Thursday, July 15, 2010

SIX HUNDRED years ago today...

As I said to a co-worker this morning, "How cool is it that we know that something big happened exactly 600 years ago today?" (OK, I'm ignoring differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars here.)

I'm looking for online news of the commemorations. I hesitate to say "celebrations" today because, although the victory at Grunwald/Zalgiris was A Big Deal for Poland and Lithuania, an awful lot of human beings lost their lives that day. I grew up in a community of 20,000 people, so if you estimate the total toll of that battle at 12,000 to 13,000, then it's almost like two-thirds of my hometown vanishing in a single day. That's a lot of blood.

But back to the news.... calls Grunwald "the battle that changed Central Europe." Belarus Digest claims that most of the Lithuanian units at the battle were from lands that are now part of Belarus and that the Belarusian president was not invited to the official commemoration "for obvious reasons." (Jealous much?) takes a look at the reenactors.

For a more Lithuanian perspective on the anniversary, check out this article (in Lithuanian) and especially the miniature version of the battle created by a Vilnius museum. An English-language article appears here. (It's a bit difficult to search Google News for "Zalgiris" because the name is so big in basketball.)

Since the New York Times did such a detailed writeup of the 500th-anniversary commemoration of Grunwald, I was a bit miffed that the publication did not mention it on its "On This Day" page today. After all the things that happened in the last 90 years of the 20th century, one could argue that it's even more important today to remember Grunwald than it was in 1910.

Finally, thanks to Wikipedia (which *did* mention Grunwald on ITS "on this date" page), I finally found the official website for the 600th anniversary. It's offered in six languages -- including Belarusian. (Ha!) Some of the historical articles contain interesting ideas, which I must study in preparation for my Pennsic classes.

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