Kingdom of Poland (1025–1385)
The Kingdom of Poland was the Polish state from the coronation of the first King Bolesław I the Brave in 1025 to the union with Lithuania and the rule of the Jagiellon dynasty in 1385. The basis for the development of a Polish state was laid by the Piast dynasty, preeminent since the 10th century; the conversion of Duke Mieszko I to Christianity paved the way for Poland to become a member of the family of Christian kingdoms. In 1000, during the Congress of Gniezno, Poland was recognized as a state by the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope. In 1025, Duke Boleslaus I the Brave was crowned King of Poland, marking the starting date for a Polish Kingdom, though for long years the Poles were ruled not by Kings but by Dukes; the King ruled the country in his own responsibility but was expected to respect traditional customs of the people. The succession to the rule was not restricted by primogeniture. All sons of the King or Duke had the same rights of inheritance, the one that in some way proved the strongest succeeded to the throne.
Duke Bolesław III the Wrymouth, who reigned from 1102 to 1138, tried to end the repeated struggles between various claimants by setting the government of Poland on a more formal footing. In his testament, he distributed them among his sons. To ensure unity, he established the senioral principle, which stated that the eldest member of the dynasty should be High Duke and have supreme power over the other Dukes; the High Duke ruled, in addition to the Duchy he inherited, over the indivisible senioral part, a vast strip of land running north-south down the middle of Poland, with Kraków as the chief city. The High Duke's prerogatives included control over Pomerania, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. While the senorial part always fell to that member of the Dynasty that happened to be senior, the other four Duchies were inherited in the usual way among the descendants of Boleslaw's sons; these provisions were soon broken, with the various Dukes trying to gain the position of High Duke for themselves, regardless of actual seniority.
The provisions, meant to ensure unity fragmented the country further and resulted in a decline of monarchical power. Poland came under the influence of the Přemyslid kings of Bohemia, whose dynasty died out before they could gain a stable foothold in Poland; the accession of the Piast Duke Władysław I the Elbow-high ended the power struggle amongst the Polish nobility. He united the various principalities of the Kingdom of Poland, in 1320 he was crowned King, his son Casimir III the Great strengthened the Polish state in both foreign and domestic affairs. Casimir was the last male member of the Piast dynasty and was succeeded by his nephew, Louis I of Hungary of the Angevin dynasty; the upsurge of the monarchy continued during the union of Hungary and Poland. Since Louis had no son either, his daughter Jadwiga became the heir of the Polish monarchy. Under the terms of the Union of Krewo, she married Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who converted to Christianity; this marriage created not only a dynastic union between Poland and Lithuania but bound the two countries together for the next four centuries.
History of Poland during the Piast dynasty Culture of medieval Poland Slavery in Poland List of Polish monarchs
The Falaise Pocket or Battle of the Falaise Pocket was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. A pocket was formed around Falaise, Calvados, in which the German Army Group B, with the 7th Army and the Fifth Panzer Army were encircled by the Western Allies; the battle is referred to as the Battle of the Falaise Gap, the Chambois Pocket, the Falaise-Chambois Pocket, the Argentan–Falaise Pocket or the Trun–Chambois Gap. The battle resulted in the destruction of most of Army Group B west of the Seine, which opened the way to Paris and the Franco-German border for the Allied armies on the Western Front. Six weeks after D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, the German Army was in turmoil. While the Allied Army experienced great difficulty in breaking through the German lines the German Army's defence of this area of Normandy was expending irreplaceable resources; the Allied air forces controlled the skies and strafing Axis troops and necessary army supplies, such as fuel and ammunition.
On the Eastern Front, the Soviet Union's Operation Bagration and the Lvov–Sandomierz Offensive were in the midst of destroying the German Army Group Centre. In France, the German Army had used its available reserves to buttress the front lines around Caen, there were few additional troops available to create successive lines of defence. To make matters worse, the 20 July plot—in which officers of the German Army, including some stationed in France, tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler and seize power—had failed, in its aftermath there was little trust between Hitler and his generals. In order to break out of Normandy, the Allied armies developed a multi-stage operation, it started with a British and Canadian attack along the eastern battle line around Caen in Operation Goodwood on 18 July. The German Army responded by sending a large portion of its armoured reserves to defend. On 25 July thousands of American bombers carpet bombed a 6,000-metre hole on the western end of the German lines around Saint-Lô in Operation Cobra, allowing the Americans to push forces through this gap in the German lines.
