change by 1339 and Wadysaws son,
Kazimierz, would seek to recover the entirety of the Knights possessions
in historically Polish lands, invalidating the earlier grants made both by
his family and by the dukes of Pomerania, in 1320 Wadysaw was simply
attempting to recover his lordship over Pomerania, not to repossess lands
that the Knights rightfully held there. As the articles of dispute listed in
appendix two make clear, the only places mentioned in the articles are
the places conquered by the Knights in 13081309. These articles say noth-
ing about the Knights estates in Pomerania, particularly their main pos-
sessions centered on Gniew, which had been granted to them by Duke
Mciwj of Pomerania in 1282. A few witnesses did, however, claim that
the Knights seized Gniew from Wadysaw, but this mistaken memory
probably owes its existence to these men trying to get the details of their
story straight beforehand rather than to any deeply held conviction that
every bit of land the Knights held in Pomerania had been illegally appro-
priated.16 The 1339 articles would take a more expansive view of the king

15For a detailed analysis of this petition, see chapter four.

16Witnesses 1114: Count Piotr Drogosawic, judge of Pozna [Lites I (3), 38], Count
Tomasz, palatine (wojewoda) of Sandomierz [Lites I (3), 38], Judge Micha of Sandomierz
[Lites I (3), 39], and Wincenty Boydar, a knight of (Great) Poland [Lites I (3), 40]. The fact
that these witnesses testified one after another leads one to wonder whether to attribute
this shared error to the witnesses overhearing each others testimonies. Although accord-
ing to canon law the witnesses were supposed to be examined separately, this did not pre-
vent them from sharing their recollections either on the journey to give their depositions
or while they were waiting to do so. Robert Bartlett has identified similar occurrences of
witnesses comparing notes in a trial in early fourteenth-century Britain [Robert Bartlett,
202 chapter five

of Polands rights in Pomerania, and the witnesses testimonies would fol-

low suit, but there is no evidence of this in 1320.
The witnesses in 1320 do, however, demonstrate an interest in the his-
tory of Pomerania before the events outlined in the articles. Although the
articles say nothing about the historical relationship between the duchy
of Pomerania and the kingdom of Poland or about how Wadysaw came
into possession of the land, some of the witnesses felt the need to his-
toricize their responses to the articles without any prompting from the
judges. Bishop Gerward of Kujawy stated that for so great a time, of which
memory does not exist [...] the predecessors of the same lord king, that
is lord Przemys, formerly king of Poland, and the other princes of Poland
were similarly in possession of the said land.17 Although Gerwards politi-
cal memory ended with Przemys, other witnesses looked further into the
past, and thereby transformed Duke Mciwj (a descendant of Pomera-
nian nobles and not the royal Piast dynasty of Poland), who had been
commemorated in thirteenth-century chronicles as an enemy not only
of Poland but of Christendom in general,18 into a loyal duke of Poland.
Bishop Florian of Pock testified that King Przemys and before him Duke
Mciwj and other dukes of Poland possessed the land of Pomerania,19
but he did not know when Wadysaw came to possess the land, other
than that it was immediately after Przemyss death.20
Yet, despite the fact that there had been nothing in the articles about
the succession, and the judges had not identified this as a key point when
they wrote their examination questions,21 by the time they reached the
sixth witness the judges started asking about this information if the wit-
nesses did not offer it on their own. It is unclear why they decided to
ask this of the sixth witness, because the previous four witnesses had

The Hanged Man: A Story of Miracle, Memory, and Colonialism in the Middle Ages (Prince
ton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004), 3132].
17 ...tanto tempore, cuius memoria non existit [...] predecessores ipsius domini regis,
utpote dominus Primislius, quondam rex Polonie, et alii principes Polonie fuerint similiter
in possessione dicte terre [Lites I (3), 25].
18 See chapters one and two.
19 ...rex Primislius et ante eum dux Myschyngius et alii duces Polonie terram Pomo-
ranie...possederunt....terram Pomeranie... [Lites I (3), 2627].
20 Asked concerning the year, he responded: I dont remember, but I know that imme-
diately after the death of King Przemys, he immediately succeeded him in the said land.
Asked about the month, he responded: I dont remember the month and the day when he
succeeded. [Interrogatus de anno, respondit, quod non recordor, sed scio, quod statim
post mortem regis Primislii successit sibi immediate in dicta terra. Interrogatus de mense,
respondit, quod de mense et die non recordor, quando successit Lites I (3), 27].
21 Lites I (3), 2324.
pomerania between poland and prussia 203

said nothing about the succession, and they did not consistently ask the
remaining witnesses about this subject.22 I will attempt to explain this
inconsistency in the judges questions below. For now, let us examine the
testimonies of the few witnesses who were asked about this topic.
The provost of Inowrocaw responded that Wadysaw was preceded
by Mciwj and Przemys,23 while the deacon of Inowrocaw gave a vague
response: I heard that other princes of Poland possessed the aforesaid
land of Pomerania.24 The next witness, however, a Pomeranian knight
named yra, gave a quite detailed explanation:
Asked which other princes held the same duchy, he said that the lord Duke
Mciwj possessed that land right up to his death, and in death he desig-
nated the aforesaid lord, King Wadysaw, as heir to the land of Pomera-
nia. But lord Przemys, king of Poland, obtained possession of the aforesaid
land. After he died, the aforementioned lord King Wadysaw, then duke,
succeeding the lord King Przemys in the kingdom of Poland, obtained the
aforesaid duchy both by the succession to the kingdom and by the aforesaid
This testimony appears at first glace to be a strong statement in favor
of royal rights, particularly as these apparently superseded any promises
made by Mciwj. If we examine this statement carefully, however, we see
that yra did not actually explain how Przemys came to possess Pomera-
nia. Besides, it seems very unlikely that a simple knight would posit such
a statist theory. Rather, although his memory is mistaken in its details, this
is an accurate depiction of the situation in late thirteenth-century Poland,
in which the testaments of dukes were seldom realized, as analyzed in
chapter three. Yet, as illuminating as these testimonies are about the vari-
ous memories of the past circulating in Poland at this time, it should be

22After the eighth witness, the only other witness they asked was the twenty-first, and
none of the other witnesses volunteered any information about the succession besides
the twenty-fifth.
23Interrogatus, an predecessores sui fuerunt in possessione, respondit, quod dux
Myschyngius et postmodum rex Primislius, cui successit rex, tunc dux, Wladislaus [Lites
I (3), 31].
24...audivi, quod et alii principes Polonie possederunt terram Pomoranie pre-
dictam... [Lites I (3), 33].
25Interrogatus, qui alii principes tenuerunt eundem ducatum, dixit, quod dominus
Myschingius dux illam terram possedit usque ad mortem et in morte prefatum Wladis-
laum regem heredem instituit terre Pomoranie. Sed dominus Primislius rex Polonie pos-
sessionem obtinuit terre prefate. Quo mortuo pretactus dominus Wladislaus rex, tunc dux,
succedens domino Primislio regi in regno Polonie, predictum ducatum obtinuit tam ex
successione regni, quam eciam ex institucione predicta [Lites I (3), 34].
204 chapter five

underscored that the witnesses who actually talked about Wadysaws

succession were in the minority.
Wiesaw Sieradzan believes the reason that nearly three-quarters of
the witnesses did not talk about the succession is that this issue was not
really of interest to the judges.26 A number of reasons work against this
reading. First, nearly half the witnesses who did offer this information did
so without any prompting from the judges. Second, the whole basis of
the Knights claim was that they had legitimately purchased the rights
to Pomerania from lords whose rights to the land ran through the same
authorities as WadysawsMciwj and Przemysbut then bifurcated
following Wadysaws exile and Vclav IIs coronation as king of Poland
in 1300.27 Even though the Knights procurator argued this point explicitly
only after all of the testimonies had already been submitted, the judges
must have been aware that the issue of succession would be important in
any appeals to the pope. And, if the three Polish judges were really act-
ing as Wadysaws agents, as the Knights accused them of being,28 then
surely they would have wanted to show the pope how Wadysaw came
to possess Pomerania. Perhaps, however, they realized that any discussion
of Wadysaws succession to the land would be detrimental both because
his ancestors did not possess Pomerania (as the Knights pointed out) and
because his exile from Poland due to his poor governance had created a
viable contending line of legitimate succession through the kings of Bohe-
mia. After all, the pope was still not sure in the year before the trial if he
should install Wadysaw in the royal office over the contending claims
of the king of Bohemia to the Polish crown. It is remarkable that not a
single one of the witnesses mentioned the six years of Bohemian rule in
Poland between Wadysaws reigns. The issue of whether the six years of
Bohemian rule were simply forgotten or deliberately concealed will be
addressed below. First, the 1339 trial needs to be analyzed.

26Wiesaw Sieradzan, wiadomo historyczna wiadkw w procesach polsko-krzyackich

w XIVXV wieku (Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1993), 42.
27The Knights procurator argued that Pomerania was neither his [Wadysaws] nor
his fathers nor his grandfathers nor his great-grandfathers, but after the death of lord
Mciwj devolved by just title to the king of Bohemia and finally to the margrave of Bran-
denburg and from them to the brothers.... [...nec sua nec patris sui nec avi nec proavi
sui fuit, sed post mortem domini Mestwini ad regem Bohemie et tandem ad marchionem
Brandenburgensem et ab illis ad fratres tytulo iusto devenit... Lites I (3), 65].
28Lites I (3), 63.
pomerania between poland and prussia 205

From Legitimate Lordship to Royal Rights:

The Location of the Duchy of Pomerania within and the Removal
of the Teutonic Knights from the Kingdom of Poland

Although both sides had made an appeal to history in the first trial to
prove the veracity of their claims (with Wadysaw arguing that his fam-
ily had been the patrons of the Knights for generations, and the Knights
countering that Wadysaw had no right to Pomerania because none of
his ancestors had possessed it) by 1339 the appeals to history had taken
on a new dimension. The litigants no longer presented family history as
the main defense of their claims. Instead, a history of the state emerged in
which each side attempted to incorporate the duchy of Pomerania within
its own narrative of state formation. Yet, the two disputants approached
this issue in entirely different ways.
As in the first trial, the extent of the Knights participation in 1339 was
simply to register a complaint about the proceedings. The arguments they
used are revealing. The 1320 appeal had explained how the Knights had
acquired their rights to Pomerania and why Wadysaws ancestors did
not have any rights to this land. In 1339 they appealed only to the his-
tory of the last decade. The Knights procurator explained how Wadysaw
and Kazimierz had attacked the Knights lands according to the coun-
sel, assent, and mandate [de consilio, assensu et mandato] of Archbishop
Janisaw (a judge in 1320 and the co-plaintiff in 1339).29 To make matters
even worse, they did so with pagan auxiliaries while the Knights were
on crusade [causa peregrinando] with King John of Bohemia.30 Yet, this
narrative did not really have any bearing on Kazimierzs claims. Rather,
it was intended merely to defame the king, just as in the Knights opin-
ion Kazimierz had impugned their reputation by bringing this lawsuit in
the first place.31 For his defense of the Knights rights to Pomerania their
lawyer moved the narrative along to the 1335 arbitrations conducted by
the kings of Hungary and Bohemia. He reoriented the dispute away from
its 1320 parameters of being between the Knights and their benefactors,
and instead argued that the dispute was not just between the Knights and
the king and archbishop, but also involved their subjects, the inhabitants

29 Lites I (2), 90.

30 Lites I (2), 90.
31 ...in detraccionem fame magistri et fratrum et Ordinis... [Lites I (2), 91].
206 chapter five

of the kingdom of Poland.32 He appropriated Kazimierzs statist language

for his own purposes. All subjects of the kingdom of Poland were now
complicit in their kings calumny, because Kazimierz had recognized
the Knights rights to Pomerania not only in his own name, but also
in the name of his subjects.33 There was no reason to go back further into
the past to explain how the Knights had acquired Pomerania, because
King Kazimierz of Poland physically discharged an oath in the presence
of a plentiful multitude... actuating a version of history that buried
all previous versions.34 He did not find it necessary to mention that
neither side had actually followed through on their promises from four
years earlier, because this did not matter to the Knights. The history of
Pomeranias relationship with Poland ended in 1335, and all the judges
were doing by allowing witnesses to testify was open[ing] the way for
perjuries,35 because memories of events before Kazimierzs oath were
now invalidated.36
Kazimierzs lawyer, however, took the opposite tack, basing his lords
claims to Pomerania on the very distant pasttime immemorialand
in so doing he attempted to rewrite the history of relations between the
Knights and Kazimierzs family. The fact that Kazimierzs father had held
Pomerania for a few years did not matter as much as the fact that Pomera-
nia was part of the ancient kingdom of Poland and therefore could not be
alienated from the present kingdom. When Pope Benedict XII authorized
a new trial, he added a new dimension to the disputethe idea of ratio
regnithe inalienability of the lands of the kingdom and the historical
rights of the rulers of Poland to all of the lands of the ancient Polish
regnum.37 It was this idea that the royal procurators tried to argue in the
case. The 1339 articles of dispute relating to Pomerania argued for both

