Coffee With….Jadwiga of Poland

Coffee With….Jadwiga of Poland….Aka St. Hedwig, Patron Saint of Queens and a United Europe

Cammy:  Normally, the Catholic angle is up to Kristy, but in this case, I had to nominate this gal for a kaffee klatsch.  Jadwiga was the King of Poland.  No, that’s not a typo.  She was actually crowned “king” at a time when queens who were sovereigns in their own right were rare (and because, at the time, Poland had no provision for this kind of thing).  So when a queen just isn’t enough?  Call ‘er a king and move on.  Gotta love a quick solution.
Amusing title changes aside, there’s also the multi-lingual angle.  The gal (allegedly) spoke 6 languages:  Bosnian, Serbian, Hungarian, Polish, German and Latin.  That would certainly make for an interesting communication effort over coffee.  My late 14th century German is more than a little rusty.  I say the onus is on her to catch on to what I’m saying–if she knows that many languages she can figure it out, right?

History of the time being foggy, it’s tough to tell exactly how much power she actually wielded when she took the Polish throne at 11.  Regardless of how much of it was on her, she was the instrument through which Poland united with and wound up shoe-horning Christianity into Lithuania via her marriage to Lithuania’s King Jagiello (I have no evidence, but I sort of suspect, he may have been a bit of putz, but that’s purely my opinion).  She was involved with negotiations with the Teutonic Knights–which even if she wasn’t the power negotiator is still kind of awesome that those guys had to talk to an pre-teen girl.  She also revamped the University in Krakow, which, you know, as a nerd, I appreciate.

Purpose of coffee with her?  Just for the hell of it.  Like so many of our post-life coffee with guests, it’s about getting the information we couldn’t get out of a book (or even Wikipedia).  And who would turn down a chance to say they had coffee with a multi-lingual, female Polish King turned Saint?
Kristy: I’m not going to lie, when Cammy threw this one out my first reaction was, “Who?”  After some quick internet research, however, I’m game.  She sounds like a really interesting lady and I’d like to know more about her.  Particularly the kinds of things that don’t get written in historical documents.  Who was really the force between certain actions?  How much say did she really have during her reign.  That kind of thing.

Also, supposedly I’m related to her through her great-grandfather Charles Martel.  And while I’m not completely convinced of my royal ancestry, it still helps pique my interest.

:  Hey, Kristy, should we do a side of pierogis with this coffee thing?

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