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Jadwiga of Anjou as the Image of a Good Queen in Late Medieval and Early Modern Poland

Author(s): ANNA BRZEZISKA


Source: The Polish Review, Vol. 44, No. 4 (1999), pp. 407-418
Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of
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The Polish Review, Vol. XLIV, no. 4, 1999:407-437


?1999 The Polish Institute
ofArts and Sciences ofAmerica

ON THE 600IHANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH


OF QUEEN JADWIGA (1399-1999)
ANNA BRZEZINSKA
Jadwiga ofAnjou as the Image of a Good Queen
inLate Medieval and Early Modern Poland1
In this article I propose to reconstruct the portrayal of Queen Jadwiga on
the basis of writings from the fifteenthand sixteenth centuries. I have defined
my chosen authors as belonging to three groups: those for whom Queen
Jadwiga is a part of the immediate past; JanDhigosz, who calls for individual
treatment,along with the subsequent historiographical tradition thatwas based
on his annals, and, finally, the writings of the late sixteenth century, largely
originating during the Interregnum. Thus, I have concentrated on three
periods: first,when the authors could rely on their own memory of Queen
Jadwiga and their testimonies could be verified by the persons from her
II Jagiello; second, when her
surroundings, including her husband,Wladyslaw
was
as
a
in
historical
codified
queen
writings; third,when this
good
picture
portrayal was established well enough to be modified and utilized for current
political purposes. I do not plan to probe the validity of the picture of Queen
Jadwiga in some particular testimonies. Instead, thewide selection of sources
makes it possible to explore the positive image of a royal woman both as a
portrayal of a real person and as a didactic program for royal consorts. It also
demonstrates that, despite the failure at establishing Queen Jadwiga as a
dynastic saint, her image deeply influenced ideas concerningqueenship at the
time of the Jagiellonian dynasty, entered the common imagery and was further
employed to guide individual queens.
I would like to startmy analysis with Soloqium de transitu Hedvigis
Reginae Poloniae written by Stanislas of Skarbimierz during Jadwiga's fatal
illness.2 Stanislas describes Queen Jadwiga as a mother broken by the pains of
delivery, illnesses and the death of her baby, a daughter, eventually being
In his deeply emotional plea for
responsible for Jadwiga's own death.
1
This article is based on a paper delivered on June 19, 1999, at a session,
"Jadwiga of Anjou 1399-1999, Contributions, Images and Heritage," during the 57th
Annual Meeting of the Polish Instituteof Arts and Sciences of America held at
FordhamUniversity,New York City.
2

About

Stanislas

of Skarbimierz,

consult Miroslaw

Korolko,

"Wprowadzenie"

[Introduction] in Stanislaw ze Skarbimierza,Mowy wybrane o madrosci [Selected


Orations onWisdom], edited byMiroslaw Korolko, (Cracow:Arcana, 1997), pp. 9-22.
407

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408

The Polish Review

Jadwiga's recovery, he makes a parallel between carnal and symbolic


motherhood.
For Stanislas of Skarbimierz, Jadwiga constitutes the mother
who, despite the death of her first-born child, could still bear the so much
needed heir to the kingdom and was as well the spiritual mother of the
kingdom, themother of all its poor, weak and ill? Rather than employing the
traditional and favored image of the ecclesiastical patroness beside her royal
husband, Stanislas focuses his attention on the personal qualities of the dying
queen, on her religious and moral virtues. The non-institutional tone of this
portrayal suggests already themain trait of the development of the sermonic
tradition about Queen Jadwiga.
Fortunately, we know the series of sermons written soon after her death,
such as: the sermon of Stanislas of Skarbimierz written for her funeral in 1399;
the sermon of John Isner written in 1399 or 1400; the sermon of Stanislas of
Skarbimierz written in 1401 or 1409; two sermons of Francis ofBrzeg, from
1420 and 1426; an anonymous sermon composed between 1422 and 1426; the
sermon of JohnElgot from 1428; the sermon of Paul ofZator from 1430; and
an anonymous sermon dated approximately at 1433. All preachers shared a
deep conviction about the exceptional qualities of the dead queen whom
Stanislas of Skarbimierz proclaimed "the most Christian queen"4 clearly with
the purpose of promoting her canonization process, and whose posthumous
cult - the wax figures hung at her grave - was implied by Paul ofZator.5
Since all the sermons were concerned mostly with her personal piety, the
question of the role she played in the public affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth
is not crucial to it. Stanislas of Skarbimierz and Francis of
to
attribute
Queen Jadwiga the virtues that traditionally distinguished a
Brzeg
royal wife: she was of high birth, beautiful but chaste, and her beauty stands
principally for her moral perfection, she interceded between the petitioners and
her husband, pleading for mercy and providing him with good advice.6
3
Dimitte
dimitte

tamen, Domine,
matrem,
ipsam etsi non propter pauperes,

dimitte
debiles

ut generet,
et claudos,

dimitte matrem
caecos

et surdos.

pauperum,
Stanislas

of Skarbimierz, "Soloqium de transitu


Hedvigis Reginae Poloniae," inMowy wybrane
. . .