32...dissensio et controversia inter dictum regem Polonie et archiepiscopum Gnezn-

ensem ac subditos eorum, incolas regni Polonie, ex una, dominosque meos magistrum et
fratres Ordinis supradicti, parte ex altera... [Lites I (2), 90].
33...pro se et incolis regni sui... [Lites I (2), 91].
34...Kazimierz rex Polonie corporale prestitit iuramentum in presencia multitudinis
copiose... [Lites I (2), 91].
35...viam vultis [iudices] periuriis aperire... [Lites I (2), 92].
36The Knights procurator undoubtedly would have agreed with an eleventh-century
monks pointed remark directed against his brothers for criticizing his editing of the vita
of his monasterys patron saint: Not only is it proper for the new to change the old, but
even, if the old is disordered, it should be entirely thrown away, or if it conforms to the
proper order of things but is of less use, it should be buried with reverence [Patrick J.
Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the First Millennium
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 165166].
37Lites I (2), 68.
pomerania between poland and prussia 207

the historical and geographical place of the duchy of Pomerania within

the historical kingdom of Poland, which presents a striking contrast to the
articles submitted in 1320. First, it implies that the duchy of Pomera-
nia existed within an imaged historical kingdom of Poland. Second, the
Pomerania presented in the 1339 articles is much more expansive than
the one presented in 1320. In addition to the three Vistula cities named in
the 1320 articlesGdask, wiecie, and TczewKazimierz also included
three new townsStarogard, Supsk, and Gniew.38 The last of these was
the Knights foundation grant in Pomerania which they had possessed
since 1276.39 So this article leaves little doubt that Kazimierz wanted to
remove the Knights entirely from the kingdom of Poland. Their territorial
identity had come to challenge his own, so the Knights could no longer
be either in or of the kingdom of Poland.40 The Knights were in agree-
ment. They no more wanted to be Kazimierzs subjects than he wanted
them to be. Whereas his father had tried to reincorporate the Knights
into the kingdom in 1320, Kazimierz wanted to exclude them entirely. The
only question was where to draw the boundary. In order to establish this,
Kazimierz asked his subjects to recall an imagined historical kingdom

38The addition of Supsk is very interesting, because this land was kept by the mar-
graves of Brandenburg in their division of Pomerania (PrUB I/2: #908). How the Knights
came to hold this land is therefore worth explaining. In 1317 the dukes of west Pomerania
acquired this land and the neighboring Sawno land from the margrave of Brandenburg
[Arkadiusz Bugaj, Problem przynalenoci politycznej ziemie sawieskiej w latach 1316
1320, in Biskupi, lennicy, eglarze, ed. Baej liwiski (Gdask: Wydawnictwo Uniwer-
sytetu Gdaskiego, 2003), 1738]. In 1329 these dukes pawned the Supsk land (but not
the Sawno land) to the Teutonic Knights for a period of twelve years (PrUB 2: #636a and
#636b). When this period was up in 1341, the dukes again pawned it to the Knights (PrUB
3: #367 and #371), despite the opposition by the monasteries in that land (PrUB 3: #378).
The fact that the Teutonic Knights did not actually own this land did not seem to matter
to Kazimierz, because with this pawn the Knights now possessed all of okieteks former
lands in Pomerania with the exception of the Sawno land.
39PlUB # 278, #279, #326.
40In a study of group identity formation in twentieth-century northern Italy, David H.
Kaplan explains that borderlanders have two types of spatial identitymultifocality and
asymmetry. These concepts are useful in helping to explain the transformation that took
place concerning the place of the Knights within the kingdom of Poland. As he explains,
multifocality occurs when spatial identities mesh together in ways that do not threaten
the position of any one identity, while asymmetry occurs when the spatial identities of
different groups conflict. [...] Such asymmetry is predicated in the exclusivity of national
territory which allows no room for coexisting identities [Conflict and Compromise
among Borderland Identities in Northern Italy, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale
Geografie 91 (2000), 44]. The spatial identity of Poland and the Knights had become asym-
metrical by the 1330s.
208 chapter five

whose existence was predicated entirely upon the existence of the present
In addition to trying to repossess the lands donated to the Knights in
Pomerania, Kazimierz also tried to retake all of the lands ever given to
the Knights by any Polish ruler, including his fathers foundation grant
of the land of Chemno. Chemno, like Pomerania, was possessed by
principes Polonie nomine regni [Polonie]. This statement implies that
Kazimierzs ancestors held this land not as their personal property to do
with as they pleased, but as the stewards of a kingdom of Poland, which
like other fourteenth-century states, had become a juridical person that
was eternal and inalienable, at least in the minds of Kazimierzs lawyers.42
Yet, their attempt at historiographical lawyering met with limited suc-
cess.43 Although this was a well established legal principle in the west,
as Janusz Bieniak points out, this argument express[ed] a new quality of
Polish legal thought.44 The witnesses were unable to make the distinc-
tion between the kings two bodies advanced by the royal procurators in
large part because it was a theory that could not be easily understood by
people who were still becoming acculturated to the full ramifications of
regnal rights.45 Despite their claims to the contrary, the witnesses were
not quite sure what it meant to live in a kingdom under the rule of a king,

41 Benedict Anderson also identifies this process of writing state history in reverse in
modern nationalistic accounts of the past: Nations, however, have no clearly identifiable
births, and their deaths, if they ever happen are never natural. Because there is no Origina-
tor, the nations biography can not be written evangelically, down time, through a long
procreative chain of begettings. The only alternative is to fashion it up timetowards
Peking Man, Java Man, King Arthur, wherever the lamp of archaeology casts its fitful
gleam. [...] World War II begets World War I; out of Sedan comes Austerlitz; the ancestor
of the Warsaw Uprising is the state of Israel [Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities:
Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London and New York: Verso,
1991), 205].
42 For Polish scholarship on this topic see Jadwiga Krzyaniakowa, Regnum Poloniae
w XIV wieku. Perspektywy bada, in Sztuka: Ideologia XIV wieku, ed. Piotr Skubiszewski
(Warszawa: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1975), 6387; Konstanty Grzybowski,
Corona Regni a Corona Regni Poloniae, Czasopismo prawno-historyczne 9 (1957), 299
331; Jan Dbrowski, Korona Krlestwa Polskiego w XIV w.: Studium z dziejw rozwoju polskiej
monarchii stanowej (Wrocaw: Zakad im. Ossoliskich, 1956).
43 I am borrowing the concept of historiographical lawyering with some modifications
from Mark Osiel, Mass Atrocity, Collective Memory, and the Law (New Brunswick: Transac-
tions Publishers, 1997), 79141, 221.
44 Bieniak, Geneza, 24.
45 Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The Kings Two Bodies: A Study in Political Theology (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1957); reprinted with a new preface by William Chester Jordan
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).
pomerania between poland and prussia 209

because they had been doing so for fewer that two decades, not since time
None of the witnesses described the extent of the power of Kazimi-
erzs great-grandfather and the founder of the Knights in Poland (Kon-
rad of Mazovia) beyond the fact that he was lord of the Chemno land.
They noted that he was a duke, but they did not explain what he was
duke of or how he fit into the power structure of this imagined kingdom
of Poland.46 In fact, none of the witnesses talked about the thirteenth-
century kingdom in whose name the land was held, instead saying only
that the Chemno land itself was held by Duke Konrad. Surprisingly, the
only question the judges posed in this matter was whether the witnesses
knew the name of the duke. They did not ask about his relationship to this
remembered Polish kingdom. The witnesses were left to their own devices
to make sense of this grant, and as a result they contextualized it in a way
that made sense to themKazimierz should have inherited the land from
his great-grandfather just as they inherited lands from their ancestors. In
fact, the judge of czyca prefaced his story about the Knights theft of
Konrads lands by stating that his [the judges] grandfather and father
had lands within the said land of Chemno, which the said master and
brothers of the Crusaders from Prussia [the Teutonic Knights] stole from
them and occupied and which they still possess.47 This might not seem
like it has very much to do with the judges question about how he knew
the article was true, but in the mind of this man it did. He knew that the
Knights had stolen lands from his family, so it did not take much of a
stretch of the imagination to think that they had also stolen lands from
Kazimierzs family.
Given the fact that the royal lawyers were so vague (they said noth-
ing about Konrad, his grant, his relationship to Kazimierz, why Konrad
had made the grant, the Teutonic Knights relationship to their founder
in Prussia, or even whether or not the Knights were still in possession
of this land), the fact that the witnesses made any connections between
the past and the present is remarkable.48 For claims based on the

46Iwo, the seventeenth witness, does not give Konrads name, instead stating that the
grant was made by a certain duke of Kujawy [Lites I (2), 210]. Tomasz of Zajczkowo, the
fifty-first witness also said a grant was made by dukes of Kujawy [Lites I (2), 304]. These
are the only two witnesses who attempted to define Konrads duchy.
47...avus et pater suus habuerunt terras infra dictam terram Culmensem, quas dicti
magister et fratres Cruciferi de Prussia eis abstulerunt et occupaverunt et adhuc possi-
dent... [Lites I (2), 182].
48See appendix three, articles 13.
210 chapter five

historical rights of the kingdom of Poland to the Chemno land, the royal
procurators arguments are surprisingly ahistorical. They argued that the
Chemno land belongs to the kingdom of Poland ab antiquo49 and that
principes Polonie at that time [qui pro tempore fuerunt] possessed it, but
they did not specify when that time was. Unlike the early fourteenth-
century disputes between England and Scotland, in which the elaborate
stories told by both sides constructed a historical, territorially sovereign
state, legitimized by mythic foundation stories,50 the 1339 articles of dis-
pute never explicitly mentioned the kingdom of Polands moment of pri-
mary acquisition.51 In fact, the further back in time the dispute stretched,
the less the Polish rulers lawyers seemed to know about the kingdom of
Poland and its lost lands. The articles relating to the other disputed lands
explained how the Teutonic Knights had acquired them, but the articles
relating to Chemno barely even mentioned the Knights. Also, unlike the
other articles, no claim is made to any specific monetary indemnities owed
to Kazimierz. The king and his advisers apparently did not know how long
the Knights had held the land or how much revenue they derived from
it. In fact, it appears that the king knew next to nothing about the history
of his kingdom or his family in the thirteenth century, much less about
the glory days of the kingdom under its founders at the turn of the elev-
enth century. The kingdom of Polands creation existed in a remote time,
which apparently was of little interest to the lawyers, judges, or witnesses,
none of whom go back to a time before Konrad.52

49Ab antiquo is a relative time periodthis is said of Chemno, Pomerania, and

Michaowo, but not of Kujawy or Dobrzy, i.e. it is said of the lands the Teutonic Knights
acquired in the more distant past (30110 years before the 1339 trial) as compared to those
taken in the wars of the 1320s1330s.
50R.R. Davies argues that Edward Is conflict with Scotland produced one of the most
remarkable medieval examples of the deployment and distortion of the past in the service
of the present [The First English Empire: Power and Identities in the British Isles, 10931343
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 35]. For other examples of the role origin myths
played in the legitimization of medieval kingdoms, see Susan Reynolds, Medieval Origines
Gentium and the Community of the Realm, History 68 (1983), 375390.
51In The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe, Patrick Geary defines the
moment of primary acquisition as the point in the past which modern (and for our pur-
poses, medieval) nationalists claim ...established once and for all the geographical lim-
its of legitimate ownership of land [...]...when their people...established their sacred
territory and their national identity [(Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press,
2002), 12, 156].
52This makes it impossible to accept Andrzej Wojtkowskis argument that the social
memory of the early kingdom of Poland, which first emerged more than three centuries
before the trial, figured prominently in the historical consciousness of any of the parties
involved in the trial (Tezy, 20, 28). It is true that two twelfth-century chronicles and
pomerania between poland and prussia 211

Surprisingly, however, the witnesses seemed to know quite a bit more

about the history of thirteenth-century Poland than their king did. The
first question the judges asked about Chemno was whether the first arti-
cle was true. If the witnesses said it was, they were asked how they knew
this [interrogatus de causa sciencie]. However, instead of just telling the
judges who their informants were, the witnesses historicized their testi-
monies by telling the judges as much as they knew about the arrival of
the Teutonic Knights in Poland. What is even more surprising is that even
without any sort of prompt, the witnesses told essentially the same story:
Konrad (or some other Polish duke) had invited the Teutonic Knights to
Poland to help defend his lands from attacks by the pagan Prussians; in
exchange for their help, he granted them the Chemno land. However,
this was intended to be merely a temporary grant. After the Knights had
conquered the Prussians, they could keep whatever they acquired from
them beyond the Osa River, but they were to return Chemno to Konrad
or his heirs.
Why did the witnesses feel the need to historicize their testimonies
without any prompting from either the articles of accusation or the judges
questions? The judges simply asked whether the article was true and what
the source of their knowledge was. They did not ask the witnesses to pro-
vide narrative accounts to substantiate the procurators ahistorical argu-
ments. However, considering the number of witnesses who historicized
their testimonies and the fact that most of them told essentially the same
story, one has to wonder why the procurators did not historicize their
articles. It is possible that the articles were deliberately left as blank slates
upon which the witnesses could write their own stories, but it would have
made more sense to ask the witnesses leading questions (which some of
the articles concerning other lands did). Instead, it seems that the wit-
nesses (and perhaps also the judges) missed the point of the articles. The
first article was in fact quite detailed, but not as a historical narrative.
Instead, the royal procurators took great pains to define the Chemno
land geographically in as much detail as possible by listing the major
towns located in it and the rivers that demarcated it. But the wit-
nesses ignored most of those details in order to tell what they thought

a few late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century chronicles, had preserved the mem-
ory of Polands former greatness under its founders. Yet, there is little sign of this in the
trial records, except perhaps in the reified papal geography of the kingdom of Poland, an
administrative palimpsest, which required the payment of Peters Pence from all the lands
of the ancient kingdom.
212 chapter five

was most importantthe narrative of the Teutonic Knights betrayal of

Konrad. Only a few witnesses talked about the boundaries, and none
talked directly about the towns.
There is a disconnect between the procurators arguments, the judges
questions, and the witnesses testimonies. It often seems like they are
talking past each other. What was most important for the procurators in
proving their case was not what was most important for the witnesses in
justifying their beliefs. The procurators were thinking about the Chemno
land in terms of a reason of state.53 The conditions under which the Teu-
tonic Knights had acquired the Chemno land mattered little in their view.
It was an integral part of the ancient kingdom of Poland and therefore
inalienable from those possessions King Kazimierz held nomine regni.
The witnesses, however, completely missed the point of this argument,
instead linking the Chemno land to the other lost Polish lands, not
through Kazimierzs royal authority, but rather through a narrative of
Teutonic deceit.
A couple of witnesses, however, did come close to agreeing with the
procurators argument of ratio regni, which some Polish scholars have
picked up on to demonstrate the development of a theory of a reason
of state in fourteenth-century Poland.54 First, Bishop Jan Grot of Krakw
related a meeting between King Wadysaw and an envoy sent to him by
the grandmaster of the Teutonic Knights which he says took place about
fifteen years earlier, when he was chancellor to Kazimierzs father in
Kujawy. Jan testified that Wadysaw told the legate:
[The Chemno land was] his and belonged to him by reason of his regnal
authority, saying among other things that his, the said lord Wadysaws,

