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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

HistoryDude

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The Poles were foolish with this. They'd already annoyed Lithuania enough with the succession. Did they really need to piss them off over war spoils?

I'm saying that the Union won't last. It seems to benefit Poland far more than Lithuania....
 
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Cromwell

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I'm not sure about that, there is still plently of land for Lithuania to gain in the future... Patience can be the hardest of virtues to master.
 
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volksmarschall

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Dropping in Ross to say I'll be reading. Just found this AAR of yours.
 
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Viden

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Glad to see this alive! Now crush those upstarts of the Sejm.
 
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slothinator

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I wonder what the Lithuanians will think of their new king/grand duke. He may have been their favorite candidate but remained awfully quiet during the uprising
 
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Part Five: August II von Mecklenburg

RossN

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August II.jpg


August II von Mecklenberg, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Part Five: August II von Mecklenburg

The reign of August II was brief and unhappy. Save for the fact it ended with the monarch's abdication and the collapse of the Polish Mecklenbergs it might have been forgotten altogether, an ellipses between the eras of more significant figures. Yet at the very end of 1482 such a future would not have seemed inevitable or even likely. The new king was approved by the entire Sejm and inaugurated with great ceremony in the new year.

August by all lights was an amiable and even handed ruler. The few first hand accounts that survive hardly paint him in glowing colours, more as a drunk with a wandering eye but there is no suggestion even among his many critics that he was the stuff of tyranny. In fact a stronger king would probably have rejected the so called 'Augustan Articles' and the Pacta Conventa that August found himself forced to sign in 1483.

The 'Augustan Articles' (sometimes confusingly termed the 'Henrician Articles' after their chief author the Polish baron Henryk Miłosz) were a series of laws -effectively a permanent constitution - greatly limiting the power and authority of the Polish monarch and enshrining the supreme authority of the
Sejm. Already very powerful by the standards of neighbouring countries the Polish nobles would effectively become the true rulers of the country with the King (or Queen) reduced to little more than a figurehead. The Pacta Conventa which August was also required to obey was a document unique to every individual monarch, outlining the promises and duties of that particular ruler.

Pacta Conventa.jpg


The Pacta Conventa and the 'Augustan' (or 'Henrykia') Articles.

The extent of the privileges demanded (and received) by the szlachta was a thunderbolt that rolled and echoed across Europe. Even Polish observers especially among the burghers and clergy seemed to have been taken aback by quite how far the nobles had pushed. August found that even before he had time to adjust to life in Wawel Royal Castle the legs had been cut away from him. He was the least significant man in his own court. The true ruler of Poland at this point was probably Andrzej Herburt, the Royal Chancellor. A much respected philosopher and intellectual whose writings were acknowledged across the continent Herburt was a strong adherent of a powerful Sejm but also enjoyed good personal relations with the royal family stemming from his appointment by King Michal I. Initially this balancing act seemed to work and Poland was both stable enough and strong enough in 1483 for the King (on the advice of the Sejm) to send Polish troops to the aid of Venice in their war against the Turks [1].

Unfortunately for August - and for many who benefited from the current system - the unity of the Sejm was beginning to crack.

Poland was not alone in having a powerful nobility. France had been torn apart for generations by the machinations of her dukes and was only now recovering from the Hundred Years War. The princely houses of the Holy Roman Empire made their counterparts in France look like the Apostles. What set Poland - and Lithuania - apart was the size and sense of common class of the nobility. The szlachta were a very numerous and it was this caste of warrior-landowners that enjoyed power rather than a handful of great princes. The Polish nobility were passionate and ferociously proud of their ancestry and their names. The best had a paternalistic regard for the peasantry, a pious tolerance for the clergy and a frigid understanding of the burghers. Their grudges were engraved in granite and when not united by common class cause could spill beyond the realm of pure politics.

