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Bolesław II Rogatka

Bolesław II Rogatka
Bolesław II the Horned
Spouse(s) Hedwig of Anhalt
Euphemia of Pomerania
Sophia of Dyhrn
Noble family House of Piast
Father Henry II the Pious
Mother Anna of Bohemia
Born c. 1220-1225
Died Between 26 and 31 December 1278

Bolesław II the Rogatka or Bolesław II the Horned (Polish: Bolesław II Rogatka, known also as Bolesław II the Bald, Polish: Bolesław II Łysy; ca. 1220/5 – 26/31 December 1278) was a Duke of Kraków briefly in 1241, of Southern Greater Poland during 1241–1247, and Duke of all SilesiaWrocław from 1241 until 1248, when it was divided between him and his brothers. He was Duke of Środa Śląska in Silesia from 1277 onward. During his reign the second Mongol raid against Poland, led by Nogai Khan occurred.

He was the eldest son of Henry II the Pious, Duke of Wrocław, by his wife Anna, daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia.


Beginning of his reign and fight over the Greater Poland inheritance (1241–47)

Bolesław, in contrast to his father, didn't have to wait too long before ruling, because on 9 April 1241, during the Battle of Legnica against the Mongols, Duke Henry II was killed after only three years being in charge. At the time of these tragic events, of the five sons of the Silesian Duke, only Bolesław and his immediate younger brother Mieszko could be considered adults and capable of ruling without a regency. However, during the first and difficult months of government, their mother Anna helped them. Some sources even speak directly of this period as her regency. Whatever was the case, this "regency" did not last too long and in the same year Bolesław formally began his personal reign, whose beginning wasn't successful. Although the Mongols, after conquering considerable areas of Silesia, soon withdrew to Hungary, without any intention of retaining those lands permanently, for Bolesław the situation wasn't easy. His paternal inheritance included Southern Greater Poland and Kraków, but soon revolts erupted from other Piast Dukes who wanted these lands. In Lesser Poland, by July 1241 a pretender to Kraków appeared: Konrad I of Masovia. The war was not yet a defeat, thanks to the effective resistance against the Masovians organized by the Governor of Kraków, Clement of Ruszczy; however, the complete inaction of Bolesław disappointed the nobility, who quickly found a new candidate for the Kraków throne in Bolesław V the Chaste. In Greater Poland, the situation was not very different. After hearing the news of the defeat of Henry II in Legnica, Przemysł I and Bolesław the Pious decided to retake the district which once belonged to their father, Władysław Odonic. The nobility and knighthood of Greater Poland strongly supported them, because in their eyes, as a chronicler stated, they were the true heirs to those lands. This time, Bolesław decided to avoid any fighting and renounced all his Greater Poland lands. In exchange he obtained some districts, such as Santok and Międzyrzecz. However, the uncompromising attitude of the Dukes of Greater Poland and the increasing problems which this caused in the family ultimately forced Bolesław to resign his right to the lands and with these all his pretensions to Greater Poland, in 1247.

The black crownless eagle of the Silesian Piasts

The first division of Lower Silesia (1248)

Bolesław initially didn't intend to make a division of his father's Silesian Duchy, and wanted to concentrate all the power in his hands. In 1242, after the unexpected death of his next brother Mieszko (who had received Lubusz as a Duchy) without issue, his lands reverted to him. Bolesław's resistance to share the government with his younger brothers only caused revolts against him; shortly after the young Silesian princes were able to imprison their older brother. These incidents caused Bolesław, until the end of his life, to be very suspicious about his environment and have further difficulties dealing with the government. As an interim of the revolts, Bolesław made an agreement with his brother Henry III the White in 1247, when he was declared co-ruler of Silesia. The cooperation between the brothers wasn't too good and, a year later, they decided to make a division of the districts LegnicaGłogówLubusz and Wrocław. In addition, the brothers had pledged to offer hospitality to the younger brothers, Bolesław to Konrad, and Henry to Władysław. Bolesław, as the older brother, had the opportunity to choose his district; he decided on Legnica, because there gold was found in the Kaczawa and Wierzbiak Rivers.

