Casimir III of Poland: Wikis

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Casimir III the Great article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Casimir III
Casimir III the Great. Drawing by Jan Matejko
King of Poland
Reign 1333 - 1370
Coronation 25 April 1333
Predecessor Vladislaus I
Successor Louis I
Spouse Aldona of Lithuania
Adelaide of Hesse
Krystyna Rokiczanka
Jadwiga of Żagań
Elisabeth, Duchess of Pomerania
Anna, Countess of Cilli
House House of Piast
Father Władysław I the Elbow-high
Born 30 April 1310(1310-04-30)
Kowal, Poland
Died 5 November 1370 (aged 60)
Kraków, Poland
Burial Wawel Cathedral, Kraków

Casimir III the Great (Polish: Kazimierz Wielki; 30 April 1310 – 5 November 1370), last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty (1333–1370), was the son of King Władysław I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz.


Royal titles

  • Royal titles in Latin: Kazimirus, Dei gracia rex Poloniæ ac terrarum Cracoviæ, Sandomiriæ, Syradiæ, Lanciciæ, Cuyaviæ, Pomeraniæ, Russiequæ dominus et heres.
  • Also known as the Peasants' King.


Born in Kowal, Casimir (Kazimierz) the Great first married Anna, or Aldona Ona, the daughter of the prince of Lithuania, Gediminas. The daughters from this marriage were Cunigunde (d 1357), who was married to Louis VI the Roman, the son of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Elisabeth, who was married to Duke Bogislaus V of Pomerania. Aldona died in 1339 and Kazimierz then married Adelaide of Hesse. He divorced Adelheid in 1356, married Christina, divorced her, and while Adelheid and possibly also Christina were still alive (ca. 1365) married Hedwig (Jadwiga) of Głogów and Sagan.

His three daughters by his fourth wife were very young and regarded as of dubious legitimacy because of their father's bigamy. Because all of the five children he fathered with his first and fourth wife were daughters, he would have no lawful male heir to his throne.

When Kazimierz, the last Piast king of Poland, died in 1370, his nephew King Louis I of Hungary succeeded him to become king of Poland in personal union with Hungary.

The Great King

Kazimierz is the only Polish king who both received and kept the title of Great in Polish history (Boleslaw I Chrobry is also called the Great, but his title Chrobry (Valiant) is now more common). When he received the crown, his hold on it was in danger, as even his neighbours did not recognise his title and instead called him "king of Kraków". The economy was ruined, and the country was depopulated and exhausted by war. Upon his death, he left a country doubled in size (mostly through the addition of land in today's Ukraine, then the Duchy of Halicz), prosperous, wealthy and with great prospects for the future. Although he is depicted as a peaceful king in children's books, he in fact waged many victorious wars and was readying for others just before he died.

Kazimierz the Great built many new castles, reformed the Polish army and Polish civil and criminal law. At the Sejm in Wiślica, 11 March 1347, he introduced salutary legal reforms in the jurisprudence of his country. He sanctioned a code of laws for Great and Lesser Poland, which gained for him the title of "the Polish Justinian" and founded the University of Kraków which is the oldest Polish university, although his death temporarily stalled the university's development (which is why it is today called the "Jagiellonian" rather than "Casimirian" University).

He organized a meeting of kings at Kraków (1364) in which he exhibited the wealth of the Polish kingdom.

Concession to the nobility

14th-century rally, in the reign of Kazimierz the Great

In order to enlist the support of the nobility, especially the military help of pospolite ruszenie, Kazimierz was forced to give up important privileges to their caste, which made them finally clearly dominant over townsfolk (burghers or mieszczaństwo).

In 1335, in the Treaty of Trentschin, Kazimierz relinquished "in perpetuity" his claims to Silesia. In 1355 in Buda Kazimierz designated Louis of Anjou (Louis I of Hungary) as his successor. In exchange, the szlachta's tax burden was reduced and they would no longer be required to pay for military expeditions expenses outside Poland. Those important concessions would eventually lead to the ultimately crippling rise of the unique nobles' democracy in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

His second daughter, Elisabeth, Duchess of Pomerania, bore a son in 1351, Casimir IV of Pomerania. He was slated to become the heir, but did not succeed to the throne, dying childless in 1377, 7 years after King Casimir. He was the only male descendant of King Casimir who lived during his lifetime.

Subjection of Ruthenia by the Crown of the Polish Kingdom in 1366 by Jan Matejko

Also, his son-in-law Louis VI the Roman of Bavaria, Margrave and Prince-elector of Brandenburg, was thought as a possible successor as king of Poland. However, he was not deemed eligible as his wife, Kazimierz's daughter Cunigunde, had died already in 1357, without children.

Kazimierz had no legal sons. Apparently he deemed his own descendants either unsuitable or too young to inherit. Thus, and in order to provide a clear line of succession and avoid dynastic uncertainty, he arranged for his sister Elisabeth, Dowager Queen of Hungary, and her son Louis king of Hungary to be his successors in Poland. Louis was proclaimed king on Kazimierz's death in 1370, and Elisabeth held much of the real power until her death in 1380.

Many of the influential lords of Poland were unsatisfied with the idea of any personal union with Hungary, and 12 years after Kazimierz's death, (and only a couple of years after Elisabeth's), they refused in 1382 to accept the succession of Louis's eldest surviving daughter Mary (Queen of Hungary) in Poland too. They therefore chose Mary's younger sister, Hedwig, as their new monarch, and she became "King" (=Queen Regnant) Jadwiga of Poland, thus restoring the independence enjoyed until the death of Kazimierz, twelve years earlier.

