Judith of Swabia
Judith-Maria of Swabia (b. Goslar
Goslar is a historic town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Goslar and located on the northwestern slopes of the Harz mountain range. The Old Town of Goslar and the Mines of Rammelsberg are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.-Geography:Goslar is situated at the...

, 9 April 1054 – d. 14 March ca. 1105?) was a German princess, a member of the Ottonian dynasty and by her two marriages Queen of Hungary and Duchess of Poland renamed Sophia in 1089.

She was the daughter of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry III , called the Black or the Pious, was a member of the Salian Dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors...

 by his second wife Agnes
Agnes de Poitou
Agnes of Poitou, Agnes of Aquitaine or Empress Agnes was Holy Roman Empress and regent of the Holy Roman Empire from 1056 to 1062.-Family:...

, daughter of William V, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou.


Judith (also named Maria in some sources) was the youngest of the six children born to Emperor Henry III and Empress Agnes. Her older five siblings were: Adelaide
Adelheid II, Abbess of Quedlinburg
Adelaide II was Abbess of Gandersheim and Quedlinburg.Adelaide was born in the autumn of 1045 as the first child of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Agnes of Poitou, his second wife. In 1061, she was elected successor to her older half-sister, Beatrice, as Imperial Abbess of Gandersheim...

 (later Abbess of Quedlinburg
Quedlinburg is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval court and the old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list....

), Gisela (who died in infancy before her birth), Matilda (later wife of Rudolf of Rheinfelden, Duke of Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 and Antiking
An Antiking is a would-be king who, due to succession disputes or simple political opposition, declares himself king in opposition to a reigning monarch. Antikings are more often found in elected monarchies than in hereditary monarchies like those of England and France; such figures in hereditary...

), Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry IV was King of the Romans from 1056 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1084 until his forced abdication in 1105. He was the third emperor of the Salian dynasty and one of the most powerful and important figures of the 11th century...

 and Conrad II, Duke of Bavaria
Conrad II, Duke of Bavaria
Conrad II , called the Child, was the duke of Bavaria from 1054 to 1055. He was the second son of the Emperor Henry III and his second wife, Agnes of Poitou. He was briefly appointed duke of Bavaria, which had been held by his elder brother Henry...

 (who also died in infancy). In addition, Judith had an older half-sister, Beatrix I, Abbess of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim
Gandersheim Abbey
Gandersheim Abbey is a former house of secular canonesses in the present town of Bad Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was founded in 852 by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, progenitor of the Liudolfing or Ottonian dynasty, whose rich endowments ensured its stability and prosperity.The "Imperial...

, born from her father's first marriage with Gunhilda of Denmark
Gunhilda of Denmark
Gunhilda of Denmark was the first spouse of Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor.-Biography:Gunhilda was a daughter of Canute the Great and Emma of Normandy. Her maternal grandparents were Richard I of Normandy and his second wife Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy.She was a sister of Harthacanute. She was a...


Queen of Hungary

Soon after her birth on 9 April 1054, Judith was betrothed to Philip
Philip I of France
Philip I , called the Amorous, was King of France from 1060 to his death. His reign, like that of most of the early Direct Capetians, was extraordinarily long for the time...

, eldest son and heir of King Henry I of France
Henry I of France
Henry I was King of France from 1031 to his death. The royal demesne of France reached its smallest size during his reign, and for this reason he is often seen as emblematic of the weakness of the early Capetians...

. However, the engagement was broken in September of 1058, when her brother Emperor Henry IV concluded a peace treaty with Andrew I, King of Hungary; as a part of the alliance, she was engaged to the Hungarian King's son and heir, Solomon
Solomon of Hungary
Solomon , King of Hungary . He was crowned as a child during his father's lifetime in order to ensure his succession, but his uncle Béla managed to dethrone his father and ascend to the throne...

. When King Andrew I died in 1060, his widow and sons took refuge in the German court. With the support of his powerful brother-in-law, Solomon could recover the Hungarian throne after the death of his uncle Béla I in 1063 and soon after married with Judith in (Stuhlweißenburg) Székesfehérvár
Székesfehérvár is a city in central Hungary and is the 9th largest in the country. Located around southwest of Budapest. It is inhabited by 101,973 people , with 136,995 in the Székesfehérvár Subregion. The city is the centre of Fejér county and the regional centre of Central Transdanubia...


The marriage proved to be unsuccessful, and apparently both the King and Queen had love affairs. Although it is generally believed that the union was childless, some sources state that Solomon and Judith had a daughter, Sophia, who later married Poppo, Count of Berg-Schelklingen. If this parentage is correct, Judith was the great-grandmother of Salomea of Berg
Salomea of Berg
Salomea of Berg was a German noblewoman and by marriage Duchess of Poland.She was the daughter of Swabian Count Henry of Berg Castle by his wife Adelaide of Mochental , probably a sister of Margrave Diepold III of Vohburg...

, second wife of Bolesław III Wrymouth (her later stepson).

During the 1070s, a struggle for power commenced between King Solomon and his cousins (sons of the late Béla I). On 14 March 1074 at the Battle of Mogyoród
Battle of Mogyoród
The Battle of Mogyoród took place on 14 March 1074. It was an internal conflict between the king of Hungary, Solomon and his cousins duke Géza and Ladislaus, who were claiming rights to the throne....

