Germans and Poles in the Middle Ages

The Perception of the 'Other' and the Presence of Mutual Ethnic Stereotypes in Medieval Narrative Sources


This volume examines mutual ethnic and national perceptions and stereotypes in the Middle Ages by analysing a range of narrative historical sources, such as chronicles, hagiography, and literary material, with a particular focus on the mutual history of Germany and Poland. What sorts of stereotypes and prejudices existed in the Middle Ages, and how widespread were they? Or what other types of differentiating features were considered, and why?
The majority of the contributions clearly shows that medieval authors in general displayed only limited interest in the activities of neighbouring lands, and only then when it concerned their own interests – such as matters of conflict, diplomacy, or marriage – while criticism usually focused on individuals, rather than being generalised to bordering regions as a whole.
Contributors are Isabelle Chwalka, Jarochna Dąbrowska-Burkhardt, Stephan Flemmig, Sławomir Gawlas, Georg Jostkleigrewe, David Kalhous, Norbert Kersken, Paul Martin Langner, Roman Michałowski, Wojciech Mrozowicz, Piotr Okniński, Andrzej Pleszczyński, Volker Scior, Florian M. Schmid, Marcin Starzyński, Adam Szweda, Kristin Skottki, Grischa Vercamer, and Thomas Wünsch.

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Andrzej Pleszczyński is Professor of Medieval European History at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin. He has published monographs and articles on Polish-Czech-German relations, including The Birth of a Stereotype. Polish Rulers and their Country in German Writings c. 1000 A.D. (Brill, 2011).
Grischa Vercamer is Professor for Regional Studies at Technische Universität Chemnitz. His research focuses on rulership, historiography, East Central Europe, the Holy Roman Empire, and the military orders in the Middle Ages. His publications include Hochmittelalterliche Herrschaftspraxis im Spiegel der Geschichtsschreibung. Vorstellungen von »guter« und »schlechter« Herrschaft in England, Polen und dem Reich im 12./13. Jahrhundert (Harrassowitz, 2020).
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
Andrzej Pleszczyński and Grischa Vercamer

PART 1: Zones of Comparison in Medieval Europe: Theory and Examples

2 Constructing Otherness in the Chronicles of the First Crusade
Kristin Skottki

3 Alterity and Genre: Reflections on the Construction of ‘National’ Otherness in Franco-German Contexts
Georg Jostkleigrewe

4 England – No Interest? How Anglo-Norman and Angevin Historians Perceived the Empire in the Twelfth Century
Isabelle Chwalka

5 “… rogans eum sibi in auxilium contra superbiam Teutonicorum”: The Imaging of ‘Theutonici’ in Bohemian Medieval Sources between the Ninth and Fourteenth Centuries
David Kalhous

part 2: Polish Views Regarding Germans in the Middle Ages – Hagiographical and Historiographical Sources

6 The Image of the Germans and the Holy Roman Empire in Polish Historiography until the 13th Century
Andrzej Pleszczyński

7 The Perception of the Holy Roman Empire and Its People in the Eyes of the Polish Elites in the Middle Ages
Sławomir Gawlas

8 Polish Hagiographic Sources and Their View of the Germans in the Middle Ages
Roman Michałowski

part 3: German Views Regarding Poles in the Middle Ages – Hagiographical, Historiographical and Medieval German Literature Sources

9 Poland and the Poles in Early and High Medieval German Historiography
Volker Scior

10 Poland and the Polish People in Late Medieval German Historiography
Norbert Kersken

11 Poland, Silesia, Pomerania and Prussia in the Empire’s Hagiographic Sources
Stephan Flemmig

12 Perception of Poland in Peter Suchenwirt’s Heraldic Poems: Reflections on Dependence between Assessments and Genres
Paul Martin Langner

13 Constructions of Identities and Processes of Othering. Images of Polish Characters, Polishness and Poland and Their Roles in Medieval German Literature
Florian M. Schmid

part 4: Regional Zones of Contact between Germans and Poles in the Middle Ages

14 Between Real Experience and Stereotypes: The Silesian People in the Middle Ages with Respect to Their Neighbors (in Historiographic Sources)
Wojciech Mrozowicz

15 Prussia I: ‘… und das her konng mochte werdin czu Polan, und nicht von cristinlicher libe …’ Historians within the Teutonic Order (Ordensgeschichtsschreibung) in Prussia in the Middle Ages with Regard to Poland
Grischa Vercamer

16 Prussia II: The Views of Late Medieval Historians in Prussia towards Poland
Adam Szweda

17 Kraków I: ‘Ethnic’ or ‘National’ Conflict in 14th Century Krakow?
Marcin Starzyński

18 Kraków II: ‘Ad hoc traxit me natura …’. Social Stereotypes in Kraków and the Rebellion of Vogt Albert of 1311–1312
Piotr Okniński

part 5: German-Polish Stereotypes in Modern Times as a Counterpart to the Medieval Period

19 Contemporary Stereotypes within German-Polish Relations: A Linguistic Approach
Jarochna Dąbrowska-Burkhardt

part 6: Conclusion

20 Germans and Poles in the Middle Ages: The Perception of the ‘Other’ and the Presence of Mutual Ethnic Stereotypes in Medieval Narrative Sources (10th–15th Centuries)
Thomas Wünsch

Selected Bibliography
Index of Geographic Names and Historical (also Fictional) Persons
All interested in the medieval history of Poland and the Holy Roman Empire (Germany).
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