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Writing History in Medieval Poland
Bishop Vincentius of Cracow and the 'Chronica Polonorum'

D. von Güttner-Sporzyński (ed.)
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XII+289 p., 3 b/w ill. + 3 Maps, 156 x 234 mm, 2017
ISBN: 978-2-503-56951-2
Languages: English, Latin
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Retail price: EUR 80,00 excl. tax
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Poland’s first native chronicler and a proud contributor to the twelfth century renaissance placed his people’s history on a continuum with the classical world. This work brings to light the importance of Poland in the making of Europe.

This volume presents an in-depth analysis of the Chronica Polonorum, one of the greatest works of the twelfth-century renaissance which profoundly influenced history writing in Central Europe. The Chronica Polonorum was written by Poland’s first native historian Vincentius of Cracow. Educated in Paris and Bologna, he was the first canonically elected bishop of Cracow and a participant of the Fourth Lateran Council. The eyewitness accounts given in the Chronica Polonorum offer insights into the development of twelfth-century Poland, the ambitions of its dynasty, the country’s integration into Christendom, and the interaction between the Polish and Western elites. Vincentius’s work is considered a masterpiece in literary erudition grounded in classical training. The historical evidence it presents illuminates the socio-cultural interaction between Poland and the West during the period. Vincentius’s chronicle demonstrates the strong, enduring influence of the history, law, and traditions of ancient Rome in twelfth-century Europe.

This book deals with several subjects which have increasingly gained in prominence in English-language scholarship in recent years, such as the development of political culture, the diffusion and growth of ideas, the Christianization of the peripheral regions of Europe, and the interaction between cultural, political, and economic changes. In analysing the work of Vincentius and the Polish historiography of the Chronica Polonorum, this volume provides important insights into the development of the so-called peripheral regions of twelfth-century Europe and Poland’s engagement in the twelfth-century renaissance.

Table of Contents


Bishop Vincentius of Cracow and his Chronica Polonorum — DARIUS VON GÜTTNER-SPORZYŃSKI

Vincentius’s Background and Family Origins: The Evidence and Hypotheses — JACEK MACIEJEWSKI

Motives and Inspirations: An Exploration of When and Why the Chronica Polonorum Was Written — JÓZEF DOBOSZ

A History of the Manuscripts of the Chronica Polonorum: The Influence of Vincentius on History Writing — MARIAN ZWIERCAN

The Language of Vincentius’s Chronicle — EDWARD SKIBIŃSKI

The Narrative in Vincentius’s Chronicle — EDWARD SKIBIŃSKI

The Impact and Influence of Antiquity and the Bible in the Chronica Polonorum — KATARZYNA CHMIELEWSKA

Vincentius’s Chronicle and Intellectual Culture of the Twelfth Century — ZÉNON KAŁUŻA

Vincentius’s Construct of a Nation: Poland as res publica — PAWEŁ ŻMUDZKI

The Power of a Prince: Vincentius on the Dynasty’s Source of Power — PRZEMYSŁAW WISZEWSKI

Values and Virtues: Church Life and Courtly Culture — ROBERT BUBCZYK

Lords and Peasants: Polish Society and Economy in Transition — MARCIN RAFAŁ PAUK

Appendix 1 The Main Representatives of the Piast Dynasty (c. 966–1230)

Appendix 2 The Chronology of Polish History c. 920–1230


Interest Classification:
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Political & institutional history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : genres & specific topics
Historiography (historical writings in the period)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
East-Central & Eastern Europe

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