Relationship with Polish Jews

Wojciech Gerson, Casimir the Great and Jews

King Kazimierz was favorably disposed toward Jews. On 9 October 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jewish Poles in 1264 by Bolesław V the Chaste. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism. He inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries.

Although Jews had lived in Poland since before the reign of King Kazimierz, he allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.[1] This may have been in response to the upsurge in persecution of Jews in the German regions to Poland's west associated with the Black Death; the Jews provided a class of citizens loyal to the King with a tradition of education who could serve as administrators and (importantly in the changing post-Plague European economy) bankers.

Relationships and children

Aldona of Lithuania

On 30 April or 16 October, 1325, Casimir married Aldona of Lithuania. She was a daughter of Gediminas of Lithuania and Jewna. They had two children:

Aldona died on 26 May, 1339. Casimir remained a widower for two years.

Adelheid of Hesse

On 29 September, 1341, Casimir married his second wife Adelheid of Hesse. She was a daughter of Henry II, Landgrave of Hesse and Elisabeth of Meissen. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick I, Margrave of Meissen and his second wife Elizabeth of Lobdeburg-Arnshaugk. They had no children.

Casimir started living separately from Adelheid soon after their marriage. Their loveless marriage lasted until 1356.


Casimir effectively divorced Adelheid and married his mistress Christina. Christina was the widow of Miklusz Rokiczani, a wealthy merchant. Her own origins are unknown. Following the death of her first husband she had entered the court of Bohemia in Prague as a lady-in-waiting. Casimir brought her with him from Prague and convinced the abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Tyniec to marry them. The marriage was held in a secret ceremony but soon became known. Adelheid renounced it as bigamous and returned to Hesse without permission.

Casimir continued living with Christine despite complains by Pope Innocent VI on behalf of Adelheid. The marriage lasted until 1363/1364 when Casimir again declared himself divorced. They had no children.

Jadwiga of Żagań

In about 1365, Casimir married his fourth wife Hedwig of Żagań. She was a daughter of Henry V of Iron, Duke of Żagań and Anna of Mazovia. They had three children:

  • Anna of Poland, Countess of Celje (1366 – 9 June, 1422). Married firstly William of Celje. Their only daughter was Anne of Cilli. Married secondly Ulrich, Duke of Teck. They had no children.
  • Kunigunde of Poland (1367–1370).
  • Hedwig of Poland (1368 – ca. 1407). Reportedly married ca. 1382 but the details are obscure.

With Adelheid still alive and Christine possibly surviving, the marriage to Hedwig was also considered bigamous. The legitimacy of the three last daughters was disputed. Casimir managed to have Anne and Cunigunde legitimated by Pope Urban V on 5 December, 1369. Hedwig the younger was legitimated by Pope Gregory XI on 11 October, 1371.


Casimir also had three illegitimate sons by his mistress Cudka, wife of a castellan.

  • Niemierz (last mentioned alive in 1386). Oldest son. Survived his father, inherited lands around Stopnica.
  • Pelka (1342–1365). Married and had two sons. Predeceased his father.
  • Jan (d. 28 October, 1383). Youngest son. Survived his father, inherited lands around Stopnica.


Konrad I of Masovia
Casimir I of Kuyavia
Agafia of Rus
Władysław I the Elbow-high
Casimir I of Opole
Euphrosyne of Opole
Viola of Bulgaria
Casimir III the Great
Władysław Odonic
Boleslaus the Pious
Jadwiga of Pomerania
Hedwig of Kalisz
Béla IV of Hungary
Blessed Jolenta
Maria Laskarina


See also


  1. ^ "In Poland, a Jewish Revival Thrives—Minus Jews". New York Times. 12 July 2007. "Probably about 70 percent of the world's European Jews, or Ashkenazi, can trace their ancestry to Poland—thanks to a 14th-century king, Casimir III, the Great, who drew Jewish settlers from across Europe with his vow to protect them as "people of the king.""  
  2. ^ Zamek Ogrodzieniecki w Podzamczu (Polish)

External links

Preceded by
Władysław I the Elbow-high
King of Poland
Succeeded by
Ludwik the Hungarian

Simple English

File:Kazimierz III
Casimir III of Poland

Casimir III the Great (Polish Kazimierz III Wielki) (April 30, 1310 - November 5, 1370) was the King of Poland from 1333 until 1370. He was the son of Wladyslaw I. He was the last king of the Piast dynasty, his daughter Jadwiga having married the Lithuanian duke Wladyslaw Jagiello.

Kazimierz is the only Polish king to ever receive the title of "the Great". His reign was a time of prosperity and growth for the Polish kingdom. He focused on the economy and strengthening of the country and not on wars and expansion. He kept peace with the Teutonic Order during his reign, for he knew that Poland was weak and would not survive the confrontation with the knights. Because of that, he focused his attention on the South-eastern borders of the country and expanded there. In 1340, he conquered Red Ruthenia (Lviv along with it) from Hungary. Various Trade laws created by him made it easier for Polish cities to accumulate wealth. Cracow and Lviv gained in importance during his reign.


  • There is a proverb about the king: "Zastał Polskę drewnianą, a zostawił murowaną" (When he ascended Poland was wooden, when he left us, it was from stone) - he had raised many castles during his reign.
  • The old Jewish part of Cracow is called "Kazimierz". It was one of the many cities estabilished by the king.

Other websites

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address