Bolesław II Rogatka

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Bolesław II Rogatka
Bolesław II Rogatka.JPG
Bolesław II the Horned
Spouse(s) Hedwig of Anhalt
Euphemia of Pomerania
Sophia of Dyhrn
Noble family House of Piast
Father Henry II the Pious
Mother Anna of Bohemia
Born c. 1220-1225
Died Between 26 and 31 December 1278

Bolesław II the Rogatka or Bolesław II the Horned (Polish: Bolesław II Rogatka, known also as Bolesław II the Bald, Polish: Bolesław II Łysy; ca. 1220/5 – 26/31 December 1278) was a Duke of Kraków briefly in 1241, of Southern Greater Poland during 1241–1247, and Duke of all SilesiaWrocław 1241-1248, when it was divided between him and his brothers. He was Duke of Środa Śląska in Silesia from 1277 onward. The second Mongol raid against Poland, led by Nogai Khan, occurred during his reign.

He was the eldest son of Henry II the Pious, Duke of Wrocław, by his wife Anna, daughter of King Ottokar I of Bohemia. His grandparents were Henry II and (later Saint) Hedwig of Andechs.


Beginning of his reign and fight over the Greater Poland inheritance (1241–47)

Bolesław's succeeded his father, Duke Henry II, who was killed on 9 April 1241 during the Battle of Legnica against the Mongols. At the time Bolesław and his immediate younger brother Mieszko were the only sons in their majority. Their mother Anna helped them during the transition. Some sources even call this period a regency. The Mongols conquered most of Silesia, but then withdrew to Hungary. Bolesław's inheritance included Southern Greater Poland and Kraków was threatened by neighboring Piast Dukes. In Lesser Poland, by July 1241 Konrad I of Masovia tried to take over Kraków. The Masovians, led by the Governor of Kraków, Clement of Ruszczy, resisted. The nobility were disappointed by Bolesław's lack of action, and they supported Bolesław V the Chaste for the Kraków throne. There was a similar situation in Greater Poland. After hearing the news of the defeat of Henry II in Legnica, Przemysł I and Bolesław the Pious retook the district that had once belonged to their father, Władysław Odonic. The nobility of Greater Poland supported them as the true heirs to those lands. Bolesław decided to avoid a fight and renounced all his Greater Poland lands. He tried to retain some districts, such as Santok and Międzyrzecz, but in 1247 the Dukes of Greater Poland ultimately forced Bolesław to resign all his rights to lands in Greater Poland.

The black crownless eagle of the Silesian Piasts

The first division of Lower Silesia (1248)

In 1242, Bolesław next oldest brother Mieszko died suddenly without leaving an heir. Mieszko duchy of Lubusz reverted to Bolesław. His younger brothers revolted against him and they were able to imprison their older brother shortly thereafter. Bolesław made an agreement with his brother Henry III the White in 1247, declaring Henry co-ruler of Silesia. A year later they divided the districts of LegnicaGłogówLubusz and Wrocław. The older brothers pledged to offer hospitality to the younger brothers, Bolesław to Konrad, and Henry to Władysław. Bolesław, as the eldest brother, got first choice of the districts, and he chose Legnica, possibly because of the gold discovery in the Kaczawa and Wierzbiak Rivers. Bolesław soon regretted his choice and tried to recover Wrocław. Henry III refused to surrender his new duchy, and war was inevitable.

War against Henry III the White and Sale of Lubusz (1248–49)

Henry and Bolesław began preparing for war, but didn't have adequate funds. Bolesław sought allies among his wife's family, Hedwig of Anhalt, daughter of Count Henry I, niece of the Landgraves of Thuringia. The Archbishop of Magdeburg contributed funds, and half of Lubusz became part of Brandenburg, including Magdeburg.

Bolesław II, Duke of Legnica (1249–51)

The German aid only gave Bolesław a temporary advantage in the war against his brother. In 1249 his younger brother Konrad unexpectedly returned to the country (after concluding his studies in Paris). Bolesław proposed Konrad as Bishop of Passau, but Konrad refused and began to press his own claims in Silesia. Bolesław opposed him, and the young prince took refuge at the court of the Dukes of Greater Poland, Bolesław's long-time enemy. Shortly after, Konrad reinforced his bonds with Duke Przemysł I after a double marriage: the Duke of Greater Poland married Konrad's sister Elizabeth, and Konrad married Duke Przemysł's sister, Salome. The final clash occurred two years later, when the Bolesław was defeated by the combined forces of Przemysł I and Henry III the White, who supported Konrad. Bolesław finally agreed to the divide his own lands and give Głogów to Konrad. Bolesław retained the small district of Legnica.