,p.212.
4. . . christianissima

principe

domina

HEDVIGI.

. . , Stanislas

of Skarbimierz,

"Sermo latinus in exequiis Dominae Hedvigis Reginae Poloniae" in Jerzy


Wolny and
Roman Maria Zawadzki, "Krolowa Jadwigaw tradycjikaznodziejskiej XV wieku"
[Queen Jadwiga in the Sermon Tradition of the Fifteenth Century], Analecta
vol. 7 (1975), p. 78.
et
tumulum
eius dependentes
cereae,
supra
ipsum
figurae
liquide
et velut signa effectuum vitae eius pristinae
demonstrant
indicant sanctitatem.
Paul of
Eadem
inWolny
and Zawadzki,
Zator, "Sermonis
Quippe Mensura
Fragmentum"
p.
82.
6
enim quod fuit mater
Vidimus
consolatio
viduarum,
spiritualium,
benefactrix

Cracoviensia,
5
Hoc

interventrix a facie
domini
opressorum,
refugium
enim quandoque
domini
nostri regis et sua
formido
interventu laetificavit.
et cognovimus
Vidimus
quam
sed nobilior moribus,
qffatu, quam nobilis genere,
quam

orphanorum,
clipeus pauperum,
nostri regis expulsorum.
Quod
iustitia exterruit, hos ipsa suo
decora

vultu, quam

ajfabilis

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On the 60(fhAnniversary of theDeath ofQueen Jadwiga_409


Nonetheless, the sermons stress that the glory of her noble birth was even
exceeded by the glory of her good deeds, her humility and mercy! She is
commonly called the mother of the poor, the protector of the orphans, the
shelter of the persecuted and the solace of the troubled.8 The preachers
deployed here the largely traditional language of female sanctity and, in the
pattern of Soloqium, they perceived Queen Jadwiga as a benefactor of her
Furthermore, they clearly adopted some elements of Marian
people.
vocabulary, which additionally strengthens the image of Queen Jadwiga as a
patron and a spiritualmother of her country. In their eyes, she was not merely
a divine instrument for turning her husband and his country from paganism;
neither did they limit Jadwiga's religious perfection to her attitude to the
institutional Church, even so they emphasized her devotion in funding new
churches and her respect toward Church authority.9 They underlined her role
in the restoration of the University of Cracow, which is not particularly
surprising since all the sermons emerge from the milieu of the university.
However, this foundation is perceived mostly through its religious and moral
significance since, as claimed by the author of an anonymous sermon, the
university promotes virtue that is derived from knowledge^0 Thus, in the early
sermonic tradition Queen Jadwiga represents the female virtues of mercy,
benevolence and kindness, which were traditionally attributed to holy women
since the times of the early Church. We see her also as a benefactress of the
churches and a patroness of the learned. On the one hand, she displays the
long-established image of sanctity, on the other, she also symbolizes the
benevolent aspect of rulership; its responsibility for the old, sick and
unprivileged.
Nicholas Lasocki's oration interestinglydemonstrates the extent towhich
opinion about the holiness of Queen Jadwiga could have been utilized by the
Polish court in the days of the first attempts at her canonization. Written
Stanislas
of Skarbimierz,
ad
licet multum fuisset
sublimis.
"Sermo
humilis,
et vita eius" inWolny
et proceres eius de obitu Hedvigis
and Zawadzki,
Reginae
... similiter
et simplicitatis
in victu
castitatis, humilitatis
quod exstitit speculum
morum
erat examplat
et virtutum et
sui status quod
amictu
iuxta decentiam

profunde
regem
p. 24.
quam

in exequiis
Francis
of Brzeg,
"Sermo
aliarum
dominarum.
vivendi respectu
regula
in Wolny
and Zawadzki,
See also
Poloniae"
Dominae
p. 68.
Hedvigis,
Reginae
inWolny
and Zawadzki,
"Sermonis
p. 84.
pro defunctis fragmentum"
and Zawadzki,
7. . . nobilis genere sed fide nobilior, Wolny
p. 84.

