Title: Historia Illustrissimae Domus Sapiehanae.
Title in English: The History of the Great Family of Sapieha.
Published: Vilnae Typu Universitatis, Societatis IESU, Anno Domini 1724.
Binding: contemporary binding.
The writers of panegyrics for the Sapiega family (the author of the exhibited book, Antanas Aloyzas Mištautas (Antonio Aloysio Misztolt), was one of them) believed the family to have originated from Punigaila, the son of Narimantas Gediminaitis. Punigaila was said to be the father of Sunigaila (c. 1433), the Elder of Kaunas and the Castellan of Vilnius and Trakai. Sunigaila had two sons: Teodoras Sapiega and Jonas Sapiega, the first of the Sapiega family in Smolensk (Koden brach). In the exhibited book Misztołt seems to prove that the Sapiega family are descendants of Gediminas, the Grad Duke of Lithuania. However, Stadnicki (in his work “Synowie Gedymina Wielko – Wladcy Litwy: Monwid – Narymunt – Jewnuta – Koriat”, published in 1881 in Lvov) and Volf (in his work “Kniazowe litewsko – ruscy od konca XIV w.”, published in1895 in Warsaw) proved this to be fantasy based on the fake proof provided by Jonas Fridrichas Sapiega (Koden brach), the Grand Chancellor of Lithuania and Speaker of the Lithuanian Tribunal. Interestingly, it was Jonas Fridrichas Sapiega who reprinted Misztolt’s work “Historia Illustrisimae Domus Sapiehianae ...” in the second volume of his work “Swada Polska i Lacinska” (published under the name of his secretary Daneikavičius Ostrovskis in 1745). Both Misztolt and Jonas Fridrichas Sapiega wished to provide a nobler story of the origins of the Sapiega family, presenting it as having an importance in Lithuania in the 14th century that it did not gain until later periods. It is true, however, that the Sapiega family originated around Smolensk, and, after a modest beginning in the 15th century, later came to possess enormous fortunes and numerous manors as well as gained influence and secured the highest posts in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Misztolt’s panegyric was one of the first to be published in the Vilnius University printing house. In the 17th century, works like this one appeared in most Jesuit colleges. Despite the flaws in the theory of the Sapiega family origins, other information on the family is quite objective in Misztolt’s work. The book may even be considered a scientific work on the genealogy of the Sapiega family (bearing in mind, of course, the limits imposed by the period).
Reference: A.Mištauto iliustruota Sapiegų šeimos istorija lenkų kalba. – Kauno apskrities viešoji biblioteka: Senųjų ir retų spaudinių skyrius.
A three-volume work in Latin, “Historia Illustrissimae Domus Sapiehanae” (1724) by one of the first researchers of the Sapiega family, Doctor of Philosophy Antonio Aloysio Misztołt, who taught metaphysics and ethics in Vilnius University. This work could be considered a panegyric for the Sapiega family, aimed at providing a nobler story of their origins and presenting the family as having an importance in Lithuania in the 14th century that it did not gain until later periods. The book includes the coat of arms of the Sapiega family and the author’s dedication letter to Antanas Kazimieras Sapiega, Speaker of the Lithuanian Tribunal.
References:Kryžiai yra dorybės ženklas, o Strėlė – pergalės... Sapiegos – valstybininkai, meno mecenatai ir kolekcininkai: tarptautinės parodos katalogas, Vilniaus paveikslų galerija, 16 January - 20 May, 2012. = The Crosses stand for virtue, the Arrow for victory ... The Sapiehas – statesmen, art patrons and collectors = Krzyże znaczą cnotę, a Strzała zwycięstwo ... Sapiehowie – mężowie stanu, mecenasi sztuki i kolekcjonerzy / [katalogo sudarytojai Vydas Dolinskas, Birutė Verbiejūtė ; redaktoriai: Gintarė Petuchovaitė-Majauskė ... [et al.]; vertimas į lietuvių kalbą: Miroslava Dvilevič, vertimas į lenkų kalbą: Beata Piasecka, vertimas į anglų kalbą: Albina Strunga, David French; katalogo tekstų autoriai Dalius Avižinis ... [et al.]. Vilnius: Nacionalinis muziejus Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės valdovų rūmai, 2012, p. 304.