Count Albert Laski
Researched and compiled by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

The Alchemical symbol showing the
serpent of Arabia, the triple sun,
and the moon

Lasky, Laskey, Laski, and Laske means "one who came from Lask, in Poland;" and "dweller on cleared land."

Lasko means "one who dwelled in or near a forest, the forest, or a worker in the forest. Laskowski is a variation of Lasko (Smith, 300).

Lord/Count Albert/Adelbert Laski:

It is thought that Laski was born on July 13, 1527. It is thought that Albert's father was Hieronymus Jaroslaw Laski (1496-1542).

His family would be something like this:
(Remember this is NOT a genealogical chart and is only here to show Laski family members who have been written about)

  1. John Laski, the elder (1456-1531)was married twice and had two sons and two daughters. He was the Archbishop of Gnesen and Primate of Poland. He was born at Lask and died in Gnesen on May 19, 1531. He sent his nephew, Jerome Laski to Hungary to assist Zapolya, with money and troops in his opposition against the rightful King Ferdinand of Hungary.

  2. Hieronymus Jaroslaw (1496-1542)
    Jan Laski, the younger/Johannes a Lasco (1499-1560)was a reformer. He was born in Lask, Piotrkow, of a noble family.

    Piorokow (Petrikau in German), was a government of Russian Poland, bounded by the government of Warsaw on the N., Radom and Kielce on the E., Kalisz on the W. and Prussian Silesia on the S. Area, 4729 sq. m.; pop. (1906, estimate), 1,675,200.

    Geologically, Piotrkow represents a continuation of Upper Silesia. The government of Piotrkow, was divided into eight districts, and the main towns in this district are:

    1. Piotrkow Bendzin
    2. Brzeziny
    3. Czenstochowa
    4. Lask
    5. Lodz
    6. Nowo-Radom
    7. Rawa.

    Piotrkow was formerly the seat of the high court of Poland. Piotrkow was one of the oldest towns in Poland. In the 15th and 16th centuries, this town was a meeting place of the diets, and the electing of kings. In the I4th century, Casimir the Great built here a castle (now a military church) in Piotrkow, and surrounded the town with walls. In 1769 the Russians defeated the (Polish) forces of the Bar Confederation.

    Jan Laski, the younger, was ordained a priest in 1521, and in 1523, he came into contact with Eramus and Farel. John Laski was one of the noblemen who favored Calvinism. He got caught up in the Reformation and left home around 1540. He moved to East Friesland in 1540. Here he established a Presbyterian form of church government at Emsden. In 1550, on Cranmer's invitation, he became head of a congregation of Protestant refugees in London, England. When Henry VIII's elder daughter, Mary I, came on the English throne he fled back to Emsden, because of her anti-Protestant policies. Jan, the younger, moved back to Poland in 1555, and lived there until his death five years later on January 28, 1560.

    His uncle, Jan Laski, the elder, was a powerful archbishop. Both John Laski's were trained for the church. John Laski (John Alasco)died Protestants were still the minority in Poland.

  3. Albert/Adelbert Laski (1527- 1605). Albert Laski was a writer, an alchemist,and a humanist. His brother-in-law was Vincent Seve. Adelbert is thought to be the nephew of Jan Laski.

The Laski family was credited with remarkable mental alertness, which was hereditary in this family. Jan, the Elder was archbishop of Gnesen.

Count Laski was an unorthodox Catholic, because of his dabblings in alchemy and magic. Johannes a Lasko was a kinsman of Albert. Laski was an intellect, and was fluent in several languages. At age 50, he was considered a robust man, especially for his age. Laski had a thick beard that covered his breast and shoulders. He was said to dress in bright scarlet, his favorite color.

Lord Albert Laski was a Polish "prince," during the reign of Stephen Batory. Batory was elected King of Poland and Transylvania. Laski was the palatine of Sieradz (west of Lodz)(in 1566). In 1575, Laski was suspected of raising a private army to seize the Polish throne, while it was vacant. This was after the reign of Prince Henry de Valois.

Laski was in England June 15, 1583, and meet with Elizabeth I's conjurer, John Dee (1527-1608) and Edward Kelly (1555-1595), Dee's assistant. These gentlemen all shared a belief in the occult. Dee was best known for his crystal scrying, occult arts, and alchemy.

John Dee had heard of Laski on March 18, 1583. A Mr. North had just returned from a trip to Poland. Apparently, this Mr. North told Dee of Laskis reputation as an alchemist. Dee and Laski met at Greenwich Palace. The Greenwich Palace chambers of Robert Dudley, the earl of Leicester (185-89), hosted another event in his honor. Upon his meeting with Elizabeth I, Laski wore robes of purple velvet. Purple was held as a royal color, and it was thought that Laski had some link to the royal family. To have worn this color in front of Elizabeth I would have been a bit cheek were he not of a higher standing. We know that the queen's barge was at Laski's disposal for his trip up the Thames to Oxfordshire, England. One can imagine that he viewed many of the stately manors that banked the Thames on his trip. Laski was rich enough to had financed the adventures of Jacob Basilikos.

John Dee and Count Laski made a trip together back to Poland, in September 1583. They logged their travels through Lubeck, Rostock, Stettin (Szczecin) and spent Christmas in Poznan, Poland. In Poznan the alchemists toured the Cathedral. By November 1, 1583, they were in Bremen. Here Dee and Laski had a vision of Vincent Seve, Laski's brother-in-law, in London, England. At Konin, they crossed the River Warta and on February 3, 1584 (four months later), they reached L~ask, Laski's hometown, and seat of their lordship.

In Lasko, a spirit named Nalvage appeared to John Dee. The spirit foretold that he (Dee) would havwe a spiritual mission with Laski. The spirit "Nalvage" had a alter ego named Madimi. Curiously enough, Laski would name his daughter, Madimi.

On March 19, 1584, John Dee was recovering from "Ague." They next went to Crakow, Poland, located 100 miles south of L~ask. In L~ask, Count Laski was to turn base metals into gold, via alchemy. Laski stayed in a wooden lodge in St. Stanislaus Church, located south of the Wawel Castle.

Laski led a faction of Polish nobles, who sided with Rudolf II, an enemy of Stephan Batory. In fact, Laski and Dee had an audience with Rudolf II on September 1584. One noble revolutionary was named Zborowski. Zborowski was a popular Polish figure, and his arrest stirred up a rebellion, resulting in Zborowski's execution.

Laski financed the trip to Poland, but his fortune was running out. Some believe that he hoped for some help from Elizabeth I, and John Dee. Dee wrote, in his diary, on June 19, 1583, about Laski's financial difficulties, so apparently this was not a secret. Dee even wrote a letter to Sir Phillip Sidney saying that the Polish prince had "received the bottom of his purse."

On May 1586, John Dee's books are burned in Prague, and in May 1586, he is banished from Bohemia by the order of Rudolph II. This is as a result of his friend's (Count Lasky's) failure to produce gold. The King thought of Dee as a co-conspirator in this ruse.

Kings were always looking for ways to get rich and did not tolerate fools. Later on, Alexander I (1777-1825) of Russia, ascended the throne (in 1801). He was somewhat influenced by a mystic named Baroness von Krudener. This seemed to be a part of the Romanov's dynasty's downfall in later years when Rasputin worked his occult practices on Queen Alexandra.

SOURCES:

Bartels, J. Evans. Johannes a Lasco. (1886)

Wooley, Benjamin. The Queen's Conjurer. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001.

Smith, Elsdon C. New Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1988.

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