Ką 1219 m. įvykiai Mežuotnėje bylojo apie žemgalių visuomenės sanklodą? | What do the Events of 1219 in Mežotne Say about Žemgalian Society?
Volume 39 (2019): The Unknown Land of Žemaitija: The 13th to the 18th Centuries = Žemaitija – nežinoma žemė: XIII–XVIII amžiai, pp. 49–69
Pub. online: 18 December 2019 Type: Article Open Access
18 December 2019
18 December 2019
The account of the 1219 treaty between the Lithuanian dukes and Galicia-Volhynia provided by the chronicler of the Ruthenian principality lists briefly several dukes from different areas of what is treated by contemporary historians as the Lithuanian confederation. They include the dukes of Lithuania, Deltuva, Nalšia and Žemaitija, but do not mention representatives of the Curonians, Žemgalians (Semigallians) or Yotvingians. Our knowledge of one of the omitted areas, Žemgala (Semigallia, today southern Latvia and northern Lithuania), is still based on the presumption that its society should have developed according to a more or less similar path as other Baltic societies of that period. The article invites us to reconsider this presumption, focusing on one episode mentioned by Henry of Livonia in his chronicle from the early 13th century. Henry describes how, in 1219, the Žemgalians of the Mežotne (Mesoten) area approached the Bishop of Riga seeking military assistance to defend themselves against the Lithuanians, and, as it became evident during the negotiations, against other Žemgalians. In dealing with this episode, the author attempts to characterise the society of Žemgala, mainly its upper social layer, which could be described considering scarce sources. This leads him to the broader question of whether the development of Žemgalian society was similar to other non-Christian (firstly, Baltic) societies.