Casimir II of Łęczyca

Casimir II of Łęczyca (pl: Kazimierz II łęczycki; c. 1261/62 – 10 June 1294[1]), was a Polish prince member of the House of Piast, Duke of Brześć Kujawski during 1267–1288, Duke of Dobrzyń during 1275–1288 and Duke of Łęczyca since 1288 until his death.

He was the fourth son of Casimir I of Kuyavia, but the second born from his third marriage with Euphrosyne, daughter of Casimir I of Opole. He was probably named after both his father and maternal grandfather.

Life edit

Beginning of his government (1267–1288) edit

After the death of his father in 1267, Casimir II, together with his full-brothers, inherited their share of his lands under the regency of their mother until 1275, when they jointly ruled. Casimir II inherited his own domain in 1288, when after the death of his childless half-brother Leszek II the Black he received the Duchy of Łęczyca, situated in the centre of Poland.

Cooperation with Władysław I the Elbow-high during his struggle for Lesser Poland (1289–1292) edit

In 1289 Caismir II, together with his brother Władysław I the Elbow-high, supported the campaign of Bolesław II of Płock for the throne of Kraków. The joint Płock-Brześć-Łęczyca forces defeated on 26 February the Silesian troops commanded by Henry III of Głogów, Bolko I of Opole and Przemko of Ścinawa at the Battle of Siewierz.[2] For unknown reasons, shortly after Bolesław II renounced to his claims over the Seniorate, an event who was used by Władysław I to conquer Lesser Poland for himself. With the close cooperation of Casimir II, Władysław I began a war against King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia. This policy suffered a defeat in the fall of 1292, when as a result of a Bohemian expedition Casimir II and his brother were captured by Wenceslaus II. In the subsequent peace treaty signed on 9 October of that year, both brothers were forced to pay homage to the Bohemian King.[3]

Heir of Kraków (1293–1294). Death edit

Casimir II and Władysław I didn't give up, however, to their ambitious plans to conquer Lesser Poland and on 6 January 1293 they met at Kalisz with Przemysł II of Greater Poland and Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno and began conversations for a joint action for the recovery of Kraków. They concluded a secret agreement whose exact details are only known for the copy gave to the Archbishop; under this treaty, Casimir II, Władysław I and Przemysł II are obliged to pay annually the amount of 300 pieces of fine silver from salt mines after the recovery of the capital of Lesser Poland.[4]

Casimir II was killed in the Battle of Trojanów on 10 June 1294 on the bank of the Bzura river, while chasing a Lithuanian troops under the command of Vytenis, who escaped after an attack to Łęczyca on 4 June.[5] Jan Długosz described the event as follows:

In the Year of our Lord of 1294 the Duke of Lithuania Vytenis invades the land of Łęczyca with an army of 1,800[6] Lithuanians, Prussians and Samogitians.[7] When of Thursday after Pentecost they stormed the city through the woods with the permission and support of the Duke of Masovia Bolesław II[8] they attacked first the collegiate of Łęczyca and murdered there or taking into slavery a large number of people who gathered there to celebrate the holidays. Prelates, canons and priests were taken into captivity without mercy, and the vestments, vessels and jewels stolen. Others, who had taken refuge in the church, defended it valiantly, by setting fire the neighboring houses surrounding the church and died there. The enemies then scattered villages and settlements, took away much of the people and hastily returned to their lands. Then the ruler of Łęczyca Prince Casimir and all his knights chased the barbarians. When they caught them in the village of Żuków near Sochaczew on the Bzura river (according to others was on the village of Trojanów), not counting with their small forces and the violence of the enemies, throws himself to the fight. After a bloody battle, when many prisoners escaped in the heat of the battle, and surrounded by a group of barbarians, the prince found a glorious death. When he (the prince) died, the Polish fled in all directions. Many of them, avoiding an honorable death, exposed themselves to a shameful drowning in the Bzura river where was the struggle, and where the water floods after rain.[9] The Lithuanians took and loot this victory. They captured Polish prisoners of war, who apparently are so great that for each barbarian were captured twenty Christians.[10] The Prince of Łęczyca Casimir didn't leave any one of them behind before his death.[11]

Because Casimir II died unmarried and childless, his principality was inherited by Władysław I the Elbow-high. It's unknown where he was buried, probably in the Collegiate church of St. Mary and St. Alexius in Tum near Łęczyca.

