Olshanski (Lithuanian: Alšėniškiai or Alšėnų kunigaikščiai, Belarusian: Гальшанскі, Polish: Holszański) was a Lithuanian princely family of Hipocentaur coat of arms from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Their patrimony was in Halshany (now in Belarus) and their property included Rokantiškės and Halshany Castles. During the 14–16th centuries most of the family was Orthodox by faith and Ruthenian by language, although there were exceptions, in particular Paweł Holszański was a Catholic Church official.
The family was founded by Ivan Olshanski (fl. 1382–1402), a close ally of Vytautas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Ivan's daughter Uliana married Vytautas while granddaughter Sophia of Halshany married Vytautas' cousin Jogaila, King of Poland. Sophia gave birth to Jogaila's sons and became the mother of the Jagiellonian dynasty which ruled Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Bohemia. The male line of the Olshanski family ended in 1556 with the death of Prince Semen (Paweł Holszański, last-but-one male representative of the family, died just one year before). Princess Maria Olshanskaya, the wife of Andrey Kurbsky, died in 1586. Their estates were inherited by the Sapieha family, which hailed from Smolensk.
For the first time Olshanski family is mentioned in written sources at the end of the 14th century when Ivan, son of Algimantas, assisted Vytautas in the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–84) against Jogaila. Such a late mention of strong family is attributed to the geographic location of their domain: Halshany was not in the way of either the Livonian Order or the Teutonic Knights. In contemporary sources, Algimantas is mentioned only in Ivan's patronymic name. However, late and unreliable Lithuanian Chronicles created a fanciful genealogy of Algimantas that connected him to the legendary Palemonid dynasty that allegedly hailed from the Roman Empire. Modern historians have discarded the genealogy as a work of fiction not based on historical facts.
|Family of Olshanski|
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