House of Gediminas

House of Gediminas

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The family of Gediminas is a group of family members of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania (ca. 1275–1341), who interacted in the 14th century. The family included the siblings, children, and grandchildren of the Grand Duke and played the pivotal role in the history of Lithuania
History of Lithuania
The history of Lithuania dates back to at least 1009, the first recorded written use of the term. Lithuanians, a branch of the Baltic peoples, later conquered neighboring lands, establishing the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in the 13th century the short-lived Kingdom of Lithuania. The Grand Duchy...

 for the period as the Lithuanian nobility had not yet acquired its influence. Gediminas was also the forefather of the Gediminid
Gediminids
The Gediminids were a dynasty of monarchs of Grand Duchy of Lithuania that reigned from the 14th to the 16th century. One branch of this dynasty, known as the Jagiellons, reigned also in Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Bohemia...

 dynasty, which ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

 from 1310s or 1280s to 1572.

Gediminas' origins are unclear, but recent research suggests that Skalmantas
Skalmantas (Gediminids)
Skalmantas or Skolomend is the name of a possible ancestor of the Gediminid dynasty. In 1975 historian Jerzy Ochmański noted that Zadonshchina, a poem from the end of the 14th century, contains lines in which two sons of Algirdas name their ancestors: "We are two brothers – sons of Algirdas, and...

, an otherwise unknown historical figure, was Gediminas' grandfather or father and could be considered the dynasty's founder. Because none of his brothers or sisters had known heirs, Gediminas, who sired at least twelve children, had the advantage in establishing sovereignty over his siblings. Known for his diplomatic skills, Gediminas arranged his children's marriages to suit the goals of his foreign policy: his sons consolidated Lithuanian power within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, while his daughters established or strengthened alliances with the rulers of areas in modern-day Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

The relationships among Gediminas' children were generally harmonious, with the notable exception of Jaunutis
Jaunutis
Jaunutis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from his father Gediminas' death in 1341 until he was deposed by his elder brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis in 1345....

, who was deposed in 1345 by his brothers Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 and Kęstutis
Kestutis
Kęstutis was monarch of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–82, together with his brother Algirdas , and with his nephew Jogaila...

. These two brothers went on to provide a celebrated example of peaceful power-sharing. However, Gediminas' many grandchildren and their descendants engaged in power struggles that continued well into the 15th century. Gediminas' grandchildren converted Lithuania to Christianity
Christianization of Lithuania
The Christianization of Lithuania – Christianization of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that took place in 1387, initiated by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila and his cousin Vytautas, that signified the official adoption of Christianity by Lithuanians, one of the last pagan...

 and inaugurated the first personal union with Poland
Union of Krewo
In a strict sense, the Union of Krewo or Act of Krėva was a set of prenuptial promises made in the Kreva Castle on 14 August 1385 by Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in exchange for marriage to the underage reigning Queen Jadwiga of Poland...

.

Origins


Because written sources of the era are scarce, Gediminas' ancestry, early life, and assumption of the title of Grand Duke in ca. 1316 are obscure and continue to be the subject of scholarly debate. Various theories have claimed that Gediminas was either his predecessor Grand Duke Vytenis
Vytenis
Vytenis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from c. 1295 to c. 1316. He became the first of the Gediminid dynasty to rule for a considerable amount of time. In the early 14th century his reputation outshone that of Gediminas, who is regarded by modern historians as one of the greatest Lithuanian rulers...

' son, his brother, his cousin, or his hostler
Hostler
An hostler or ostler in the horse industry is a groom or stableman, who is employed in a stable to take care of horses...

. For several centuries only two versions of his origins circulated. Chronicles—written long after Gediminas' death by the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

, a long-standing enemy of Lithuania—claimed that Gediminas was a hostler to Vytenis; according to these chronicles, Gediminas killed his master and assumed the throne. Another version introduced in the Lithuanian Chronicles
Lithuanian Chronicles
The Lithuanian Chronicles are three redactions of chronicles compiled in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. All redactions were written in the Old Church Slavonic language and served the needs of Lithuanian patriotism. The first redaction, compiled in 1420s, glorified Vytautas the Great and supported...

, which also appeared long after Gediminas' death, proclaimed that Gediminas was Vytenis' son. However, the two men were almost the same age, making this relationship unlikely. In 1868, a letter issued by the Council of Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 in 1323 was published that contained a small note mentioning Vytenis as "the brother and predecessor" of Gediminas. After the letter came to light, textbooks almost universally represented Vytenis and Gediminas as brothers. However, historian Tomas Baranauskas
Tomas Baranauskas
Tomas Baranauskas is a Lithuanian historian specializing in the history of medieval Lithuania. He is the author of the book "The Formation of the Lithuanian State"....

 believes the word "brother" has been interpreted too literally, and that the two were in fact cousins.

Grand Duke Vytenis' origins are relatively well-established; he was the son of Butvydas
Butvydas
Butvydas was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1292 to 1295. His influence was strong during his brother Butigeidis' reign. This led some historians to believe, that they were co-rulers, much like the grandsons Algirdas and Kęstutis...

, who was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1291 to 1295. No consensus exists about the identity of Butvydas' father. While some genealogies give Traidenis
Traidenis
Traidenis was the Grand Duke Lithuania from 1270 till 1282. He is the second most prominent, after Mindaugas, Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 13th century. His reign ended a seven-year unrest period after Mindaugas was assassinated in 1263 and firmly established the Grand Duchy as a pagan state...

 as the ancestor, this has been described as unlikely: the later marriage of Gediminas' daughter Eufemija and Traidenis' great-grandson Boleslaw-Yuri would have violated canon law
Canon law
Canon law is the body of laws & regulations made or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. It is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Catholic Church , the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of...

, since the two would have been related by blood, and this violation would likely have been noticed by the pope.

Recent research indicates that Gediminids' ancestor may have been Skalmantas
Skalmantas (Gediminids)
Skalmantas or Skolomend is the name of a possible ancestor of the Gediminid dynasty. In 1975 historian Jerzy Ochmański noted that Zadonshchina, a poem from the end of the 14th century, contains lines in which two sons of Algirdas name their ancestors: "We are two brothers – sons of Algirdas, and...

