Kith, Kin, and Neighbors
Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth-century WilnoeBook - 2013
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.
Perhaps the most complete reconstruction ever written of life in an early modern European city, this book sets a new standard for urban history and for work on the religious and communal life of Eastern Europe.
Frick (Slavic language and literature, U. of California, Berkeley) describes the multiethnic populace of seventeenth-century Wilno (Vilnius) in Lithuania, which worshipped in Calvinist, Lutheran, Uniate, Catholic, and Orthodox churches as well as mosque and synagogue, while coexisting relatively peacefully. With a deep dive into the archives, he brings to life the quotidian balance of conflict and coexistence. As he goes house to house "following" the seventeenth-century quartermaster on his survey of the city, the dynamics of urban society spring to life. It is a uniquely full-bodied contribution to the historiography of Europe. There is now a Vilnan book to take a page from as we all search for balance of conflict and coexistence in the twenty-first century. The first five chapters give background and the sixth through fourteenth reveal the human network as particular people are followed through life. The author's stated goal is to discover how much and why Vilnans either congregated within their own groups or moved beyond those groups as they associated with "others." There are maps of the city based on the quartermaster's records, a note on usage, and appendixes, which include genealogic tables, a list of abbreviations, notes, and works cited. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)