Władysław I Herman

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Władysław I Herman (ca. 1044[1] – 4 June 1102) was a Duke of Poland from 1079 until his death.

He was the second son of Casimir I the Restorer by his wife Maria Dobroniega, daughter of Vladimir the Great, Grand Duke of Kiev.

Contents

Biography

As the second son, Władysław was not destined for the throne. However, due to the flight from Poland of his older brother Bolesław II the Bold in 1079, he was elevated to the rank of Duke of Poland. Opinions vary on whether Władysław played an active role in the plot to depose his brother or whether he was handed the authority simply because he was the most proper person, being the next in line in the absence of the king and his son Mieszko Bolesławowic.

In 1080, in order to improve the relations between Poland and Bohemia, Władysław married Judith, the daughter of the Duke (and first King from 1085) Vratislaus II. After this, the foreign policy of the Duke levitated strongly towards appeasement of the Holy Roman Empire.

He accepted overlordship of the Empire, and when in 1085 while in Mainz the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV announced that his father-in-law Vratislaus II to be King of Bohemia and Poland, Władysław did not object. He also never pursued the Royal crown due to his subservient status. Soon after, he was forced by the barons of Poland to recall from exile in Hungary his nephew and rightful heir to the Polish throne, Mieszko Bolesławowic. The young prince accepted the overlordship of his uncle and gave up his hereditary claims in exchange for becoming first in line of succession. Władysław was forced to accept the terms of his nephew, because his eldest and only son at that time, Zbigniew, was illegitimate because he had been born from a union not recognized by the church. Władysław's relations with the Emperor were considerably improved after his second marriage with his sister Judith (also Dowager Queen of Hungary) in 1089, who took the name Judith of Swabia after her wedding in order to distinguish herself from the late first wife of Władysław (Judith of Bohemia).

Władysław abandoned the alliance with Hungary favored by his deposed brother, and joined the anti-Papal camp. Also, he resumed paying tribute for Silesia to Bohemia. In addition Kraków and Cieszyn were ceded to Bohemia, Lubusz Land was lost to Germany while Przemyśl Land in the east was lost to Halych-Ruthenia. Władysław did make attempts to regain the control of Pomerania, and through numerous expeditions was temporarily (1090-1091) able to do so.

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