Maria of Bytom
|Maria of Bytom|
The funeral of Maria of Bytom, miniature from the Chronicon Pictum.
|Queen consort of Hungary|
15 December 1317 (aged 22)|
|Spouse||Charles I of Hungary|
Catherine, Duchess of Świdnica?|
Elisabeth, Duchess of Niemodlin?
House of Piast (by birth)|
House of Anjou (by marriage)
|Father||Casimir of Bytom|
Maria of Bytom (Polish: Maria bytomska; before 1295 – Temesvár (Timişoara), Kingdom of Hungary, 15 December 1317), was a Polish princess member of the House of Piast in the Bytom branch and by marriage Queen of Hungary.
She was the third child and only daughter of Duke Casimir of Bytom by his wife Helena, whose origins are unknown, although the later historiography tends to recognize her as a daughter of Lev I of Galicia, from the Rurikid dynasty.
Maria was the first or second wife of Charles I Robert of Anjou, King of Hungary. This union was childless, but older literature claimed that they had two daughters. Little is known about the activities of Mary as Queen of Hungary. Her marriage to Charles I Robert consolidated the Polish-Hungarian agreement directed against the Kingdom of Bohemia, and also helped to establish a close Polish-Hungarian relations in the 14th century, reflected in the ecclesiastical career in Hungary of Maria's brothers, Bolesław and Mieszko, and the later third marriage of Charles I Robert with Elizabeth of Kujavia.
The exact date of birth of Maria is unknown. In 1306, when she was married to Charles Robert, contemporary Canon Law established that the minimal age for marriage must be at least 12 years old; thus, she was born in 1294 at the latest. She was the first member of the Silesian branch of the Piast dynasty named Maria; reasons for this suggestion of name are also unknown. Among the children of Casimir of Bytom she was usually placed in the sixth and last place, but she could even be born as the third child, in turn.
Information about the wedding of Maria and Charles I Robert of Hungary was shown in the chronicle of Jan Długosz, who reported two different dates for this event: 1306 and 1310. The first date is generally accepted by the majority of historians: as proof, the first known document who called Maria Queen of Hungary was dated 23 June 1306; in addition, the official Hungarian documents from 1306 explicitly named her as Queen. Finally, it's anticipated that the loan 140 pieces of fine silver dragged around 1305 by Casimir of Bytom were used to cover the costs of the wedding of Maria and Charles I Robert. In both reports about the wedding, Długosz mentions the beauty of Maria, stating that the Silesian Piast princess was a "very pretty girl" and "the girl famous for her extraordinary beauty". The marriage was probably on the initiative of Władysław I the Elbow-high (first-cousin of Maria's father), and the role of matchmaker was played by her brother Bolesław, then Scholastic of Kraków and Duke of Toszek. The wedding ceremony took place probably in Bytom, the homeland of the bride. After arriving to Hungary and in accordance with the almost century-old custom, Maria was crowned Queen of Hungary by Benedict II, Bishop of Veszprém in Székesfehérvár.
This union was the external expression of the approximation between the Polish and Hungarian Kingdoms, connected to the transition of the House of Anjou politics in a close political relations with Poland. In addition, the Duchy of Bytom, now closely associated to the anti-Czech party, could renegated from his feudal relationship with the Kingdom of Bohemia. Charles I Robert also strengthened his position as competitor for the Hungarian throne against Otto III of Bavaria thanks to his marriage, because (as was assumed by historians), his wife was closely related to the House of Arpad: Maria's mother Helena was granddaughter of King Bela IV of Hungary through her mother. The position of Maria as Queen of Hungary also paved the way for the subsequent career in the Hungarian church of his brothers Bolesław (later Archbishop of Esztergom) and Mieszko (later Bishop of Nitra and Veszprém).
