1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Koniecpolski, Stanislaus

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KONIECPOLSKI, STANISLAUS (1591-1646), Polish soldier, was the most illustrious member of an ancient Polish family which rendered great services to the Republic. Educated at the academy of Cracow, he learned the science of war under the great Jan Chodkiewicz, whom he accompanied on his Muscovite campaigns, and under the equally great Stanislaus Zolkiewski, whose daughter Catherine he married. On the death of his first wife he wedded, in 1619, Christina Lubomirska. In 1619 he took part in the expedition against the Turks which terminated so disastrously at Cecora, and after a valiant resistance was captured and sent to Constantinople, where he remained a close prisoner for three years. On his return he was appointed commander of all the forces of the Republic, and at the head of an army of 25,000 men routed 60,000 Tatars at Martynow, following up this success with fresh victories, for which he received the thanks of the diet and the palatinate of Sandomeria from the king. In 1625 he was appointed guardian of the Ukraine against the Tatars, but in 1626 was transferred to Prussia to check the victorious advance of Gustavus Adolphus. Swedish historians have too often ignored the fact that Koniecpolski’s superior strategy neutralized all the efforts of the Swedish king, whom he defeated again and again, notably at Homerstein (April 1627) and at Trzciand (April 1629). But for the most part the fatal parsimony of his country compelled Koniecpolski to confine himself to the harassing guerrilla warfare in which he was an expert. In 1632 he was appointed to the long vacant post of hetman wielki koronny, or commander in chief of Poland, and in that capacity routed the Tatars at Sasowy Rogi (April 1633) and at Paniawce (April and October 1633), and the Turks, with terrific loss, at Abazd Basha. To keep the Cossacks of the Ukraine in order he also built the fortress of Kudak. As one of the largest proprietors in the Ukraine he suffered severely from Cossack depredations and offered many concessions to them. Only after years of conflict, however, did he succeed in reducing these unruly desperadoes to something like obedience. In 1644 he once more routed the Tatars at Ockmatow, and again in 1646 at Brody. This was his last exploit, for he died the same year, to the great grief of Wladislaus IV., who had already concerted with him the plan for a campaign on a grand scale against the Turks, and relied principally upon the Grand Hetman for its success. Though less famous than his contemporaries Zolkiehwski and Chodkiewicz, Koniecpolski was fully their equal as a general, and his inexorable severity made him an ideal lord-marcher.

See an unfinished biography in the Tyg. Illus. of Warsaw for 1863; Stanislaw Przylenski, Memorials of the Koniecpolskis (Pol.) (Lemberg, 1842). (R. N. B.)