. In 1974 historian Jerzy Ochmański noted that Zadonshchina
Zadonshchina
Zadonshchina is a Russian literary monument of the late 14th century, which tells of the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.- Redactions and the Prototext :Zadonshina exists in 2 redactions:...

, a poem from the end of the 14th century, contains a line in which two sons of Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 name their ancestors: "We are two brothers – sons of Algirdas, and grandsons of Gediminas, and great-grandsons of Skalmantas." This discovery led to the belief that Skalmantas was the long-sought ancestor of the Gediminids. Ochmański posited that the poem skipped the generation represented by Butvydas, and jumped back to the unknown ancestor. Baranauskas disagrees, believing Skalmantas was Butvydas' brother rather than his father, and that Vytenis and Gediminas were therefore cousins.

Siblings


It is known that Gediminas, born about 1275, had one sister (or possibly two, see below for the wife of Andrei of Kozelsk) and several brothers: Vainius
Vainius
Vainius or Voin was the Prince of Polotsk from 1315 to his death. Very little is known about Vainius, brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. He is mentioned in written sources in 1324 for the first time. In 1326 he, already as Prince of Polotsk, signed a treaty with the Livonian Order and...

, Fiodor of Kiev
Fiodor of Kiev
Fiodor of Kiev , was a prince of Kiev. He was the son of Butvydas, and a younger brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Only a couple of short notes survive regarding Fiodor's life....

, possibly Vytenis
Vytenis
Vytenis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from c. 1295 to c. 1316. He became the first of the Gediminid dynasty to rule for a considerable amount of time. In the early 14th century his reputation outshone that of Gediminas, who is regarded by modern historians as one of the greatest Lithuanian rulers...

, and possibly Margiris
Margiris
Margiris was a Duke of Samogitia, a medieval Lithuanian prince, mentioned in the chronicle of Wigand of Marburg as the heroic defender of the Pilėnai in Samogitia in 1336...

. If Vytenis, who was Grand Duke of Lithuania from about 1295 to 1315, was indeed Gediminas' brother, he was probably the eldest son. Historians recognize one son of Grand Duke Vytenis
Vytenis
Vytenis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from c. 1295 to c. 1316. He became the first of the Gediminid dynasty to rule for a considerable amount of time. In the early 14th century his reputation outshone that of Gediminas, who is regarded by modern historians as one of the greatest Lithuanian rulers...

, Žvelgaitis, who may have died before his father. In 1310 Žvelgaitis, already a mature man, led an army to nearby Livonia
Livonia
Livonia is a historic region along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. It was once the land of the Finnic Livonians inhabiting the principal ancient Livonian County Metsepole with its center at Turaida...

 in modern-day Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

 and Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. After Vytenis died in about 1315, Gediminas became the Grand Duke. There are no sources indicating that Vytenis' brothers or other family members advanced competing claims.

Vainius first appears in written sources in 1324. In 1326, as Duke of Polatsk
Polatsk
Polotsk , is a historical city in Belarus, situated on the Dvina river. It is the center of Polotsk district in Vitsebsk Voblast. Its population is more than 80,000 people...

, he signed a treaty with the Livonian Order
Livonian Order
The Livonian Order was an autonomous Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order and a member of the Livonian Confederation from 1435–1561. After being defeated by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Schaulen , the remnants of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were incorporated into the Teutonic Knights...

 and Novgorod. Scholars place his death sometime between 1338 and 1342. Vainius' only known son, Liubko, died in 1342 during a battle with the Livonian Order.

Fiodor
Fiodor of Kiev
Fiodor of Kiev , was a prince of Kiev. He was the son of Butvydas, and a younger brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Only a couple of short notes survive regarding Fiodor's life....

, whose relationship to Gediminas was not established until the 20th century, was the longest-lived brother, surviving until at least 1362. In about 1325, with help from Gediminas, he became a Duke of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. Fiodor was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox rite
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and his pagan name is unknown. Kiev was still under the influence of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, and Fiodor acknowledged fealty to the Horde's Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

. This subordination lasted until 1363, when Gediminas' son Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 soundly defeated the Horde in the Battle of Blue Waters
Battle of Blue Waters
The Battle of Blue Waters was a medieval battle fought at some time between 24 September and 25 December 1362 near the Syni Vody of the Southern Bug between the armies of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Golden Horde....

. Scholarly opinion had long considered Fiodor a Rurikid, rather than a Lithuanian, because of his Christian name. In 1916, however, a list of property belonging to Theognostus
Theognostus
Theognostus was Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus'.Theognostus was born in Constantinople and later in his life became Peter's successor as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus'...

, a deceased Metropolitan of Moscow, and compiled in the 1330s, was published; among the items listed were two silver cups gifted by "Fiodor, brother of Gediminas".

Margiris
Margiris
Margiris was a Duke of Samogitia, a medieval Lithuanian prince, mentioned in the chronicle of Wigand of Marburg as the heroic defender of the Pilėnai in Samogitia in 1336...

, the defender of Pilėnai
Pilenai
Pilėnai was a fortress in medieval Lithuania. It is well known in the Lithuanian history due to the heroic defense of the castle.-Defence:The defence, led by the Duke Margiris, took place on February 25, 1336, when the castle was besieged by the army of the Teutonic Knights...

, is often suggested as the most likely candidate for the fourth brother. The chronicles of Hermann de Wartberge mention that in 1329 Gediminas and two of his brothers raided Livonia. By that time Vytenis was already dead and Fiodor was probably occupied with establishing himself in Kiev. One of these two brothers must then have been Vainius; the identity of the other still puzzles historians. Alvydas Nikžentaitis
Alvydas Nikžentaitis
Alvydas Nikžentaitis is a Lithuanian historian, senior research fellow of the Lithuanian Institute of History and president of Lithuanian National Historians Committee.-Biography:...

 suggests that he was Margiris because sources attest to his high status and wealth. Sources mention one son of Margiris, who was captured by the Teutonic Knights soon after his father's suicide in 1336 and did not return.

