Sapiegų hegemonija Lietuvos Didžiojoje Kunigaikštystėje XVII a. pabaigoje

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Lietuvių kalba / Lithuanian
Sapiegų hegemonija Lietuvos Didžiojoje Kunigaikštystėje XVII a. pabaigoje
Alternative Title:
Hegemony of the Sapieha family in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the late 17th century
Sapiegų giminė; Lietuvos Statutai; Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė; Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės hegemonai
Sapieha family; Statutes of Lithuania; Grand Duchy of Lithuania; Hegemons of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Summary / Abstract:

ENIn the Grand Duchy of Lithuania formal legal equality in the estate of the nobility was legalized in 1566, yet property differences in the political culture of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania meant that the magnates constantly stifled the nobility. The height of the magnate class in the 16th-17th century consisted of two or three of the most powerful families. From the late 16th century the Sapiehas already figured in this group. As a result of the mid-17th century’s rebellions and wars, conditions for a new phenomenon came into place - the hegemony of one magnate family. The first to establish their hegemony were the Рас family who were dominant in Lithuania in 1665-1682. The essential source of hegemony was control over the military of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, with the most potential stemming from the duties of grand hetman. The unprecedented hegemony of the Рас family, who were not the wealthiest family within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, denies any direct correlation between having the predominant wealth status and political hegemony. The new hegemons of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became the Sapieha family, or more precisely, a branch of the politically unified Chareya-Ruzhany Sapieha family. The most powerful person in Lithuania became Kazimierz Jan Sapieha (ca. 1642-1720) who was appointed as grand hetman on 15 February 1683. This'date can be called the beginning of the Sapieha family’s hegemony in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Constant wars that took place with only brief intervals from 1648 served to boost the political weight of the grand hetman in the state’s structure. The grand hetman’s authority paved the way for the appearance of senators and other officials in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, or more broadly speaking - the informal subordination of the magnates to the Lithuanian grand hetman system.This system was formed during the period of the Рас family’s hegemony and was further developed by the Sapiehas. The grand hetman’s duties not only allowed for the suppression of opponents, but also facilitated the formation of an influential circle of supporters, the foundation of which composed of numerous nobles and magnates from within the military. The large and unified core of the Sapieha family was a very important factor in spreading this group’s influence. The hetman’s brother, Benedykt Paweł Sapieha, controlled the treasury of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania - the second key pillar of the Sapieha group’s influence, and specialized in behind-the-scenes negotiations with the ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s entourage and foreign diplomats. By implementing a carefully thought out matrimonial policy, the Sapiehas managed to establish dynastic alliances with other important magnate families, especially from the Kingdom of Poland, and thus increased their land holdings. The family’s vastness meant the Sapiehas could divide the most important spheres of responsibility amongst their own and implement multi-faceted, complex policies. In the 1670s the Sapieha group developed into an oppositional force to the Рас family which had hegemony at the time in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, having conquered the hegemonic position for themselves, in many respects the Sapiehas continued the earlier policies of the Рас family and incorporated many of the Рас supporters into their own group. Kazimierz Jan Sapieha, along with his grand hetman duties, took over the military clientele of the previous hetman. The establishment of the Sapiehas’ hegemony sacrificed primarily the influence of the other nobles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Gradually, the Sapieha hegemony met with greater and greater dissatisfaction from among the broader layers of the nobility.Initially, the anti-Sapieha opposition existed as the group of supporters of the Commonwealth’s ruler, John III Sobieski, and demanded limiting the powers of the Grand Hetman, i.e., Kazimierz Jan Sapieha and the Grand Treasurer, i.e., Benedykt Pawel Sapieha. The limitation was aimed at bringing the respective legal norms of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into line with one another. This was achieved after the death of John III Sobieski, in the Election Sejm of 1697. The first signs of the development of this political battle into an outright armed confrontation became apparent in the autumn of 1696. The Sapiehas’ position became particularly shaky in 1697 when Frederick Augustus (Augustus II) was crowned as the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, the Elector of Saxony supported by the Sapiehas’ opponents. Having supported the France-backed candidate Franęois Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conti in the elections for the ruler of the Commonwealth, the Sapiehas found themselves amongst the participants of the ensuing rokosz, just the group the new ruler was determined to break using force. Although the Sapiehas managed to avoid an open confrontation with the new ruler, the political clashes between groups within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania developed into the Lithuanian Civil War (1697-1702). There were episodical armed conflicts until the autumn of 1700. Agreements reached in late 1698 practically authorized a diarchy. In 1699-1700 the opposition strengthened its influence in the counties (poxvaity) and selfgovernment institutions. However at the state level the Sapiehas started reclaiming their earlier-held influence. The land holdings that were concentrated in the Sapiehas’ hands had never changed. Great changes developed in this field that were of benefit to the Sapiehas. [...] [From the publication]

2020-07-10 10:52:29
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