Średniowiecze Polskie i Powszechne, T. 6 (2014), s. 319-333
The article investigates the beginnings and shaping of the office of the hetman of the
Crown. The opinions of historians on the subject of the beginnings of the above‑mentioned
office have been analyzed. The research into an “early hetmanship” in literature, as well as an
establishment of the office of the hetman directly from a diverse types of military deputies of
the sovereign, and their treatment as progenitors of hetman have been called into question. The
first office was that of the field hetman, not the hetman of the Crown. The establishment of the
office of the field hetman was in close relationship with the constant threat of the south‑
borders at the end of the 15th century, as well as with the spreading of the levy, and the need
for an appointment of the General Defence — a permanent army stationing on the Eastern
borderlands. Following the appointment of the field hetman in 1503, the office of the hetman
of the Crown was established. The first great hetman of the Crown was Mikołaj Kamieniecki.
However, this did not put an end to the formation of the aforementioned office which lasted till
the 17th century. Also, one should take due care as regards titles used at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. Very often a hetman was referred to as a supreme military commander of the
Polish army operating independently of the competent hetman. In the sources the field hetman
was often attributed the hetman of the Crown, or the deputy hetman.