The impact of young Lukasz Malski on this world was immediate. The eldest son of a baron from Poznan and a mother of remote Piast ancestry Lukasz was an exceptionally sharp minded youth. His father's imagination had rambled no further than the edge of his estates but when Lukasz inherited the family holdings at the age of just fifteen he already had grander ambitions. Lukasz was a fine swordsman and rider and he could be charming but his great genius lay in organisation and planning. The extensive family estates near Poznan had been bolstered by shrewd family alliances and other measures that some more traditional nobles may never even have thought of. By the August of 1484, though technically still a minor he was one of the most powerful nobles in all of Poland.

Later events invariably colour the boyhood of Lukasz but from very early on he seems to have become a magnet for those who had once supported the House of Hohenzollern. This seems to date back to his father who had been one of the nobles who voted for John of Brandenburg but Lukasz was able to work this family loyalty without tying his star to the fallen figure of August von Hohenzollern in his exile.

For King August II the rising power of this precocious baron was an existential threat. The monarch was not lost to the pleasures of the banquet and the bedroom that the rise of powerful men was invisible to him. The 'Augustan Articles' had been a truly painful moment for a prince who might have been German by birth and upbringing but had spent so many years in Poland. August clung to his weakened throne like a shipwrecked mariner to a shattered spar.

1484 was an unusually fevered summer with many of the rich fleeing the rich aroma of the cities for the cleaner climes of the country. In the decimated royal court of Kraków rumours swirled even if the breeze never did. In such an atmosphere the shadow of a powerful baron assumed monstrous proportions. On 24 August in response to a lurid ad almost certainly false tale of treasonous meetings with Hohenzollern envoys the King acted on his nerves and ordered the baron's arrest.


Local Noble.jpg


The (attempted) arrest of Lukasz Malski, August 1484.


The monarch has been criticised by generations of historians for his actions in 1484, but he has had defenders. Surprisingly one of those defenders has been the famous and famously partisan Nineteenth Century historian Baron Piotrowski. Piotrowski loathed the 'German era' of Polish history and was a great admirer of Lukasz Malski but he was able to empathise with the beleaguered Polish monarch:

'[August II] was not a strong king but had he simply stood back Lukasz Malski would have ended up as dictator of Poland in power if not in title. He attempted to shore up what authority he had and what authority the crown still had... he failed and history has judged him harshly but he would have been a paltry man indeed had he never tried.'

Regardless of the wisdom or even necessity of arresting Lukasz the manner in which the orders were carried out was farcical. The duty was entrusted to a quartet of knights, three of whom turned out to be sympathisers of the errant baron and the fourth of whom was a drinking crony of August II who managed to arrive far too late to accomplish anything other than be taken prisoner when he reached Poznan. By that point Lukasz Malski had already raised his banner in revolt and supporters were flocking to his aid.


Siege of Poznan.jpg


The pretender and his army lay siege to Poznan across the winter of 1484 to 1485.

The Polish Civil War of 1484 to 1489 was a disaster for the szlachta as a collective group even if individual members did very well out of the business. The Polish nobility split in two over the pretender and the legal monarch. Young though he was Lukasz still cut a more impressive figure than the hapless August von Mecklenberg. He was clever and capable, a fine and brave knight and he was able to convincingly portray himself as a noble son of Poland like so many in the Sejm. He was also able to catch a feeling, exaggerated by later historians but present in some embryonic form, of Polish patriotism. Lukasz literally spoke the language of the szlachta and did so without the looming presence of a German accent overshadowing every turn of phrase.

King August II could offer few of the personal reasons for loyalty, but he did have one great advantage. He was the legally elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. The Sejm had elected him partly because they dreaded a strong king. Lukasz Malski threatened to be exactly that and no one could determine whether he would be first amongst equals or a true monarch seeking to restore the authority of the crown.

Besides the pretender and the King two other men had roles on the margins of this drama. August von Hohenzollern lived still, enjoying a dignified if shabby flicker of existence in Rome as the guest of a Pope who treated him as something less than a prince and more than a problem. From his house along the Tiber, the gift of a wealthy Italian mistress the former heir to Poland and Lithuania held court with a caramilla of diehards. He would not personally return to Poland for the rest of his life but he was in contact with Lukasz Malski after the baron rose in revolt [2].

