Albert Wijuk Koja?owicz (Polish: Wojciech Wijuk Koja?owicz; Lithuanian: Albertas Vij?kas-Kojelavi?ius; Latin: Koialovicius-Wijuk Albertus; 1609-1677) was a Lithuanian historian, theologian and translator. He was devoted Jesuit and religious polemicist, interested in genealogy and heraldry. He served as a censor, bishops advisor and Deputy Chancellor of Lithuania.
Albert and his brother Casimir were born in the House of Perk?nas in Kaunas (or Romainiai according to other sources) to a poor Lithuanian noble family. They bore Ko?ciesza coat of arms, but without a cross-bar. He studied rhetoric, philosophy and theology in which mastered title of doctor in 1645. Later he was appointed as a professor of Alma Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Iesu, teacher of logic, physics, metaphysics and ethic. Together with his brothers he joined Jesuit order and founded its colleges in Kaunas, Vilnius and Polatsk. In 1653 he became rector of Vilnius Academy. He died on 6 October 1677 in Vilnius.
Wijuk Koja?owicz was famous for his rhetoric talent and research in the Lithuanian history. He is considered one of the best and most productive historical writers of the 17th century. Among his forty publications most important is "Historiae Lituanae", which was the first full research on the history of Lithuania.
Wijuk Koja?owicz was devoted to the Lithuanian history and his "Historiae Lituanae" is considered, next to Maciej Stryjkowski's "Kronika Polska, Litewska, ?módzka" and Alexander Guagnini's "Sarmatiae Europaeae Descriptio", as one of the most important studies of history of Lithuania from the mid-seventeenth century. It was used as main source for Lithuanian history until the 19th century.
The study continued the tradition of Lithuanian Chronicles by glorifying the heroic past of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, by voicing the patriotic sentiments and by encouraging Lithuanian nobles to protect the territorial integrity of their fatherland.
Wijuk-Koja?owicz also focused on the imperfection of human memory. Memory is, according to him, a defective instrument, with time it tends to remember incorrectly, incompletely, or not at all. The technology of human memory, in Wijuk-Koja?owicz's view, is always uncertain and doubtful, even the written testimony is bound to mutate and to be distorted. Koja?owicz's implied that the goal of history is nothing else but to preserve memory of all things past. The communal or collective memory is firmest when it is written down:
|"||But all this will be recounted better and more comprehensively for the future generations by the history of the times past, I will only touch upon them in order to show for the future that I was able to publish my history of Lithuania only with the support of Your Grace. There is no doubt that the person who is a celebrated defender of the Lithuanian state must also be a patron of a history of Lithuania..."||"|
In the foreword of the first volume of this work entitled "An opportunity to write the history of Lithuania", he admitted that he had not just translated Stryjkowski's history but had revised it "according to the requirements and laws of a written treatise..." . According to Wijuk-Koja?owicz, Stryjkowski's history, that was written in Polish was not accessible to foreign readers, and it also broke rhetorics and history principles in many places. Because of his critical stance towards Stryjkowski's "Kronika..." Wijuk-Koja?owicz revised it so, that it would teach the young not only the history of their country, but also the Latin language. His goal, as he admitted himself, was to rewrite Stryjkowski's history in Latin according to the rhetoric principles and historical truth. Koja?owicz's history moved away from metaphorical representation favored by Stryjkowski toward a more balanced description. He replaced Stryjkowski's metaphorical style of historical writing preoccupied with analogy and thereby closer to poetry with a rhetoric focused on the mechanics of telling a linear story.
Despite of his critical attitude, Wijuk-Koja?owicz's History of Lithuania reiterated Stryjkowski's chronological and factual errors. As in "Kronika...", the death dates of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes Algirdas and Gediminas were incorrect, and the names of Algirdas's sons and uncles were mixed up. The change of places and names, confused in the course of many centuries, sometimes obscured the truth so that it became impossible to distinguish between truth and the fiction for the states were formed during barbarian times when there were no writers. Because of such reasons there remained very few stories about the origins and customs of the Lithuanians, and thus many widespread stories are questionable or false. Koja?owicz was skeptical about the possibility of history written sine ira et studio, without anger and without preconception, without affection and hatred.
Wijuk-Koja?owicz described the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a state consisting of two states, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and two nations, the Lithuanian and Polish, which were supposed to have equal rights. He extensively described the Union of Lublin which was, in his opinion, a significant event in the history of the Grand Duchy. The Lithuanian nobles were convinced that they needed this union but its conditions had to guarantee and preserve the dignity of the Lithuanian state and Lithuanian nation:
|"||Beyond doubt they wanted the union, but they expected it not to violate the dignity of the state, not to change offices and courts, laws and privileges, customs and finally the borders of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.||"|
In his history, Wijuk-Koja?owicz did not fail to record the continuous rivalry between the Lithuanians and Poles for their rights and privileges and their constant distrust of each other.
Wijuk-Koja?owicz regarded the religion as the most important attribute of national belonging. According to him, neither ethnicity nor language distinguished Lithuanians from Ruthenians but their different creed. Roman Christianity became a definitive composite of a noble's identity. Wijuk-Koja?owicz wrote that:
|"||A sovereign must appoint to high offices, posts and public duties only a person of the Roman creed, infidels and even some Christians who refuse to be subject to the authority of the Roman Pope must be excluded. Privileges of the whole noble estate must not be applied to those who do not recognize the Catholic religion and do not obey the Pope.||"|
In Koja?owicz's works, the nation was, first of all, imagined as a community with common interests and a shared past. His ideas about the historical nation were not only a reflection of cultural forces in the state, they were instrumental in forging popular imagination of the historical community of the Grand Duchy. The word "nation" (natio), which he often used, was expressed as a problematic ambivalence in imagining and fictionalizing the community of Lithuania.