The only direct written mention of Gediminas' sister is a legend describing the murder of two Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 friar
Friar
A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

s who came to Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 to spread Christianity. This legend was first presented in Chronica XXIV Generalium
Chronica XXIV Generalium
The Chronica XXIV Generalium Ordinis Fratrum Minorum is a medieval chronicle written in Latin around 1370, possibly by the Franciscan monk Arnaud de Sarrant, though Lützelschwab doubts this attribution...

, a chronicle written before 1369. The events probably took place around 1340, and some eyewitnesses could still have been alive when the chronicle was written. According to the legend Friar Ulrich's preaching angered townspeople. He and his companion, Martin, were seized and brought before Gediminas, who ordered the friars killed. Ulrich was tortured and his body tossed into a river. Martin's body was rescued by Gediminas' sister, an Orthodox nun. She buried Martin at the monastery where she lived. The legend was retold in other sources, including the Bychowiec Chronicle
Bychowiec Chronicle
The Bychowiec Chronicle named the Letopis of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is an anonymous 16th century chronicle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Although one of the least reliable sources of the epoch, it is considered the most complete redaction of the Lithuanian Chronicles...

, where the number of martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s was increased to fourteen and the initially realistic story acquired a number of miraculous trappings.

Wives



It is uncertain how many wives Gediminas had. The Bychowiec Chronicle
Bychowiec Chronicle
The Bychowiec Chronicle named the Letopis of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is an anonymous 16th century chronicle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Although one of the least reliable sources of the epoch, it is considered the most complete redaction of the Lithuanian Chronicles...

 mentions three wives: Vida from Courland
Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

; Olga from Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

; and Jewna
Jewna
Jewna was daughter of Prince Ivan of Polatsk and wife of Gediminas, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Ruthenia and Samogitia . She is mentioned in written sources only once – the Bychowiec Chronicle, a late and unreliable source...

 from Polotsk, who was Eastern Orthodox and died in 1344 or 1345. Most modern historians and reference works say Gediminas' wife was Jewna, dismissing Vida and Olga as fictitious, since no sources other than this chronicle mention the other two wives. The historian S. C. Rowell argues that Gediminas' wife was a local pagan duchess, on the grounds that his marriage to a princess from a neighboring land would have been noted in other contemporary sources, and that the reliability of the Bychowiec Chronicle has been questioned.

An argument has been advanced that Gediminas had two wives, one pagan and another Orthodox. This case is supported only by the Jüngere Hochmeisterchronik
Jüngere Hochmeisterchronik
The Jüngere Hochmeisterchronik or Cronike van der Duytscher Oirden is an important and much discussed chronicle of the Teutonic Order. It was written in Holland in the late 15th century, and rewritten in a later Prussian version.-References:...

, a late-15th century chronicle, mentioning Narimantas as half-brother to Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

. Other historians support this claim by arguing this would explain Gediminas' otherwise mysterious designation of a middle son, Jaunutis
Jaunutis
Jaunutis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from his father Gediminas' death in 1341 until he was deposed by his elder brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis in 1345....

, as his succession would be understandable if Jaunutis were the first-born son of Gediminas and a second wife.

Children and grandchildren


Because none of Gediminas' siblings had strong heirs, Gediminas and his children were in a favorable position to assume and consolidate power in the Grand Duchy. Gediminas had at least five daughters and seven sons, whose shrewd marriages helped to consolidate and expand the Grand Duchy's influence to areas east and west of Lithuania. Those marriages speak to Gediminas’ diplomatic talent in building alliances with the neighboring states that shared his goals to destroy the Teutonic Order and contain the growing power of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and Poland. The marriages of Gediminas' sons helped to consolidate the dynasty's power over various territories already within the Grand Duchy, while his daughters' and granddaughters' marriages worked to strengthen Lithuanian relationships with neighboring powers.

Daughters


In 1320 Maria married Dmitri of Tver
Dmitri of Tver
Dmitry Mikhaylovich of Tver , nicknamed The Terrible Eyes , was a Grand Prince of Vladimir and Grand Prince of Tver...

, ruler of a Russian principality. The marriage took place soon after Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich , also known as Michael of Tver or Michael the Saint, was a Prince of Tver who ruled as Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1304 until 1314 and again from 1315-1318...

, Dmitri's father, was killed; his sons were searching for strong allies against Yury of Moscow
Yury of Moscow
Yuriy Danilovich, also known as Georgiy Danilovich was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir ....

, their principal competitor for the throne of Vladimir
Vladimir
Vladimir is a city and the administrative center of Vladimir Oblast, Russia, located on the Klyazma River, to the east of Moscow along the M7 motorway. Population:...

 and All Rus'. After 1327 Lithuania began to supplant Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 as Moscow's chief rival for supremacy in the Rus'. When Tver sought to rival Moscow, it needed an alliance with Lithuania. Dmitri was killed in 1325 and Maria never remarried. Maria's brother-in-law, Alexander I
Alexander I, Grand Prince of Tver
Grand Prince Alexander or Aleksandr Mikhailovich was a Prince of Tver as Alexander I and Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal as Alexander II.- Life :...

, nevertheless maintained friendly relationships with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and his daughter Uliana
Uliana Alexandrovna of Tver
Uliana Alexandrovna of Tver was a daughter of Grand Prince Alexander of Tver and Anastasia of Halych, and second wife of Grand Prince of Lithuania Algirdas. After the death of her husband Uliana became a nun under the name Marina...

 married Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

, the son of Gediminas, who continued the Gediminid line. The cooperation between Lithuania and Tver lasted well into the 15th century.

Aldona (baptized as Ona or Anna; her pagan name is known only from the writings of the 16th century chronicler Maciej Stryjkowski
Maciej Stryjkowski
Maciej Stryjkowski was a Polish-Lithuanian historian, writer and a poet, notable as the author of Chronicle of Poland, Lithuania, Samogitia and all of Ruthenia , amongst other aspects of this work considered the first printed book on the history of Lithuania.-Biography:Maciej Stryjkowski was...

