Sophia of Halshany
Sophia of Halshany or Sonka Olshanskaya was a Grand Duchy of Lithuania princess of Halshany. As the fourth and last wife of Jogaila, King of Poland and Supreme Duke of Lithuania, she was Queen consort of Poland; as the mother of Władysław III, King of Poland and Hungary, Casimir IV, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, she was the founder of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sophia was a middle daughter of Andrew Olshansky, son of Vytautas' right-hand man Ivan Olshansky, Alexandra Drucka, daughter of Dmitry of Druck. Historians disagree on the identity of Dmitry: Polish historiography provides Jogaila's half-brother Dmitry I Starshiy while Russian historians provide Dimitri Semenovich of Rurikid origin, her father died when she was young and the family moved to Druck to live with Alexandra's brother Siemion Drucki. Sophia was an Eastern Orthodox Christian, it is believed that she was illiterate and uneducated. It is unknown, it is known. At the time Sophia was still a teenager, while Jogaila was widowed three times.
He had only one surviving daughter, Hedwig Jagiellon, no male heir. Their marriage was supported by Siemion Drucki, her uncle, Vytautas, her aunt's husband, but opposed by Polish nobility and Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, who proposed marriage to his brother's widow Sophia of Bavaria. According to a custom, it would be a disgrace if a younger sister would marry before the elder sister. Therefore, Sophia's older sister Vasilisa was married off to Ivan Bielski, son of Jogaila's half-brother Vladimir Olgerdovich, in 1421. In February 1422, Sophia was baptized in the Roman Catholic rite; the wedding ceremony, carried out by Matthias of Trakai, Bishop of Samogitia, took place in Navahrudak on February 7 or 24. However, her coronation as Queen of Poland took place two years on March 5, 1424; this delay is explained by resistance from the Polish nobility and rather distant relationship between Sophia and Jogaila. In March 1422, Sophia moved to the Wawel Castle in Kraków. There she was met with hostility by supporters of Emperor Sigismund and Princess Hedwig Zbigniew Oleśnicki, the Tęczyński and Tarnowski families.
For a year, the couple spent time apart: Jogaila traveled to Prussia for the Gollub War, to Lithuania to spend the winter, to Hungary for negotiations with Emperor Sigismund while Sophia stayed in Kraków. Alone in a foreign and hostile court, Sophia wrote letters to Jogaila expressing her unhappiness. Only in April 1423, Jogaila took Sophia to a trip to Russia, it is that the relationship grew closer during that journey as Jogaila took active steps to have Sophia crowned as the queen by Archbishop of Gniezno Wojciech Jastrzębiec. Coronation festivities in March 1424 lasted five days. Sophia received the villages of Stara Zagość and Bogucice Pierwsze as well as 20,000 grzywnas of Prague groschen. On the night of October 30–31, 1424, she gave birth to Władysław III of Poland, the first male heir born in Poland in 114 years; the son raised Sophia's prestige and political influence in Poland. The parents soon became engulfed in a political power struggle to ensure Władysław's succession. Polish nobility claimed that Jogaila's claim to the throne was not hereditary and that a new king should be elected by the nobles.
Congresses in Brest and Łęczyca, the nobles declared that Władysław would inherit only if he confirmed certain noble freedoms and refused proposal for Sophia's regency. Jogaila continued to campaign. On May 16, 1426, in Kraków Sophia gave birth to Casimir, second son of Jogaila. However, the boy died on March 2, 1427; these dates, provided in historical sources, contradict a 1950 study of Casimir's skeleton which found that the bones are of an 18-month-old boy. In spring 1427, while pregnant with the third child, Sophia was accused of marital infidelity, therefore casting a doubt over Władysław's and yet-unborn Casimir's paternity. Two of her servants were arrested and tortured and seven men were named as Sophia's lovers: treasurer Hińcza of Rogów, Piotr Kurowski, Wawrzyniec Zaręba, Jan Kraska, Jan Koniecpolski, brothers Piotr and Dobiesław of Szczekociny; the case went before a court. After the birth of her third son, Sophia took an oath before the court that she was innocent and the case was dismissed.
