Prussian territorial and settlement associations in the basin of the middle Łyna in the 13th century
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Online publication date: 2021-12-24
Publication date: 2021-12-24
KMW 2021;315(Komunikaty Mazursko-Warmińskie Numer specjalny 5):128–146
The aim of this paper is to present Prussian territorial and settlement associations in the pre-Teutonic Order period in the area of the middle Łyna, within the area of later Olsztyn. First, the literature on the nature and forms of Prussian territorial associations was discussed. Then, an attempt was made to identify and locate these. Fourteen Prussian fields, so-called lauks (the smallest territorial and settlement units) were identified. The memory of these, and in fact their names, derived from the pagan period, and they were mentioned in the Teutonic Order’s sources during the colonisation period. Later, territorial associations of a lower order were discussed and identified, which are called “lands” (Latin: terra, territorium) in the sources. These were the following lands: Gudikus (in the vicinity of Stękiny, Godek and Kajny), Gunelauken (in the vicinity of Barczewko to Barczewo, from Odryt and Jadbark to Tuławki and Tęguty) and Berting (in the vicinity of Baratąg and Gągławki). Most likely, Olsztyn was situated within the land of Berting. The Teutonic Order also established bailiwicks in Prussia. An example of this is the land of Berting and the Olsztyn and Barczewo bailiwicks. On the basis of the “castrum Hirsberg”, it is possible to hypothesise, at least in relation to larger lands, that smaller territories existed which related to strongholds. In general, each land had its own cult centre, located in its frontier. The studied area belonged to two tribes - Berting and Gunelauken to Galindia (Olsztyn was therefore within it), and Gudikus most likely to Pogesania. This research, limited to a small area, has shown promising results and should be extended. This will allow for a more precise understanding of the structure and character of territorial associations of the individual Prussian tribes, as well as part of their settlement network before the Teutonic Order’s conquest, than in previous historiography.