The following items are a direct translation from the classical genealogical and heraldic reference “Herbarz Polski” by Kasper Niesiecki, S.J., Lipsk (Leipzig) edition, 1839-1846.
Arms: Gules, an arrow in pale, point to chief, surmounting a bull’s horn per fess, both Argent. For a crest, out of a crest coronet, three ostrich plumes proper.
Some interpret this as an arrow pointed upward atop a hook; others say it is a winding river that flows beneath the arrow, on a red field and with three ostrich feathers on the helm. This is how the manuscript of Rev. Kojalowicz describes it
These arms were used by the house of Sielawa, in the Duchy of Lithuania and in Volhynia. Anastazy Sielawa was the Metropolitan of Kiev and of all Ruthenia, and the Bishop of Halicz and Archimandrite of Zydaczów in 1646. He ardently supported union, being also the Father Superior of the Basilian Fathers at Holy Trinity in Wilno. He published A Reply to the Acrimonious Letter of the Monks of the Apostate Church of the Holy Spirit (Vilnae 1622, in quarto).
Antoni was the Archbishop of Polock in 1625 and 1632. The Life of B. Józafat M. N. was a canon of Wilno and pastor of Nieswiez, and later of Minsk; in Minsk he founded a convent of nuns under the Benedictine rule. Jan was cupbearer of Polock in 1674. Pawel was regent of Luck district. In 1674 there was a Daniel in Polock. In 1788 Piotr Sielawa was master of the pantry of Polock, according to Krasicki.
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.
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Arms: Azure, a horseshoe argent, heels to base, surmounted of a cross pattee of the last. Atop the cross a raven, wings expanded and inverted all proper, holding in its beak a ring or. Mantled of its liveries, and out of a ducal coronet a raven holding a ring in its beak, as in the arms.
A horseshoe stands erect with its heels at the bottom and on its shoulders is a cross. Atop the cross is a black raven with its wings somewhat extended for flight and facing to the right of the shield. In its beak it holds a gold ring. The shield is blue and the horseshoe silver. On a crowned helmet stands a similar raven as in the shield. This is the description given by Paprocki (Gniazdo, p. 1039, and 0 herbach, p. 312), and the work of Okolski (vol. 3, p. 121), and Bielski (p. 172). These authors agree that this clan shield was acquired as follows: when one of the family of Korwin had the good fortune to marry a daughter, an only child, of the Pobog clan, he redesigned the arms by adding to the horseshoe his ancestral raven with a ring. They also understand that this Korwin came to Poland from Hungary, seeking knightly glory. In Hungary the family of Korwin had proliferated, descending from one of the Roman Corvini.
I do not in the least deny that at one time there was in Rome a distinguished man named Valerius Corvinus, a military tribune, who got the name “Corvinus” in the following manner. The Roman commander Camillus had moved with his army against the French, and before the battle began, a French warrior of great size and strength came forward and challenged anyone in the Roman cavalry to single combat, whereupon Valerius stepped forward. Just as he was about to engage the Frenchman, a raven flew down from nowhere, perched upon Valerius’s helmet, and began to attack his foe with its wings and beak and talons so fiercely that the French warrior could not see him well. With this reinforcement the Roman beat him easily, and from that time Valerius was called Corvinus (from corvus, “raven”). Valerius was chosen six times to the Roman consulate. He lived a hundred years, always hale and hearty even in old age (Livy, vol. 7).
If however any of his descendants carried on the name, I have never read of it anywhere. It is true that Janos Hunyadi and his son Matthias I Corvinus, King of Hungary, as well as Janos, illegitimate offspring of the latter, called themselves “Corvinus” and had their coins minted displaying a raven with a ring. However, as we know from a grant of privilege of Prince Konrad of Mazovia at Warsaw in 1224, I am sure that the family of Korwins are more ancient in Poland than Hunyadi and his son Matthias, as the latter did not flourish until 1400. In addition the Silesian Annals state that when a raven carried off the ring King Matthias had removed from his finger, Matthias chased the bird down and slew him, retrieving the ring, and in commemoration of this event he took the raven as a symbol for his signet sign. From this family Wawrzeta S~lepowronczyk, a brave and fortunate commander, served the aforesaid Konrad. Chryzolm was castellan of Czersk in 1320.