Despite the scandal which dragged on for several months, the paternity of Sophia's children was never questioned again. On November 29 or 30, 1427, Sophia gave birth to Casimir IV Jagiellon; the royal couple continued to work to assure their sons' rights to the Polish throne. In fall 1428, the couple traveled to Lithuania to support the plan to obtain royal crown of Lithuania to Grand Duke Vytautas. Elderly Vytautas had no heir and his crown would have passed to Jogaila and his sons. If Polish nobility wanted to preserve the Polish–Lithuanian union, they would be forced to elect Jogaila's sons to the Polish throne. Historians summed up this strategy as "through hereditary Lithuania to hereditary Poland." However, the plan was vehemently opposed by Polish nobles. In the end, Jogaila caved in. During a congress in Jedlnia in March 1430, he accepted nobility's declaration that Władysław would inherit only if he confirmed certain privileges for the nobility and that Sophia would not be a regent. Vytautas died in October
Patrikas Narimantaitis was a grandson of Gediminas who exchanged his lands in and near Starodub in Siveria for the Korela and Oreshek fortresses in the Novgorod Republic. He founded the town of Yamburg in Ingria, his male line descendants include the Galitzine and Khovansky princely houses of Russia. Patrikas was born about 1340, he died after 1408, the date he is mentioned in sources last time. Genealogical literature reports that his mother was a khatun from the Crimea. An 18th-century author claims that her father was khan Tokhta, Batu Khan's great-grandson, her mother was Maria Palaiologina, a bastard daughter of Andronikos II Palaiologos. Patrikas' wife was named Helena. In the 19th century genealogical literature, there has arisen a controversy, Patrikas' father: was he a son of Narimantas, or a son of Alexander, himself a son of Narimantas; some Russian literature chose in the late 19th century to report Alexander as the father, whereas such 20th century standard literature as Ikonnikov and Europäische Stammtafeln continue to report Narimantas as Patrikas' father.
The source authored near the lifetime of Patrikas himself, in the 14th–15th centuries, namely the chronicle of Novgorod, explicitly calls him Patrika son of Narimant when reporting his holding of castles in 1383–1384. In the 1380s, Patrikas arrived to Novgorod to claim the inheritance of Narimantas, he was ceded the fiefs of Korela, Koporye and Ladoga. He held all the "Votian land" as a fief from the Novgorod Republic; the Novgorodians kept the lands of Patrikas as a sort of buffer state between their republic and Sweden. Patrikas helped fortify the northwestern borders of the trade republic and built the fortress of Yam in the Luga district. Europaeus reports that the commoners folks of Karelia still remembered their former Lithuanian rulers: "These Lithuanians held long ago the land of Karelia under their dominion, it is still remembered by the local folks, it is said they had a treasury barn in Ilomantsi, a building with iron doors, where they stored their tax revenues. And there is a tale that during a retreat from a robbing expedition to the borders by these Lithuanians, their one boat, full of silver and drowned in Suojärvi."
In 1386, Patrikas helped defend Veliki Novgorod and its territories against the attacks of Dmitry Donskoy, ruler of Moscow, who held Patrikas responsible for inciting the ushkuiniki raids along the Volga River. Two years the Novgorodian government gave the fiefs of Ladoga and Russa to another Lithuanian princeling, son of Algirdas. Patrikas continued to rule Korela. In 1396 he went to Veliki Novgorod. In 1408, the elderly duke Patrikas, accompanied by his younger sons and Theodore, was ceremoniously welcomed in Moscow by its ruler Vasili I. George was made his trusted advisor. Duke Patrikas' descendants held, during several generations afterwards, estates in the Votian fifth and in the region of Pskov. Ikonnikov, Nicolas F.: La noblesse de Russie part C Schwennicke, Detlev: Europaische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur geschichte der europaischen staaten. Neue Folge Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln, vol III/1. Verlag von J. A. Stargardt Русский биографический словарь Russki biografitšeski slovar, by Alexander Polovtsov, 1896–1918 A.
