Princess Salomea and Hungarian – Polish Relations in the Period 1214 – 1241

Princess Salomea and Hungarian – Polish Relations in the Period 1214 – 1241

By Karol Holly

HISTORICKÝ ČASOPIS, Historical Journal of the Institute of History of the SAS,Volume 55, (2007)

Salome Entering the King’s Hermitage (St. Salome’s Grotto). – Painting by Wojciech Gerson in 1893

Abstract: Princess Salomea (1211/12 – 1268, canonized in 1673) was the daughter of Prince Leszek the White, and married Prince Koloman, son of the Hungarian King Andrew II. Since her early childhood, she was intricately involved in the decision-making process of Southwestern Poland and Hungary. Scepusia was the site of the meeting in 1214, at which Salomea’s marriage with Koloman was arranged. Koloman later became the King of Galicia. They changed their residence and came to Scepusia in 1221. In 1226, their influence spread to Southern parts of Hungary and they settled there at that time. Koloman and Salomea were also fighting heresy in the Balkans, an activity highly regarded by the Pope of the time. They were awarded an exemp- tion from the interdict in 1234. Salomea is referred to in this text as regina. Even after her marriage Salomea remained deeply involved in the life of her homeland. After Koloman’s death in 1241, Salomea returned to Southwestern Poland.

Introduction:  Princess Salomea, 1211/12 – 1268, beatified in 1673, daughter of Prince Leszek the White of Krakow and Princess Grzymislawa, elder sister of Boleslaw the Shy and wife of the Hungarian prince Koloman, son of Andrew II, became famous especially in the frame- work of the expansion of the second Franciscan order. As the first Polish member of the Damianite/Clarist order from 12451 and a woman with a saintly reputation, the only beatified member of the Piast dynasty, she occupies a distinguished place in the history of medieval Poland. This aspect of Salomea is relatively well studied. On the other hand, less is known about her life and political role up to 1241, namely in the period when Salomea was active in Galicia and Hungary.

It is necessary to say at the beginning that almost all works devoted to Salomea come from the pens of Polish historians. Slovak and Hungarian historiography has devoted little attention to her, in spite of the fact that she played a part in the history of the Kingdom of Hungary. Similarly, the works devoted to placing her in her wider context are scarce. In the context of a review of literature, it is necessary to mention a precise Serbian work by Đ. Hardi, which mentions Salomea in the framework of the history of Galicia in the 13th century. It is characteristic of Polish works that they do not devote enough attention to the period until 1241. Our ambition is partly to fill in this gap, and to draw attention to the fact that apart from representing the new female spirituality of the 13th century, Salomea played a significant role in the politics of the time.

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