This unit was developed by Mindaugas Šapoka   Bibliography   Didactic Comments

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Worksheet: Vilnius 1655, Russian Invasion - Military History

1. Pay attention! This is very important!
„Vilnius“ is the Lithuanian name of the city. The city was known in Europe as „Vilna“, „Wilna“, „Wilno“, what was reflected also in the European cartography.

2. Pay attention! This is very important!
We know from the historical sources that in the middle of 15th c. the ruler of the small Duchy of Moscow has been already paying a scot to the Tartarian khan. And the sources of 16th century show that the rulers of Europe already saw that near the eastern boards of Europe Moscow has become the dangerous Empire of Muscovy, rules the Tartars, and uses their army for barbaric dash into Lithuania and Poland.

 3. Pay attention! This is very important!
In the old maps the large territories to the east from Lithuania are called "Tartaria", "Tartaren", and between the lands of Lithuania and the Tartarian lands there is pointed "Moscovia", it means the territories under the rule of Moscow.

4. Find Lithuania, Moscovia and Tartary in the allegoric figure of 16th c. Europe (Münster's allegorical representation of Europe).

5. What was the purpose of these robberies?

6. Can you compare these robberies with similar ones in history?

7. Pay attention! This is very important!
The trajectories of cannon-shots are pointed on this picture, which raise high above the city walls. The army of Moscovians has pelted Riga with cannons. The defenders city also used the artillery. Picture „Urbs Riga“ shows the attempts of russians to take the city of Riga in 1656. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of Vilnius remained from this war.

8. Compare the walls of cities of Vilnius and Riga, in what way were they shown in Braun’s atlas.

9. Which city had better defensive status and firmer defensive walls?

10.What was the role of Riga’s situation near the Baltic sea, considering defence?

11. What European cities do you know, where any fragments of the defensive city walls are extant? Several examples are enough for the answer.

12. When, in what century those defensive city walls were built?

13. Why in 17th century the defensive city wall hadn’t already such the meaning as in 16th  c.? While answering this question, try to discuss invoking also some examples of the other defensive walls of European cities.

14. Why formerly people didn’t especially care about the obsolete city walls, and today in the most of European cities the extant fragments of the defensive city wall are still minded and repaired?

15. Following the search for additional information in the Internet and literature, try to answer the question: in what way the artilleric guns have improved in 17th century in comparison with the artillery of 14th – 16th c.?