J. Europaeus, 1859, Karjalan ajan-tiedot Täysinän rauhaan asti, vuonna 1595, Aschan Chronicle of Novgorod Sjöström, Liettuan gediminidien suomensukuiset geneettiset juuret. ISSN 1239-3487, Donelaitis – Donelaitis-seuran, Liettuan Ystävät ryn lehti 1/2011, ss 16..18
Algirdas was a ruler of medieval Lithuania. He ruled the Lithuanians and Ruthenians from 1345 to 1377. With the help of his brother Kęstutis he created an empire stretching from the present Baltic states to the Black Sea and to within fifty miles of Moscow. Algirdas was one of the seven sons of Grand Prince Gediminas. Before his death in 1341, Gediminas divided his domain, leaving his youngest son Jaunutis in possession of the capital, Vilnius. With the aid of his brother, Kęstutis, Algirdas drove out the incompetent Jaunutis and declared himself Grand Prince in 1345, he devoted the next thirty-two years to the development and expansion of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Two factors are thought to have contributed to this result: the political sagacity of Algirdas and the devotion of Kęstutis; the division of their dominions is illustrated by the fact that Algirdas appears exclusively in East Slavic sources, while Western chronicles describe Kęstutis. Lithuania was surrounded by enemies; the Teutonic Order in the northwest and the Golden Horde in the southwest sought Lithuanian territory, while Poland to the west and Muscovy to the east were hostile competitors.
Algirdas held his own acquiring influence and territory at the expense of Muscovy and the Golden Horde and extending the borders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Black Sea. His principal efforts were directed toward securing the Slavic lands which were part of the former Kievan Rus'. Although Algirdas engineered the election of his son Andrew as Prince of Pskov and a powerful minority of Novgorod Republic citizens supported him against Muscovy, his rule in both commercial centres was precarious. Algirdas occupied the important principalities of Bryansk in western Russia. Although his relationship with the grand dukes of Muscovy was friendly, he besieged Moscow in 1368 and 1370 during the Lithuanian–Muscovite War. An important feat by Algirdas was his victory over the Tatars in the Battle of Blue Waters at the Southern Bug in 1362, which resulted in the breakup of the Kipchaks and compelled the khan to establish his headquarters in the Crimea. According to modern historians, "For Gediminas and Algirdas, retention of paganism provided a useful diplomatic tool and weapon... that allowed them to use promises of conversion as a means of preserving their power and independence".
Hermann von Wartberge and Jan Długosz described Algirdas as a pagan until his death in 1377. Contemporary Byzantine accounts support the Western sources, his pagan beliefs were mentioned in 14th-century Byzantine historian Nicephorus Gregoras' accounts. After his death, Algirdas was burned on a ceremonial pyre with 18 horses and many of his possessions in a forest near Maišiagala in the Kukaveitis forest shrine located at 54°55′42″N 25°01′04″E, his alleged burial site has undergone archaeological research since 2009. Algirdas' descendants include the Trubetzkoy and Sanguszko families. Although Algirdas was said to have ordered the death of Anthony and Eustathius of Vilnius, who were glorified as martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church, the 16th-century Bychowiec Chronicle and 17th-century Hustynska Chronicle maintain that he converted to Orthodox Christianity some time before his marriage to Maria of Vitebsk in 1318. Several Orthodox churches were built in Vilnius during his reign, but assertions about his baptism are uncorroborated by contemporary sources.
Despite contemporary accounts and modern studies, some Russian historians claim that Algirdas was an Orthodox ruler. The Kiev Monastery of the Caves' commemorative book, underwritten by Algirdas' descendants, recorded his baptismal name as Demetrius during the 1460s. Following Wojciech Wijuk Kojałowicz and Macarius I, Volodymyr Antonovych writes that Algirdas took monastic vows several days before his death and was interred at the Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius under the monastic name Alexius. Algirdas balanced himself between Muscovy and Poland, spoke Lithuanian and Ruthenian and followed the majority of his pagan and Orthodox subjects rather than to alienate them by promoting Roman Catholicism, his son Jogaila ascended the Polish throne, converted to Roman Catholicism and founded the dynasty which ruled Lithuania and Poland for nearly 200 years. Algirdas is widely honoured in Belarus as a unifier of all Belarusian lands within one state, a successful military commander and ruler of medieval Belarus.
