The Info List - Sigismund II Augustus

Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
(Polish: Zygmunt II August, Ruthenian: Żygimont II Awgust, Lithuanian: Žygimantas II Augustas, German: Sigismund II. August) (1 August 1520 – 7 July 1572) was the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548. Married three times, the last of the Jagiellons
remained childless, and through the Union of Lublin introduced a free elective monarchy.


1 Royal titles 2 Biography 3 Patronage 4 Ancestry 5 Marriages 6 See also 7 Notes 8 External links

Royal titles[edit]

Royal titles, in Latin: "Sigismundus Augustus Dei gratia rex Poloniae, magnus dux Lithuaniae, nec non-terrarum Cracoviae, Sandomiriae, Siradiae, Lanciciae, Cuiaviae, Kiioviae, Dominus Hereditarium Russiae, Woliniae, Prussiae, Masoviae, Podlachiae, Culmensis, Elbingensis, Pomeraniae, Samogitiae, Livoniae etc. dominus et haeres." English translation: "Sigismund Augustus, by the Grace of God, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Lord and heir of the Lands of Kraków, Sandomierz, Sieradz, Łęczyca, Kuyavia, Kiev, Hereditary Lord of Ruthenia, Volhynia, Prussia, Masovia, Podlaskie, Culmer Land, Elbing, Pomerania, Samogitia, Livonia
etc. Lord and heir"


Parade armour of King Sigismund Augustus, made in Nuremberg
by Kunz Lochner, 1550s. Livrustkammaren
in Stockholm.

From the outset of his reign, Sigismund came into collision with the country's nobility, who had already begun curtailing the power of the great families. The ostensible cause of the nobility's animosity to the King was his second marriage, secretly contracted before his accession to the throne, with (said to be beautiful) Lithuanian Calvinist, Barbara Radziwiłł, daughter of Hetman
Jerzy Radziwiłł. So violent was the agitation at Sigismund's first sejm (31 October 1548) that the deputies threatened to renounce their allegiance unless the King repudiated his wife Barbara. He refused and won the day. By 1550, when Sigismund summoned his second sejm, a reaction had begun in his favor, and the nobility was rebuked by Piotr Kmita, Marshal of the sejm, who accused them of attempting to unduly diminish the legislative prerogatives of the crown.

Death of Barbara Radziwiłł, painting by Józef Simmler

The death of Queen Barbara, five months after her coronation (7 December 1550), under distressing circumstances, compelled Sigismund to contract a third, purely political union with his first cousin, the Austrian archduchess Catherine, also the sister of his first wife, Elisabeth, who had died within a year of her marriage to him, before his accession. Sigismund soon lost all hope of children by his third bride; he was the last male Jagiellon in the direct line so the dynasty was threatened with extinction. He sought to remedy this by adultery with two of the most beautiful of his countrywomen, Barbara Giżanka and Anna Zajączkowska but was unable to impregnate either of them. The sejm was willing to legitimatize, and acknowledge as Sigismund's successor, any male heir who might be born to him; however, the King was to die childless. The King's marriage was a matter of great political import to Protestants
and Catholics alike. The Polish Protestants
hoped that he would divorce and remarry and thus bring about a breach with Rome at the very crisis of the religious struggle in Poland. He was not free to remarry until Queen Catherine's death on 28 February 1572, but he followed her to the grave less than six months later.

Letter from Hürrem Sultan, wife of Suleiman the Magnificent, to Sigismund Augustus, complimenting him on his accession to the throne in 1549

Sigismund's reign was a period of internal turmoil and external expansion. He saw the introduction of the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
into Poland
and Lithuania, and the peero-cratic upheaval that placed most political power in the hands of the szlachta (nobility); he saw the collapse of the Knights of the Sword
Knights of the Sword
in the north, which led to the Commonwealth's acquisition of Livonia
as a Lutheran duchy and the consolidation of Turkey's power in the south. A less imposing figure than his father, the elegant and refined Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
was nevertheless an even more effective statesman than the stern and majestic Sigismund I the Old. Sigismund II possessed to a high degree the tenacity and patience that seem to have characterized all the Jagiellons, and he added to these qualities a dexterity and diplomatic finesse. No other Polish king seems to have so thoroughly understood the nature of the Polish sejm. Both the Austrian ambassadors and the papal legates testify to the care with which he controlled his nation. Everything went as he wished, they said, because he seemed to know everything in advance. He managed to get more money out of the sejm than his father ever could, and at one of his sejms he won the hearts of the assembly by unexpectedly appearing before them in the simple grey coat of a Masovian lord. Like his father, a pro-Austrian by conviction, he contrived even in this respect to carry with him the nation, often distrustful of the Germans. He avoided serious complications with the powerful Turks.

Tapestry with Shield-Bearing Satyrs with the royal monogram S.A. (Sigismundus Augustus), woven in Brussels
in about 1555

Sigismund II mediated for twenty years between the Catholic Church and the Protestants. His most striking memorial may have been the Union of Lublin, which united Poland
and Lithuania
into the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth—the "Republic of the Two Nations" (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów, Lithuanian: Abiejų Tautų Respublika). Also, German-speaking Royal Prussia
and Prussian cities were included. This achievement might well have been impossible without Sigismund.[1] Sigismund died at his beloved Knyszyn
on 6 July 1572, aged 51. In 1573, Henry III of Valois was elected King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth for a few months, but then returned to France where he was crowned King Henry III of France. Shortly thereafter, Sigismund's sister Anna of Poland
married Stefan Batory, and they ruled as King and Queen of Poland. In addition to his family connections, Sigismund II was allied to the Imperial Habsburgs
by his pledge as member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Young Sigismund is one of the figures on the Prussian Homage painting by Jan Matejko. Patronage[edit]

