Duke Bolko I the Strict

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Duke Bolko I the Strict

German: Herzog Bolko I. von Schweidnitz, Polish: książę Bolko I Surowy
Also Known As: "Bolko the Raw or of Jawor"
Birthplace: Legnica, Legnica, Dolnośląskie, Poland
Death: November 09, 1301 (41-53)
ger. Schweidnitz, Świdnica, Świdnica, Dolnośląskie, Poland
Place of Burial: Grüssau Abbey, Poland
Immediate Family:

Son of Boleslaw II the Horned and Hedwig of Anhalt-Zerbst
Husband of Beatrice of Brandenburg
Father of Judith von Schweidnitz; Bolko; Herzog Bernhard II. von Schweidnitz; Beatrix Świdnicka von Schlesien-Glogau; Henryk I jaworski von Schweidnitz, książę and 4 others
Brother of Agnes v. Schlesien.Liegnitz; Henry V, Duke of Legnica; Jadwiga Bolesławówna; Anna Bolesławówna; Bernard Zwinny, książę and 3 others
Half brother of Jarosław

Managed by: Henn Sarv
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About Duke Bolko I the Strict

Bolko (Bolesław) I Surowy (Srogi) lub jaworski - od 1278 roku książę jaworski, w latach 1278 - 1281 i od 1286 roku lwówecki, od 1291 roku świdnicki, opiekun księstwa wrocławskiego i legnickiego od 1296 roku. http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolko_I_Surowy

Bolko I the Strict

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bolko I the Strict also known as the Raw or of Jawor (Polish: Bolko I Surowy[1] or Srogi or Jaworski; b. 1252/56 - d. 9 November 1301), was a Duke of Lwówek (Löwenberg) during 1278-81 (with his brother as co-ruler) and Jawor (Jauer) since 1278 (with his brother as co-ruler until 1281), sole Duke of Lwówek since 1286, Duke of Świdnica-Ziębice since 1291.

He was the second son of Bolesław II the Bald, Duke of Legnica by his first wife Hedwig, daughter of Henry I, Count of Anhalt.


Probably because it was still too young to actively participate in politics, Bolko appears rarely in the chronicles before his father's death. Possibly he took part in the victorious Battle of Stolec in 1277.

Bolesław II died by 26 December 1278. Bolko I and his younger brother Bernard the Lightsome inherited Jawor (Jauer) and Lwówek (Löwenberg) as co-rulers, and their older brother Henry V the Fat retain Legnica. In 1281 Bolko I and Bernard divided their domains: Bernard kept Lwówek and Bolko I became in sole ruler of Jawor.

One of the first tasks of Bolko I as sole ruler was protect his modest inheritance from the growing power of Henry IV Probus, Duke of Wroclaw. To that end, he decided to entered in an alliance with the Margraves of Brandenburg. In order to cemented this alliance, was arranged the marriage between Bolko I and the daughter of Margrave Otto V the Long, Beatrix. The betrothal was performed in the city of Spandau on 19 April 1279; however, because the close relationship between groom and bride, the formal wedding was performed more than five years, in 1284 (although the Papal dispensation to allow the wedding was announced one year later, in 1285). Bolko I's approximation to the House of Ascania engaging him in an armed conflict with the German King Rudolf I of Habsburg and Henry IV Probus. An expedition made to Wroclaw in 1280 and to Prague in the following year, instead the expected success, brought him a retaliatory action of the Duke of Wroclaw.

After the death of his brother Bernard in 1286 without issue, Bolko I inherited the Duchy of Lwówek, by virtue of a reciprocal inheritance treaty signed by the brothers around 1281.

In the second half of 1280s, Bolko I tried to avoid the danger from the rising power of Henry IV Probus and began to approach to the King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia. On several occasions, he traveled to Prague and took part in many court ceremonies, for example in 1289, when Bolko I took part in the homage of Duke Casimir of Bytom to King Wenceslaus II. However, despite strongly Bolko I resisted the complete dominance of Prague, he received minor benefits from the Bohemian Kingdom, such as the possession of the strategical Schomberg Castle in the bohemian frontier.

The unexpected death of Henry IV Probus in 1290 made a complete change in the Silesian politics. Bolko I's brother Henry V the Fat occuped Wroclaw and took control over all Henry IV's domains, but had to face the opposition of the Wroclaw nobility and the pretentions of the rightful heir of Henry IV, Duke Henry III of Głogów. Bolko I decided to give his brother assistance; however, the price for it was quite high: only after Henry V give him the towns of Świdnica, Ząbkowice, Ziębice and Strzelin Bolko I sent troops and food to Wroclaw and Legnica. The help for Henry V, however, was inadequate; at the end, Henry V was defeated and imprisoned in an iron cage by Henry III. Named regent of Henry V's domains during his absence, Bolko I never attempted to obtain the release of his brother.

