Kith, Kin, and Neighbors

Kith, Kin, and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-Century Wilno

David Frick
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 512
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    Kith, Kin, and Neighbors
    Book Description:

    In the mid-seventeenth century, Wilno (Vilnius), the second capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was home to Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Ruthenians, Jews, and Tatars, who worshiped in Catholic, Uniate, Orthodox, Calvinist, and Lutheran churches, one synagogue, and one mosque. Visitors regularly commented on the relatively peaceful coexistence of this bewildering array of peoples, languages, and faiths. In Kith, Kin, and Neighbors, David Frick shows how Wilno's inhabitants navigated and negotiated these differences in their public and private lives.

    This remarkable book opens with a walk through the streets of Wilno, offering a look over the royal quartermaster's shoulder as he made his survey of the city's intramural houses in preparation for King Wladyslaw IV's visit in 1636. These surveys (Lustrations) provide concise descriptions of each house within the city walls that, in concert with court and church records, enable Frick to accurately discern Wilno's neighborhoods and human networks, ascertain the extent to which such networks were bounded confessionally and culturally, determine when citizens crossed these boundaries, and conclude which kinds of cross-confessional constellations were more likely than others. These maps provide the backdrops against which the dramas of Wilno lives played out: birth, baptism, education, marriage, separation or divorce, guild membership, poor relief, and death and funeral practices. Perhaps the most complete reconstruction ever written of life in an early modern European city, Kith, Kin, and Neighbors sets a new standard for urban history and for work on the religious and communal life of Eastern Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6753-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Maps
    (pp. ix-xxii)
  5. A Note on Usage
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-19)

    In the summer of 1585 a Lutheran merchant of Ulm named Samuel Kiechel (1563–1619) set off on a four-year journey, which led ultimately to the Holy Lands, following a bewilderingly aimless route that passed through Bohemia, Brandenburg, the Low Countries, England, Scandinavia, Poland-Lithuania, Muscovy, Vienna, Rome, and Sicily. In the second summer of his wanderings, at the beginning of July 1586, he sojourned for eleven days in Wilno, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, as such, the second capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after Cracow, then still the seat of the Polish Crown. There he noted,...

  7. CHAPTER ONE Over the Quartermaster’s Shoulder
    (pp. 20-58)

    King Władysław IV made one of his five entries into Wilno on 5 March 1636. Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Albrycht Stanisław Radziwiłł (1595–1656, chancellor from 1623), a staunch Catholic and foe of the Reformation, recorded in his diary that on this occasion “the King entered Wilno on a sleigh without ceremony and made his way to the Castle on foot. Having removed his hat, he dismissed all of us.”¹ This nonevent was noteworthy precisely because of the lack of ceremony that usually accompanied the triumphal entry of a ruler. On the next occasion, 27 January 1639,...

  8. CHAPTER TWO The Neighbors
    (pp. 59-68)

    As we have seen in the previous chapter, house ownership in seventeenth-century Wilno was shaped by tendencies to buy real property in neighborhoods in which one confession might predominate, tendencies that could, however, accommodate greater and lesser numbers of confessional and religious outsiders. Romans settled, in general, to the west of the Royal Way and Greeks to the east, where most of their respective places of worship were located. There were three recognizable Lutheran settlements: the elite—professionals, merchants, and magistrates—in Castle Street, with a few in German Street; the middle tier of lesser merchants and artisans in and...

  9. CHAPTER THREE One Roof, Four Walls
    (pp. 69-76)

    What was at stake when a Vilnan of one confession or religion became a neighbor in a house owned by someone of another, or found neighbors of other confessions and religions already living there? This goes to questions of public and private space within the walls of a privately owned house. The Lustration of 1636 is of little use here in that it enumerates types of rooms, sometimes with a bit of information on their relative locations and size but with nothing that would allow us to imagine how the inhabitants of a given home negotiated its internal space. More...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR The Bells of Wilno
    (pp. 77-98)

    Vilnans not only negotiated potential conflicts in shared space; they also found it necessary to address problems arising from systems and habits of marking time that both brought them together and set them apart. It was here that questions of time and space frequently coincided. There was one dominant clock and calendar in seventeenth-century Wilno—that of the new-calendar (Gregorian) Roman Catholics. But many Vilnans followed other rhythms as well: those of the Jewish and Muslim religious days, weeks, and years; those of the old Julian calendar that set the pace for the religious life of the Ruthenians, both Uniate...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Stereotyping, Writing, Speaking
    (pp. 99-116)

    Another aspect of the backdrop for the intercultural dramas played out in seventeenth-century Wilno was that of language, both spoken and written. The lingua franca of early modern Wilno may have been Polish, but in the streets of the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, one heard—depending on the neighborhood, or whom one met passing through Market Square—an array of other tongues, including Ruthenian, German, Lithuanian, and Yiddish, to name only the most important of the minority languages that were present on a permanent basis. To this constant spectrum we may add some uncertain numbers, although certainly...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Birth, Baptism, Godparenting
    (pp. 117-137)

    In a postil published in Poznań in 1580, Polish Jesuit Jakub Wujek—future translator of the Bible and a key player in the Counter-Reformation in Poland-Lithuania—criticized the sins of “our Catholics,” who “even in things that touch upon the faith, make bold to keep company with the heretics by attending their baptisms, their weddings, and their funerals.”¹ Wujek’s concerns were for the state of the Church in the Commonwealth at large, but he had just returned from a stint as the rector of Wilno’s academy (he held that office in 1578–1579), and he certainly also had...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Education and Apprenticeship
    (pp. 138-172)

    Even in still relatively prosperous times, the Lithuanian Calvinist Church seems to have lived under a siege mentality. Canon 2 of the Wilno General Synod, 28 June 1621, read, in part:

