The Discovery of the Baltic

The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (AD 1075-1225)

Author: Nils Blomkvist
Nils Blomkvist discusses how the Baltic Rim was initially Europeanized between 1075 and 1225 AD. He compares the indigenous civilisations to the prevailing western European one. After the expansive Viking period, European penetration became a process of discovery.
The importance of the Catholic Reform movement and its unintentional ties to the formation of an endurable commodity market are outlined. Clashes and compromises are investigated in case studies of the Kalmarsund region, Gotland and the Daugava valley. Dissimilar cases of state formation are compared: those of Sweden and Livonia.
Many classical scholarly problems are revisited. A new approach to the period's narrative sources brings to life Scandinavian, German, Russian, Finno-Ugrian and Baltic attitudes and day-to-day concern in the midst of a change of epic dimensions.

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Nils Blomkvist, Ph.D. (1979) in History, Uppsala University, is Professor of Medieval History at Gotland University and leader of the multinational and interdisciplinary research project "Culture Clash or Compromise?" which involved some twenty scholars studying medieval Europeanization on the Baltic Rim.
' Combining the Annales school and the postcolonial thought with some Marxist concepts, clash of civilizations, and globalization inspirations, Blomkvist (Gotland Univ. College) produces a truly original approach to understanding the confrontation of an expansive and confident Western society with the older, Eastern-oriented, technologically backward, and diverse societies of the Baltic. .. Highly recommended. Advanced students and researchers.' W.L.Urban, Choice, 2005.
Ch. 1 What is Europe to the Baltic? : a survey of the main topic and its sub-problems 3 Ch. 2 The Catholic world-system : a theoretical approach to Europeanization 35 Ch. 3 Cultural encounters on the Baltic : contemporary descriptions of the experience of Europeanization 97 Ch. 4 Network versus territorial control : the political dimension of long 12th century 'change qualitative' 203 Ch. 5 The regional panorama : a brief introduction to chapters six-eight 279 Ch. 6 The discovery of Kalmarsund : the struggle for the gateway to the Baltic North 301 Ch. 7 The discovery of Gotland : the compromising society strategy and the emergence of international law in the Baltic 377 Ch. 8 The discovery of the lower Daugava : an anatomy of a clash 505 Ch. 9 The Catholic world-system and the making of Baltic Rim states : political and nationalistic reactions to the coming of Europe in Sweden and Livonia 567 Conclusions and comments in retrospect : the coming of the Catholic world-system and the Baltic Rim reaction 679
For readers interested in the dynamics and constraints of medieval life in a Baltic setting, treating the economic, political, religious and mental processes involved in its integration with Europe.