Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Gudmantas, Kęstutis
Title: Vėlyvųjų Lietuvos metraščių erdvė
Other Title: The space of the late Lithuanian chronicles
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2005, nr. 44, p. 105-124
Date: 2005
Abstract: The Late Lithuanian Chronicles (2nd–3nd decades of the 16th c.) start with a fantastic description of a voyage of noble Romans sailing from Italy round Europe to the Baltic coast. It gives one a clear indication of how poor the chroniclers’ knowledge of maritime navigation was, e.g. the Mediterranean Sea is localized in the region of the Biscay Bay. This could be accounted for by the fact that the Great Duchy of Lithuania was not a maritime state. A better description is given to the part of the voyage that went from Denmark to the Curronian Bay and then continued up the Nemunas River, most likely because it coincided with the popular trading route between Lithuania and Prussia. The well established landowner and statesman Albertas Goštautas and his environment must have been familiar with the route, and Goštautas is generally considered the initiator of the creation of the chronicles. The landscape of Lithuania is described in the Chronicles in the spirit of the medieval symbolism, e.g. the Nemunas is a river with 12 offshoots. This is an ideal landscape. The country is presented by the help of traditional topoi of the “promised land” and “locus amoenus” found in most western chronicles. One should also note numerous links in the Chronicles to the classical heritage, e.g. between the names of such mythic rulers as Nemonos and Tiber, or Girus and Sylvii. Quite a number of such parallels have been pointed out by Maciej Stryjkowski, who made great use of the Lithuanian Chronicles when working on his own Chronicle printed in Königsberg in 1582. It is interesting that descriptions of the foundation of towns and castles in the Chronicles are often based on the cliché of a beautiful mountain, yet, at the same time, the text provides indications of distance in miles, and this could be treated as a sign of modernity. Other indications of modernity would be a more detailed portrayal of the voyage of the “Romans” in the third edition (the so-called Bychowiec Chronicle) and the evident interest in the heritage of classical antiquity. The geography of the Chronicles is closely related to Goštautas: the Chronicles mention his and his relatives’ (Stanislovas Kęsgaila, Paulius Alšėniškis) estates. Metaphorically speaking, one can claim that the chroniclers’ geographic horizon almost coincided with “a look through a window of Goštautas’ palace”.
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2005, nr. 44

Files in This Item:
Show full item record

Page view(s)

checked on Oct 13, 2019


checked on Oct 13, 2019

Google ScholarTM


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.