JakElgot, "Sermonis in recommendationeHedvigis Reginae Fragmentum" in


Wolny and Zawadzki, p. 80; Francis ofBrzeg, p. 68; Stanislas of Skarbimierz,"Sermo
ad regem et proceres,"

p. 24.

9
Paul ofZator, p. 82; Francis of Brzeg, p. 68, Stanislas of Skarbimierz,"Sermo ad

pp. 24 and 26.


regem et proceres,"
10
etfundationis
Cracoviensis
huius sanctae Universatis
Ipsa fuit causa erectioinis
totum regnum,
immo tota
enim erexit, quo
nec maius
Lumen
bonum facere
potuit.
in anniversario
et ad virtutes
"Sermo
inducitur.
christianitas
illustratur, docetur

venerandaeHedvigis, Reginae Poloniae, ipsa die beati Alexii Confessoris" inWolny


and Zawadzki,

p. 42.

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410

The Polish Review

thirty-fiveyears afterQueen Jadwiga's death and presented during theCouncil


of Basle, it should be interpreted in the context of the perpetuated conflict
In one attempt to discharge the
between Poland and the Teutonic Order.
was accused of devious
who
indictment against Wladyslaw
Jagiello,
conversion to Catholicism and an alliance with theHussites, Nicholas Lasocki
skillfully utilized thememory of his consort,Quenn Jadwiga. In his relation,
she plays the time-honored role of pious royal counselor, occupied with the
salvation of the soul of her freshly converted husband and thus promoting him
inChristian faith and customs. Consequently, Lasocki associates her with the
nature of queenship in its symbolic dimension and the image of the ideal royal
spouse who was not only faithful to her husband but also taking care of his
religious conduct and salvation.11 To strengthen her picture as a pious
influence on WTadyslaw Jagietto, Lasocki dwells on Jadwiga's presumed
sanctity and refers to the numerous miracles thatwould happen at her shrine;
furthermore, he resorts to the authority of the Holy See, mentioning Polish
attempts

at her

canonization.12

The annals of Jan Dhigosz provide us with another trait of literary


tradition concerning Queen Jadwiga. The full analysis of her image in the late
medieval and early modern historiography goes beyond the scope of this
article, particularly because in the chronicles Queen Jadwiga is characterized
not only directly, in her posthumous portrayals, but also through her actions.
In accord with the previous tradition, Jan Dlugosz
describes her as an
beautiful
it
that
her physical beauty
seems,
however,
woman;13
exceptionally
represents essentially her moral perfection.14 He lays emphasis on her wisdom
11
JohnCarmi Parsons, "Ritual and Symbol in theEnglishMedieval Queenship to
in Women

1500,"

and

Sovereignty,

edited

UniversityPress, 1992), pp. 60-77.


Edinburgh
12

by Louis

O.

Fradenburg,

(Edinburgh:

non mediocriter
in hiis omnibus
sanctissimae
Profuit
praefatae
reginae
conversatio.
Cum enim mulier
at mirae sanctitatis
esset, nihil aliud
ipsa devotissima
et ea, quae ad animae
sibi tantae curae fuit, quam
viri et aliorum
salutem atque ad
. . .Nam
in
bonis
moribus
et mortuos
eruditionem
ipsorum
pertinerent,
procuraret.
et infirmos plerosque
susitatos
sanitati restitutos ad ipsius tumulum certissimum
est.

For the full text of the oration, consult:Karolina Grodziska, "Mikolaja Lasockiego
pochwala Wladyslawa Jagieltyi krolowej Jadwigina soborze bazylejskim" [Nicholas
Lasocki's Praise of Ladislas Jagiello and Queen Jadwiga at theCouncil of Basle],

Analecta
more

Cracoviensia,

vol. 20

381-399.

(1988), pp.
13
When he mentions Jadwigafor thefirsttime, the chroniclerstates thatshewas
beautiful

than her

sister:

natu quidem minorem


Incliti Regni Poloniae.

sed prestanciorem
Jan
forma,
Liber X.
edited by
1370-1405,
et al.
See also Gaw?da,
PWN,
Gawejda
(Warsaw:
1985), p. 42 [1375].
p.
142 (pro ilia tempestate
in orbe universo par em informa
non habere
credita sit) and
et contemplans
et decorem
et admirans
enim
p. 152 (Cuius
Gaw^da,
speciem
(neque
in orbe universo par em inpulchritudine
estimata est habuisse)).
pro ea tempestate
Dlugosz,
Stanislaw

Annales

seu Cronicae

14
This becomes obvious fromDlugosz'

exceeded
Gaw^da,

by her moral
pp. 141-142.

