Heraldry of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and its Social and Ideological Meanings in the Work of Bartłomiej Paprocki (Summary)

Sławomir Baczewski (PDF)

The article analyses the heraldic works of Bartłomiej Paprocki (1543–1614): ‘Wealthy’ (Panosza), ‘Nest of Virtue’ (Gnieźdo cnoty), ‘Coats of Arms of Polish Knights’ (Herby rycerstwa polskiego) and ‘Royal Garden’ (Ogród królewski). Attention is drawn to the different assessments of the origins and meanings of the heraldry of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) and Poland, as well as the different interpretations of the history of the two countries. Paprocki did not support the idea that the Lithuanian nobility originated from the Romans. Ignoring knowledge of historiography, he underestimated the tradition of pagan Lithuanian statehood until the times of Jagiełło. Questioning the antiquity of the Lithuanian nobility families and coats of arms, he regarded them as secondary in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In his works, Paprocki polemicised with the point of view of the chronicler Maciej Stryjkowski (1547–1593), who founded the tradition of Lithuanian history and, contrary to his intentions, reinforced the notion of the exclusivity of the inhabitants of the GDL. The reasons for Paprocki’s attitudes need to be clarified. Perhaps he was thinking of a different kind of union of nations. His works written after 1588, when he emigrated to Kroměříž (Moravia), repeatedly refer to the common origin of Poles and Czechs and state that many Polish coats of arms are of Czech origin. The alternative of a union between Lithuania and Poland is tentatively proposed, emphasising the link between the two Slavic nations.

Keywords: coat of arms, Poland, nobility, historiography, the Czechs