Although war refugees are mostly a subject of research involving war and military conflict in the 20th and 21st centuries, forced migration also accompanied many earlier military conflicts. This article focuses on war refugees during the Deluge period in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, when the Commonwealth was simultaneously at war with Muscovy (1654–1667) and Sweden (1665–1660). At that time, the idea of offering temporary shelter for refugees was increasingly recognised, and relief for refugees gradually became a concern of the nascent modern state. In the Commonwealth, the Cossack uprising and the aforementioned wars of the mid-17th century made the issue of war refugees particularly relevant. The article first clarifies the terms that were used to refer to migration and war refugees (zbieg, advenus, profugus, exul and wygnaniec). Later, it examines whether state institutions in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL), a constituent part of the Commonwealth, attempted to deal with refugees’ problems. Finally, on the basis of scarce and fragmentary sources, the author makes an attempt to trace the fate of women refugees from different parts of the GDL in Žemaitija (Samogitia) in 1654–1667, and their behavioural strategies, and to answer the question to what extent the decisions of the women refugees were independent, or dependent on the will of their spouse or their family.
The article focuses on problems of chronology and textual development in the Ruthenian translation of the Czech Lucidarius. This translation is known from five published and one unpublished Cyrillic manuscript copies written between the second quarter of the 16th and the early 19th century. A new explanation of the information contained in these manuscripts regarding the time of the translation and the dating of the Czech original is proposed. Particular attention is paid to establishing the initial structure and sequence of the texts in the Ruthenian translation, which reflect its non-extant Czech printed source.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 41 (2020): Aspects of Southeast Baltic Social History: The 14th to the 18th Centuries = Baltijos pietrytinės pakrantės socialinės istorijos aspektai XIV–XVIII amžiais, pp. 165–188
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Žemaitija (Samogitia) was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, known for the especially harsh political and military conflicts that afflicted the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at that time. The hegemony of the Sapieha magnate family, established in Lithuania in the 1680s, was not in the interest of the other most influential magnate families. On the eve of the Great Northern War (1700–1721), the internal struggle between different magnate factions in Lithuania was taking extremely radical forms, which overstepped the framework of routine political competition. Open violence was increasingly resorted to, especially during sessions of the sejmiks (local parliaments). This article aims to show the reasons for the active involvement of the Žemaitijan nobility in the anti-Sapieha movement. The author attempts to find answers to the questions why Žemaitija became an arena for the exceptionally active struggle between magnate factions, and whether the supporters of the anti-Sapieha movement actually prevailed in Žemaitija at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 41 (2020): Aspects of Southeast Baltic Social History: The 14th to the 18th Centuries = Baltijos pietrytinės pakrantės socialinės istorijos aspektai XIV–XVIII amžiais, pp. 125–143
After the conversion of Lithuania, Christian norms changed the old pagan traditions in society by adapting them to local customs. Although the blending of Christianity with old traditions in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) has already been studied by historians, previous research has not provided a clear picture of how it changed the institution of marriage. Marriage in the GDL has usually been studied based on an analysis of the institutions of matrimonial property (dowry, dower). This article focuses on the institution of marriage and the concept of the validity of marriage in the 16th-century GDL. The author investigates the secular laws of the GDL, which, despite being codified in the Statutes of Lithuania, preserved some local elements of the marriage custom, and individual secular court cases. The concept of the validity of marriage is analysed by exploring the meanings of the words венчание and шлюб and their evolution. These two Ruthenian concepts described the act of a valid (ecclesiastical) marriage in secular law. The author describes their establishment in the society of the GDL, before discussing their use. A content analysis of both concepts is performed by explaining how the terms were understood and used by the members of different estates (unfree people, peasants, nobility). This allows the author to show not only the regulation of a valid marriage in the norms of the Statutes of Lithuania, but also to reveal how the notion of the validity of marriage functioned in practice.
