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Goštautai (Lithuanian plural form), masculine Goštautas and feminine form Goštautaitė (Polish original, after Kasper Niesiecki - Gastoldowie, later transformed into Gasztołdowie) were a Lithuanian-Polish noble family, one of the most influential magnate families during the 15th and early 16th centuries. Their only serious rivals were the Kęsgailos, and from the end of the 15th century the fast rising in power and influence Radziwiłł family clan. It appears from the Latin original spelling of their name Gastoldus which is a variation of castaldius that they had been close to the Grand Dukes and that their function was to oversee ducal demesne. Most power family gained during the reign of Casimir Jagiellon. The castaldius of Vytautas, Andrius Goštautas might have been a voivode of Vilnius and Kreva, and father of Jonas, appears to have been the precursor of the family growth. The majority of the family's possessions (lands) were in the western part of the Duchy and eastern ethnic Lithuania. After the death of the last scion of the family, Stanislovas Goštautas, the Polish King and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund II Augustus inherited his possessions as a matter of right, per Grand Duchy of Lithuania law.


The Goštautai family name may be found in numerous renderings: Gasztold, Gasztołd, Gasztołt, Gashtold, Gastoldus, Gastold, Gastołd, Gosztold, Gosztowd, Gosztowt, Gosztowtt, Gochtovtt, Gasztowt, Gaszdtowt, Gasztowtt, Gasthawdus, Gostautas and Goštautas; these are all different renderings of the same distorted pagan given name of Goštautai's ancestor, mentioned in written sources as Johann Gastawd.[1] Upon the baptism he retained his pagan Lithuanian name (which may be reconstructed as *Gāstaŭtas) and passed it on to his descendants; that was a common practice of the rising Lithuanian nobility subsequent to the Christianization of Lithuania. Hence at first such names were used much like patronymics rather than surnames in a modern sense.[2]

Napoleon Orda's drawing of the ruined Gieraneny Castle of the Goštautai in the modern-day Hrodna Voblast, Belarus.

In Lithuanian the name of the clan is rendered Goštautai or Gostautai (singular, Goštautas or Gostautas); in Polish language the forms Gastold or Gasztołd are used. Contemporary written sources use different forms of the name; latest English sources use both forms, Polish Gasztold and Lithuanian Gostautas.[3]

Notable family members[edit]


  1. ^ Regesten und Texte zur Geschichte Preußens und des Deutschen Ordens Archived 2008-06-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ (in English) William R. Schmalstieg (1982). Antanas Klimas, ed. "Lithuanian Names". Lituanus. 28 (3). ISSN 0024-5089.
  3. ^ Lithuania Ascending– A Pagan Empire Within East-central Europe, 1295-1345 S. C. Rowell
  • Козлоўскі С. Гаштовта - уладальнікі Ліпнішок. Нарыс гісторыі аднаго роду / Сяргей Козлоўскі // Ліпнішкі – 500 гадоў гісторыі (1510 – 2010 гг.)»: Рэгіянальная навуковая канферэнцыя прысвечаная 500 – годдзю Ліпнішкаўскай парафіі і 400-годдзю надання мястэчку Магдэбурскага права. / пад рэд. А.К. Гецэвіча – Гродна, 2010р. – С. 14-19

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