Elisabeth of Greater Poland, Duchess of Bohemia

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Elisabeth of Greater Poland (Polish: Elżbieta Mieszkówna; Czech: Eliška Polská) (c. 1152 – 2 April 1209) was a Polish princess of the House of Piast and, by her two marriages, Duchess of Bohemia and Margravine of Lusatia.

She was a daughter of Mieszko III the Old, Duke of Greater Poland and from 1173 High Duke of Poland, by his first wife, Elisabeth, daughter of King Béla II of Hungary.[1]

Elisabeth's birthdate is unknown. Medieval sources do not even indicate whether the Hungarian princess was her mother. Elizabeth is believed to have been her daughter only because both had the same name.[2] Some scholars report that Elizabeth was born about 1152[3] or 1154.[4]


Duchess of Bohemia

Around 1173 Elisabeth was married to Soběslav II, Duke of Bohemia. This union was a part of the multiple dynastic arrangements made by Duke Mieszko III. As a result of this agreement, in 1176 Polish troops helped Duke Soběslav II in his fight against the House of Babenberg, rulers of Austria. In 1178 Prince Frederick (Soběslav II's cousin) besieged Prague; Elisabeth, who at that time was there, was then captured by Frederick, but soon was set free. On 27 January 1179 Soběslav II was completely defeated in battle on the outskirts of Prague. He took refuge in Skála castle, and after a long siege, Frederick won at the end of 1179 and became in the new ruler of Bohemia.[5] Elisabeth and her husband then went into exile in Hungary,[6] where Soběslav II died on 29 January 1180. They had no children.

Margravine of Lusatia

Elisabeth never returned to Poland. Soon after her husband died (end January or early February 1180), she married with Conrad, fifth son of Dedi V, Margrave of Lusatia. They had three children: one son, Conrad, and two daughters, Matilda and Agnes.[7]

On 16 August 1190, Margrave Dedi V died, and his domains were divided between his two surviving sons: the eldest, Dietrich, inherited the counties of Sommerschenburg and Groitzsch (as eldest heir of his mother) and the second, Conrad, received the Margraviate of Lusatia (the main paternal domain) and the county of Eilenburg. In consequence, Elisabeth became in Margravine consort of Lusatia and Countess consort of Eilenburg. About her role in the Lusatian court there are no messages.

Death and aftermath

At the beginning of 1209, Conrad II defeated the army of Elisabeth's half-brother, Władysław III Spindleshanks, in the Battle of Lubusz. It is assumed that this experience may have contributed to the death of Elisabeth in April 1209.[8] A year later, on 6 May 1210, Conrad II died.

Elisabeth is buried at Dobrilugk Abbey.[9] Her only son, Conrad, died in boyhood; Agnes, the youngest daughter, married Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine, but they had no children. Elisabeth's only descendants were from her eldest daughter Matilda, wife of Albert II, Margrave of Brandenburg.[10]


  1. ^ K. Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, second edition, Poznań, 2004, pp. 236-238. The Hungarian origin of Mieszko III's first wife is undisputed among chroniclers and historians; however, her exact parentage remains controversial. See her Wikipedia article for further reading.
  2. ^ K. Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, second edition, Poznań, 2004, p. 240.
  3. ^ K. Pieradzka, "Elżbieta", Polski słownik biograficzny, vol. VI, 1948, p. 259.
  4. ^ O. Balzer, Genealogia Piastów, Kraków, 1895, p. 199. This date is given in earlier literature, including W. Dworzaczek, Genealogia, Warsaw, 1959, arr. 81.
  5. ^ F. Palacký, Dějiny nation českého v Čechách and v Moravě, Prague 1998, pp. 123-124.
  6. ^ K. Ożóg, Elżbieta [in:] Piastowie. Leksykon biograficzny, Kraków 1999, p. 119. Czech historiography doesn't mention the place of exile of the Ducal couple.
  7. ^ According to some sources, she died childless. K. Pieradzka, Elżbieta, [in:] Polski Słownik Biograficzny, vol. VI, 1948, p. 259.
  8. ^ B. Zientara, Henryk Brodaty i jego czasy, Warszawa 1997, p. 183.
  9. ^ Cawley, Charles, POLAND, Medieval Lands, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy ,[self-published source][better source needed]
  10. ^ Marek, Miroslav. "Complete Genealogy of the House of Ascania". Genealogy.EU. [self-published source][better source needed]
Royal titles
Preceded by
Elisabeth of Hungary
Duchess consort of Bohemia
ca. 1173–1178
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Hungary
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