Added note to Niesiecki’s text by the 19th-century editor, J. N. Bobrowicz.] Dunczewski, Kuropatnicki, Malachowski and Wieladek also ascribe these families to arms Slepowron: Adziewicz, Bagnicki, Buchowiecki, Drodzien~ski, Fijalkowski, Lutoslawski, Przyluski, Slawomier, Snicinski.[Niesiecki’s text resumes.]Not all listed here, however, use these arms in the same form. The Jurzyces and Kamienskis place a star under the horseshoe. Olszewski has, instead of a star, a second cross, like the one in the middle, but placed on top of the horseshoe. The Suchodolskis do not have a cross over the horseshoe, but only in its middle, and the raven stands on the horseshoe itself, while on the helmet are, instead a raven, three ostrich feathers. The Wroblewskis do not show the raven on a horseshoe, but rather on a bow strung with an arrow pointed upward, and three ostrich feathers on the helmet.
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the May 1995 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.
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Clan Shield Arms: Gules, a horse passant argent girthed with a band sable, hooved or. For a crest: Out of a crest coronet, a battle-ax in bend argent. Manteling, Gules, doubled Argent.
There is a silver horse with gold hooves in a red field, with a wide black band about its girth; his tail is turned upright, and his foreleg and right hind leg are raised a little above the ground, as if walking. On the crowned helmet the lower end of a battle-ax is set into the crown as if plunged into it. This is how the shield was described by the authors Bielski, p. 249; Paprocki in work O herbach [Of clan shields], p. 52; and Okolski (Volume 3, p. 69).
These authors all agree with the historian Dlugosz on the origins of this shield. There were three brothers named Se~dziw—j, Naw—j, and Ze~gota, of the clan Top—r. Ze~gota had spent a considerable amount of time in foreign lands and with no small profit. Upon returning to his homeland he found that his brothers had divided the family inheritance between themselves, and begun styling themselves hrabiowie z Sieciechowic (the Counts of Sieciechowice). When he greeted them, the brothers did not know him; when he brought up their ties of blood, name, and brotherhood, they did not want him as their brother. As for their fatherÿs fortune, they wouldnÿt even talk about that.
Unacknowledged and wholly rejected by his brothers, he turned to the King of Poland, submitting clear proof of his birth. So that he would no longer have to share the same arms with those who had rejected him, he received from the king a shield modified from that of Top—r. This shield had the white horse he rode during his journeys to those foreign lands, and the battle-ax (top—r) from the original arms was raised to the crest for his new shield, to show that he was born in the house of the Top—rs. This is confirmed by a letter of King Kazimierz the Great dated 1366, cited in Paprockiÿs O herbach, p. 55, where it states
Quod omnes Bipenni et antiqui Equi,essent et processissent de uno avo, et de una progenie, et quod haberent ab antiquo unum jus omnes. (“That all Top—rs and Starykons are and have de-scended from one ancestor and from one tribe, and that since ancient times they all had one law.”) [Latin Bipenni means literally “double-bladed axes,”i. e., Polish top—r, and Latin antiqui Equi means “old horses” = Polish Starykon~].
