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Jan Karol Chodkiewicz

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz

Noble Family Chodkiewicz
Coat of Arms Kościesza odm.Chodkiewicz
Chodkiewicz.PNG
Parents Ivan Hieronimowicz Chodkiewicz
Krystyna Zborowska
Consorts Zofia Mielecka
Anna Alojza Ostrogska
Children with Zofia Mielecka
Hieronim Chodkiewicz
Anna Scholastyka Chodkiewicz
Date of Birth ca.1560
Place of Birth  ?
Date of Death September 24, 1621
Place of Death Chocim Castle, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (c. 1560– September 24, 1621) (Belarusian: Ян Караль Хадкевіч, Lithuanian: Jonas Karolis Katkevičius, in Lithuanian folksongs his name is preserved as Katkus) was a famous Polish-Lithuanian military commander (from 1601 Field Hetman of Lithuania, from 1605 Grand Hetman) and one of the most prominent 17th century noblemen of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Contents

Biography

He was the son of Jan Hieronim (Hieronymus) Chodkiewicz, Ruthenian (or Lithuanian-Ruthenian) rooted castellan of Vilnius (Vilna) and Krystyna Zborowska - daughter of famous aristocratic family from Polonia Maior (Wielkopolska). After being educated at the Vilnius Academy he went abroad to learn the science of war, fighting in the Spanish service under Alva, and also under Maurice of Nassau. In 1593 he married the wealthy Sophia Mielecka, by whom he had one son who predeceased him. His first military service in Poland was against the Nalyvaiko Cossack uprising as lieutenant to hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski, and he subsequently assisted hetman Jan Zamoyski in his victorious Wallachian campaign.

Honours and dignities were now showered upon him. In 1599 he was appointed the Elder of Samogitia, and in 1601 Field Hetman (commander-in-chief) of the Lithuania army.

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz

Chodkiewicz's first claim to fame were his victories in 1600 during the Moldavian Magnate Wars, where he defeated Turks and their allies, serving under the command of the Polish Chancellor and Hetman Jan Zamoyski. A year later, in 1601, he accompanied Zamoyski north, to Latvia, where he commanded Lithuanian army in a victorious battle of Kokenhausen in the war against Sweden for possession of Livonia. He was appointed acting commander in chief of Lithuania after Zamoyski's return to Poland in 1602. Chodkiewicz, despite inadequate supplies and little support from the Commonwealth Sejm (parliament) and King Sigismund III, brilliantly distinguished himself, capturing fortress after fortress and repulsing the duke of Södermanland, afterwards Charles IX, from Riga. In 1604 he captured Dorpat (Tartu), defeated the Swedish generals at Biały Kamień in 1604, and was rewarded with the rank of Grand Hetman (supreme commander) of Lithuania's army. Criminally neglected by the diet, which turned a deaf ear to all his requests for reinforcements and for supplies and money to pay his soldiers, Chodkiewicz nevertheless more than held his own against the Swedes. His crowning achievement was the great victory near the Dvina River in the Battle of Kircholm (modern Salaspils, Latvia) on September 27, 1605, when with barely 4000 troops, mostly the famous heavy hussars, he annihilated a threefold larger Swedish army; for which feat he received letters of congratulation from the Pope, all the Catholic potentates of Europe, and even the sultan of Turkey and the shah of Persia.

Yet this great victory was virtually fruitless, owing to the domestic dissensions which prevailed in the Commonwealth during the following five years. Chodkiewicz's own army, unpaid for years, abandoned him en masse in order to plunder the estates of their political opponents, leaving the hetman to carry on the war as best as he could with a handful of mercenaries paid out of the pockets of himself and his friends. Chodkiewicz was one of the few magnates who remained loyal to the king, and after helping to defeat the Sandomierz rebellion (rokosz) against the Polish king in 1606-1607, a fresh invasion of Livonia by the Swedes recalled him thither, and in 1609 once more he relieved Riga besides capturing Pernau.

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz painted by Juliusz Kossak

Meanwhile the war with Russia broke out (the Dimitriad wars), and Chodkiewicz was sent against Moscow with an army of 2,000. Moreover, the diet neglected to pay for the maintenance even of this paltry 2,000, with the result, that they mutinied and compelled their leader to retreat through the heart of Russia to Smolensk. Not till the crown prince, Władysław arrived with tardy reinforcements did the war assume a different character, Chodkiewicz opening a new career of victory by taking the fortress of Dorogobuzh in 1617. During that campaign, among many officers under Chodkiewicz's command, was future hetman, Stanisław Koniecpolski.

