Casimir I of Poland

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Casimir I the Restorer (Polish: Kazimierz I Odnowiciel; b. Kraków, 25 July 1016 - d. Poznań, 28 November 1058), was a Duke of Poland of the Piast dynasty and the de facto monarch of the entire country since 1034 until his death.

He was the only son of Mieszko II Lambert by his wife Richeza, daughter of Count Palatine Ezzo of Lotharingia (Ezzonen) and granddaughter of Emperor Otto II.

Casimir is known as the Restorer mostly because he managed to reunite all parts of the Polish Kingdom after a period of turmoil. He reinstated Masovia, Silesia and Pomerania into his realm. However, he failed to crown himself King of Poland, mainly because of internal and external threats to his rule.

Contents

Life

Early years

Relatively little is known of Casimir's early life. He must have spent his childhood at the royal court of Poland in Gniezno. In order to acquired a proper education, he 1026 he was sent to one of the Polish monasteries. Some sources believed that he wanted to follow the Church career (probably he held the post of Oblate) and even asked for a dispensation to became a monk. This hypothesis, however, wasn't count with modern support among the historians. He left the church, however, in 1031.

Flight

Casimir's father Mieszko II was crowned the King of Poland in 1025 after the death of his father Bolesław I the Brave. However, the powerful magnates feared a strong central government reminiscent of Bolesław I's rule. This situation led to considerable friction between the King and the nobility.

Taking advantage of the King's precarious situation, Mieszko II's brothers Bezprym and Otto turned against him and allied themselves with the Emperor Conrad II, whose forces attacked the country, regaining Lusatia. Years of chaos and conflict followed, during which Mieszko II died (1034) in suspicious circumstances after he was forced to abdicate.

At the time of his father's death, Casimir was in Germany in the court of his uncle Hermann II, Archbishop of Köln. In 1037 both the young prince and his mother attempted to seize the throne and returned to Poland. This precipitated a Barons rebellion, which coupled with the so called "Pagan Reaction" of the commoners forced Casimir and Richeza to flee to Saxony.

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