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.