The Grand Lithuanian Dukes’ Title: Where is the Place of the «Rus’» Tradition?

Aleh Dziarnovich
Candidate of Historical Sciences (Ph.D. in History), Senior Research Fellow,
Institute of History National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (Belarus, Minsk),
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Download PDF



The problem of genesis of a taken a title by the grand Lithuanian dukes is considered in article. In particular, the emphasis is placed on a place and a role of «rus’» tradition in this process.

Nobility rank of the monarch has, undoubtedly, symbolical value. It is some kind of public presentation of the status and, some kind of the indication of foreign policy and cultural orientation. Complete title needs compulsory legitimating, legal registration or, at least, official recognition both from citizens, and at the international level. By the beginning of the 15th century the title of the monarch of Lithuania didn’t become final. In this regard such bright episode, as the official name of Mindovg by the king is presented. Further, after internal mutiny and derogation of Mindovg from Christianity, the royal title concerning governors of Lithuania was used as descriptive. It is connected with that legal and sacral doctrines recognized the royal validity only behind those who received a crown from consent of the Pope or the emperor. Further monarchs of Lithuania were called as princes or grand dukes but as in descriptive, instead of official sense – therefore different options of a form of a title meet. The analysis of sources testifies that practice of formation of a title of monarchs of Lithuania influenced both [«rusinsky»] tradition, and «Latin».



Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the grand Lithuanian duke, «rus’» tradition, taken of a title.



Biblioteka Ks. Czartoryskich w Krakowie [The Princes Czartoryski Library in Krakow].



  1. Varonin, V. (1996). Vyalikiya knyazi polatskiya (kanets XIV st.). Polatsk: karani nashaga radavoda. Polatskaya zyamlya yak satsyiyakulturnaya prastora ўzniknennya i razvitstsya belaruskaga etnasu i natsyiyanalnay dzyarzhaўnastsi. Mizhnarodnaya navukovaya kanferentsyiya, 5–6 verasnya 1995 g. Polatsk: Polatski dzyarzhaўnyi universitet, 44–50. [in Belarusian].
  2. Gorskiy, A. (1995). Ob evolyutsii titulaturyi verhovnogo pravitelya v Drevney Rusi (domongolskiy period). Rimsko-konstantinopolskoe nasledie na Rusi: ideya vlasti i politicheskaya praktika. Moskva, 97–102. [in Russian].
  3. Gorskiy, A. (1996). Russkie zemli v XIII–XIV vv. Puti politicheskogo razvitiya. Moskva: Institut Rossiyskoy istorii RAN. [in Russian].
  4. Kashtanov, S. (1996). Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika: aktyi X–XVI vv. Moskva: Nauka. [in Russian].
  5. Sverdlov, M. (2003). Domongolskaya Rus. Knyaz i knyazheskaya vlast na rusi VIpervoy treti XIII vv. Sankt-Peterburg: Akademicheskiy proekt. [in Russian].
  6. Filyushkin, A. (2006). Titulyi russkih gosudarey. Moskva; Sankt-Peterburg: Alyans-Arheo. [in Russian].
  7. Florya, B. (1982). Borba moskovskih knyazey za smolenskie i chernigovskie zemli vo vtoroy polovine XIV v. Problemyi istoricheskoy geografii Rossii. (Vol. 1). [in Russian].
  8. Froyanov, I. (2001). Nachala russkoy istorii: izbrannoe. Moskva: «Parad». [in Russian].