Henry of Sandomierz
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Henry of Sandomierz
Duke of Sandomierz
Bornca. 1131
Died18 October 1166
Noble familyPiast dynasty
FatherBoles?aw III Wrymouth
MotherSalomea of Berg

Henry of Sandomierz (Polish: Henryk) (ca. 1131 - 18 October 1166) was the duke of Sandomierz since 1138 (titulary) or 1146 (formally) until his death. He took part in the Second Crusade. Upon his return from the Holy Land, Henry organized a crusade against the Prussians and died in battle.


He was the fifth but third surviving son of Boles?aw III Wrymouth, Duke of Poland, by his second wife Salomea, daughter of Henry, Count of Berg, from whom he received his name. According to the Testament of his father, Henry inherited the Duchy of Sandomierz, which was at that time in the Seniorate Province of his eldest half-brother and High Duke, W?adys?aw II. Because at the time of Boles?aw III's death he was still a minor (1138) the Duchy remained in the Seniorate until he reached the proper age, when W?adys?aw had to given him. But Henry could take formal possession of Sandomierz only when the High Duke was deposed and exiled, in 1146.

As ruler of Sandomierz, Henry appears only on the occasion of the Act of Foundation of a Church in his land. His ducal title was rarely mentioned by the chronicles, who called him a son of Boles?aw III Wrymouth or brother of Boles?aw IV the Curly. Some historians (for example M. G?adysz and D. Guttner) advance a hypothesis that he was the "King of the Poles" mentioned by the Greek chronicler John Kinnamos. If the theory were to be correct, Henry would have been the commander of the Polish contingent in the Second Crusade in 1147. This possible incursion in the Crusades was short (if really occur), because in 1149, together with his older brother Boles?aw IV, he took part in a military expedition in Kiev to support the Grand Prince Iziaslav II.


The first and maybe the most famous of all Sandomierz's dukes, Henry certainly ventured to the Holy Land in 1153-1154 (a number of Polish annals reported it under the year 1154 as did Jan D?ugosz in his Annals) and took part in the Second Crusade under the command of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem. Henry close affiliation to crusading resulted in the establishment of a commandery of the Hospitallers (between 1154 and 1166) in Zago.

After returning to Poland with an air of holiness, Henry, together with his brothers, organized a crusade against the pagan Prussians. The military expedition, under the command of Boles?aw IV and Henry, launched in the second half of 1166. According to the chronicles, Henry was killed in battle against the Prussians. The date of his death, 18 October 1166, was known through indirect sources. However, there is a legend, where Henry apparently was killed in the current W?brze?no County, probably in the vicinity of Nielub or Or?owo, close to the Wieczno Lake.


Henry never married and hence left no legitimate offspring. In his will, he left his duchy to his youngest brother, Kazimierz II the Just, who until that time, he remained without lands. These last will was done only partially. The destiny of the Duchy of Sandomierz could be shown in a document dated 31 December 1167:

In the year 1166 in Poland during the reign of Princes Boles?aw, Mieszko and Kazimierz, their fourth brother, Prince Henry died without offspring. His district has been divided into three parts; the seat of his sovereignty, Sandomierz, was granted to Boles?aw, the older brother. The same day and year, Mateusz, Bishop of Kraków, also died.

The other two parts were taken by the other surviving brothers: Wi?lica, was given to Kazimiez II, and the rest to Mieszko III the Old. His remains were probably buried in a crypt of a church in Wi?lica, where his grave is marked by an ornamental tombstone donated by his younger brother Kazimierz II. Only in 1173, after the death of Boles?aw, Kazimierz finally could take the title of Duke of Sandomierz.


  • Balzer, O. Genealogia Piastów, Kraków, 1895.
  • G?adysz, M. Zapomniani krzy?owcy, Warszawa, 2006.
  • Guttner, D. "Henryk of Sandomierz." [in:] The Crusades: An Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, 2006.
  • Jasi?ski, K. Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, Warszawa, 1992.
  • Mitkowski, J. "Henryk ksi sandomierski." [in:] Polski S?ownik Biograficzny, vol. 9, Wroc?aw, 1960-1961.
  • D. von Güttner-Sporzy?ski, Poland, Holy War, and the Piast Monarchy, 1100-1230, Brepols, Turnhout, 2014.

External links

Henry of Sandomierz
Born: ca. 1131 Died: 18 October 1166
New title Duke of Sandomierz
Succeeded by
Boles?aw IV the Curly

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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