Historical story

Was there a Jewish woman on the Polish throne?

The names of the Piasts' wives often remain unknown to us. We do not know the names of Brave's two wives and the Bold's half. Until recently, the wife of Henryk Prawy, who wanted to become king 30 years before Łokietek, was also nameless. And the fact that her name was finally found only complicated things ...

So far, we have known very little about Henryk Prawny's wife. She came from Opole, and her father gave her to Henryk and promised his support in the policy of unifying his son-in-law in exchange for crowning his daughter. There were only speculations about her name - she was called Konstancja, Grzymisława, Katarzyna or Małgorzata. However, there was no evidence for any of these suggestions.

Finally, a researcher of medieval orders from Opole, Anna Pobóg-Lenartowicz, came across electrifying information, hidden in the 18th-century chronicle of the Dominican, Reginald Gross. Describing the history of the convent in Opole, the author provided information about the family of the monastery's founder. He also named his sister, the wife of Henryk Prawy. And it was… Esther!

Biblical name of the Polish princess

It is a very popular name in Jewish culture. It can also bring to mind, for example, the Jewish mistress of King Kazimierz III. However, Professor Pobóg-Lenartowicz does not believe that Henryk's wife was Jewish. He considers her - just like earlier historians - to be a descendant of the Opole Piasts.

Biblical Esther in Edwin Long's painting.

How, then, is it to be explained that the princely daughter and wife had a biblical name? The researcher from Opole proves that the monks of that time especially worshiped the Mother of God, and considered the Old Testament Esther to be the precursor of Mary. Esther was the embodiment of patriotism, piety, modesty and humility, just like the Mother of God. The cults of Esther and Mary were united and strong, and when praying to Esther, Mary was also invoked.

Anna Pobóg-Lenartowicz notices that the name of Henryk Prawny's wife's niece was Maria. This name was not used often at that time. So it is possible that both princesses were named after one cult.

The news is based on a scientific article published in the Silesian Historical Quarterly "Sobótka".

Are the revelations of Gross, who wrote several hundred years after the fact, credible? The discoverer claims that his knowledge of the Silesian Piasts is so solid that his news cannot be treated as an invention. So it's time to take the pencils in your hands and put Esther's name in place of NN.

The source of the above news is:

Anna Pobóg-Lenartowicz, Another name of the princess of Opole, daughter of Władysław, wife of Henry IV the Right, "Silesian Historical Quarterly Sobótka", Yearbook LXIX (2014), No. 3, Wrocław 2014, pp. 129-138.

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