A monument to him has been erected in Vitsebsk in 2014, as part of the celebration of the city's 1040th anniversary. Algirdas was Duke of Vitebsk for over 20 years before becoming Grand Duke of Lithuania. Gediminids House of Algirdas – Algirdas' family tree
The Ostrogski family was one of the greatest Polish-Ruthenian families of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The family spanned from the 14th century to the 17th century. After the death of the last male heir of the Ostrogoski family, Janusz Ostrogski, most of the family's possessions were passed to the Zasławski family; the Ostrogski family was most of Rurikid stock and descended from Sviatopolk II of Kiev. Some scholars however claim that their descent is from the Galicia-Volhynia line of the Rurikid dynasty. Vasilko Romanovich, Prince of Slonim, may have been the grandfather of Prince Daniel Ostrogski; the probable progenitor of this family was Prince Danylo Dmytrovych, who received Ostroh from Liubartas, King of Galicia-Volhynia and son of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas. His son, Prince Feodor Danilovich Ostrogski, was a supporter of King Jagiello, who in 1386 confirmed him in possession of the Ostroh Castle and appointed governor of Volhynia in 1387. In addition to Ostrog Feodor Danilovich Ostrogski became owner of Korets and other towns.
In some chronicles Feodor is called Dux Fethko de Ostrog. Their dominions in Volynia and Podolia included 24 towns, 10 townlets, more than 100 villages; the most notable among Feodor's descendants was Grand Hetman of Lithuania, Prince Konstanty Ostrogski, who defeated Muscovy in the Battle of Orsha and his son Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski. Unlike other Ruthenian magnates, the Ostrogskis refused to give up Eastern Orthodoxy for Roman Catholicism despite the cultural pressure that led to Polonization of Ruthenian nobility. For several generations the Ostrogskis supported the religion of their forefathers, by opening schools, printing books in Ruthenian language with Cyrillic such as "Ostrog Bible" and making a generous charitable contributions to the construction of the Orthodox churches in the region; the last male member of the family was Janusz Ostrogski. When a junior line of the family which inherited the Ostrogoski fortune became extinct in 1682, their huge possessions passed to the Lubomirski family and other families of Polish szlachta.
A complicated litigation concerning the Ostrogski inheritance continued until the Russian Empire annexed Poland during the Partitions. Daniil Ostrogski, ancestor of the Ostrogski house. Feodor Ostrogski, governor of Volhynia. Konstanty Ostrogski - Hetman of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ilia Ostrogski, Braclaw starost Elizaveta Ostrogska Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski, marshal of Volhynia and voivode of the Kiev Voivodeship. Janusz Ostrogski, Voivode of Volhynian Voivodship and castellan of Kraków. Aleksander Ostrogski, Voivode of the Volhynian Voivodship. Aleksander Janusz Zasławski-Ostrogski, Last of Dukes Ostrogski-Zasławski. Władysław Dominik Zasławski-Ostrogski, Voivode of Sandomierz Voivodship. Zofia Ostrogska, married Stanisław Lubomirski. Anna Alojza Ostrogska, married Jan Karol Chodkiewicz. Katarzyna Ostrogska, married Tomasz Zamoyski. Teofilia Ludwika Zasławska, married Dymitr Jerzy Wiśniowiecki Józef Karol Lubomirski Katarzyna Ostrogska, married Krzysztof Mikołaj "the Thunderbolt" Radziwiłł Lithuanian nobility List of szlachta Ostrozki at the Encyclopedia of Ukraine Ostrogski Dynasty Marek, Miroslav.
"Genealogy of the Ostrogski family". Genealogy. EU. Polish-Lithuanian nobility
The Novgorod Republic or Novgorodian Rus' was a medieval East Slavic state from the 12th to 15th centuries, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the northern Ural Mountains, including the city of Novgorod and the Lake Ladoga regions of modern Russia. Citizens referred to their city-state as "His Majesty Lord Novgorod the Great", or more as "Lord Novgorod the Great"; the Republic prospered as the easternmost port of the Hanseatic League and its Slavic and Finnic people were much influenced by the culture of the Viking-Varangians and Byzantine people. In the middle of the 9th century Novgorod was a name used to describe viking staging posts on the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Byzantine Empire. There is a theory that in fact it was not Novgorod as misinterpreted by chroniclers, but Nevo Gardas - viking settlements on Lake Ladoga, as in one of Nestor's chronicles from the 12th century he mentions a lake called "the Great Nevo", a clear link to the Neva River and furthermore, to Finnish nevo "sea" or neva "bog, quagmire".