53Gaines Post points out that ratio status regni [was] subordinate to a higher reason
of State, and the abstraction of corporate State from status regni was not as complete
as in the modern age. But, he also argues that although generally kings said that they
were maintaining or defending the status regni instead of the regnum, in fact they had
in mind something similar to the concept of the State. In Western Europe in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries, or in Poland in the fourteenth century, the concept of reason
of state was most frequently expressed as the just cause, necessity, or evident utility of
making a law, doing justice, or fighting a war for the public and common utility, the status,
of the kingdom [Gaines Post, Ratio Publicae Utilitatis, Ratio Status, and Reason of State,
11001300, in Studies in Medieval Legal Thought: Public Law and the State, 11001322 (Prin
ceton: Princeton University Press, 1964), 250, 303304].
54Helena Chopocka, Procesy Polski z Zakonem Krzyackim w XIV wieku: Studium
rdoznawcze (Pozna: Pastwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1967), 218; Jan Baszkiewiecz,
Prawo rzymskie i kanoniczne w kulturze politycznej Polski XIII i XIV stulecia, in Historia
kultury redniowiecznej w Polsce, ed. Aleksander Gieysztor (Warszawa: Polskie Towarzystwo
Historyczne, 1963), 9091; Grzybowski, Corona Regni, 318; Labuda, Stanowisko.
pomerania between poland and prussia 213

grandfather, whose name the lord bishop who is speaking did not remember,
had granted the said land to the said brothers of the Crusaders [Teutonic
Knights] as a precarial grant and had conceded it to them for assaulting the
infidel Prussians who were in the areas surrounding the said land, and under
this pact and condition, that the said Prussians having been subjugated, they
were bound to restore the said land of Chemno and its castles, villages, and
places as they had been granted to them by the said grandfather of the said
lord King Wadysaw or to his successors without contradiction, but rather
peacefully and without a lawsuit.55
The bishops statement that it was Wadysaw who said this is worth not-
ing. Bishop Jan did not explicitly endorse this message. He also said that
he had not bothered to read the charter that Wadysaw showed to the
envoy, because he was busy with other matters at the time.56 Bishop Jan
had quarreled with both Kazimierz and his father, even excommunicat-
ing Kazimierz a few years before the trial, to which Kazimierz replied by
asking the pope to remove the bishop because of his disobedience.57 The
Pope urged the two men to make peace in April 1338,58 but it still seems
unlikely that less than a year after this dispute had ended Jan and Kazimi-
erz saw eye to eye on matters of ecclesia and regnum.
The second declaration of royal authority was made by Archbishop
Janisaw of Gniezno. He did not, however, make this statement in
response to the Chemno land, to which he gave the standard reply of the
other witnesses, but instead in response to questions about another of
the disputed lands. He explained that King Kazimierz should possess this
land because the lord king of Poland is lord of all the territories located
within the kingdom of Poland, and he gives to those he wants and takes
away from those he wants.59 Polish scholars have traditionally viewed

55...[terra Culmensi erat sua] et eum pertineb[at] racione regni sui, dicens inter
cetera, quod avus suus, dicti domini Wladislai, de cuius nomine non recordabatur ipse
dominus episcopus qui loquitur, dictam terram Culmensem dictis fratribus Cruciferis tra-
didit precario et concessit pro expugnacione Pruthenorum infidelium qui erant in circuitu
dicte terre, sub hoc pacto et condicione, quod subiugatis dictis Pruthenis, dictam terram
Culmensem et castra, villas et loca ipisus, prout eis concessa fuerant, tenerentur dicto
avo dicti domini Wladislai regis seu eius successoribus restituere sine contradiccione qua-
cunque pacifice et sine lite [Lites I (2), 287].
56Lites I (2), 287.
57Knoll, Rise, 71, 84, 88; Mieczysaw Niwiski, Biskup krakowski Jan Grotowic i zatargi
jego z Wodzisawem okietkiem i Kazimierzem Wielkim. Ustp z dziejw stosunku
Kocioa do Pastwa w Polsce w w. XIV, Nova Polonia Sacra 3 (1939), 5799.
58Knoll, Rise, 100.
59...dominus rex Polonie est dominus omnium terrarum infra regnum Polonie con-
sistencium et dat cui vult, et cui vult aufert [Lites I (2), 369].
214 chapter five

this statement as an expression of royal power.60 Be that as it may, this

phrase is not an expression of ratio regni. The kingdom is not presented
as a public institution; instead the lands of the kingdom are viewed as
Kazimierzs to do with as he pleases. This is another expression of the
patrimonial rather than public character of the state, and it is in keeping
with Janisaws 1321 ruling when he headed the papal tribunal that found
in favor of Kazimierzs father, who also argued that the disputed lands
belonged to him because of personal rather than public rights. In fact, in
this earlier ruling, which was entered into evidence in the 1339 trial, Arch-
bishop Janisaw read from the papal bull authorizing the earlier trial. This
bull was based on the petition submitted by Kazimierzs fathers lawyers,
who recognized the legitimacy and permanency of Konrads grant:
...Duke Konrad of Poland, grandfather of that same duke [Wadysaw], first
called the master and brothers, whom he believed true defenders of the
Catholic faith, to those parts for the defense of the same faith, and he freely
conceded to them some movable and immovable goods....61
Although the Chemno land is not mentioned by name, it can be assumed.
Certainly Janisaw remembered that in the earlier trial Wadysaw did
not challenge the legitimacy of any of the earlier grants to the Teutonic
Knights made by his family. But that earlier trial had taken place less than
a year after Wadysaws coronation, ending a long period in which the
kingdom of Poland had ceased to exist as a functioning political organiza-
tion. Perhaps nearly two decades of continuous kingship were changing
the archbishops views on royal authority.
The fact that this definition of Kazimierzs power came from the chief
ecclesiastic of the kingdom does raise some interesting questions about
the relationship between the Polish regnum and ecclesia in the early four-
teenth century. One would perhaps assume that the archbishop did not
think ratio regni applied to church lands that were protected by ecclesias-
tical immunities. If so, this might indicate that the Teutonic Knights were
regarded by Poles solely as territorial lords and no longer as a monastic
order. This, of course, had not always been the case. Although the wit-
nesses in 1339 remembered the purpose of Konrads grant to be a purely

60 See among others, Krzyaniakowa, Regnum, 76. Knoll presents a more balanced
assessment of the extent of royal authority (Rise, 170).
61 ...Conradus dux Polonie, avus eiusdem ducis, eosdem magistrum et fratres, quos
veros credebat katholice fidei defensores, ad partes illas pro defensione ipsius fidei primi-
tus advocavit et nonnulla inmobilia et mobilia bona liberaliter concessit eisdem... [Lites
I (2), 123].
pomerania between poland and prussia 215

military one, the role of the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century
had been to protect both the bodies and the souls of Christians. Polish
and Pomeranian nobles granted lands to the Teutonic Knights to combat
both the physical and spiritual enemies of Latin Christendom.62 None of
the witnesses, however, remembered the Teutonic Knights as anything
other than predatory lords, who had been invited to Poland to help clear
out the pagan invaders, and then carve out their own patch of territory
in Prussia. They were often referred to by the geographical epithet de
Prussia.63 They were the territorial lords of Prussia, or in the minds of
some contemporaries new Prussians, who were a far greater threat to
the kingdom than the pagan Prussians had ever been. As such they could
not exist within the boundaries of the kingdom of Poland. This narrative
of deceit also played a role in the witnesses determination of whether
Pomerania lay within Poland or Prussia.
The majority of the witnesses agreed with the sentiment most eloquently
expressed by Archbishop Janisaw of Gniezno that always from antiquity,
about which memory of men to the contrary does not exist, the said land
of Pomerania belongs and has belonged to the kingdom of Poland, and it
is within that kingdom and possessed by princes of Poland.64 However,
since this time existed beyond the memories of the witnesses, they had
no memories to share with the judges. Almost all of the witnesses agreed
that the dukes of Pomerania had been loyal dukes of Poland, although
what this phrase actually meant to themconsidering the nebulous place
of Kazimierzs cousins within his kingdom and the fact that many Pol-
ish dukes existed outside the kingdom of Polandis difficult to know.
The trial itself was convened in Warsaw, a town in the duchy of Mazovia,
which was ruled by independent Polish dukes, who chose not to join the
kingdom of Poland. We will return to the idea that Polish dukes could rule

62See chapters one and two.

63Lites I (2), 9495; although the Knights had originated as one of many translocal
religious organizations on the Polish-Prussian borderland in the thirteenth century, their
territorialization in Prussia during the early fourteenth century created a situation in
which the Knights came to be identified by the name of the people they conqueredthe
Prussians. As David H. Kaplan explains in the context of a different borderland society:
Over time, as a group occupies and delineates a particular territory, a transformation
occurs. Instead of the group defining the territory, the territory comes to define the group
[Kaplan, 44].
64...semper ab antiquo, de quo memoria hominum in contrarium non existit, dicta
terra Pomoranie pertinet et pertinuit ad regnum Polonie et est infra ipsum regnum et per
principes Polonie possessa [Lites I (2), 367].
216 chapter five

only within the kingdom of Poland below when we examine the dukes
of Kujawy. First, let us turn to an interesting attempt to reconcile the
past with the present political situation expressed by one of Kazimierzs
Palatine Albert of Brze, who was old enough to remember Mciwj
granting his land to Przemys over 50 years earlier, did remember a time in
which Pomerania did not belong to the kingdom of Poland, a time when
Pomerania was appropriated by subordinates who established themselves
as dukes, a time very similar to what actually happened:
...the king or prince sent to the said land of Pomerania and established in
it a starosta, as he heard, who answered to the said king for the revenues
of the said land; and it so happened that those starostas held the said land
for so great a time that, being free from the kingdom of Poland, they called
themselves lords and dukes of the said land.65
Although this is the closest that any of the witnesses actually came to an
accurate portrayal of the creation of the Pomeranian dynasty, it is evident
that he too has tried to make this story fit into the present political cir-
cumstances. First, there had been neither a kingdom of Poland nor staros-
tas in the early thirteenth century. These royal officials were introduced
into Poland in the 1290s by King Vclav II of Bohemia.66 Second, the dukes
of Pomerania came from the local aristocracy, not from Poland. As a
royal official himself and the brother of Wadysaws starosta in Pomera-
nia it is understandable that he would have thought that such a system
had been in place since time immemorial, and Mciwjs submission
to Przemys returned the proper political order in Pomerania. Yet, two
chronicles, both written by clerics at the turn of the fourteenth century,
also present a similar political situation in early thirteenth-century Poland.
For these chroniclers, witopek was a capitaneus or procurator of the
ruler of the kingdom of Poland, who had usurped the duchy of Pomera-
nia for himself.67 Like Albert, they imagined that he was a royal official,
but these chroniclers (writing several decades before the trial) did not
believe that witopek was a Pole. witopek and the people he led

65...rex seu princeps ad dictam terram Pomoranie mittebat seu constituetebat in ea

unum capitaneum, ut audivit, qui de redditibus dicte terre dicto regi respondebat; et ita
factum fuit, quod illi capitanei tanto tempore tenuerunt dictam terram, quod, vacante
regno Polonie, se dominos et duces dicte terre vocaverunt [Lites I (2), 347].
66Knoll, Rise, 27. See below for a detailed analysis of the impact of Bohemian absentee
rule upon the witnesses memories.
67Chronica Poloniae Maioris, MPH ns 8:88; Miersuae Chronicon, MPH 3:47.
pomerania between poland and prussia 217

were Pomeranians or Kaszubians.68 At the turn of the fourteenth cen-

tury, and even at the time of the first trial,69 Pomeranians were recognized
as a different people. By 1339, however, Pomeranians and the dukes of
Pomerania had become Poles. After all, if Pomerania had always been part
of the kingdom of Poland, then it must have always been inhabited by
Poles. By 1339 ethnicity had come to matter in a way that it had not in the
thirteenth century or even earlier in the fourteenth century.