The clan is called Starykon much as Top—r is called Starz~a by its clan members; Ze~gota, the count of Sieciechowice, is called Zaprzaniec (“renegade, turncoat”), that is, one repudiated by his brothers. As to when this change actually took place, no one has written on this. Suffice it to say that it had happened by 1080, because Paprocki mentions Z~egota Zaprzaniec from grants to monasteries. Okolski (Volume 3, p. 78) says that in Silesia the Emberks use the arms of Starykon, but in a different form; he was mistaken, however, because he changed a vixen into a horse. Paprocki writes explicitly in his work Stromata of this clan shield, he says that the vixen should not be a horse, and I spoke of this in regard to Paprocki in Volume IV, p. 7. Petrasancta in chapter 54 of de tesser. Gentilit. says that in Silesia the Zybulkas use the seal of Starykon~, but I do not know whether he meant the Cybulkas. Kromer says of one of the Cybulkas that he was a legate from Witold (i. e., the Lithuanian prince Vytautas) but it seems to me he belonged to the clan Ostrzew.
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the Spring 2001 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.
Arms: Per fess or and gules, in chief a demi eagle displayed naisant sable, in base three diamonds argent, cross couped shaped. For a crest out of a ducal coronet a demi eagle as in the arms.
The coat of arms for this shield is divided in half horizontally. In the upper half is half an eagle, black in color in a gold field with its wings outspread, and its face is towards the right side. On the bottom are three stones in a red field. On the crowned helmet is half a black eagle, similar to the one on the shield. This is how it was described by Paprocki in his O herbach, p. 459; Okolski in volume 3, p. 169; Bielski on page 329.
All agree that this coat of arms was brought to Poland from Germany, where it was called Slomff according to the Manuscript on Prussian Families, and from there grew the famed family of the Counts of Solms and Rulers of Braunfels, Mintzenberg and Sonnenwald, of whom I will cite several examples here:
Szymon was pastor and chancellor of Cologne 1393. Bernard, comes in Solms [count of Solms], died in 1459. Wilhelmus, Count of Solms in the days of Henry Aucupis, was alive in 935. Philippus, Count of Solms, 1179. Henricus 1220. Joannes, Canonicus Moguntinus et Coloniensis [Mainz and Cologne canon], 1457. They describe the arms thus: a shield divided into four parts, on the upper right side two bars, on the upper left side a half eagle, under it, three roses; on the lower left the same eagle, on the lower right a repeat of the two bars. On the helmet within the crown is an eagle within the crown, without legs or tail, above the head of which are two crossed axes. Thus it appears in the Manuscript of the Prussian Families.Ancestors of this House
After the death of Prince Boleslaw Swidnicki, Jan Romka, Bishop of Wroclaw, was appointed guardian of his two minor sons, Henry V, Prince of Wroclaw, and the Prince of Legnica, “on account of his diligence and honesty of character.” The historian Dlugosz says that he was, however, very lavish, and he wasted a great deal of the children’s inheritance, taking from it sixty thousand grzywna, for which he later had accounting problems with the princes and with the previous lords. He occupied this see [Wroclaw] from 1292 to 1302, as the same Dlugosz attests.
Some members of this house signed their names as z Pleszowa [from Pleszów]. One of them was Ibram z Pleszowa, in 1398 castellan of Zawichost, where he placed his signature on a letter given by King Jagiello to the city of Lublin. There was also Stanislaw z Pleszowa Sulimczyk, who among others hung his banners in Buda in 1443; for more on this see Dlugosz’s book 12, p. 779.
Zawisza Czarny [Trans. Note”Zawisza the Black, ” so-called because of his black armor], a man of great qualities, traveled in the legation from King Wladyslaw Jagiello to Emperor Sigismund in regard to the king’s marriage to Agacya, widow of Vaclav, King of Bohemia, when the Taborites defeated Sigismund so badly that he had to flee from them [Translator’s Note-I believe this refers to the people of Tabor in Bohemia, radical adherents of Jan Huss, founder of the Hussite Protestant sect]; Zawisza was taken prisoner (Bielski p. 32) and was freed in 1424. He entertained liberally on Friday the great monarchs assembled in Kraków for Queen Jadwiga’s coronation and was lavish in his gift-giving (Bielski, p. 325).