After some initial resistance, the German forces were overwhelmed and the Americans broke through. On 1 August, Lieutenant General George S. Patton was named the commanding officer of the newly recommissioned US Third Army—which included large segments of the soldiers that had broken through the German lines—and with few German reserves behind the front line, the race was on; the Third Army pushed south and east, meeting little German resistance. Concurrently, the British and Canadian troops pushed south in an attempt to keep the German armour engaged. Under the weight of this British and Canadian attack, the Germans withdrew. Despite lacking the resources to defeat the US breakthrough and simultaneous British and Canadian offensives south of Caumont and Caen, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, the commander of Army Group B, was not permitted by Hitler to withdraw but was ordered to conduct a counter-offensive at Mortain against the US breakthrough. Four depleted; the disastrous Operation Lüttich drove the Germans deeper into the Allied envelopment.
On 8 August, the Allied ground forces commander, General Bernard Montgomery, ordered the Allied armies to converge on the Falaise–Chambois area to envelop Army Group B, with the First US Army forming the southern arm, the British the base, the Canadians the northern arm of the encirclement. The Germans began to withdraw on 17 August, on 19 August the Allies linked up in Chambois. Gaps were forced in the Allied lines by German counter-attacks, the biggest being a corridor forced past the 1st Polish Armoured Division on Hill 262, a commanding position at the mouth of the pocket. By the evening of 21 August, the pocket had been sealed, with c. 50,000 Germans trapped inside. Many Germans escaped. A few days the Allied Liberation of Paris was completed, on 30 August the remnants of Army Group B retreated across the Seine, which ended Operation Overlord. Early Allied objectives in the wake of the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France included the deep water port of Cherbourg and the area surrounding the town of Caen.
Allied attacks to expand the bridgehead had defeated the initial German attempts to destroy the invasion force, but bad weather in the English Channel delayed the Allied build-up of supplies and reinforcements, while enabling the Germans to move troops and supplies with less interference from the Allied air forces. Cherbourg was not captured by the VII US Corps until 27 June, the German defence of Caen lasted until 20 July, when the southern districts were taken by the British and Canadians in Operation Goodwood and Operation Atlantic. General Bernard Montgomery, the Allied ground forces commander, had planned a strategy of attracting German forces to the east end of the bridgehead against the British and Canadians, while the US First Army advanced down the west side of the Cotentin Peninsula to Avranches. On 25 July Lieutenant-General Omar Bradley, began Operation Cobra; the US First Army broke through the German defences near Saint-Lô and by the end of the third day had advanced 15 mi south of its start line at several points.
Avranches was captured on
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
The Oder is a river in Central Europe and Poland's third-longest river after the Vistula and Warta. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres through western Poland forming 187 kilometres of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line; the river flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and into three branches that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea. The Oder is known by several names in different languages, but the modern ones are similar: English and German: Oder. Ptolemy knew the modern Oder as the Συήβος, a name derived from the Suebi, a Germanic people. While he refers to an outlet in the area as the Οὐιαδούα Ouiadoua, this was the modern Wieprz, as it was said to be a third of the distance between the Suebos and Vistula; the name Suebos may be preserved in the modern name of the Świna river, an outlet from the Szczecin Lagoon to the Baltic. In the Old Church Slavonic language, the name of the river is Vjodr; the Oder is 840 kilometres long: 112 km in the Czech Republic, 726 km in Poland and is the third longest river located within Poland, second longest river overall taking into account its total length, including parts in neighbouring countries.
It drains a basin of 119,074 square kilometres, 106,043 km2 of which are in Poland, 7,246 km2 in the Czech Republic, 5,587 km2 in Germany. Channels connect it to the Havel, Vistula system and Kłodnica, it flows through Silesian, Lower Silesian and West Pomeranian voivodeships of Poland and the states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. The main branch empties into the Szczecin Lagoon near Poland; the Szczecin Lagoon is bordered on the north by the islands of Wolin. Between these two islands, there is only a narrow channel going to the Bay of Pomerania, which forms a part of the Baltic Sea; the largest city on the Oder is Wrocław, in Lower Silesia. The Oder is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as the town of Koźle, where the river connects to the Gliwice Canal; the upstream part of the river is canalized and permits larger barges to navigate between the industrial sites around the Wrocław area. Further downstream the river is free flowing, passing the towns of Eisenhüttenstadt and Frankfurt upon Oder.