Ethnicity as Proof of the Historical Polishness of Pomerania

The matter of the ethnicity of the inhabitants of Pomerania played no

role in Polish claims to the duchy during the first trial. Some of the Pol-
ish witnesses and judges even differentiated themselves from the locals
[terrigeni]70 or Pomeranians [Pomorani].71 In the second trial, however,
many of the witnesses appealed to the ethnicity of the dukes and inhab-
itants of Pomerania as proof of the duchys historical place within the
kingdom of Poland. What is even more remarkable is that they did this
without any prompting from the lawyers or judges. Although the Pomera-
nian articles of dispute (see appendix three, articles 48) imply that since
Pomerania was part of the historical kingdom of Poland it must have been
ruled by Poles, the judges did not infer from this that the witnesses should
prove the Polishness of these rulers. The witnesses appear to have done
this entirely on their own initiative.
For example, the deacon of Pock testified that Duke Mciwj was a
Pole [Polonus],72 as did the castellan of Inowrocaw73 and the Pomeranian
knight Milost.74 The provost of Gniezno stated that Mciwj was of the
people of the princes of Poland,75 and the starosta of Sieradz testified
that he heard from his parents and elders that the princes and dukes
who were in that land were Poles and lived under the king of Poland....76

68 Chronica Poloniae Maioris, MPH ns 8:88; Miersuae Chronicon, MPH 3:47.

69 See chapter four for an analysis of the victims of the Gdask massacre in the 1320
70 Lites I (3), 31, 42.
71 Lites I (3), 30, 43.
72 Lites I (2), 168.
73 Lites I (2), 400.
74 Lites I (2), 364.
75 ...de gente principum de Polonia... [Lites I (2), 211].
76 ...audivit a parentibus et senioribus suis, quod principes et duces, qui fuerunt in
illa terra, fuerunt Poloni et sub rege Polonie consistebant [Lites I (2), 216].
218 chapter five

The knight Niemir from Szczynik in Great Poland stated that Mciwj
was a Pole and always represented himself to the kingdom of Poland as
a prince of the kingdom of Poland.77
Some of the witnesses, however, seem to have been puzzled about
Mciwjs place within this historical kingdom. Tomasz of Zajczkowo,
an ethnically Polish knight from Chemno (in the Ordensstaat) who had
fought with the Knights in their wars against Poland, testified that he
heard that Duke Mciwj, the duke of Poland, as a lord and prince of
Poland, held and possessed the said land of Pomerania as a land of the
kingdom and one that is within the kingdom.78 It is unclear what exactly
Tomasz meant by dux Polonie, because he did not talk about Wadysaws
succession to the throne after Przemyss death. It is possible that he was
referring to Mciwj as one of a number of Polish dukes who held land
in the name of the kingdom of Poland. Other witnesses maintained this.79
But, it is entirely possible that he thought that Mciwj was in fact the
duke of Poland, the ruler of all of Poland, not just of Pomerania. The for-
mer palatine of Pomerania also implied this, having stated that he saw all
three of them [Mciwj, Przemys, and Wadysaw] rule in the said land of
Pomerania as lords and kings of Poland.80
Yet, this is not simply a matter of internalizing the royal arguments.
Some of the Pomeranian witnesses made clear that they had come to
think of themselves and their compatriots as Poles. For example, Miecaw
of Konecko
heard from his many elders and progenitors that the aforesaid land of
Pomerania always is and was from ancient times, of which memory of men
does not exist to the contrary, of the kingdom of Poland and located within
the boundaries of the kingdom of Poland, and the witness who is speaking

77...fuit Polonus et qui semper se tenuit ad regnum Polonie tamquam princeps de

regno Polonie... [Lites I (2), 405].
78...dux Mistiwoyus, dux Polonie, dictam terram Pomoranie tamquam terram de
regno et que est infra regnum tenuit et possedit sicut dominus et princeps de Polonia
[Lites I (2), 305].
79dux Mistiwoyus dominus dicte terre Pomoranie dictam terram tenebat et posside-
bat pacifice et quiete nomine regni Polonie et tamquam princeps de Polonia... [Duke
Mciwj, lord of the said land of Pomerania, held and possessed the said land peacefully
and quietly in the name of the kingdom of Poland and as a prince of Poland Lites I (2),
392]. ...[dux Mistiwoyus] terram Pomoranie...tenuit...sicut dux et dominus dicte terre
Pomoranie et dux de regno Polonie... [Duke Mciwj held the land of Pomerania as
duke and lord of the said land of Pomerania and a duke of the kingdom of Poland Lites
I (2), 397].
80...vidit omnes tres istos dominari in dicta terra Pomoranie sicut dominos et reges
Polonie... [Lites I (2), 388].
pomerania between poland and prussia 219

as a youth was in the aforesaid land of Pomerania and saw that all the
inhabitants were Poles and that they held themselves to be of the kingdom
of Poland.81
Similarly, Piotr, the castellan of Radzim, whose mother was the daugh-
ter of wica, the patriarch of the powerful family of Pomeranian nobles
who opposed Wadysaws rule, said that he heard from his mother that
Mciwj in language, customs, and laws thought of himself as a Pole and
always of the kingdom of Poland and within the same kingdom.82
Nevertheless, the witnesses were aware that neither Pomerania nor
Poland was an ethnically homogenous territory. Many of the witnesses
themselves were in fact ethnic Germans.83 And some Polish witnesses
took it upon themselves to speak for Germans who were not present. The
archdeacon of Pock, the same witness who argued above that Pomerania
was part of Poland because the same language was spoken in both lands,
also stated that the land or duchy of Pomerania is of the kingdom of
Poland and within the kingdom, and there is common knowledge about
the aforesaid among both the locals and the Germans and other foreign-
ers living within the kingdom of Poland and beyond....84 His point in
differentiating native Poles from foreigners living in Poland and linking
these foreigners to their ethnic communities abroad was to strengthen
Kazimierzs claim to Pomerania by demonstrating that even the Knights
German compatriots recognized this. On the other hand, the elderly pala-
tine of Brze, mentioned above, related that he heard Mciwj say to
Przemys about Pomerania: lord, accept that land because it is yours and
I fear that after my death you will have a struggle with the Germans and
the other inhabitants of the said land, because perhaps they would be

81 ...audivit a multis senioribus et progenitoribus suis, quod predicta terra Pomoranie

semper est et fuit ab antiquo tempore, de cuius contrario hominum memoria non existit,
de regno Polonie et infra metas regni Polonie constituta, et ipse testis qui loquitur, existens
iuvenis fuit in predicta terra Pomoranie et vidit quod omnes habitantes erant Poloni et
quod se tenebant de regno Polonie [Lites I (2), 404].
82 ...qui lingua et moribus ac legibus se tenebat tamquam Polonus et semper de regno
Polonie et infra ipsum regnum [Lites I (2), 338].
83 Wiesaw Sieradzan estimates that 15% of the witnesses were Germans. Many of the
burghers, as well as the mendicants who ministered to them could very well have been
ethnic Germans [Das nationale Selbstbewutsein der Zeugen in den Prozessen zwischen
Polen und dem Deutschen Orden im 14.15. Jahrhundert, in Nationale, ethnische Mind-
erheiten und regionale Identitten in Mittelalter und Neuzeit, ed. Antoni Czacharowski
(Toru: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikoaja Kopernika, 1994), 168].
84 ...terra et ducatus Pomoranie est de regno Polonie et infra regnum, et est vox et
fama publica de predictis tam inter indigenas quam inter Alamannos et alios alienigenas
habitantes intra regnum Polonie et extra... [Lites I (2), 163].
220 chapter five

unwilling to accept you after my death.85 This passage seems to imply

that not only the Germans, but also the Pomeranians would reject rule by
a foreign lord, even if he were the legitimate lord of the land. Yet, just as
this man was the only witness who remembered the independence of the
duchy of Pomerania, so was he also the only one who remembered that
the Pomeranians had not always regarded themselves (or been regarded
by others) as Poles.
The ethnicity of the Pomeranians also played a role in the Knights own
defense of their claims to Pomerania. Although they refused to participate
in this trial, they provided a narrative of the dispute for their procurator-
general in Avignon. This document, written in 1335, takes the narrative
back to Duke Mciwj, who is called a native prince.86 The Pomeranians
are treated as a distinct people in this narrative. Not only that, but there is a
special, historical relationship between the Knights and the Pomeranians.
According to this story, the Knights promised Mciwj that they would act
as protectors of his duchy after his death, and that they would only permit
those whom the Pomeranians elected to rule over Pomerania.87 In their
explanation of why the Knights came to the defense of the Pomeranians
they explained that the Pomeranians did not want the margraves of Bran-
denburg as their lords because they were Germans.88 Antoni Prochaska
points out the obvious fact that the Knights were also Germans, so such a
justification of the Knights rule in Pomerania does not make very much
sense.89 But this formulation is perhaps designed to make the case that as
a translocal religious organization charged with defending the frontiers of
Latin Christendom from pagans, the Knights attempted to present them-
selves to the papacy as transcending ethnic disputes.
I do not want to belabor the argument about the importance of ethnic-
ity to the witnesses. Certainly ethnicity was important to at least some of
the witnesses, but I think that Jan Baszkiewicz makes too strong a case

85...domine, recipiatis terram istam quia vestra est et timeo, quod post mortem meam
haberetis brigam cum Theutonicis et aliis habitatoribus dicte terre, quia forsan nollent vos
recipere post mortem meam [Lites I (2), 348].
86Das selbe lant hatte einen gebornen fursten, der his herczog Mestwyn [Antoni
Prochaska, Z Archiwum Zakonu Niemieckiego. Analekta z wieku XIV i XV, Archiwum
Komisyi Historyczne 11 (19091913), 241].
87...sie hatten getan bei eres hern Mestwis geczeyten, ab ir here Mestwyn sturbe,
das die bruder keinen hern sulden lossen czyhen in das lant czu Pomern vort, unde die
Pomern keinen hern nemen sulden... (Prochaska, 243).
88...sie nicht gerne czu hern hatten, wenne sie dutczes geczunges woren...
(Prochaska, 242243).
89Prochaska, 223.
pomerania between poland and prussia 221

arguing that the witnesses defined Pomerania as an ethnically Polish

region inhabited by an ethnically Polish population, speaking the Pol-
ish language, and governed by Polish dukes.90 It is true that some of the
witnesses made these justifications on their own, without any prompting
from the royal procurators arguments or the judges questions. But Basz-
kiewicz cobbles together his statement of Polish national consciousness
in Pomerania from selected anecdotes taken from numerous testimonies;
it is not an expression of the collective opinion of the witnesses. Some
witnesses did make some very strong arguments for the Polishness of the
Pomeranians, but most did not have anything to say on the topic. After
all, ethnic Germans still constituted a sizable minority of the population
of Poland (and Pomerania) at this time. The fact that some of the wit-
nesses believed that the Pomeranians were Polish was meant to buttress
their arguments about the historicity of Polands claims to the land, not
to prove that ethnicity alone should determine territoriality. It was only in
the post-World War II environment in which Baszkiewicz was writinga
world in which forced migrations of peoples remade the ethnic landscape
of East Central Europethat such arguments would make sense.91
Andrzej Wojtkowski, who also published studies of the trials in the
decades immediately after the Second World War, follows Baszkiewiczs
reasoning concerning the primacy of ethnicity in the minds of the wit-
nesses, elaborating upon his point that the witnesses did not refer to
the dukes of Pomerania as belonging to the royal Piast family because
ethnicity was more important to them than dynastic affiliation.92 There
are, however, a number of problems with the conclusion that the wit-
nesses were legalistically and consciously choosing which facts to omit
from their testimonies. First, this argument rests on the assumption that
the witnesses knew that the Pomeranian dukes were descended from a
different dynasty than the Polish dukes. Only one of the witnesses clearly
related the idea that the Pomeranian dynasty was formed by lesser nobles,
rebelling against the rule of their superiors. Also, if the witnesses had, in

90 Jan Baszkiewicz, Powstanie zjednoczonego pastwa polskiego na przeomie XIII i XIV

wieku (Warszawa: Ksiaka i Wiedza, 1954), 409.
91 For more on the forced migrations following the Second World War, see Alfred J.
Rieber, Repressive Population Transfers in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe:
A Historical Overview, in Forced Migration in Central and Eastern Europe, 19391950, ed.
Alfred J. Rieber (London: Routledge, 2000), 127.
92 Andrzej Wojtkowski, Tezy i argumenty polskie w sporach terytorialnych z
Krzyakami. Cz pierwsza (13101454), Komunikaty Mazursko-Warmiskie 91 (1966), 29;
Baszkiewicz, Powstanie, 409.
222 chapter five

fact, been aware of Polands distant past, they would have known that
Pomeranians had only recently become Poles in the historical record.
Before their conversion in the twelfth century, and even into the thir-
teenth century, the Pomeranians were remembered in Polish chronicles
as at best foreigners and at worst pagan savages.93 Second, even if they
had possessed this knowledge, arguments that the Pomeranian dukes
were Piasts would have done them little good, considering that the Piast
dukes in Silesia and Mazovia either remained independent or recog-
nized the lordship of the kings of Bohemia, who themselves occupied a
problematical place in the historical kingdom of Poland envisioned by
Kazimierzs lawyers. Both the issues of Bohemian rule in Poland and the
recognition by other Piast dukes of the king of Polands authority need to
be analyzed fully in order to make sense of how the witnesses dealt with
Wadysaws convoluted path to dominion over Pomerania. Before doing
this, though, it would be useful to compare the treatment of ethnicity in
the Pomeranian trial records to those records dealing with other disputed
lands, particularly Chemno.
While questioning the very first witness in the trial, the judges asked
a question that was not explicitly stated in the articles of dispute: Were
there Poles living in the Chemno land at the time Kazimierzs great-
grandfather granted the land to the Knights? The witness replied that
there were Poles there at that time and that Poles still made up the major-
ity of the population there.94 Although the articles state that this had been
a Polish land ab antiquo, they do not explicitly say that the people liv-
ing there are ethnic Poles. Also, the fact that the witness talked about
the present population as being mostly Polish advanced the argument
beyond what the judges asked. The judges seem to have been trying to
get the witness to address the argument in the article that the towns and
villages in this land were there before the arrival of the Teutonic Knights.
The witness, however, interpreted this as an argument about who should
now be included in the kingdom. If a land was and is predominately
Polish, this is not only evidence that it had been historically Polish, but
also that it should now be included in the kingdom of Poland. Unfortu-
nately, the judges did not continue this line of questioning, so we cannot

93See chapter one.

