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Knights Tournament for The Kacper Karlinski’s sword
2008-08-10
On a beautiful Sunday, August 10th  The Knights Tournament for The Kacper Karlinski’s sword took place in a picturesque  surroundings of limestone rocks  - at the royal castle in Olsztyn near Czestochowa. Its history dates back to the 11th century. Olsztyn Castle, which owes its present shape to Casimir the Great, played for a few centuries a key defensive role in guarding the frontier of the Republic. In its dungeons king's rebellious governor of Poznań Maciej from Borkowice died of starvation in 1358. A rumor, yet not confirmed,  said that such a harsh punishment was the result of Maciej’s clandestine tryst with the Queen, wife of Casimir the Great. In subsequent centuries the castle was repeatedly resisting the invasions of the princes of Silesia.  In 1656 it was captured by the Swedes and fell into disrepair.

Kacper Karlinski – a forgotten hero

In  1587 after the death of the Polish king Stefan Batory, king Sigismund III Vasa (Zygmunt III Waza) iss elected. His opponent to the Polish throne was the Austrian Archduke Maximilian Habsburg, who then enters Poland and sets his troops for Krakow. After an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Krakow Maximilian moves forward to the north of Poland and in mid-December 1587 reaches the walls of the Olsztyn castle. The leader of the defense of the castle is a governor of Olsztyn Kacper Karliński with Ostoja (Refuge) coat of arms. His crew consists of 80 soldiers. Austrian troops launch an assault but they are beaten off. The next attempts end with the same result. Resigned Maximilian is about to withdraw the troops but his partisan Stanislaw Stadnicki called "the Devil of Łańcut" comes up with a devilish idea. Stadnicki attacks Karlinski’s court in Karlin  (today's suburbs of Zawiercie, Silesian Province sląskie), burns it, robs and kidnaps Karlinski’s 6 year old son with his nurse. The child is then used as a living shield during the next assault on the Austrian troops. The defenders of the castle freeze at this sight, but Kacper Karlinski cries: "At first I was a Pole than I was the father," and fires the cannon. A child dies on the spot. All the cannons  fire, the last attack is repulsed and the siege collapses. Plunged in despair Karlinski refuses to accept the dignities and honors. He dies 3 years later. Such poets as Fredro, Syrokomla, Wladyslaw Belza, Damrot and others write about his heroism. 

Knights Tournament for The Kacper Karlinski’s sword

The Tournament was organized on the background of the above story.  The organizers intention is to make it a recurring event for the memory of the forgotten hero. The tournament was attended by more than 120 knights and 20 canons. Thousands of spectators admired the efficiency of knightly archery, tournaments on horsebacks, wrestling, and sword fighting. The knight's camp showed the  camp life of 17th century chivalry. And finally the audience could watch the Olsztyn castle assault and the heroic defense as well as the kidnapping of Karliński’s son and the defender’s heroic stance. And all that with the roar of cannons,  smoke of muskets and the clatter of sabers. After the successful repulse of the assault as attackers and defenders were rewarded with a tremendous applause.






















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