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The Oxford History of Poland-LithuaniaVolume I: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569$
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Robert Frost

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208693.001.0001

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(p.18) 3 Lithuania
The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania

Robert Frost

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the rise of the grand duchy of Lithuania to 1385. It looks briefly at Lithuanian paganism and explains how the pagan Gediminid dynasty extended its authority over much of what had been Kievan Rusʹ after it was shattered by the Mongols. It looks at how the Gediminids manoeuvred between the Catholic west and Orthodox east, and how Lithuania came under increasing pressure from the Teutonic Knights. It explains how the dynastic condominium came under increasing pressure as appanage princes converted to Orthodoxy and adopted Ruthenian culture. It covers the civil war after the death of Algirdas in 1377 between Algirdas’s son Jogaila and Algirdas’s brother and co-ruler Kęstutis, and explains why Jogaila and his pagan brothers opted for conversion to Catholicism and union with Poland.

Keywords:   Lithuania, Rusʹ, pagan, Orthodox, Teutonic Knights, Gediminid dynasty, Jogaila, Kęstutis, dynastic condominium, union

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