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Dagome Iudex

Historical context

Dagome Iudex

Dating to the early period of Polish statehood, this document – known as Dagome Iudex after its opening words – was written down circa 991. It is known only from an abstract compiled in Rome in the late 11th century. By means of this deed, Mieszko, the first historical ruler of Poland, together with his wife  Oda  and their two sons, entrusts his realm, which was centred on Gniezno, to the safekeeping of the Apostolic See.

Historians have made various conjectures about the intention of this document. Some argue that papal custody was meant to protect the independence of the Polish Church against the claims of the archbishops of Magdeburg; others argue that the point was to ensure the participation of Mieszko’s sons from his second marriage (with Oda) in the ruling of the state. This would explain why Mieszko’s eldest son Bolesław Chrobry (Boleslaus the Brave), whose mother was the Bohemian princess, Dobrava, was not mentioned. The document describes the borders of the territory ruled by Mieszko in the late years of his reign, which lasted from about 960 to his death in 992.

Document text

Item in alio tomo sub Iohanne XV papa Dagome iudex et Ote senatrix et filii eorum: Misicam et Lambertus – nescio cuius gentis homines, puto autem Sardos fuisse, quoniam ipsi a IIII iudicibus reguntur – leguntur beato Petro contulisse unam civitatem in integro, que vocatur Schinesghe, cum omnibus suis pertinentiis infra hos affines, sicuti incipit a primo latere longum mare, fine Bruzze usque in locum, qui dicitur Russe et fines Russe extendente usque in Craccoa et ab ipsa Craccoa usque ad flumen Oddere recte in locum, qui dicitur Alemure, et ab ipsa Alemura usque in terram Milze recte intra Oddere et exinde ducente iuxta flumen Oddera usque in predictam civitatem Schinesghe.

Słowiańszczyzna pierwotna. Materiały źródłowe do historii Polski epoki feudalnej, oprac. G.Labuda, Warszawa 1954, s. 207-209.

Podobnie i w innym tomie z czasów papieża Jana XV Dagome, pan, i Ote, pani, i synowie ich Mieszko i Lambert (nie wiem, z jakiego to plemienia ludzie, sądzę jednak, że to byli Sardyńczycy, ponieważ ci są rządzeni przez czterech „panów”) mieli nadać świętemu Piotrowi w całości jedno państwo, które zwie się Schinesghe z wszystkimi swymi przynależnościami w tych granicach, jak się zaczyna od pierwszego boku długim morzem [stąd] granicą Prus aż do miejsca, które nazywa się Ruś, a granicą Rusi ciągnąc aż do Krakowa i od tego Krakowa aż do rzeki Odry, prosto do miejsca, która zwie się Alemure, a od tej Alemure aż do ziemi Milczan i od granicy Milczan prosto do Odry i stąd idąc wzdłuż rzeki Odry aż do rzeczonego państwa Schinesghe.


Słowiańszczyzna pierwotna. Materiały źródłowe do historii Polski epoki feudalnej, oprac. G. Labuda, Warszawa 1954, s. 207-209.

Similarly, in another tome from the time of pope  John XV Dagome the judge and Ote,  senatrix, and their sons: Misicam and Lambertus – I know not of what gens these people be, but I suppose however that they are  Sardinians, for the same are governed by four judges – are read to have conferred to the blessed Peter one country in its entirety, which is called Schinesghe, with all its appurtenances within the following boundaries: so as to commence, on the first side is the long sea [stretching to] the Bruzzian [i.e., Prussian] border and on the location that is called Russe [i.e. Rus’/Ruthenia], and along the borders of Russe does it extend on to Craccoa [i.e., Cracow], and from that same Craccoa on to the river of Oddere [i.e., the Odra/Oder] directly to the location that is named Alemure, and from that same Alemura [sic] on to the land of the Milze [i.e., the Milceni tribe], [and therefrom] directly onto the Oddere, and therefrom leading along the river  Oddera [sic] back to the aforesaid city of Schinesghe.


Translated © by Tristan Korecki, Philip Earl Steele



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