) married Casimir III of Poland
Casimir III of Poland
Casimir III the Great , last King of Poland from the Piast dynasty , was the son of King Władysław I the Elbow-high and Hedwig of Kalisz.-Biography:...

, son of Władysław I of Poland, when he was 15 or 16 years old. The marriage took place on either April 30 or October 16, 1325, and was a purely political maneuver to strengthen the Polish–Lithuanian coalition against the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 (an alliance foreshadowing the Union of Krewo
Union of Krewo
In a strict sense, the Union of Krewo or Act of Krėva was a set of prenuptial promises made in the Kreva Castle on 14 August 1385 by Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in exchange for marriage to the underage reigning Queen Jadwiga of Poland...

 in 1385 and the Union of Lublin
Union of Lublin
The Union of Lublin replaced the personal union of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with a real union and an elective monarchy, since Sigismund II Augustus, the last of the Jagiellons, remained childless after three marriages. In addition, the autonomy of Royal Prussia was...

 in 1569, with the latter resulting in a stable and powerful new state, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth). This preliminary coalition was short-lived, collapsing in about 1330, but there is no evidence of military conflict between Poland and Lithuania while Aldona was alive.

The marriage into the Lithuanian dynasty that had ruled since about 1289 might have lent legitimacy to the rule of Władysław I of the Piast dynasty
Piast dynasty
The Piast dynasty was the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland. It began with the semi-legendary Piast Kołodziej . The first historical ruler was Duke Mieszko I . The Piasts' royal rule in Poland ended in 1370 with the death of king Casimir the Great...

, who was crowned in 1320, replacing the Přemyslid dynasty
Premyslid dynasty
The Přemyslids , were a Czech royal dynasty which reigned in Bohemia and Moravia , and partly also in Hungary, Silesia, Austria and Poland.-Legendary rulers:...

. But Aldona died unexpectedly at the end of May 1339 and was buried in Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

. Aldona had two daughters: Cunigunde (d. 1357) married Louis VI the Roman
Louis VI the Roman
Louis the Roman was the eldest son of Emperor Louis IV the Bavarian by his second wife, Margaret II, Countess of Hainault, and a member of the House of Wittelsbach. Louis was Duke of Bavaria as Louis VI and Margrave of Brandenburg as Louis II...

, the son of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

, and Elisabeth (d. 1361) married Duke Bogislaw V
Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania
Bogislaw V was a Duke of Pomerania.Eldest son of Duke Wartislaw IV and Elisabeth of Silesia, Bogislaw had two brothers, Barnim IV and Wartislaw V. The brothers were joint rulers from their father's death in 1326. They allied with King Casimir III of Poland, whose daughter Elisabeth married...

 of Pomerania
Pomerania
Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. Divided between Germany and Poland, it stretches roughly from the Recknitz River near Stralsund in the West, via the Oder River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Vistula River near Gdańsk in the East...

, an area in modern-day Germany and Poland. Elisabeth's daughter, Elizabeth of Pomerania
Elizabeth of Pomerania
Elizabeth of Pomerania was the fourth and final wife of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Bohemia. Her parents were Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania and Elizabeth of Poland,...

, was the fourth wife of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

.

Gediminas' daughter Elzbieta married Wacław of Płock, one of the dukes of Masovia
Dukes of Masovia
The Dukes of Masovia were a line of the Piast dynasty who ruled in Masovia. The following is a list of all rulers of the Duchy of Masovia and its parts...

 in modern-day eastern Poland. Her second name is recorded in writings by Maciej Stryjkowski
Maciej Stryjkowski
Maciej Stryjkowski was a Polish-Lithuanian historian, writer and a poet, notable as the author of Chronicle of Poland, Lithuania, Samogitia and all of Ruthenia , amongst other aspects of this work considered the first printed book on the history of Lithuania.-Biography:Maciej Stryjkowski was...

 as Danmila and Teodor Narbutt
Teodor Narbutt
Teodor Narbutt was a Polish–Lithuanian writer, Romantic historian and military engineer...

 as Damila. It has been suggested these names are misread versions of Danutė, a name derived from Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

. Another interpretation is that historians confused Danutė of Lithuania
Danute of Lithuania
Danutė of Lithuania was a Lithuanian princess, daughter of Kęstutis, Grand Duke of Lithuania. She was married to Janusz I of Warsaw, one of the dukes of Masovia. Very little reliable information is known about her life.The date of her marriage is confused in many sources...

, daughter of Kęstutis, with Elzbieta. As an alliance, the marriage was significant because passages to and from western Europe had to pass through Masovia; it can be seen as an attempt to revive Grand Duke Traidenis
Traidenis
Traidenis was the Grand Duke Lithuania from 1270 till 1282. He is the second most prominent, after Mindaugas, Grand Duke of Lithuania in the 13th century. His reign ended a seven-year unrest period after Mindaugas was assassinated in 1263 and firmly established the Grand Duchy as a pagan state...

' and his daughter Gaudemunda's
Gaudemunda of Lithuania
Gaudemunda Sophia, Princess of Lithuania was a daughter of Traidenis, Grand Duke of Lithuania . In 1279 she married Duke of Masovia Boleslaw II of the Piast dynasty...

 link with Masovia in the 1270s. The marriage's importance is attested by Elzbieta's dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

: 720 Kraków silver marks
Mark (weight)
The mark was originally a unit of mass for gold and silver common throughout western Europe, and was equal to 8 troy ounces . Variations throughout the Middle Ages were, however, considerable.Later, the weight called "mark" was generally half-a-pound...

 and nine marks of gold – three times more than an ordinary recorded dowry of the time. This marriage probably took place about 1316, when Gediminas supported Wacław during a civil war in the divided Duchy of Masovia
Duchy of Masovia
The Duchy of Masovia with its capital at Płock was a medieval duchy formed when the Polish Kingdom of the Piasts fragmented in 1138. It was located in the historic Masovian region of northeastern Poland...