purity: Facie

remarkthather physical beautywas far

venustissima,

sed moribus

et virtutibus

venustior,

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On the 600thAnniversary of theDeath ofQueen Jadwiga_411


and feminine virtues
such as nobility, chastity, modesty, moderation,
kindness, and female decency, which he attributes to her already in infancy,
utilizing the topos of puer/puella senex.]S It was her great merits, claims
Dhigosz, that earned forQueen Jadwiga the common love of her subjects who,
despite her fragile, female condition, crowned her Queen of Poland.16
Furthermore, Dhigosz undeniably implies thatQueen Jadwiga prevailed over
the innateweakness of female nature since during her marriage toWladyslaw
Jagietto she acts as a good counselor and he does not hesitate to juxtapose her
wisdom with the evident imprudence of Jagietto. This picture is not only
consistent with his opinion aboutWtadyslaw and his general attitude toward
the Jagiellonian dynasty but italso demonstrates themanly qualities of Queen
Jadwiga and the divine gift of wisdom.17
The description of the religious and moral virtues of Queen Jadwiga keeps
up the elements that have already appeared in the sermonic tradition. Thus,
JanDhigosz dwells on her uprightmanners, her chastity,18her gentleness, and
generosity forwidows, pilgrims and all unfortunate people, her pious influence
on the king.19 This traditional phraseology is, however, tinged with allusions
to new forms of female piety. Particularly her posthumous portrayal, the
description of her ascetic practices and spiritual readings let us trace mystical
and penitential aspects of the spirituality of Queen Jadwiga.20 She could have
been partly inspired by Henry Bitterfeld of Brzeg, whose De vitacontenplativa
et vita activa was - not without reason - dedicated toQueen Jadwiga.21
Additional information concerning Queen Jadwiga's religiosity emerges
from the story of her government in Poland and Dhigosz commonly stresses
the religious inspiration of her actions. First of all, in a few passages he states
that she conceded to themarriage toWladyslaw Jagietto not for the sake of

15

...

in qua

nutrimento

caritam
non

virtutis numerus

Que

et tarn
et baronum
erat erga
Polonie
illiam prelatum
affecio
tarn insigni et virtuose femine putarent
ut viros se esse obliti, parere
nono dato, non procurato
illi
Ea
insuper caritate et affectione devicti,
. . .
marito
sine
Polonie
ad
sola
sufficet
Regnum
gybernandum
ipsa

immensa,

inglorium.

sponso,

instillatus cum lactis


ab incunabulis
usque
ita mature et graviter sapere
cepit,
infancie annos egressa
ex anni gravitate manare
videretur, Gaw^da,
p.
qicquid faceret,

omnis

putabatur.
ut quicquide
diceret,
142.
16
autem
Tanta

quasi
in Polonie
reginam diademate
reginali
procurarunt
to Red Rus: Cuius
excursion
See also Jadwiga's

. .,
p. 141.
Gaw^da,
apud milites
affectio et
obedienter
iubebat,
que

et consecrari.
tanta

etar

et singula
ut omnes
illi exta ac viro parerent
p. 182.
Gaw^da,
exequerentur,
17
p. 217. See also p. 226.
Dlugosz,
18
141-142.
pp.
Dlugosz,
19
In her posthumous
pp. 231-232.
portrayal, Dlugosz,
20
232.
p.
Dlugosz,
21
"Krolowa
Maria
and Roman
Zawadzki,
Jerzy Wolny
caritas,

Jadwiga

tradycji

kaznodziejskiej XV wieku" [Queen Jadwiga in thePreachingTradition of theFifteenth


Century],

Analecta

Cracoviensia,

vol. 7 (1975),

pp. 88-89.

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412

The Polish Review

carnal pleasures but with the purpose of having his country baptised.22 Her
attitude toward the poor finds its illustration in the story of the peasants being
robbed of theirproperty by men of her husband.23 Furthermore,Dhigosz states
that Queen Jadwiga had a prophetic gift, a power that was traditionally
As claimed by Dhigosz, by some divine
attributed to saintly women.
inspiration Queen Jadwiga predicted that after her death the Teutonic Order
would face grave disasters;24 she also foresaw the defeat ofWitold's excursion
against theTatars,25 and, anticipating her own death, she advised her husband
tomarry Anne of Cilli.26 Finally, Dhigosz explicitly confirms these allusions
toQueen Jadwiga's holiness in her posthumous portrayal, inwhich he asserts
that the dead are resurrected and the ill are healed at her shrine27
First of all, he
Yet, Dhigosz'
picture of her is hardly consistent.
the legal nature of Jadwiga's
doubts
concerning
apparently has
The chronicler claims that in
betrothal/marriage toWilhelm of Habsburg.
1375 Louis the Great gave his daughter Jadwiga inmarriage to the Austrian
in 1383 he states that there were doubts concerning
prince.28 Besides,
Jadwiga's marriage: some claimed that she had been married toWilhelm,
while some othermaintained that she had been only betrothed29 Dhigosz does
not feel itnecessary to reconcile these contradictions. Moreover, in 1386 he
explains thatQueen Jadwiga's resistance against themarriage withWladyslaw
22
quiete