, the King's forces were decisively defeated by his cousins and their allies, the Dukes of Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. Judith fled to Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 while Solomon continue his fight for the Hungarian throne; in 1077 he accepted the rule of his cousin King László I, who gave him in exchange extensive landholdings after his formal abdication (1081). Despite this, Solomon never gave up his pretensions and began to plot against King László I; however, his plans were discovered and he was imprisoned by the King in the Tower of Visegrád
Visegrád is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary.Situated north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend, Visegrád has a population 1,654 as of 2001...

 until 15 August 1083, when on the occasion of the canonization of István I, the first King of Hungary, Solomon was released.

In the meantime, Judith remained in Germany and settled in her residence in Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 (with short breaks) from May or July 1074 until 1088. After his release, Solomon went to Germany and tried to reunite with his wife, but she refused to receive him. After a long wandering, Solomon made an alliance with Kuteshk, the leader of a Pecheneg tribe settled in the later principality of Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

. Between 1084-1085 he married his daughter, committing bigamy
In cultures that practice marital monogamy, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. Bigamy is a crime in most western countries, and when it occurs in this context often neither the first nor second spouse is aware of the other...

 with this act.

Solomon promised to hand over parts of the kingdom of Hungary in exchange for his new father-in-law's military assistance. In 1085, Solomon led the Pecheneg troops against Hungary, but King László I defeated them. Two years later, in 1087, Solomon took part in the Pechenegs' campaign against the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and was killed in a battle near Hadrianopolis
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...


Duchess of Poland

In 1089, Judith married with Władysław I Herman, Duke of Poland. This union considerably benefitted German-Polish relations; on the occasion of the wedding, Emperor Henry IV commissioned to the St. Emmeram's Abbey
St. Emmeram's Abbey
St. Emmeram's Abbey , now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, Schloss St. Emmeram, and St...

 the creation of Gospel Book
Gospel Book
The Gospel Book, Evangelion, or Book of the Gospels is a codex or bound volume containing one or more of the four Gospels of the Christian New Testament...

s to the Polish court, now kept in the library of the chapter in the Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...


After her marriage, Judith changed her name to Sophia, perhaps to distinguish herself from Władysław I's first wife, Judith of Bohemia. She bore her husband four daughters: Sophia (by marriage Princess of Vladimir
Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

-Volynia), Agnes (later Abbess of Quedlinburg
Quedlinburg is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval court and the old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list....

 and Gandersheim
Gandersheim Abbey
Gandersheim Abbey is a former house of secular canonesses in the present town of Bad Gandersheim in Lower Saxony, Germany. It was founded in 852 by Duke Liudolf of Saxony, progenitor of the Liudolfing or Ottonian dynasty, whose rich endowments ensured its stability and prosperity.The "Imperial...

), Adelaide (by marriage Countess of Vohburg
Vohburg is a town in the district of Pfaffenhofen, in Bavaria, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, 14 km east of Ingolstadt....

 and Margravine of the Northern March
Northern March
The Northern March or North March was created out of the division of the vast Marca Geronis in 965. It initially comprised the northern third of the Marca and was part of the territorial organisation of areas conquered from the Wends...

), and an unnamed daughter (later wife of a Polish lord).

She probably had a big impact on Poland's political life. It's believed that she was the mistress of Sieciech
- Biography :All information about Sieciech has come down from the chronicler Gallus Anonymus. He was a count palatine at the court of duke Władysław I Herman of Poland. Though the exact dates of his birth and death are unknown, he is said by Gallus Anonymus to have lived in the second half of the...

, the Count Palatine and true governor of the country. Judith actively aiding Sieciech in his schemes to take over the country; the death of Mieszko Bolesławowic under mysterious circumstances was, in all probability, caused by orders of the Count Palatine and Judith. With the help of Sieciech, Judith convinced her husband to postpone the return of Władysław I's first-born son Zbigniew
Zbigniew of Poland
Zbigniew , Duke of Poland from 1102 until 1107.-Early years:Zbigniew was the first-born son of Prince Władysław I Herman and Przecława, who apparently belonged to the Prawdzic clan...

, who seems to be a strong candidate to the succession despite his illegitimacy; also, they wanted an eventual alliance with the only legitimate son of Władysław I, Bolesław, born from his first marriage with the Bohemian princess.

After discovering the plans of Sieciech and Judith to take over the country, Bolesław and Zbigniew became allies. Both brothers demanded that the reigns of government should be handed over to them. Eventually, after some attempts to break the alliance between the brothers, Sieciech was defeated, deposed and exiled (ca. 1100-1101). On 4 June 1102 Duke Władysław I died. The country was divided between Bolesław III and Zbigniew.

Judith's date of death was disputed among historians and web sources. Although 14 March is stated as the correct day in almost all the known sources, in the case of the year is more difficult to ascertain. Sources established that she died between 1092–1096, but this seems improbable, because is known that in 1105, Bolesław III entered into an agreement with her, the so-called Tyniec Accord. In exchange for a generous grant, Judith guaranteed her neutrality in the Duke's political contest with his half-brother Zbigniew. Thus, she died after that date. Gerard Labuda
Gerard Labuda
Gerard Labuda was a Polish historian whose main fields of interest were the Middle Ages and the Western Slavs. He was born in what became the Polish Corridor after World War I...

 stated that Judith spent her last years of life in Regensburg with her (supposed) daughter Adelaide, wife of Count Dietpold III of Vohburg and Cham; since the date of the marriage between Adelaide and Count Dietpold III was ranked between 1110–1118, it's assumed that Judith died after the latter year, in a relative advanced age. Her place of burial, Admont Abbey
Admont Abbey
Admont Abbey is a foundation of the Benedictines on the River Enns in the town of Admont in Austria and is the oldest remaining monastery in Styria...

 in Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, apparently confirm this theory.


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