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Download the e-brochure “ Vladislav Varnenchik and the battle near Varna”

There is a lot of information about the two anti- Turkish campaigns of king Wladislaw

However, the question of the person of King Vladislav and its origin is insufficienntly lighted. Perhaps this is due to the tragic early death of the king, only twenty –yaer-old received posthumously the name Varnenchik.

But about a hero, fell mowed down by a janissary yataghan on a Bulgarian soil , it deserves to know more.

Born on 31.Õ.1424 he was the first child of the marriage of the Polish king and Lithuanian Grand Duke Vladislav II Yagelo and his wife Sofia Holshanska.

Wladislaw II Yagelo II - father of King Vladislav III Varnenchik

According to the Polish historian Jan Dlugosh from the fifteenth century, well acquainted with the life at the Jagiellonian court the father of Varnenchik - Vladislaw II was the son of Lithuanian Prince Olgerd and Maria, daughter of the Prince of Tver Greek religion. He was called Yagelo.

The latest historical researches indicate that Vladislaw II was the son not of Maria, the first wife of Prince Tver, but to his second wife Juliana.

From 1377 to 1401 Yagelo was a Lithuanian Grand Duke, and from 1386 until the day of his death was a Polish king. To obtain the Polish crown and the hand of the Polish Queen Yadviga, Yagelo was converted, adopted the Christian name Yadviga, Yagelo and undertook to join Lithuania to Poland Vladislav and undertook to join Lithuania to Poland

In the reign of Yagelo , Poland as a country strengthened and expanded its territories in the Lithuanian lands and Galitska Rus. Undoubtedly the greatest achievement of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom, however, was the victory over the Teutonic Knights Order of the crusders on July 15, 1410 in Grunvald. Dealed was a blow to the political and military power of the clergy in Central and Eastern Europe , were significantly enhanced the anti-ecclesiastical movement and the national aspirations of the other nations outside Poland.

Sofia - the mother of King Varnenchik, was the fourth wife of Vladislav II Yagelo. There are differences in the interpretation of her origin. Some sources indicate that she was “rutenska”girl (ruthenium- old russian, Ukrainian population lived in western and southern Ukraine, on both sides of the Carpathians and Galicia).

Again in the same sources it is mentioned that she was “from the origin of the Russian leaders”. Other sources suggest: “Queen Sofia, coming from Lithuania”. The allegations about her Russian origin are contrary to the recent studies. The Holshan princes undoubtedly belonged to the princely family of pure Lithuanian origin. Their first known historic ancestor was Olgemunt and the region from which they are written Holshanski-Holshani (Olshani) was situated in Osmyanskata district southwest of Krevo, hence the core territory of Lithuania.

Jan Dlugosh gives greater details about the origin of Sofia. As her father it was indicated Andrzej, son of John - Prince of Kiev. This probably is the same Andrzej, who with his father Ivan Olgemuntovich and his brother Semen vowåd in 1401 in loyalty to the king Yagelo. Andrzej Prince of Kiev was not, so was his father. Andrzej was only Kiev proxy by Lithuania.

Sofia was the mother of Alexandra, the daughter of Dimitar - Drutski Prince (Drutsk, Drutesk, -Drujesk old Russian city occurred during the XI century in the composition of the Polotsk principality. In the XII century was a center of independent udel, then transferred to Smolensk, and in the XV century was in Lithuania principality). Therefore, Sofia, and thus the son Vladislav bear in their veins old Russian blood.

Sofia had a relationship with her future husband in III, IV level. Yagelo was 73 – years old, and Sofia, 17 years old when their first son Wladislaw was born.

Vladislav III Varnenchik

In 1434 Vladislaw, later Varnenchik, became King of Poland. In 1440 between Poland and Hungary was signed an union, under which Vladislaw received the Hungarian crown, but with the stipulation to unite the two kingdoms to fight against the Ottoman conquerors.

Vladislav himself in his charters was alsoentitled: “Vladislav - King of Hungary, Poland, Dalmatia, Kroatsiya and Grand Duke of Lithuania ...”, ,but in the Polish historiography and the biographical references for Varnenchik it was not mentioned that he was a Great Lithuanian Prince.

In fact, Vladislaw III was Grand Duke of Lithuania I inrights of heritage, but even in the government of his father Yagelo, at the same time in Lithuania with the title Great Lithuanian governed Prince Witold, a cousin of Yagelo. After his death from 1430 to 1432 a Lithuanian Grand Duke was Svidrigelo, and from 1432 to 1440g. -Sigmund.

When in 1440 Vladislav III was proclaimed as Hungarian king under the name Ulaslo I the Lithuanians proclaimed his brother Casimir for the Grand Duke of Lithuania.

The existence of a prima facies conflict between the title of Wladislaw III and the historical reality can be clarified by tracing out of the interstate relations between Poland and Lithuania in this period. The Unification of Poland and Lithuania at the end of XIV in need of total risk the crusader Teutonic Order, but the union, signed by Poland and Yagelo was interpreted differently by both parties. The Lithuanians insisted for state autonomy especially after the defeat of the Crusaders.

According to a New union signed in Horodlo in 1413, was confirmed the political independence of Lithuania, which would have its own Grand Duke, subordinated to the Polish king. The Polish king was at the same time the most great / high / Duke of Lithuania, and therefore the supreme ruler of the Grand Duke of Lithuania. By virtue of inheritance and by the Horodlen union, Vladislav III was the greatest prince of Lithuania, but in Lithuania in fact he had not ruled and was not a Lithuanian Grand Duke.

The young king Vladislav III Yagelo Varnenchik was killed in the battle near Varna on 10.11.1444, when he launched an attack with his personal guard of 500 knights against 10 thousand Janissaries of the sultan.The  King reached the last lines of the  janissaries and the Sultan command post, but he was surrounded. At that time, the royal-horse hampered, and the King fell to the ground. The janissary Kodja Hazar approached fast and with one stroke of his yataghan decapitated the King. Then he presented it as a gift to the Sultan. The latter ordered a trooper to carry around the spitted on a spear royal head in the all battleground.

The heroic death of the young king and the tragic ending of the battle of Varna affected  the posterior fate of the Balkan and European nations. They reflected in the epic and folklore of many nations. One of the most beautiful songs, preserved until today is the  western Ukrainian song "Song for the Battle of Varna"”, published by the gratest Ukrainian writer, folklorist, publicist and public figureIvan Franko (1856 – 1916 ):

"Where from Ivan?" Beyond the Danube "
"What is heard on your parts?"
Ah! Be heard! I saw myself:
were going the lyahs * on three roads
The Cossacks – on four,
And the Magyars guarded a mountain,
to destroy the Turks. "
Oh, I'll go to the mound,
I’ll look at the valley.
In the valley a Turk is romping around,
but before the water - my horse
On the horse- Turkish outfit,
on it sits a royal son,
in the right hand holds a sword,
from the left - blood flows.
Over the blood- raven caws,
over the Cossack- mother is crying.
"Do not cry, Mother, do not grieve-
they slayed him, see not so much:
only the head - of the four
and the heart - of the six
The white body – on small scraps
the thin fingers - in pieces
the white hands – in seven pieces
Search, Mum, a doctor
young dulger
Let's build him a house -
without doors and without windows -
where it does not wind blows,
sun does not scorch it.
Please, Mother, take a handful of sand
and seed it on the rocks.
Water him with tears
under the clear stars.
When this sand, Mother, buds,
then your son from the army will come!

Park-museum of military friendship 1444 Vladislav Varnwnchik © 2010. All rights reserved.