Book Series Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, vol. 31

Historiography and Identity V: The Emergence of New Peoples and Polities in Europe, 1000-1300

Walter Pohl, Veronika Wieser, Francesco Borri (eds)

  • Pages: xiv + 501 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 b/w, 9 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58849-0
  • Hardback
  • Forthcoming (Apr/23)


Provides an overview of several fundamental texts in which identities in the new Christian kingdoms were negotiated, and examines from a comparative perspective the many different strategies of identification they employed, from the Shetlands to the Kievan Rus’.


Walter Pohl is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Vienna and Director of the  Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Veronika Wieser works as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and as Lecturer for Medieval History at the University of Vienna.

Francesco Borri, Department of Humanities, Ca' Foscari University of Venice.


In many countries in Northern and Eastern Europe, the period after 1000 saw the emergence of new Christian kingdoms. This process was soon reflected in works of historiography that traced the foundation and development of the new polities. Many of these texts had a lasting impact on the formation of political, ethnic, and religious identities of these states and peoples.

This volume deals with some of these earliest histories narrating the past of the new polities that had emerged after 1000 in Northern, East Central, and Eastern Europe, as well as in the Adriatic regions. They have often been understood as ‘national histories’, but a closer look brings out the differences in their aims and construction. One question addressed here is to what extent these historians built on models of identification developed in earlier historiography. The volume provides an overview of several fundamental texts in which identities in the new Christian kingdoms were negotiated, and of recent research on these texts.


Introduction: Historiography and Identity — WALTER POHL

Scandinavian and Baltic Origins

Adam of Bremen’s Use of Earlier History — IAN WOOD

National Identity in Scandinavian Chronicles (Saxo and Snorri) — SVERRE BAGGE

Orkney, Óláfr Tryggvason, and the Conversion to Christianity — ROSIE BONTÉ

Biblical Topoi and the Shaping of Ethnic Categories in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia — STEFAN DONECKER

Cosmas of Prague, the Gesta principum Polonorum and its Western Contexts

Helmold of Bosau and Our Reading of His Chronica Slavorum — JAN KLÁPŠTĚ

Creating Dynastic Identity: Gallus Anonymous’ Chronicle — ZBIGNIEW DALEWSKI

By the Crown of my Empire! The Things I Behold are Greater than I had Been Led to Believe!’ The Narrative Pattern Sheba visits Salomon in Medieval Narratives (Gallus's Chronicle, Chronicon Salernitanum and Pèlerinage de Charlemagne) — JACEK BANASZKIEWICZ

Tunc dux extendens manum suam super sacram tumbam sic orsus est ad populi turbam… Towards the communication in the Chronicle of Cosmas and his contemporaries — DAVID KALHOUS

The Chronicle of the Czechs and the its Structures: The Spatial Landscapes of Cosmas of Prague — JAN HASIL

Narrating Community. Cosmas’s Chronicle in the transformation of Czech political thinking of the High Middle Ages — MARTIN WIHODA

Hungarian Origins in Western Sources and in Hungarian Chronicles

The Stepperiders as a Mirror: The Hungarians as an Exegetical Challenge in the Post-Carolingian World — MAX DIESENBERGER

Us and Them: The Description of Foreigners and Indigenous in Master P.’s and Simon of Kéza’s Gesta Hungarorum — DANIEL BÁGI

Christian Identity versus Heathendom: Hungarian Chroniclers facing the Pagan/Nomadic Past and Present — LÁSZLO VESZPRÉMY

Histories of Origins from the Adriatic and the Danube

Circles of Identity: Narratives of Thomas of Split and Dujam de Cranchis of Brač — NEVEN BUDAK

Grado as Aquileia Nova and Split as Salona Nova? Local Historiography and Local Identity — PETER ŠTIH

Through Turbid Water: John the Deacon’s Search for the Venetian Origins — FRANCESCO BORRI

The ‘Dioclean Tradition’ in Serbian Literature of the Early Thirteenth Century — ALEKSANDAR UZELAC

The Rus‘ Primary Chronicle, the Old Testament and the Byzantine Background

The Debate over Authorship of the Rus′ Primary Chronicle: Compilations, Redactions, and Urtexts — DONALD OSTROVSKY

Creating Time, Forging Identity, Building a State: The Primary Chronicle of Rus’ — OLEKSIY P. TOLOCHKO