Novgorod was populated by various Slavic and Baltic tribes that were at war with one another for supremacy. However, these tribes came together during the beginning of the 9th century to try and form a negotiated settlement to end military aggression between each other; the Novgorod First Chronicle, a collection of writings depicting the history of Novgorod from 1016-1471, states that these tribes wanted to “Seek a prince who may rule over us and judge us according to law.” By transforming its governing institutions, Novgorod rejected its politically dependent relationship to Kiev. In 882, Prince Oleg founded the Kievan Rus', of which Novgorod was a part from until 1019-1020. Novgorod Princes were appointed by the Grand Prince of Kiev; the Novgorod boyars began to dominate the offices of posadnik and tysyatsky, which until about the mid-12th century had been appointed by the grand prince in Kiev. In 1136, the Novgorodians dismissed Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich and over the next century and a half were able to invite in and dismiss a number of princes.
However, these invitations or dismissals were based on who the dominant prince in Rus' or Appanage Russia was at the time, not on any independent thinking on the part of Novgorod. Cities such as Staraya Russa, Staraya Ladoga and Oreshek were part of the Novgorodian Land. According to some accounts, a vicar of the archbishop ran the city of Staraya Ladoga in the 13th century; the city of Pskov part of the Novgorodian Land, had de facto independence from at least the 13th century after joining the Hanseatic League. Several princes such as Dovmont and Vsevolod Mstislavich reigned in Pskov without any deference to or consultation with the prince or other officials in Novgorod. Pskov's independence was acknowledged by the Treaty of Bolotovo in 1348. After this, the Archbishop of Novgorod headed the church in Pskov and kept the title "Archbishop of Novgorod the Great and Pskov" until 1589. Novgordian Rus' and its inhabitants were much influenced by Vikings culture and people; these cultural and ethnic Scandinavian imprint shaped the society of Muscovite Rus' and whole Russia.
In the 12th -- 15th centuries, the Novgorodian Republic expanded northeast. The Novgorodians explored the areas around Lake Onega, along the Northern Dvina, coastlines of the White Sea. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Novgorodians explored the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea, the West-Siberian river Ob; the Ugric tribes that inhabited the Northern Urals had to pay tribute to Novgorod the Great. The lands to the north of the city, rich with furs, sea fauna, etc. were of great economic importance to the Novgorodians, who fought a protracted series of wars with Moscow beginning in the late 14th century in order to keep these lands. Losing them meant economic and cultural decline for the city and its inhabitants. Indeed, the ultimate failure of the Novgorodians to win these wars led to the downfall of the Republic. Soviet-era Marxist scholarship described the political system of Novgorod as a "feudal republic", placing it within the Marxist historiographic periodization. Many scholars today, question whether Russia really had a feudal political system parallel to that of the medieval West.
The city state of Novgorod had developed procedures of governance that held a large measure of democratic participation far in advance of the rest of Europe. The people had the power to elect city officials and they had the power to elect and fire the prince; the Chronicle writer goes on to describe a “town meeting” where these decisions would have been made, which included people from all social classes ranging from the Posadniki, to the Chernye Liudi or the lowest class. The precise constitution of the medieval Novgorodian Republic is uncertain, although traditional histories have created the image of a institutionalized network of veches and a government of posadniks, other members of aristocratic families, the archbishops of Novgorod; some scholars argue t
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state that lasted from the 13th century to 1795, when the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria. The state was founded by one of the polytheistic Baltic tribes from Aukštaitija; the Grand Duchy expanded to include large portions of the former Kievan Rus' and other Slavic lands, including what is now Belarus and parts of Ukraine and Russia. At its greatest extent, in the 15th century, it was the largest state in Europe, it was a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, with great diversity in languages and cultural heritage. Consolidation of the Lithuanian lands began in the late 12th century. Mindaugas, the first ruler of the Grand Duchy, was crowned as Catholic King of Lithuania in 1253; the pagan state was targeted in the religious crusade by the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order. The multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state emerged only at the late reign of Gediminas and continued to expand under his son Algirdas.