The paper focuses on the swastika, artefacts of antler, wood, metal and clay marked with the swastika, and swastika-shaped items from the 13th and 14th centuries in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. An answer is sought to the question what the swastika, a universal sign and symbol, represented in ancient Lithuanian culture and religion, and what kinds of shapes and accompanying mythological meanings it possessed. It is concluded that in the 13th and 14th centuries, the swastika did not have a canon of representation, and its perpendiculars on one-sided items faced in one or the other rotary direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise), while on two-sided ones they faced in both directions simultaneously. Two Lithuanian gods, Perkūnas (Thunder) and Kalvelis (Blacksmith), emerged in the explored contexts of items marked with a swastika. This confirms the genetic connection between the swastika and an equilateral cross, the sign of fire or Thunder, characteristic of the Baltic and ancient Lithuanian religious tradition. To date, there is no reason to believe that the perpendiculars could change the symbolic meaning.
In 1589, the Sejm of the Commonwealth of the Two Nations established the royal holdings (Crown lands), called Economijas, of Šiauliai, Hrodna, Alytus, Brest, Kobrin and Mahilioŭ in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, Šiauliai started to function as a royal Economija only in 1619. At this time, it was the largest and richest royal holding in the grand duchy. The article deals with the relatively closed community of the Šiauliai Economija in the second half of the 17th century. Its unusual administrative system, with its relatively abundant community records, makes it possible to trace and discuss the following issues: how the local government had functioned and how it maintained relations with the community; how the local community and individual members used and dealt with decisions by the Lithuanian central government; what rules of communication applied between different actors, the Lithuanian central government, the Šiauliai Economija government, and the local community.
This article seeks to analyse the presence and activities of Lithuanian grand ducal power along the River Nemunas in the period 1283 to 1410. The war between the Teutonic Order and the Lithuanians is viewed from the point of view of challenge-and-response theory. A detailed analysis of narrative sources has allowed us to distinguish two periods in which Lithuanian grand ducal power actively promoted the introduction of innovations in the Lithuanian art of war. The first period encompasses the last decade of the 13th century and the first decade of the 14th century. In this period, not only was a line of Lithuanian castles put in place along the rivers Nemunas and Jūra, but also what we call the Lithuanian military riverine fleet was created. The period was also likely to have been a time when Lithuanian forces adopted the crossbow. The second period involves the last two decades of the 14th and the early 15th century. In this period, a more active defence of fords across the rivers Nemunas and Neris was undertaken from time to time by Lithuanian troops, by putting up wooden fortifications and employing artillery. The synergy of fortification and artillery was a recipe for Lithuanian troops to counter some of the advantages enjoyed by their Teutonic adversaries on water and on land.
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 article analyzes polysemous phenomenon of the history of European law and historical culture of European cities, the part of which is granting the privileges of the Lübeck and Kulm Law to Klaipėda in the Middle Ages. The development of the Lübeck and Magdeburg Law and the modification of the latter, the Kulm Law, is researched by historians, law and culture history experts of many European countries in various aspects, however, this phenomenon has not been systematically presented in the Lithuanian research literature. Therefore, basing the present investigation on the generalized analyses of the researchers working in Germany and in other countries, the article introduces the features of the historical development of the Lübeck, Magdeburg and Kulm Law. This article accords a particular attention to the analysis of the genesis of the medieval German towns’ laws, as well as the reasons and ways of their dispersion. The article also investigates the historical circumstances and factors which determined the expansion of the Lübeck and Magdeburg Law in the Middle Europe and to the East of Europe during the Middle and the Early New Ages. The ways, chronology, and area of the transfer eastwards of these laws are introduced. The sources and transformations of these laws are also analyzed in the article. The historical context of the emergence of the Kulm Law is discussed. The significance of these laws in the Middle and East Europe is presented in general outline in the article.
Journal:Acta Historica Universitatis Klaipedensis
Volume 14 (2007): Baltijos regiono istorija ir kultūra: Lietuva ir Lenkija. Socialinė istorija, kultūrologija = History and Culture of Baltic Region: Lithuania and Poland. Social History, Cultural Sciences, pp. 209–214
Maria Znamierowska-Prufferowa was born in 1898 in Kybartai, Lithuania. In 1924 she became an assistant lecturer at the Faculty of Ethnography and Ethnology of the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius. It was at her initiative that the Ethnographic Museum here embarked upon the quest to research and to present the culture of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. She had managed to complete a number of field research projects which focused primarily on fishing (tools and methods used by fishermen, as well as their witchcraft and beliefs) and handicraft. This article identifies the theoretical and social contexts of the research, as well as the scope and availability of materials gathered by the scholar. It also discusses the value of the above materials as a source of knowledge for the contemporary ethnologist.