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Jadwiga of Poland, 1387 AD - Women War Queens



A Concept Drawing of Queen....I mean, King Regnant Jadwiga of Poland. She is one of the few female rulers of her own right in the medieval European world, in an era where queen regnant is uncommon, as well as playing an important part in giving birth to the powerful Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth we know today.

Historical Women War Queens Logo by Gambargin
Project: Women War Queens Series

"Wchodząc między wrony, krakaj jak i one"


Made in collaboration under the guidance and historical advice from :iconuracca:. After the recent events, she has helped me to see if i can start and get into the habbit of drawing again. Inspired by her recent works on Artemisia of Caria, as well as the poll I made earlier on which "Historical Women Warriors I should Draw?".

The depiction of King Jadwiga is a rather tricky one, because the only source on which i used to study what arms and armors medieval polish kingdom used was from the Paintings of Jan Matejko, a renowned polish painters known for his portrayal of historical figures and battles. I actually recycled the design in which i used previously for the Polish Woman Warrior in the historically wrong sketch series, Panna Kazimiera of Krolestwo Polonie (Polish) by Gambargin, a segmented plate armor, with chainmail. But, given the status of Jadwiga, i made a little stylization such as the shield, a more refined plate, and crowned bascinet with aventail. This is what i imagined how she would look like during her (mostly peaceful) military campaign against Halych/Halicz in 1387.

Inspired by the theme song: Krzesimir Dębski - Pieśń mili (Stara Baśń OST) as well as from eating Bigos a week ago.

Dedicated to the polish deviants who has supported my artwork,with special mentions to :iconpaweldaruk::iconjoolita::iconakitku::iconugiel::iconbricksandstones::iconhannahalmare::iconstankothegreat::iconsearleit:.


The figure of Jadwiga of Poland is a celebrated one in Polish history, but in my opinion, she remains a less popular figure outside Poland than the other women of power in the medieval history, like that of Eleanor of Aquitaine or Matilda of Tuscany (or canossa). But alas, Jadwiga herself deserve a mention in this series, a ruler of her own right, a venerated saint and a popular figure widely adored in amongst the Polish People and beyond.

How she came into power is one interesting part in which to study. For most part of the Medieval polish history, since the time of its christenization and coronation of King Bolesław I the Brave in 1025, Poland had been ruled by the Piast dynasty. However, in 1370, the line ended when King Casimir III, decided to pass the kingship to the son of his sister Elizabeth, Louis I of Hungry. When Louis died in 1382, the Hungarian throne was inherited to his eldest daughter, Mary, whom at this time, is under the regency of Elizabeth of Bosnia.

Now, what it interesting is that, Power within the Kingdom of Poland was mostly held by the Szlachtas of Lesser Poland. By this time, the Szlachtas disliked the idea of continuing personal unions with Hungary, and rejected Mary's fiancee, Sigismund as a regent for they choosed Mary's youngest sister instead, Hewdig, or better known as Jadwiga. The decision was met with long negotiation with Jadwiga's mother, as well as a bit of civil war in greater poland. The result was the arrival of Jadwiga to the polish court at the age of 10, and was crowned as the King of Poland somewhere in 1384-1385.

If you are still wondering why the title of King is used instead of Queen, you can ask any polish people when enjoying your Bigos at a local Polish deli. Anyway, the reason being was that, Medieval Polish Law had no rule against Female Ruler (in this case, Queen Regnant), nor that it specify the King must be male, hence the title King Jadwiga. It is also understood that the tile King itself emphasized that Jadwiga was a ruler of her own right, neither a Queen Regent (Ruler until legitimate heir comes to age) nor Queen Consort (Wife of King).
Regardless of how one debates the title, as far as history is concerned, Jadwiga herself was an interesting figure. She was known for her beauty, as well as her intelligence. Being a polyglot, she could speak 5 different languages and was a patron of science, art, as well as court life. She made a Rationale liturgical vestment by herself and donated it to the Archbishop of Kraków. She also lead her own military campaign against the city of Halicz in 1387 to reclaim the lost land from Hungary in a claim dispute. Despite all of that, historically speaking, Jadwiga probably held few, if not little power, as the majority of it were held by the Szlachtas of Poland.

During her reign, the situation in Eastern Europe was pretty volatile. By this time, the Knights of the Teutonic Order had been carving and setting up power bases along the baltic coast, launching crusades against the Baltic pagans in order to 'bring light' to the many pagan tribes. Initially, there were already crusades done by the livonians, but when the Teutonic Order came into the region under poland's request, the whole affair turned into what historians referred to as genocide. In the course of this history, the Teutonic order came in conflict with the polish kingdom, and the surviving pagan power Grand Duchy of Lithuania who is struggling to fend of the crusades.

The ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Jogaila (later known as Władysław II Jagiełło) and the Lithuanian nobles understood that eventual conversion to Christianity was inevitable, so as to ensure the survival of its people amids the zealous christian neighbors like that of the Teutonic Order, who were keen to convert the Grand duchy into Catholicism. There were few options for conversion; the one presented by the knights would put the Grand Duchy at disadvantages, while the ones presented by the grand duchy of Moscow was not better (They were Orthodox Christians), so Jogaila chosed the ones presented by the polish nobles, marry Jadwiga and brought the 2 country into personal union. In 1385, Jogaila married Jadwiga and converted into Catholic Christianity, establishing the Union of Krewo, an important even on which Poland and Lithuania were brought together under a personal union. Although for most of the early part the Union was met with a lot of friction, as well as the resentment amongst the Lithuanian nobles due to growing polish influences, but in the end, almost 2 centuries later, with the Union of Lublin in 1569, the two nations merged together, giving the birth to one of Europe's most dynamic, powerful and vibrant state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Perhaps, the role of Jadwiga in the complexity of the politics in her era may seemed little compared to her achievements, her history serves as an example that a woman could indeed ruled her own country herself, and retained her royal rights even after marriage to another sovereign. In Jadwiga's case, this resulted in the union of Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania, that was one of the turning points in the history of Eastern Europe.


Next in the series - Zenobia of Palmyra

You can see another Historical Women Warriors drawn from this series:

Artemisia I of Caria, 480 BC - Women War Queens by Gambargin Artemisia of Caria, Queen of Halicarnassus

 Aethelflaed of Mercia, 917 AD - Women War Queens by Gambargin Aethelfaled of Mercia, An Anglo-Saxon Lady of the Mercians

You can suggest or contribute to the voting in the poll "Historical Women Warriors I should Draw?"

If you prefer to look at the representation of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the Historically Wrong Sketch Series, please check Eufrozyna Jerzywoska of Rzeczpospolita Wendowie by Gambargin.
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JustALittleAmerican's avatar

That's such a great sketch! Really love her face.