In this volume, Stanisław Rosik focuses on the meaning and significance of Old Slavic religion as presented in three German chronicles (the works of Thietmar of Merseburg, Adam of Bremen, Helmold of Bosau) written during the time of the Christianization of the Western Slavs. The source analyses show the ways the chroniclers understood, explained and represented pre-Christian beliefs and cults, which were interpreted as elements of a foreign, “barbarian”, culture and were evaluated from the perspective of Church doctrine. In this study, individual features of the three authors are discussed– including the issue of the credibility of their information on Old Slavic religion– and broader conclusions on medieval thought are also presented.
Marika Mägi’s book considers the cultural, mercantile and political interaction of the Viking Age (9th-11th century), focusing on the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea. The majority of research on Viking activity in the East has so far concentrated on the modern-day lands of Russia, while the archaeology and Viking Age history of today’s small nation states along the eastern coasts of the Baltic Sea is little known to a global audience.
This study looks at the area from a trans-regional perspective, combining archaeological evidence with written sources, and offering reflections on the many different factors of climate, topography, logistics, technology, politics and trade that shaped travel in this period. The work offers a nuanced vision of Eastern Viking expansion, in which the Eastern Baltic frequently acted as buffer zone between eastern and western powers.
Winner of the Early Slavic Studies Association 2018 Book Prize for most outstanding recent scholarly monograph on pre-modern Slavdom.
The work was described by the prize committee in the following terms: "The scope of this book is far broader than the title might suggest. It amounts to a substantial rethinking of the history of the eastern Baltic from the tenth to the thirteenth century, based on both archaelogical and written evidence. The author is by training an archaeologist, and she mounts a powerful criticism of historians who prioritise the written sources and then pick and choose from the archaeological evidence to suit their theories. This book foregrounds the archaeology, which is used to question and consider the written evidence. The author is also highly and rightly critical of the archaeological scholarship, for projecting back into the past the narrow concerns of the numerous nation states that now exist across the eastern and northern Baltic, or the Great Russian nationalist-materialist-imperialist interpretations of the Soviet period. The result is a detailed and fascinating account of the interactions of the worlds of Scandinavia and Rusʹ with the various peoples of the Baltic region, both Finno-Ugric and Baltic. The resulting picture of commercial, political, and cultural interaction across several cultures, and based on reading in a wide range of languages, is a tour-de-force."
Originally published in French in 2004, Matei Cazacu’s
Dracula remains the most authoritative scholarly biography of the Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler (1448, 1456-1462, 1476). Its core is an exhaustively researched reconstruction of Dracula’s life and political career, using original sources in more than nine languages. In addition Cazacu traces Dracula’s metamorphosis, at the hands of contemporary propagandists, into variously a bloodthirsty tyrant, and an early modern “great sovereign.” Beyond this Cazacu explores Dracula’s transformation into “the vampire prince” in literature, film and folklore, with surprising new discoveries on Bram Stoker’s sources for his novel. In this first English translation, the text and bibliography are updated, and readers are provided with an appendix of the key sources for Dracula’s life, in fresh and accurate English translations.
Mulieres suadentes - Persuasive Women, Martin Homza scrutinises the genesis of ruler ideology among the most prominent East Central and Eastern European dynasties from the early and later Middle Ages. At the center of attention are the Přemyslids, the Piasts, the Rurikids, and the Árpáds, but also the main dynasties of the Balkans, namely the Trpimirović and the Nemanjić dynasties, as well as the House of Bogdan, and the Moldova dynasty of the Muṣatins. Unlike previous work, which has focused on narrative sources of male ruler hagiography, Homza studies texts concerning female royal figures. More broadly, this book also attempts to bridge the artificial gap between West and East in Europe.