sobota, 15 października 2011

The Dawn of Poland

First noted ruler of Poland is dux Mieszko founder of  the Piast dynasty. His birth land was teritory around  Gniezno in western Poland near today Poznań.  We don’t know many thing about him, and even his predecessors names we know only from sources 100 years younger, but we know he was ruler of Slavic tribe or group of tribes called Polans.

Forest people - Psiloi element
What is sure, is that Mieszko after some negotiations baptized himself and whole country with the help of Bohemian king. Taking Christianity was political choice, not religious, and taking it through Bohemia was meant (with success) to bypass Holy Roman Empire political control over soon to be created first polish Christian metropolis, and to have here appointed Bishop of non German origin. It was bold decision and well executed. Polish church was never subject to German rule and under direct oversee of Pope (unlike for ex Bohemia), it took political weapon of Christianization from Emperor and his barons hand (which was very real threat because Christianization by the sword was deemed only right way to do it) and it legitimized aggressive expansion onto pagan territories.

Baptism of Mieszko and his court take place in 966 together with his wedding with Bohemian princess Dobrava.

Next what we know about him are his wars.

In 967 he took control of Pomerania conquering Weneds and grave Wichmann in decisive battle.

In 972 Mieszko beated forces of grave Hodo in battle of Cedynia about which I wrote before (first battle of Polish forces we know something about).

Somewhere in 970 ties he took Grody Czerwińskie – Group of cities in Russ border.

In 974 he was part of opposition against rule of Otton II and supporter of his opponents for a throne. In 979 Otton II invaded Poland but was unsuccessful and leave without any gains. In 980 Otto II and Mieszko signed truce and he married his second official wife (he removed many pagan wives before marriage with Dobrawa) daughter of grave Dytrick of Northmak of Holy Roman Empire. 

In 980 ties he was allied to Eric king of Sweden against Denmark’s king Harald Bluetooth and his son Svein Forkbeard and they were victorious and beated the Danes in unknown battles.
Mieszko and his guards, Polish forces did not use banners then

After Emperor Otton II defeat in Italy, in 983 great Slav rebellion against German rule break out and was successful in establishing West Slavic country of Wielets and Obotrites for next 2 centuries. Meanwhile his political party in German backed the Quarrelsome claim to throne against young Otto III heir of deceased Otto II but switch sides around 985 and sided with Otto III as pagan  Slavic rebellion was dangerous to his rule and fought with Saxons against pagan west Slavs. In 986 he was for sure ally of Otto III and his mother Teophano. Probably around this time he conquered  Lesser Poland with Krakow – country of Vistulans (but we are not sure when exactly country of Vistulans became part of Poland) and Silesia (year 985 is year of creating few Slavic cities in Silesia including Wrocław [Breslau]) from the Bohemians now sworn enemies of Mieszko.

All 3 cavalry elements with Mieszko as general

Close before his death he issued document known as Dagome iudex (first know Polish document), in which he declared his whole country allegiance to Pope – it is very important as he list all territories subjected to his rule, so we know exactly what was in its borders.

We are not sure why he is called Dagome here, hypothesis says it has something to do with his Christian name, but we are really not sure, similarly we are not sure what was the meaning of his name Mieszko with many versions in documents of the time like Mesco, Mieszk, Mieszka, Misika, Mieszek, Mysko. We know for sure that he died in 992 of old age. And that he left his country to three sons Boleslaw, Lambert and Mieszko and Boleslaw known as the Brave later first crowned king of Poland took control over whole country.

Archers , 4  elements of 3 Bw
 Earlier post about battle of Cedynia, First known victoryof Poland and Early Polish army

 Next time last 4 elements of the army and the times of Boleslaw the Brave !

PS: All models are QR miniatures, from Army of Mieszko - Early Polish DBA set.
and few of riders have small conversion work done on them (Two spear men made from axe wielding cavalryman, one extra bow  and two chain mask on the helmet) to make them more uniqie.

4 komentarze:

  1. This is a fascinating time in history about the "birth" of a fascinating country, and not much is written about it in English. We just hear that the cunning Mieszko outwits Emperor Otto by becoming a Christian and placing his lands directly under the Pope. This prevents Otto from legitimately taking them as part of an Eastern Crusade.

    It's interesting to see that Poles don't know much more about this story ;)

  2. Most of events of this first period up to XI century are very disputable among historians.

    But i tick to what could be called is consensus (and its taught in schoolbooks) :>

    Next Episode: Boleslaw the Brave and Pagan reaction :>

  3. An excellent post, lots of info that I have to admit I knew nothing about, the figures look great too especially dux Mieszko!!


  4. Thanks
    next part when i will finally finish Spears..
    but my PHD comes in the way.. ;(


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