The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a princely family of Ukrainian magnates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 14th to 17th centuries.

The Ostrozhskii family was descended from the Pinsk appanage princes. It owned huge estates in Volynia, the Kiev region, Podolia, and Galicia (Galichina). In the 16th century the Ostrozhskii domain included 24 cities, 10 towns, and more than 100 villages.

The first positively identified representative of the family was Prince Daniil, who lived in the mid-14th century. In 1386, Daniil’s son Fedor was recognized by the grand duke of Lithuania, Jagello, as ruler of the cities of Ostrog (hence the family name), Korets, and Zaslav. He took an active part in the struggle for succession to the throne between Vitovt and Swidrygiello. As a result of successful campaigns in the first half of the 15th century, he won Podolia and Volynia from the Poles.

One of Fedor’s descendants, Konstantin Ostrozhskii (born c. 1460; died 1530), was a Bratslav elder and grand hetman of Lithuania. He headed a number of successful campaigns against the Tatars. In 1514 he defeated the army of Vasilii III Ivanovich in a battle near Orsha. He was successful in defending the interests of the Orthodox Church in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Konstantin Ostrozhskii’s son Konstantin (1526–1608), the voevoda (military governor) of Kiev, suppressed the cossack and peasant uprisings led by K. Kosinskii and S. Nalivaiko. He continued his father’s policy and defended the Russian, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian people from oppression by the Catholic church. In Ostrog he founded a circle of writers and publicists opposed to the Uniate church. He also founded schools in Turov (1572), Vladimir-Volynskii (1577), and Ostrog (late 1570’s).

G. Smotritskii was the first rector of the Ostrog school, which existed until the 1640’s. Among the school’s grauduates were M. Smotritskii, a famous 17th-century leader of the Enlightenment, and the hetman P. Sagaidachnyi. With money from Konstantin, Ivan Fedorov founded a printing house in Ostrog at the end of the 1570’s. The printing house played a major role in the struggle against Catholicism as well as in the effort to educate the Russian, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian people.

The line ended in the early 17th century with the death of Konstantin’s granddaughter Anna.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.