Open main menu

Siege of Polotsk (1579)

The Siege of Polotsk (Russian: Осада Полоцка, Polish: Oblężenie Połocka) was a siege by forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth under Stefan Bathory on the Russian-held city of Polotsk. Polotsk had been captured and heavily fortified by the Russians under Ivan the Terrible in 1563 because the river Dwina, which led to the key city of Riga, flowed through it. Hungarian soldiers, led by Caspar Bekes, Polish soldiers, led by Mikolaj Mielecki, and Lithuanian soldiers, led by Mikolaj Radziwill, converged at the Dzisna fortress, joined Bathory's men, and moved on to Polotsk, with a total force of about 42,000.[1] Polotsk had three fortresses: the central one, nearby Strelec fortress and the walled town of Zapolochie. The primary focus was on the central fortress: first with artillery, which failed because it only punctured the wooden walls, then with cannons, and eventually with fire. The Russians defended Polotsk with trenches and artillery, but after the Hungarian contingent captured Zapolochie, the Russians surrendered.[2] After taking the city, Bathory's forces then moved to besiege Velikiye Luki.[1]>

Siege of Polotsk (1579)
Part of the Livonian campaign of Stephen Báthory in the Livonian War
Połacak. Полацак (1579) (1).jpg
The Siege of Polotsk, 1579, in a contemporary illustration.
DateAugust 11–30, 1579
55°29′13″N 28°45′39″E / 55.48694°N 28.76083°E / 55.48694; 28.76083Coordinates: 55°29′13″N 28°45′39″E / 55.48694°N 28.76083°E / 55.48694; 28.76083
Result Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth captures Polotsk
Chorągiew królewska króla Zygmunta III Wazy.svg Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Tsardom of Russia
Commanders and leaders
Stefan Bathory Ivan IV of Russia


  1. ^ a b Perrie, Maureen; Pavlov, Andrei (2014). Ivan the Terrible. Routledge. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Szabo, Bela (2009). "The first campaign against Ivan, the Terrible by Stephen Báthory in 1579" (PDF). AARMS. 8 (4): 717–721. Retrieved January 13, 2017.