Władysław I Herman

XI pagePolandPrincely times Kings and Queens

Władysław I Herman (1043–04.06.1102) – Polish Duke (1079–1102) – representative of the Piast dynasty.

The second son of the Polish Duke Kazimierz I the Restorer and Dobroniha-Maria, daughter of Volodymyr Sviatoslavych, Grand Prince of Kyiv.

In 1079 he headed the plot of aristocracy against his elder brother, King of Poland Bolesław II the Bold. Herman managed to depose the King and usurp the Polish throne.

Unlike his predecessors Władysław I was not a powerful and authoritative ruler and yielded to dictation of high nobility. To maintain peaceful relations with the Holy Roman Empire he was ready to give up both the independence of the Polish state and the title of the King, and during his reign he was called the Duke of Poland.

In his foreign policy, he suffered several failures: Kyivan Rus seized the so-called Czerven (Halych-Volynian) towns; the campaign to the Western Pomerania ended in a total fiasco. Simultaneously, the tendency to feudal fragmentation grew considerably and the Duke fell under the influence of one of the leaders of the Polish nobility Voivode Sieciech.

Separatist tendencies were most strong in Silesia. The local aristocracy was headed by Zbigniew, the eldest son of Wladyslaw I. In 1092, with the military assistance of Bohemia, Zbigniew captured Wroclaw and established a semi-independent principality in Silesia. The Voivode Sieciech managed to reconcile the conflict with Bohemia and defeat Zbigniew’s army. However, Władysław was forced toagree to thepartition of Poland: under the treaty of 1097 the Duke handed over a part of the Greater Poland to Zbigniew and Silesia to the younger son, Bolesław. Władysław I remained the High Duke, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish army, foreign policy chief, and head of the state administration. But in 1098 the war between the Duke and his sons recommenced. Zbigniew and Bolesław managed to crush Władysław troops and in 1099 forced their father to sign a new partition of Poland: Zbigniew got part of Greater Poland, including Kuyavia, Sieradz, and Łęczyca, Boleslaw – Lesser Poland with Krakow. So, only Masovia remained under the rule of Duke Władysław. Voivode Sieciech, leader of the centralist party, was deposed with the help of the brothers.

Portrait (imaginary) of Władysław I Herman