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Olshanski (Lithuanian: Alni?kiai or Aln? kunigaikiai, Belarusian: ?, Polish: Holsza?ski) was a Lithuanian[1] 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 Rokanti?k?s 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 Pawe? Holsza?ski 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 (Pawe? Holsza?ski, last-but-one male representative of the family, died just one year before). Princess Maria Olshanskaya, the wife of Andrey Kurbsky, died in 1586.[2] 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 Knights.[3] 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 facts.[3]

Family tree


  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). "Alni?kiai". In Vaclovas Bir?i?ka (ed.). Lietuvi?koji enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). I. Kaunas: Spaudos Fondas. pp. 347-359.
  4. ^ Petrauskas, Rimvydas (2003). Lietuvos diduomen? XIV a. pabaigoje - XV a. (in Lithuanian). Aidai. p. 261. ISBN 9955-445-67-X.
  1. Jonas Zinkus; et al., eds. (1985). "Aln? kunigaikiai". Taryb? Lietuvos enciklopedija (in Lithuanian). I. Vilnius, Lithuania: Vyriausioji enciklopedij? redakcija. p. 52.
  2. (in Polish) Wolff J. Kniaziowie litewsko-ruscy od ko?ca czternastego wieku. - Warszawa, 1895. S. 94-115;

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