Sigismund I the Old

Sigismund I the Old

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sigismund I the Old'
Start a new discussion about 'Sigismund I the Old'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Sigismund I of Poland (1 January 1467 – 1 April 1548), 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...

, reigned as King of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and also as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548. Earlier, Sigismund had been invested as Duke of Silesia
Dukes of Silesia
The Dukes of Silesia were the sons and descendants of the Polish Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth. In accordance with the last will and testament of Bolesław, upon his death his lands were divided into 4-5 hereditary provinces distributed among his sons, and a royal province of Kraków reserved for the...

.

Biography


The son of King Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV KG of the House of Jagiellon was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440, and King of Poland from 1447, until his death.Casimir was the second son of King Władysław II Jagiełło , and the younger brother of Władysław III of Varna....

 and Elisabeth of Austria
Elisabeth of Austria (d. 1505)
Elisabeth of Austria , , was a Polish-Lithuanian queen...

, Sigismund followed his brothers John I of Poland and Alexander I of Poland to the Polish throne. Their elder brother Ladislaus II of Hungary and Bohemia became king of Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

.
Sigismund was christened as the namesake of his mother's maternal grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
Sigismund of Luxemburg KG was King of Hungary, of Croatia from 1387 to 1437, of Bohemia from 1419, and Holy Roman Emperor for four years from 1433 until 1437, the last Emperor of the House of Luxemburg. He was also King of Italy from 1431, and of Germany from 1411...

, who had died in 1437.

Sigismund faced the challenge of consolidating internal power in order to face external threats to the country. During Alexander's reign, the law Nihil novi
Nihil novi
Nihil novi nisi commune consensu is the original Latin title of a 1505 act adopted by the Polish Sejm , meeting in the royal castle at Radom.-History:...

had been instituted, which forbade Kings of Poland from enacting laws without the consent of the Sejm
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 ....

. This proved crippling to Sigismund's dealings with the szlachta
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...

and magnate
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...

s.

Despite this Achilles heel
Achilles Heel
Achilles Heel may refer to:* Achilles' heel, a metaphor for a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength* Achilles Heel , music by Pedro the Lion* Achilles Heel , off Antarctica...

, he established (1527) a conscription army and the bureaucracy needed to finance it.

After the death of Janusz III of Masovia
Janusz III of Masovia
Janusz III Mazowiecki was a Polish duke of Masovia, last male of the Masovian Piast dynasty. Son of Konrad III Rudy. Until 1518 Masovia was under regency of his mother Anna Radziwiłł, then he was a co-regent with his brother Stanisław until Stanisław's death in 1524...

 in 1526, he succeeded in annexing the Duchy of Masovia
Duchy of Masovia
The Duchy of Masovia with its capital at Płock was a medieval duchy formed when the Polish Kingdom of the Piasts fragmented in 1138. It was located in the historic Masovian region of northeastern Poland...

.

Intermittently at war with Vasily III
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

 of Muscovy, starting in 1507 (before his army was fully under his command), 1514 marked the fall of Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

 (under Lithuanian domination) to the Muscovite forces (which lent force to his arguments for the necessity of a standing army). Those conflicts formed part of the Muscovite wars. 1515 he entered an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Maximilian I
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

.

In return for Maximilian lending weight to the provisions of the Second Peace of Thorn (1466), Sigismund consented to the marriage of the children of Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary
Vladislaus II, also known as Ladislaus Jagiellon ; was King of Bohemia from 1471 and King of Hungary from 1490 until his death in 1516...

, his brother, to the grandchildren of Maximilian. Through this double marriage contract, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 passed to the House of Habsburg
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...

 in 1526, on the death of Sigismund's nephew, Louis II
Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia
Louis II was King of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia from 1516 to 1526.- Early life :Louis was the son of Ladislaus II Jagiellon and his third wife, Anne de Foix....

.

Worried about the growing ties between the Habsburgs and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, in 1524 Sigismund signed a Franco-Polish alliance with king Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

. The agreement fell through however when Francis I was vanquished by Charles V at the Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

 in 1525.

