Preface and Acknowledgments

In: Peter von Danzig
Author: Beata Możejko
Translator: Barbara Gostyńska
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Preface and Acknowledgments

This book has its very own history. Many years ago, Professor Błażej Śliwiński (University of Gdańsk) persuaded me to do some research on the medieval ships of Gdańsk, and in particular to look into the story of the great caravel which privateer Paul Beneke had used to capture Hans Memling’s now famous Last Judgement triptych and bring it to his home city of Gdańsk. After long and laborious searches through archives in Gdańsk, Lübeck, Hamburg, Bruges, Florence and London I managed to complete my work on a monograph about the caravel. It was published in Polish in 2011 by the Gdańsk University Press under the title Peter von Danzig. Dzieje wielkiej karaweli 1462–1475. Interest in the book was considerable, and the same publisher decided to reprint it in 2014.

I shared the results of my findings about the caravel at international conferences in Bern and Frankfurt and at the imc in Leeds, subsequently publishing several articles about selected episodes in the ship’s history.1 In 2017 Brill confirmed their earlier expressed interest in publishing an English edition of my book, and I successfully applied for a grant from the National Programme for the Development of Humanities (Narodowy Program Rozwoju Humanistyki) to cover the costs of translation and proofreading. Thus it is that English-language readers can now get to know the full story of the great caravel which served in turn under the colours of France and Gdańsk, and whose dramatic fortunes played out between 1462 and 1475. I have amended certain details in relation to the Polish edition and have revised the bibliography.

The translation and publication of this book would not have been possible without the help and kindness of many friends and colleagues. I am greatly indebted to Dr Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz (University of Amsterdam), as well as Professors Piotr Górecki (University of California) Andrzej Groth (University of Gdańsk), and Joachim Zdrenka (University of Zielona Góra). My sincerest thanks also go to Julian Deahl, former history acquisitions editor at Brill, and in particular to Dr Kate Hammond, Brill’s acquisitions editor for medieval studies, and her assistant Marcella Mulder. All of their editorial work as well as their commitment and support during my efforts to secure funding for the translation of this book, and throughout the publication process, has been invaluable.

I would also like to thank Anna Kulawczuk from the Research Project Management Office of the University of Gdańsk for her assistance with the NPRH grant, Dr Piotr Samól (Gdańsk University of Technology) for preparing the maps in this book, and the Director of the Gdańsk University Press Joanna Kamień for permitting the English edition to be published by Brill.

This book owes its present form to its translator, Barbara Gostyńska, who, as always, scrutinised my text, made insightful comments and questions, unfailingly met what were very tight deadlines and was consistently obliging whenever I wanted to change or add anything. I am very grateful to her for all this. I would also like to thank Nidha Jeddy and Kathryn Sleight.

My heartfelt gratitude goes to all those who have supported me, including my students.

Any errors are entirely my own.


Możejko, “The Seven Voyages of the Great Caravel Peter von Danzig – a New Type of Ship in the Southern Baltic in the Late Medieval Period”, in Wasser in der Mittelalterlichen Kultur. Gebrauch-Wahrnehmung-Symbolik, eds. G. Huber-Rebenich, C. Rohr and M. Stolz, Berlin–Boston 2017, pp. 229–40; Możejko, “Maritime Gdańsk in the second half of the fourteenth and fifteenth century: The phenomenon of privateer Paul Beneke and the great caravel Peter von Danzig” in: New Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Poland and Prussia, The impact of Gdańsk, ed. B. Możejko, London and New York, Routledge 2017, pp. 102–13; Możejko, “From the Baltic to the North Sea: Gdańsk City Councillor Berndt Pawest’s Martime Service in 1471–72”, in: Merchants, Pirates, and Smugglers. Criminalization, Economics, and the Transformation of the Maritime World (1200–1600), eds. T. Heebøll-Holm, P. Höhn and G. Rohmann, Campus 2019, pp. 313–28. Because of the restricted length of these articles, they cover only certain major themes and contain numerous footnotes featuring references to the Polish edition of this monograph.

Peter von Danzig

The Story of a Great Caravel, 1462-1475