The work is devoted to Polish pennies from the end of the 12th century
and the beginning of the 13th century with the image of a bishop with a
long cross staff and a knight fighting a lion which occurred in the
Głogów II hoard in a significant number. So far the pennies have been
classified as the issues of the Silesian duke, Boleslaus I the Tall. The
author demonstrates that the coins (Str. 46) present the Archbishop of
Gniezno, Henryk Kietlicz (1199–1219) and may have been struck from the
spring of 1207 till the end of 1211, probably in the mint of the
Silesian duke, Henry the Bearded, in Głogów.
Among the two most numerous denar types in the Głogów hoard (1987) there
was a denar with a depiction of a bishop with a long cross staff on the
obverse and a knight fighting a lion on the reverse (Stronczyński type
46, MA-H in Głogów, at least 5015 specimens. Figs. 1 a, b). This type of
denar, previously known only from two nineteenthcentury hoards and
several specimens, constitutes about one-fourth of the entire Głogów
(1987) hoard. Suchodolski ascribed it to Boleslaw the Tall, duke of
Silesia, ruling in the years 1173 to 1185/1190. According to
Suchodolski’s interpretation, this type refers to the heritage of the
Silesian dukes’ father and the mint of Wrocław, while the letters SA and
the figure on the coin should be associated with St Adalbert.
I will try to show that this type of coins presents the Archbishop of
Gniezno, Henry Kietlicz (1199–1219) and the denars may have been minted
from the spring of 1207 to the end of 1211, probably in Duke Henry I the
Bearded of Silesia’s mint in Głogów (if it existed at that time),
Legnica or Wrocław.
The church and political activity of Archbishop Henry Kietlicz, his
reforming and political initiatives as the leader of the younger dukes
faction in the first decade of the 13th century were aimed at winning
the independence of the Polish Church from secular power and even
securing its domination.
In 1206, a serious conflict broke out between the political party of
Vladislas the Spindleshank and the coalition of Leszek the White,
Vladislas Odonic and Archbishop Henry Kietlicz. The archbishop’s aim was
to increase the importance of the Church in the state and among secular
powers. He wanted to transfer the right to elect bishops to cathedral
chapters, subordinate Church officials solely to diocesan authorities
and guarantee the Church the right to inherit after deceased clergymen.
He was also interested in making the ecclesiastical judiciary
independent of state authority. In return, the archbishop promised to
acknowledge Leszek as the ruler of Cracow after the latter had committed
a coup d’état. However, the aims of the ecclesiastical reform clashed
with the traditional ius ducale system, executed by the faction
of Vladislas Spindleshanks.
Vladislas Spindleshanks, being at the time the duke of Greater Poland,
entered Gniezno, the then archbishop’s see, seized the cathedral
treasury and confiscated the land estates of the archbishop and his
supporters, whom he later locked up in the cathedral, turning it into a
prison. By doing so, he has bereft the bishop of his funds and prevented
him from taking any further actions. Kietlicz, who was effectively
banished from Gniezno, headed to Silesia to get financial support from
Duke Henry the Bearded, and later went to Rome, as the head of the
“juniors” party delegation.
Between 4 and 13 January 1207, the papal chancery issued 27 documents
concerning Poland. This proves the great engagement of Pope Innocent III
in Polish matters and particularly in the ecclesiastical reforms
implemented by Archbishop Kietlicz. The Pope granted the Archbishop
decisive support, both in the church-political dispute with Vladislas
Spindleshanks and in the conducted reform. This helped to consolidate
the archbishop’s faction.
Some of the issued documents concerned financial matters, such as the
collection of Peter’s Pence and the tithe, which were of interest not so
much to Kietlicz but to the Holy See. In the bulla dated 5 January and
addressed to the Polish dukes, the Pope indicated the fraud that the
addressees of the document had committed. This is the very document that
contains the words known so well to Polish numismatists: moneta per
annum apud vos tertio renovetur, referring to the fact that the
tributes paid to the Pope at the end of the year were paid with a coin
that had undergone three recoinages, thus of lower value.
