An Unproclaimed Empire: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania : From the Viewpoint of Comparative Historical Sociology of Empires book cover
1st Edition

An Unproclaimed Empire: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania
From the Viewpoint of Comparative Historical Sociology of Empires

ISBN 9781138281547
Published August 3, 2017 by Routledge
426 Pages

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Book Description

An Unproclaimed Empire: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania is an interdisciplinary study of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) that is historical in subject but social scientific in approach. It is also the first study to apply this comparative and social scientific method to the GDL.

In this book, Zenonas Norkus draws on national historiographies and applies theories from comparative empire studies involving historians, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and scholars in the theory of international relations, allowing it to transcend differences in national viewpoints. It also provides answers to contested issues in the history of the GDL, and raises a number of new questions, including whether the Grand Duchy was an empire or a federation, and why and when it failed.

By adopting this "imperial approach" of considering the GDL as an empire, this book brings something new to the research surrounding the Grand Duchy and is ideal for academics and postgraduates of early modern Lithuania, early modern Eastern Europe, historical sociology, and the history of empires.

Table of Contents


List of figures

List of maps

List of tables



Part 1 Translatio imperii and Lithuanian History

1. 1.Translatio imperii in outline

1. 2. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania as an empire in historiography

Part 2 Empire and Imperialism: Methodological Strategies

2. 1. On the controversies over concepts and the ways how to solve them

2. 2. Cliometry of empires

2. 3. The empire and the inter-polity system: views from international relations studies

2. 4. The empire from the viewpoint of constitutional law and comparative politics

2. 5. Definition and typology of empires

2. 6. Cliodynamics of empires

Part 3 The Grand Duchy of Lithuania as an Empire

3. 1. Old Lithuanians as imperialist liberators

3. 2. The Grand Duchy in the pursuit of hegemony: aims and achievements

3.3. Whose empire was the Grand Duchy?

3. 4. The metropole and peripheries of the Grand Duchy

3. 5. Why was it so difficult to identify the Grand Duchy as an empire?

3. 6. The Grand Duchy as an empire with adjectives

3. 7. On the dates of birth and death of the Lithuanian empire

3. 8. Lithuanian imperialism and the birth of the Lithuanian state

3. 9. Unaccomplished mission of the Lithuanian empire

Concluding generalisations


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Zenonas Norkus is a Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology at Vilnius University. His previous publications include Max Weber and Rational Choice (2001) and Which Democracy, Which Capitalism? Post-communist Transformation in Lithuania from the Viewpoint of Comparative Historical Sociology (2008).