More important even than the exiled prince was Andrzej Herburt, the Royal Chancellor. A much respected intellectual Herburt gave a shimmer of dignity to the royal court absent from the monarch himself and his support bolstered August II. His death from a summer fever in May 1487 was a fatal blow to the King's cause. All at once many of the nobles, finding themselves having to fight for August II alone deserted him for the pretender's camp.

Even with all the woes afflicting the King he may have survived had the army only been ready. Unfortunately for August many of the finest and most disciplined soldiers were still absent fighting the Turks in Istria and Dalmatia for Venetian gold. August II was forced to rely on those men who had remained, frequently of parsimonious quality. With the forces at his command August II was very reluctant to face his foe in the field even as Poznan surrendered to the rebels and Lukasz Malski began a steady march towards Kraków. The rebels would not encounter serious opposition until the Battle of Wieluń on 3 August 1488 when an army of Danzigers attempted to relieve the siege of Kraków. The result was a swift victory for Lukasz Malski.

Before Wieluń the King had already abandoned the capital for Lwów and in August 1489 with the Lukasz Malski in possession of Kraków the
Sejm took advantage of this to depose the nominal monarch. On 1 September August II, faced with the inevitable abdicated his throne and with the acquiescence of the pretender and his forces departed Poland for the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna. If anything the ruined monarch was probably relieved that his thankless and loveless stewardship of Poland and Lithuania had passed to another.

Back in Kraków the Sejm was still in service. Lukasz Malski had very properly withdrawn from the city and made camp on the far bank of the Vistula. The colourful banners and tents of the pretender were visible from Wawel Royal Castle and on a good day there was a sparkle in the distance as the sun reflected a forest of spearheads, lances and pikes. The Polish nobility only had to venture outside to glimpse the sole serious candidate for the throne. Throughout the debate the partisans of Lukasz Malski stressed his noble reputation, of how he had been forced to take up the sword by the provocation of August II, of how he and he alone could restore the dginity of Poland (and across the river those banners fluttered in the wind...

Astonishingly when voting commenced a half dozen barons voted for Aleksander von Mecklenberg, the cousin of August II and his nominal heir. This was perhaps less a diehard loyalty to the German princes than it was a desperate attempt to avoid surrender. This was the paradox of Lukasz Malski; the young baron was the very epitome of the szlachta but he would be a very strong King. The majority of their fellows swallowed such misgiving and voted to give the crown to Lukasz Malski. On 29 September 1489 the first Polish born monarch in decades took the throne.


Lukasz I Malski.jpg


The coronation of Lukasz I Malski, 29 September 1489.
Footnotes:

[1] The Polish soldiers would see much service but ultimately proved insufficient to win the war for the Venetians and after the bloody Battle of Friuli in 1487 the survivors would begin the slow journey home, laden with gold, scars and stories.

[2] August von Hohenzollern would never again set foot in Poland or Lithuania as a living man, but after his death in 1501 King Lukasz repatriated his remains to be buried with appropriate ceremony in a crypt next to his father.
 