Downstream of Frankfurt the river Warta forms a navigable connection with Poznań and Bydgoszcz for smaller vessels. At Hohensaaten the Oder–Havel Canal connects with the Berlin waterways again. Near its mouth the Oder reaches the city of a major maritime port; the river reaches the Baltic Sea through the Szczecin Lagoon and the river mouth at Świnoujście. Under Germania Magna the river was known to the Romans as the Viadrus or Viadua in Classical Latin, as it was a branch of the Amber Road from the Baltic Sea to the Roman Empire. In Germanic languages, including English, it was and still is called the Oder, written in medieval Latin documents as Odera or Oddera. Most notably, it was mentioned in the Dagome iudex, which described territory of the Duchy of Poland under Duke Mieszko I in A. D. 990, as a part of duchy's western frontier. Before Slavs settled along its banks, the Oder was an important trade route and towns in Germania were documented along with many tribes living between the rivers Albis and Vistula.
Centuries after Germanic tribes, the Bavarian Geographer specified the following West Slavic peoples: Sleenzane, Opolanie and Golensizi in Silesia and Wolinians with Pyrzycans in Western Pomerania. A document of the Bishopric of Prague mentions Zlasane, Trebovyane and Dedositze in Silesia. In the 13th century, the first dams were built to protect agricultural lands; the Finow Canal, first built in 1605, connects the Havel. After completion of the more straight Oder–Havel Canal in 1914, its economic relevance decreased; the earliest important undertaking with a view to improving the waterway was initiated by Frederick the Great, who recommended diverting the river into a new and straight channel in the swampy tract known as Oderbruch near Küstrin. The work was carried out in the years 1746–53, a large tract of marshland being brought under cultivation, a considerable detour cut off and the main stream confined to a canal. In the late 19th century, three additional alterations were made to the waterway: The canalization of the main stream at Breslau, from the confluence of the Glatzer Neisse to the mouth of the Klodnitz Canal, a distance of over 50 miles.
These engineering works were completed in 1896. During 1887–91 the Oder–Spree Canal was made to connect the two rivers; the deepening and regulation of the mouth and lower course of the stream. By the Treaty of Versailles, navigation on the Oder became subject to International Commission of the Oder. Following the articles 363 and 364 of the Treaty Czechoslovakia was entitled to lease in Stettin its own section in the harbour called Tschechoslowakische Zone im Hafen Stettin; the contract of lease between Czechoslovakia and German
Duchy of Bohemia
The Duchy of Bohemia referred to as the Czech Duchy, was a monarchy and a principality of the Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe during the Early and High Middle Ages. It was formed around 870 by Czechs as part of the Great Moravian realm; the Bohemian lands separated from disintegrating Moravia after Duke Spytihněv swore fidelity to the East Frankish king Arnulf in 895. While the Bohemian dukes of the Přemyslid dynasty, at first ruling at Prague Castle and Levý Hradec, brought further estates under their control, the Christianization initiated by Saints Cyril and Methodius was continued by the Frankish bishops of Regensburg and Passau. In 973 the Diocese of Prague was founded through the joint efforts of Duke Boleslaus II and Emperor Otto I. Late Duke Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, killed by his younger brother Boleslaus in 935, became the land's patron saint. While the lands were occupied by the Polish king Bolesław I and internal struggles shook the Přemyslid dynasty, Duke Vladivoj received Bohemia as a fief from the hands of the East Frankish king Henry II in 1002 and the duchy became an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire.
The Duchy of Bohemia was raised to a hereditary Kingdom of Bohemia, when Duke Ottokar I ensured his elevation by the German king Philip of Swabia in 1198. The Přemyslids remained in power throughout the High Middle Ages, until the extinction of the male line with the death of King Wenceslaus III in 1306; the lands encompassed by the Bohemian Forest, the Ore Mountains, the Sudetes and the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands were settled by Bohemian tribes about 550. In the 7th century the local Czech people were part of the union led by the Frankish merchant Samo. Bohemia as a geographical term derived from the Celtic Boii tribes, first appeared in 9th century Frankish sources. In 805 Emperor Charlemagne prepared to conquer the lands, invading Bohemia in 805 and laying siege to the fortress of Canburg. However, the Czech forces shirked from open battle and retired into the deep forests to launch guerilla attacks. After forty days the emperor had to withdraw his forces for the lack of supplies; when the Frankish forces returned the next year burning and plundering the Bohemian lands, the local tribes had to submit and became dependent on the Carolingian Empire.