et anior pars

Verum maior

Regni

Polonie
pro

Iagellonem

rege

Christiane

condicionibus,
aliisque
aversas
assumendum,

et dilatacione
et
fideifavore
principaliter
a
Lithwano
que
offerebantur, permota
et regine Hedvigis
sentencias
fastidium

ad fidei
atque
populorum
meritum, amplissimamque
amplissimum
evo Regnum
memorandam
Polonie
consequturum
magnarum
decernbat
katholice
barbaras
devote
quoque
causa,

gentium

et puritas
fidei
splendor
naciones
Hec
proluxerit.

katholice

accessione

confutans,
et laudem omni

commendacionem

si per
illius operam
astruens,
et ceteras
aput Lithwanicac
Samagitticasque
cum Hadvigis
sentancia
iam tune
regine, femine

et religiosissime,
ab aliis excepta

solo fidei Christiane


respectu
temperasset, facile
fastdium
... non
est. Dlugosz,
p. 145.
voluptatis aut libidinis explende
et Christianorum
orthodoxe
procuratura,
amplitudinem
quietem

sed fidei
consentiret.
p. 153.
Dlugosz,
23
p. 158.
Dlugosz,
24
Etiam
id femina
benedicta

celesti

vivente

et

bellicum,

ob

suppressuram

furorem;
p. 220.
. . . nisi
Hedvigis
et katholici
Lithwanie

Dlugosz,
25

p. 226.
Dlugosz,
26
p. 237.
Dlugosz,
27
p. 234.
Dlugosz,
28
Alter am filiarum

presentes
fatis vero

quodam

inspirata

sensu

iniurias
Polonie
preteritas
scirent maximas
sibi
absumpta,

Polonie

regina,

exercitus

ruinam,

suarum Hedwigim

filio Lupoldi
desponsat. Dlugosz, p. 42.
29

adiecit

se quidem

illatas,
Regno
clades
eventuras.

Alexandri
due is
revelante,
Spiritu
magni
vero
barbarorum
victoriam
previcens.

. . .

Ludovigus

. . .Wilhelmo

duci

Austrie,

. . .alteram
Austrie duci a Lodowogo
(Vilhelmo)
filiam natu minorem Hedwigim
. . .
in coniugium
assercionem
(et iuxta nonnullorum
repromissam
desponsatam)
115-116.
pp.
Dlugosz,
rege

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On the 600thAnniversary of theDeath ofQueen Jadwiga_413


Jagietto stemmed from the fact that she had already consummated her union
with Wilhelm. According to the annals of JanDhigosz, Queen Jadwiga was
compelled by the Polish lords to concede to an adultrous marriage with a
pagan.30 However, the emphasis put on Jadwiga's struggle against the second,
bigamous, marriage makes itpossible forDhigosz to free her of guilt, which is
passed onto the lords who concocted the marriage. Since in the relation of
Dhigosz Queen Jadwiga is presented as a victim, the doubts concerning the
legal status of her marriage to Jagietto do not contradict her virtues and piety.
Similarly, when in 1389 we see Jadwiga suspected of adultery, a charge from
which she finally had to clear herself by a solemn oath, Dhigosz decisively
rejects the accusation and claims that from then on themarital life of the royal
couple was entirely harmonious.31 To a certain extent, this statement is
challenged by the remark attributed to the pregnant Queen, who allegedly
stated thatGod had finally relieved her from the shame of infertility32As the
main duty of a queen was to provide an heir to the kingdom, Jadwiga's words
not only imply that her prolonged sterility caused some tension within the
royal court, but also they suggest that eventually she fulfilled her duty and
conceived a child.
On the average, Dhigosz' portrayal of Queen Jadwiga passed down to
sixteenth century historiography. However, the symbolic connotations of
some of her features become uncertain. For example, JoachimBielski depicts
- a situation
her adorning herself for the meeting with Jagiello
virtually
unknown in the previous tradition and states that she was as beautiful as
Helena [Helen of Troy], while he obviously does not recognize the symbolic
in sixteenth century
meaning of her physical perfection.33 Likewise,
chronicles we do not hear much either about Queen Jadwiga as a royal
counselor or about her exceptional wisdom; moreover, Marcin Kromer
maintains that from the outset of her rule in Poland the lords insisted on
marrying her off since they did not find enough authority and defense in the
young lady.34 Generally, sixteenth century historiography does not stress the
intellectual inconsistency between her and her husband.
Still, the general
scheme of Dhigosz's
story prevailed almost without modifications, and the
sixteenth century tradition does not contribute much more to our knowledge
concerning Queen

Jadwiga.

