Jan Zamoyski

Jan Zamoyski

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Jan Zamoyski (1542–1605), was a Polish-Lithuanian
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

 nobleman, magnate
Magnate, from the Late Latin magnas, a great man, itself from Latin magnus 'great', designates a noble or other man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other qualities...

, 1st duke/ordynat of Zamość
Zamość ukr. Замостя is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants , situated in the south-western part of Lublin Voivodeship , about from Lublin, from Warsaw and from the border with Ukraine...

. Royal Secretary
Royal Secretary
Royal Secretary is a position at the court of a monarch generally responsible for communicating the sovereign's wishes to the other members of government. At times and places it may have a number of other duties. In most cases the royal secretary is a close adviser of the monarch...

 since 1566, Lesser Kanclerz
Kanclerz was one of the highest officials in the historic Poland. This office functioned from the early Polish kingdom of the 12th century until the end of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. A respective office also existed in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since the 16th...

 (Chancellor)) of the Crown since 1576, Lord Grand-Chancellor of the Crown since 1578, and Grand Hetman
Hetman was the title of the second-highest military commander in 15th- to 18th-century Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which together, from 1569 to 1795, comprised the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, or Rzeczpospolita....

 of the Crown since 1581. General Starost of Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

 from 1580 to 1585, Starost of Bełz
Belz , a small city in the Lviv Oblast of Western Ukraine, near the border with Poland, is located between the Solokiya river and the Rzeczyca stream....

, Międzyrzecze
Międzyrzecze may refer to the following places in Poland:*Międzyrzecze, Lower Silesian Voivodeship *Międzyrzecze, Podlaskie Voivodeship *Międzyrzecze, Silesian Voivodeship...

, Krzeszów
Krzeszów is a village in Nisko County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in south-eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Krzeszów. It lies on the San River, approximately south-east of Nisko and north-east of the regional capital Rzeszów.In 2005 the village had a population of...

, Knyszyn
Knyszyn is a town in north-eastern Poland, northwest of Białystok. It is situated in the Podlaskie Voivodeship , and was formerly in the Białystok Voivodeship ....

 and Derpsk. Important advisor to Kings Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus
Sigismund II Augustus I was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the only son of Sigismund I the Old, whom Sigismund II succeeded in 1548...

 and Stephen Báthory
Stephen Báthory
Stephen Báthory may refer to several noblemen of Hungarian descent:* Stephen III Báthory , Palatine of Hungary* Stephen V Báthory , judge of the Royal Court and Prince of Transylvania...

, he was one of the major opponents of Bathory's successor, Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa
Sigismund III Vasa was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, a monarch of the united Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1587 to 1632, and King of Sweden from 1592 until he was deposed in 1599...

, and one of the most skilled diplomats, politicians and statesmen of his time, standing as a major figure in the politics of the Commonwealth throughout his life.

Early years: the royal supporter

He attended the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and University of Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, where he converted from Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 to Roman Catholicism. Since his student days he become deeply interested in politics. After he returned to Poland, he was appointed secretary to King Sigismund II. In 1563 he wrote De senatu Romano, a brochure
A brochure is a type of leaflet. Brochures are most commonly found at places that tourists frequently visit, such as museums, major shops, and tourist information. Brochure racks or stands may suggest visits to amusement parks and other points of interest...

 about Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 government, in which he sought to apply constitutional principles of republican Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

After the extinction of the Jagiellon dynasty
Jagiellon dynasty
The Jagiellonian dynasty was a royal dynasty originating from the Lithuanian House of Gediminas dynasty that reigned in Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century...

 in 1572 during the election sejm  he used his influence to enforce the victrom election procedure (meaning all nobles had the right to vote for the king) and the majority voting procedure. During that time he wrote the Modus electionis brochure. He was a friend of Mikołaj Sienicki and Hieronim Ossolinski
Hieronim Ossoliński
Hieronim Ossoliński, , coat of arms Topór, was a Polish statesman, kasztelan of Sandomierz and Wojnicz, a delegate to the Sejm of 1569 and one of the signatories of the Union of Lublin, which formally united Poland and Lithuania into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth...

, and he soon become the most important leader of the faction of the lesser and middle nobility (szlachta
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...

) in the Commonwealth, whose goal was the reform the country, forming the execution movement
Execution movement
The Executionist movement was a 16th-century political movement in the Kingdom of Poland and, later, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was popular among lesser, middle and even some higher nobility, and it also enjoyed the support of the Polish king...

 (or 'executionist movement', Polish: egzekucja praw, egzekucja dóbr, popularysci, ruch egzekucyjny) - preserving the unique constitutional and parliamentary government of the Commonwealth with the dominant role of poorer nobility (Golden Freedom). He was so influential that this group was later called 'zamojczycy' (Polish adjective form of his surname - "Zamoyski's people").

He opposed the magnate faction, which wished to offer the throne to a member of the Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 branch. During the 1573 election he was in favour of Henryk II Walezy. During the 1575 election he championed the case of anti-Habsburg Stephen Bathory. At that time he was one of the most powerful people in the country, having obtained both the power of Grand Hetman (commander in chief of the armed forces) and that of chancellor, and soon becoming one of the richest Polish magnates. He supported Batory's politics, which were opposed to both the Habsburgs and Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and supported him in his efforts to strengthen the royal power. He took part in the preparation and war against Muscovy in 1579–1581, when he captured Wielize and Zawoloc.