While the Frankish realm disintegrated in the mid 9th century, Bohemia fell under the influence of the Great Moravian state, established around 830. In 874 the Mojmir duke Svatopluk I reached an agreement with the East Frankish king Louis the German and confirmed his Bohemian dominion. With the fragmentation of Great Moravia under the pressure of the Magyar incursions around 900, Bohemia began to form as an independent principality. In 880, the Přemyslid prince Bořivoj from Levý Hradec a deputy of Duke Svatopluk I, baptised by the Great Moravian archbishop Methodius of Salonica in 874, moved his residence to Prague Castle and started to subjugate the Vltava Basin. Great Moravia regained control over the emerging Bohemian principality upon Bořivoj's death in 888/890 until, in 895, his son Spytihněv together with the Slavník prince Witizla swore allegiance to the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia in Regensburg, he and his younger brother Vratislaus ruled over Central Bohemia around Prague.
They were able to protect their realm from the Magyar forces which crushed an East Frankish army in the 907 Battle of Pressburg during the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Cut off from Byzantium by the Hungarian presence, the Bohemian principality existed as independent state though still in the shadow of East Francia. Vratislaus' son Wenceslaus, who ruled from 921, was accepted as head of the Bohemian tribal union. Wenceslaus maintained his ducal authority by submitting to King Henry in 929, whereafter he was murdered by his brother Boleslaus. Assuming the Bohemian throne in 935, Duke Boleslaus conquered the adjacent lands of Moravia and Silesia, expanded farther to Kraków in the east, he offered opposition to Henry's successor King Otto I, stopped paying the tribute, attacked an ally of the Saxons in northwest Bohemia and in 936 moved into Thuringia. After a prolonged armed conflict, King Otto I besieged a castle owned by Boleslaus' son in 950 and Boleslaus signed a peace treaty whereby he recognized Otto's suzerainty and promised to resume the payment of the tribute.
As the king's ally his Bohemian troops together with the Kingdom of Germany forces fought in the 955 Battle of Lechfeld and after the defeat of the Magyars received the lands of Moravia in recognition of his services. Overwhelming marauding Hungarians had the same benefits for Czechs. Less obvious is what Boleslav I the Cruel wanted to gain with his participation in the war against the Obotrite tribes in far north, when he crushed an uprising of two Slavic dukes in the Saxon Billung March. Boleslav wanted to ensure that German neighbors did not interfere with his expansion of Bohemia to the east; the Bishopric of Prague, founded in 973 during the reign of Duke Boleslaus II, was subordinated to the Archbishopric of Mainz. Thus, at the same time that Přemyslid rulers used the German alliance to consolidate their rule against a perpetually rebellious regional nobility, they struggled to retain their autonomy in relation to the empire; the Bohemian principality was definitively consolidated in 995, when the Přemyslids defeated their Slavník rivals, unified the Czech tribes, established a form of centralized rule, however shaken
History of Poland during the Piast dynasty
The period of rule by the Piast dynasty between the 10th and 14th centuries is the first major stage of the history of the Polish nation. The dynasty was founded by a series of dukes listed by the chronicler Gallus Anonymous in the early 12th century: Siemowit and Siemomysł, it was Mieszko I, the son of Siemomysł, now considered the proper founder of the Polish state at about 960 AD. The ruling house remained in power in the Polish lands until 1370. Mieszko converted to Christianity of the Western Latin Rite in an event known as the Baptism of Poland in 966, which established a major cultural boundary in Europe based on religion, he completed a unification of the West Slavic tribal lands, fundamental to the existence of the new country of Poland. Following the emergence of the Polish state, a series of rulers converted the population to Christianity, created a kingdom of Poland in 1025 and integrated Poland into the prevailing culture of Europe. Mieszko's son Bolesław I the Brave established a Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Gniezno, pursued territorial conquests and was crowned in 1025 as the first king of Poland.
