The Warrior-King Who Saved Europe From Islam

Poland’s kings are a fascinating bunch, ranging from great scoundrels like Boleslaw the Bold, who hacked up St. Stanislaw, to larger than life characters like King Kazimierz, who raised 14th century Poland to greatness. Even St. Jadwiga, who founded the Jagiellonian University, was technically “king” because 14th century Polish law did not allow for a queen.

While these rulers are discussed at length in City of Saints, there is another leader not to be overlooked. I caught up with Greek-Polish historian Miltiades Varvounis, author of Jan Sobieski: The King Who Saved Europe, to talk about another Polish king—King Jan Sobieski. Considered the greatest warrior king of his time, Sobieski is best known for winning the Battle of Vienna against the Ottoman Empire in 1683, but he his legacy goes well beyond the battlefield.

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