. After Wacław's death in 1336, Elzbieta managed her own wealth. She is mentioned for the last time in 1361, when her brother Kęstutis
Kestutis
Kęstutis was monarch of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–82, together with his brother Algirdas , and with his nephew Jogaila...

 escaped from Marienburg
Malbork
Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region , with 38,478 inhabitants . Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship...

 and sought refuge at his sister's house; historians put her date of death at around 1364. In 1337 Elzbieta's daughter Anna, first mentioned in late 1323, married Henry of Żagań
Zagan
Zagan may refer to:*Zagan - a demon in the Ars Goetia*Żagań - a town in west Poland...

, in modern-day western Poland. Her son Bolesław III or Bolko died without a male heir in 1351 and his land was divided among other dukes.

Eufemija (also known as Marija, Ofka, and Anka) married Bolesław Jerzy II of Galicia, in modern-day Ukraine, in 1331. The marriage was engineered in 1323 when the brothers Lev
Lev II of Galicia
Lev Yurevich or Lev II of Galicia was the last Rurikid king of Galicia-Volhynia in 1308–1323 . He was the son of Yuri I of Galicia whom he succeeded on the royal throne of Galicia. After the death of his father, he ruled the kingdom together with his brother Andrey. His mother was Euphemia...

 and Andrew of Galicia
Andrew of Galicia
Andriy II Yuriyevych or Andrew of Galicia was the last Rus' king of Galicia-Volhynia in 1308–1323 . He was the son of Yuriy I whom he succeeded on the royal throne of Galicia. His mother was Euphemia of Kuyavia. After the death of his father, he ruled the kingdom together with his...

 were slain without leaving heirs. Instead of replacing them with his own son Liubartas and risking a war with Poland, Gediminas forged a compromise with Władysław I of Poland. Both parties agreed to install Bolesław, cousin of Władysław I and nephew of Gediminas' son-in-law Wacław of Płock, with the marriage to take place later. Bolesław at the time was fourteen years old. In this way the war for control of Galicia–Volhynia was postponed until after Bolesław's poisoning in 1340; control of the area was not stabilized until 1370. According to Teodor Narbutt, Eufemija was drowned beneath the ice of the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

 River on February 5, 1342, in order to keep her out of the succession disputes.

Aigusta
Augusta Anastasia of Lithuania
Augusta Anastasia of Lithuania was a Grand Princess consort of Muscovy. Most likely she was the daughter of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and wife of Simeon, Grand Prince of Moscow....

 was baptized as Anastasia in order to marry Simeon of Russia
Simeon of Russia
Simeon Ivanovich Gordyi was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir. Simeon continued his father's policies of supporting the Golden Horde and acting as its leading enforcer in Russia. Simeon's rule was marked by regular military and political standoffs against Novgorod Republic and...

 in 1333; he became Grand Prince of Moscow
Grand Prince of Moscow
This is a list of Princes and Grand Princes of Russian Grand Duchy of Moscow.Note: the first 3 Princes are not members of the family of Daniel of Russia and their ownership of Moscow is disputed.- Princes of Moscow :* Vladimir Yuryevich This is a list of Princes and Grand Princes of Russian Grand...

 in 1341. There is no direct evidence that she was a daughter of Gediminas, but because the marriage was high-profile, most historians have concluded that she was a member of Gediminas' family. The marriage had great potential because Lithuania and Moscow were fierce rivals for supremacy in Ruthenia
Ruthenia
Ruthenia is the Latin word used onwards from the 13th century, describing lands of the Ancient Rus in European manuscripts. Its geographic and culturo-ethnic name at that time was applied to the parts of Eastern Europe. Essentially, the word is a false Latin rendering of the ancient place name Rus...

, but conflicts broke out again in 1335, just two years after the marriage. Her two sons Vasilei and Konstantin did not survive infancy; her daughter Vasilisa married Mikhail Vasilevich of Kashin, a Tverite prince opposing Lithuania. Her brother Jaunutis
Jaunutis
Jaunutis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from his father Gediminas' death in 1341 until he was deposed by his elder brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis in 1345....

 sought her help when he was deposed by Algirdas in 1345. Immediately before her death on March 11, 1345, Aigusta became a nun. She was buried within the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 at a monastic church whose construction she had sponsored.

It is possible that Gediminas had two more daughters. According to Maciej Stryjkowski, one of Gediminas' daughters was married to David of Hrodna
David of Hrodna
David was a castellan of Hrodna and one of the most famous warleaders of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. He might have been the son of Daumantas of Pskov and great grandson of Alexander Nevsky. Maciej Stryjkowski claims that David was married to one of the daughters of Gediminas...

, his favorite war leader. However, some historians disagree with the conclusion that David was Gediminas' son-in-law, expressing skepticism about the reliability of Stryjkowski's sources. The existence of another daughter, or possibly another sister, has been hypothesized based on the list of Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 Theognostus
Theognostus
Theognostus was Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus'.Theognostus was born in Constantinople and later in his life became Peter's successor as Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus'...

' property published in 1916. The list contains a note describing Andrei Mstislavich, Duke of Kozelsk
Kozelsk
Kozelsk is a town in Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located on the Zhizdra River , southwest of Kaluga. Population: -History:The town of Kozelsk was first mentioned in a chronicle under the year of 1146 as a part of Principality of Chernigov...

 (ruled ca. 1320 — 1339), as Gediminas' son-in-law. On the other hand, the Ruthenian
Ruthenian language
Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

 word ziat (зять) can mean either "son-in-law" or "sister's husband". Hence Andrei of Kozelsk could have been Gediminas' brother-in-law.

Sons


The chronicle of John of Winterthur
John of Winterthur
John of Winterthur was a Swiss historian who wrote a chronicle of history up to 1348.He was born in Winterthur, in what is now Canton Zurich, Switzerland. He attended school in his native village from 1309 to 1315 and then joined the Franciscans...

 contains a reference to Gediminas' eight sons. The names of seven sons can be found in various written sources, while the identity of the eighth remains disputed. Alvydas Nikžentaitis suggests that this son was the Duke of Trakai who perished in 1337 near Veliuona
Veliuona
Veliuona is a small town on the Nemunas River in the Jurbarkas district municipality in Lithuania.Veliuona was first mentioned in 1291 in the chronicle of Peter of Duisburg....

