from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania

Gediminas (also Gedimin ; * around 1275; † December 1341 ) was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1316 . Along with Mindaugas and Vytautas, he is one of the great rulers in Lithuanian history . Lithuania finally rose under him to become a major Eastern European power and Gediminas regarded himself as the “King of the Lithuanians and Ruthenians ”.


The Gediminas Columns : Coat of arms of the Gediminias dynasty
The oak of Raudonė , under which Gediminas, according to tradition, ate his last meal before he was fatally wounded by a crossbow bolt during the siege of the Bavarian castle

Around 1295, after decades of extensive disorder with Vytenis , son of Budvydas (Pukuveras), a powerful grand duke reappeared in Lithuania . After his death in 1315/16 his brother Gediminas succeeded him.

Gediminas proved to be a successful tactician who, through a well-planned marriage, alliance and domestic policy, made Lithuania a great power and at the same time founded the Gediminid dynasty. In 1323/24 he declared to the Pope that he intended to be baptized. The baptism served here as Mindaugas to ward off attacks of the Teutonic Order . When his domestic political situation became difficult, he withdrew his intention to be baptized.

At the same time, Vilnius became Lithuania's capital, and immigrants (including from Germany) revived the city. Close economic relations were established with the Hanseatic city of Riga and through Poland to Western Europe.

Gediminas forced his protectorate on several Ruthenian principalities of the former Kievan Rus around 1325 : Smolensk , Pskow and Kiev . Other Ruthenian feudal lords ( Vitebsk , Turau , Pinsk ) were completely incorporated into his state. Shortly before his death in 1340, Gediminas was able to annex the Ruthenian principality of Halitsch-Volhynia as an inheritance of his son Liubartas to his state (Halitsch had to be left to Poland in 1349, however). Looting by the Tatar Golden Horde (e.g. around 1340/41) could not weaken the state in the long term.

In the north and south-west, Gediminas had to fend off constant attacks by the Teutonic Order, which, under the pretext of Christian proselytizing , sought possession of Schemeiten .

Heavy incursions occurred particularly in 1329/30 and 1336/37. He did this with varying degrees of success. Gediminas was fatally wounded in early December 1341 in front of the Bayerburg during fights with the order of knights, which was massively supported by noble Prussian drivers like King John of Luxembourg . According to tradition, Gediminas was hit by a crossbow bolt from the corner tower of the besieged castle, not far from the "Gediminaseiche" that still exists today.

His son Jaunutis succeeded him in the Grand Duchy .


Gediminas had the following offspring with Jewna von Polotsk (and possibly other women, one of whom was called Leonida):


Important dynasties in the male line can be traced back to Gediminas as ancestors, including the royal house of the Jagiellonians and the princely houses of Czartoryski , Kurakin , Galitzin and Trubezkoi .


  • SC Rowell: Lithuania Ascending. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1994, pp. 54ff.
Commons : Gediminas  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ SC Rowell: Lithuania Ascending. Cambridge 1994, p. 54.
  2. cf. the information in the personal article Yevna von Polotsk .
  3. Leontij Wojtowytsch: Польський король Казимир ІІІ і боротьба за спадщину Романовичів ( Memento of the original from February 15, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: Вісник Львівського у-ту. Серія історична, vol. 46, 2011, p. 21. (Ukrainian)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Feliks Schabuldo: Ljubart, Ljubart-Dmytro Hedyminowytsch. In: Enzyklopedija istoriji Ukrajiny , vol. 6: Ла - Мі, Naukowa dumka, Instytut Istoriji Ukrajiny NAN Ukrajiny, Kyjiw 2013, ISBN 978-966-00-1359-9 , p. 372. (Ukrainian) ( online )
predecessor Office successor
Vytenis Grand Duke of Lithuania