94Interrogatus, si in illa terra Culmensi tempore quo tradita fuit Cruciferis erant
Poloni, dixit, quod sic, ut audivit dici, et adhuc sunt pro magna parte ut dixit [Lites I (2),
pomerania between poland and prussia 223

c ompare the reply of the first witness to the responses of any of the other
witnesses. We also do not know what this witness thought made someone
Polish. But even without being explicitly asked at least some witnesses
thought that the ethnicity of the inhabitants was important for determin-
ing whether lands were Polish: there are and always have been Poles in
the land of Pomerania testified one witness, while another affirmed that
there is one and the same language in Poland and Pomerania because all
the people living in [Pomerania] commonly speak Polish, and another
argued that the people of that land of Dobrzy speak Polish, just as in
a land that is of the kingdom of Poland and within the same kingdom.95
Such linguistic affinity proved to the witnesses that these lands must have
been part of the ancient kingdom of Poland and so should be part of the
present kingdom.
Some Polish historians have seen in these witnesses testimonies an
emergence of widespread national consciousness in Poland, and Andrzej
Wojtkowski has gone so far as to argue that this was probably the first
time in European history that the ethnicity of the population of disputed
lands was argued as a factor in the resolution of a border dispute.96 More
recently, however, Polish historians like Sawomir Gawlas97 and Wiesaw
Sieradzan98 have presented a more nuanced approach to sentiments of
national consciousness in these trials. These are indeed powerful expres-
sions of ethnic identity, made all the more so because they were for the
most part unsolicited, but ethnicity is a concept that needs to be treated
carefully here. First, it is apparent from the witnesses testimonies that

95...in dicta terra Pomoranie sunt et fuerunt semper Poloni.... [Lites I (2), 291];
Dixit eciam, quod una et eadem lingua est in Pomorania et Polonia, quia omnes homines
communiter habitantes in ea locuntur polonicum... [Lites I (2), 163]; ...gentes illius
terre Dobrinensis locuntur polonicum, sicut in terra, que est de regno Polonie et infra
ipsum regnum... [Lites I (2), 271].
96Wojtkowski, Tezy, 26; more recent scholarship on this topic by Robert Barlett, R.R.
Davies, and others has shown that this type of argumentation was becoming more com-
mon in this period [Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization, and Cul-
tural Change, 9001350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 198204; R.R. Davies,
Presidential Address: The Peoples of Britain and Ireland, 11001400: IV. Language and His-
torical Mythology, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6th series 7 (1997), 124].
97Sawomir Gawlas, Verus Heres. Z bada nad wiadomoci polityczn obozu
Wadysawa okietka w pocztku XIV w., Kwartalnik Historyczny 95 (1988), 77104;
Sawomir Gawlas, Stan bada nad polsk wiadomoci narodow w redniowieczu, in
Pastwo, nard, stany w wiadomoci wiekw rednich: Pamici Benedykta Zientary, 192983,
ed. Aleksander Gieysztor and Sawomir Gawlas (Warszawa: PWN, 1990), 149194.
98Sieradzan, Das nationale Selbstbewustsein, 161169.
224 chapter five

their concept of ethnicity is inclusive rather than exclusive. The witnesses

were not defining themselves against Germans (or Hungarians or Czechs
or even pagans), but rather as Poles. For several of the witnesses being Pol-
ish meant speaking Polish. This, however, was also at times an excluding
factor, for it seems that at least some of the German immigrants living in
Poland did not bother to learn Polish. There is the famous (or infamous)
and spectacular story from 1312 in which Wadysaw, Kazimierzs father,
found out the identities of those burghers in Krakw who had revolted
against him by having them say four very difficult Polish words.99 Those
who could not were executed. Such an expression of ethnic identity as
linguistic identity seems to support what Robert Bartlett identifies as a
growing stand of linguistic nationalism or politicized linguistic conscious-
ness emerg[ing] in the later Middle Ages.100
However, despite these examples, the relationship between ethnicity
and political affiliation remains a difficult concept to pin down in the trial
documents. Germans testified as Polish witnesses in the trial, as did Poles
who had fought with the Teutonic Knights against Poland.101 Sieradzan
estimates that 15% of the witnesses were Germans.102 These were primar-
ily burghers, as several towns in medieval Poland were largely populated

99 Following Mayor Alberts Revolt in 13111312, those accused German burghers who
could not say the Polish words soczewica (lentils), koo (wheel), miele (grinds), and myn
(mill), were executed [Rocznik Krasiskich, ed. A. Bielowski, in MPH 3: 133]. This story is
recounted in most studies of medieval Polish-German conflict [Jan Piskorski, After Occi-
dentalism: The Third Europe Writes Its Own History, in Historiographical Approaches to
Medieval Colonization of East Central Europe, ed. Jan M. Piskowski (Boulder: East European
Monographs, 2002), 11; Konstantin Symmons-Symonolewicz, National Consciousness in
Poland until the End of the Fourteenth Century: A Sociological Interpretation, Canadian
Review of Studies in Nationalism 8 (1981), 260; Knoll, Rise, 33; Bartlett, Making, 235]. Inter-
estingly, it is not the only example of a medieval linguistic ordeal in which a group of
people had to prove their loyalty by saying certain words related to food. For other exam-
ples see Len Scales, Bread, Cheese and Genocide: Imagining the Destruction of Peoples
in Medieval Western Europe, History 92 (2007), 284300.
100Bartlett, Making, 201.
101 One particularly fascinating demonstration of the mutability of political and ethnic
identity and its links with storytelling comes from two ethnically Polish knights who had
fought for the Ordensstaat. Although Bogusaw azka and Tomasz of Zajczkowo had
been the enemies of the kingdom of Poland, they testified against the Teutonic Knights
in 1339 and even used as evidence of the Knights perfidy a subverted version of the story
told by the Knights chronicler, Peter of Dusburg, about how the first Knights in Prussia
built a fort in an oak tree. For more on this see my Boundary Narratives and Tales of
Teutonic Treachery on the Frontier of Latin Christendom: The Early Fourteenth-Century
Disputes between the Kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat, in Monasteries
on the Borders of Medieval Europe: Conflict and Cultural Interaction, ed. Emilia Jamroziak
and Karen Stber (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013).
102Sieradzan, Das nationale Selbstbewutsein, 168.
pomerania between poland and prussia 225

by ethnic Germans, but it also seems possible to include at least some of

the clergy in this group, especially the mendicants, who served primar-
ily in urban environments and would need to be able to communicate
with the German inhabitants. We just do not know enough about many
of the witnesses to determine the ethnic identity of each of them (the
use of common Christian names rather than obviously Slavic or Germanic
names does not make this job any easier). What we can glean from these
testimonies, though, is that at the height of enmity between the kingdom
of Poland and the Teutonic Ordensstaat, at a time when people were
beginning to think about the relationship between political, territorial,
and ethnic identity, categories like German and Pole were always fluid.
We can also see this in the testimonies about Peters Pence,103 an
annual tax owed to the papacy which the royal lawyers claimed was paid
only by men living within the kingdom of Poland and no others adjoining
the same kingdom.104 Although this was not a marker of ethnic identity,
because as explained in chapter three, non-Poles living in Poland also had
to pay Peters Pence, it was a marker of territorial identity and episcopal
affiliation that the royal procurators tried to turn into an argument for
political affiliation.
Considering these contrasting views of where the boundaries of the
kingdom lay, and the rather vague phrase in the articles about other
[land]s adjoining the...kingdom, this gave the witnesses another chance
to specify, if not where the kingdom of Poland was, then at least where it
was not. Most of the witnesses simply recited the ambiguous definition of
the article, but seven of them did mention other lands. The most popular
were the kingdom of Hungary,105 mentioned by all seven witnesses, and
the kingdom of Bohemia,106 mentioned by six of the witnesses. One of
the witnesses also mentioned the mark of Brandenburg,107 while another
witness curiously made the rather self-evident statement that this tax was
not paid in pagan lands.108 None of the witnesses, however, recognized
the Ordensstaat or Prussia as one of the surrounding lands. One of the
witnesses mentioned Germany [Alamania],109 but he did not specify

103Erich Maschke, Der Peterspfenning in Polen und dem deutschen Osten (Leipzig: Hin-
richs, 1933); Tadeusz Gromnicki, witopietrze w Polsce (Krakw: A. Koziaski, 1908).
104See appendix three, article 2.
105Witnesses 16, 8.
106Witnesses 12, 46, 8.
107Witness 2.
108Witness 8.
109Witness 6.
226 chapter five

whether the lands of the Teutonic Knights should be included in this des-
ignation. It is also possible that the witnesses simply did not consider the
Ordensstaat as a state like Hungary, Bohemia, Brandenburg, or even the
pagan lands. How far did the witnesses think the rights of the kingdom of
Poland extended into the lands held by the Teutonic Knights? If the Teu-
tonic Knights had been stealing lands from Polish rulers since they first
came to Poland, what rights did the Teutonic Knights have to any of the
lands they held? Were the inhabitants of not only the Chemno land but
also the other lands governed by the Knights viewed as people who would
have been loyal subjects of the king of Poland if they had not been gov-
erned and led astray by the Teutonic Knights? In the fifteenth century the
inhabitants of the Ordensstaat would make these very arguments,110 but it
would require historiographical imaginative hindsight111 to see the origin
of this ideology in the witnesses testimonies from 1339. Still, when faced
with the opportunity of describing the other against which the witnesses
could define their own political and geographical identity, it is odd that
the witnesses ignored the defendants in the lawsuit. But this omission is
not nearly as puzzling as one concerning another neighboring landthe
kingdom of Bohemia. Memory of this kingdoms union with Poland in first
decade of the fourteenth century was almost completely erased from the
collective consciousness of the witnesses in both the 1320 and 1339 trials.

Forgetting the Union of Bohemia and Poland

Of the nearly 100 witnesses who testified about the history of Pomera-
nia in the two trials only three mentioned the six years of Bohemian
rule (13001306) between Wadysaws two periods of rule in Poland and
PomeraniaBishop Jan odzia of Pozna,112 Provost Iwo of Gniezno,113

110 In 1454, when the inhabitants not just of Chemno, but also of Prussia, revolted
against the Teutonic Knights, they wrote a letter to the king of Poland, justifying their
rebellion by stating that they wanted to be reunited with their ancient head and body,
from which they had been unjustly severed by the Teutonic Knights (prisco nostro capiti
et primaevo corpori) [Stanislaus F. Belch, Paulus Vladimiri and His Doctrine Concerning
International Law and Politics (The Hague: Mouton, 1965), 1: 499].
111 Susan Reynolds explains how the teleology of national historiography has distorted
our views about the formation of medieval states, and that we should abandon such imagi-
native hindsight and look for answers in contemporary evidence (Kingdoms, 277).
112 Lites I (2), 150.
113 Lites I (2), 211.
pomerania between poland and prussia 227

and witosaw, Wadysaws former palatine of Pomerania.114 Although

he did not mention Bohemian rule explicitly, one could also add to this
list Piotr, the schoolmaster of Sandomierz, who said that he was in exile
with Wadysaw, although he did not say why or when.115 As Helena
Chopocka, one of the leading Polish scholars of these trials, points out,
this leaves two basic alternatives: either the majority did not remember
the brief reign of a foreign ruler, or else they deliberately passed over it
in silence.116 In order to consider the merits of these alternatives, we first
need to examine the testimonies of those who did remember.
As mentioned above, witosaw was an advocate of the historicity of a
unified Polish kingdom, even mistakenly positing that Mciwj had been
its king, which makes his mention of Wadysaws removal from power
in Pomerania all the more remarkable. In this brief account, however, he
simply said that Wadysaw was king and held Pomerania, the Bohemi-
ans expelled him from it, and then Wadysaw recovered it.117 He did not
explain why the Bohemians took over Pomerania, nor did he claim they
took over the entirety of Wadysaws possessions. Because of his strong
beliefs in the integrity of the historical kingdom, it seems that a few years
of foreign rule in one part of the kingdom was not worth more than a
passing reference, because Wadysawthe legitimate lord of the land
regained it.
Iwo, on the other hand, recognized Vclav II as a legitimate ruler in
both Poland and Pomerania. In fact, he claimed that Wadysaw inherited
his lands from the Bohemian king:
...the witness who is speaking was often in the said land of Pomerania with
lord Jakub [winka] the former archbishop of Gniezno, and then he saw
there in the said land of Pomerania Duke Mciwj, lord and duke of the said
land of Pomerania and of the people of the princes of Poland, and having
died, lord Przemys, formerly king of Poland, succeeded him in the said land,
and after he died King Vclav of Bohemia succeeded him in the kingdom of
Poland and in the said land of Pomerania, who peacefully and quietly held
and possessed the whole kingdom of Poland with the said land of Pomera-
nia as a land which is within the kingdom of Poland and which belongs

114Lites I (2), 389.