Ancestry edit

References edit

  1. ^ Oswald Balzer, Genealogia Piastów, Kraków 1895, pp. 342-344; Włodzimierz Dworzaczek: Genealogia, Warsaw 1959, table 3.
  2. ^ For more details about the Battle of Siewierz see: Jan Długosz: Roczniki czyli Kroniki Sławnego Królestwa Polskiego, book VII, p. 327 (in the year 1290, which is undoubtedly a mistake of the chronicler), Nagrobki książąt śląskich in: MPH (Monumenta Poloniæ Historica), vol. II, p. 713 and Kronika książąt polskich in: MPH, vol. II, p. 536, cf. Musiał Sławomir: Bitwa pod Siewierzem i udział w niej Wielkopolan, in: Przemysł II, odnowienie królestwa polskiego ed. Jadwiga Krzyżaniakowej, Poznań 1997, pp. 161–166.
  3. ^ Aleksander Swieżawski: Przemysł Król Polski, Warsaw 2006, p. 148; Jan Baszkiewicz: Powstanie zjednoczonego państwa polskiego na przełomie XIII i XIV wieku, Warsaw 1954, pp. 208-209.
  4. ^ Zbiór dokumentów małopolskich, ed. S. Kuraś and I. Sułkowska-Kuraś, vol. IV, Wrocław 1969, nr 886, and Kodeks Dyplomatyczny Wielkopolski, vol. II, nr 692. The document is dated on 6 January. His secret nature is evidenced by the use of the three princes of the title of heirs of Kraków; if King Wenceslaus II could find out this they would risk an immediate war. Aleksander Swieżawski, Przemysł Król Polski, Warsaw 2006, p. 150.
  5. ^ The expedition was of predatory nature. This is shown in both the chronicles of Jan Długosz (see below), and also the source from which Długosz take this account, Peter of Dusburg: Chronica Terre Prussia, ed. M. Toeppen, in Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, Vol. I, Leipzig 1861, pp. 156-157, in which is clearly written that Lithuanian troops were exclusively focused on a fast attack, seizure of the booty and safe withdrawal to their country. Marzena Pollakówna: The Chronicle of Peter of Dusburg, Wroclaw 1968; Jan Szymczak: Ziemia łęczycka i sieradzka terenem działań wojennych w XII i XIII wieku, in Rocznik Łódzki, Vol. XX , general set XXIII, Lodz 1975, pp. 220-224; Kazimierz Aścik: Najazd litewski na Łęczycę w 1294 roku, in: Studia i materiały do historii wojskowości, Vol. X, Part 1, Warsaw 1964, pp. 3-11, and Vol. XV, Part. 1, Warsaw, 1969, pp. 317-319, Stanisław Zajączkowski: W sprawie najazdu litewskiego na Łęczycę 1294 roku, ibid, vol. XII, Part. 3, Warsaw 1966, p. 324; Jan Powierski: Dobra ostrowicko – golubskie biskupstwa wrocławskiego na tle stosunków polsko-krzyżackich 1235–1308, Gdańsk 1977, p. 165.
  6. ^ Peter of Dusburg: Chronica Terre Prussia, ed. M. Toeppen, in Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, Vol. I, Leipzig 1861, pp. 157-158, states that the Lithuanian army consisted of only 800 men.
  7. ^ The participation of Prussians and Samogitians in this expedition was only reported by Jan Długosz. Kazimierz Aścik: Najazd litewski na Łęczycę w 1294 roku, in: Studia i materiały do historii wojskowości, Vol. X, Part 1, Warsaw 1964, p. 5.
  8. ^ The support of Bolesław II to the Lithuanians was recognized by Stanisław Sroka: Kazimierz II, in: Piastowie - leksykon biograficzny, Kraków 1999, p. 219; Ewa Suchodolska: Dzieje polityczne połowa XIII w. – połowa XIV w., in: Dzieje Mazowsza do 1526 roku – ed. Aleksander Gieysztor and Henryk Samsonowicz, Warsaw 1994, p. 191; however, Stanisław Zajączkowski: W sprawie najazdu Litewskiego na Łęczycę w 1294 roku in: Studia i materiały do historii wojskowości, vol. XII, ch. 2, Warsaw 1966, p. 324, showed a different position about this cooperation, supported by Aleksander Swieżawski: Rawskie księstwo Piastów, Łódź 1974, p. 16, claiming that the attack of Vytenis was a part of an alliance between Bolesław II and King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia with the purpose of removing the Kuyavian Piast rulers from their domains. The cooperation of Bolesław II with the Lithuanians was taken by Długosz and confirmed by Aleksander Semkowicz in his critical work "Dziejów Polski" by Jan Długosza (from 1384), Kraków 1887, p. 315, with the citation of a lost source, and his fully credible. In this lost source could be found the location of the battle given by the historian, Żuków, and the escape of prisoners at the critical moment of the battle and the drowning into the Bzura river, see Kazimierz Aścik: Jeszcze raz o najeździe..., p. 319.
  9. ^ This event was only recorded by Długosz: Roczniki... , book VII, p. 356. but the information seems quite likely, see: Aleksander Semkowicz: Krytyczny rozbiór... , p. 315.
  10. ^ Maciej Stryjkowski: O początkach, wywodach, dzielnościach, sprawach rycerskich i domowych sławnego narodu litewskiego, żemojdzkiego i ruskiego, przed tym nigdy od żadnego ani kuszone, ani opisane, z natchnienia Bożego a uprzejmie pilnego doświadczenia, ed. Julia Radziszewska, Warsaw 1978, p. 225, set the number of prisoners on 20,000 men; W. Abraham: Polska a chrzest Litwy, Kraków 1914, pp. 13–14, reduce it to 15,000. All of these numbers seems to be greatly exaggerated. It's also unlikely that a Lithuanian army of only 800 men was able to capture such large numbers of prisoners, looted the collegiate in Tum and taken the vessels and other treasures, and also had the occasion to defeat Casimir II in Trojanów.
  11. ^ Jan Długosz, Roczniki..., book VII, pp. 355-356.
  12. ^