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CASIMIR III THE GREAT (Polish : Kazimierz
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 Hedwig of Kalisz , and the last Polish king from the Piast dynasty .

Kazimierz
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
Justinian
". Kazimierz
Kazimierz
built extensively and founded the University of Kraków
Kraków
, the oldest Polish university. He also confirmed privileges and protections previously granted to Jews
Jews
and encouraged them to settle in Poland
Poland
in great numbers.

Kazimierz
Kazimierz
left no lawful male heir to his throne, producing only daughters. When Kazimierz
Kazimierz
died in 1370 from an injury received while hunting, his nephew, King Louis I of Hungary , succeeded him as king of Poland
Poland
in personal union with Hungary .

CONTENTS

* 1 The Great King

* 1.1 Succession

* 2 Society under the reign of Casimir * 3 Relationship with Polish Jews
Jews

* 4 Relationships and children

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

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

When Kazimierz
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
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
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
Ukraine
(then called the Duchy of Halych ). Kazimierz
Kazimierz
built extensively during his reign, including Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle
and Orle Gniazda , and he reformed the Polish army .

At the Sejm in Wiślica , on 11 March 1347, Kazimierz
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". He founded the University of Kraków
Kraków
, the oldest Polish University, and he organized a meeting of kings in Kraków
Kraków
in 1364 at which he exhibited the wealth of the Polish kingdom. 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

In 1355, in Buda
Buda
, Kazimierz
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 to gain his help against Bohemia. In exchange Kazimierz
Kazimierz
gained Hungarian favourable attitude, needed in disputes with the hostile Teutonic Order and Kingdom of Bohemia. Kazimierz
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 bastard children). The Second Taking of Ruthenia. Wealth and Education , Jan Matejko
Jan Matejko

Kazimierz
Kazimierz
left no legal son, however, bearing 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
Kraków
quickly after Kazimierz
Kazimierz
died and bribed the nobles with future privileges. Kazimierz
Kazimierz
III had a son-in-law, Louis VI of Bavaria, Margrave
Margrave
and Prince-elector
Prince-elector
of Brandenburg
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 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.

SOCIETY UNDER THE REIGN OF CASIMIR

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
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.

RELATIONSHIP WITH POLISH JEWS

Wojciech Gerson
Wojciech Gerson
, Casimir the Great and the Jews
Jews

Casimir was favorably disposed toward Jews
Jews
living in Poland. On 9 October 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jews
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
Jews
had lived in Poland
Poland
since before his reign, Casimir allowed them to settle in Poland
Poland
in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.

RELATIONSHIPS AND CHILDREN

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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
Gediminas
of Lithuania
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

On 30 April or 16 October 1325, Casimir married Aldona of Lithuania . She was a daughter of Gediminas
Gediminas
of Lithuania
Lithuania
and Jewna . They had two children:

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

Aldona died on 26 May 1339. Casimir remained a widower for two years.

ADELHEID OF HESSE

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.

CHRISTINA

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
Bohemia
in Prague
Prague
as a lady-in-waiting . Casimir brought her with him from Prague
Prague
and convinced the abbot of the Benedictine
Benedictine
abbey of Tyniec
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.

HEDWIG OF ŻAGAń

In about 1365, Casimir married his fourth wife Hedwig of Żagań
Żagań
. She was a daughter of Henry V of Iron , Duke of Żagań
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
Jogaila
of Lithuania
Lithuania
(who at the time was King of Poland). Anne married, secondly, Ulrich, Duke of Teck ; they had no children * Kunigunde of Poland
Poland
(1367 – 1370) * Hedwig of Poland
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. Hedwig the younger was legitimated by Pope Gregory XI
Pope Gregory XI
on 11 October 1371.

ESTERKA

Casimir had three sons by his mistress Esterka .

* Nemir (last mentioned alive in 1386); oldest son; * Pelko(1342–1365); married and had two sons;

ANCESTRY

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
Władysław I the Elbow-high

20. Mieszko IV Tanglefoot

10. Casimir I of Opole

21.Ludmilla

5. Euphrosyne of Opole

11.Wiola-Wencisława

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. Hedwig of Kalisz

28. Andrew II of Hungary

14. Béla IV of Hungary

29. Gertrude of Merania

7.Blessed Jolenta

30. Theodore I Laskaris of Nicaea

15. Maria Laskarina

31. Anna Komnene Angelina

TITLE AND STYLE

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
Kraków
, Sandomierz , Sieradz
Sieradz
, Łęczyca
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.

POPULAR CULTURE

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

GALLERY

*

The King's sarcophagus at Wawel Cathedral *

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

Kazimierz
Kazimierz
the Great, by Marcello Bacciarelli
Marcello Bacciarelli
*

Kazimierz
Kazimierz
the Great, by Jan Matejko
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
Ogrodzieniec
Castle , built on the King's order *

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
Bydgoszcz
*

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

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

Saint Catherine Church in Kazimierz
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

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

REFERENCES

* ^ 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. * ^ "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
Ashkenazi
, can trace their ancestry to Poland
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. * ^ , ogrodzieniec.pl; accessed 11 March 2014. (in Polish)

EXTERNAL LINKS

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