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RossN

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Another belated chapter! Sorry guys, I'm still trying to get back into my writing groove. :)

~~~~~

Not great, but there is much to be said for just having a basic degree of competency.

But it also feels a bit like a missed opportunity. Not precisely fair to him - but it already sounds like August II might have his work cut out for him.

August II was very unlucky, but the monarchy was so badly weakened in any case he was in a no-win situation.

With the benefit of hindsight, it seems as if Michal I should have turned August von Hohenzollern into a boon companion or driven him out from the start. Ambiguity on such things can only make trouble.

Very true. Though I do think the Sejm were out to push for as much power as they could get.

Michal was perhaps not the stuff legends are made of, but he seems to have been a decent caretaker. At least he didn't break anything important.

As for his son and heir, on the other hand, it sounds like he'll have an interesting career ahead of him...

Interesting is one way of looking at it I suppose!

I'm currently reading a book on Polish history, and its interesting to see how different this timeline is already. I wonder to what heights this Poland will go.

Hopefully avoiding partition of course.

Oh that is very cool! I confess Polish history is not something I've really studied before trying this AAR, but I am trying to do proper research! :)

The Poles were foolish with this. They'd already annoyed Lithuania enough with the succession. Did they really need to piss them off over war spoils?

I'm saying that the Union won't last. It seems to benefit Poland far more than Lithuania....

Well, we'll see but I do think we haven't heard the last of Lithuania.

I'm not sure about that, there is still plently of land for Lithuania to gain in the future... Patience can be the hardest of virtues to master.

A fair comment. Poland and Lithuania (and Danzig-Prussia) are certainly stronger together.

Dropping in Ross to say I'll be reading. Just found this AAR of yours.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy it! :)

Furthermore, it is my belief that the Sejm must be destroyed

Hah! :D

Glad to see this alive! Now crush those upstarts of the Sejm.

Lot of absolutists here! ;)

I wonder what the Lithuanians will think of their new king/grand duke. He may have been their favorite candidate but remained awfully quiet during the uprising

Different August. August II von Mecklenberg became King and Grand Duke (for a while) while August von Hohenzollern went into exile.
 

Cora Giantkiller

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Not a little irony here, in that the Sejm seems to have weakened the monarchy so far that their weak king couldn't preserve his throne from a much more formidable man.
 
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slothinator

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A rather ignominious end(?) for the house of Mecklenburg, I wonder if the rest of Europe will choose to take advantage of the turmoil.
King Lucasz looks like a very impressive character with a long reign ahead of him. I am curious to see if he will use his position of strength to renegotiate the Augustan Articles.
 
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Nikolai

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Poland needs a strong king, else disaster awaits.
 
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stnylan

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The Sejm may well have been too successful. And they have to own August II's failures, for they surely made him fail.

Lukasz feels like is going to be quite unsettling
 
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HistoryDude

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Shame for August II...

A strong king could be good... or very, very bad. History is littered with tales of tyrants...

Also, given that the king just got overthrown, what's Lithuania in all of this? Seems like they'd have an interest here, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth doesn't exist yet...
 
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Specialist290

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I'm pretty much echoing Cora Giantkiller above, in that there's a strong undercurrent of irony throughout all the events of August II's reign. Had Lukasz Malski been less nakedly ambitious, or August II less paranoid, everyone could have gotten exactly what they wanted; instead, Poland has ended up with a pliable legitimately elected monarch in exile, and a popular and strong-willed king in a position to possibly reverse all the progress they've made in wresting power from the Crown, thanks in no small part to their own actions.
 
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Cromwell

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A great update a d finally a truly Polish King! Let's hope he finds a little more support from his nobles than his predecessor did!
 
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Part Six: Lukasz I Malski

RossN

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Lukasz I.jpg


Lukasz I Malski, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (r. 1489 to 1524.)


Part Six: Lukasz I Malski