Little is known about the role of Maria in the Hungarian royal court. There are only two documents issued by it. The first, from 1312, has survived until today together with the stamp. The content of the second, from 9 April 1313, is known as the confirmation of the Chapter in Székesfehérvár. The obverse of the seal's image of Maria showed the Queen sitting on a throne with floral envelope and the letter M and A in both sides, while positioned on the back of the customary double cross and the letters Angevin RI and A between her shoulders. The letters on both sides of the seal consists of the name of the queen.
Maria died on 15 December 1317 in Temesvár (now Timișoara, Romania) and was buried in the Royal vault of Székesfehérvár in the Basilica of the Virgin Mary, according to the reports of Jan Długosz. The Polish chronicler confirms this facts with the Hungarian sources, but they provide three different dates of Maria's death: 1315, 1316 or 1317. The third date is now accepted as the definitive one thanks to a document issued by Charles I Robert dated 24 February 1317, in which Maria is still mentioned as a living person. The resulting differences about the date in documents in charters could be explained as a mistake of the writer, who didn't place correctly the last number – rather than MCCCXVII he wrote MCCCXV and MCCCXVI. The picture of her funeral placed at the head of this article was a miniature of the Chronicon Pictum, who was currently preserved in the National Library in Budapest.
After the death of Maria, Charles I Robert married in 1318 with Beatrice of Luxembourg, who died the following year in childbirth, and in 1320 with Elizabeth of Kujavia, who finally bore him the needed male-heirs of the dynasty.
- Catherine (d. 1355), married in 1338 to Duke Henry II of Świdnica; their only child, Anne of Świdnica, was later Holy Roman Empress by her marriage with Charles IV of Luxembourg.
- Elisabeth (d. by 19 August 1367), married a "Bolesław of Opole" (probably Duke Bolesław II of Niemodlin).
The existence of this two daughters as offspring of Maria of Bytom, supported by a group of Polish and foreign historians, headed by the genealogist Włodzimierz Dworzaczek, was recently challenged and rejected by historians.
During Maria's lifetime, her husband had an illegitimate son, Coloman, born by the end of 1317 or early in 1318. The mother was a certain Guze (or Elisabeth) Csák, a daughter of George Csák. This son followed a Church career, and was in Bishop of Győr from 1337 to 1375.
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Maria, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,
- The identification of Duchess Helena of Bytom as daughter of Lev I of Halicz (further explained in K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, vol. III, ed. II, Kraków 2007, pp. 517–518) has been accepted and developed by Stanisław Sroka, it tended to Jerzy Sperka and J. Tęgowski. See also D. Dąbrowski, Rodowód Romanowiczów książąt halicko-wołyńskich, Poznań – Wrocław 2002, p. 218; in older literature can be found the view that Helena could be the daughter of Shvarn, Grand Duke of Lithuania and brother of Lev I of Halicz. See. J. Horwat, Helena, [in:] A. Barciak (ed.), Książęta i księżne Górnego Śląska, Katowice 1995, pp. 47–48, who in another study researcher reiterated this hypothesis, while recognizing this was the equivalent to the repeated view of a Rurikid origin to Helena in the Halicz branch. See: J. Horwat, Piastowie górnośląscy, Bytom 2007, pp. 37–41, here are exposed other hypotheses who attributed Helena a Lithuanian or Czech origin. See. S.A. Sroka, Kazimierz, [in:] K. Ożóg, S. Szczur (red.), Piastowie. Leksykon biograficzny, Kraków 1999, p. 725.
