Getman - is the historical title of commander of the army. Symbol of Hetman Power

Hetman - a concept that was first applied to the army commander in the Czech Republic since the Taborites. Later the term migrated to Moldova and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was from Poland that he moved to Ukraine by the XVII-XVIII centuries.

The origin and meaning of the term

Most linguists and ethnologists are inclined to the theory that “gemtan” is a German word. It comes from hauptmann - the main man. So the ancient North Germans called their leaders. The leader of the tribe in times of military democracy was also the commander of the army. Hence the disagreement: to consider the hetman the leader of a tribe or chief in the army. The modern German army still contains a concept close to this term: the title "Hauptaman", which corresponds to the rank of captain. The close ties between the Germans and the Poles led to the borrowing of many words.They are mainly related to military and political issues. So, the meaning of the word hetman we have defined. Now more about the countries in which this term was actively used.

Jan ижižka and Taborites in the Czech Republic

The getman is the commander of the Taborites in the Czech Republic during the Hussite Wars. The first title was given to the renowned resistance leader, Jan Жižka in 1420. It is remarkable, but this term is still relevant in the Czech Republic: since 2000, the hetman has been the head of one of the edges, by analogy with our governors.

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

hetman is

Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth is a confederation of two differently confessional states: the Catholic Kingdom of Poland and the Great Russian Orthodox Duchy of Russia and Lithuania. Many former lands of Russia became part of this state. The name “Rzeczpospolita” is the Polish version of the Latin “res public”, which translates as “common cause”. For the first time the term "hetman" appeared just in the Grand Duchy of Russia and Lithuania in 1497, and in the Kingdom of Poland it appeared only in 1503.

Originally, a hetman in the Polish – Lithuanian Commonwealth is the title of provisional commander in chief for the duration of the war. From 1581 it becomes permanent.

In total, the confederation assumed four titles hetman:

  1. Full Hetman Corona;
  2. Great hetman corona;
  3. Full Hetman of Lithuania;
  4. Great Lithuanian hetman.

Crown hetman meant belonging to the "Crown", i.e. to the kingdom of poland. Thus, equality between Poland and Lithuania in the confederation called Rzeczpospolita was assumed. Hetmans had broad powers in the military sphere, as well as to ensure and recruit the army. The title existed until the third section of the Commonwealth, after which the state finally lost its unity and independence.


The term "hetman" entered Moldova from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but there its functions were slightly different. Unlike the Polish-Lithuanian, the Moldovan title was considered not the main in the army, but the second oldest after the governor. They were also designated the head of the fortress, an important translator when speaking with foreign ambassadors, the head of guarding high masters. He was on the board under the Lord - on the couch. In the Commonwealth hetman was both a title and a position. In Moldova - only a title that could give the right to a certain position: Porta - a high dignitary for the protection of the master, Pyrkhelab - the head of the fortress, spatar - the commander in chief.


meaning of the word hetman

In Ukraine, the title received the most prestige: the leader of all Cossacks was called the hetman. In 1572, a registered Cossack army was created as part of the Commonwealth. Their head officially proclaimed "hetman of His Royal Majesty of the Zaporizhia Army." It was assumed by the reform that the Cossacks would have equal rights and privileges with their Polish colleagues.

Reasons for title transformation

Later it became clear that the Ukrainian population is not perceived as equal. All Orthodox residents were considered "cattle", which translated means "slaves", "slaves". Registered Cossacks, zealously shed their blood in the wars for Poland against Russia, the Ottoman Empire, the Crimea, were deceived. They did not receive the full privileges that their colleagues received - Polish hussars and dragoons. The Orthodox population of modern Ukraine itself has been subjected to triple oppression: national, religious and feudal. Poland tried to destroy Orthodoxy as a religion on its territory, as it considered it dangerous. The princes and political elite of the former Grand Duchy of Russia and Lithuania were completely assimilated, blessed, Orthodox roots were forgotten. The name Rzeczpospolita was increasingly being replaced by the name Poland.

Several centuries later, equality was forgotten in creating a confederation between the Catholic and Orthodox populations. At the first stage of the destruction of the Orthodox faith, it was decided to create a Unian church. The service there was held according to the Orthodox rite, but she did not obey the Patriarch of Moscow, but the Pope of Rome. Gradually, the reforms of the Unian Church should have negated the centuries-old tradition and culture of the Russian and Ukrainian people in the territory of the Commonwealth. People who refused to conduct ceremonies in the Unian Church, had to pay a fee to "shinkaris" - to the Jews, who were rented all religious Orthodox churches.

hetman symbol

Cossack-peasant uprisings and the final transformation of the title

Such measures were negatively perceived by the population. Often, this resulted in Cossack-peasant unrest. In the first half of the XVII century - after one of the next uprisings - the title of hetman was abolished among the registered Cossacks. From that moment on, he received a different meaning: the leaders of all Cossacks, who do not obey the Polish administration, were called hetman.From it came the concept of "hetman" - an autonomous territory of the Cossacks.

One of these autonomous formations for a long time was the Zaporizhian Sich, which N.V. Gogol vividly described in the work “Taras Bulba”.

In the middle of the XVII century, an unprecedented uprising led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky broke out among the Cossacks. The Cossacks proclaimed him their hetman - he began to fight the most influential prince of Poland: I. Vishnevetsky. The situation was aggravated by the fact that the king of Poland died shortly before. He allegedly was on the side of B. Khmelnitsky in his struggle for the rights of the registered Cossacks. The rebel was supported not only by the former registered Cossacks, but also by the entire Orthodox population, tired of their unbearable position. Bogdan Khmelnitsky called the Allies of the Tatars, Moscow. In the end, the struggle led to the fact that the hetman appealed to Muscovy with a request to recognize him as his vassal. Our country was officially embroiled in a war with Poland, which resulted in the historic reunification of Russia and Ukraine. Although this event still causes a lot of controversy among historians.

Symbol Hetman

symbols of hetman power

The meaning of the term, we think, we have explained.We now turn to the question - the symbols of the power of hetmans. The mace was a traditional attribute of power for Turkish, and then for Polish-Ukrainian military leaders - a cold weapon of cavalry, which was used from the XII century in Europe. From the XVI-XVII centuries, it began to be used exclusively as a symbol of the power of military leaders among the Cossacks. Depending on the size of the jewelry on the instrument, it was possible to judge the status of the holder.

Often, the Turkish and Russian authorities presented the leaders of the Cossacks with clubs decorated with the best jewelers in order to gain support in the upcoming battles.

prayer for hetman Mazepa

"Prayer for Hetman Mazepa"

In the early 2000s. a film appeared on the screens about one of the controversial hetmans of Ukraine - "The Prayer for Hetman Mazepa". The picture received a huge, by the standards of Ukraine, funding: $ 4 million. $ 2.8 million was allocated by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, which was equal to almost half of its annual budget. At the time, the ministry was headed by Bogdan Stupka, who decided to allocate the money. He played a major role in this film. Russia has banned the rental of paintings on its territory. Our authorities have accused him of Russophobia.So that it is at least a little clear why, it is enough to look at the first scene: at the tomb of Mazepa stands Emperor Peter the Great and is engaged in an obscene affair with one of the soldiers with the words “I will show you the Square”. After that, he defiles the hetman’s grave until the main character emerges from it and is not enough for the Russian emperor’s throat.

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