The article examines the political relations between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, especially Žemaitija as a constituent part, and Žemgala (Semigallia), from the beginning of the 1279 Žemgalian uprising against the Teutonic Order until the rule of Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania. The author tries to explain why Gediminas used the title of Duke of Žemgala in his letters of 1323, although in other cases, the title of the Lithuanian rulers does not include the name of Žemgala, and neither do other sources describing the territorial structure of the grand duchy mention Žemgala as part of it. Some historians have already argued that Žemgala was joined to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1279. The article re-examines this argument, and tries to validate it. The cooperation of Lithuania (especially Žemaitija) with the Žemgalians during the war of 1279–1290 shows that the integration of Žemgala into the Lithuanian state was in fact its integration into Žemaitija during the war. The author concludes that this integration was not denied by the time Gediminas took power, despite the fact that the Teutonic Order had already initiated a new phase in the invasion of Žemgala. Gediminas used the title of Duke of Žemgala because he actually controlled most of Žemgala. A substantial part of it remained permanently within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The 13th and early 14th century was a time when Lithuania emerged as a grand duchy and became one of the biggest expansion forces in northeast Europe. Unfortunately, we have no information today about what the equipment of a Lithuanian warrior looked like at that time, except for archaeological data and poor historical sources. The aim of this article is to show that by using this apparently quite scanty information, we can create not only an image of the arms and armour used by a particular warrior; there is also a possibility to retrace specific features of warfare by Lithuanians. The search for analogues should not be limited to archaeology. Much information can be obtained from sources in the fine arts and applied arts. The analysis of Medieval art can be as important as research into weapons itself, because an archaeologically discovered object can easily be recognised in fine arts sources. However, this information should be analysed carefully, taking into account certain factors (the special conditions of Medieval art) that may cause the study to go in the wrong direction.
There was no ideal or typical way of establishing the Reformation in Europe, while Church reform in East Central Europe cannot be attributed solely to the influence of the ideas from Wittenberg. Much more important than looking for a causal relationship is to analyse the responses, correlations and interactions. This is done in the article by looking for an answer to the question why Protestantism established itself relatively late in the geographical area called Courland (Kurland, present-day Kurzeme), and more precisely how the creation of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (1561–1562) was connected with the establishment of the Evangelical Church in this region. In looking for an answer, the article outlines the challenges faced by the Teutonic Order’s domains in Livonia during the Reformation in the first half of the 16th century. It explores the activities of Gotthard Kettler, the last Master of the Teutonic Order in Livonia (1559–1561), in the conversion to Protestantism, and the creation of the Duchy. Finally, the article discusses how ‘the princely Reformation’ that created new confessional and cultural realities in the northeast of Central Europe during the second half of the 16th century manifested itself in a specific region.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 33 (2016): Verbum movet, exemplum trahit. The Emerging Christian Community in the Eastern Baltic = Verbum movet, exemplum trahit. Krikščioniškosios bendruomenės tapsmas Rytų Baltijos regione, pp. 187–203
The article explores the changes in the gathering, processing and use of amber on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea at the end of the Viking Age and in the 12th to 16th century. In the pagan sacral space, works in amber reflected mythological elements, and later they were transformed and adapted to Christian practice, at the same time as maintaining the commercial value of amber as a material. Archaeological material from the above-mentioned period illustrates the gradual diffusion of Christian elements in the pagan territories. Their expression is visible in new forms of amber works.
Built in 1252 by the Livonian Order and later passed over to the Teutonic Order, the Klaipėda castle (German – Memelburg) was the northernmost castle of the Order in Prussia. For both geographical and political reasons, it was separated from the hinterlands of the Order’s state, making its survival strategy here specific. This article analyses the zooarchaeological material found during the 1997-1999 archaeological excavations and dated to the 14th-17th centuries. The analysis of the historical data and zooarchaeological material showed that in the 14th-17th centuries, the inhabitants of the Klaipėda castle (the Order’s brothers, their servants, the outwork’s artisans, and the townspeople who hid in the outwork) reared and slaughtered domesticated animals, hunted large game and consumed its meat, processed cheese, ground grain, drank mead and ale. The bulk of the meat consisted of beef, mutton, and pork, as well as goats’ meat starting 1434. An examination of the species and number of bones of domestic and wild animals in Klaipėda’s castle shows that in all of the Klaipėda castle time periods analysed, differences were found between the historical source information and the zooarchaeological collection. Domestic animal bones dominated in the latter, especially that of ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats); pigs comprised the second group according to quantity. The growing quantity of small ruminants (sheep, goats) starting 1434 also is reflected in the zooarchaeological material; from the 16th to 17th centuries, the number of bones of these animals doubled. The amount of riding horses markedly grows in the inventory books starting the middle of the 15th century, and this also is confirmed by zooarchaeological material. When comparing the results of the zooarchaeological material’s analysis with the known 14th-16th century inventories of Klaipėda’s castle in which there are data regarding the domestic animals (cattle, sheep/ goats, horses, pigs) reared for the castle’s needs and the food eaten by the castle’s inhabitants, changes are observed in the faunal species and amounts of the zooarchaeological material that post-date 1521, when 31.25% consists of pig (Sus suis) bones, while the number of species and bone counts of large wild animals (aurochs/ European bison, elk, red deer) and fur-bearing animals (beaver, bear) grows significantly (from 5.5% to 22.92%). Various kinds of fish caught in the sea near Klaipėda and in the Curonian Lagoon held an important place in the diet of the castle’s garrison. Fowl comprised only a small part of the food.