The Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy in European Context C. 1500-1795

The Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy in European Context C. 1500-1795

The Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy in European Context C. 1500-1795

The Polish-Lithuanian Monarchy in European Context C. 1500-1795

Synopsis

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is often considered an "aberration" where monarchy was reduced by the nobility to impotence. This collection assesses the institution and idea of monarchy within the Commonwealth's mixed form of government, with emphasis on the perspectives from the Lithuanian and Prussian components of the Commonwealth, and on international comparisons.

Excerpt

The articles collected in this volume have grown out of the papers presented to the II Wiles Colloquium, held at the Queen's University of Belfast on 24–26 September 1999. The contributors and participants would like to express their deep gratitude to the Wiles Trust, and, in particular, to pay tribute to the late Mrs Janet Boyd for making possible such an illuminating and enjoyable occasion. Thanks are also due to the Queen's University of Belfast, and especially to the academic and secretarial staff of the School of Modern History for their help in staging the colloquium. The discussions benefited from the insights of Dr David Hayton, Professor Peter Jupp, Dr Richard Middleton, Dr Ian Packer and Dr Michael Rowe.

The difficulties inherent in rendering terminology, personal and place names connected with the multilingual Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth are extreme, particularly in a collective work covering three centuries. National sensitivities are still raw in the region, but the aims here are to avoid anachronism while maximizing accessibility. The contributors have all been consulted, and it is hoped that the volume will be a step towards an emerging consensus, but the final decisions are the editor's. In rendering terminology, where there is an established English form, such as ‘palatine’, it has been used, but ‘Sejm’ is preferred to ‘Diet’ or ‘Parliament’, and ‘sejmik’ to ‘dietine’. However, the Royal Prussian Landtag has been accorded the dignity of ‘diet’ rather than that of the ‘general sejmik’ which some Polish nobles wished to impose on it. Wherever possible, Polish terms such as Sejm and starosta have been anglicized. The glossary gives brief explanations of the key institutions and offices.

The names of rulers and the members of ruling families have been anglicized where there is a recognized form, so we have Casimir rather than Kazimierz or Kazimieras, Sigismund rather than Zygmunt or Žygimantas. On the other hand Stanisla(u)s and Ladisla(u)s are not accepted as English forms, so they remain Stanisław and Władysław (except in the case of the eldest son of Casimir IV, who was Vladislav II of Bohemia and Ulászló II of Hungary). August becomes Augustus, with the exception, for the sake of euphony, of Stanisław August. The names of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania before 1432, none of which have an English equivalent, are given in Lithuanian. Otherwise, personal names have been left

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