Lukasz I was a very young monarch. When he was made or made himself King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania he was still some months from his twentieth birthday and would rule until 1524. By tradition he has been seen as the dividing line between Medieval Poland and everything that came later and it would become more and more difficult for later historians to unravel the man from the myth.

Contemporary accounts of Lukasz at his coronation described a handsome young man, uncommonly tall with grey eyes and a long nose. He was a fine horseman and finer swordsman but though he was considered honourable there was scant room in his life for chivalric romance. Royal tournaments that had once so dominated court life all but vanished and with them the gorgeous silk tents, the celebrated music and the aura of excitement around the jousts. Instead the new King favoured intimate affairs; dances, hunting with his favourites and above all falconry. An obsessive perfectionist in so many ways the monarch rarely seemed happier than when off hawking with the birds he had trained himself from the egg.

From the start Lukasz was formally respectful of the
Sejm, gracefully awaiting their offer of the throne and then negotiating terms on his own Pacta Conventa not all that different from his predecessor. He agreed to the Augustan Articles with all their constraints on royal power. If he was nothing else Lukasz I was a member of the szlachta and was at pains to stress his role as simply the first among equals. And yet... the new King came to the throne with far greater resources than poor August II. His own wealth, retained as a baron in his own right was considerable. Half the important families of Northern Poland were tied to Lukasz through marriage or ancient alliance with his kin. The monarch was legally as limited a king as his predecessor but his hidden power was immense; like a Caesar of old his true strength lay in patronage.

Lukasz's predecessor's had ignored Lithuania save as a source of trouble but the new Grand Duke visited Vilnius to be crowned there early in the new year. Lukasz's Lithuanian was middling at best (
'the Grand Duke approached every word like a huntsman stalking a boar' as one local chronicler put it) but the obvious effort he made to reach out to his subjects in the east earned him goodwill as did the simple fact that he was not a Mecklenberg. While in Vilnius the Grand Duke fell ill but with characteristic energy he turned this unexpected detainment in Lithuania to his advantage. During May and early June Lukasz was deep in conference with the Lithuanian Sejm, initially holding court from his bedchambers but later after recovering his strength in the Palace of the Grand Dukes.

livonia 1490.jpg


Livonia in 1490.


Lithuania loomed larger than royal Poland on the map but the Grand Duchy was poorer, less populated, more diverse and more troubled. Whether it was discontent from the Ruthenians who made up so much of the common people, religious differences between the Western and Eastern Churches or the hulking shadow of Muscowy and her warlike princes Lithuania was not a stable land. The Grand Duchy had expanded with the annexation of Klaipėda (formerly Memel) in 1463 giving the Grand Duchy a gateway to the Baltic but the German speaking seaport proved as problematic as she was prosperous, with the tensions sometimes erupting into open revolt over the years and blood running through the streets. The Lithuanian Army was large but scarcely changed since the days of Vytautas the Great and infamously backwards by the standards of Mitteleuropa (though not perhaps when compared with the Muscovites or the khanates to the East.)

For Lukasz all these issues required attention but there was one element that outshone them all in his conversations with the Lithuanian nobles: Denmark. The Danish kingdom had become the preeminent power in the Baltic and conquered a slice of Livonia. It seemed only a matter of time before the Danes swallowed the rest. The Livonian Order was certainly far too feeble to prevent them. One solution was to ally with the Knights but had Lukasz proposed that every baron in the Grand Duchy would have risen against him. The Lithuanians had fought the Livonian knights in their misty pagan past and if the fire altars and the songs to old and shadowy gods had given way to Christian churches and hymns the Lithuanians recalled their ancient grudges. It was to prevent Denmark gaining greater control that Lukasz went to war against the Knights, but there was a whisper of settling old scores to the backing of the Lithuanian nobles.

The Livonian Order had begun life as an offshoot of the Teutonic Knights, bringing the sword and the cross to the pagans of Livonia [1] and they had survived the disaster of their parent organisation. A smattering of German knights ruled over a population of Livonians, Estonians, and Baltic peoples. The true centre of German culture and wealth was Riga, a Hansa seaport and one of the richest and perhaps the fairest city on the Baltic Sea. Michael Hildebrand, the archbishop of Riga was carefully neutral in the politics between the Knights, the Danes and the Lithuanians, conscious of the sack of his city by John of Brandenburg. In 1490 the cleric sought to steer the Grand Duke away from war. He was unsuccessful but as the letters flew between Riga and Vilnius the good archbishop was at least promised Riga would be spared fighting. Lukasz may have been concerned about attacking an independent archbishopric but the truth was a free and wealthy Riga friendly to Poland-Lithuania was a useful thing to have for any number of reasons.