- The previous position is currently shared by all Polish literature. Hungarian historian Gyula Kristó, in his work Károly Róbert első felesége, [in:] Acta Universitatis Szegediensis de Attila József nominatae. Acta Historica, vol. 86, 1988, pp. 27–30 (followed by the native historiography), spoke in favor of the theory of a previous marriage of Charles I Robert with Maria, daughter of Lev II of Galicia. He supported this view in two sources. In a document dated 7 February 1326 Charles I Robert mentioned a trip to Russia with the purpose to bring his first wife, and the Anonymi Descriptio Europae Orientalis, who reported that the Russian ruler of Galicia had a daughter who married King Charles of Hungary. Gy. Kristó has identified this Russian ruler as Lev II of Galicia. In his work Aba Sámuel és Károly Róbert családi kapcsolatairól, [in:] Acta Universitatis Szegediensis de Attila József nominatae. Acta Historica, vol. 96, 1996, pp. 25–30, Gy. Kristó cited a document dated 12 December 1323, where he found that the Galician princess's name was Maria. According to his investigations, this marriage took place in 1306, although originally was presumed that could take place in 1307 or 1308. The marriage of Charles I Robert and Maria of Bytom was placed in 1310. The view of Gy. Kristó was questioned by S. Sroka in his work Wokół mariażu Karola Roberta z Piastówną śląską Marią, [in:] Górzyński S. (ed.), Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Heraldycznego, No. 11, London, 1994, pp. 1-5. The historian drew attention to the fact that, according to current findings, in 1306 Lev II was at most 14 years old, so was impossible that he could fathered at that point a growing up princess. Also, he rejected the possibility that the alleged father of Maria of Galicia could be Lev II, pointed that any daughter of a Prince with the notoriety and prestige that the Kings of Galicia-Volhynia had at that time, must to be married in early youth or be placed in a monastery. In order to justify the theory who established Maria of Bytom as the first wife of Charles I Robert, S. Sroka proposed a new interpretation of the sources exposed by Gy. Kristó. According to an anonymous researcher in the Europy Wschodniej (and published by O. Górka), the wife of Charles I Robert wasn't the daughter but granddaughter of a King of Galicia (Duchess Helena, Maria's mother, was probably the daughter of Lev I of Galicia). Also, Sroka presumed in the 1326 document, Charles I Robert could confused Poland with Russia, who could be easily explained for the almost twenty years of distance between the events mentioned and the document. However, Sroka (with K. Jasiński) admitted the possibility that Maria of Bytom could be raised in the court of her uncle Yuri I of Galicia, and Charles I Robert take her from there to Hungary. In addition, Sroka denied the theory that the Hungarian document issued by Queen Maria dated 23 June 1306 was issued by Maria of Galicia, presenting the following arguments in favor of the identification of the Hungarian Queen as Maria of Bytom: The unusual elevation of taxes made by Duke Casimir of Bytom over his lands around the previous year, probably with the purprose to obtain funds for her daughter's wedding; the date of 1306 as the year of the marriage of Charles I Robert and Maria of Bytom, mentioned in the Chronicle of Jan Długosz; and the complete absence of 14th century Hungarian chronicles who mentioned the death of Maria of Galicia. Moreover, Sroka pointed out that the Hungarian chronicles called a Silesian princess of the Piast dynasty as the first wife of the King of Hungary. Gy. Kristó rebated the findings and arguments of S. Sroka. In the work Orosz hercegnő volt-e Károly Róbert első felesége?, [In:] Aetas, 1994, No 1, pp 194–199, he stated that the message showed in the Anonymi Descriptio Europae Orientalis concerns about Prince Lev of Galicia, could only refers to Lev II, because at the time of the established date of the creation of this document (February–March 1308) the only surviving Rurikid prince with this name was a Lev II. The historian pointed out, however, that at this time the Principality of Galicia was ruled by his father, Yuri I. Contrary to previous literature, he assumed that Lev II was born about 1273 from an unknown first marriage of Yuri I, under the assumption that Yuri I (born in the years 1252-1257 according to Nicolas de Baumgarten, Généalogies occidentaux Mariages et des Russes du Rurikides au Xe siècle XIII, [in:] Orientalia Christiana, Volume IX-1, no 35, Rome 1927, tab. 11) couldn't be married for the first time with 30 years-old. Under this assumption Leo II in 1306 could have a daughter at the right age to marry. Arguments Gy. Kristo did not convince S. Sroka. This same disagreed with the proposition that the passage of Anonymi Descriptio Europae Orientalis could refers to the Galician ruler Lev lived at the time. In addition, he noted that at this time Leo II wasn't the powerful ruler depicted here, and even he didn't held no power. An alliance with the Galician branch of the Rurikid dynasty at this point was useless for Charles I Robert in his fight for the Hungarian crown, contrary to an alliance with Władysław I the Elbow-high. The historian, however, presented another hypothesis in order to explain the 1326 of Charles I Robert: he supposed that in fact the King when to Russia and became engaged with the Galician princess, but for unknown reasons the marriage never took place. See: S.A. Sroka, Genealogia Andegawenów węgierskich, Kraków 1999, p. 21–28; S.A. Sroka, Wokół mariażu Karola Roberta z Piastówną śląską Marią, [in:] S. Górzyński (red.), Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Heraldycznego, No. 11, Warsaw 1994, pp. 1-5, S.A. Sroka, Z dziejów stosunków polsko-węgierskich w późnym średniowieczu, Kraków 1995, pp. 29-38.