The first Piast monarchy collapsed with the death of Mieszko II Lambert in 1034, followed by its restoration under Casimir I in 1042. In the process, the royal dignity for Polish rulers was forfeited, the state reverted to the status of a duchy. Duke Casimir's son Bolesław II the Bold revived the military assertiveness of Bolesław I, but became fatally involved in a conflict with Bishop Stanislaus of Szczepanów and was expelled from the country. Bolesław III, the last duke of the early period, succeeded in defending his country and recovering territories lost. Upon his death in 1138, Poland was divided among his sons; the resulting internal fragmentation eroded the initial Piast monarchical structure in the 12th and 13th centuries and caused fundamental and lasting changes. Konrad I of Masovia invited the Teutonic Knights to help him fight the Baltic Prussian pagans, which led to centuries of Poland's warfare with the Knights and the German Prussian state. In 1320, the kingdom was restored under Władysław I the Elbow-high strengthened and expanded by his son Casimir III the Great.
The western provinces of Silesia and Pomerania were lost after the fragmentation, Poland began expanding to the east. The period ended with the reigns of two members of the Capetian House of Anjou between 1370 and 1384; the consolidation in the 14th century laid the base for the new powerful kingdom of Poland, to follow. The tribe of the Polans in what is now Greater Poland gave rise to a tribal predecessor of the Polish state in the early part of the 10th century, with the Polans settling in the flatlands around the emerging strongholds of Giecz, Poznań, Gniezno and Ostrów Lednicki. Accelerated rebuilding of old tribal fortified settlements, construction of massive new ones and territorial expansion took place during the period ca. 920–950. The Polish state developed from these tribal roots in the second half of the century. According to the 12th-century chronicler Gallus Anonymus, the Polans were ruled at this time by the Piast dynasty. In existing sources from the 10th century, Piast ruler Mieszko I was first mentioned by Widukind of Corvey in his Res gestae saxonicae, a chronicle of events in Germany.
Widukind reported that Mieszko's forces were twice defeated in 963 by the Veleti tribes acting in cooperation with the Saxon exile Wichmann the Younger. Under Mieszko's rule, his tribal state became the Polish state; the viability of the Mieszko's emerging state was assured by the persistent territorial expansion of the early Piast rulers. Beginning with a small area around Gniezno, the Piast expansion lasted throughout most of the 10th century and resulted in a territory approximating that of present-day Poland; the Polanie tribe conquered and merged with other Slavic tribes and first formed a tribal federation later a centralized state. After the addition of Lesser Poland, the country of the Vistulans, of Silesia, Mieszko's state reached its mature form, including the main regions regarded as ethnically Polish; the Piast lands totaled about 250,000 km2 in area, with an approximate population of under one million. A pagan, Mieszko I was the first ruler of the Polans tribal union known from contemporary written sources.
A detailed account of aspects of Mieszko's early reign was given by Ibrâhîm ibn Ya`qûb, a Jewish traveler, according to whom Mieszko was one of four Slavic "kings" established in central and southern Europe in the 960s. In 965, allied with Boleslaus I, Duke of Bohemia at the time, married the duke's daughter Doubravka, a Christian princess. Mieszko's conversion to Christianity in its Western Latin Rite followed on 14 April 966, an event known as the Baptism of Poland, considered to be the founding event of the Polish state. In the aftermath of Mieszko's victory over a force of the Velunzani in 967, led by Wichmann, the first missionary bishop was appointed: Jordan, bishop of Poland; the action counteracted the intended eastern expansion of the Magdeburg Archdiocese, established at about the same time. Mieszko's state had a complex political relationship with the German Holy Roman Empire, as Mieszko was a "friend", ally and vassal of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and paid him tribute from the western part of his lands.