Later [Translator’s Note-actually in 1428] Zawisza was leading forces of the army of that same Emperor Sigismund-but by this time he was the starosta of Spisz-when Sigismund, struck by fear of the Turks’ swords, crossed with the larger part of his army to the other side of the Danube; due to the scarcity of ferries and boats he left the second, smaller part to be massacred by the pagans. Sigismund, regarding highly Zawisza’s merits, sent a boat for him, ordering him to save himself. But Zawisza, a man avid for knightly glory, regarding it as an unworthy deed to leave his post or abandon his cavalry, thanked Sigismund for his favor but chose to die heroically at his position rather than diminish his glory by fleeing from the foe. Having mounted his horse and taken his lance in hand, with only two foot soldiers he went forth against the Turks and fought valiantly against them, but was surrounded by a large number and captured. Then an argument arose between two Turks, as each of them made out that he was the one who captured Zawisza. One of them, envious of the good fortune his more powerful antagonist would have from the Turkish Emperor if he presented Zawisza before him, cut off his head: his head, however, was brought before the Emperor, and the inhabitants of Rascja buried his body.
Dlugosz wrote a long eulogy in his history, saying, among other things, “In all battles the most celebrated and bravest, rich in all virtues, imitated but equaled by none. In his speech there was sweetness, charm and affability so that with his charms he could win over not only the virtuous and noble but even barbarians. For the skill of military discipline of the highest caliber fell to his lot, which he had acquired in various kingdoms either by art, ability, or skill.” Dlugosz’s Epitaphs also includes a verse written for Zawisza by Adam Swinka, Kraków canon, for this Zawisza was married to Barbara, the niece of Piotr Wisz, Kraków bishop, and she grieved so for his loss that she came to die, leaving two sons by him, Marcin and Stanislaw z Roznowa, who died with King Wladyslaw at Varna. That is what Dlugosz and Cromer say, but Leunclavius in Turkish Chronicles, p. 27, calls one of them Michal and writes that he fought valiantly in the battle of Varna in 1444. “The King of Hungary fought on one side, on the other Michael known as the Black [i. e., “Czarny”], they attacked Murad’s forces with such strength that they compelled the foe to flee.”
“Barbara de Roznow, the granddaughter of the son of Zawisza Czarny, the most illustrious soldier in the Christian world, and the wife of Joannes of Tarnów, lived 70 years and died in 1517,” says her gravestone in Tarnów; her husband Jan Tarnowski was at one time a famous captain of Poland.
Some family members of this clan took the name of Sulima from the arms, of whom several flourished in Podolia, where, according to Okolski, the last heir left her manor in Kamieniec Podolski under the name of “St. Michael’s” to the Sisters of St. Dominik. Anna married Chodorowski. Other Sulimas settled in Sandomierz district, of whom Jerzy Sulima Czarny signed to the election of Wladyslaw IV. Dlugosz says in his History that after the death of Boryslaw, Archbishop of Gniezno, in 1306, as his successor to this office the pope appointed Janusz, Archdeacon of Gniezno, who at this time had been in Avignon with Boryslaw; and Dlugosz says that he was of the Sulima clan, although Damalewicz in Lives of the Gniezno Archbishops says nothing about him at all, inasmuch as in that year Jakób Swinka presided there at that See.
Stefan Sulima was the vassal at Dymir. The brothers Seweryn and Teodor were vassals, Seweryn at Kozary and Teodor at Julce and Bereski; they and their cousin Stefan, who was the vassal at Cybel, all had their prerogatives to the noble estate restored in 1659, as provided by a constitutional statute.
Bearers of These Arms
[Added note to Niesiecki’s text by the 19th-century editor, J. N. Bobrowicz]: Kuropatnicki, Malachowski and others give the following families as also using these arms:
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the August 1996 issue of “Rodziny, The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America”.
Blazon: the shield is gules; the charge is Abdank surmounted of a cross, all argent. For a crest the charge of the arms.
