The Gediminids (Lithuanian: Gediminaičiai, Samogitian: Gedėmėnātē, Polish: Giedyminowicze, Belarusian: Гедзімінавічы, Ukrainian: Гедиміновичі, Russian: Гедиминовичи) were a dynasty of monarchs in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that reigned from the 14th to the 16th century. One branch of this family, known as the Jagiellonian dynasty, reigned also in the Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Bohemia. Several other branches ranked among the leading aristocratic dynasties of Russia and Poland into recent times.
Their monarchical title in Lithuanian primarily was, by some folkloristic data, kunigų kunigas ("Duke of Dukes"), and later on, didysis kunigas ("Great/High Duke") or, in a simple manner, kunigaikštis. In the 18th century, the latter form was changed into tautological didysis kunigaikštis, which nevertheless would be translated as "Grand Duke" (for its etymology, see Grand Prince).
(Gediminaičiai, Gedėmėnātē, Giedyminowicze, Гедзімінавічы, Гедиміновичі, Гедиминовичи)
The Columns of Gediminas, symbol of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and coat of arms of the Gediminids
|Country||Grand Duchy of Lithuania|
|Founded||1315 or 1316|
|Final ruler||Žygimantas Augustas|
|Titles||Grand Duke of Lithuania|
The origin of Gediminas himself is much debated. Some sources say he was Vytenis' ostler, others that he was of peasant stock. Some historians consider him as the son or grandson of Lithuanian or Yatvingian duke Skalmantas. Most scholars agree, however, that Gediminas was Vytenis' brother (the parentage of Vytenis is explained differently in various fake genealogies, compiled from the 16th century onwards; according to the latest Polish research, his parentage cannot be established).
The Eastern Orthodox branches of the family were mostly Ruthenian, which also was one of the two main languages of their established state. Some of these families (e.g., Czartoryski) later converted to Roman Catholicism and became Polonized. Others (e.g., Galitzine) moved to Muscovy and became thoroughly Russified.
In Poland, most Gediminid families (such as Olelkowicz-Słucki, Wiśniowiecki, Zbaraski) are extinct, but at least some families survive to the present: Khovanski, Czartoryski, Sanguszko, and Koriatowicz-Kurcewicz.
I. The descendants of* Bujwid Vytianis Rex.King Lithuainia.
I. The descendants of Narimantas:
II. The descendants of Algirdas:
III. The descendants of Kęstutis (faded in the second half of the 15th century)
IV. The descendants of Jaunutis:
V. The descendants of Liubartas (faded in the first half of the 15th century)
VI. Koriatowicz, descended from Karijotas
(? – c. 1292)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1285 – c. 1292
(? – c. 1296)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1292 – c. 1296
(? – 1316)
G. Duke of Lith., c. 1296–1316
G. Duke of Lith., 1316–1341
G. Duke of Lith., 1341–1345
G. Duke of Lith., 1345–1377
G. Duke of Lith., 1377–1401
King of Poland, 1386–1434
G. Duke of Lith., 1430–1432
G. Duke of Lith., 1401–1430
(? – 1440)
G. Duke of Lith., 1432–1440
Alexander I Jagiellon (Polish: Aleksander Jagiellończyk; Lithuanian: Aleksandras Jogailaitis) (5 August 1461 – 19 August 1506) of the House of Jagiellon was the Grand Duke of Lithuania and later also King of Poland. He was the fourth son of Casimir IV Jagiellon. He was elected Grand Duke of Lithuania on the death of his father (1492), and King of Poland on the death of his brother John I Albert (1501).Alexandra of Lithuania
Alexandra (Polish: Aleksandra, Lithuanian: Aleksandra; died 20 April 1434 in Płock) was the youngest daughter of Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his second wife, Uliana of Tver. Though Alexandra's exact date of birth is not known, it is thought that she was born in the late 1360s or early 1370s. In 1387, she married Siemowit IV, Duke of Masovia, and bore him thirteen children.Algirdas
Algirdas (Belarusian: Альгерд, Ukrainian: Ольгерд, Polish: Olgierd; c. 1296 – May 1377) was a ruler of medieval Lithuania. He ruled the Lithuanians and Ruthenians from 1345 to 1377. With the help of his brother Kęstutis (who defended the western border of the Duchy) he created an empire stretching from the present Baltic states to the Black Sea and to within fifty miles of Moscow.Butigeidis
Butigeidis (Budikid; Belarusian: Будзікід) was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1285 to 1291. He is the first known and undisputed member of the Gediminids.