- S.A. Sroka, Z dziejów stosunków polsko-węgierskich w późnym średniowieczu. Szkice, Kraków 1995, p. 47.
- K. Jasiński, Maria, [in:] E. Rostworowski (red.), Polski Słownik Biograficzny, vol. XX, Wrocław 1975, p. 3.
- K. Jasiński, in his work Maria [in:] E. Rostworowski (red.), Polski Słownik Biograficzny, Volume XX, Wroclaw 1975, p. 3, didn't give the birth date of the Bytom princess. However, in his later work Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, Mon. III, p. 534, stated that she was born between 1292 and no later than 1294, and in Table V/2 at the end of the Rodowód wrote that Maria was born before 1295, and that date has affixed a question mark; S. Sroka, Z dziejów stosunków polsko-węgierskich w późnym średniowieczu. Szkice, Kraków 1995, p. 38, determined that Maria was born between the years 1292-1294, but in the work, Maria, [in:] K. Ożóg, S. Szczur (red.), Piastowie. Leksykon biograficzny, Kraków 1999, p. 736, he said that the birth took place about 1290-1292, while in the work Genealogia Andegawenów węgierskich, Kraków 1999, p. 17, he spoke in favor of a date ranked between 1292-1294; J. Sperka, Maria, [in:] A. Barciak (red.), Książęta i księżne Górnego Śląska, Katowice 1995, p. 86, ranked erroneously the birth date of Maria between 1282-1284; J. Horwat, Z. Jedynak, Córka Kazimierza księcia bytomskiego, Maria, królowa Węgier, [in:] J. Drabina (red.), Magazyn Bytomski, vol. 6, Bytom 1984, p. 90, note. 2, carelessly set forth to confirm the information of K. Jasiński in the Table V of Rodowodu Piastów śląskich and stated that Maria was born about 1295.
- K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, mon. III, p. 534.
- K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, mon. III, p. 534 and p. 535, note 3.
- S.A. Sroka, Genealogia Andegawenów węgierskich, Kraków 1999, p. 18.
- J. Długosz, Roczniki czyli kroniki sławnego Królestwa Polskiego, fr. IX, ed. II, Warsa 2009, p. 53.
- J. Długosz, Roczniki czyli kroniki sławnego Królestwa Polskiego, fr. IX, ed. II, Warsa 2009, p. 80.
- J. Horwat, Z. Jedynak, Córka Kazimierza księcia bytomskiego, Maria, królowa Węgier, [in:] J. Drabina (red.), Magazyn Bytomski, vol. 6, Bytom 1984, p. 90, pointed that Długosz information about Maria's beauty could be reliable, arguing that as a King of an important state Charles I Robert could receive many offers of marriage.