. Duke of Trakai was an important position held either by the Grand Duke himself or his second-in-command. Therefore 18th- and 19th-century historians believed that it was Gediminas himself who died in Veliuona, which still advertises itself as the place of Gediminas' burial. Nikžentaitis further postulates that the name of the unknown son might have been Vytautas, as records mention a young and powerful Yuri, son of Vytautas and deputy of Andrei, son of Algirdas
Andrei of Polotsk
Andrei of Polotsk was the eldest son Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and his first wife Maria of Vitebsk. He was Duke of Pskov and Polotsk . As the eldest son of the Grand Duke, Andrei claimed his right to the throne after his father's death in 1377...

. Yuri died in 1348. His high position in youth could easily be accounted for by being a grandson of Gediminas. However, others dispute these theories, arguing that the note in John of Winterthur's chronicle was misinterpreted.

It is unclear why, but Jaunutis
Jaunutis
Jaunutis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from his father Gediminas' death in 1341 until he was deposed by his elder brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis in 1345....

, a middle son not mentioned in any written sources before the coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 accomplished by his brothers, was designated by Gediminas as his heir in Vilnius
Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 and consequently became the Grand Duke. His brother Kęstutis
Kestutis
Kęstutis was monarch of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–82, together with his brother Algirdas , and with his nephew Jogaila...

, Duke of Trakai, was assisting him in Samogitia
Samogitia
Samogitia is one of the five ethnographic regions of Lithuania. It is located in northwestern Lithuania. Its largest city is Šiauliai/Šiaulē. The region has a long and distinct cultural history, reflected in the existence of the Samogitian dialect...

. Despite help from Narimantas, Jaunutis was deposed by his brothers Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 and Kęstutis in 1345, just four years after Gediminas' death. Jaunutis tried, but failed, to solicit help from his brother-in-law Simeon of Russia
Simeon of Russia
Simeon Ivanovich Gordyi was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir. Simeon continued his father's policies of supporting the Golden Horde and acting as its leading enforcer in Russia. Simeon's rule was marked by regular military and political standoffs against Novgorod Republic and...

 and was baptized as Iwan in the process. He was forced to reconcile with Algirdas and in compensation received the Duchy of Zasłaŭje, which he ruled until his death in 1366.

Several sons of Gediminas continued his male line, but it was Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 who continued the main Gediminid line. Before deposing his brother Jaunutis in 1345, he ruled Kreva
Kreva
Kreva is a township in Hrodna Voblast, Belarus.-History:The Kreva Castle, constructed of brick, was built by the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania at the borderland of Lithuanian ethnic lands. After his death in 1341, Kreva became the patrimony of his son and successor, Algirdas...

 and, despite remaining pagan, married Maria, a daughter of the last prince of Vitebsk
Vitebsk
Vitebsk, also known as Viciebsk or Vitsyebsk , is a city in Belarus, near the border with Russia. The capital of the Vitebsk Oblast, in 2004 it had 342,381 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth largest city...

. After 1345 he became the Grand Duke of Lithuania and shared his power with his brother Kęstutis. Their successful collaboration is celebrated in Lithuanian historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

, and gave rise to a much debated theory that a tradition of co-rule or diarchy in Lithuania was customary and arose as early as 1285. The Grand Duchy experienced its greatest expansion during their reign. While Algirdas was mostly active in the east, Kęstutis occupied himself by managing the Duchy's interactions with the Teutonic Knights, Poland, and other western European entities. In 1350 Algirdas contracted a second marriage with Uliana of Tver
Uliana Alexandrovna of Tver
Uliana Alexandrovna of Tver was a daughter of Grand Prince Alexander of Tver and Anastasia of Halych, and second wife of Grand Prince of Lithuania Algirdas. After the death of her husband Uliana became a nun under the name Marina...

; he chose their son Jogaila
Jogaila
Jogaila, later 'He is known under a number of names: ; ; . See also: Jogaila : names and titles. was Grand Duke of Lithuania , king consort of Kingdom of Poland , and sole King of Poland . He ruled in Lithuania from 1377, at first with his uncle Kęstutis...

 as the next Grand Duke. In 1385 Jogaila opened a new chapter in the history of Lithuania
History of Lithuania
The history of Lithuania dates back to at least 1009, the first recorded written use of the term. Lithuanians, a branch of the Baltic peoples, later conquered neighboring lands, establishing the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in the 13th century the short-lived Kingdom of Lithuania. The Grand Duchy...

 by converting the country to Christianity
Christianization of Lithuania
The Christianization of Lithuania – Christianization of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that took place in 1387, initiated by the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Jogaila and his cousin Vytautas, that signified the official adoption of Christianity by Lithuanians, one of the last pagan...

 and signing a personal union with Poland
Union of Krewo
In a strict sense, the Union of Krewo or Act of Krėva was a set of prenuptial promises made in the Kreva Castle on 14 August 1385 by Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, in exchange for marriage to the underage reigning Queen Jadwiga of Poland...

, becoming King of Poland. This Polish–Lithuanian union, in various forms, survived until the third partition
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795. Jogaila's branch of the Gediminids is known as the Jagiellon dynasty
Jagiellon dynasty
The Jagiellonian dynasty was a royal dynasty originating from the Lithuanian House of Gediminas dynasty that reigned in Central European countries between the 14th and 16th century...

.


Kęstutis
Kestutis
Kęstutis was monarch of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–82, together with his brother Algirdas , and with his nephew Jogaila...

, Duke of Trakai, despite exercising considerable autonomy while controlling the western provinces of the duchy, was loyal to Algirdas and acknowledged his superiority. Kęstutis was a devoted pagan and dedicated his life to defending Lithuania from the Teutonic Knights. A popular romantic legend arose about his marriage to the pagan priestess Birutė
Birute
Birutė was the second wife of Kęstutis, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and mother of Vytautas the Great. There is very little known about Birutė's life but after her death a strong cult developed among Lithuanians, especially in Samogitia.-Marriage:...

 of Palanga
Palanga
Palanga and beautiful sand dunes. Officially Palanga has the status of a city municipality and includes Šventoji, Nemirseta, Būtingė and other settlements, which are considered as part of the city of Palanga.-Legend:...

