The pro-Western political symbol; the pro-European figure of Lithuanians; the most important ruler of the pro-European-minded Lithuanians. The historian Alvydas Nikžentaitis said so, during the Thursday‘s DELFI conference, about Mindaugas – the first and only king of Lithuania and the creator of the state, Delfi.lt wrote on 5 July.
According to A. Nikžentaitis, Mindaugas can be characterized as the first king of Lithuania and the man who laid the foundation of the Lithuanian state. In his time, the main structures of the state were created, that remained even after the king’s assassination. According to the historian, Mindaugas is also traditionally regarded as the pro-Western Lithuania’s foreign policy base. This title is assigned to him for receiving the baptism.
According to A. Nikžentaitis, in the past we are looking for arguments to justify our current actions. For this reason, the value of Mindaugas, compared to all other historical epochs, has strongly increased. This, in historians opinion, happened due to the fact that Lithuania‘s accession to the European Union required the state to have a pro-Western political symbol.
“In the historical memory of Lithuanians, Mindaugas has become a Lithuanian pro-European figure. In this sense, we can say that for the pro-European-minded Lithuanians Mindaugas is the most important ruler. Arguably, for purely ethnic-category-minded Lithuanians, the most important figure from the past is still the Grand Duke Vytautas”, – said A. Nykžentaitis.
The cause of death and sex related story
The historian drew attention to the strong feminist traditions in the history of Lithuania. Even among the very first dukes there are mentions about duchess from the land of Šiauliai named Plikienė.
“Queen Morta’s example is the further extension of the feminist tradition. There are very few women in the history of Lithuania who could have been seen as politically strong. Queen Morta was not only a beloved wife of Mindaugas. She had a colourful personality who influenced her husband when making certain political decisions. It is well known, that after the baptismal Morta became earnest Christian. In this sense, she could not always be loyal to her husband – after Mindaugas turned away from Christianity she contributed in helping Christian prisoners to escape from Lithuania’s ruling”, – said A. Nikžentaitis.
According to A. Nikžentaitis, the death of Queen Morta can be seen as the cause of death of Mindaugas as well. “This story could be interesting to those who are looking for sex in the history. Formally, Mindaugas was assassinated because following the death of Morta he craved for another Duke’s wife. However, of course these world-peripheries were only a pretext to kill Mindaugas. The answer to the question of why Mindaugas was killed, should be sought in the magical combination of words “the lust for power” – the historian explained.
According to A. Nikžentaitis, the 6th of July – Lithuania’s state day and Mindaugas Coronation day – is a new tradition, created in the modern Lithuania. In the interwar Lithuania, the glorification of Mindaugas was superseded by glorification of Vytautas – while on the most important secular holidays, the failed Coronation of Vytautas in 1430 were remembered.
“It can be easily explained, why Mindaugas, with its importance, pushed away Vytautas. Although the worship cult of Vytautas formed shortly after his death, in the interwar Lithuania Vytautas was the most important anti-Polish historian figure. Often, Vytautas was equated with “the first liberator of Vilnius” and especially for Somogitians he was the symbol of Lithuania. After 1990 Lithuanian’s no longer needed to have anti-Polish symbols and this allowed them to look back at the creator of Lithuania’s state.”, – A. Nikžentaitis explained.
Mindaugas was baptized in 1251; in July of 1253 he was crowned. The believed to be the day of his coronation – the 6th of July – is the public holiday in Lithuania. Mindaugas was assassinated in 1263.
We do not have any authentic images of Mindaugas – all of Mindaugas, and of many other great Duke’s till Vytautas, portraits come from the imagination of artists. Historians have reasons to believe that Mindaugas had not spoken in Lithuanian language, but most likely in Highlanders dialect.