Nobility in the Great Duchy of Lithuania

Sciex-Program unter der Leitung von Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Schmidt

Mitarbeiter: Vyautas Volungevicius


Castle is one of the most characteristic and significant phenomenon of the Middle Ages Europe. Obviously, the genesis of feudalism as a specific structure of society is directly connected with the origin of the castle. It implies that the development of the castle could not be understood isolated from the structure of society and it's local socio-political transformations. On the other hand, medieval states in terms of their territorial and social structure were heterogeneous. This fact presupposes that the evolution of castles and their regions were unequal not only in the different regions of Europe, but also in states. All these propositions were specific not only for West but also for Middle East Europe.
The analysis of historiography (history of castles in West Europe, medieval society history, theory of history, etc.) shows that the use of comparative method (to compare from the synchronic and diachronic points of view and seek for paralells in different regions of Europe) in castle research is very helpful for the understanding of castle evolution and it's transformations in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Main conclusions and hypotheses of the research and analysis of historiography:
Each society builds it's own space (territory) with specific features and phenomena.
Castle development was different in a lot of regions of Europe. This process was determined by unequal society structure, genesis of feudalism and socio-political conjuncture.
The origin of Nobility castle was one of the most significant factor in the general castle evolution. In West Europe it spread in XI–XIII cc., while in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania it began in late XV–early XVI cc.
The regalia of castle building and possession were never monilithic and clear and it always depended on the socio-political conjuncture and power balance. It only could be stressed that the primary regalia of castle building and possession were in the disposition of sovereign.
Castle should be understood in terms of social and structures history. It means that castle is a phenomenon with multiplex structure (spatial, territorial, social etc.) and diverse development which were influenced by local and general socio-political transformations.