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Analizy i studia przypadków

Tom 8 (2015): Wojna, język, pamięć

Kazimierz Sarnecki o wojnie. Relacje magnackiego rezydenta z lat 1691–1696

  • Tomasz Ślęczka
10 sierpnia 2018


Supporting materials on Polish history for graduates have been examined from the statistic side. Counting was not the individual parts of speech, but the word-forming bases of autosemantic words. In the material studied, relatively high frequency of concepts connected with the phenomenon of war was observed. Common concepts are war, fighting, army. On the other hand, related to the notion of war, rare words form long lists in the layer of hapax legomena. It allows to interpret some historical narrations intended for high school students as focused on the phenomenon of war. Kazimierz Sarnecki, the courtier of the Lithuanian magnate, Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł, prepared for his master written reports from the court of Jan III Sobieski, at which he stayed between 1691 and 1696, with a few interruptions. They consist of a systematically kept diary and longer epistolary relations. Sarnecki writes in them about the matters that interested his patron the king’s health, court life, government appointments, war affairs, he rarely mentions himself.
The subject of my interest is the way in which Sarnecki recounts Sobieski’s Moldovan expedition of 1691 in which he participated himself, the subsequent Polish-Tatar struggles in Podolia, battles on the other fronts of the Holy League, and the Nine Years’ War these events he knows only vicariously.
He describes the Moldovan expedition completely. Just as authors of the official war diaries, he lists the stages of the march, the grouping of troops, in the reports of battles you can see the professionalism. He informs very vaguely about the killed, accentuates only losses, incurred by the forces from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He emphasizes active participation of Lithuanian troops in the fighting. He does not hide the difficulties with supplies, although he does not shift the blame on Sobieski. He will also repeat — as other authors of the war memories did — a rumour about a miraculous event during the campaign. He limits relations about nature to its impact on warfare; similarly he looks at the buildings he passes through the prism of their military utility.
War reports from later times 1692–1696 are different. The civil matters dominate, while the battles with the Tatars or battles in Western Europe Sarnecki mentions irregularly and perfunctorily