    2. Concerning Evangelical [i.e., Calvinist] children. Since they are the semina Ecclesiae [seed of the Church], the children of Evangelical parents, must not be seasoned in the leaven of opposing religions; rather right ab incunabulis [from the cradle] they must be trained in the fear and in the true knowledge of God. And although this is sufficiently protected both by God’s law and ecclesiastical canons, nonetheless, many parents and...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Courtship and Marriage
    (pp. 173-217)

    Hierarchs were no less concerned about mixed marriages than they were about the fact that some of the faithful reached across confessional boundaries to find godparents for their children or to provide for their education. In fact, these aspects of cross-confessional mixing were often interrelated. The Provincial Synod of the Wilno District of the Reformed Church meeting in June 1613 warned Calvinist men against Arian, Ruthenian, and “popish” wives who would cause them to “allow their children to be baptized and ruined [ psować]” in those very faiths.¹ Things got so dire here that the Wilno Provincial Calvinist Synod of...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Marital Discontents
    (pp. 218-248)

    Doctrine on the nature of marriage had direct implications for official positions on separation and divorce in the various confessional communities. According to Roman Catholic teaching, divorce was an impossibility; a marriage was dissolved only with the death of one of the spouses. Otherwise, it could only be declared invalid and thus annulled (because it had never legally happened) and even then only for a short list of “diriment [i.e., nullifying, invalidating] impediments.” These included insufficient age, impotency, an already existing marriage, abduction, marriage within prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity, and disparity of religion. For the Protestants, divorce was...

  16. CHAPTER TEN Guild House, Workshop, Brotherhood Altar
    (pp. 249-273)

    Clergy left no direct instructions for their flocks commanding them to avoid fellow Vilnans of other confessions and religions in the workplace, as they did in contexts like baptism, education, and marriage. For many other Polish-Lithuanian cities, such strictures would have been largely superfluous. Lwów offers a good comparison here: it was another eastern royal city, equally diverse, of similar size. Secular authorities and guild statutes themselves had seen to it that the workplace there was to a great extent monoconfessional.¹ This was not the case in Wilno. Although one confession might predominate in a given profession (for example, Lutherans...

  17. CHAPTER ELEVEN Going to Law: The Language of Litigation
    (pp. 274-289)

    Among the central sources throughout this study have been the acta of Wilno’s various legal forums and in particular the complaints, or protestations, that Vilnans were so quick to bring against each other—neighbor against neighbor, in-law against in-law, spouse against spouse. I have urged caution in their interpretation. Here I examine the question of Vilnans before the law and look more closely at the rhetoric of the linguistic artifacts their litigation left behind. Even if not all could afford to go to court, the habit of constant vigilance over property, health, and honor was central to the attitudes of...

  18. CHAPTER TWELVE War, Occupation, Exile, Liberation (1655–1661)
    (pp. 290-321)

    On Sunday, 8 August 1655, between nine and ten in the morning—at least this is how one German eyewitness account had it—Muscovite armies entered through four of the Wilno gates, beginning an occupation of the city that lasted a little over six years.¹ According to that account, Tsar Aleksej Mixajlovič made his triumphal entry around noon on the next day:

    He had more than sixty carriages before and behind him. In the middle there were three carriages covered in red and blue, twelve horses harnessed to each one, and three coachmen who had tall hats with black crosses,...

  19. CHAPTER THIRTEEN Old Age and Poor Relief
    (pp. 322-355)

    On 23 August 1636, King Władysław IV of Poland-Lithuania gave a privilege to the beggars of Wilno allowing them—apparently for the first time—to organize themselves into a corporation following the model of the guilds and laying out rules for the inclusion and exclusion of members and a few guidelines for their social discipline. In fact, the document to which the king gave his signature originated from the Wilno magistracy and perhaps also in part from the incorporated beggars themselves. It was a response to “the great disorder here in the city among the poor and the great disgust...

  20. CHAPTER FOURTEEN Death in Wilno
    (pp. 356-399)

    Pompa funebris (funereal pomp) was the order of the day at the castle church in Wilno on 20 July 1592. The wife of the palatine of Wilno and hetman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was to be laid to her eternal rest. She—Katarzyna z Tęczyna Radziwiłłowa—was a Roman Catholic. Her husband, Prince Krzysztof Mikołaj Radziwiłł “the Thunderbolt” (1547–1603), the son of Mikołaj Radziwiłł “the Red,” was the leading patron of the Lithuanian Calvinist Church in its second generation. Presiding over the ceremonies was Father Stanisław Grodzicki (1541–1613), a Jesuit and a vociferous confessional polemicist, one...

  21. Epilogue: Conflict and Coexistence
    (pp. 400-418)

    Versions of the warning given voice by Brian Pullan in his study of poor relief have come to mind throughout my work on this multiconfessional city: “The conclusions of every local study are clouded by the suspicion that its people were acting, not as Catholics, but as Parisians, or Lyonnais, or Venetians” (or Vilnans).¹ I have attempted not to minimize the differences and distinctions, and indeed the conflicts, that structured life for the inhabitants of early modern Wilno. And yet the picture that has taken shape has tended to emphasize collaboration, coexistence, syncretisms, and crossings of confessional, sometimes even religious,...

  22. APPENDIX A: Selected Streets and Areas Treated in the Text
    (pp. 419-420)
  23. APPENDIX B: Genealogical Tables
    (pp. 421-424)
  24. Abbreviations
    (pp. 425-426)
  25. Notes
    (pp. 427-484)
  26. Works Cited
    (pp. 485-506)
  27. Index
    (pp. 507-530)