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Poland during the Renaissance


gregrocks33 1 | 4
5 Mar 2011 #1
I know nothing of what went on in Poland during the renaissance, I personally believe we could not undergo a "rebirth" of the classics as we never had them originally but I'm sure we did something, considering during the time of the Renaissance we were the biggest power of Eastern Europe.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
5 Mar 2011 #2
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_in_Poland

Renaissance in Poland Wiki
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
6 Mar 2011 #3
I personally believe we could not undergo a "rebirth" of the classics as we never had them originally

If one stipulates having had the classics in antiquity as necessary as a necessary condition for renaissance then all of Northern Europe is disqualified, but I think being versed in Greek or Latin and reading the classics and creating writings and speech inspired by them, or enjoying classically inspired visual arts and creating art in their vein, does indeed constitute a rebirth regardless of how much contact one's ancestors had with the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome.
Semsem 16 | 26
6 Mar 2011 #4
I understand there were the poets (Kochanowski and the like) and Kopernik, but what else did Poland "do" to benefit the world during the Polish Renaissance?
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #5
The renaissance in Italy was born of a set of circumstances, economic, political, cultural, climactic and geographic that were unique to Italy. There was certainly a Polish university at the time, projects like the rynek and palace at Zamosc etc, as well as travellers to and from Poland, but the conditions which allowed the renaissance to flourish in Italy weren't there.
David_18 68 | 982
6 Mar 2011 #6
k, but what else did Poland "do" to benefit the world during the Polish Renaissance?

Poland financed the greatest painters in Europe such as Rembrandt van Rijn and the greatest architects of that period.

Many people fled to Poland because of the religious tolerance we had.

but the conditions which allowed the renaissance to flourish in Italy weren't there.

Kidding me? Almost every city in Poland got a Italian Renaissance touch.
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #7
Almost every city in Poland got a Italian Renaissance touch.

A touch. Not a renaissance. Touches of it spread everywhere. Zamosc is an example. But the intellectual and economic powerhouse was well to the south.
David_18 68 | 982
6 Mar 2011 #8
But the intellectual and economic powerhouse was well to the south.

Do you know anything about the polish magnates? at a time 50% of the students in the University of Bologna were polish.

Today people are learning more and more about the polish history and its importance before 1796. Polish history have been hidden from the outside world by Austria, Prussia and Russia when they sealed Polands faith, and untill today they were succesfull. But now people are starting to find out the truth about Poland and its history.
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #9
jonni:
But the intellectual and economic powerhouse was well to the south.

Do you know anything about the polish magnates?

Plenty. Read my post.

by Austria, Prussia and Russia when they sealed Polands faith,

Rather, it sealed its own. In very large part by the behaviour of the people you call 'magnates'.

now people are starting to find out the truth about Poland

Its history has never been a secret.
jwojcie 2 | 763
6 Mar 2011 #10
Well, you shouldn't ask what Poland did for Renaissance, you should rather ask what Renaissance did for Poland ;)
And it did a lot really, starting with the most important thing: Polish language was brought into the mainstream of Kingdom elites and started to be treated as equal to Latin... It is a shame that wars with Sweden destroyed a lot of gains of this era (for example Swedes destroyed most of printing-houses, something which in our times can be only compared with destroying most of libraries and IT infrastructure at the same time...).

As for global influences except Copernicus there wasn't much of it. After all, Renaissance came to Poland about 100 years after it showed up in Italy, so not much space for improvement left.

PS. Maybe now we can add Zamość to the global stars, after all it is on UNESCO heritage list ;)
David_18 68 | 982
6 Mar 2011 #11
Plenty. Read my post.

You claim that the economic powerhouse was in Italy, but you're wrong. The Polish magnates were richer then some kings in europe and hired the best artist you could find at that time to their courts. The Czartoryski family had a personal court of 375 artist painters teacher etc etc.

Rather, it sealed its own. In very large part by the behaviour of the people you call 'magnates'.

I werent talking about the polish szlachtas behaviour. I were talking about the deal made by the unholy alliance to destroy the polish history with the country.

Maybe you should take a look at this book.

Although the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II and the dramatic rise of Solidarność had brought Poland into the world's consciousness, it was not until the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 that it returned to life as an independent political entity. Yet few people outside the country had any idea that it had ever been one in the past.