"Death of Zygmunt August at Knyszyn", by Jan Matejko

Sigismund Augustus carried on with the development of several royal residencies including Wawel Castle, Vilnius Castle, Niepołomice Castle and the Royal Castle in Warsaw. In the 1560s he acquired the Tykocin Castle
Tykocin Castle
and rebuilt it in Renaissance style.[2] During the reign of Sigismund Augustus the structure served as a royal residence with an impressive treasury and library as well as the main arsenal of the crown.[3] Sigismund Augustus was a passionate collector of jewels. According to nuncio Bernardo Bongiovanni's relation, his collection was cached in 16 chests.[4] Among the precious items in his possession was Charles V's ruby of 80,000 scudos' worth, as well as the Emperor's diamond medal with Habsburgs
Eagle on one side and two columns with a sign Plus Ultra on the other side.[4] In 1571, after the death of his nephew John II Sigismund Zápolya, he inherited an Hungarian Crown
Hungarian Crown
and a Swedish Crown was made for him.[5][6] The Polish king treated those crowns as a family keepsake, and kept them in a private vault in the Tykocin Castle.[6] He had also a sultan's sword of 16,000 ducats' worth, 30 precious horse trappings[4] and 20 different private-use armours.[7] The king's possession included a rich collection of tapestries (360 pieces), commissioned by him in Brussels
in the years 1550–1560.[4][8] Ancestry[edit]

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Ancestors of Sigismund II Augustus

16. Algirdas
of Lithuania

8. Władysław II Jagiełło, King of Poland

17. Uliana Alexandrovna of Tver

4. Casimir IV Jagiellon, King of Poland

18. Andrew Ivanovich, Prince of Halshany

9. Sophia of Halshany

19. Alexandra Dimitrijewna of Drutsk

2. Sigismund I the Old

20. Albert IV, Duke of Austria

10. Albert II of Germany

21. Johanna Sophia of Bavaria

5. Elizabeth of Austria

22. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

11. Elisabeth of Bohemia

23. Barbara of Celje

1. Sigismund II Augustus

24. Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza

12. Galeazzo Maria Sforza

25. Bianca Maria Visconti
Bianca Maria Visconti

6. Gian Galeazzo Sforza

26. Louis, Duke of Savoy

13. Bona of Savoy

27. Anne of Cyprus

3. Bona Sforza

28. Ferdinand I of Naples

14. Alfonso II of Naples

29. Isabella of Clermont

7. Isabella of Naples

30. Francesco I Sforza
Francesco I Sforza

15. Ippolita Maria Sforza

31. Bianca Maria Visconti
Bianca Maria Visconti


Wives of Sigismund II Augustus

Elisabeth of Austria

Barbara Radziwiłł

Catherine of Austria

He married three times:

On 5 May 1543, Sigismund married his first wife Elisabeth of Austria (9 July 1526 – 15 June 1545), eldest daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. In 1546, he was pursuing marriage with Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII of England and then the noblewoman Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk. Between 28 July and 6 August 1547, Sigismund married his second wife Barbara Radziwiłł
Barbara Radziwiłł
(6 December 1520 – 8 May 1551). In the summer of 1553, Sigismund married Catherine of Austria (15 September 1533 – 28 February 1572), a younger sister of his first wife.

See also[edit]

History of Poland
(1385–1569) History of Poland
(1569–1795) List of Polish monarchs


^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Bain, Robert Nisbet (1911). "Sigismund II.". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 68.  ^ Museum in Białystok (1991). "Volume 16". Rocznik białostocki (The Annual of Białystok). Polish Scientific Publishers PWN. p. 75.  ^ "Ruiny zamku". Ruins of the castle (in Polish). www.tykocin.hg.pl. Retrieved 12 September 2010.  ^ a b c d Stanisław Cynarski (1988). Zygmunt August (Sigismund Augustus) (in Polish). National Ossoliński Institute. pp. 198–199. ISBN 83-04-02670-8.  ^ Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska. "Poland's Crowns". www.angelfire.com. Retrieved 16 February 2009.  ^ a b Michał Rożek (1987). Polskie koronacje i korony (Polish coronations and crowns) (in Polish). p. 80. ISBN 83-03-01914-7.  ^ Michał Lisiński. "Polonica w Szwecji". Polish mementos in Sweden (in Polish). www.zwoje-scrolls.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010.  ^ Tadeusz Wojnowski (1988). A Polish American's guide to Poland. Interpress Publishers. p. 98. ISBN 83-223-1978-9. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
of Poland.

Sigismund II Augustus House of Jagiellon Born: 1 August 1520 Died: 7 July 1572

Regnal titles

Preceded by Sigismund I the Old as sole ruler King of Poland 1530–1572 with Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old
(1530–1548) Vacant Title next held by Henry

Grand Duke of Lithuania 1529–1572 with Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I the Old

v t e

Monarchs of Lithuania

Early Grand Dukes

(dynasty) Treniota Vaišvilkas Shvarn Traidenis Daumantas


Butigeidis Butvydas Vytenis Gediminas
(family) Jaunutis Algirdas
(family) Jogaila
(family) Kęstutis
(family) Skirgaila Vytautas Švitrigaila Sigismund Kęstutaitis Casimir Jagellon Alexander Sigismund I the Old Sigismund II Augustus


Henry III of Valois Anna the Jagiellonian Stephen Báthory Sigismund III Vasa Ladislaus IV Vasa John II Casimir Vasa Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki John III Sobieski Augustus II the Strong Stanisław Leszczyński August III the Saxon Stanisław August Poniatowski

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: 804948 LCCN: n83073801 ISNI: 0000 0001 2095 4539 GND: 118614193 SELIBR: 205144 SUDOC: 02992376X BNF: cb12144608t (data) NKC: jx20080401008