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Casimir the Great
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    (April 30, 1310-November 5, 1370)
    Born in Kowal, Poland
    King Casimir III
    Also known as Kazimierz III Wielki
    Ruled Poland from 1333 to 1370
    Son of King Władysław I and the Duchess Hedwig of Kalisz
    The final Polish king of the Piast dynasty
    Known for his favorable treatment toward the Jewish people during his reign; allowing them to settle in in great numbers within the Kingdom and protecting them as 'people of the king'
    Reissued the Royal Charter, originally granted in 1264, of legal residency for the Jews in Poland, free movement from place to place, safety, and religious freedom
    His name sounds like 'Cashmere.'
    He was excommunicated by Pope Clement VI, in 1344.
    He divorced his second wife and married his mistress.
    Although his ex-wife denounced it as bigamous, and despite threats from the Church, he continued living with her anyway.
    He eventually divorced his mistress-turned-wife and remarried for the last time (although he cheated on her and sired three illegitimate sons by her).
    He may have had ulterior (probably economic) motives for tolerating the Jewish community.
    Among the more endearing myths is that he fell in love with a Polish Jewess, named Esterka, who beseeched him to accept the growing influx of exiled Jews from Western Europe (historians remain skeptical as to whether this ever really happened, but it wouldn't have been the first time he let his Johnson make his decisions for him...)
    Despite being married a total of four times, and sleeping around on all of them, he died leaving no lawful male heir to his throne (rather, his nephew succeeded him as part of a union with Hungary).
    Eli Valley dryly commented on his legendary image in Poland as a protector of the Jewish people by writing: 'Every city has its benevolent Gentile leader who merges into Myth as the benefactor of the Jews. As usual, the legend machine goes into overdrive.'
    His reform of the legal code and judicial system earned him the name 'Poland's Justinian.'
    He inherited a kingdom that was weakened by war and made it prosperous and wealthy, again.
    His military reform plans virtually doubled Poland's territorial gains through conquest.
    He was nicknamed ‘the Peasants' King’ for his advocacy of the weak, poor, and downtrodden (strengthening his rule as a result).
    He even backed a peasant over his own mistress, after she ordered the peasant’s house demolished because it was obstructing her view of the countryside.
    He was the only Polish ruler to both earn and subsequently retain the title 'The Great' during his reign.
    He was a proponent of education expansion; founding the University of Kraków, the oldest Polish university, in 1364.
    He both thumbed his nose at the Catholic Church by divorcing his Queens and freed Poland's slave population - both before it was cool to do.
    He welcomed, with open arms, German Jews who were fleeing pogroms and blood libels over accusations that they had poisoned the wells of Europe, thereby causing the monstrous 'Black Death' that plagued the continent.
    He gave many Jewish citizens the opportunity to serve in his Royal court.
    He outlawed the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism, under penalty of death.
    He imposed heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, and also severely weakened local city laws that restricted day-to-day Jewish activities.
    He remains a national hero in Poland - one whose likeness is on the 50 Zloty note and to whom statues are dedicated in Krakow, Niepolomice, Bydgoszcz, and Zakopane.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

    In 2018, Out of 34 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
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