Algirdas's successor Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo in 1386, bringing two major changes in the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: conversion to Catholicism and establishment of a dynastic union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. The reign of Vytautas the Great marked both the greatest territorial expansion of the Grand Duchy and the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, it marked the rise of the Lithuanian nobility. After Vytautas's death, Lithuania's relationship with the Kingdom of Poland deteriorated. Lithuanian noblemen, including the Radvila family, attempted to break the personal union with Poland. However, unsuccessful wars with the Grand Duchy of Moscow forced the union to remain intact; the Union of Lublin of 1569 created a new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the federation, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania maintained its political distinctiveness and had separate government, laws and treasury; the federation was terminated by the passing of the Constitution of 3 May 1791, when there was supposed to be now a single country, the Commonwealth of Poland, under one monarch and one parliament.
Shortly afterward, the unitary character of the state was confirmed by adopting the Reciprocal Guarantee of Two Nations. However, the newly-reformed Commonwealth was invaded by Russia in 1792 and partitioned between the neighbours, with a truncated state remaining only nominally independent. After the Kościuszko Uprising, the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria in 1795; the Statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania have the complete name of the state as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Samogitia. The title of "grand duchy" was applied to Lithuania from the 14th century onward. In other languages, the grand duchy is referred to as: Belarusian: Вялікае Княства Літоўскае German: Großfürstentum Litauen Estonian: Leedu Suurvürstiriik Latin: Magnus Ducatus Lituaniae Latvian: Lieitija or Lietuvas Lielkņaziste Lithuanian: Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė Old literary Lithuanian: Didi Kunigystė Lietuvos Polish: Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie Russian: Великое княжество Литовское Ruthenian: Великое князство Литовское Ukrainian: Велике князiвство Литовське The first written reference to Lithuania is found in the Quedlinburg Chronicle, which dates from 1009.
In the 12th century, Slavic chronicles refer to Lithuania as one of the areas attacked by the Rus'. Pagan Lithuanians paid tribute to Polotsk, but they soon grew in strength and organized their own small-scale raids. At some point between 1180 and 1183 the situation began to change, the Lithuanians started to organize sustainable military raids on the Slavic provinces, raiding the Principality of Polotsk as well as Pskov, threatening Novgorod; the sudden spark of military raids marked consolidation of the Lithuanian lands in Aukštaitija. The Livonian Order and Teutonic Knights, crusading military orders, were established in Riga in 1202 and in Prussia in 1226; the Christian orders posed a significant threat to pagan Baltic tribes and further galvanized the formation of the state. The peace treaty with Galicia–Volhynia of 1219 provides evidence of cooperation between Lithuanians and Samogitians; this treaty lists 21 Lithuanian dukes, including five senior Lithuanian dukes from Aukštaitija and several dukes from Žemaitija.
Although they had battled in the past, the Lithuanians and the Žemaičiai now faced a common enemy. Živinbudas had the most authority and at least several dukes were from the same families. The formal acknowledgment of common interests and the establishment of a hierarchy among the signatories of the treaty foreshadowed the emergence of the state. Mindaugas, the duke of southern Lithuania, was among the five senior dukes mentioned in the treaty with Galicia–Volhynia; the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, reports that by the mid-1230s, Mindaugas had acquired supreme power in the whole of Lithuania. In 1236, the Samogitians, led by Vykintas, defeated the Livonian Order in the Battle of Saule; the Order was forced to become a branch of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, making Samogitia, a strip of land that separated Livonia from Prussia, the main target of both orders. The battle provided a break in the wars with the Knights, Lithuania exploited this situation, arranging attacks towards the Ruthenian provinces and annexing Navahrudak and Hrodna.
Belarusian historians consider that Mindаugas was invited to rule Navahrudak and that the union was peaceful. In 1248 a civil war broke out be
Sigismund I the Old
Sigismund I of Poland, of the Jagiellon dynasty, reigned as King of Poland and as the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1506 until 1548. Earlier, Sigismund had been invested as Duke of Silesia. A successful monarch and a great patron of arts, he established Polish suzerainty over Ducal Prussia and incorporated the duchy of Mazovia into the Polish state, securing the nation's wealth and power. Sigismund I, the fifth son of Casimir IV and Elisabeth of Habsburg, had ruled Głogów, since 1499 and became margrave of Lusatia and governor of all Silesia in 1504. In a short time his judicial and administrative reforms transformed those territories into model states, he succeeded his brother Alexander I as grand prince of Lithuania and king of Poland in 1506. Although he established fiscal and monetary reforms, he clashed with the Polish Diet over extensions of royal power. At the Diet’s demand he married Barbara, daughter of Prince Stephen Zápolya of Hungary, in 1512, to secure a defense treaty and produce an heir.
