The Info List - Casimir III The Great

Casimir III the Great
Casimir III the Great
(Polish: Kazimierz
III Wielki; 30 April 1310 – 5 November 1370) reigned as the King of Poland
King of Poland
from 1333 to 1370. He was the son of King Władysław I ("the Elbow-high") and Duchess Jadwiga of Kalisz, and the last Polish king from the Piast dynasty.[1] Kazimierz
inherited a kingdom weakened by war and made it prosperous and wealthy. He reformed the Polish army and doubled the size of the kingdom. He reformed the judicial system and introduced a legal code, gaining the title "the Polish Justinian."[2] Kazimierz
built extensively and founded the University of Kraków[3], the oldest Polish university. He also confirmed privileges and protections previously granted to Jews
and encouraged them to settle in Poland
in great numbers. Kazimierz
left no lawful male heir to his throne, producing only daughters. When Kazimierz
died in 1370 from an injury received while hunting, his nephew, King Louis I of Hungary, succeeded him as king of Poland
in personal union with Hungary.


1 The Great King

1.1 Succession

2 Society under the reign of Casimir 3 Relationship with Polish Jews 4 Relationships with children

4.1 Aldona of Lithuania 4.2 Adelheid of Hesse 4.3 Christina 4.4 Hedwig of Żagań 4.5 Esterka

5 Ancestry 6 Title and style 7 Popular culture 8 Gallery 9 See also 10 References 11 External links

The Great King[edit]

(red) at the end of the reign of Kazimierz
III (1370); Silesia (yellow) had been lost, but the Kingdom was expanding to the east

When Kazimierz
attained the throne in 1333, his position was in danger, as his neighbours did not recognise his title and instead called him "king of Kraków". The kingdom was depopulated and exhausted by war, and the economy was ruined. In 1335, in the Treaty of Trentschin, Casimir was forced to relinquish his claims to Silesia "in perpetuity". Kazimierz
rebuilt and his kingdom became prosperous and wealthy, with great prospects for the future. He waged many victorious wars and doubled the size of the kingdom, mostly through addition of lands in modern-day Ukraine
(then called the Duchy of Halych). Kazimierz
built extensively during his reign, ordering the construction of over 40 castles, including many castles along the Trail of the Eagle's Nests, and he reformed the Polish army. At the Sejm
in Wiślica, on 11 March 1347, Kazimierz
introduced reforms to the Polish judicial system and sanctioned civil and criminal codes for Great and Lesser Poland, earning the title "the Polish Justinian."[2] He founded the University of Kraków,[3] the oldest Polish University, and he organized a meeting of kings in Kraków
in 1364 at which he exhibited the wealth of the Polish kingdom.[citation needed] Kazimierz
is the only king in Polish history to both receive and retain the title of "Great" (Bolesław I Chrobry is also called "Great", but more commonly "Valiant"). Succession[edit] In 1355, in Buda, Kazimierz
designated his nephew Louis I of Hungary as his successor should he produce no male heir, as his father had with Charles I of Hungary
Charles I of Hungary
to gain his help against Bohemia. In exchange Kazimierz
gained Hungarian favourable attitude, needed in disputes with the hostile Teutonic Order and Kingdom of Bohemia. Kazimierz
at the time was still in his early years and having a son did not seem to be a problem (he already had a few children).

The Second Taking of Ruthenia. Wealth and Education, Jan Matejko

left no legal son, however, begetting five daughters instead. He tried to adopt his grandson, Casimir IV, Duke of Pomerania, in his last will. The child had been born to his second daughter, Elisabeth, Duchess of Pomerania, in 1351. This part of the testament was invalidated by Louis I of Hungary, however, who had traveled to Kraków
quickly after Kazimierz
died and bribed the nobles with future privileges. Kazimierz
III had a son-in-law, Louis VI of Bavaria, Margrave
and Prince-elector
of Brandenburg, who was considered a possible successor, but he was deemed ineligible as his wife, Kazimierz's daughter Cunigunde, had died in 1357 without issue. Thus King Louis I of Hungary
Louis I of Hungary
became successor in Poland. Louis was proclaimed king upon Kazimierz's death in 1370, though Kazimierz's sister Elisabeth (Louis's mother) held much of the real power until her death in 1380.[4] Society under the reign of Casimir[edit]

Wiec in reign of Casimir the Great

Casimir was facetiously named "the Peasants' King". He introduced the codes of law of Greater and Lesser Poland
as an attempt to end the overwhelming superiority of the nobility. During his reign all three major classes — the nobility, priesthood, and bourgeoisie — were more or less counterbalanced, allowing Casimir to strengthen his monarchic position. He was known for siding with the weak when the law did not protect them from nobles and clergymen. He reportedly even supported a peasant whose house had been demolished by his own mistress, after she had ordered it to be pulled down because it disturbed her enjoyment of the beautiful landscape.[citation needed] Relationship with Polish Jews[edit]