Later years: in opposition to the throne

After the death of Batory in 1586, Zamoyski helped Sigismund III Vasa to gain the Polish throne, fighting in the brief civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 against the forces supporting Habsburg archduke
The title of Archduke denotes a noble rank above Duke and below King, used only by princes of the Houses of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine....

 Maximilian III of Austria, and defeating them in the Battle of Byczyna
Battle of Byczyna
The Battle of Byczyna or Battle of Pitschen was the deciding battle of the 1587–1588 War of the Polish Succession, which erupted after two rival candidates were elected to the Polish throne...

  in 1588, when Maximilian and his magnate supporters tried to seize Kraków, the Polish capital. Maximilian was taken prisoner and had to give up all pretences to the Polish crown.

However, from the very beginning of Sigismund III's reign, Zamoyski, who was once a staunch supporter of the Commonwealth kings, joined the opposition against the monarch's intentions of transforming the Commonwealth into an absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

. Sigismund had quickly allied himself with the Habsburgs and other Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

 forces, in order to secure their help for regaining the Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 throne. The new King feared the chancellor's power, but due to Commonwealth laws he was unable to dismiss him from his posts. In turn, Zamoyski treated the King as a pawn and ignorant foreigner. In opposition to the king, Zamoyski advocated religious tolerance, opposed the growing power of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

s, and warned against forcing the Commonwealth into useless dynasty wars with Sweden, especially with the constant danger from the Ottoman Empire. His politics and actions where responsible for Poland opposing and eventually avoiding the trend toward absolutism that characterized the other states of Europe. Open conflict between king and chancellor broke out during the Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm ....

 (Polish Diet) of 1592, when Zamoyski found out that Sigismund was plotting to cede the Polish crown to the Habsburgs in exchange for their support of his right to the Swedish throne. Zamoyski failed to dethrone Sigismund but won for himself a free hand in the Moldavian campaign
Moldavian Magnate Wars
The Moldavian Magnate Wars refer to the period at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century when the magnates of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth intervened in the affairs of Moldavia, clashing with the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire for domination and influence over the...

 where in 1595 he helped hospodar
Hospodar or gospodar is a term of Slavonic origin, meaning "lord" or "master".The rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia were styled hospodars in Slavic writings from the 15th century to 1866. Hospodar was used in addition to the title voivod...

 Ieremia Movilă
Ieremia Movila
Ieremia Movilă was a Hospodar of Moldavia between August 1595 and May 1600, and again between September 1600 and July 10, 1606.-Rule:...

 (Jeremi Mohyła) to gain the throne. In 1600 he fought against Michael the Brave (Michal Waleczny, Mihai Viteazul), hospodar of Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 and the new Prince of Transylvania
Transylvania is a historical region in the central part of Romania. Bounded on the east and south by the Carpathian mountain range, historical Transylvania extended in the west to the Apuseni Mountains; however, the term sometimes encompasses not only Transylvania proper, but also the historical...

, who had conquered Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 a few months earlier. He defeated him under Bukova
Buková is a village and municipality of Trnava District in the Trnava region, Slovakia. The village is located in the Little Carpathians and Buková reservoir is located nearby.-External links:*...

 (Bucovu; see Battle of the Teleajăn River) and restored Ieremia to the throne, even helping his brother, Simion Movilă
Simion Movila
Simion Movilă, a boyar of the Movileşti family, was twice Prince of Wallachia and Prince of Moldavia on one occasion ....

 to become brief ruler of Wallachia, thus spreading the influence of the Commonwealth to the Central Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....


In 1600 and 1601 he took part in the war against Sweden commanding the Commonwealth forces in Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

 (Inflanty). In 1600 he recaptured some strongholds from the Swedes and year later captured Wolmar and Fellin, and in 1602 Bialy Kamien. The rigours of the campaign, however, placed a strain on his health, and he resigned the command.


In 1580 he founded the city of Zamość, built and designed as a Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

  or "ideal city
Ideal city
Ideal city refers to a plan for a city that has been conceived in accordance with the dictates of some "rational" or "moral" objective.-Concept:...

" by the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 Bernardo Morando
Bernardo Morando
Bernardo Morando, also known as Bernardino or Morandi was a Polish-Italian architect. He is notable as the author of a new town of Zamość, modelled on Renaissance theories of the 'ideal city'....

. During his life he gathered much wealth - he owned 11 cities and 200 villages (around 6400 km²) and was a royal caretaker of another 112 cities and 612 villages (around 17500 km²). In 1595 he founded the Akademia Zamojska
Akademia Zamojska
The Zamojski Academy 1594–1784) was an academy founded in 1594 by Polish Crown Chancellor Jan Zamoyski. It was the fourth institution of higher education to be founded in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After his death it slowly lost its importance, and in 1784 it was downgraded to a lyceum....

Jan Zamoyski is one of the characters in the famous paintings by Jan Matejko
Jan Matejko
Jan Matejko was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. His most famous works include oil on canvas paintings like Battle of Grunwald, paintings of numerous other battles and court scenes, and a gallery of Polish kings...

: Sermon of Skarga
Piotr Skarga
Piotr Skarga was a Polish Jesuit, preacher, hagiographer, polemicist, and leading figure of the Counter-reformation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He was called the "Polish Bossuet" due to his oratorical abilities.He was born February 2, 1536 in Grójec, to a family of lesser landless gentry...

and Batory at Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...


See also

  • Moldavian Magnate Wars
    Moldavian Magnate Wars
    The Moldavian Magnate Wars refer to the period at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century when the magnates of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth intervened in the affairs of Moldavia, clashing with the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire for domination and influence over the...

  • Zamojski Academy