- The mother of Władysław I the Elbow-high, Euphrosyne of Opole, and the paternal grandfather of Maria, Władysław Opolski, are siblings.
- J. Horwat, Z. Jedynak, Córka Kazimierza księcia bytomskiego, Maria, królowa Węgier, [in:] J. Drabina (red.), Magazyn Bytomski, vol. 6, Bytom 1984, pp. 90-91 and note 4.
- J. Horwat, Z. Jedynak, Córka Kazimierza księcia bytomskiego, Maria, królowa Węgier, [in:] J. Drabina (red.), Magazyn Bytomski, vol. 6, Bytom 1984, p. 90, speculated that the refusal of homage of Casimir of Bytom to the Kingdom of Bohemia had an impact in the political orientation of King Wenceslaus II in his feudal lands. After this he began to send troops to Silesian, even led by himself.
- K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, mon. III, p. 518.
- H. Grotefend, Stammtafeln der schlesischen Fürsten bis zum Jahre 1740, vol. V, No. 18, established Maria's death on 15 December 1315. This date was supported by O. Balzer, Genealogia Piastów, Kraków 1895, p. 377; J. Dąbrowski, Elżbieta Łokietkówna 1305–1380, ed. II, Kraków 2007, p. 16 and p. 34, citing the work of Grotefend and Balzer, said that Maria died in 1315; In Jan Długosz, Roczniki czyli kroniki sławnego Królestwa Polskiego, vol. IX, ed. II, Warsaw 2009, p. 122, note. 9, there is an information that the chronicler gave the wrong date of death of Maria. According to the editor Maria of Bytom died on 19 December 1317, after which he refers in p. 53, note 77, that the Hungarian Queen died on 9 December 1317, and the date of 19 December was false, unsubstantiated by any source. S.A. Sroka, Z dziejów stosunków polsko-węgierskich w późnym średniowieczu. Szkice, Kraków 1995, pp. 45–46, note 92, pointed that Maria was a living person in a documented issued by Charles I Robert dated 2 July 1318. Most likely, the creation date of this document wasn't accurate, because since 23 June of that year the Hungarian King was engaged to Beatrice of Luxembourg. See S.A. Sroka, Z dziejów stosunków polsko-węgierskich w późnym średniowieczu. Szkice, Kraków 1995, p. 46, note 96.
- J. Horwat, Z. Jedynak, Córka Kazimierza księcia bytomskiego, Maria, królowa Węgier, [in:] J. Drabina (red.), Magazyn Bytomski, vol. 6, Bytom 1984, p. 92 and note 9, wrongly quoted Długosz, stating that Maria was buried in Belgrade, and K. Jasiński, in the Rodowód Piastów śląskich, stated that the Queen of Hungary was buried in came to rest in Temesvár.
- J. Długosz, Roczniki czyli kroniki sławnego Królestwa Polskiego, vol. IX, ed. II, Warsaw 2009, p. 122.
- K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, mon. III, p. 535, note 5.
- J. Dąbrowski, Elżbieta Łokietkówna 1305–1380, ed. II, Kraków 2007, p. 16 and note 4, pp. 36–37. A footnote contains an error – Elizabeth of Niemodlin was named Anna.
- Marek, Miroslav. "Genealogy of the Hungarian Kings (House of Anjou)". Genealogy.EU.
- The existence of Elisabeth is disputed among historians. Some believe that Catherine was the only daughter of King Charles I Robert.
- K. Jasiński, Rodowód Piastów śląskich, ed. II, Kraków 2007, mon. II, pp. 322–324 and mon. III, pp. 551–552; See also K. Jasiński, Maria, [in:] E. Rostworowski (red.), Polski Słownik Biograficzny, vol. XX, Wrocław 1975, p. 3.
Maria of BytomBorn: before 1295 Died: 1317
Viola Elisabeth of Cieszyn
|Queen consort of Hungary
| Succeeded by|
Beatrice of Luxembourg