Gedymin

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Gedymin

 

or Gediminas. Birthdate unknown; died 1341. Grand duke of Lithuania from 1316. Carried on a bitter struggle with the Teutonic Knights, dealing them a series of defeats (a particularly heavy one at Plowce in 1331).

In 1322, Gedymin concluded an alliance with the prince of Mazovia, and in 1325 with the Polish king Wladyslaw Lokietek; the latter alliance was confirmed by the marriage of the king’s son Casimir to Gedymin’s daughter Aldona. Gedymin, like his predecessors, continued the annexation of Russian lands. The princes of Minsk, Lukoml’, Brest, Drutsk, and Drogichin became his vassals. His son Lubart became prince of Volyn’ in 1340. Gedymin also opposed the unifying policies of the Moscow principality, seeking to tear Pskov and Novgorod away from Rus’. In this struggle, he relied on an alliance with Tver’, strengthened by the marriage of his daughter Maria to Prince Dmitrii Mikhailovich (1320). Gedymin was the first to style himself “king of the Lithuanians and Russians.” Later tradition considers Gedymin the founder of Vil’no (Vilnius), which was first mentioned in his letters in 1323. He was killed while besieging the German fortress of Bajerburg.

REFERENCES

Poslaniia Gedimina. Vilnius, 1966.
Nikitskii, A. I. “Kto byl Gedimin?” Russkaia starina, 1871, book 8, vol. 4.
Pashuto, V. T. Obrazovanie litovskogo gosudarstva. Moscow, 1959.
Prochaska, A. “O prawdziwości listów Gedymina.” Rozprawy (Sprawozdania) Akademii umiejętnosci, Wydz.. history cznofilozoficzny. Kraków, 1895, issue 2, vol. 7.

M. A. IUCHAS