The heraldic device of Abdank, in white, should be upon a red shield: however, at the top of the device in the center is a golden cross, and on the helmeted crown is the same white Abdank device as on the shield. This is how it was described by Paprocki in his work 0 herbach [On clan shields], page 170; by Okolski, volume 3, page 147; and by Bielski, page 277.
All authors agree that this coat of arms was acquired in Poland, and that the cross was added to the ancestral arms of a knight named Syrokomla. He had defeated a pagan Prussian who had been challenging the Polish knights to single combat and cursing the name of Christianity. The cross was added to his arms because he had defended the honor of God crucified.
Some say that this is supposed to have taken place circa 1330, during the reign of King Wladyslaw Lokietek; but that cannot be, since Bernard, bishop of Poznan who died in 1175, was of Syrokomla arms, according to Treter in Vitae Episcoporum Posnan. [Lives of the Bishops of Poznan], and around that year the Prussians, being afflicted by war, had recognized Christ as God.
Lubienski in Vitae Episcoporum Plocen [Lives of the Bishops of Plock] dates to 1391 Jakob of Kurdwanow, bishop of Plock, and states that he was of Syrokomla arms, the son of Floryan, and one must say, figuring the years, that the arms were conferred upon this Floryan. This Jakob signed his name as “of Kurdwanow,” so I understand that he belonged to the Kurdwanowski Polkozices, which is where I spoke of him. Dlugosz in his history under the year 1396 writes that he did not sign his name as “de Kurdwanów” but ‘de Korzkiew,” and was a “man of rare literary gifts, having the gift of discourse. Acta Concilii Constantiensis [Records of the Council of Constance], volume 2, Concil. Edit. Colon. Mihi f. 1042 sessione praecipue 9 writes that Mikolaj, bishop of Plock, had a seat among the other mitred prelates at that council in 1415. He was elected by that synod as judge or deputy commissioner for hearing and judging all cases that were appealed to the synod. From this I conclude that either there was a Mikolaj who was bishop of Mock after Jakob, but Dlugosz and our other historians omitted him, or else the printer erroneously named him Mikolaj instead of Jakob. It is all the more likely that this was an error because the Acta Concilii calls him Mikolaj, bishop of Plock, and added that he was“ex natione Germanica” [from the nation of Germany], but I have heard of no Plock diocese in Germany. Of this Jakob it was said in the Acta that he had great skill with church law, which he acquired in Bologna, to the extent that he was summoned to Rome by the Pope and created Auditor Palatii Apostolici [Auditor of the Apostolic Palace].
Not all noble families, however, use this clan shield in the same form. The family of Andronowski displays a arrow pointed upward over the Abdank device, and under the arrowhead are two crosses in a straight line, and atop the helmet are three ostrich plumes. The Wasilewicz family also uses this form. The families’ of Baranowicz and Jalowski use the same form, except the crosses are placed diagonally on the arrow, forming a letter “X”I described the form used by the Chaleckis in the third volume; the Siehens also use it. The Ilgowskis belong to clan Syrokomla, and along with them the Iwanowiczes and Karnickis, whose arms you will find in Volume IV, page 402. The Hofubs have an arrow on the Abdank device, placed vertically, but only half of the arrow is visible, with no arrowhead, on the left side of the shield; it has a crest of three ostrich plumes. The Losowicz shield has one corner of the Abdank device, broken and pointing downward; it has a similar crest with three ostrich plumes. The Wojnilowiczes have only a single arrow, with no cross, and bear three ostrich feathers in the helmet, instead of a cross. The Chominicz and Starosielski families display a single cross on the arrow and a crest of three ostrich plumes. The Sopocko and Wieliczka families have an arrow instead of a cross, with a cross through it but diagonally, with the top at the right and the bottom at the left. The Nieszyjka family places an arrow pointed upward and piercing a heart, above the Abdank device; on the crest are three ostrich plumes. See the Soltans‘ variation of the arms in its proper place.
Translated by Leonard J. Suligowski; first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2002 issue of “White Eagle, The Journal of the Polish Nobility Association Foundation”.