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Abstract

Bishop Vincent of Kraków, known as Wincenty Kadłubek, was the most influential scholar in Poland in the late twelfth to early thirteen century. In his Chronica Polonorum (c. 1205) he wrote the prehistory of Poland in a very untypical way. Instead of constructing a straight lineage of the dynasty of the Piasts from ancient times up to his own day (as most of the other authors of his time did), he invented deliberately different prehistoric dynasties for the Poles and inserted artificial time gaps among them. Thus, he stressed the idea of Poland as a res publica (people of Poland), who could survive quite well without rulers, if indeed the latter turned out to be bad and egotistical. This implied a clear warning to the contemporary Piasts: they should keep the matters of the res publica in mind or they could be replaced. Poland had already managed to get by—so he argued—without rulers for various periods in the past and could, if necessary, do it again.

In: The Medieval Chronicle 11

Abstract

Bishop Vincent of Kraków, known as Wincenty Kadłubek, was the most influential scholar in Poland in the late twelfth to early thirteen century. In his Chronica Polonorum (c. 1205) he wrote the prehistory of Poland in a very untypical way. Instead of constructing a straight lineage of the dynasty of the Piasts from ancient times up to his own day (as most of the other authors of his time did), he invented deliberately different prehistoric dynasties for the Poles and inserted artificial time gaps among them. Thus, he stressed the idea of Poland as a res publica (people of Poland), who could survive quite well without rulers, if indeed the latter turned out to be bad and egotistical. This implied a clear warning to the contemporary Piasts: they should keep the matters of the res publica in mind or they could be replaced. Poland had already managed to get by—so he argued—without rulers for various periods in the past and could, if necessary, do it again.

In: The Medieval Chronicle 11

Abstract

One might characterize the historiography within the Teutonic Order with the term Ordensgeschichtschreibung, which comprises the “official” historiography of the Order. But this is true only for the first chronicles in the 14th and early 15th centuries. The works from later periods are categorized more so as Landeschroniken (“regional chronicles”), since the Order as sovereign was no longer the only acteur in this field. The article will therefore focus on three authors: Peter of Dusburg (1326), Wigand of Marburg (1394) and Johann of Posilge (up until 1405, with a continuator resuming again in 1419). Methodologically, the chroniclers have all been thoroughly canvassed and the fragments within the chronicles where a reference to Poland can be identified have been collected and analyzed under three categories: passages that view “Poland/Poles” as a whole, or refer to regions/groups within Poland, or focus on Polish individuals.

Interestingly, in none of the three chronicles are the Poles mentioned specifically as neighbors; they are assumed by the authors to be already well known. Furthermore, at no point in all three chronicles does one detect any national aspersions towards the Poles as a people or country. The narrations are more often about the actions of certain groups – mostly diplomats, knights-warriors or nobles/elites. Whether there was a positive or negative perception of them was absolutely dependent of the situation. And judgments about the actions of individuals, mostly Polish kings (Władysław Łokietek, Casimir III, Władysław-Jagiello), are dependent as well on the situation.

In: Germans and Poles in the Middle Ages
In: 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.
Volume Editors: Grischa Vercamer and Dušan Zupka
This book provides the first detailed overview of research on rulership in theory and practice, with a particular emphasis on the monarchies of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland in the High and Late Middle Ages. The contributions examine the legitimation of rule of the first local dynasties, the ritual practice of power, the ruling strategies and practices of power in the established monarchies, and the manifold influences on the rulership in East Central Europe from outside the region (such as from Byzantium, and the Holy Roman Empire). The collection shows that these ideas and practices enabled the new polities to become legitimate members of Latin Christendom.