Europa późnego średniowiecza a rozwój społeczeństwa i kultury Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego
Late medieval Europe and the development of the society and culture of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
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The author treats the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as part of the history of late medieval Europe, for the Lithuanian state underwent the process of transformation within the universal culture of Christian Europe. In the Late Middle Ages there took place changes which signifi cantly transformed civilisation: strengthening public and territorial authority, the final consolidation of the social classes, the development of the structures of local authorities in cities and villages, spiritual changes, the increasing importance of literacy in all spheres of life. The Grand Duchy of Lithuanian joined this civilisation at the end of its formation, but it quickly became its integral member, although peripheral. The author analyses the question when in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania there appeared phenomena typical of the late medieval period: the formation of the ideology of the monarch’s power, “the land development” of the country, the concept of Christian knighthood, the organisation of social classes, the structure of the local authority in cities and villages, cultural tensions between writing in mother tongues and the revival of Latin. The author also formulates premises for comparative analysis. He advises using not only the categories of “factors”, “influences”, “delays”, but also such concepts as “the exchange of ideas” or “the transfer of social-cultural norms”, “the adaptation of patterns”. He emphasises that the cultural circulation was always multifaceted and multidimensional. He considers it important to examine the readiness of the society to absorb new forms of culture. He also stresses that there might have existed parallel, even diverse, processes which aff ected one another. Eventually, he concludes that research on various features of the culture of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania will be valid only if we accept the fact that Catholic and Orthodox cultural phenomena interpenetrated and thus should not be treated separately from each other.
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