Wojciech Gerson, Casimir the Great and the Jews

Due to his deep relationship with the legendary Esterka
who played a significant role in the King's life, Casimir was favorably disposed toward Jews
living in Poland. On 9 October 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jews
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, and he inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. While Jews
had lived in Poland
since before his reign, Casimir allowed them to settle in Poland
in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.[5] Relationships with children[edit]

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Casimir III was born in Kowal, and he married four times. Casimir first married Anna, or Aldona Ona, the daughter of Grand Duke Gediminas
of Lithuania. The marriage produced two daughters, 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 Casimir then married Adelaide of Hesse. He divorced Adelaide in 1356, married Christina, divorced her, and while Adelaide and possibly Christina were still alive (ca. 1365), he married Hedwig of Głogów and Sagan. He had three daughters by his fourth wife, and they were still very young when he died, and regarded as of dubious legitimacy because of Casimir's bigamy. Aldona of Lithuania[edit] On 30 April or 16 October 1325, Casimir married Aldona of Lithuania.[6] She was a daughter of Gediminas
of Lithuania
and Jewna. They had two children:

Elisabeth of Poland
(ca. 1326–1361); married Bogusław V, Duke of Pomerania Cunigunde of Poland
(1334–1357); married Louis VI the Roman

Aldona died on 26 May 1339. Casimir remained a widower for two years. Adelheid of Hesse[edit] On 29 September 1341, Casimir married his second wife, Adelaide of Hesse. She was a daughter of Henry II, Landgrave of Hesse, and Elizabeth of Meissen. They had no children. Casimir started living separately from Adelaide soon thereafter. Their loveless marriage lasted until 1356.[citation needed] Christina[edit] Casimir effectively divorced Adelaide and married his mistress Christina Rokiczana, 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. Queen Adelaide renounced it as bigamous and returned to Hesse without permission. Casimir continued living with Christine despite complaints by Pope Innocent VI
Pope Innocent VI
on behalf of Queen Adelaide. The marriage lasted until 1363–64 when Casimir again declared himself divorced. They had no children.[citation needed] Hedwig of Żagań[edit] 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
Anna of Poland, Countess of Celje
(1366 – 9 June 1422); married firstly William of Celje; their only daughter was Anne, who married Jogaila
of Lithuania
(who at the time was King of Poland). Anne married, secondly, Ulrich, Duke of Teck; they had no children Kunigunde of Poland
(1367 – 1370) Jadwiga of Poland
(1368 – ca. 1382).

With Adelheid still alive and Christina 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
Pope Urban V
on 5 December 1369. Jadwiga the younger was legitimated by Pope Gregory XI
Pope Gregory XI
on 11 October 1371.[7] Esterka[edit] Esterka
was the only one who gave him male offspring. She had a significant place in Casimir's life. She was a legendarily beautiful and intelligent woman who even performed as a king's adviser in support of various initiatives: building stone cities, tolerance to representatives of different religious faiths, free trade and support of cultural development. It was she who laid the foundations of a tolerant attitude towards Jews
in Poland
and it remained so for centuries, making this country "a paradise for the Jews". Casimir was not only loyal to the Jews, but also encouraged them, as a result of it the country experienced phenomenal economic and cultural growth. Casimir was called The Great King for his wisdom. The sons of King Casimir and Esterka, Pelko and Nemir, were baptized at the request of their father and became the ancestors of several Polish noble families: Rudanovsky and . To develop legal and commercial relations between Jews, Poles and Germans, Pelko was sent to Konitz and his brother Nemir in 1363 to the southwest to Lower Silesia
to participate in the foundation of the city of Neurode, which later became the patrimonial nest of the new Nourode's Rudanovsky dynasty. Ancestry[edit]

Ancestors of Casimir III the Great

16.Casimir II the Just

8.Konrad I of Masovia

17.Helena of Znojmo

4.Casimir I of Kuyavia

18.Svyatoslav III Igorevich

9.Agafia of Rus

19.Yaroslava Rurikovna

2.Władysław I the Elbow-high

20.Mieszko IV Tanglefoot

10.Casimir I of Opole


5.Euphrosyne of Opole


1.Casimir III the Great

24.Odon of Poznań

12.Władysław Odonic

25.Viacheslava of Halych

6.Boleslaus the Pious of Greater Poland

13.Jadwiga of Pomerania

3.Jadwiga of Kalisz

28.Andrew II of Hungary

14.Béla IV of Hungary

29.Gertrude of Merania

7.Blessed Jolenta

30. Theodore I Laskaris
Theodore I Laskaris
of Nicaea

15.Maria Laskarina

31.Anna Komnene Angelina

Title and style[edit] Casimir's full title was: Casimir by the grace of God king of Poland and Russia (Ruthenia), lord and heir of the land of Kraków, Sandomierz, Sieradz, Łęczyca, Kuyavia, Pomerania (Pomerelia). The title in Latin was: Kazimirus, Dei gratia rex Polonie et Russie, nec non Cracovie, Sandomirie, Siradie, Lancicie, Cuiavie, et Pomeranieque Terrarum et Ducatuum Dominus et Heres.[8] Popular culture[edit]

Casimir features as a playable leader in the computer strategy game Civilization V: Brave New World.