The Landmiester of the Livonian Order was not so fortunate. Siegfried I von Wittelsbach owed his position to his glorious family name rather than his martial ability or even his leadership skills. Perhaps no master of the weakened Knights could have stood against the Poles and Lithuanians but a wiser diplomat could perhaps have sought vassalage rather than total surrender. Lukasz had shown himself willing to turn to the pen rather than the sword when needed. Unfortunately Siegfried chose a course that was either admirably stoic or remarkably dullwitted, refusing to even meet with Lukasz's envoys. Unfortunately for him the only ally the Knights possessed was distant Mecklenberg - and despite some excitement in Kraków there was no sign of that distant German princedom stampeding to regain Poland and Lithuania by force of arms.

The war began in July 1490 and lasted for over two years. To their credit the Knights fought well, accepting battle with the Polish-Lithuanian armies only when faced with no choice and letting two bitter winters do much of their work for them. Thousands of Poles, Lithuanians and Mazovians froze to death in the Lettgallen alone as they besieged the formidable Dünaburg Castle for almost a full year. Illness, as frequent a companion to a marching force as the gaudily dressed 'army wives' and the flocks of bonepickers looting the battlefields also took its grim share. Adding to the woes the Germans of Klaipėda had proved themselves as quarrelsome as ever towards the end of the war, rising in a revolt that diverted many of the Grand Duke's finest soldiers.

Despite all these problems Lukasz could draw upon far more resources than his enemies, including at sea. Danzig was a loyal vassal of Poland and the city state placed her fleet at the use of the Polish monarch. Joined by the small Lithuanian fleet they bottled the Livonian cogs in their harbours, ending the possibility of aid from the Empire before it began.

Eventually Lukasz succeeded in bringing the Knights to battle and the last heirs of the Teutonic crusaders fell on the field outside Dorpat. In October 1492 the surviving member of the Order surrendered. As with the Teutonic Knights in Polish ruled Prussia they would mostly carry on as secular nobility loyal to the Polish and Lithuanian crown, forming a culturally distinct Baltic-German minority in the wider Polish-Lithuanian aristocracy.

The immediate question was whether Livonia would go to Poland, Lithuania or be ruled as an independent vassal state (a proposal of the archbishop of Riga who helped negotiate the peace.) The monarch was firmly in favour of centralising power and unifying his scattered realm so the question of vassalage vanished almost before it could be raised. That left Poland and Lithuania and the monarch favoured the Grand Duchy.


Lithuania 1493.jpg


Lithuania in 1493, after the Treaty of Vilnius.


The Sejm was less than thrilled at the idea of surrendering territory to the 'junior' party in the union but Lukasz was more than capable of pushing his view through. Lithuania had a historical claim on Livonia, was far better placed to actually control the land and it had been the Grand Duchy that had originally pressed for war. Folk memory and partisan historians have always attributed to a romantic streak of Lukasz, that the Grand Duke had fallen in love with his other realm. There maybe have been something to that for his interest in Lithuanian culture was lifelong but Lukasz I was also a shrewd and hard headed prince. Since the fall of the Hohenzollerns Lithuania had been drifting from Poland, only the fear of the Danes and Muscovites keeping the union alive. By handing over the conquered territory to the Grand Duchy the monarch won their lasting loyalty.

After the Treaty of Vilnius that ended the war Lukasz wintered in his Lithuanian capital before returning to Poland and affairs there. He would be back later in 1493 to see the coronation of his new wife Michalina Piast of Mazovia in Vilnius. During this second expedition the Grand Duke and his consort would visit not just Vilnius but the great cities of Minsk and Kiev, even if the latter was just a shadow of it's glorious medieval past. The monarch's obvious interest sparked rumours and in some quarters alarm that he intended to create a 'Grand Duchy of Ruthenia' centred on Kiev but ultimately this came to nothing. As with much else Lukasz's expeditions had a dual purpose. He wished to retain the goodwill of the Lithuanians while also signalling to the Muscovites that however much Polish attention might be focused elsewhere they had not forgotten and would not forget their eastern territories.

