Vanished Kingdoms of Eastern Europe: Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig

Vanished Kingdoms of Eastern Europe: Grand Duchy of Lithuania with Dr. Asya Pereltsvaig


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Do you ever wonder about the European landscape before major, modern nation-states such as France, Spain, Germany, and Russia dominated the map?

Join us as we learn more about several states which have since vanished into the mists of history. The five nations we discover will provide the necessary background for studying Eastern European history. Our curriculum has been designed to be enjoyed as individual seminars or as a series of live-taught, interactive conversations. 

We will time-travel into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during our second conversation. Today, Lithuania is an often-overlooked country on the shores of the Baltic Sea, but after the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the 15th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became the largest state in Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Its Grand Dukes controlled not only what is now Lithuania, Belarus and a large part of present-day Ukraine, but at times even called the shots in the politics of their eastern neighbor: the Russian state. 

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, with great diversity in languages, religions, and cultures: for example, it was home to a sizeable Jewish population, as well as to a unique Karaim community. Yet, in the 16th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania became a junior partner in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth–a subject of another conversation in this series. 

Led by an expert on linguistics and history Asya Pereltsvaig, Ph.D., this conversation will explore the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of this fascinating region and a desire to explore it first-hand. 

Asya Pereltsvaig received a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University and has taught at Yale, Cornell and Stanford, as well as in several U.S. and European universities. Her expertise is in language and history, and the relationship between them. Her most recent books, Languages of the World: An Introduction, 3rd edition (2020) and The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics (2015) were published by Cambridge University Press.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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