He started his rule when the Livonian Order and the Teutonic Knights were finalizing their conquest of the Baltic tribes. In 1289, leading about 8,000 troops, Butigeidis attacked Sambia. In 1289 the Teutonic Knights built a castle in Tilsit and their raids intensified. Lithuanians were forced to abandon Koklainiai Castle located on the other bank of the river. Butigeidis was the first to build strong castles along the Neman River. The castle system was further developed after his death and helped to resist the raids until the second half of the 14th century.
Butigeidis transferred Vaŭkavysk to Galicia-Volhynia in exchange for peace. He died in 1290 or 1292, and his brother Butvydas (also known as Pukuveras) inherited the crown.Butvydas
Butvydas or Pukuveras (Belarusian: Будзівід (Budzivid); also known as Боудивидъ, Liutauras, Пукувер (Pukuvier) Pukuwer or Pucuwerus) (died 1295) was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1292 to 1295. His influence was strong during his brother Butigeidis's reign. This led some historians to believe, that they were co-rulers, much like the grandsons Algirdas and Kęstutis. During his short reign Butvydas tried to defend the duchy against the Teutonic Knights; he also attacked Masovia, an ally of the knights. He was a direct ancestor of the Gediminids.Columns of Gediminas
The Columns of Gediminas or Pillars of Gediminas are one of the earliest symbols of Lithuania and one of its historical coats of arms. They were used in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, initially as a rulers' personal insignia, a state symbol, and later as a part of heraldic signs of leading aristocracy. During the period between World War I and World War II they were used by the Lithuanian Republic as a minor state symbol, e. g. on Litas coins and military equipment.Family of Jogaila
This page describes relatives of Jogaila, who was Grand Duke of Lithuania, and, known under the name Wladyslaw II Jagiello, king of Poland. Family relations up to two generations before him, and three generations after him are mentioned.Family of Kęstutis
The family of Kęstutis, Grand Duke of Lithuania (1381–1382), is listed here. He co-ruled with his brother Algirdas from 1345 to 1377.Gediminas
Gediminas (c. 1275 – December 1341) was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1315 or 1316 until his death. He is credited with founding this political entity and expanding its territory which, at the time of his death, spanned the area ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Also seen as one of the most significant individuals in early Lithuanian history, he was responsible for both building Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and establishing a dynasty that later came to rule other European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Bohemia.
As part of his legacy, he gained a reputation for being a champion of paganism, who successfully diverted attempts to Christianize his country by skillful negotiations with the Pope and other Christian rulers.Jewna
Jewna (Belarusian: Еўна, Lithuanian: Jaunė, literally, young woman in Lithuanian; died ca. 1344) was daughter of Prince Ivan of Polatsk and wife of Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1316–1341). She is mentioned in written sources only once – the Bychowiec Chronicle, a late and unreliable source. Therefore, some historians cast a serious doubt on her existence, but modern reference works still widely cite her as the ancestress of the Gediminids dynasty.
There are considerable doubts about how many wives Gediminas had. The Bychowiec Chronicle mentions three wives: Vida from Courland, Olga from Smolensk, and Jewna. Some modern historians suggest that Gediminas had two wives, one from local pagan nobles, and Jewna, an Orthodox. S. C. Rowell claims that Gediminas had only one wife, an unknown pagan duchess. He argues that an important marriage to a Ruthenian or Polish princess like Jewna would have been noted in contemporary sources.The Bychowiec Chronicle mentions that after Jewna's death, brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis became displeased with Jaunutis, whom Gediminas chose as his heir. Soon they deposed Jaunutis. This episode is interpreted that weak Jaunutis was protected by his mother. If such interpretation was accurate, then it would testify the power and influence of queen mother in pagan Lithuania.Kęstutis
Kęstutis (Latin: Kinstut, Lithuanian pronunciation: [kæːsˈtutɪs]; c. 1297 – 3 or 15 August 1382) was a ruler of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–1382, together with his brother Algirdas (until 1377), and with his nephew Jogaila (until 1381). He ruled over the Lithuanians and Ruthenians.
