„Przenosząc się ciągle z miejsca na miejsce obyczajem Numidów”. Jagiellońscy władcy i ich rodziny w czasie morowego powietrza w XV–XVI w.

Agnieszka Januszek-Sieradzka


“Constantly moving from place to place like Numidians”. Jagiellonian rulers and their families in times of pestilence in the XVth and XVIth centuries  

In all early-modern Europe, epidemics were a very frequent phenomenon. In the XVth and XVIth centuries, the one effective way of avoiding the danger of infection and near certain death was to flee from a place threatened by plague. In the XVth century, a quite short journey was often sufficient, or else monarchs decided right away on a distant journey to the less-populated Lithuania, attempting to turn this to use in terms of the system of using royal progresses as a way of exercising power. In the XVIth century, especially in the second half, only one move to even a distant locality was insufficient, and the king and members of his family were compelled to move to a succession of places. Kings and their families almost always spent a period of isolation on their own estates. There were exceptions when the ruler was able to enjoy the hospitality of magnate or church estates. Through the nearly two hundred years of Jagiellonian rule, there is only one case (in 1572) when one can see the incautious behavior of the court as contributing to spread of plague. Although in the XVth century one can still find traces of real fear of pestilence among the royals and dramatic descriptions of huge, often exaggerated, losses of population, in the next century an outbreak of plague is seen rather as a passing inconvenience in life, cause of bothersome confusions in the normal functioning of the state or of changes in the royal family’s plans.

Słowa kluczowe: morowe powietrze, epidemia, rodzina królewska, Jagiellonowie, Władysław II Jagiełło, Kazimierz IV Jagiellończyk, Zygmunt I Stary, Zygmunt II August