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John III Sobieski Edit Profile

military commander

John Sobieski, also known as John III Sobieski, ruled Poland for 22 years. For that period he proved his skills in organization of his military, demonstrating them in the wars against the Ottoman Empire. He was a very skilled military commander who commanded many battles with great success and victories. John III Sobieski was probably most known for his military victory over the Turskish military in the 1683 Battle of Vienna.


John III Sobieski was born on August 17, 1629, His place of birth was Olesko. Olesko is a small city in Ukraine, near the city of Lwów in Galicia. His birth town Olesko was by the time he was born a part of the Ruthenian Voivodeship, which was a part of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He was born to a notable but less known noble family de Sobyeszyn Sobies, which belonged to the Janina clan. His ancestors were of lesser nobility. His father was Jakub Sobieski and John III Sobieski's mother was Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz. His mother, Zofia was the granddaughter of high-rank military commander Stanisław Żółkiewski. When John III Sobieski was born, his father had already became an officer of higher rank and had an office at the royal court.

At the end of life, John III Sobieski's father, Jakub, became the castellan of the city of Kraków. His position as a castellan made him a member of the Polish Senate. John III Sobieski spent the most of his life growing up in Żółkiew. After he graduated from the college in 1646, John III Sobieski decided to go on an adventure together with his brother Marek Sobieski. They decided to travel all the Western Europe. He and his brother, Marek Sobieski, were traveling through the Western Europe for two years long. The Sobieski noble brother visited along their journey cities such as Leipzig, Antwerpen, Paris, London, Leiden, The Hague, Amsterdam and many other cities. Along his journey, important things happened, John III Sobieski and his brother Marek met many important figures of those days such as Louis II de Bourbon, Charles II of England and William II Prince of Orange. His journey had helped him learn many world languages such as French, German and Italian and he also improved his knowledge of the Latin language.

Later, his knowledge of French, German and Italian helped John III Sobieski in his later military career. After a long journey that lasted from 1646 to 1648, two noble Sobieski brothers came back home to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.


John III Sobieski was a well-educated man. He graduated from two colleges. First, he graduated from Nowodworski College based in Krakow in 1643, after graduating from Nowodworski College, he also graduated philosophy from Jagiellonian University in 1646.


When John III Sobieski had returned in 1648 from a Western Europe journey together with his brother Marek Sobieski, they have received a message that the king Władysław IV Vasa was murdered and that there wars happening because od the Khmelnytsky Uprising, they decided to join the military. Two noble brothers fought together in the siege of of Zamość. The ongoing wars and battles separated two Sobieski brothers. Brother John III Sobieski fought intensively in the Battle of Zboriv. It is unknown where his brother fought when they have separated from each other, but it is known that John III Sobieski lost his brother under the Tatar imprisonment. The Tatars organized Batih massacre after capturing warriors, including Marek Sobieski, in the Battle of Batih. John III Sobieski felt devastated because he lost the person he loved the most – his brother, in a cruel war.

When the Swedish warriors invaded Poland, he joined the warriors because he was opposing the rulership of the Polish King John Casimir. One year later, John III Sobieski, changed his mind and fought under the name of King John Casimir. He became one of the leaders who expelled the Swedish warriors. In the year of 1665, John III Sobiecki was appointed to the prestigious office of grand marshall. His friend, Queen Maria Louisa a.k.a Queen Ludwika, influenced John III Sobieski to get onto that position. In the year of 1666, John III Sobieski became the hetman of the Polish army. In the Autumn of 1667, John III Sobieski won over the Tatar army and the Cossacks in the surroundings of Podhajce, which is today known as Podgaytsy in Ukraine. At the beginning of 1668, John III Sobiecki came back proud to be the hero in Warsaw after successful battles against the Tatars and the Cossacks. He was awarded military title grand-hetman, a very important military title.

Somewhere in the middle of the year 1665, John III Sobiecki married young, but very ambitious French widowed woman Marie-Casimire de la Grange d’Arquien, who was later given a Polish name Marysieńka. His ambitious about her plans wife planned John III Sobiecki to become the King of Poland, after the King of Poland John Casimir abdicated in 1668. Marysieńka's plan didn't go as she wished – the noblemen of Polish royal court elected Michael Wiśniowiecki as the heir to throne. In 1669 Michael Wiśniowiecki indeed became the King of Poland. His wife, angry with the decision of the noblemen, started writing letters of support to King Louis XIV of France so he could advance his husband's position in the royal and military hierarchy.