No nation's history has been so distorted as that of Poland. In 1797 Russia, Prussia and Austria divided the country up among themselves, rewriting history to give the impression that Poland had never been a fully sovereign state, only a backwater that needed civilising. In fact the country they had wiped off the map had been one of the largest and most richly varied in Europe, embracing a wide variety of cultural and religious traditions, accommodated within one of the boldest constitutional experiments ever attempted. Its destruction created an imbalance and initiated a series of struggles that culminated in the two world wars and the Cold War.


adamzamoyski.com/books.htm#poland
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
6 Mar 2011 #12
If one stipulates having had the classics in antiquity as necessary as a necessary condition for renaissance then all of Northern Europe is disqualified

Not really, Gaul and Britain were both Latinized Roman provincesand the term "Northern renaissance" is widely accepted for being just that though starting in the low countries.

so stricktly speaking i agree that Poland didnt have a classical renaissance but it certainly enjoyed the benifits and played its part in the wider european renaissance.

You claim that the economic powerhouse was in Italy, but you're wrong. The Polish magnates were richer then some kings in europe and hired the best artist you could find at that time to their courts. The Czartoryski family had a personal court of 375 artist painters teacher etc etc.

P!ssing away your Gold on 375 court painters does not qualify one for the term "Economic Powerhouse" and being stupendously richer than the dirt poor serfs around you does not translate to the thriving middle and trade classes arising in the rest of europe at the time.
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #13
You claim that the economic powerhouse was in Italy, but you're wrong. The Polish magnates were richer then some kings in europe and hired the best artist you could find at that time to their courts.

Italy was the engine and driving force of the renaissance - the built environment and almost all of the art was and still is, in Italy.

Yet few people outside the country had any idea that it had ever been one in the past.

One point (among many) on which Zamojski is very wrong.

You know, some things can be attributed to Poland. The renaissance is not one of them.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
6 Mar 2011 #14
P!ssing away your Gold on 375 court painters does not qualify one for the term "Economic Powerhouse" and being stupendously richer than the dirt poor serfs around you does not translate to the thriving middle and trade classes arising in the rest of europe at the time.

Rich patrons paying hundreds of court painters is precisely what the Renaissance was all about. As for "the thriving middle and trade classes" that were present elsewhere in Europe these little thrifty people had no real classical style when compared to the free and fierce Polish szlachta of the time, and the Renaissance was all about regaining the grand style of the ancients. Indeed when one talks about the rebirth that was the Renaissance, Poland is politically exemplarily because it was a grand aristocracy without an autocrat in the mode of republican Rome.
David_18 68 | 982
6 Mar 2011 #15
P!ssing away your Gold on 375 court painters does not qualify one for the term "Economic Powerhouse"

In 1748 the total revenue of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth amounted to 8,000,000 zloties. In that same year the Zamoyski family owned 1,000,000 zloties, Count F.S. Potocki possessed 3,000,000 and Michael Radziwill had amassed 5,000,000 zloties. It has been estimated that Michael Radziwill's 5,000,000 zloties was equal to 139,000 pounds sterling. This would make the income of even the richest British aristocrats (Bedfords, Devonshires etc) pale in comparison. In 1767

James Harris (later the Earl of Malmesbury) calculated Radziwill's income
at 18,000,000 zloties or 500,000 pnds sterling.

and being stupendously richer than the dirt poor serfs around you does not translate to the thriving middle and trade classes arising in the rest of europe at the time.

That was the typical propaganda that the Unholy alliance used when they so called "freed" the poor serfs from the bad boys called the Szlachta, and it still lives on today. Most of the common people around europe were just as poor as the common people in Poland. The diffrence in the first half of the 18'th century were that the poles slaved in the Agricultur sector while the lets say british folks slaved in the industrial sector. But in the end of the 18'th century the poles swifted towards Industri just like the rest of europe.

Italy was the engine and driving force of the renaissance - the built environment and almost all of the art was and still is, in Italy.

Indeed it was but still the poles had plenty of projects in the P-L Commonwealth that had its share in the renaissance.

You know, some things can be attributed to Poland. The renaissance is not one of them.

Indeed Poland didn't invent the renaissance. But they did build plenty of extraordinary examples and contributed alot to the renaissance.
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #16
It has been estimated that Michael Radziwill's 5,000,000 zloties was equal to 139,000 pounds sterling. This would make the income of even the richest British aristocrats (Bedfords, Devonshires etc) pale in comparison. In 1767

Pale in false comparison, more like. Since in 'western' Europe income and assets were distributed rather more evenly. The built enviromnemt surviving to this day demonstrates that. Poland in that period had a tiny fraction of the cultural achievements of, say, Italy or the UK.

Unholy alliance used when they so called "freed" the poor serfs from the bad boys called the Szlachta, and it still lives on today

I assume you mean the Holy Alliance. Serfdom, by the way was pretty much universal at the time of the renaissance, so it's a bit of a mystery why you've mentioned it. Odd that you mention the Devonshires who emerged as players centuries after the renaissance had finished (and serfdom had been abolished in England).

The diffrence in the first half of the 18'th century were that the poles slaved in the Agricultur sector while the lets say british folks slaved in the industrial sector.

