Ostrozky, Kostiantyn

Image - The Ostrozky family coat of arms on the wall of the Ostrih castle. Image - A portrait of Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozky. Image - A tomb sculpture of Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozky at the Kyivan Cave Monastery. Image - A portrait of Prince Kostiantyn (Vasyl) Ostrozky.

Ostrozky, Kostiantyn [Острозький, Костянтин; Ostroz'kyj, Kostjantyn; Lithuanian: Ostrogiškis, Konstantinas; Polish: Ostrogski, Konstantyn], b ca 1460, most probably in Ostroh, Volhynia, d 10 August 1530 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Ukrainian nobleman and prominent military and cultural leader; the father of Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky. In the late 1480s Ostrozky served at the Vilnius court of King Casimir IV Jagiellończyk. Between 1492 and 1494 he distinguished himself during a Lithuanian-Muscovite war, and in 1496–7 he headed an army responsible for defending Right-Bank Ukraine from Tatar attacks. From November 1497 Ostrozky served as grand hetman of Lithuania. He commanded his armies in over thirty (some chroniclers say sixty) victorious battles against the Crimean Tatars or Muscovy. In 1500 he was wounded and taken prisoner by the Muscovites during the battle on the Vedrosh River. Repeatedly entreated to join Muscovite service, in 1506 Ostrozky agreed to swear loyalty to Moscow, but used his first opportunity to escape to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1507. Reinstated as grand hetman, he continued his successful military career. Among his most celebrated victories were those of the 80,000-strong Muscovite army at the Battle of Orsha in 1514 and of the Crimean Tatars at Olshanytsia in the Kyiv region in 1527, after which 25,000 Tatars were taken prisoner and settled near Ostroh. Ostrozky’s military victories earned him considerable fame among his contemporaries. Maciej Stryjkowski referred to him as the ‘second Hannibal’ and the ‘Ruthenian Scipio.’

Ostrozky served as starosta of Bratslav, Zvenyhorodka, and Vinnytsia from 1497, starosta of Lutsk and marshal of Volhynia from 1507, castellan of Vilnius from 1511, and palatine of Trakai from 1522. One of the five wealthiest magnates in the Lithuanian-Ruthenian state, he was a defender and patron of the Orthodox church. He built numerous churches in Ukraine and Lithuania, including two Orthodox churches in Vilnius and the Trinity Monastery in Ostroh. He generously supported the Kyivan Cave Monastery and was buried in the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyivan Cave Monastery.

Ulianovs'kyi, Vasylii. “Slavnyi dlia vsikh chasiv cholovik”: kniaz' Kostiantyn Ivanovych Ostoz'kyi (Ostroh 2009)

[This article was written in 2010.]

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