30

cum prefato
noticia
sciebat
enim a plurimorum
ignoratum,
quod
Neque
in thoro,
die
bus
Austrie duce post contracta de presenti
quindecim
sponsalia
. . ,
manserat.
eciam subsequta,
carnali copula
p. 154.
Dlugosz,
31
pp. 176-177.
Dlugosz,

Vilhelmo

32.

. .

sterilitas

ablato

prestitit,

p. 231.

Dlugosz,
fecunditatem
opprobio
33 qui
JoachimBielski, Kronika polska [PolishChronicle], edited by Kazimierz Jozef
Turowski, (Sanok: Karol Pollak, 1856), p. 473. See also Martin Kromer, Kronika
polska [editedand translatedbyMarcin Blazowski, (Sanok: Karol Pollak, 1868), vol. 1,
pp. 706-707.
34
Kromer,

vol.

1, pp. 706-707.

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414

The Polish Review

Adopted from the chronicles, the story of Queen Jadwiga was widely
known in the sixteenth century and, with clearly political undercurrents, it
appears again during the electoral debate of the Interregnum.35As themain
line of the Jagiellons became extinct, the senators opted to elect Anna,
daughter of Sigismund I, Infans Regni Poloniae. The political situation within
the realm obviously implied some similarities to that of the late fourteenth
century, when theminor Jadwiga was placed in custody of Polish lords and
crowned King of Poland. Princess Anna was rigorously guarded to prevent
the potential influence her choice of husband could have on the election of the
king.36 Under these circumstances, the story of Jadwiga set a good example of
patriotism and sacrifice rather then as a figure of speech. However, we would
look in vain in these polemical pieces for the precise characteristics of
Jadwiga: she is presented almost entirely in her relation to the nobility and
their claim to choose her a husband who would become King of Poland. Her
significance is defined by her position as heir to the kingdom and the literature
of the Interregnum emphasized that her objections concerning the person of
the prospective groom were overcome by the wisdom of the Poles who
promoted her marriage toWTadyslaw Jagiello, and, accordingly, concluded the
union between Poland and Lithuania and thus the Christianizing of the vast
pagan lands of Lithuania. Here we can observe a significant shift in the Polish
electoral tradition: the early literaryallusions to the story of Jadwiga imply the
role of the lords rather than thewide masses of the nobility. However, during
the Interregnum the factual political status quo was much more diverse. In the
eyes of the nobility, who after the death of Sigismund Augustus took
command of the government in Poland, itwas not only the senators but the
lower gentry as well who were entitled to choose the husband for the
princess.37 This tendency is conspicuous inDe electione novi regis whose
author states explicitly that both the lords and szlachta were entitled to
participate in royal elections and that they, together, selected a groom for
35
Swietoslaw Orzelski, Bezkrolewia ksiqg osmioro [Interregnum,
EightVolumes],
edited byWlodzimierz Spasowicz, (Petersburg
& Mohilew: B. M. Wollf, 1856), vol. 1,
pp. 62-63;

vol.

2, p. 248;

"Sententia

de eligendo

novo

rege ex duce Moschorum,"

in

Pisma polityczne z czasow pierwszego bezkrolewia [PoliticalWritings from theTimes


of the First Interregnum],edited by JanCzubek, (Cracow: Akademia Umiejetaosci,
1906), p. 355; "Gdyby panowie Polacy cesarza albo Niemca obrali, tobyna nie przysc
musialo" [If thePolish Lords Elected theEmperor or a German, itwould be obligatory
u pon them] inCzubek, p. 360.
36
JanDymitr Solikowski, Krotki pamietnik rzeczypolskich od zgonu Zygmunta
August [A BriefMemoir of Polish Matters from theDemise of Sigmund Augustus],
edited byWladyslaw Syrokomla, (Petersburg& Mohilew, B. M. Wolff, 1854), p. 13.
See also Maria Bogucka, Anna Jagiellonka [Anna Jagiellon] (Wroclaw: Ossolineum,
1994),
pp. 77-97.
37
On

entrusted

329, 331.

this controversy
between
by the last will of Sigismund

the nobility
Augustus,

and

the senators, to whom Anna


consult Orzelski,
vol. 2, pp. 277,

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was

328

On the 600thAnniversary of theDeath ofQueen Jadwiga_415


Jadwiga,38while other pieces use more ambiguous terms, "the Poles'39 or "our
ancestors."40