115Lites I (2), 378.
116Helena Chopocka, Tradycja o Pomorzu Gdaskim w zeznaniach wiadkw na pro-
cesach polsko-krzyackich w XIV i XV wieku, Roczniki Historyczne 25 (1959), 111.
117...(vidit)...Wladislaum...possidere et tenere dictam Pomoranie pacifice et quiete
sicut verum dominum ipsius et regem Polonie; et postquam habuit dictam terram, fuit
expulsus per Boemos, sed postmodum eam recuperavit totam... [Lites I (2), 389].
228 chapter five

to the same kingdom. Finally, after the said King Vclav of Bohemia and
Poland had died, lord Wadysaw, formerly king of Poland, father of that lord
Kazimierz now king of Poland, then duke of Kujawy and Poland, succeeded
him in the kingdom of Poland and in the said land of Pomerania.118
Iwo appears to be an equally strong proponent of the historical place of
Pomerania within the kingdom of Poland, even mistakenly arguing that
Mciwj was a Polish duke of the Piast dynasty. Yet, he saw no problem
with the fact that the succession to both Pomerania and Poland passed
through a foreign ruler.
Bishop Jan of Pozna also saw nothing wrong with the fact that Poland
had a foreign king. I have quoted his rather lengthy testimony on this
matter in the previous chapter (see pages 182184), so I will not repeat
it here. It is sufficient to underscore the point that not only did he share
Iwos opinion regarding the legitimacy of Bohemian rule, but he also
explained why it had come to passbecause Wadysaw was a poor
ruler. As explained in the previous chapter, this view of the past is also
preserved in the annals of his cathedral chapter, which must lead one
to question whether this written account helped to inform his memory
of events.119 While he was the only witness to recall Wadysaws misrule
and one of only three to note his exile, he was not the only witness to live
through these events. This would seem to confirm the first of Chopockas
theoriesthat in light of over three decades of good governance under
Wadysaw and his son, the witnesses had simply forgotten about the six
years of Bohemian rule through the process of structural amnesia.
Yet, this issue has long puzzled researchers of these trial records. Irene
Ziekursch, who represents the older German historiographical tradi-
tion, stops short of accusing the witnesses in this instance of consciously
concealing the truth, although she regards the testimonies in general as

118...ipse testis qui loquitur fuit pluries in dicta terra Pomoranie cum domino Iacobo
olim archiepiscopo Gneznensi, et tunc vidit ibi in dicta terra Pomoranie ducem Misti-
woium dominum et ducem dicte terre Pomoranie ac de gente principum de Polonia, et
mortuo illo, successit sibi in dicta terra dominus Premislius rex quondam Polonie, quo
postmodum mortuo, successit sibi in regno Polonie et in dicta terra Pomoranie Wen
ceslaus rex Boemie, qui totam regnum Polonie cum dicta terra Pomoranie tenuit et pos-
sedit pacifice et quiete et tamquam terram, que est infra regnum Polonie et que pertinet
ad ipsam regnum. Demum dicto Wenceslao rege Boemie et Polonie mortuo, successit
sibi in regnum Polonie et in dicta terra Pomoranie dominus Wladislaus rex quondam
Polonie, pater istius domini Kazimiri nunc regis Polonie, tunc dux Cuyavie et Polonie
[Lites I (2), 211].
119Rocznik kapituy poznaskiej, MPH ns 6: 5354.
pomerania between poland and prussia 229

deliberately mendacious.120 Instead she argues that these foreign rulers

had failed to win the support of the Poles, especially the witnesses who
were for the most part the Polish kings supporters.121 Surprisingly, this is
very similar to the explanation advanced by Wiesaw Sieradzan, who, like
other Polish scholars, supports the integrity of the legal proceedings. As he
explains, the majority of the witnesses omitted the period of Czech rule,
which could be natural, because the witnesses certainly did not regard
the period of rule by the Pemyslids in Poland in the category of a legal
line of succession.122 Yet, this legalistic definition does not account
for the specifics of the above-mentioned testimonies.
In a later essay Helena Chopocka admits she is at a loss to explain
this omission, but she disagrees with the structural amnesia argument
I have advanced:
It is impossible to explain unambiguously why, for example, only three per-
sons in 1339 (and not one in 1320) mentioned Wenceslaus II of Bohemia
among the rulers of Pomerania. Surely this was not due to a general lapse
in collective memory which retained much less important information. It
is more likely that the carefully balanced reports consciously ignored an
episode which formed a break in the uniform line of the Polish succession
in Gdask Pomeraniafrom Mciwj II and Przemys II up to Wadysaw
So, what are we to make of this? The most obvious suggestion would be
that the witnesses were deliberately omitting this information to deny
the Knights claims to Pomerania, which were based on Bohemian rule
in Poland. One could perhaps make this case for the first trial, where a
handful of witnesses were asked directly about Wadysaws succession to
the throne. But there are a few problems with this hypothesis. First, some
of the witnesses in the first trial could hardly be classified as Wadysaws
unconditional supporters (after all, he sacked Duke Wacaw of Mazovias

120 Die Zeugenaussagen, die die Verfasserin an vielen Einzelfllen auf ihre Zuverls-
sigkeit hin geprft hat, erweisen sich vielfach als geflscht [Irene Ziekursch, Der Proze
zwischen Knig Kasimir von Polen und dem deutschen Orden im Jahre 1339 (Berlin: Emil
Ebering, 1934), 154].
121 Der Grund fr den Mangel an Nachrichten ber die bhmischen Przemisliden mag
wohl der sein, da weder Wenzel II., noch Wenzel III. als landfremde Herrscher die Sympa
thien der Polen fr sich gewinnen konnten. Vor allem waren alle Anhnger des Wladislaus
Lokietek, damit auch ein groer Teil der Zeugen, ihre Gegner gewesen (Ziekursch, 76).
122 Sieradzan, wiadomo, 42.
123 Helena Chopocka, Comments on the Historical Culture of the Polish Nobility in the
14th Century, in The Polish Nobility in the Middle Ages, ed. Antoni Gsiorowski (Wrocaw:
Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 1984), 243244.
230 chapter five

capital city a few years later in 1327), so it seems that they would have
resisted coaching.124 Second, not a single witness mentioned why the
Knights would think that they had claims to Pomerania. In their minds,
the Knights took the land through conquest, betraying Wadysaws trust,
and no further proof was required.
It is even more difficult to make this argument for the second trial.
First, as explained above, in the second trial the Knights based their right
to Pomerania entirely upon Kazimierzs recognition of their rights in 1335.
Second, the articles say nothing about the succession of Polish rulers
other than from Wadysaw to Kazimierz,125 which many of the witnesses
did address in their testimonies, referring to Wadysaw as former king,
father of that Kazimierz who is now king. Third, even if the witnesses
were prepped by the prosecution along the lines of the above arguments,
there are too many discrepancies in the testimonies to argue that the wit-
nesses were supplied with pat answers. One should also consider the pos-
sibility that they took their oaths seriously and would have mentioned
the period of Bohemian rule if they had remembered it. After all, hardly
any of the witnesses from 1339 remembered that there had been a trial in
1320, even though article nine, which described the trial, is by far the most
detailed of the articles of dispute.126 The lawyers eventually gave up ask-
ing the witnesses about the first trial unless they knew the witnesses had
been personally involved in it somehow, because this event had evidently
failed to register in the social memory of Poland, a fact that the witnesses
faithfully reported.
So, where else might we look for an explanation of this striking omis-
sion by the witnesses? An answer might lie in the nature of Bohemian
governance in Poland. Although Vclav II was crowned king of Poland in
Gniezno Cathedral by the archbishop of Poland,127 he quickly returned
to Bohemia and ruled in Poland through his capitanei [Polish: starostas].128
As discussed above, these men were similar in some ways to English
sheriffs or Carolingian counts, particularly in that these officials were not
trusted too much by their lords and so were constantly shifted around, so
that they could not build territorial powers to rival their lords. As a result

124Knoll, Rise, 27; Wacaw was the 5th witness in the trial [Lites I (3), 30].
125See appendix three, article 6.
126See appendix three, article 9. Even the Polish lawyers got the date of the trial wrong,
saying the judges had issued their sentence 16 years earlier, when in fact it had been issued
a couple of years earlier than that in 1321.
127Knoll, Rise, 22.
128Knoll, Rise, 27.
pomerania between poland and prussia 231

of this, the starostas often had to rely on powerful locals to help them
govern, including the wica family in Pomerania, as discussed in the
previous chapter. For this reason, it seems unlikely that the fact of Bohe-
mian rule registered very deeply in the social memory of the witnesses,
especially after nearly two decades of continuous kingship by Wadysaw
and Kazimierz. The witnesses knew that these two men had been kings
of Poland, and many of them also knew that Przemys had been king of
Poland. They knew that Wadysaw had succeeded Przemys, and by 1339
many of the witnesses had come to believe that Wadysaw had become
king of Poland immediately after Przemyss death, rather than in 1320.
Besides, the king of Bohemia still called himself king of Poland until just
before the 1339 trial, when Kazimierz finally got John to renounce this
title in exchange for Kazimierzs recognition of Johns superior lordship
over Silesia.129 The witnesses knew that John was certainly not king of
Poland at the time of the trial, so why should they believe that the king
of Bohemia had ever actually been king of Poland? It is also possible that
more witnesses would have remembered the period of Bohemian rule if
it had been marked by battles similar to the ones the Poles had with the
Teutonic Knights. However, although Wadysaw fought some battles
against the Bohemian forces in Poland from 13041306, the sudden death of
Vclav II in June 1305 followed a year later by the death of Vclav III before
he ever set foot in Poland ended the Bohemian dynasty and Bohemian
claims to Polandbefore John of Luxemburg revived them in the 1310s.130
Without a ruler and with growing turmoil at home, the few Bohemian
administrators in Poland quickly left. Thus, a story about the sufferings
of the Polish people under foreign rule never took root, and Wadysaws
years of rule were simply elided to form a continuous whole.
Yet, there were also other contenders for the duchy of Pomerania within
the kingdom of Poland itself who were entirely omitted by the witnesses
the dukes of Kujawy. In order to more fully understand how Kazimierzs
subjects understood the historical relationship between Pomerania and
Poland, it is necessary to understand how his three cousins, who (unlike
Kazimierz) were related to the Pomeranian dukes, thought about their
own place within the kingdom and their rights to Pomerania.

129See chapter three.

130Knoll, Rise, 25.
232 chapter five

Family History as State History:

The Dukes of Kujawy Remember the Dukes of Pomerania

Among the 150 witnesses testifying at the two trials were the three dukes
of Kujawy, Wadysaws nephews and Kazimierzs cousinsLeszek,
Przemys, and Kazimierz. Not only were these brothers related to the
royal family through their fathers side, but they were also related to the
Pomeranian ducal family through their mothers side.131 Very few of the
independent Polish dukes who existed at the turn of the fourteenth cen-
tury had chosen to join the new kingdom, but the dukes of Kujawy had.
Yet, they occupied a problematical place within the kingdom, because
they remained territorial rulers in their own right. Therefore, they were
not like the other secular witnesses because they had personal interests
in the trial that were not always necessarily congruent with the kings
interests. Therefore, as a result of their pedigree, their independent deal-
ings with the Knights both before and after the conquest of Pomerania,
and their liminal position within the kingdom (both geographically and
legally), these dukes testimonies present an excellent opportunity to
examine the extent to which the most important men of the realm had
internalized the kings version of the historical relationship between the
duchy of Pomerania and the kingdom of Poland.132
First, let us examine Przemys, who testified only at the first trial
because he died shortly before the second. In 1320 Przemys submitted
the following testimony about the history of Pomerania and his role in its
King Wadysaw, then duke, had assigned to us and our brother, Kazimierz,
Tczew and the castle and town of wiecie with the districts of the same,
to be held in his name, and we were present in Tczew with the same lord
king, and there all the Pomeranians came to him and performed homage to
him, and they led him into the land and handed over all of the castles and

131 Their father, Duke Siemomys of Kujawy, was Wadysaws brother (d. 1287), and he
married Salomea, the daughter of Duke Sambor of Pomerania around 1268 (d. 13121314).
132Although traditional Polish scholarship presented these dukes as loyal subjects of
Wadysaw and Kazimierz, more recent scholarship has rightly poked holes in this the-
sis, presenting the dukes as complex political actors in their own right. See in particular
Krzysztof Karczewski and Wiesaw Sieradzan [Postawy polityczne ksit kujawskich
Ziemomysowicw, Ziemia Kujawska 9 (1993), 3344], who also survey the historiography.
pomerania between poland and prussia 233

fortifications to him, and we gave judgment and held the fortifications in the
land of Pomerania in his name for fully three years.133
He agreed with the royal arguments that Wadysaw was the rightful lord
of Pomerania, and he illustrated this through both the homage performed
to Wadysaw by the Pomeranians and his and his brothers exercise of
authority in Pomerania in Wadysaws name. Yet, he did not explain why
he and his brother, Kazimierz, had been appointed as Wadysaws rep-
resentatives in Pomerania, or why his other brother, Leszek, had been
Most of the testimonies in the earlier trial were brief, and unlike his
brothers, Przemys did not get a chance to elaborate upon his story in
the more expansive second trial. However, it is possible to learn some
more about what Przemys thought about his familys rights to Pomerania
through the records of the meetings that he and his brother and mother
had with the Teutonic Knights in April and May of 1309. As mentioned
earlier, the Teutonic Knights had met with Wadysaw in the spring of
1309 to try to get him to abandon his rights to Pomerania. Following this
meeting, the Knights also met with other rulers who claimed some right
to the duchy, including the dukes of Kujawy and their mother.134 In the
first of the two acts commemorating this meeting, dukes Przemys and
Kazimierz along with their mother, Salomea, sold some of their prop-
erty in Pomerania to the Knights for 1000 marks.135 Three days later, on
May 1, Przemys sold more extensive possessions belonging to his mother
for 4000 marks.136 Taken together, this is half the amount paid to the
margraves of Brandenburg for the whole of eastern Pomerania, so these
must have been very valuable lands. The reason given by Przemys for this
sale was because of the debts he incurred in Wadysaws service in
Pomerania.137 It seems odd that Przemys and Kazimierz would have done