The 1290s were also a period of difficult relations with the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia. It's unknown why relations between them were altered, but this could be probably thanks to the willingness of the Duke of Jawor-Świdnica. Bolko I, in order to secure his domains, began the intensive building of fortifications in his Duchy (particularly in the Bohemian frontier towns of Świdnica, Wleń, Strzegom and Kamienna Góra). After this, Bolko I tried to take the full control over the Duchy of Nysa-Otmuchów, given to the Bishopric of Wroclaw in Henry IV's will.

Resentful of Bolko I's ambitions, the Bishop Jan Romka decided to use the biggest weapons available to him against the Duke: in 1294 Bolko I was excommunicated, and all his lands were placed under the interdict. Forced by this actions, Bolko I renounced to his pretentions and free the Bishop's castles occupied by him.

The tensions between Bolko I and King Wenceslas II were finally erupted in 1295 and the war began. The Bohemian King didn't expect a greater resistance; however, his suprise was greater when he watch the effective defense of the Duke of Jawor. In the war with Bohemia, Bolko I could use the fortifications built by him (the Bohemian army was stopped in Kamienna Góra). Bolko I also demostrated that he was a wise politician; inmediately after he could stop the Bohemian troops, he put his domains under the protection of Pope Boniface VIII, which eventually led King Wenceslaus II to seek a settlement. The peace was signed probably at the beginning of 1297, since on 2 June of that year Bolko I was present in the coronation of King Wenceslaus II in Prague.

At the beginning of 1296 Henry V the Fat died, leaving three minor sons. As the closest male relative, the guardianship of Henry V's children and the regency of his domains were given to Bolko I. Also in this situation Bolko I tried to extract all the benefit who could and took by himself the Sobótka castle. Bolko I's regency had to faced several difficulties: first, the resistance of the powerful Wrocław nobility, who feared that the well-known Bolko I's hard rule could be affected their priviligies. Soon, Henry III of Głogów decide to exploit the difficulties of the Duke of Jawor and began the war against him. Also in this case, Bolko I had a complete success, not only because he managed to repeled the invasion of the Duke of Głogów, but in addition, he took the castles of Chojnów and Bolesławiec.

Bolko was a energetic in developing his lands, building castles. Although a Slavic Piast by origin, he engaged in colonising his lands with German settlers and a patron of the Cistercian movement, notably founding the Cistercian monastery of Grüssau (Krzeszów).[2]

He was a patron of literature. An 8000 line poem in Middle High German on the exploits of Ludwig III, Count of Thuringia, was composed by an unnamed priest at Bolko's instigation.[3]

To finish the tense situation in Upper Silesia, by March 1297 was performed the annual congress of Silesian Dukes in Zwanowicach, where was Bolko I made the final settlement with Henry III. Bolko I spent the last years of his life on strengthening his position as the most powerful Silesian prince, which has been after his recognition as a Papal vassal on 21 March 1299.

Bolko I died suddenly on November 9, 1301, and was buried in Grüssau Abbey. He was succeeded by his sons, but because they are minors at that time, his brother-in-law Herman, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel asumed the regency of his domains and the guardianship of his children. The custody of Henry V's sons and the regency of his lands was taken by King Wenceslaus II.

[edit]Marriage and Issue

In Berlin on 4 October 1284, Bolko I married with Beatrix (b. 1270 - d. by 26 April 1316), daughter of Otto V the Long, Margrave of Brandenburg-Salzwedel. They had ten children:

Judith (b. ca. 1287 - d. Landshut, 15 September 1320), married in 1299 to Stephen I, Duke of Bavaria.

Bolko (b. ca. 1288 - d. 30 January 1300).

Beatrix (b. 1290 - d. Munich, 25 August 1322), married by 14 October 1308 to Louis IV, Duke of Bavaria, later German King and Holy Roman Emperor.

Bernard (b. ca. 1291 - d. 6 May 1326).

Henry I (b. 1292/96 - d. by 15 May 1346).

Elisabeth (b. and d. 1300).

Margareta (b. and d. 1300) [twin of Elisabeth?].

Bolko II (b. 1 February 1300 - d. 11 June 1341).

A son (b. early 1301? - d. 24 December 1307).

Anna (b. posthumously, 21 November 1301 - d. by 24 June 1334), Abbess of St.Clara, Strehlen (1327).


^ As used in publications: see sample

^ Rieckenberg, "Bolko I.", in Neue Deutsche Biographie, p. 431.

^ Garland and Garland, Oxford Companion to German Literature, p. 500, available here.


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Duke Bolko I the Strict's Timeline

Legnica, Legnica, Dolnośląskie, Poland
Age 34
Swidnica, Wroclaw, Poland
Age 35
Age 37
(Schweidnitz), Swidnica, Poland
Age 40
Głogów, Dolnośląskie, Poland
Age 42
Age 44
Age 44
Age 48