The Slavic Religion in the Light of 11th- and 12th-Century German Chronicles (Thietmar of Merseburg, Adam of Bremen, Helmold of Bosau)

Studies on the Christian Interpretation of pre-Christian Cults and Beliefs in the Middle Ages


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.

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Stanisław Rosik, Ph.D. (1998), Prof. Dr. habil., historian, medievalist, University of Wrocław, Institute of History, head of the Laboratory of Research on Early History of Central Europe; since 2017 president of the Standing Committee of Polish Medievalists; author of over 250 publications, including several books, e.g. Bolesław Krzywousty (Chronicon, 2013).

List of Figures and Map


1 Interpretatio Christiana of Old Slavic Religion as a Problem in Scholarly Reflection
 1 Interpretatio Christiana of Slavic Religion in Scholarly Opinions
 2 Further Research Perspectives

2 The Religion of the Slavs in Thietmar’s Chronicle
 1 Introduction: Thietmar of Merseburg and His Work
 Excursus: Saturn at the Wagrians (Widukind of Corvey, Res gestae Saxonicae libri tres III, 68)
 2 The Religion of the Slavs in Thietmar’s Chronicle – Historiographical Analysis
 3 The Religion of the Slavs in Thietmar’s Chronicle – Closing Remarks

3 Adam of Bremen on Slavic Religion
 1 Introduction: Adam of Bremen and His Work
 2 The Religion of the Slavs in Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum – Historiographical Analysis
 3 The Religion of the Slavs in the Historical and Theological Vision of Adam of Bremen

4 Helmoldi Cronica Slavorum on Slavic Religion
 1 Helmold and His Chronicle of the Slavs
 2 The Religion of the Slavs in Helmold’s Chronicle (Text Analysis)
 3 The Slavic Religion in the “World” of Helmold’s Work

 1 On the Historical Stage
 2 The Perspective of Theology and Culture Confrontation
 3 Argumentum ex interpretatione …
Index of Ancient Historical, Biblical and Mythical Figures
Index of Modern Authors
All interested in Slavic culture and religion, medievalists, historians of religions, Church historians, historians of literature (historiography), philologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, theologians.