The beginnings of the career of the Sobieski family
Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

Passage to knowledge

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

The beginnings of the career of the Sobieski family Adam Andrzej Wetsuit source: "Mówią wieki", no. 3, 1982
44_marek sobieski, dziad króla.jpg

The Sobieski family originated from the village of Sobieszczyn in the voivodeship of Sandomierz. Its fifteenth-century nestor was Mikołaj Sobieski, a medium wealthy nobleman who leased three villages apart from Sobieszczyn. His main heir was the firstborn son, Stanisław, whose youngest offspring, Sebastian, was the great grandfather of Jan III. The next link in the genealogical tree of the future king was Jan Sobieski, who married Katarzyna Gdeszyńska. At that time, not a single Sobieski held even a county office, and all belonged to the average middle gentry, involved in their affairs. Marek, the son of Sebastian (1550–1608), was the first to achieve the status of a senator. An opportunity for the promotion was provided by the Union of Lublin (1569) - vast lands incorporated into the Crown (Podlasie, Volhynia, the region of Kiev and Bracław) - offered a chance to create latifundia, from which many subsequently prosperous families benefitted (the Koniecpolskis, the Leszczyńskis, the Zasławskis, the Zebrzydowskis). A great career was impossible without protection. Marek Sobieski found powerful protectors in Jan Zamoyski and King Stefan Batory; the latter was to have said that if the fate of the realm were to depend on a single skirmish, he would never trust anyone more than Marek Sobieski. The king also granted him the first important office to be held by any member of the family – that of the royal court standard bearer.

Marek was predominantly a soldier participating in all the campaigns of the period. He won acclaim at the battle of Byczyna (1588) as the closest adviser of Jan Zamoyski.  Afterwards, he was ordered by the chancellor to keep guard over Maximilian Habsburg imprisoned in Krasnystaw. Zygmunt III Vasa appointed him chancellor in return for services rendered, and then the voivode of Lublin. Marek Sobieski diligently increased his private wealth and received numerous royal landed estates as annuities; nor did he scorn assorted tenancies. He died as a wealthy man with numerous connections. His children had an open path towards excellent marriages (son Jakub married the granddaughter of Hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski) and political careers. The enormous progress of the career is evidenced by Marek’s two marriages: his first wife was a noblewoman Jadwiga Snopkowska, and the second: Katarzyna, came  from the Tęczyński magnate family.

We would like to inform that for the purpose of optimisation of content available on our website and its customisation according to your needs, we use information stored by means of cookies on the Users' end devices. You can control cookies by means of your Internet browser settings. Further use of our website without change of the browser settings means that you accept the use of cookies. For more information on cookies used by us and to feel comfortable about this subject, please familiarise yourselves with our Privacy Policy.

✓ I understand