Category of “otherness” in 10th–12th-century Scandinavian and Polish historiographies Cover Image
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Postrzeganie obcych w średniowiecznej historiografii skandynawskiej i polskiej w X–XII w.
Category of “otherness” in 10th–12th-century Scandinavian and Polish historiographies

Author(s): Jakub Morawiec
Subject(s): Middle Ages, 6th to 12th Centuries, 13th to 14th Centuries, 15th Century
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: medieval history; church history; Christianity in the Middle Ages; religious culture; Poland during the Piast dynasty
Summary/Abstract: The aim of the article is to compare how the term “otherness” was defined and used by both Scandinavian and Polish medieval historiographical traditions, and if the latter was original or imitative in this respect. The history of Northern and Central Europe between the 10th and the 12th century was stimulated by ongoing conflicts of power. It resulted in a need of mutual depiction and classification of opposing dynasties and nations. Constant rivalry led to a tendency to create negative images of those who, as hostile, were considered strangers and others. Accusations of cowardice and stalling, intrigues and conspiracies were equally characteristic of relations between Poles and Czechs and between Norwegians and Danes. Similarities in the depiction of others were rather a result of influences of Latin culture that both regions experienced independently and of its specific literary patterns, which were transferred through education of learned individuals. They were also dictated by new ideological trends represented by ecclesiastical circles, e.g. by Cistercians, promoting a crusading ideology that strongly affected historiographers on both sides of the Baltic. Polish historiography was not original in this respect. A tendency to emulate ideological and literary patterns innovated elsewhere should not, however, lead to a negative view of such writing. On the contrary, their works prove that they preferred to follow current European trends, considered equally prestigious and effective among their Northern peers.

  • Page Range: 797-833
  • Page Count: 37
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Czech, Polish