The Role of Knyaz Kostyantyn Ostrogsky in Organizing the Defence of the Southern Borders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the First Half of the 16th Century

Petro Kulakovskyi
Doctor of Historical Sciences (Dr. Hab. in History), Professor,
National University of Ostroh Academy (Ukraine, Ostroh),
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This article investigates the question of the creation of effective defense against the Tatar invasions in first half of the 16th century. It is claimed that the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, put a lot of effort into creating two defensive lines on Ukrainian territory, thus exhausting itself and losing every possibility for the further strengthening of their defense. Castles were the base of these defensive lines. They were located on the main routes used by the Tatars, however they were incapable of ensuring a high level of security. Henceforward the strengthening of their defense depended on the increasing role of the private initiative. Therefore the Grand duke Sigismund the Old was ready to give the land of his domain to the nobility in exchange for their contribution to the defense of the southern border of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The hetman Kostyantyn Ivanovich Osrtrogsky was the first representative of the nobility who was capable of implementing such a task. In addition to the two family estates – Ostroh and Dubno, the hetman received from the grand duke the volosts of Polone, Zviahel, Chudniv and Kuzmin. Sigismund I also agreed to give the hetman the proprietary rights for the volosts of Stepan’, Rivne and Kolodno by the kinship right of his wife Tetiana with the dukes of Olshansk and Nesvizh. As a result, a considerable part of south-eastern Volyn came to the hands of Ostrogsky. Gradually two defensive lines were created on this territory by the initiative of the hetman. Castles played the role of strongholds on which these defensive lines were based. The first line consisted of the castles which were located along the river Sluch – Zviahel, Chudniv, Polonne, Krasyliv (the latter controlled the land between the rivers Sluch and Buh) and castles on riverhead of Dnister – Kolodno and Chernehov. The second line was by the river Horyn and its tributaries, and consisted of the castles in Stepan, Tuchyn, Rivne, Dorohobuzh, Ostrog, Dubno, Satyiv. The creation of these defensive lines significantly increased the defensive capacity of the Ukrainian territory, especially Volyn. This also increased the defensive capacity of a model of defense, which was actively adopted by other aristocrats, who had land in Volyn.



Defense, activity, Konstantin Ostrozhskiy, southern borders.



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