133...rex Wladislaus, tunc dux, nobis et fratri nostro Kasymiro Trschouiam et Suecze
castra et opida cum eorum districtibus assignaverat suo nomine tenenda, et fuimus pre-
sentes in Trschouia cum eodem domino rege et ibi omnes Pomorani venerunt ad eum et
sibi homagium fecerunt et eum in terram duxerunt et omnia castra et municiones sibi
tradiderunt, et nos suo nomine bene per triennium iudicavimus in terra Pomoranie et
municiones tenuimus [Lites I (3), 30].
134liwiski, Pomorze, 499503.
135PlUB #671.
136PlUB #672.
137To all the Christian faithful who happen to read or hear the present page, Brother
Heinrich called von Plotzke, landmaster of Prussia, together with the other brothers of the
Order of St. Mary of the German House, everlasting greetings in the lord. The illustrious
prince Przemys, by the grace of God duke of Kujawy and lord of Inowrocaw, came into
234 chapter five

business with the Knights if they regarded the lands seized by the Knights
in Pomerania as their birthright, so one must conclude that they were not
so concerned with the loss of the lands they were holding in Wadysaws
name. In fact, the administration of these lands appears to have been
more trouble than it was worth, if it drove the dukes so far into debt. It is
unclear whether Przemys appealed to Wadysaw for repayment of these
debts and was denied (as the wica family and the Teutonic Knights
claimed to have been)138 or whether he and his mother simply regarded
the holdings, which were now deep in the hinterland of the Ordensstaat,
as no longer tenable. In any case, Przemyss mother regarded these lands
as her paternal inheritance, which could be freely sold to aid her sons,
whatever Wadysaws (her brother-in-law) aspirations to lordship in
Pomerania and kingship in Poland.
In the three decades between this sale and the second trial, the royal
procurators would propagate very different views about ducal rights to
the lands of the historical regnum, which argued that any alienation of its
lands was illegal. These new rules, however, were merely the most recent
layer on a palimpsest, written over the fading memories of a time that
operated by very different rules. Despite the royal lawyers best attempts
to efface this earlier history by framing the witnesses testimonies accord-
ing to new theories of state, the earlier norms were still clearly discern-
ible in the documentary record. In fact, late thirteenth-century sources
reveal that it was not at all predetermined that Wadysaw would acquire

our presence and pleaded in correct and persuasive form that he had suffered 4000 marks
in damages in the service of his uncle, the illustrious prince, Duke Wadysaw of Krakw,
in the land of Pomerania, which the same illustrious prince Wadysaw had entrusted to
his rule, and besides that, that because of the debts he had contracted while in the service
of his said uncle, it was necessary for him to sell to us and our order the fishery [fish-
ing rights] and estates or villages located between the Nogat and the Fresh Sea, which
belonged to the noble lady Salomeaduchess of Kujawy, his aforesaid motherby suc-
cession from her father [Universis Christi fidelibus, quos presentem paginam legere con-
tigerit vel audire, frater Henricus dictus de Plock magister terre Pruscie una cum ceteris
fratribus ordinis sancte Marie de domo Theutonicorum salutem in domino sempiternam.
Accedens ad nostram presenciam illustris princeps Premislius dei gracia dux Cuyauie et
dominus Wladislavie rite ac rationabiliter ostendit in servicio patrui sui incliti principis
Wladislai ducis Cracouie quatuor milia marcarum argenti dampni se percepisse in terra
Pomoranie, quam sibi idem inclitus princeps Wladislaus commiserat gubernandam, preter
id, quod racione debitorum, que in dicti patrui sui existens servicio contraxerat, piscariam
et bona seu villas inter Nogatum et recens mare sitas, que ad ingenuam dominam Salome
ducissam Cuyauie prefate matrem ipsius ex paterna successione pertinebant, nobis et
ordini nostro eum vendere oportebat PlUB #672].
138See chapter four.
pomerania between poland and prussia 235

In May 1296, following King Przemyss death, Leszek, the eldest of the
dukes of Kujawy, tried to become duke of Pomerania himself, confirm-
ing at least one charter dei miseracione dux Pomoranie.139 He also was
commemorated as one of the rulers of Pomerania by the mid-fourteenth-
century chronicle written by the abbot of Oliwa monastery in Pomerania.140
As the eldest surviving male descendant of the Pomeranian ducal family,
he probably thought that he would have the support of the Pomeranian
aristocracy. He was wrong. The Pomeranians instead elected Wadysaw
as their ruler, and Leszek returned to Kujawy, abandoning his claims to
Pomerania in favor of his uncle. But Leszeks absence from the admin-
istration of Pomerania during Wadysaws reign suggests that this sub-
mission was not as amicable as Leszek would have us believe from his
Leszek did not directly testify about the disputed succession to Pomer-
ania in either trial. In fact, in 1320 he did not mention the succession at
all. Unlike many of the other witnesses, who traced Wadysaws rights
to Pomerania through King Przemys, Leszek did not say anything about
the former king. But there is a marked change in his story from 1320 to
1339 concerning his familys rights to Pomerania. This makes Leszeks tes-
timony particularly interesting, because he was the only witness to testify
at both trials.141 His testimony is thus a potent guide to the radical trans-
formations of the political consciousness of the subjects of the kingdom
of Poland within a generation. Therefore, we may be able to gage the
changes in the political climate from a comparison between his deposi-
tions. In 1320 Leszek testified that:
...the lord King Wadysaw, then duke, possessed the land and duchy of
Pomerania through me and my brothers peacefully and quietly, thus first
through me, successively through my aforesaid brothers, and that my afore-
said full brothers peacefully held and governed the same duchy in the name
of the lord king, then duke, for very many years and exercised all jurisdiction

139 PlUB #541.

140 ...the duchy of Pomerania did not have a legitimate successor, but the knights at
first called on Duke Leszek of Kujawy, who held the duchy for some time [...ducatus
Pomeranie nullum habuit legitimum successorem, sed milites primo vocaverunt ducem
Cuiavie Lestkonem, qui ad tempus ducatum tenuit Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6:315316].
141 Several witnesses who had been involved in the first trial in some manner or another
(including Archbishop Janisaw, the presiding judge in 1320) did testify in 1339, but Leszek
is the only person to actually testify at both trials.
236 chapter five

over the knights, vassals, castles, and towns as in the name of a true lord
and heir.142
Leszek appears to be attempting to rewrite history by positioning him-
self not as a usurper, but rather as Wadysaws loyal administrator, who
apparently became preoccupied with other matters, so he had to entrust
the governance of Pomerania to his younger brothers. Yet, he said nothing
about how Wadysaw came into possession of Pomerania or why he and
his brothers were chosen as Wadysaws administrators.
This is in marked contrast to the testimony he submitted in 1339, not
only in length, but also in content:
...the witness who is speaking and his brothers, Przemys and Kazimierz,
held the said land of Pomerania peacefully and quietly for three years until
the time that they resigned it to lord Wadysaw, formerly king of Poland,
who afterwards held and possessed the said land for fully four years peace-
fully and quietly as true and legitimate lord and king of Poland, as a land
within the kingdom of Poland which belongs to and belonged to the king-
dom...[...] He also said that the witness who is speaking handed over to
the said lord Wadysaw, formerly king, the keys to the city and castle of
Gdask, which is the capital of the whole of Pomerania, and then he held
and possessed it peacefully and quietly for fully four years.143
Here Leszek claimed that he and his brothers had been independent rulers
in Pomerania for some time before handing over the duchy to Wadysaw
because he was king and Pomerania was part of the kingdom of Poland.
In 1320 Leszek would have known that Wadysaw had in fact not been
king when he held Pomerania, because his coronation had taken place
just a month before the trial. This, then, begs the question of whether it
is possible that Leszek had actually come to believe that Wadysaw had
been king then, or whether this was just an honorable way to explain his

142...dominus Wladislaus rex, tunc dux, possedit terram et ducatum Pomoranie per
me et fratres meos pacifice et quiete, ita quod primo per me, successive per predictos
fratres meos, et quod predicti fratres mei germani ipsum ducatum nomine ipsius domini
regis, tunc ducis, tenuerunt et gubernaverunt pacifice pluribus annis et omnem iurisdic-
cionem in militibus, vassallis, castris, opidis exercuerunt tamquam nomine veri domini et
heredis [Lites I (3), 29].
143...ipse testis qui loquitur et fratres sui Premislius et Kazimirus tenuerunt dictam
terram Pomoranie pacifice et quiete per tres annos, quousque eam resignaverunt domino
Wladislao regi quondam Polonie, qui postmodum dictam terram tenuit et possedit bene
per IV annos pacifice et quiete tamquam dominus verus et legittimus et rex Polonie et
tamquam terram que est infra regnum Polonie et que pertinet et pertinebat ad ipsum
regnum...[...] Dixit eciam, quod ipse testis qui loquitur tradidit dicto domino Wladislao
quondam regi claves civitatis et castri Gdansk quod est caput tocius Pomoranie, et deinde
eam tenuit et possedit pacifice et quiete bene per quatuor annos [Lites I (2), 376].
pomerania between poland and prussia 237

failed attempt at lordship in Pomerania. Had this formerly independent

ruler really internalized the royal arguments about the historical affilia-
tion of an imagined kingdom of Poland to the very duchy that he had once
claimed to rule? In order to fully evaluate these questions, we must first
examine the testimony submitted by his brother, Kazimierz, in 1339.
While Kazimierz did not complain about the financial ruin caused by
his service to Wadysaw (as Przemys had done) or try himself to usurp
Wadysaws rights in Pomerania (as Leszek had done) the testimony sub-
mitted by the youngest brother makes by far the broadest claims for his
familial rights to Pomerania. He ultimately recognized Wadysaws and
therefore his sons claims to Pomerania, because its rulers were princes
of Poland, but he simultaneously asserted his own familys claims to at
least the memory of Pomeranian lordship. As he explained, his mother
(and through her he and his brothers) had been disinherited from her
patrimonial lands in Pomerania:
...there were four princes of Poland,144 brothers, in the said land of Pomera-
nia, who held and possessed the said land of Pomerania and all the castles,
villages, and places of the same as their patrimony and as princes of Poland;
one of these said princes was the grandfather of the witness who is speaking,
his mothers father, called Sambor, upon whose death, the mother of the wit-
ness who is speaking succeeded to Tczew, the part which fell to her in the
division, and when the other two princes died, Duke Mciwj expelled his
mother from her part and received and possessed the whole of the said land
peacefully and quietly until his own death; and when his death approached,
he gave the whole of that land of Pomerania to lord Przemys, formerly king
of Poland, who also held and possessed the said land peacefully and quietly
as king of Poland and true lord right up to his death, and so he regarded
himself and was regarded by everyone within the said land of Pomerania
and kingdom of Poland, as he said. Moreover, he said that when the said
lord King Przemys died without an heir, all of the knights and barons of
the whole of the land of Pomerania and of Poland elected as king of Poland
and lord of the said land of Pomerania lord Wadysaw, the paternal uncle
of the witness who is speaking, then duke of Kujawy, father of that lord
Kazimierz now king, who held and possessed the said land of Pomerania
together with the kingdom of Poland peacefully and quietly for some years
as king and lord of the said land, and was so regarded by all, and all served
him and obeyed him as the lord of the said land and king of Poland, as he
said. He also said that lord Wadysaw, formerly king, gave and conceded the

144Both the Teutonic Knights chronicler, Peter von Dusburg (III.213), writing in the
1320s, and the Polish chronicler, Dzierzwa (MPH 3:47), writing at the turn of the fourteenth
century, also misrepresent Sambor as Mciwjs brother instead of his uncle. The fact that
his own grandson would so misinterpret his familys history is remarkable even so.
238 chapter five

rule, governance, and possession of the same land of Pomerania in his name
and in the name of the kingdom of Poland to the witness who is speaking
and to his brothers at his pleasure, and the brothers did indeed hold and
possess the said land of Pomerania and all of its castles, villages, and places
in the name of the same lord Wadysaw, formerly king, and in the name of
the kingdom of Poland well for four years peacefully and quietly, until the
master and the brothers of the Crusaders [Teutonic Knights] ejected them
and chased them away from the said land and robbed lord Wadysaw, for-
merly king, of it and occupied it.145
This is a complicated text, but this narrative perfectly encapsulates the
relationship between the dukes of Kujawy, the duchy of Pomerania, and
the kingdom of Poland. Kazimierz began first with a feeling of betrayal
that his family had been dispossessed from their rightful place in Pomera-
nia. Even after King Przemys died, the Pomeranian magnates still elected
someone else. However, in the end, Kazimierz and his brothers regained
their rightful place within the duchy of Pomerania, even if they did serve
only at the pleasure of the king.
Yet, both Leszek and Kazimierz still preserved the memory of the ear-
lier independence of borderland dukes, as is evident in their testimonies
about other disputed lands. Kazimierz stated that Konrad had held the