John III Sobiecki achieved a lot of victories in the military battles, during the short-lived rulership of King Michael Wiśniowiecki. John III Sobiecki distinguished himself by winning over the Cossacks, and he also tried to undermine King Michael Wiśniowiecki. The King of Poland Michael Wiśniowiecki died in November 1673. What is a bigger wonder from it is that just a few days before Michael's death, John III Sobiecki won over Turkish army in a legendary battle near Chocim. The reputation of John III Sobiecki was so exclusive that he had been proclaimed as the new King of Poland in May of 1674, instead of a Habsburg Dinasty candidate.

As a diplomat, John III Sobiecki founded a French-Ottoman Empire ally against the Habsburg Monarchy and Brandenburg. But his plans never became a part of reality. Both France and Ottoman Empire left alliance with Poland in 1683. Being aware that Poland needs an ally and is on the edge of war with most neighboring kingdoms and countries, John III Sobieski became an ally with Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire. This ally between Poland and the Holy Roman Empire was directly against the Ottoman Empire and indirectly against France.

In the spring of 1683, Polish royal spies found out of the plans the Ottoman Empire has for destroying the Polish cities of Krakow and Lviv. After hearing of the Ottoman plans, King John III Sobiecki ordered building city walls around Krakov and Lviv.

• Battle of Vienna/The siege of Vienna

John III Sobieski, although he was an admirer of France, left the alliance with France and made an alliance with Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire. Their ally was against the Ottoman Empire. By the ally terms, both Poland and the Holy Roman Empire agreed that each side would protect each empire's capital city in case the Ottoman Empire raids the capital. The worst happened. A big army of the Ottoman Empire approached the capital of the Holy Roman Empire in 1683. When John Sobiecki heard that the capital city of his ally the Holy Roman Empire is about to be under attack, he raided to Vienna as fast he could with around 25,000-men army. Later, more than 50,000 men were involved in the battle, and John III Sobiecki was directing and army of 75,000 men. His cleverness and talent for military strategics led to victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna at the Kahlenberg.

Just before approaching Vienna, John III Sobiecki planned to make an attack on the 13th of September, but however, the Ottoman Army was very close to the gates of Vienna, John III Sobieci ordered the attack to be made on 12th of September.

On the early morning of 12 September 1683, the army of a unknown number of men, thought to be around 65,000 to 75,000 men, of which were around 27,000 Poles, fought against the Ottoman Army of circa 80,000 to 100,000 warriors. At 5 pm of that same day, John III Sobiecki attacked with his hussars cavalry the remaining warriors of the Ottoman Army. The battle ended when he entered the tent of the Ottoman Army's commander Kara Mustafa and killed him. After his win over the Ottoman Empire, Pope Innocent XI proclaimed John III Sobiecki as the savior of Christendom, because he prevented the expansion of Islamic religion to Western Europe.


  • His excellent military skills and tactics won over the wars with the Ottoman Empire. During his rulership that lasted for 20 years long, John III Sobiecki stabilized the Polish-Lithuanin Commonewealth. He was loved by the Polish nation and is considered as the best ruler Poland has ever had. The noblemen respected him as an able military commander able to win over in any battle. John III Sobiecki is probably most famous for winning over the Ottoman Empire's army at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. After his win at the Battle of Vienna, the Ottomans nicknamed him „Lion of Lechistan“, because of his courage and patriotism. The Pope Innocent XI proclaimed him as the savior of the Christendom and Christianity.


John III Sobiecki was born Roman Catholic. Through his life he nurtured his Christian faith and went to the church when he had free time. The best example how he was fanatic about Christianity is when he prevented the expansion of Islamic religion through the Western Europe by winning over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna.


John III Sobiecki was a patriot and would do anything for his country of Poland. Through his life, John III Sobiecki disliked the Ottoman Empire because of their betrayal they had made when they left their ally with Poland. John III Sobiecki is considered as the best Polish monarch ever lived and one of the best Polish military strategists and politicians.


He looked at the world through the eyes of a true emperor. He wanted all the best for his country Poland and wanted Poland to become the center of the world. He didn't trust a lot to people since he was a lot of times betrayed by them and had a cynical world outlook.


He was intelligent and courageous King of the Polish people. He was an aesthete and loved spending his hard earned fortune on decorating his royal castle in near Warsaw.

Physical Characteristics : John III Sobieski had friendly round brown eyes and bushy eyebrows. He wasn't very tall, he was rather short and on the edge of obesity. His trademark were his long mustaches.

  • ““I came, I saw, God conquered.”

    ―John III Sobieski”


  • Other Interests

    Reading, Poetry


John III Sobiecki married only once to Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien. They got married on 5 July 1665. They had 12 children of which only two survived beyond adulthood.

Jakub Sobieski

Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz

Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien