2011 | 46 | 13-41
Article title

AROUND THE GENEALOGY OF LITHUANIANS. AT THE ORIGINS OF MYTH AND HISTORICAL-CULTURAL ARGUMENT (Wokol genealogii Litwinow. U zrodel mitu i sporu historyczno-kulturowego)

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The article covers issues concerning the origins of the Lithuanian nation. Genealogical questions relating to Lithuanians already began to appear in late medieval (Jan Dlugosz) Polish historiography in connection to successive unions. The inner and foreign policies of the 16th and 17th centuries made those questions more popular - the policy of the Jagiellonians, who wished to keep the unity of the Polish-Lithuanian state, and, later on, of the Waza dynasty, searching for ways to make their rule look legitimate. Until the end of the 18th century, the dominant theory about the origins of Lithuanians was the Roman one. According to that theory, the greatest Lithuanian families, the language and beliefs were said to have originated in the culture of ancient Rome. The turn of the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in numerous studies and a development in historiography and archeological research. Old theories were still used while looking for the beginnings of the local culture, but new solutions were tried as well, in the spirit of romantic philosophy of the North, initiated by Johann Gottfried Herder. An interest in Lithuania started again in the area of literature (poetry by Adam Mickiewicz and novels by Józef Ignacy Kraszewski), academic studies (lectures and publications by Joachim Lelewel), and, since the 1830s, also as part of cultural studies in a broad sense (analysis of remnants and excavation sites). The 1830s were also the time of the emergence of two major theories concerning the origin of Lithuanians: the Slavonic theory (a supporter of which was, at the beginning, Kraszewski), and the Scandinavian theory (propagated by members of Vilnius Archeological Committee [1855-1865] - Eustachy and Konstanty Tyszkiewicz, Adam Honory Kirkor, Michal Balinski). From the point of view of culture, the Scandinavian theory proved to be more appealing. It located Lithuanians in a cultural circle other than the Slavonic one, which was used in constructing the Lithuanian national myth.
  • Ewa Semenowicz, Gizycko, Poland
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