Sapieha ([saˈpʲjɛxa]; Lithuanian: Sapiega; Belarusian: Сапега, Sapeha) is a Polish noble and magnate family of Lithuanian and Ruthenian origin,[1][2][3] descending from the medieval boyars of Smolensk and Polotsk.[4][5] The family acquired great influence and wealth in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 16th century.


The first confirmed records of the Sapieha family date back to the 15th century, when Semen Sopiha (Belarusian: Сямён Сапега) was mentioned as a writer (scribe) of the then King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Casimir IV Jagiellon (Polish: Kazimierz IV Jagiellończyk) for the period of 1441–49. Semen had two sons, Bohdan and Iwan.

Possibly, the family of Semen Sopiha owned the village of Sopieszyno near Gdansk, which they left because of the Teutonic invasion. Sopieszyno is one of the oldest Pomeranian villages. The records have it that already in the 11th-12th centuries it was a knightly estate[6]. It was then mentioned in 1399 as a village owned in fiefdom by knights subject to the Polish Crown.[6] Their family could be involved in the Baltic-Volga trade, as many Pomeranian families. It is archeologically evident that the Western Dvina was part of the trade route from the Varangians to the Arabs. Their family's appearance near Smolensk corresponds to that.

The creator of the fortune and power of the Sapieha family was the Court and Great Chancellor and Great Hetman of Lithuania, Lew Sapieha.

The princely title of the Sapieha-Kodenski branch was recognized in Poland in 1572 and in Austria-Hungary in 1845, while that of the Sapieha-Rozanski line was officially acknowledged in Russia in 1880.[7]

On 14 September 1700, Michał Franciszek Sapieha had obtained the title of prince from Emperor Leopold I, but the title became extinct upon his death on 19 November 1700. That year, the family lost its dominant position in the Grand Duchy as a result of its defeat in the Lithuanian Civil War. In 1768, members of the Sapieha family obtained recognition of the princely title from the Polish Sejm. After the partitions of Poland, the family appeared in the list of persons authorised to bear the title of Prince of the Kingdom of Poland in 1824. The title was recognised in Austria in 1836 and 1840, and in Russia in 1874 and 1901. In 1905, the family obtained the qualification of Serene Highness in Austria.

The maternal grandmother of Queen Mathilde of Belgium was a member of the house of Sapieha.

Coat of arms

The Sapieha family used the Polish coat of arms named "Lis".[7]

Notable members


See also


  • Labarre de Raillicourt, Dominique., Histoire des Sapieha (1440-1970), Paris, 1970
  • Sapieha E., Dom Sapieżyński, Warszawa 1995. Numery /112 przy nazwiskach oznaczają numery biogramów w/w pozycji.
  • Tłomacki A., "Sapiehowie Kodeńscy", nakładem własnym, Warszawa 2009


  1. ^ Энцыклапедыя ВКЛ. Т.2, арт. "Сапегі"
  2. ^ Саверчанка І.В. Канцлер Вялікага княства. Леў Сапега, Мн., Навука і тэхніка, 1992, с.63
  3. ^ Чаропка В. Бацька Айчыны. Леў Сапега. ў кнізе "Уладары вялікага княства", Мн., Беларусь, 1-е издание 1996, 2-ое издание 2002, с.327–408
  4. ^ Энцыклапедыя ВКЛ. Т.2, арт. "Сапегі"
  5. ^ Vernadsky, George. A History of Russia. New Haven. Connecticut: Yale University Press. 1961. online
  6. ^ a b Bork, Bolesław (1994). Nowy Dwór Wejherowski, Gniewowo i Sopieszyno. Wydawca Rada Gminy Wejherowo.
  7. ^ a b c d Enache, Nicolas. La Descendance de Marie-Therese de Habsburg. ICC, Paris, 1996. pp. 72, 80-81. (French). ISBN 2-908003-04-X
  8. ^ a b Menthe, Caterina. 13 February 2013 Love royale. Vogue Arabia