The King's sarcophagus at Wawel Cathedral

Effigy of Casimir from his own tomb erected by his nephew around 1371

the Great, by Marcello Bacciarelli

the Great, by Jan Matejko

The Cracow Gate in Szydłów, part of the city walls established by the King

Będzin Castle; in 1348 the King upgraded it from a wooden fortress to a stone one

Ruins of the Ogrodzieniec
Castle, built on the King's order[9]

Ruins of the Castle in Kazimierz
Dolny; the King extended it in the 1340s

Statue of the King in Niepołomice
near his hunting castle

Statue of the King in Bydgoszcz

Basilica in Wiślica, funded by the King, and built in the third quarter of the 14th century

Saint Ladislaus
Saint Ladislaus
Church in Szydłów, established by the King in 1355

Saint Catherine Church in Kazimierz, founded by the King in 1363

Latin Cathedral, Lviv, construction began in 1360 on the King's order

the Castle in Sanok, built on the King's order

Herma of Saint Sigismund of Burgundy, founded by the King for Płock Cathedral

See also[edit]

History of Poland
(966–1385) Jagiellonian University Kazimierz
Wielki University in Bydgoszcz Kazimierz Kazimierz
Dolny List of Poles


^ Halina Lerski (1996). "Casimir III the Great". Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966–1945. ABC-CLIO Press. pp. 249–250. ISBN 0313034567. Retrieved 8 September 2012.  ^ a b Saxton, L. C. (1851). Fall of Poland; containing an analytical and a philosophical account of the causes which conspired in the ruin of that nation; together with a history of the country from its origin, in two volumes. I. New York: Charles Scribner publishing company. p. 89.  ^ a b Saxton, 1851, p. 535 ^ Lukowski, Jerzy; Zawadzki, Hubert (2016) [2001]. A concise history of Poland. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 9780521853323.  ^ "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",  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Robert Frost, The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania:Vol I, The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569, (Oxford University Press, 2015), 28. ^ Pope Gregory XI: the Failure of Tradition ISBN 978-0-819-15463-7 p. 119 ^ Document Nr 1340 (CODEX DIPLOMATICUS MAIORIS POLONIA). POZNANIAE. SUMPTIBUS BIBLIOTHECAE KORNICENSIS. TYPIS J. I. KRASZEWSKI (Dr. W. ŁEBIŃSKI). 1879. ^ [1], ogrodzieniec.pl; accessed 11 March 2014. (in Polish)

External links[edit]

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has original text related to this article: Casimir III.

His listing in "Medieval lands" by Charles Cawley. The project "involves extracting and analysing detailed information from primary sources, including contemporary chronicles, cartularies, necrologies and testaments."

Casimir III the Great House of Piast Born: 1310 Died: 1370

Regnal titles

Preceded by Władysław I King of Poland 1333–1370 Succeeded by Louis

Preceded by Boleslaw-Yuri II King of Galicia-Volhynia 1340–1370

v t e

Monarchs of Poland

Piast dynasty

Siemowit Lestek Siemomysł Mieszko I Bolesław I the Brave Bezprym Mieszko II Lambert (Bolesław the Forgotten) Casimir I the Restorer Bolesław II the Generous Władysław I Herman Zbigniew Bolesław III Wrymouth

Fragmentation period

Supreme Princes

Władysław II the Exile Bolesław IV the Curly Mieszko III the Old Casimir II the Just Leszek the White Władysław III Spindleshanks Władysław Odonic Mieszko IV Tanglefoot Konrad I Henry the Bearded Henry II the Pious Bolesław V the Chaste Leszek II the Black Henryk IV Probus Przemysł II

See also

Dukes of Silesia Dukes of Greater Poland Dukes of Little Poland Dukes of Masovia Dukes of Cuyavia Dukes of Sieradz-Łęczyca Dukes of Gdańsk Pomerania Dukes of Pomerania

Přemyslid dynasty

Wenceslaus II Wenceslaus III

Restored Piast dynasty

Władysław I the Elbow-high Casimir III the Great

Capet-Anjou dynasty

Louis I the Hungarian Jadwiga

Jagiellonian dynasty

Władysław II Jagiełło Władysław III of Varna Casimir IV John I Albert Alexander Sigismund I the Old Sigismund II Augustus

Elective monarchy

Henry of Valois Anna Jagiellon Stephen Báthory Sigismund III Vasa Władysław IV Vasa John II Casimir Vasa Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki John III Sobieski August II the Strong Stanisław I August III the Saxon Stanisław August Poniatowski

Italics indicates monarchs of questioned historicity or entirely legendary.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 62340685 LCCN: n83233851 ISNI: 0000 0001 0908 1351 GND: 118560425 SUDOC: 06687579X BNF: cb121025474 (data) NKC: j