The Eagle and Three Crowns. (Frontline)

By Monte, Richard | History Today, April 2002 | Go to article overview

The Eagle and Three Crowns. (Frontline)


Monte, Richard, History Today


IN THE MIDDLE OF THE sixteenth century Poland was a wealthy country governed by the Jagiellon Kings, whose riches had been built upon a monopoly of the Baltic Sea trade around Gdansk. By the end of the eighteenth century, Russia, Prussia and Austria had divided the country between them and Poland was wiped off the map for 123 years. How could such a prosperous and powerful country disappear so easily? The answer appears to lie within the Polish system of government itself. The weakened Royal Republic with its emphasis on freedom and liberty, which was established when the Jagiellon dynasty ended, ironically led to its own downfall.

The abolition of the hereditary monarchy placed the election of the king in the hands of the nobles. If no Polish heir to the throne was available, foreigners were eligible to stand. The land-hungry Swedes to the north eyed the wealthy republic greedily. In the tradition of the Vikings they set out to pillage and loot and bring back this wealth for themselves. After suffering several devastating defeats at the hands of the Swedes, including a period of five years, 1655-60, known as `the Deluge', Poland was severely weakened and could offer little resistance to the combined power of Russia, Prussia and Austria.

The current exhibition at the Warsaw Royal Castle examines Poland's relations with Sweden between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and in particular looks at the treasures which were stolen from the Poles and taken to Sweden, where they have remained for over 300 years. Many of the objects on display have never been back to Poland until now. The title of the exhibition -- `The Eagle and Three Crowns' -- is taken from the eagle that appears upon the Polish coat of arms and the three crowns that appear on the Swedish one. On display are around 400 objects (over a hundred from Swedish collections), including the equestrian portrait of Zygmunt III by the workshop of Rubens (1624), `Gustavus II Adolphus in Polish Dress', by Matthaus Merian the Elder, a suit of armour for horse and man from the Nuremberg workshop of Kunz Lochner, made in the 1550s from steel and covered in white and black enamel, the Royal Banner of Zygmunt III and the Stockholm Roll, a painting over fifteen metres long, by an unknown painter, which depicts Zygmunt III's entry into Krakow in 1605. Also on show are many examples of firearms, drawings, engravings and medals, documenting relations with Sweden over 200 years. Most of the objects come from the Swedish collections of the Gripsholm Castle, the Royal Armoury, Uppsala University and Skokloster Castle.

The exhibition examines how the small but proficient and well-equipped Swedish army -- strengthened under the leadership of Gustavus Adolphus and inspired by a desire that war ought to make Sweden rich, as well as victorious -- easily overcame the disorganised, poorly armed and weak-spirited Polish army. With the use of paid mercenaries from Germany, Finland and Scotland, and a strong fleet, the Swedes were able to conduct raids and escape quickly with their loot. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Eagle and Three Crowns. (Frontline)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.