145quatuor fuerunt principes Polonie, fratres, in dicta terra Pomoranie, qui tenuerunt
et possederunt dictam terram Pomoranie et omnia castra, villas et loca ipsius tamquam
patrimonium suum et sicut principes Polonie; quorum unus dictorum principum erat avus
ipsius testis qui loquitur, pater matris sue, dictus Samborius, quo mortuo, mater ipsius
testis qui loquitur successit eidem in parte sibi contingente in divisione, dicta Tharszow,
sic, quod aliis duobus principibus mortuis, dux Mistiwoius expulit matrem suam de parte
sua et accepit et possedit dictam terram totam pacifice et quiete quoad mortem suam; et
veniens ad mortem dedit totam illam terram Pomoranie domino Premislio quondam regi
Polonie, qui eciam dictam terram tenuit et possedit pacifice et quiete sicut rex Polonie
et verus dominus usque ad mortem suam, et ita reputatus fuit et reputabatur per omnes
infra dictam terram Pomoranie et regnum Polonie ut dixit. Dixit eciam, quod mortuo dicto
domino Premisilio rege sine herede, omnes milites et barones tocius terre Pomoranie et
Polonie elegerunt dominum Wladislaum patruum ipsius testis qui loquitur, tunc ducem
Cuyavie, patrem istius domini Kazimiri nunc regis, in regem Polonie et dominum dicte
terre Pomoranie, qui dictam terram Pomoranie una cum regno Polonie tenuit et possedit
pacifice et quiete per aliquos annos sicut rex et dominus dicte terre, et ita reputabatur
apud omnes et omnes serviebant sibi et obediebant sicut domino dicte terre et regi Pol-
onie ut dixit. Dixit eciam, quod ipse dominus Wladislaus quondam rex dictam terram
Pomoranie tradidit et concessit regendam, possidendam et gubernandam nomine suo et
regni Polonie dicto testi qui loquitur et fratribus suis usque ad suum beneplacitum, qui
quidem fratres dictam terram Pomoranie et omnia castra, villas et loca ipsius et tenuerunt
et possederunt nomine dicti domini Wladislai regis quondam et regni Polonie bene per
quatuor annos pacifice et quiete, quousque magister et fratres Cruciferi eos de dicta terra
eiecerunt et fugaverunt, et dominum Waldislaum quondam regem ea spoliarunt et ipsam
occuparunt... [Lites I (2), 282].
pomerania between poland and prussia 239

Chemno land, not nomine regni as the article states, but as hereditatem
suam propriamas his own inheritance.146 Duke Leszek, Duke Kazimi-
erzs brother, even testified that another of Konrads descendants, Duke
Bolesaw of Mazovia, thought of the Chemno land as part of his own
duchy, which in the 1330s existed outside of the kingdom of Poland.147
Leszek also seemed to regard his lands as his personal property rather
than part of an inalienable kingdom, because another of the disputed
lands in this trial had been pawned and later sold by Leszek to the Teu-
tonic Knights.148 In fact, it seems that the royal vision of the contemporary
kingdom was almost as incomprehensible to fourteenth-century Polish
dukes as the imagined historical kingdom would have been to thirteenth-
century Polish dukes, who regarded the lands they possessed as theirs to
do with as they pleased. However, the borderland had changed dramati-
cally in the early fourteenth century. These dukes lands had been rav-
aged in the wars during Wadysaws reign and were now claimed by King
Kazimierz. Perhaps the dukes realized that in this new world of emerging
territorially sovereign states, there was no longer a place for their former
independence, and that now, near the end of their lives, it was enough
to serve at the pleasure of the king. The dukes of Kujawy, however, were
not the only ones who felt pressured by the new political climate on the
Polish-Teutonic Knights borderland.

Choosing Sides?:
Borderland Religious Organizations

Episcopal and monastic boundaries did not neatly coincide with politi-
cal boundaries, which meant that these institutions were often pressured
by both sides during periods of conflict.149 Sometimes these borderland

146Lites I (2), 281.

147Lites I (2), 375.
148This is the Michaowo land, which is discussed in articles 1618 (see appendix
149For examples of Cistercian monasteries being threatened in late thirteenth- and
early fourteenth-century Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-Welsh wars, see William Chester Jor-
dan, Unceasing Strife, Unending Fear: Jacques de Thrines and the Freedom of the Church
in the Age of the Last Capetians (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 79. For a
comparative analysis of this issue see Emilia Jamroziak, Survival and Success on Medieval
Borders: Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to Late
Fourteenth Century (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), and Emilia Jamroziak, Border Communities
between Violence and Opportunities: Scotland and Pomerania Compared, in Britain and
240 chapter five

ecclesiastics, because of their liminality, could act as mediators between

the disputants. More often, however, these clerics were forced to choose
sides in the disputes to better defend their own religious communities and
the lay communities they guided. Part of this process involved defending
the privileges and liberties granted by the disputants, which necessitated
a careful balancing of the memory of the past with the present politi-
cal situation. Of more immediate concern in the years of open warfare
between Poland and the Knights, however, was the defense of their own
lives and the lives of the inhabitants of their territories. Both the Knights
and the Poles presented harrowing accounts of the devastation wrought
(particularly upon religious communities) by the years of violence.150
Churches and monasteries were especially choice targets in these wars,
both because they could be used as strongholds and because of the riches
they contained. While many Polish clerics sought to redress their griev-
ances at the 1339 trial, two important men were conspicuously absent
Bishop Maciej of Kujawy, who was the episcopal overlord of Pomerania,
and Abbot Stanisaw of Oliwa, who ran the preeminent monastic estab-
lishment in Pomerania. While their lands were part of the Polish ecclesia,
they were under the temporal lordship of the Teutonic Knights. These
men, therefore, were uniquely placed to illustrate how conflicting identi-
ties and loyalties played out in this borderland.
Let us begin with Bishop Maciej of Kujawy. As explained in chapter
three, his predecessor, Gerward, had been entrusted with both securing
Wadysaws rights to the Polish crown and instigating the first Polish trial
against the Knights. Yet, he did not go to Avignon simply in the interests
of the Polish regnum and ecclesia. He was also there to bend the popes ear
to his own disputes against his episcopal subjects as well as his neighbors.
Gerward hosted the first trial against the Knights, but he died a couple of
years later, while both sides were still pleading their cases at the papal
curia. It was left to his successor, Maciej, to deal with the escalation of
this legal dispute into open warfare. Maciej quickly found out just how
precarious his position on the borderland was. In 1327 he wrote to Pope
John XXII about the damages his bishopric had suffered during the Teu-
tonic Knights invasion, including the destruction of many religious build-
ings and the murders and kidnappings of a number of the inhabitants of

Poland-Lithuania: Contact and Comparison from the Middle Ages to 1795, ed. Richard W.
Unger (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 123135.
150For the Knights complaints see Lites I (2), 90; for the Polish complaints, see Lites I
(2), 9495, reprinted and translated in appendix three.
pomerania between poland and prussia 241

Kujawy. To make matters worse, the survivors of this assault were unable
to celebrate mass in the few churches that remained because they had
been robbed of the materials necessary for celebrating mass.151 The suffer-
ings of his diocese did not end there, however. In 1331 he wrote another,
far more detailed letter, listing further damages, including the destruction
of his own cathedral.152 During this year his diocese was also the site of the
bloody Battle of Powce, which left over 4,000 Germans and Poles dead.153
Maciej was charged with burying all of these bodies, an act he commemo-
rated by constructing a chapel to mark the place of this slaughter.154 The
following year the Knights returned and conquered the remainder of his
diocese. What is even worse, according to Maciej, the Knights employed
crusaders to perpetrate these evil deeds.155
None of these wrongs, however, was enough to bring Maciej or any
members of his chapter in to testify at the 1339 trial. It is possible that
they were prevented from doing so by the Knights. After all, one wit-
ness in 1339 claimed that the parish priests in Pomerania were afraid of
returning to their churches if they testified in the 1320 trial.156 Yet, it seems
more likely that Maciej simply wanted no part in the prolongation of a
dispute which had already cost him so much. Whereas the damages to
the bishopric of Kujawy had been included in the original Polish appeal
to the papacy in 1335,157 the 1339 articles of dispute say nothing about this.
Instead, they are limited to the damages suffered by the Polish crown.158
Similarly, his fellow borderland ecclesiastic, the bishop of Pock (whose
see had been destroyed by Wadysaw in 1327),159 expressed his distaste
for the trial by preventing the summons from being read in his cathedral.160
Yet, these actions should not be seen as the bishops choosing to support
the Knights over Kazimierz. They were not interested in supporting either

151 Lites I (2), 436.

152 Lites I (2), 438.
153Knoll, Rise, 57.
154 Dominus vero Mathias episcopus Wladislaviensis corpora occisorum in eodem
campo conflictus fecit sepeliri et edificari ibidem capellam procuravit (Chronica Olivensis,
MPH 6:330).
155 ...cum maximo exercitu et pene viginti vexillis nigra cruce signatis [the Knights
symbol], quam contra Saracenos et paganos et infideles alios se asserunt assumpsisse...
[Lites I (2), 437].
156 Lites I (2), 396.
157 KDW II #1179.
158 See appendix three, articles 911.
159 Knoll, Rise, 50.
160 Lites I (2), 78.
242 chapter five

side, because the previous decade had taught them that it did not matter
who won these battles, because the borderland ecclesiastics always lost.
This feeling of exhaustion is perhaps best illustrated by a passage writ-
ten by the other subject of this sectionAbbot Stanisaw of Oliwa. While
he also did not testify in 1339, the chronicle that he wrote a decade or
two later provides a particularly detailed representation of the history of
Pomerania. Let us approach this source through his account of the Polish-
Teutonic Knights war in 1332:
But the king of Poland, having assembled an army, proceeding through
the land of Mazovia, advanced to cross the Drwca and seize the land of
Chemno, when the aforementioned master learned this, he hurried to meet
them with everyone he could get from the multitude of the army, crossed
the river, and trapped the kings army between two lakes, so that they had
no way to escape, but had by necessity either to fight or to die. Seeing this,
most of the honest lords [the Teutonic Knights] interposed themselves in
order to work for peace, so there would not be much bloodshed between
the two armies, and with Gods favor the minds of the leaders of the Knights
then present in the army were suddenly inclined towards peace, and a treaty
was agreed to by both sides, and both armies returned unharmed to their
own lands.161
In Abbot Stanisaw of Oliwas account, the conflict between the king and
the grandmaster had transgressed the bounds of normal warfare. This is
all the more so, because like Maciej, he pointed out that this was not
what the men in the Knights army were supposed to have been doing
in Prussia. This chronicle is full of accounts of the sufferings perpetrated
upon Oliwa not just by pagans but also by Christians who were supposed
to be fighting pagans rather than their fellow Christians.162

161Rex vero Polonie congregato exercitu per terram Masoviensem pergens transire
Drywanczam et terram Culmensem capere nitebatur, quod cernens predictus magister
cum omni, qua potuit, multitudine exercitus sibi occurrere festinavit et transito fluvio
conclusit exercitum regis inter duos lacus sic, quod nullum effugium habere potuissent,
sed habuissent necesse aut mori aut pugnare. Quod cernentes plerique honesti domini, ne
fieret multa sanguinis effusio inter ambos exercitus, se interposuerunt pro concordia labo-
rando et aspirante Deo, mentes dominorum tunc in exercitu principalium existencium
fuerunt ad concordiam subito inclinate et habito federe ex utraque parte, ambo exercitus
illesi ad propria redierunt (Chronica Olivensis, MPH 6:330331).
162Having been made master, [Luther von Braunschweig] immediately appointed
nuncios to diverse parts of Germany, promising a large stipend to all who wanted to go to
Prussia to help against the enemies of the order. Thus he assembled a great multitude of
noble men prepared for battle, and having assembled this large army, he sent with them
as leader of the army brother Otto von Luterberg, a provincial commander, into the land
of Poland which he laid waste across its length and breadth, after capturing and burning
many fortifications. [Qui statim factus magister nuntios ad diversas partes Allemanie
pomerania between poland and prussia 243

Despite his occasional criticisms of the Knights, however, Stanisaw

recognized them as the legitimate lords of Pomerania and tried to help
them end their dispute with Kazimierz. In May 1338 he wrote to Pope
Benedict, telling him that a new trial would be unjust, because:
...the brothers, most religious men, decently and honestly preserving in the
discipline of their order, and governing their subjects in eastern lands in
the government of equity and clemency, are the light of the Church, and the
column, shield, and defense of the Christian population of our lands....163
Yet, while he presented the Knights as good governors and defenders, he
also reminded his readers that the Knights wars against Poland had led
them astray and cost both his monastery and other religious communities
too much.164 It is therefore with great relief that he describes the Peace
of Kalisz in 1343:
And among the other good works that [the grandmaster] providently con-
ducted for the benefit of their lands and their inhabitants, he arranged with
the king of Poland in Kujawy near Wocawek in a certain meadow in the
presence of the honorable men, the archbishop of Gniezno, the bishop of
Kujawy, the bishop of Pozna, the bishop of Mazowia, Bishop Hermann of
Warmia and the abbots of our order and of other orders and many other
prelates and leaders, a lasting, perpetual peace, which was made stable and
strengthened by the oaths of both parties, namely the king and the master,
which still to this time stands and remains unchanged; on account of this,
with the gracious actions of omnipotent God, no small amount of joy was
created for all of the lovers of peace in the lands of both of the said lords.165

destinavit larga promittens stipendia omnibus, qui se in Pruziam transferre vellent ipsis
in auxilium contra ordinis inimicos. Convenit ergo ad eum magna multitudo cum appa-
ratu bellico virorum nobilium et congregato magno exercitu, transmisit cum eo fratrem
Ottonem de Lutirberk commendatorum provincialem ducem exercitus in terram Polonie,