Furthermore, the allusions toQueen Jadwiga were employed in favor or


more frequently in defiance
of certain particular candidates to the Polish
throne and, consequently, to the hand of Anna
Jagiellon.
Interestingly
enough, these references show once again how much the interpretation of
historical examples depended on literary context as well as the political
opinion of a particular author. Most often, Jadwiga's story served as an
example of Polish resistance against the German ruler. As stated by an
anonymous author: "rather than to be ruled by a German our ancestors
preferred to vote for a pagan, whom they married to the princess and made
him Polish sovereign."41 A similar attitude was shared by Swietoslaw
Orzelski, who quotes his own oration inwhich he praised the Poles for not
lettingWilhelm of Habsburg consummate his union with Queen Jadwiga.42
Yet, the same image was used in favor of the German candidate as well.
Another circular of the Interregnum argues that, since Jadwiga's betrothal to
Wilhelm of Habsburg was denied, itwould be appropriate to correct this
mistake and marry Anna Jagiellon to a member of the Habsburg dynasty.43
Evidently, the interpretationof the same fact led to a completely opposite
conclusion but the frequency of Queen Jadwiga's story quoted in the
polemical writings suggests both that itwas commonly known to the nobility
and that,owing to itspopularity and complexity, itcreated many opportunities
for an author to utilize different threads and aspects.
This attractiveness of the story of Queen Jadwiga becomes evident also in
a small book Oeconomia albo gospodarstwo.
To jest nauka jako wszelki
krzescijanski czlowiek w gospodarstwie sprawowac siq ma, published in 1546
in Konigsburg by John Seklucjan.44 Oeconomia
contains very interesting
passages about Queen Jadwiga in its parts related to the ideal consort of a
Christian prince. In accordance with the Polish historiographical tradition, the
38
39

"De

electione

"Gdyby

napominajaca

novi

panowie
swych

regis," pp. 399-401.


. . . ,"
p.
Polacy

obywatelow,

jakiego

360;

pana maja^

"Rozmowa
sobie

Lecha

i krolewstwu

z Piastem,
temu obrac"

[Conversationof a Lech with a Piast, Reminding theirCitizens What Kind of Lord


are toElect forThemselves and theKingdom] inCzubek, p. 40.
They 40
"Sententia

de

eligendo

novo

rege

ex

duce

Moschorum,"

p.

355;

Andrew

Lubieniecki, Poloneutychia, edited by Alina Linda et al, (Warsaw & Lodz: PWN,
1982), p. 66. (The authorcites theorationof JohnZamoyski.)
41

novo rege . . .," p. 355; see also "Gdyby panowie


de eligendo
"Sententia
Polacy
. .,"
cesarza albo Niemca
novi regis . . .," p. 401.
obrali.
p. 360; "De electione
42
vol. 2, p. 248.
Orzelski,
43
z
inPisma polityczne
et cautelae
in novi regis electione observandae,"
"Rationes

czasow pierwszego bezkrolewia [Political Writings from the Times of the First
editedby JanCzubek, (Cracow:Akademia Umiejetnosci, 1906), p. 441.
Interregnum],
44
About

John Seklucjan

and a discussion

concerning

the authorship

of the work,

see StanistawRospond, "Wstejs" [Introduction]inJanSeklucjan,Wyborpism [Selected


Writings], editedby StanislawRospond, (Olsztyn:Pojezierze, 1979), pp. xxvi-xxvii.

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416

The Polish Review

author stresses that the exceptional virtues of Jadwiga made Jagiello want to
marry her, embrace Christianity, release Polish captives, and link his land
forever with the Polish Kingdom. He also mentions the story of the robbed
peasants, which was the most commonly quoted illustration of Jadwiga's
charity and the benevolent influence she had on her husband.45 Since the book
was dedicated to Duchess Dorothy of Prussia, the author makes parallels
between her and Queen Jadwiga as alms-giver, supporter of poor students and
founder of a university.46Apparently, in stressing these elements the author of
Oeconomia does not contradict the previous relations about Queen Jadwiga.
However, he shows surprising ignorance, claiming thatGod praised the Polish
royal family for the holy deeds of Queen Jadwiga, since he made her son
Wladislas King of Poland and Hungary, and furthermore, the author of
Oeconomia enumerates among her descendants the Duke of Prussia, King of
Poland and numerous German princes.47 Certainly, the author confuses here
two wives ofWladislas II Jagiello: Queen Jadwiga who did not leave any heir
and Queen Sophia (Sonka) of Holszany
mother,
(Alsenai), Wtadyslaw's
subsequently elected King of Poland and Hungary. Unfortunately, we lack
any information about the intellectual background of the author he mentions
- and we
only that he spent many years at the court of the Duke of Prussia
cannot guess how profound his knowledge of Polish historywas. His mistake,
however, demonstrates that even in this false context Queen Jadwiga still
served as a paragon of a good queen and that as such, she was endowed by the
author of Oeconomia with the royal progeny she, in fact, lacked. This might
be

