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Olshanski Lithuanian: Alšėniškiai or Alšėnų kunigaikščiai, Belarusian: Гальшанскі, Polish: Holszański was a Lithuanian1 princely family of Hipocentaur coat of arms from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Their patrimony was in Halshany now in Belarus and their property included Rokantiškės and Halshany Castles During the 14–16th centuries most of the family was Orthodox by faith and Ruthenian by language, although there were exceptions, in particular Paweł Holszański was a Catholic Church official

The family was founded by Ivan Olshanski fl 1382–1402, a close ally of Vytautas, Grand Duke of Lithuania Ivan's daughter Uliana married Vytautas while granddaughter Sophia of Halshany married Vytautas' cousin Jogaila, King of Poland Sophia gave birth to Jogaila's sons and became the mother of the Jagiellonian dynasty which ruled Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Bohemia The male line of the Olshanski family ended in 1556 with the death of Prince Semen Paweł Holszański, last-but-one male representative of the family, died just one year before Princess Maria Olshanskaya, the wife of Andrey Kurbsky, died in 15862 Their estates were inherited by the Sapieha family, which hailed from Smolensk


For the first time Olshanski family is mentioned in written sources at the end of the 14th century when Ivan, son of Algimantas, assisted Vytautas in the Lithuanian Civil War 1381–84 against Jogaila Such a late mention of strong family is attributed to the geographic location of their domain: Halshany was not in the way of either the Livonian Order or the Teutonic Knights3 In contemporary sources, Algimantas is mentioned only in Ivan's patronymic name However, late and unreliable Lithuanian Chronicles created a fanciful genealogy of Algimantas that connected him to the legendary Palemonid dynasty that allegedly hailed from the Roman Empire Modern historians have discarded the genealogy as a work of fiction not based on historical facts3

Family treeedit


  1. ^ Bumblauskas, Alfredas 2005 Senosios Lietuvos istorija 1009-1795 in Lithuanian Vilnius: R Paknys Press p 207 ISBN 9986-830-89-3 
  2. ^ a b A N Narbut 1995 Genealogy of Belarus, vol 1 Moscow
  3. ^ a b c Jonynas, Ignas 1933 "Alšėniškiai" In Vaclovas Biržiška Lietuviškoji enciklopedija in Lithuanian I Kaunas: Spaudos Fondas pp 347–359 
  4. ^ Petrauskas, Rimvydas 2003 Lietuvos diduomenė XIV a pabaigoje – XV a in Lithuanian Aidai p 261 ISBN 9955-445-67-X 
  1. Jonas Zinkus; et al, eds 1985 "Alšėnų kunigaikščiai" Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija in Lithuanian I Vilnius, Lithuania: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija p 52 
  2. Polish Wolff J Kniaziowie litewsko-ruscy od końca czternastego wieku – Warszawa, 1895 S 94-115;

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