. They had seven or eight children, including Vytautas the Great
Vytautas the Great
Vytautas ; styled "the Great" from the 15th century onwards; c. 1350 October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

. After Algirdas' death in 1377, his son Jogaila became the Grand Duke. At first Kęstutis and his son Vytautas acknowledged Jogaila's rule, but after Jogaila signed the controversial Treaty of Dovydiškės
Treaty of Dovydiškes
The Treaty of Dovydiškės , Daudiske, or Daudisken was a secret treaty signed on May 31, 1380 between Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Winrich von Kniprode, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights...

 with the Teutonic Knights, Kęstutis seized Vilnius and became the Grand Duke in late 1381. In August 1382 he was imprisoned in Kreva
Kreva
Kreva is a township in Hrodna Voblast, Belarus.-History:The Kreva Castle, constructed of brick, was built by the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania at the borderland of Lithuanian ethnic lands. After his death in 1341, Kreva became the patrimony of his son and successor, Algirdas...

 and died there. Vytautas continued his fight for supremacy, and the conflicts between the descendants of Algirdas and Kęstutis lasted well into the 15th century.

Manvydas
Manvydas
Manvydas or Monwid was the eldest son of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and inherited Kernavė and Slonim after his father's death in 1341. It is believed that he died in the Battle of Strėva in 1348.-References:...

 was the eldest son of Gediminas and inherited the territories of Kernavė
Kernave
Kernavė was a medieval capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and today is a tourist attraction and an archeological site . It is located in the Širvintos district municipality located in southeast Lithuania...

 and Slonim
Slonim
Slonim is a city in Hrodna Voblast, Belarus, capital of the Slonim District. It is located at the junction of the Shchara and Isa rivers, 143 km southeast of Hrodna. The population in 2008 was 50,800.-Etymology and historical names:...

 from his father. Little is known about him, and he died soon after Gediminas. It is believed that he was killed in the Battle of Strėva
Battle of Streva
Battle of Strėva, Strebe, or Strawe was fought on February 2, 1348 between the Teutonic Knights and pagan Grand Duchy of Lithuania on the banks of the Strėva River, a right tributary of the Neman River, near present-day Žiežmariai...

 in 1348 along with his brother Narimantas.

Narimantas was the second son of Gediminas. He was baptized as Gleb and went on to rule Pinsk
Pinsk
Pinsk , a town in Belarus, in the Polesia region, traversed by the river Pripyat, at the confluence of the Strumen and Pina rivers. The region was known as the Marsh of Pinsk. It is a fertile agricultural center. It lies south-west of Minsk. The population is about 130,000...

, Polotsk, and – as his patrimony
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 by invitation of Novgorod's nobles – Ladoga
Staraya Ladoga
Staraya Ladoga , or the Aldeigjuborg of Norse sagas, is a village in the Volkhovsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Volkhov River near Lake Ladoga, 8 km north of the town of Volkhov. The village used to be a prosperous trading outpost in the 8th and 9th centuries...

, Oreshek and Korela. He initiated a tradition of Lithuanian mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 service north of Novgorod on the Swedish border that lasted until Novgorod's fall to Moscow in 1477 and helped keep Moscow at bay. In 1345 Narimantas became the strongest supporter of his deposed brother Jaunutis and went to Jani Beg
Jani Beg
Jani Beg was a khan of the Golden Horde from 1342 to 1357, succeeding his father Uzbeg Khan.After putting two of his brothers to death, Jani Beg crowned himself in Saray-Jük. He is known to have actively interfered in the affairs of Russian principalities and of Lithuania...

, Khan of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

, to ask for support against Algirdas and Kęstutis. There are rumors that Narimantas married a Tatar princess, but they lack credibility. After a few years the brothers reconciled, and it is believed that Narimantas led the Battle of Strėva in the name of Algirdas and died there. He left behind three to five sons who founded Russian princely families, including Kurakin
Kurakin
Kurakin was a Gediminid Russian princely family and may refer to:*Alexander Kurakin , a Russian diplomat and senator*Alexander Borisovich Kurakin , a Russian statesman and diplomat...

 and Galitzine
Galitzine
For Orthodox clergyman and theologian, see Alexander Golitzin.The Galitzines are one of the largest and noblest princely houses of Russia. Since the extinction of the Korecki family in the 17th century, the Golitsyns have claimed dynastic seniority in the House of Gediminas...

.

Karijotas was baptized as Mikhail and inherited Navahrudak in Black Ruthenia
Black Ruthenia
Black Ruthenia, Black Rus or Black Russia are variant conventional terms used for a region around Navahrudak , in the western part of contemporary Belarus on the upper reaches of the Neman River for the time period between the 13th and 14th centuries...

. In 1348 he was sent by Algirdas to Khan Jani Beg
Jani Beg
Jani Beg was a khan of the Golden Horde from 1342 to 1357, succeeding his father Uzbeg Khan.After putting two of his brothers to death, Jani Beg crowned himself in Saray-Jük. He is known to have actively interfered in the affairs of Russian principalities and of Lithuania...

 to negotiate a coalition against the Teutonic Knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

, but was handed over to Moscow for ransom. He died about 1363. It is uncertain how many children he had: the number varies between four and nine.

Liubartas (baptized Dymitr) was Gediminas' youngest son. In the early 1320s he married a daughter of Andrew of Galicia
Andrew of Galicia
Andriy II Yuriyevych or Andrew of Galicia was the last Rus' king of Galicia-Volhynia in 1308–1323 . He was the son of Yuriy I whom he succeeded on the royal throne of Galicia. His mother was Euphemia of Kuyavia. After the death of his father, he ruled the kingdom together with his...

 and ruled Lutsk
Lutsk
Lutsk is a city located by the Styr River in northwestern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Volyn Oblast and the administrative center of the surrounding Lutskyi Raion within the oblast...

 in eastern Volhynia. After Andrew's and his brother Lev of Galicia
Lev II of Galicia
Lev Yurevich or Lev II of Galicia was the last Rurikid king of Galicia-Volhynia in 1308–1323 . He was the son of Yuri I of Galicia whom he succeeded on the royal throne of Galicia. After the death of his father, he ruled the kingdom together with his brother Andrey. His mother was Euphemia...

