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Aliaksandr Kazakoŭ. The Historiography of the Battle of Orša, 1514: achievements and problems

The article examines the historiography of the battle of Orša, 1514 in its military aspect. Polish historiography which didn’t experience such ideological bias as the works of Soviet scholars did, has the longest tradition of the battle’s study. Several researches of Polish historians (K. Górski, O. Laskowski, S. Herbst, Z. Spieralski, H. Grala etc.) from the late nineteenth century onwards resulted in detailed account of the battle though some of the works showed lack of critical analysis in respect of certain problems, mainly the troop strength. The Belarusian historiography got a chance to provide the study of the battle as the USSR collapsed but was unable, with some exceptions, to make a critical neutral judgement.

Great contribution was made by the contemporary Russian historian A. Lobin who managed to draw up an account of the battle on the basis of the widest range of sources. He significantly improved works of his predecessors, though his attempt of a completely different estimation of the armies’ sizes is doubtful. A. Lobin tends to minimize the strength of Muscovite troops, as well as their loses, presenting deficiency in methodology and lack of criticism towards some sources. Several important questions of the battle of Orša – armies’ size, number of Muscovite losses, especially prisoners, exact battlefield – still remain unsolved.