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The practice of citizenship among the lithuanian nobility, ca. 1580 1630

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Chapter Summary

This chapter defines a minimum standard of active citizenship and explores if it was sustained by the Lithuanian nobility instead of measuring Lithuanian politics against the highest standards of Polish political life, often used by historians as proof of the political backwardness of the Lithuanian nobility. Research into the daily operation of dietines is crucial to find out if the Lithuanian nobility was keen to maintain them as well-organised and inclusive institutions. An important indicator of the district nobility's political commitment is the duration of dietine sessions. Thus during the great epidemic of 1630 which covered most of the Commonwealth, the parliamentary dietines of at least four Lithuanian districts (Kowno, Mińsk, Upita and Wiłkomierz) took place outdoors. The survival of tax rolls and general levy registers makes it possible to explore the attendance patterns of nobles of different landowning status.

Keywords: active citizenship; commonwealth; dietine sessions; Lithuanian nobility; Polish political life



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