The name "Kęstutis" is a derivative from the old form of the name Kęstas, which is a shortened version of such Lithuanian names as Kęstaras, Kęstautas (there kęs-ti means to cope). Historic writing sources reflect different Lithuanian pronunciation.Liubartas
Demetrius of Liubar or Liubartas (also Lubart, Lubko, Lubardus, baptized Dmitry; died c. 1383) was Prince of Lutsk and Liubar (Volhynia) (1323–1383), Prince of Zhytomyr (1363–1374), Grand Prince of Volhynia (1340–1383), Grand Prince of Galicia and Volhynia (1340–1349).Olelkovich
The Olelkovich (Lithuanian: Olelkaičiai, Polish: Olelkowicze) family was a 15th–16th-century princely family from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Their main possession was the Duchy of Slutsk–Kapyl. They are sometimes known as Slutsky. They were descended from the Lithuanian Gediminids (male line) and Ruthenian Rurikids (female line). According to the 1528 military census, the family was the fourth wealthiest magnate family in the Grand Duchy. However, its influence declined after the Union of Lublin (1569). The last member of the family was Sophia Olelkovich Radziwill (1585–1612), wife of Janusz Radziwiłł. She was elevated to sainthood in the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1983. As part of her marriage negotiations, she insisted on remaining a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, despite her future husband's allegiance to Calvinism. She died in childbirth, as did the child. After her death, her considerable wealth and the Duchy of Slutsk passed to the Radziwiłł family.Pogoń Litewska
Pogoń Litewska is a Polish coat of arms originating from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Appearing in medieval Lithuanian heraldry, it was later used by several szlachta families in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, primarily by those of Gediminid origin. The present Lithuanian coat of arms (Vytis) as well as the coat of arms of Belarus between 1991 and 1995, (Pahonia) are modern heraldic representation of the historic Lithuanian symbol.Sigismund Korybut
Sigismund Korybut (Lithuanian: Žygimantas Kaributaitis; Belarusian: Жыгімонт Карыбутавіч; Polish: Zygmunt Korybutowicz; Czech: Zikmund Korybutovič; Ukrainian: Жиґимонт Корибутович, c. 1395 – 1435 near Pabaiskas) was a duke from the Gediminid dynasty, best known as a military commander of the Hussite army and a governor of Bohemia and Prague during the Hussite Wars.
Sigismund was most likely born in Novhorod-Siverskyi to Dymitr Korybut, son of Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Anastasia, daughter of Grand Prince Oleg of Ryazan, and raised in the court of Korybut's
brother (his uncle) Jogaila (Władysław Jagiełło) in Kraków since 1404. Sigismund was rumored to be expected to become his successor on the Polish throne. Being just an adolescent, he commanded his own banner of the Army of the Crown in the victorious Battle of Grunwald in 1410.
His elder sister, Olena (Helena) had been married to an important magnate of Bohemian kingdom, duke Jan of Opava and Ratiborz.Skalmantas (Gediminids)
Skalmantas or Skolomend is the name of a possible ancestor of the Gediminid dynasty. In 1975 historian Jerzy Ochmański noted that Zadonshchina, a poem from the end of the 14th century, contains lines in which two sons of Algirdas name their ancestors: "We are two brothers – sons of Algirdas, and grandsons of Gediminas, and great-grandsons of Skalmantas (Skolomend)." This led to the hypothesis that Skalmantas was the long-sought ancestor of the Gediminids.
According to Synodik of Liubech, a duke Gomantas (who might have been this Skalmantas) had a daughter Helena (probably adult baptismal name, not original Lithuanian) who married the Chernihiv Rurikid princeling Andrew, duke of Kozelsk (died 1339, born perhaps in 1280s), an ancestral uncle of the Oginskis, Puzyna, Gortsakov, Yeletsky, Zvenigorodsky, Bolkhovskoy, Mosalsky and Khotetovsky princely lineages. The property listing of metropolitan Theognostus from mid-14th century reveals that duke Andrew Mstislavich of Kozelsk was married with a lady who was sister (or daughter) of king Gediminas.Skirgaila
Skirgaila (Latin: Schirgalo; Belarusian: Скіргайла; Polish: Skirgiełło, also known as Ivan/Iwan; ca. 1353 or 1354 – 11 January 1397 in Kiev; baptized 1383/1384 as Casimir) was a regent of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for his brother Jogaila from 1386 to 1392. He was the son of Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his second wife Uliana of Tver.Sophia of Lithuania
Sophia of Lithuania (1371–1453) was a Grand Princess consort of Muscovy by marriage to Vasili I of Russia. She was regent of Muscovy during the minority of her son from 1425 to 1434.Vytenis
Vytenis (Belarusian: Віцень, Vicień; Polish: Witenes) was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from c. 1295 to c. 1316. He became the first of the Gediminid dynasty to rule for a considerable amount of time. In the early 14th century his reputation outshone that of Gediminas, who is regarded by modern historians as one of the greatest Lithuanian rulers. The rule of Vytenis was marked by constant warfare in an effort to consolidate the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the Ruthenians, Masovians, and the Teutonic Order.
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