's deaths about 1323, Galicia–Volhynia experienced a power vacuum. Rather than promoting Liubartas and risking a war with Poland, Gediminas married his daughter Eufemija to Boleslaw-Yuri II of Galicia. War with Poland was thereby postponed until 1340. The Galicia–Volhynia Wars were settled after 1370, when Poland received Galicia, while Lithuania retained Volhynia
Volhynia
Volhynia, Volynia, or Volyn is a historic region in western Ukraine located between the rivers Prypiat and Southern Bug River, to the north of Galicia and Podolia; the region is named for the former city of Volyn or Velyn, said to have been located on the Southern Bug River, whose name may come...

. Liubartas died around 1385, having ruled Volhynia for roughly sixty years. He had three sons.

Graphic representation

Skalmantas
Skalmantas (Gediminids)
Skalmantas or Skolomend is the name of a possible ancestor of the Gediminid dynasty. In 1975 historian Jerzy Ochmański noted that Zadonshchina, a poem from the end of the 14th century, contains lines in which two sons of Algirdas name their ancestors: "We are two brothers – sons of Algirdas, and...

?
       
 
Butegeidis 
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Butvydas
Butvydas
Butvydas was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1292 to 1295. His influence was strong during his brother Butigeidis' reign. This led some historians to believe, that they were co-rulers, much like the grandsons Algirdas and Kęstutis...

?
Grand Duke of Lithuania
 
   
         
Fiodor
Fiodor of Kiev
Fiodor of Kiev , was a prince of Kiev. He was the son of Butvydas, and a younger brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Only a couple of short notes survive regarding Fiodor's life....

*
Duke of Kiev
Vainius
Vainius
Vainius or Voin was the Prince of Polotsk from 1315 to his death. Very little is known about Vainius, brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. He is mentioned in written sources in 1324 for the first time. In 1326 he, already as Prince of Polotsk, signed a treaty with the Livonian Order and...

 
Duke of Polatsk
Vytenis
Vytenis
Vytenis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from c. 1295 to c. 1316. He became the first of the Gediminid dynasty to rule for a considerable amount of time. In the early 14th century his reputation outshone that of Gediminas, who is regarded by modern historians as one of the greatest Lithuanian rulers...

 
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Gediminas 
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Margiris
Margiris
Margiris was a Duke of Samogitia, a medieval Lithuanian prince, mentioned in the chronicle of Wigand of Marburg as the heroic defender of the Pilėnai in Samogitia in 1336...

?
Duke of Samogitia
NN
Nomen nescio
Nomen nescio, abbreviated to N.N., is used to signify an anonymous or non-specific person. From Latin nomen, name, and nescire, not to know, be ignorant of. Together, I do not know the name....

 daughter?
       
Liubka Žvelgaitis     NN son
   
           
Maria*
Duchess of Tver
Aldona 
Baptized: Ona
Queen of Poland
Elzbieta*
Duchess of Płock
  Eufemija
Baptized: Marija
Duchess of Galicia
Aigusta
Augusta Anastasia of Lithuania
Augusta Anastasia of Lithuania was a Grand Princess consort of Muscovy. Most likely she was the daughter of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and wife of Simeon, Grand Prince of Moscow....

 
Baptized: Anastasia
Duchess of Moscow
NN daughter?
Duchess of Pskov?
Duchess of Kozelsk?
       
  2 daughters   2 children     3 children
   
             
Vytautas?
Duke of Trakai?
Manvydas
Manvydas
Manvydas or Monwid was the eldest son of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and inherited Kernavė and Slonim after his father's death in 1341. It is believed that he died in the Battle of Strėva in 1348.-References:...

 
Prince of Slonim and Kernavė
Narimantas 
Baptized: Gleb
Duke of Pinsk
Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Kęstutis
Kestutis
Kęstutis was monarch of medieval Lithuania. He was the Duke of Trakai and governed the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1342–82, together with his brother Algirdas , and with his nephew Jogaila...

 
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Jaunutis
Jaunutis
Jaunutis was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from his father Gediminas' death in 1341 until he was deposed by his elder brothers Algirdas and Kęstutis in 1345....

 
Baptized: Iwan
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Karijotas 
Baptized: Mikhail
Duke of Navahrudak
Liubartas 
Baptized: Dymitr
Duke of Volhynia
           
1 son 3, 4, or 5 sons 22 children
House of Algirdas
House of Algirdas refers to the siblings, children, and grandchildren of Algirdas, Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377. The family was from the Gediminids dynasty...

7 or 8 children
House of Kestutis
The family of Kęstutis, Grand Duke of Lithuania , is listed here. He co-ruled with his brother Algirdas from 1345 to 1377.- Parents :*Gediminas , Grand Duke of Lithuania...

2 sons 4 to 10 children 3 sons



See also

  • House of Mindaugas
    House of Mindaugas
    The House of Mindaugas was the first royal family of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, centered around Mindaugas, the first known and undoubted sovereign of Lithuania. He was crowned as King of Lithuania in 1253 and assassinated ten years later...

     – the first royal family of Lithuania
  • Palemonids – legendary dynasty of Romans who settled in Lithuania
  • Gediminids
    Gediminids
    The Gediminids were a dynasty of monarchs of Grand Duchy of Lithuania that reigned from the 14th to the 16th century. One branch of this dynasty, known as the Jagiellons, reigned also in Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary and Kingdom of Bohemia...

  • Gediminas' Tower
  • Columns of Gediminas
    Columns of Gediminas
    The Columns of Gediminas or Pillars of Gediminids are one of the earliest symbols of Lithuania and one of its historical coats of arms. They were used in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, initially as a rulers' personal insignia, a state symbol, and later as a part of heraldic signs of leading...