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Medieval Poland – Early Rulers

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Boleslaw the Brave

By the end of the 10th century, the son of Meszko, Boleslaw I the Brave, gathered Polish tribal reigns. At the Gnieznienski congress of the year 1000, it was decided to establish the Gnieznienski archdiocese and three bishops: in Wroclaw for Silesia, Krakow for Lesser Poland and Kołobrzeg for the Western Pomerania. The first archbishop was Gaudent (Radim), who was the brother of St. Wojciech.

During the weakening of the German Empire, Boleslav captured Lusatia and subdued the Czech Crown, Moravia and Slovakia for a short time. Having intervened in the power struggle in the Czech Crown, Boleslav the Brave occupied this country, but after a year and a half he was expelled by the Czechs. An attempt to occupy the Czech Republic led to the Polish-German war. In the world of Budishinsky in 1018, Poland received Lusatia. After Boleslav refused to pay tribute to Emperor Henry II for the possession of the Czech Crown, the latter declared war on the Poles. In 1025, Boleslav took advantage of the death of Henry II and took the title of king. He died the same year but expanded the territory of Poland drastically.

At the beginning of the XI century, the construction of churches in the Romanesque style began, which in the XII century was supplanted by the Byzantine style. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Gothic style developed, and brick came to replace the stone in construction. In 1039, the Czech prince Bretzislav went to Poland, reached Gniezna, and brought out the treasures and relics of St. Wojciech from Gniezna Cathedral, after which he annexed the Silesian lands to the Czech Crown. Having received military support from Emperor Henry III, Prince Casimir occupied Great and Lesser Poland, and declared Krakow his capital. Thus, in the middle of the XI century, the prince’s court moved to Krakow, the former capital – Gniezno remained the residence of the primate of the Polish church. Casimir returned Silesia to Poland, but was obliged by the emperor to pay the Czech Crown a tribute for its possession. Boleslaw attempted to overcome the dependence of Poland on the Holy Roman Empire; He went on campaigns to Kiev, where on the side of Izyaslav he participated in the internecine struggle (1069, 1077). With the consent of the Pope, Boleslaw the Brave was crowned king in 1076.

Boleslaw III fought with the Germans, and defended, in the words of Gall Anonymus, the “ancient freedom of Poland”. To the emperor’s demand for tribute payment, Boleslaw III replied: “If you demand our money or Polish knights, then if we do not protect our freedom, we will consider ourselves women, not men.” After this, Heinrich in 1109 went to war against Poland. The Poles fought back, and the Germans were forced to leave Poland, “carrying away sadness instead of joy, corpses instead of tax”. By 1116, Boleslav occupied East Pomerania, by 1121 – Western Pomerania and in 1123 captured the island of Rügen. Pomorie became a vassal, obliged to pay tribute to Poland. A separate clause in the treaties with the Pomeranian prince Vartislav was the Christianization of Pomerania.

The Piast state was divided first into provinces, which were later divided into kastelania (city districts). Kastelyan hail monitored the concentration of tribute collected in the city and other payments from the environs. The state was divided into regions. So, in Great Poland from the middle of the XIII century there were three such areas – Gneznenskaya, Poznanskaya and Kaliszskaya. Since 1231 there was Kujawskie voivodship. Over time, the area became known as voivodships. The highest position at the court of the prince was occupied by Palatin, who replaced the prince in military campaigns and at court, was in charge of the palace. His assistant in the palace was food. The treasury was in charge of the shelter. The prince’s office was headed by the Chancellor.

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