Agreement with Henry III the White (1252–56)

It took Bolesław another two years (1253) and the help of his brother Henry III to recover full authority over his principality. Bolesław made some agreements with the other Piast Dukes, especially with the princes of Greater Poland and with Thomas I, Bishop of Wrocław. Bolesław never forgave the Bishop for his tendency to support the younger princes.

Conflict with Bishop Thomas of Wrocław (1257–61)

Bolesław's conflict with the Bishop of Wrocław reached a more critical point in 1257, when the Bolesław incarcerated the Bishop at Wleń Castle. Bolesław was immediately excommunicated. His brothers quickly intervened and negotiated a settlement. In 1261, Bolesław's paid a large tribute and paid public penance at the gates of in Wrocław Cathedral. (He had been excommunicated twice before, in 1248 and 1249, and a call had been issued to the neighboring nobility to a crusade against him. He was later forgiven by the Bishop, and both of the previous excommunications were rescinded.)

Relations with Konrad of Głogów (1262–71)

Bolesław remained in hostile relations with Konrad of Głogów. In 1257 Konrad kidnapped Bolesław from his castle in Legnica. The Duke regained his freedom a few months later. In 1271 Bolesław took the town of Bolesławiec, near Bóbr.

Abduction of Henry IV and Battle of Stolec (1272–77)

In the 1270s, Bolesław gave more and more power to his adolescent sons. In 1273 he granted Jawor (Jauer) to his oldest son Henry V and it seemed that Bolesław had resigned from adventurous politics, but in 1277, he signed an alliance with the King Rudolph I of Germany (straining the alliance of the other Piast Dukes with the King Ottokar II of Bohemia). At Rudolph's insistence, Bolesław kidnapped Ottokar's ally, Henry IV, Bolesław's nephew, because Henry IV had demanded one-third of Wrocław after the death of his uncle Władysław, Bolesław's youngest brother, in 1270. Henry IV was imprisoned in Legnica Castle. A coalition was formed between Ottokar II, the Duke Henry III of Głogów, and Przemysł II of Greater Poland, but it soon failed. Bolesław's forces were greatly outnumbered at the Battle of Stolec, but Bolesław's son Henry V turned the tide and the allied dukes were defeated. A settlement was reached: Henry IV was freed and Bolesław was given one-third of the Duchy of Środa Śląska (German: Neumarkt).

Death and succession (1278)

Bolesław II died between 26 and 31 December 1278 and was buried at the Dominican monastery in Legnica. His three sons, Henry V the Fat, Bolko I and Bernhard, inherited his lands.

Marriage and Children

In 1242, Bolesław married firstly Hedwig (d. 21 December 1259), daughter of Henry I, Count of Anhalt. They had seven children:

  1. Agnes (b. ca. 1243/50 – d. 13 March 1265, buried Stuttgart Stiftskirche), married ca. 1260/64 to Count Ulrich I of Württemberg.
  2. Henry V the Fat (b. ca. 1248 – d. 22 February 1296).
  3. Hedwig (Jadwiga) (b. ca. 1250/55 – d. aft. 1280), married ca. 1265/70 to Duke Konrad II of Masovia.
  4. Bolko I the Strict (b. ca. 1252/56 – d. Krzeszów, 9 November 1301, buried Krzeszów Abbey).
  5. Bernhard (b. ca. 1253/57 – d. 25 April 1286, buried Dominican Monastery, Legnica).
  6. Konrad (d. young).
  7. Katharina (d. 25 April 1286, buried Dominican Monastery, Legnica).

In 1261, Bolesław married secondly Euphemia (also called Alenta or Iolanta or Adelheid) (b. ca. 1245 - d. ca. 15 February 1309), daughter of Sambor II, Duke of Pomerania.

Around 1270, the began living with his mistress Sophia of Dyhrn. She bore him a son, Jarosław, who died in infancy. Gravelly ill and deeply offended by her husband's affair, Euphemia fled to her homeland in Pomerania in 1275. Their marriage was considered annulled. In 1277 Bolesław finally married with his mistress, but the union lasted only a few months until the Duke's death in 1278. Euphemia returned to Silesia after Bolesław's death.[1]



  1. Karl Friedrich Pauli: Allgemeine preußische Staats-Geschichte etc., 7. Band. Verlag C.P.Franckens, Halle 1767.
Bolesław II Rogatka
Born: c. 1220-1225 Died: December 1278
Preceded by
Henry II the Pious
High Duke of Poland
Succeeded by
Konrad I of Masovia
Duke of Silesia

Succeeded by
Henry III the White
and Władysław
Duke of Greater Poland
(only in the Southwest)

Succeeded by
Przemysł I and
Bolesław the Pious
Preceded by
new creation
Duke of Legnica
with Konrad until 1251

Succeeded by
Konrad (Głogów) and
Henry V (Jawor)