Princess Wanda (reputedly lived in 8th century Poland)[1] Princess and the Queen, daughter of King Krakus, the founder of Krakow, Poland. Wanda was very famous for her outstanding beauty and wisdom. She was the daughter of the Lechitic King Krakus (Krak) legendary founder of Kraków. Upon her father's death, she became queen of the Lechites/Poles, but in the later reeditions committed suicide to avoid an unwanted marriage to a Teuton. In both versions of the source legend, she died childless. Wanda is also often known as the Virgin Queen.

Princess Wanda
Death of Princess Wanda by Maximilian Piotrowski, 1859

Kadłubek's legend of Wanda edit

The first written record of the legend of Wanda was made by the Polish chronicler Wincenty Kadłubek. In this version of the story Wanda ruled Poland after the legendary Polish king Krakus. When her lands were invaded by an "Alamann tyrant", who sought to take advantage of the previous ruler's death, Wanda led her troops out to meet him. Seeing her beauty, the German troops refused to fight and their leader committed suicide. Towards the end of the story Kadłubek states that "the river Vandalus is named after" her and hence the people she ruled over were known as "Vandals".[2] In this version Wanda remained unmarried and had a long life.

Later versions of the legend edit

Subsequent versions of the story differ significantly. In the version from the Wielkopolska Chronicle, the Alemannic leader, Rytygier (Rüdiger), first wanted to marry Wanda and invaded her lands only when she refused. Here, he died during the ensuing battle, while it was Wanda who afterward committed suicide, as a thanks and a sacrifice to the pagan gods who gave her victory. In yet other versions of the story, Wanda commits suicide by throwing herself into the Vistula river, because she knows that, as long as she is alive, there will be future potential suitors who will use her refusal to marry as a pretext for an invasion.

Historiography edit

The story of princess Wanda was first described by the medieval (12th and 13th centuries) Polish bishop and historian Wincenty Kadłubek, and it is assumed by some historians that it was invented by him, possibly based on Slavic legends.[3][4]

Queen Wanda's bust in the Krasiński's Palace, Ursynów

The Kadłubek version has the Teuton (German) invader, not Princess Wanda, committing suicide: according to Kadłubek, the princess lived a long and happy life, forever remaining a virgin.[3] It was only in the 13–14th century Wielkopolska Chronicle that the variant with Wanda committing suicide was popularized by the 15th-century historian Jan Długosz.[5]

Cultural influences edit

Tradition has it that she is buried in the large Wanda Mound (Polish: Kopiec Wandy). A custom observed up to the 19th century was that at Pentecost bonfires were lit on this mound, located on the outskirts of Kraków in Nowa Huta, the industrial district established in 1949. Nowa Huta construction begun on the name day of Wanda (23 June), and she is a semi-official patron of that district, which has a trade center, street, bridge and stadium bearing her name.

The German poet Zacharias Werner wrote a drama named Wanda, which under Werner's friend Goethe was performed on stage in 1809.

Polish football club from Krakow KS Wanda.

Wanda, a name of Polish origin, is a very popular female name in Poland. Some famous bearers of the name include: Wanda Rutkiewicz, Wanda Krahelska-Filipowicz, Wanda Piłsudska, Wanda Warska, Wanda Wiłkomirska, Wanda Chotomska, Venerable Wanda Justyna Nepomucena Malczewska, and Wanda Półtawska (b. 1921).

Wanda's name day is on 23 June.

In Poland, Wanda is also often used as a pets' name, especially beautiful, cute female cats or soft plush dolls and teddy bears of Polish children.

Diminutives of Wanda - Wandeczka, Wandusia, Wandunia, Wandsuś, Wandalka, Wandala, Wandziś, Wanduszka, Wandi, Wania, Wandka, Wandzia, Wandzik and so on.

Colonia Wanda, is a Polish village settlement, established by Polish immigrants in Argentina.

The story of Wanda is very popular in Polish art, culture and literature, for example the Polish poet C.K. Norwid visited the Mound in 1840. He subsequently composed the epic narrative poem Wanda in honor of the ancient Polish princess and queen.

Wanda (also spelled as Vanda) outside of Poland - Vanda the title and protagonist of the 1876 Antonín Dvořák grand opera, Wanda; the protagonist of the 1809 stage play Wanda written by German poet Zacharias Werner and directed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; Wanda, heroine of the 1840 narrative poem "Wanda" by the Polish poet C. K. Norwid; Wanda, subject of the 1868 play Wanda, the Polish Queen by the Croatian dramatist Matija Ban; Wanda von Dunajew, protagonist of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's 1870 novel Venus in Furs; Wanda von Chabert, the protagonist of the 1881 Guy de Maupassant story "In Various Roles"; "Kinda Fonda Wanda" a song by Neil Young on his 1983 album Everybody's Rockin'.

The Polish heroine Wanda became also very popular outside of Poland, being inspiration of many artists, writers and poets all over the world.

Wanda Mound on the Ujastek Mogilski street in Kraków

The Serbian dramatist Matija Ban wrote about Wanda, the symbol of Poland, in his 1868 play, Wanda, the Polish Queen.

Antonín Dvořák composed the fifth of his 11 operas, the tragedy Vanda around this episode in Polish history legends. Writing in 1875, he cast the story as a struggle between the pagan West Slavs and the Christian Teutons.[6]

In 1890, a statue designed by the Polish artist Jan Matejko depicting an eagle turning to the west was mounted on top of the mound. On the base of the statue the inscription WANDA was carved, together with two swords and a distaff.

Kopiec Wandy in Kraków, Queen Wanda burial tomb in Kraków, Poland.

Scholars Albina Kruszewska and Marion Coleman described Queen Wanda as being a quintessence of all archetypal traits of the ancient woman- "the pure white chastity of Elaine, the filial devotion of Cordelia, and the iron will".[7]

A variety of orchid is called Vanda. Wanda (Vanda) is also a famous children's cartoon, manga and computer game protagonist. The beautiful Wanda keep inspiring people, children, youth and women around the world.

References edit

  1. ^ "Wanda", The Dinner Party, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum
  2. ^ Vincent Kadlubek legend of Wanda, who lived in the land of the Wandalen, Vandals, page 56,57
  3. ^ a b K. Kumaniecki, "Podanie o Wandzie w świetle źródeł starożytnych", Pamiętnik Literacki [pl] 22–23 (1925–26).
  4. ^ K. Römer, Podanie o Kraku i Wandzie, Biblioteka Warszawska 1876
  5. ^ Jacek Banaszkiewicz, "Rüdiger von Bechelaren, którego nie chciała Wanda. Przyczynek do kontaktu niemieckiej Heldenepik z polskimi dziejami bajecznymi", Przegląd Historyczny [pl], 75, 1984
  6. ^ Wanda Archived 2007-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Alkor.
  7. ^ Albina I. Kruszewska; Marion M. Coleman (May 1947). "The Wanda Theme in Polish Literature and Life". The American Slavic and East European Review. 6 (1/2): 19–35. doi:10.2307/2491931. JSTOR 2491931.

Further reading edit

  • Anstruther & Sekalski, Old Polish Legends, Hippocrene Books; 2nd edition, May, 1997.
  • Kraków District Guide, OAG Cities Guides, 2007.
  • Cabras, Francesco. 2016. “The Legend of Wanda in Jan Kochanowski’s Elegy I 15”. In: Studi Slavistici 12 (February), 59–77.

External links edit