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (in red) at Chocim, 1621

The Dimitriads had no sooner been ended by the treaty of Deulino than Chodkiewicz was hastily dispatched southwards to defend the southern frontier against the Turks, who after their victory at the Cecora had high hopes of conquering Poland altogether. An army of 160,000 Turkish veterans led by Sultan Osman II in person advanced from Adrianople towards the Polish frontier, but Chodkiewicz crossed the Dnieper in September 1621 and entrenched himself in the fortress of Chocim right in the path of the Ottoman advance. During the battle of Chocim for a whole month the Commonwealth hetman resisted the sultan's 200-thousand army, repelling all its assaults till the first fall of autumn snow compelled Osman to withdraw his diminished forces. But the cost of victory was dearly paid for by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A few days before the siege was raised the aged Grand Hetman died in the fortress on September 24, 1621.

Ancestry

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anna of Riazan
 
Fyodor Bielski
 
Chodko Jurewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jaroslav Hołwczyński
 
 
Jawnuta Bielska
 
Ivan Chodkiewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elzbieta Hlebowiczówna
 
Melchior Szemet
 
 
Wasylissa Hołowczyńska
 
Aleksander Chodkiewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anna Szemetówna
 
Hieronim Chodkiewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Krystyna Zborowska
 
Ivan Hieronimowicz Chodkiewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jan Karol Chodkiewicz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

See also

References

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JAN KAROL CHODKIEWICZ (1560-1621), Polish general, was the son of Hieronymus Chodkiewicz, castellan of Wilna. After being educated at the Wilna academy he went abroad to learn the science of war, fighting in the Spanish service under Alva, and also under Maurice of Nassau. In 1593 he married the wealthy Sophia Mielecka, by whom he had one son who predeceased him. His first military service at home was against the Cossack rising of Nalewajko as lieutenant to Zolkiewski, and he subsequently assisted Zamoyski in his victorious Moldavian campaign. Honours and dignities were now showered upon him. In 1599 he was appointed starosta of Samogitia, and in 1600 acting commander-in-chief of Lithuania. In the war against Sweden for the possession of Livonia he brilliantly distinguished himself, capturing fortress after fortress and repulsing the duke of Sudermania, afterwards Charles IX, from Riga. In 1604 he captured Dorpat, twice defeated the Swedish generals at Bialy Kamien, and was rewarded with the grand baton of Lithuania. Criminally neglected by the diet, which from sheer niggardliness turned a deaf ear to all his requests for reinforcements and for supplies and money to pay his soldiers, Chodkiewicz nevertheless more than held his own against the Swedes. His crowning achievement was the great victory of Kirkholm (Aug. 27th, 1605), when with barely 5000 men he annihilated a threefold larger Swedish army; for which feat he received letters of congratulation from the pope, all the Catholic potentates of Europe, and even from the sultan of Turkey and the shah of Persia. Yet this great victory was absolutely fruitless, owing to the domestic dissensions which prevailed in Poland during the following five years. Chodkiewicz's own army, unpaid for years, abandoned him at last en masse in order to plunder the estates of their political opponents, leaving the grand hetman to carry on the war as best he could with a handful of mercenaries paid out of the pockets of himself and his friends. Chodkiewicz was one of the few magnates who remained loyal to the king, and after helping to defeat the rebels in Poland a fresh invasion of Livonia by the Swedes recalled him thither, and once more he relieved Riga besides capturing Pernau. Meanwhile the war with Muscovy broke out, and Chodkiewicz was sent against Moscow with an army of 2000 men - though if there had been a spark of true patriotism in Poland he could easily have marshalled Ioo,000. Moreover, the diet neglected to pay for the maintenance even of this paltry 2000, with the result that they mutinied and compelled their leader to retreat through the heart of Muscovy to Smolensk. Not till the crown prince Wladislaus arrived with tardy reinforcements did the war assume a different character, Chodkiewicz opening a new career of victory by taking the fortress of Drohobu in 1617. The Muscovite war had no sooner been ended by the treaty of Deulina than Chodkiewicz was hastily despatched southwards to defend the southern frontier against the Turks, who after the catastrophe of Cecora (see Zolkiewski) had high hopes of conquering Poland altogether. An army of 160,000 Turkish veterans led by Sultan Osman in person advanced from Adrianople towards the Polish frontier, but Chodkiewicz crossed the Dnieper in September 1621 and entrenched himself in the fortress of Khotin right in the path of the Ottoman advance. Here for a whole month the Polish hero held the sultan at bay, till the first fall of autumn snow compelled Osman to withdraw his diminished forces.. But the victory was dearly purchased by Poland. A few days before the siege was raised the aged grand hetman died of exhaustion in the fortress (Sept. 24th, 1621).

See Adam Stanislaw Naruszewicz, Life of J. K. Chodkiewicz (Pol.; 4th ed., Cracow, 1857-1858); Lukasz Golebiowski, The Moral Side of J. K. Chodkiewicz as indicated by his Letters (Pol.; Warsaw, 1 854). (R. N. B.)


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