The Polish wars against the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 ended in 1525, when Albert, Duke of Prussia, their marshal (and Sigismund's nephew), converted to Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, secularized the order, and paid homage to Sigismund. In return, he was given the domains of the Order, as the First Duke of Prussia. This was called the Prussian Homage
Prussian Homage
The Prussian Homage or Tribute was the formal investment of Albert of Prussia as duke of the Polish fief of Ducal Prussia.In the aftermath of the armistice ending the Polish-Teutonic War Albert, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights and a member of the House of Hohenzollern, visited Martin Luther...

.

Sigismund's eldest daughter Hedwig (1513–1573) married Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg
Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg
Joachim II Hector was a Prince-elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg . A member of the House of Hohenzollern, Joachim II was the son of Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg, and his wife Elizabeth of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden...

.

In other matters of policy, Sigismund sought peaceful coexistence with the Khanate of Crimea, but was unable to completely end border skirmishes.
Sigismund was interested in Renaissance humanism and the revival of classical antiquity. He and his third consort, Bona Sforza
Bona Sforza
Bona Sforza was a member of the powerful Milanese House of Sforza. In 1518, she became the second wife of Sigismund I the Old, the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, and became the Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania.She was the third child of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and his wife...

, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Gian Galeazzo Sforza was the sixth Duke of Milan.Born in Abbiategrasso, he was only 7 years old when in 1476 his father, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, was assassinated and Gian Galeazzo became the Duke of Milan...

 of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, were both patrons of Renaissance
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...

 culture, which under them began to flourish in Poland and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

On Sigismund's death, his son Sigismund II August became the last Jagiellon king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Sigismund I was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Order of the Golden Fleece
The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430, to celebrate his marriage to the Portuguese princess Infanta Isabella of Portugal, daughter of King John I of Portugal. It evolved as one of the most prestigious orders in Europe...

.

Marriages and issue


In 1512, Sigismund married a Hungarian noblewoman named Barbara Zápolya
Barbara Zápolya
Barbara Zápolya was Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania as the first wife of king of Poland Sigismund I the Old....

, with whom he had two daughters:
  • Electress Hedwig of Brandenburg (1513–1573)
  • Anna


Barbara died in 1515.

In 1517, Sigismund married Bona Sforza
Bona Sforza
Bona Sforza was a member of the powerful Milanese House of Sforza. In 1518, she became the second wife of Sigismund I the Old, the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, and became the Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania.She was the third child of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and his wife...

, with whom he had:
  • Queen Isabella of Hungary
  • Sigismund II of Poland
  • Sophia, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg
    Sophia Jagiellon (1522–1575)
    Sophia Jagiellon of Poland was a Polish Lithuanian Princess and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg. She was a daughter Sigismund I the Old and his second wife Bona Sforza.- Family :...

  • Anna I of Poland
  • Queen Catherine of Sweden
    Catherine Jagiellon
    Catherine the Jagiellonian of Poland was Duchess of Finland , Queen Consort of Sweden , Grand Princess of Finland and heir to her mother's claim to the title of King of Jerusalem....

  • Wojciech Olbracht


By his mistress
Mistress (lover)
A mistress is a long-term female lover and companion who is not married to her partner; the term is used especially when her partner is married. The relationship generally is stable and at least semi-permanent; however, the couple does not live together openly. Also the relationship is usually,...

, Katarzyna Telniczenka (d.1528), he also fathered three children out of wedlock:
  • Jan (8 January 1499—18 February 1538), Bishop of Wilen (1519) and of Posen
    Poznan
    Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

     1536
  • Regina (1500/01—20 May 1526), wed ca
    Circa
    Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

     20 October 1518 Hieronim von Szafraniec, Starost
    Starosta
    Starost is a title for an official or unofficial position of leadership that has been used in various contexts through most of Slavic history. It can be translated as "elder"...

     of Teschen
    Cieszyn
    Cieszyn is a border-town and the seat of Cieszyn County, Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland. It has 36,109 inhabitants . Cieszyn lies on the Olza River, a tributary of the Oder river, opposite Český Těšín....

     (d.1556/59)
  • Katharina (Katarzyna) (1503—before 9 September 1548) wed after 1522 George II Count von Montfort in Pfannberg (d.1544)

Ancestry





See also


  • History of Poland (1385-1569)
  • Zygmunt (bell)
    Zygmunt (bell)
    The Royal Sigismund Bell is the largest of the five bells hanging in the Sigismund Tower of the Wawel Cathedral in the Polish city of Kraków. It was cast in 1520 by Hans Behem and named after its patron, Sigismund I, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, who commissioned it...