reflection

of both

the

long-lasting

conviction

that women

are

redeemed

through bearing children and the author's urge to relate his protector, Duchess
Dorothy, with Queen Jadwiga, who in his interpretationbecame a saintly
ancestor of the Prussian ruling house.
To sum up, I believe that the few texts presented in this study demonstrate
that the image of Queen Jadwiga was far more complicated than that of an
ecclesiastic benefactress and the intercessor beside her husband, and that her
image stands apart from typical royal consorts who are virtually invisible in
45

John Seklucyan, Oeconomia albo gospodarstwo, edited by Zygmunt


Celichowski, (Cracow: UniwersytetJagiellonski,1890), pp. 39-41.
46
"Niemniejszy przyklad po sobie zostawila szlachetna Jadwigakrolowa Polska
namieniona;
wyzej
ludziom
czynila,

ta cnotliwie

ubogie

zywiac, wiele
zakladala

studenty

dobrego
i zywila,

a ubogim
niedostatecznym
na ostatek
swe
wszystko

kosztowne odzienie i klejnotydala, aby Collegium w Grakchowie zbudowano, ktore


wtory, krolPolski, poczaj budowac izakladal," Seklucyan, pp. 71-72.
bylKazimierz
47
"Szcz^scia^ pan Bog dla tej szlachetnejmalzonki natenczas dom krolewski i
wszystka korona Polski iW^gierski, Ize jej synWladyslaw, gdy byl wybran krolem
wielekroc
nad okrutnym nieprzyjacielem
Turkiem
w^gierskim,
zwyci^stwo
otrzymal
ze tez u niego ten okrutny nieprzyjaciel
tak go byl potlumic,
zabrac musial.
przemierze

Szczeici jeszcze i dzis pan Bog tej slachetnej a krzescijanskiej malzonki swem
blogoslawienstwem potomki i szeroko je rozmnozyl jako sa^ dzisiejsi najjasniejsi

krolowie

A wierza^

Polscy, najoswiececsze
ze ten slachetny dom

ksiaze

albo

i ine ksiaz^ta w ziemiech


niemieckich.
pp. 39-41.
nigdy nie zginie," Seklucyan,

Pruskie,

potomek

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On the 600thAnniversary of theDeath ofQueen Jadwiga_417


the narrative sources. Obviously, her position as a successor to a kingdom and
her role in the conversion of Lithuania predisposed her to attract the attention
of both contemporary and posthumous writers.
she was
However,
not
her
and
her
conspicuous
only because of
royal heritage
political activities
in the Polish Kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, even so the
precedence of the heiress to the kingdom being wedded by themembers of the
Polish lords deeply inspired the Polish nobility during the subsequent
Interregnum. Without doubt, the ambiguous story of her betrothal/marriage to
Wilhelm of Austria and the allegedly discordant marriage with Wladyslaw
Still, her personal virtues, deep
Jagiello made her story more complex.
religiosity that earned her the opinion of sanctity, and, last but not least, her
role in the restoration of theCracovian University made her the image of the
good queen. And, as demonstrated by the parallel made between Queen
Dorothy of Prussia, this common desideratum
Jadwiga and Duchess
consorts
also remained virtually untouched in the sixteenth
concerning royal
century.

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418

The Polish Review

TYPUS FUNDATIONIS ACADEMIAE CRACOVIENSIS


A woodcut prepared in theXVIIth century from a painting which used to
be in theCathedral Church inCracow.
On the left side isKing Ladislas Jagello, protecting his Lithuanians who
are being baptized by a bishop.
Behind theKing is the Bishop of Cracow, Zbigniew Olesnicki, Chancellor
of theUniversity.
On the right side isQueen Jadwiga with theOrthodox Ruthenians.
Behind theQueen isKing Casimir theGreat, founder of theUniversity.
Both monarchs are holding a model of the University of Cracow, as can
be seen from the insignia of theUniversity placed high on the building.
From: University of Cracow, Documents Concerning Its Origins (Dundee
in Scotland for the Commemoration of
and Tayport: Polish Committee
Poland's Millennium of Christianity, 1966), facing p. 4.

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