The choice of Legnica can also be explained by the growing conflict between Bolesław and the powerful Wrocław nobility, a problem which Henry III didn't have; shortly after he could take control of the duchy. But now Bolesław began to regret his choice and tried to recover Wrocław. Henry III, of course, refused to voluntarily give up his new duchy. The war was only a matter of time.

War against Henry III the White and Sale of Lubusz (1248–49)

Henry and Bolesław began preparations for the war, but didn't have adequate funds. In these circumstances, there was a most common practices during the period of regional divisions. Bolesław had married in 1242 Hedwig of Anhalt, daughter of Count Henry I and niece of the Landgraves of Thuringia, and now he decided to use this family connection to find allies in his fight against his brother. The price for troops was put up by the Archbishop of Magdeburg: half of Lubusz, which passed then to the hands of Brandenburg, because at that time, Magdeburg was part of it.

Bolesław II, Duke of Legnica (1249–51)

The German aid only gave Bolesław a temporary advantage in the war against his brother. In 1249 his younger brother Konrad unexpectedly returned to the country (after concluding his studies in Paris). Bolesław unsuccessfully tried to convince to enter the Church. He proposed him as Bishop of Passau but Konrad refused and began to press his own claims to Silesia. Bolesław obviously refused his consent, so that the young prince took refuge at the court of Bolesław's long-time enemy, the Dukes of Greater Poland. Shortly after, Konrad reinforced his bonds with Duke Przemysł I after a double marriage: the Duke of Greater Poland with Konrad's sister Elizabeth, and himself with Duke Przemysł's sister, Salome. The final crash occurred two years later, when the Duke of Legnica was defeated by the combined forces of Przemysł I and Henry III the White, who supported the pretensions of his brother. Bolesław was finally forced to agree on the division of his own lands and give Głogów to Konrad. After this, the elder Duke of the Silesian branch only retained the small district of Legnica.

Agreement with Henry III the White (1252–56)

However, Bolesław needed another two years and the help of Henry III (who in this difficult situation eventually decided to give him his support) to recover in 1253 full authority over his Principality. Finally brotherly cooperation was imposed and for the next years was quite specific. With Henry III this wasn't the case, and the eventual struggles for the main power led to major clashes. But during this time, Bolesław made some agreements with the other Piast Dukes, especially with the princes of Greater Poland and with Thomas I, Bishop of Wrocław, although Bolesław never forgave the Bishop that in the disputes with his brothers he always supported the younger princes.

Conflict with Bishop Thomas of Wrocław (1257–61)

Bolesław's conflict with the Bishop of Wrocław reached a more critical point in 1257, when the Duke of Legnica decided to dispose of him and incarcerate him at the Castle Wleń. It is unknown if Bolesław wanted with this act to take control over the local Church, but the immediate and direct consequence of his behavior was his excommunication (Bolesław was already excommunicated twice, in 1248 and 1249, but was later forgiven by the Bishop. Both excomnications were removed only after approval of the Church) and the call to all his neighbors to a crusade against him. Unexpectedly, only his brothers quickly intervened and began to work in a settlement between both parties. The price for Bolesław's return to the Church was high: the Duke was finally forced in 1261 to pay a huge monetary compensation and made a public penitence at the gates of the Cathedral in Wrocław. The victory of Bishop Thomas was complete.

Relations with Konrad of Głogów (1262–71)

Bolesław, who was finally able to maintain an agreement with Henry III until his death, remained in hostile relations with Konrad of Głogów, thanks in great part to the rebellious and obstinate character of the young Duke. Thanks to the absence of sources, only two specific events of the conflict are known. In 1257 Konrad made a dangerous move and kidnapped Bolesław from his castle in Legnica. The Duke regained his freedom after a few months, but it is unknown for what price. It can therefore be said that since them the Duke never left Bolesław a moment of happiness, but in 1271 the Duke of Legnica managed to take the town of Bolesławiec near Bóbr.