What on earth has the Eighteenth Century got to do with the renaissance?????

But in the end of the 18'th century the poles swifted towards Industri just like the rest of europe.

Actually they didn't. They had a very few sporadic and tentative steps towards it, which weren't a notable success. You quote the most general and accessible of Zamoyski's works - try reading a bit more by him - he covers the matter quite well and in more depth elsewhere.

Indeed it was but still the poles had plenty of projects in the P-L Commonwealth that had its share in the renaissance.
[quote=David_18]Indeed it was but still the poles had plenty of projects in the P-L Commonwealth that had its share in the renaissance.

As I said in my first Post, Poland wasn't isolated from the world. The word 'plenty' is misleading however.

Indeed Poland didn't invent the renaissance. But they did build plenty of extraordinary examples and contributed alot to the renaissance.

They didn't particularly. If anything they contributed less than one might expect given their position and resources. And certainly a lot less, given the vast wealth you ascribe to them.
David_18 68 | 982
6 Mar 2011 #17
Pale in false comparison, more like. Since in 'western' Europe income and assets were distributed rather more evenly

What the hell are you talking about? The income went to the king and then the Army. At the peak 2/3 of the total revenue went to the french army.

The built enviromnemt surviving to this day demonstrates that.

No, the monetary system is what you can see around europe nowadays.

Poland in that period had a tiny fraction of the cultural achievements of, say, Italy or the UK.

Italy i could agree on. But the UK was a small kingdom in the 14-17'th century.

I assume you mean the Holy Alliance.

Do you even know what the Unholy alliance was? nvm you will just google it up and pretend that you knew ;)

(and serfdom had been abolished in England).

Maybe so, but the peasents still had to work the fields of the english lord just like when they were serfs. Nothing changed more then in paper.

Actually they didn't. They had a very few sporadic and tentative steps towards it

Not really ;) Plenty of Polish citys had a large industry, citys such as Lodz, Cracow, Lublin etc etc.

They didn't particularly. If anything they contributed less than one might expect given their position and resources. And certainly a lot less, given the vast wealth you ascribe to them.

Read up boyo ;)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_in_Poland
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #18
No, the monetary system is what you can see around europe nowadays.

Go for a walk round Florence, Sienna, Venice and say that.

Italy i could agree on. But the UK was a small kingdom in the 14-17'th century.

One of the richest places in the world from the sixteenth century, and more surviving from that period than was ever built east of the Oder.

Not really ;) Plenty of Polish citys had a large industry, citys such as Lodz, Cracow, Lublin etc etc.

Lodz didn't exist during the renaissance, and neither Krakow nor Lublin had any significant industry at that time, nor did they until much, much later. And even then, its origins were elsewhere.

Read up boyo ;)

I prefer original sources to the (rather short and straw clutching) wikipedia page on the renaissance in Poland.
You didn't answer my question:

What on earth has the Eighteenth Century got to do with the renaissance?????

It seems you are very confused about what happened when and where in Europe's history.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
6 Mar 2011 #19
It seems our British interlocutors are a bit confused about what participation in the Renaissance means. Judging participation merely by the amount of "things" produced such as paintings or buildings is a truncated criterion, but an understandable mistake from those with a petty bourgeois attachment to things that can be bought and sold. The Polish gentry of the Renaissance lived lives in the mode of the proud patricians of the Roman Republic. In lives lived Poland was the embodiment of the Renaissance.
Ironside 49 | 10,459
6 Mar 2011 #20
Since in 'western' Europe income and assets were distributed rather more evenly. The built enviromnemt surviving to this day demonstrates that. Poland in that period had a tiny fraction of the cultural achievements of, say, Italy or the UK.

Wrong assumption, because environment surviving to this day had been build in the late XVIII and XIX centuries.
During this time Poland had been colonised and at the same time England had expanded its colonial empire, 15th century wealth has nothing to do with the present times.

The fact is that 15th century Poland had been one of the wealthiest Kingdoms of the world, and all that without Spanish or rather American gold mines!

Ah! Back then wealth was distributed more evenly in Poland!
jonni 16 | 2,485
6 Mar 2011 #21
environment surviving to this day had been build in the late XVIII and XIX centuries.

Not where I am now.

During this time Poland had been colonised and at the same time England had expanded its colonial empire,

During the renaissance?

15th century wealth has nothing to do with the present times.

Check the thread title.

Ah! Back then wealth was distributed more evenly in Poland

Yet only the castles, churches and a few isolated buildings survive.
Ironside 49 | 10,459
7 Mar 2011 #22
During the renaissance?

gee, 18th and 19th century !

Check the thread title.

Well, during that time Poland was filthy rich, look so called old towns in biggest town, the Renaissance huge influence on them (good example Poznan).

