Jan Chryzostom Pasek
|Jan Chryzostom Pasek|
Jan Chryzostom Pasek in the 1660 Battle of Lachowicze, by Juliusz Kossak
|Coat of arms||Doliwa|
|Died||August 1, 1701
Jan Chryzostom Pasek (c. 1636–1701) was a Polish nobleman and writer during the times of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. He is best remembered for his memoirs (Pamiętniki), which are a valuable historical source about Baroque sarmatian culture and events in the Commonwealth.
Born in Węgrzynowice (now in Tomaszów Mazowiecki County) in 1636, into a petty noble family, Pasek attended a Jesuit school. He later enlisted in the army at age 19 and for 11 years he was a soldier in the Polish military, where he fought in the campaigns under Hetman Stefan Czarniecki against Sweden. In the Danish campaign, he took part in peace negotiations with Moscow (where he was member of the diplomatic mission). He also fought against Lubomirski rebels and the Turks. In 1667 he married and retired to his estate in Lesser Poland. Lawsuits that arose from his various excesses and conflicts with neighbours eventually resulted in him being exiled, however, the sentence was never enforced.
Towards the end of his life Pasek wrote an autobiographical diary, Pamietniki, a copy of which was found in 18th century and printed in 1821, making him posthumously famous. In his memoirs, he depicts in vivid language the everyday life of a Polish noble (Szlachcic), both during wartime and peace, with valuable batallistic scenes. He mentions the tales of the 17th-century Swedish and Muscovite wars, the catastrophic last years of the reign of King John II Casimir (1648–68), the incompetent rule of King Michael Korybut (1669–73), and concludes his narrative with the splendid reign of King John III Sobieski (1674–96). Since a number of opening pages of the first part is missing, it is now impossible to establish when Pasek begins his story. Furthermore, as he wrote the diary many years after these conflicts, he frequently mistook some historic events and incorporated incorrect dates.
The diary is divided into two parts. First covers the years 1655–1666, describing wars with the Swedish Empire (Swedish invasion of Poland), Transylvania, Muscovy (Russo-Polish War (1654–67)) and Lubomirski's Rebellion. Also, Pasek describes the Polish army raid over Denmark (1658–1659). Altogether, Pasek fought in large parts of Europe, from Smolensk to Jutland, and from Gdańsk to Vienna. Pasek colourfully writes about the military life, showing soldiers primary motivations, like curiosity, desire of fame and loot, and disregard for deep religious messages; for example, he describes Polish soldiers stealing prayer books from faithful Danes during a service at a Lutheran church in Denmark.
The second part of the book covers the years 1667–1688, when Pasek settled down in his village near Kraków in Lesser Poland. He describes his peacetime activities, conveniently missing some compromising facts, such as court orders, sentencing him to infamia. Also, he did not object serfdom and peasant social class oppression. Representing late Sarmatism culture, he views the szlachta social class as the only real representative of Poland. Pasek died on 1 August 1701 in the village of Niedzieliska, Lesser Poland Voivodeship.
Pasek utilised different genres, such as:
- lyric poetry (in a farewell to his beloved horse Deresz)
- panegyrics (describing the victory in the Battle of Vienna and the Battle of Basya)
- letters of King John II Casimir and Hetman Stefan Czarniecki
- speeches an dialogues
- popular songs of the era
- offensive jokes and mockery of Lithuanian peoples
Furthermore, he used everyday language and swear words. His diary has sometimes been called the “Epos of Sarmatian Poland”, and inspired a number of 19th and 20th century Polish writers, such as Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Zygmunt Krasiński, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski and Witold Gombrowicz.
In 1896 the part of Pasek's memoirs that describes the Polish army campaign in Denmark was translated to Danish by Stanisław Rosznecki and published as the book Polakkerne i Danmark 1659 (The Poles in Denmark 1659).
- Jan Chryzostom Pasek (Polish diarist). Britannica Online. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
- Date of birth approximated from several sources.
- Rosznecki, Stanisław (1896). Polakkerne i Danmark 1659, efter Jan Paseks Erindringer, ved Stanislaw Rosznecki. [The Poles in Denmark 1659, after Jan Pasek's memoirs, by Stanislaw Rosznecki.] (in Danish). Copenhagen: Gyldendal. OCLC 458228449.
- Jan Chryzostom Pasek (1976). Memoirs of the Polish baroque: the writings of Jan Chryzostom Pasek, a squire of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. Berkeley : University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02752-7.
- Jan Chryzostom Pasek; Maria Swiecicka-Ziemianek (1978). The memoirs of Jan Chryzostom z Gosławic Pasek. Kosciuszko Foundation, 1978. ISBN 0-917004-15-9.
- Denkwürdigkeiten des Johann Chrysostomus Passek, Graf Eduard Raczynski, deutsch von Dr. Gustav A. Stenzel,Verlag Josef Max, Breslau 1858
- Slavische Geschichtsschreiber Band VI - Die goldene Freiheit der Polen, Verlag Styria Graz Wien Köln 1967.
- Pasek's Otter at the Wilanów Palace Museum