From that point, instead of the duke it was the Archbishop of Gniezno
who was given the responsibility to oversee the quality of the inflows
of fees for the Holy See, as well as the tithe in Poland.
In another bulla, the Pope appealed to the Polish bishops and clergy,
urging them to give the Archbishop the greatest possible help and
financial support. Kietlicz, who had been expelled and deprived of any
church-related income, was forced to cover all his expenses from his
hereditary assets and to borrow money. His debts must have been high,
since the Pope, in a separate document, granted their repayment. They
had been incurred not only to cover the costs of the mission to Rome but
mainly to finance the military efforts of Vladislas Odonic. It is
believed that the loan was given by Henry the Bearded, against the
deposit of Kietlicz’s family estate in Silesia.
A papal document from the 12 January 1207 was of special importance for
Archbishop Henry Kietlicz. It was addressed directly to him and granted
him the right to use the processional cross staff (crux gestatoria).
This honour, usually given to the papal legates81, raised the authority
and prestige as well as was considered a clear sign of the Pope’s
support for the reforms. Such a figure of a bishop holding a
processional cross is depicted on the obverse of the coins from the
Głogów treasury (Fig. 1 a, b). None of the Polish priests of this age,
other than the Archbishop of Gniezno, Henry Kietlicz, could and had the
right to be presented this way.
No later than in the summer of 1207, Kietlicz in collaboration with
Henry the Bearded, supported his candidate Lawrence in the election for
the position of Bishop of Wrocław. He stayed in Głogów, from where he
could effectively oversee Vladislas Odonic’s actions in his fight
against Spindleshank as well as the church-related matters. He possibly
received the permit from Henry the Bearded to produce denars from the
silver collected by his subordinate clergy, which were partially
directed to Henry’s treasury to repay the debt. The production of these
coins could have taken place in the mint in Głogów or Legnica, even
though Wroclaw cannot be excluded as a possibility. The production
started in the middle of 1207 and lasted until 1211 — that is until the
final resolution of the conflict was eventually achieved during the
assembly in Borzykowa and the arrival of the Pope’s legates who came to
solve the issue.
The presented denars with the bishop and the processional cross are the
realization of this intention. The letters on the coin, accompanying the
figure, reading S[anctvs] A[dalbertvs] mean that the
Archbishop of Gniezno, although in exile, does not cease to be the
shepherd of the whole Polish metropolis under the patronage of St
Adalbert the Martyr. Fig. 8 depicts Kietlicz’s coins compared to other
double-sided coins, minted at that time by Mieszko Tanglefoot and Henry
the Bearded, pointing to their slightly higher value. Kietlicz had to
ensure that the coin he introduced to the money market was of good
quality and value, so that it could be accepted without reservation.
The Pope’s bulla from 1210 as well as the claim of Henry the Bearded
resulting from his rights of primogeniture in the Silesian line
reignited political unrest. The agreement was reached at the assembly in
Borzykowa, at which Henry the Bearded renounced his rights to the Cracow
throne in favor of the aged Duke of Racibórz-Opole, Mieszko Tanglefood,
who died the following year. Archbishop Kietlicz returned to the Gniezno
cathedral only after Leszek the White took over the Kraków throne after
Mieszko’s death and after the papal judges arrived in mid-1211 to
resolve the conflict that had been going on for five years. I am
concluding that minting of coins for Kietlicz in the Silesian mint
lasted at least until then.
Strong arguments supporting the hypothesis that it is Archbishop
Kietlicz who is depicted on the presented denars result from the
discovery of his tomb in Tum near Łęczyca during archaeological research
conducted there. At the remains of the clergyman who was buried there, a
silver crucifix with a figure of Christ attached and a spike to be
placed on a spar (Fig. 3) was found. Such a cross was used only by
eminent priests, who received the right of the processional cross from
the Pope as a reward for exceptional merits or by legates sent by the
Pope to settle local conflicts. As mentioned, such a right was granted
by Innocent III to Archbishop Henry Kietlicz in 1207, and only he could
be buried in this tomb. A similar right, given to the Archbishops of
Gniezno, was granted only at the Council in Constance debating in
1414–1418, together with the title of the Primate of Poland to
Archbishop Nicholas Trąba.