Abduction of Henry IV and Battle of Stolec (1272–77)

In the 1270s the political decline of Bolesław was clear. He began to give more and more power to his adolescent sons. In 1273 he granted Jawor (Jauer) as a Duchy to his oldest son Henry V and it seemed that Bolesław resigned definitively from adventurous politics. But in 1277, he surprised everyone. Bolesław signed an alliance with the King Rudolph I of Germany (who with this tried to break the alliance of the other Piast Dukes with the King Ottokar II of Bohemia) and for Rudolph's insistence, he decided to kidnap Ottokar's ally, Henry IV -who also was Bolesław's nephew-. The pretext for this was the young prince's request of one third of Wrocław after the death in 1270 of his uncle Władysław, Bolesław's youngest brother. Henry IV was an important prisoner and shortly after was imprisoned in a castle in Legnica. In order to obtain his freedom, a coalition was made between the Bohemian King and the Dukes Henry III of Głogów and Przemysł II of Greater Poland; however, they soon failed. Although Bolesław's forces were notoriously smaller than the coalition's army in the Battle of Stolec and seemingly started to lose, his son Henry V unexpectedly began to win and finally defeated the allied dukes. The dispute ended with a settlement; Henry IV obtained his freedom in exchange for 1/3 of the Duchy of Środa Śląska (German: Neumarkt), which was granted to Bolesław.

Death and succession (1278)

This was the last of the success of the Duke of Legnica. Bolesław II died on 26/31 December 1278 and was buried in the Dominican monastery of Legnica. His three sons, Henry V the Fat, Bolko I and Bernhard, inherited their lands and divided them between them.

Marriage and issue

Around 8 May 1242, Bolesław married firstly Hedwig (d. 21 December 1259), daughter of Henry I, Count of Anhalt. They had ten children:

  1. Agnes (b. ca. 1243/50 – d. 13 March 1265), married ca. 1260/64 to Count Ulrich I of Württemberg.
  2. Henry V the Fat (b. ca. 1248 – d. 22 February 1296).
  3. Hedwig (b. ca. 1250/55 – d. aft. 1280), married ca. 1265/70 to Duke Konrad II of Masovia.
  4. Bolko I the Strict (b. ca. 1252/56 – d. Grissow, 9 November 1301).
  5. Bernard the Lightsome (b. ca. 1253/57 – d. 25 April 1286).
  6. A son [Conrad?] (d. young).
  7. Anna (b. ca. 1255 – d. aft. 1270), Abbess of Trebnicz.
  8. Elizabeth (b. ca. 1259 – d. aft. 1268), married in 1268 to Louis of Hakeborn.

In 1261, Bolesław married secondly Euphemia (also called Alenta or Iolanta or Adelheid) (b. ca. 1245 - d. ca. 15 February 1309), daughter of Sambor II, Duke of Pomerania. Apparently they had a daughter, Catherine (who died young ca. 1270), although some sources indicated that she was born from Bolesław II's first marriage.

Since around 1270, the Duke openly began to lived with his mistress Sophia of Dyhrn, who bore him a son, Jarosław, who died in infancy. Gravelly ill and deeply offended by her husband's affair, in 1275 Euphemia fled to her homeland in Pomerania and with this, her marriage was considered annulled. In 1277 Bolesław finally married with his mistress; however, the union lasted only a few months until the Duke's death in 1278. Only after her ex-husband died Euphemia returned to Silesia.[1]



  • Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Piast". Genealogy.EU. 
  • Cawley, Charles, SILESIA, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 ,
  • Bolesław II Rogatka (Łysy, Okrutny, Srogi, Cudaczny)
  1. ^ Karl Friedrich Pauli: Allgemeine preußische Staats-Geschichte etc., 7. Band. Verlag C.P.Franckens, Halle 1767.
Bolesław II Rogatka
Born: c. 1220-1225 Died: December 1278
Preceded by
Henry II the Pious
High Duke of Poland
Succeeded by
Konrad I of Masovia
Duke of Silesia

Succeeded by
Henry III the White
and Władysław
Duke of Greater Poland
(only in the Southwest)

Succeeded by
Przemysł I and
Bolesław the Pious
Preceded by
new creation
Duke of Legnica
with Konrad until 1251

Succeeded by
Konrad (Głogów) and
Henry V (Jawor)
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