„Śmierć Stefana Jegomości króla polskiego w Grodnie 12 Decembra Anno Domini 1586 (Prawdziwa sprawa o chorobie i śmierci nieboszczyka Stefana Batorego króla polskiego)” – źródło do losów Stefana Batorego i historii medycyny

Agnieszka Pawłowska-Kubik

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/SZ.2018.06


The Death of His Majesty Stephen King of Poland at Grodno on 12 December Anno Domini 1586 (The Real Truth about the Illness and Death of Late King Stephen Bathory of Poland)

a source to Stephen Bathory’s biography and history of medicine

The sudden and unexpected death of Stephen Bathory, king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, on 12 December 1586 provoked many hypotheses. Since the king was generally regarded as a healthy man in his prime, historians and physicians have for centuries tried to solve the mystery of his sudden death. One of the primary sources to this question is a text attributed to one of the royal physicians – Jakub Gosławski. The document, entitled The Death of His Majesty Stephen King of Poland at Grodno on 12 December Anno Domini 1586, better known as The Real Truth about the Illness and Death of Late King Stephen Bathory of Poland, was written soon after the king’s death. Its original version has not been found, while two copies have been preserved in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw and in the Princes Czartoryski Library in Krakow.

The source contains information extremely valuable for historians and historians of medicine about the last days of King Stephen, symptoms of his illness, and treatments meted out to him by his physicians. A valuable supplement is made by a post-mortem report describing the appearance and state of his internal organs. Gosławski’s text has already been published in the past, but either it was done without due care, with many mistakes and omissions, or on the basis of some other manuscript, unknown to us. The present edition juxtaposes the two known copies, with a substantial body of editorial commentary and that pertaining to the content. This makes it possible to see the differences between the two copies, in the first place. There is also the first edition of the text included, issued in 1830 by Edward Raczyński, which in the most important fragments is quite different to that of the texts kept in the Central Archives of Historical Records and in the Princes Czartoryski Library.

The edition of this source is even more pertinent given the fact that, in recent years, there is a number of specialists questioning the widespread and preserved diagnosis that the king’s death was caused by uraemia. The well-edited source text, with a commentary pertaining to the content, can help researchers in thoroughly analysing the symptoms of Bathory’s illness and shed new light on the causes of his death.

Słowa kluczowe

historia medycyny; medycyna nowożytna; Stefan Batory; choroby i dolegliwości królewskie; zgon króla; sekcja zwłok; Jakub Gosławski; history of medicine; early-modern medicine; Stephan Batory; royal illnesses and afflictions; death of the king

Pełny tekst:




Panowanie Henryka Walezyusza i Stefana Batorego królów polskich z rękopisów Albertrandego podług wydania Ż. Onacewicza. Z dołączeniem pamiętników historyi Stefana Batorego dotyczących, Kraków 1849, s. 442–444

Prawdziwa sprawa o chorobie i śmierci króla Stefana, w: Pamiętniki do historyi Stefana króla polskiego, wyd. E. Raczyński, Warszawa 1830, s. 143–149


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Wyrobek E., Jaka była przyczyna tak szybkiej śmierci króla Stefana Batorego, „Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny”, 16 XII 1929, dodatek: „Kurier Literacko-Naukowy”, s. 1–2


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