She died three years however, leaving only daughters. In 1518 Sigismund married the niece of the Holy Roman emperor Maximilian, Bona Sforza of Milan, by whom he had one son, Sigismund II Augustus, four daughters, his daughter Catherine married John III of Sweden, from whom the Vasa kings of Poland were descended. In 1521 Sigismund made peace with his nephew Albert, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, a paramilitary religious order that ruled East Prussia. Albert became a Lutheran and converted the Teutonic state to Protestantism in 1525, defecting from both the Papacy and Holy Roman Emperor and agreeing to do public homage to Sigismund in return for being granted the title of secular duke of Prussia and Ducal Prussia coming under Polish suzerainty. Sigismund added the Duchy of Masovia to the Polish state in 1529, after the death of Janusz III, the last of its Piast dynasty rulers. Under the command of Jan Tarnowski, Sigismund’s army defeated the invading forces of Moldavia at Obertyn in 1531 and of Muscovy in 1535, thereby safeguarding Poland’s eastern borders.
Sigismund, influenced by his wife, brought Italian artists to Kraków and promoted the development of the Polish variety of the Italian Renaissance. Although a devout Catholic, he accorded religious toleration to Greek Orthodox Christians and royal protection to Jews. At first he vigorously opposed Lutheranism but resigned himself to its growing power in Poland. Sigismund I was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece; the son of King Casimir IV Jagiellon and Elisabeth of Austria, Sigismund followed his brothers John Albert and Alexander to the Polish throne. Their eldest brother Vladislaus became king of Bohemia and Croatia. Sigismund was christened as the namesake of his Habsburg maternal great-grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. After his father's death, Sigismund was the only son. In the years 1495–1496, he addressed his older brother, the Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander, demanded the separation of a domain from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, but was refused. Queen Dowager Elisabeth Habsburg tried without success to ensure the succession of her son to the throne of Austria.
And the disastrous and unsuccessful invasion of Bukovina led by his older brother King John I Albert dispelled the plans for placing Sigismund on the Moldavian throne. Sigismund came under the care of his eldest brother Vladislaus II, King of Bohemia and Hungary, from whom he received the duchies of Głogów and Opava, in 1504 became governor of Silesia and Lower Lusatia. After the death of King Alexander I, Sigismund arrived in Vilnius, where he was elected by the Lithuanian Ducal Council on 13 September 1506 as Grand Duke of Lithuania, contrary to the Union of Mielnik, which proposed a joint Polish-Lithuanian election of a monarch. On 8 December 1506, during the session of the Polish Senate in Piotrków, Sigismund was elected King of Poland, he arrived in Kraków on 20 January 1507 and was crowned four days in Wawel Cathedral by Primate Andrzej Boryszewski. The internal situation in Poland was characterised by broad authorisation of the Chamber of Deputies and extended in the constitution of Nihil novi.
During Alexander's reign, the law of Nihil novi had been instituted, which forbade kings of Poland from enacting laws without the consent of the Sejm. Sigismund had little control over the act, unlike the senators, whom he appointed. During his reign, Sigismund benefited from the advice of the local nobility, competent ministers in charge of the royal judiciary system, the wealthy and influential treasurers of Kraków. Although he was reluctant to the parliamentary system and political independence of the nobility, he recognised the authority of legal norms, supported legalism and summoned annual sessions of the Sejm obtaining funds on state defence; however he was unsuccessful at attempting to create a permanent fund for defence from the annual income tax. Despite this "Achilles heel", in 1527 he established a conscript army and the bureaucracy needed to finance it, he set up the legal codes that formalised serfdom in Poland, locking the peasants into the estates of nobles. Related to tax matters was an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the king, made on 5 May 1523.
The identity of the would-be assassin - who shot the ruler while he was strolling in the evening around the cloisters of the Wawel castle - and his potential supporters was never established. Unclear motives remained after the assassination attempt; the only clue was the fact that three weeks before the event, Sigismund I introduced a new edict, unfav