Queen Jadwiga in history and legend: A contribution to the study of the XIV-XV century history of Poland
By Sigmund John Sluszka
PhD Dissertation, University of Ottawa, 1950
Abstract: In order to show and prove the outstanding Christian character of Queen Jadwiga in the light of history and its relation to the living tradition of her nations, Poland and Lithuania, was the thesis in this dissertation. Based on primary and secondary sources, the prime problem was to keep a neutral standpoint and present an objective study of Jadwiga.
This study is not a psychological dissertation, but a historical insight into the character and life activity of the Queen. The nature of this work required an objective understanding and interpretation of the various works relating to the life and times of Queen Jadwiga. Thus, such historians as Jan Dlugosz and Janko z Czarnkowa left documentary evidence relating to the period in a sympathetic and a subjective view. Writers of the subsequent periods built up a historical narration, rather than an objective evaluation of the Queen. But, the modern Polish historiography in the latter half of the nineteenth century, brought to light many unknown historical texts that were directly and indirectly related to the study of Jadwiga’s period. The life and period of Jadwiga, substantially explored from the political and social points of view, did not treat of the historical understanding of the Queen’s personality. This dissertation fills in the gap in the studies of the person of the Queen herself. The order of writing is in a chronological pattern in order to logically set the development of the public and private life of the Queen.
In spite of its biographic character, this thesis dwells on the various events in the life of the Queen, illustrating essentials of her personality, as well as the posthumous fame which so vividly remained in the tradition, and the present attempts to beatify the Queen. In the historical array the reader will see how documented history reveals itself in legend and tradition of a nation.
This thesis proves the fact that the Queen did not consummate her infant marriage with Prince Wilhelm, and that Jadwiga was really the first wife of Jagiello, who together brought Lithuania into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. New documents relating to Jadwiga that were recently discovered are brought to light for the first time.
This thesis of Queen Jadwiga’s personality and life in the light of documents and legends is the first attempt in the historiography of the Jagiellonian period. It is a new contribution to the study of the history of Poland in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.