Yet only the castles, churches and a few isolated buildings survive.

Did you check in Lwów, Wilno, and lots of smaller places - direction east!
Not to forget Zamosc :

Secondly, yes Poland is no an island, and WWI and WWII done its deeds, not to mention a few wars like war with Sweden 1655-1660 when most of the kingdom's building's and towns were practically annihilated! Before was civil war with Cozaks bastards rebels, and so on ....

I'm surprised that you are surprised, maybe you read without comprehension what it all meant in practical terms!
jonni 16 | 2,485
7 Mar 2011 #23
gee, 18th and 19th century !

The renaissance! Somewhat earlier.

old towns in biggest town

What about the rest?

Not to forget Zamosc

I mentioned it in my first post, and twice since. Do you want me to tattoo a picture of it on my arse?

he Renaissance huge influence on them (good example Poznan).

That's exactly my point, and I'm pleased you agree. That troll David18 however seems determined to prove that all the great events of the renaissance (largely Italian) were done in Poland.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
7 Mar 2011 #24
No wonder they are confused: there was not such a thing as an English Renaissance, they went from Middle ages strait to modernity.

rubbish.

During this time Poland had been colonised and at the same time England had expanded its colonial empire, 15th century wealth has nothing to do with the present times.

sorry,could you clarify exactly what colonies england was supposed to have in the 15th century? I dont think Calais really counts as much of an empire does it...

Polands buildings do seem to follow more closely the traditional Italianate style than in western europe,but again,thats down to the difference between the southern and northern renaissance. EG,the Waval could frankly be anywhere in Italy and not stand out....helped I suppose by being designed by an Italian :)
Ironside 49 | 10,459
7 Mar 2011 #25
jonni

The renaissance! Somewhat earlier.

Sure, to avoid mesh-mash, read again my posts - I know that renaissance was earlier !

What about the rest?

Some palaces, churches and few building - the rest is a silence, I'm afraid - destroyed and crumbled into a misty fairy land stories !

I mentioned it in my first post, and twice since. Do you want me to tattoo a picture of it on my arse?

Would do it?
jonni 16 | 2,485
7 Mar 2011 #26
Some palaces, churches and few building - the rest is a silence, I'm afraid - destroyed and crumbled into a misty fairy land stories !

Hmm. I'd like to know more about that... One issue is that Poland has dry weather and hardwood forests, so it has always been viable to build in wood. England has wet weather and softwood forests so it was always a good idea to build with brick or stone, which can't be burnt by an invader and never rots.

Would do it?

No! I can't stand tattoos!
Ironside 49 | 10,459
7 Mar 2011 #27
sorry,could you clarify exactly what colonies england was supposed to have in the 15th century?

Sure, sorry its may fault!
It was my answer to jonni :

Since in 'western' Europe income and assets were distributed rather more evenly. The built enviromnemt surviving to this day demonstrates that. Poland in that period had a tiny fraction of the cultural achievements of, say, Italy or the UK.

Wrong assumption, because environment surviving to this day had been build in the late XVIII and XIX centuries.

That was my answer! Then I added :

During this time Poland had been colonised and at the same time England had expanded its colonial empire

Should be one sentence really!
Then I said :

The 15th century wealth has nothing to do with the present times.

Separate sentence, to stress my point. The rest as follows in said post.
I hope it is clear now? Sorry, while I was typing said post, my wife was nagging.:)

One issue is that Poland has dry weather and hardwood forests, so it has always been viable to build in wood.

To some extend that is true, I suppose smaller towns, could have been build in wood!
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
7 Mar 2011 #28
back to Poland eh Jonni,lets not thread Hijack....
I think one huge advantage of being on the catholic side of the renaissane is definatly the interior of your churches. My local church is 13th century and looks gorgeous from the outside,inside though it is whitewashed,all the wonderfull art and colour totally destroyed in the 17th C (incidently,at the same time as the roof was striped bare for Cromwells musket balls...)

To some extend that is true, I suppose smaller towns, could have been build in wood!

generally though were not Polish "manor houses" also often built of wood? Ok,hands up,one of my sources for this is Pan tadeusz ...... but I seem to recall wood was never seen as a "second rate" material or a sign of a lack of wealth.
jonni 16 | 2,485
7 Mar 2011 #29
o some extend that is true, I suppose smaller towns, could have been build in wood!

Very much so. And unlike any renaissance survivors which are heavily protected and often rebuilt, a lot of the old wooden houses are neglected, especially in Mazowsze. I'd like to see them heavily protected - they are characteristic of Poland, beautiful, and under threat from people wanting shiny new bungalows.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
7 Mar 2011 #30
There are a few reconstructed villages and manor houses though arnt there?
These cant replace the lost glory but they help to give us an idea.


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