Mieszko fought wars with the Polabian Slavs, the Czechs, Margrave Gero of the Saxon Eastern March in 963–964 and Margrave Odo I of the Saxon Eastern March in 972 in the Battle of Cedynia. The victories over Wichmann an
Gesta principum Polonorum
The Gesta principum Polonorum is a medieval gesta, or deeds narrative, concerned with Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth, his ancestors, the Polish principality during and before his reign. Completed between 1112 and 1118, the extant text is present in three manuscripts with two distinct traditions, its author, though anonymous, is traditionally called Gallus a non-Pole connected with the monastery of Saint-Gilles or elsewhere in western Europe. The book is one of the earliest written documents on the history of Poland, but gives a unique Eastern European perspective on the general history of Europe, supplementing what has been handed down by Western and Southern European historians, it pre-dates the Gesta Danorum and the next major source on early history of Poland, the Chronica seu originale regum et principum Poloniae, by a century. The title intended for or given to the work is not clear. In the initial capital of the text in the Zamoyski Codex, a rubric styles the work the Cronica Polonorum, while in the same manuscript the preface of Book I opens with Incipiunt Cronice et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum.
The incipit for Book II entitles the work Liber Tertii Bolezlaui, that for Book III Liber de Gestis Boleslaui III. These however are not reliable as such things are added later; the latest editors and only English translators of the text style it Gesta principum Polonorum to acknowledge its faith with the gesta genre and to avoid confusion with the work known as the Chronica principum Poloniae. The author of the Gesta is unknown, but is referred to by historigraphic convention as "Gallus", a Latin word for a "person from France or Gaul"; the only source for Gallus' existence comes not from the text but rather from a note made by historian and Bishop of Warmia Martin Kromer in the margin of folio 119 of the "Heilsberg manuscript". It is not known. In Gottfried Lengnich's printed edition, Lengnich named the author as "Martin Gallus" based on a misreading of Jan Długosz, where Gallus was conflated with Martin of Opava. Martin Gallus became the standard name in German scholarship for some time to come, though this identification is now rejected by most historians.
Historian Maximilian Gumplowicz identified the author as Baldwin Gallus Bishop of Kruszwica, though this theory has failed to gain general acceptance. There have been frequent attempts to identify Gallus' origins from clues in the text. Marian Plezia and Pierre David both argued that Gallus came from Provence in what is now southern France, was connected with the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Gilles. Another historian, Karol Maleczyński, argued that the evidence suggests a connection with Flanders, while Danuta Borawska and Tomasz Jasiński have argued based on stylistic evidence that he was connected with Venice and that he authored an anonymous translatio of St Nicholas. Marian Plezia argued in 1984 that his writing style suggests an education in one of the schools of central France Tours or Orléans. Plezia and others further argue that Gallus' extensive knowledge of Hungary testify to connections there, postulating a connection to the Benedictine monastery of Somogyvár in Hungary, a daughter-house of St Gilles'.
He appears to have been connected to the Awdańcy clan, a kindred of Norse or Rus origin, successful under Boleslaw II, and, exiled to Hungary but returned to prominence in Polish affairs during the reign of Boleslaw III. As he stated that "the city of Gniezno... means "nest" in Slavic", it is thought that the author may have known the language of the country. All, certain is that he was a monk and a non-Slav living in Poland on a Polish benefice, it is thought that the original text was composed at some point between 1112 and 1117. The dedicatory letter on the preface of the Gesta fixes completion of the origin text between 1112 and 1118; the last event mentioned in the work is the pilgrimage of Boleslaw III to Székesfehérvár in Hungary, which occurred in either 1112 or 1113. The work was certainly completed before the revolt of Skarbimir in 1117–18. There is some evidence. For instance, there is reference to the descendants of Duke Swietobor of Pomerania; the Gesta is not extant in the original, but instead survives in three different manuscripts representing two different traditions.
The Codex Zamoyscianus and Codex Czartoryscianus represent the first, earliest documented tradition, the latter being derived from the former. The Heilsberg codex and surviving in less detail, is an independent witness to the text and constitutes the second distinct tradition; the earliest version lies in the manuscript known as the Codex Zamoyscianus or Zamoyski Codex. This was written down in the late 14th-century in Kraków between 1380 and 1392, it was located in the library of the Łaski family until the 15th century. Thereabouts Sandivogius of Czechłoj, a canon of Gniezno Cathedral and friend of the historian Jan Długosz, came into possession of it, it was in the library of the counts of Zamość, but is now in the National Library in Warsaw as Ms. BOZ cim. 28. A second version of the Gesta lies in the Codex Czartoryscianus called the Sędziwój Codex. Between 1434 and 1439 Sandivogius of Czechło h