The Lithuanians were delighted at the annexed territories but they did not integrate into the Grand Duchy without some difficulty. In November 1499 the Baltic inhabitants of Cēsis (or Wenden as the German speakers called it) rose in revolt. Lukasz, unable to leave Poland due to domestic matters in his Western kingdom sent Emil Przyjemski one of his most trusted generals with a strong army of footmen and knights [2]. The revolt proved short lived as the Polish army crushed them in the spring but it was a humbling experience for the Lithauanian nobles. So too was the brief ascendancy of Jonas Albertas Alseniskis, a Lithuanian baron and descendant of fallen royalty who in 1512 made a play for the Lithuanian throne. That year had seen an unusually poor winter and the pretender, charismatic and ambitious was able to raise an army of hungry serfs and malcontent lesser nobles driven by promise of land and gold. Jonas Albertas would meet his death and defeat in battle on a rainy February in 1513 and he and thousands of his followers fell before the walls Vilnius.

As these incidents showed the Grand Duchy remained turbulent but throughout the overwhelming majority of the nobles and people remained loyal and sincerely devoted to Lukasz. Self interest and cultural affinity tied Lithuania to Poland but it was the actions of the monarch that breathed life into the union between Kraków and Vilnius. During the later decades his reign Lukasz's visits to his Grand Duchy became rare simply because Poland demanded more of his attention but retained his interest in and sympathy for the Grand Duchy. When he died in 1524 the union he left behind - and Lithuania with it - were stronger and richer than ever before.



Battle of Vilnius 1513.jpg


The Battle of Vilnius, 20 February 1513.


Footnotes:

[1] Livonia's medieval name of 'Terra Mariana' (Latin for the "Land of Mary") had its roots in the Livonian Crusades of centuries past.

[2] Romantic depictions of Lukasz-era Poland and Lithuania tended to depict the monarch leading an array of splendid winged hussars but in fact the most famous soldiers of Poland lay two generations in the future. The army of of Lukasz I like so much else was in that twilight phase between the medieval world of the heavy cavalry and the road ahead to the Rennaisance.
 
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RossN

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One again apologies for the delay. It is good to be back. :)

Lukasz's reign is quite long and involved so I split into two parts. This first covers the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the conquest of Livonia.

Not a little irony here, in that the Sejm seems to have weakened the monarchy so far that their weak king couldn't preserve his throne from a much more formidable man.

Very true observation!

A rather ignominious end(?) for the house of Mecklenburg, I wonder if the rest of Europe will choose to take advantage of the turmoil.
King Lucasz looks like a very impressive character with a long reign ahead of him. I am curious to see if he will use his position of strength to renegotiate the Augustan Articles.

We'll be taking a further look at his rule in Poland proper in the next update. :)

Poland needs a strong king, else disaster awaits.

Hard to argue with that!

The Sejm may well have been too successful. And they have to own August II's failures, for they surely made him fail.

Lukasz feels like is going to be quite unsettling

Exactly. Lukasz, aside from being generally strong is 'one of their own' so knows how things work (or don't as it happens.)

Shame for August II...

A strong king could be good... or very, very bad. History is littered with tales of tyrants...

Also, given that the king just got overthrown, what's Lithuania in all of this? Seems like they'd have an interest here, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth doesn't exist yet...

I had intended to re-visit Lithuania narratively, so I'm glad you brought it up. :)

I'm pretty much echoing Cora Giantkiller above, in that there's a strong undercurrent of irony throughout all the events of August II's reign. Had Lukasz Malski been less nakedly ambitious, or August II less paranoid, everyone could have gotten exactly what they wanted; instead, Poland has ended up with a pliable legitimately elected monarch in exile, and a popular and strong-willed king in a position to possibly reverse all the progress they've made in wresting power from the Crown, thanks in no small part to their own actions.

Good points and I have to agree, as I suspect do many later Polish historians. I guess in the words of William Shatner from Airplane II "irony can be pretty ironic sometimes."

A rather common theme for Poland's foreign kings. Some things never change.

Indeed. Though as for change i suppose we'll have to wait and see...

A great update a d finally a truly Polish King! Let's hope he finds a little more support from his nobles than his predecessor did!

Admittedly that would not be hard to accomplish!
 

stnylan

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And the subtext being that by making Lithuania slightly stronger he makes Poland the Sejm slightly weaker, and perhaps giving him something of a power base outside of Poland, had nothing at all to do with the decision to award the Livonian leftovers to Lithuania at all, right?

:D

Lots of Lukasc here on Livonia and Lithiania - but yes, it is has this relates to the situation in Poland that I am particularly interested in.
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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Lukasz sounds like an eminently capable ruler. Like stynlan, I'm also curious if he was intentionally playing his different realms against each other.
 
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