Communicating God’s war. Accounts of holy war in Polish medieval narrative sources

Journal article


von Güttner Sporzynski, Darius. (2021). Communicating God’s war. Accounts of holy war in Polish medieval narrative sources. Ordines Militares Colloquia Torunensia Historica : Yearbook for the Study of the Military Orders. 26, pp. 43-65. https://doi.org/10.12775/OM.2021.002
Authorsvon Güttner Sporzynski, Darius
Abstract

The authors of Polish medieval narrative accounts from and about Poland communicated episodes of Christian holy war and proto-crusades in a distinct and consistent way from the early twelfth century. In this article I will argue that the anonymous author of the Gesta principum Polonorum presented the Polish conquest of Pomerania as a holy war, and that a hundred years later, the learned Vincentius Bishop of Cracow in his Chronica Polonorum depicted three military campaigns against the Prussian pagans and apostates as crusading expeditions. I will also argue that the first Polish historian Jan Długosz, deliberately celebrated and highlighted these earlier accounts to his contemporary fifteenth century readership, using these histories to position Poland’s rulers as having a longstanding and consistent commitment to crusading, at a time when participation in crusades was a central concern of Poland’s ruling elites. This article will conclude that each of these written works was a commissioned text and part of a deliberate strategy by the rulers of Poland to communicate their engagement in Christian holy wars at the periphery of Christian Europe.

Keywordshistory; the Middle Ages; military orders; Poland; chronicle; communication; crusading; holy war
Year2021
JournalOrdines Militares Colloquia Torunensia Historica : Yearbook for the Study of the Military Orders
Journal citation26, pp. 43-65
PublisherUniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika/Nicolaus Copernicus University
ISSN0867-2008
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.12775/OM.2021.002
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85120506004
Open accessOpen access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range43-65
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online09 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted06 Jul 2021
Deposited14 Jun 2022
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