The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 88

Do Polish names generally have a meaning to them or a particular structure?.


Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #31
Norman Davies describes the situation rather well.

Yes, he did, but you still don't get it...



In "God's Playground" he is using "nobility" as an exact word to describe szlachta. If you read his book as you claim, we shouldn't disscuss this.

to describe them as nobility implies that there was a sense of nobless oblige, a noble code governing behaviour and a socio-economic distinction between themselves and those around them.

Exactly, Polish szlachta had that.
Normally I'm not using wikipedia as a source of information, but since you possess such a vast knowledge of the subject...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Szlachta
jon357 66 | 16,190
13 Apr 2012 #32
In "God's Playground" he is using "nobility" as an exact word to describe szlachta.

I wasn't thinking of 'God's Playground' - but herein is the problem. 'Nobility' is an English word, not a Polish word. It implies noble behaviour and certain responsibilities. So does it's French cognate. Being szlachta had much more to do with Freedom than responsibility - as one poster said 'Golden Freedon'. This is why Freemen is a much better English translation.

wikipedia

Beware of any wikipedia entry (even English language ones) about Poland - they are written or edited by a group called the Polish Wikipedia Committee (I know several) with the specific purpose of promoting a Polonocentric point of view.
p3undone 8 | 1,135
13 Apr 2012 #33
I completely agree with you about British influence Ishatu2.As for snobbery I'm sure the ratio for those who are as opposed to
those who are not;is probably close to the same in Poland.
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #34
'Nobility' is an English word

which comes from Latin and means a famous person. In later times a person of high social position in society. That is why Davis used it to describe such social group in Poland, France, etc. He didn't mean that in every element they were the same as British nobility. The common platform was a high social standing in their respective societies.

Being szlachta had much more to do with Freedom than responsibility

You are wrong. This is a part of a myth that is about 300 years old.
I can see that old stereotype is still thriving in West countries ;) I repeat: the stereotype. Let me give an example: in the first volume of French encyclopedia under the letter "A", the longest article was about "anarchy" and almost whole was about Poland. As if anarchy was a distinctively Polish "thing". It's not all. For example, the Liberum veto was not so stupid, as some believe. The usage of this legal mean since the mid-seventeenth century, especially in the eighteenth century, was of course detrimental to Poland. But the very notion of Liberum veto had a lot of sense and it worked well till second half of XVII c.

Beware of any wikipedia entry

I'm quite aware of that,

Normally I'm not using wikipedia as a source of information

But I'm not using this, not because of your conspiration theory, but simply because most of the articles there were written by morons to morons.
jon357 66 | 16,190
13 Apr 2012 #35
which comes from Latin and means a famous person. In later times a person of high social position in society

Indeed. In English (as in French) it implies responsibility. The British nobility had a responsibility to provide soldiers and to exercise the law in manorial courts.

He didn't mean that in every element they were the same as British nobility. The common platform was a high social standing in their respective societies.

You are right - they weren't the same. But can you say the Polish Freemen always had a high social standing? They certainly had a right to vote, however more that a fraction of them turning up to the Election Field would have been a logistical impossibility.

in the first volume of French encyclopedia under the letter "A", the longest article was about "anarchy" and almost whole was about Poland. As if anarchy was a distinctively Polish "thing". It's not all

It was however a unique system of government, whether good or bad. Unfortunately as with all forms of anarchy, the powerful (i.e. the true nobility) flourished at the expense of others.

the Liberum veto was not so stupid, as some believe. The usage of this legal mean since the mid-seventeenth century, especially in the eighteenth century, was of course detrimental to Poland. But the very notion of Liberum veto had a lot of sense and it worked well till second half of XVII c.

I'd certainly agrree with that, though as time went on it became less of a benefit and more of a problem.

But I'm not using this, not because of your conspiration theory, but simply because most of the articles there were written by morons to morons.

It isn't a conspiracy theory - the Polish Wikipedia Committee is a transparent organisation, registered at the KRS, acknowledged by the Wikipedia Foundation and transparent in their aims and membership - though I agree with your second point about wikipedia ;-)
boletus 30 | 1,366
13 Apr 2012 #36
a group called the Polish Wikipedia Committee (I know several) with the specific purpose of promoting a Polonocentric point of view.

Have faith. According to "Polish Wikipedia and Wikipedists", an article in the latest Polityka:

There is something called "Wikimedia Poland Association" (Stowarzyszenie Wikimedia Polska, SWP), an association of authors of the online encyclopedia. -We have no central committee, says Tomasz Ganicz, one of the pioneers of the movement, today the chairman of SWP.

polityka.pl/nauka/komputeryiinternet/1525645,1,polska-wikipedia-i-wikipedysci.read

Few other names are mentioned here:
MD Krzysztof Jasiutowicz, a co-initiator of Polish version of Wikipedia,
Paweł Jochym, Ph.D. hab., a physicist, a co-initiator of Polish version of Wikipedia.

I would not suspect any of those people of falsifying data. But there are about 2000-3000 co-creators, 500-600 of them very active. And there are also robots carrying mundane task of searching databases for some facts. [No wonder that Polish Wikipedia has such a detailed info on every village in Poland - very useful in genealogical searches].

Nevertheless, Polish Wikipedia gets the "bad rap" - unjustifiably according to those interviewed for Polityka. Polish institutions (academic, public, etc.) keep their archives closed for outsiders, such as Wikipedia. In contrary, German Wikipedia is considered the best quality just because its cooperation with universities, musea, etc.
jon357 66 | 16,190
13 Apr 2012 #37
I would not suspect any of those people of falsifying data

Definitely not - they are respectable. Nevertheless, many of the contributors really, really want to present a particular point of view. Some of the discussions there make the ones here look positively genteel.
OP Chleb 1 | 25
13 Apr 2012 #38
Are you lot still blabbing on? lol
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #39
We are providing social context to your book free of charge. Isn't that great!:D

In English (as in French) it implies responsibility. The British nobility had a responsibility to provide soldiers and to exercise the law in manorial courts.

The same responsibility had Polish szlachta. The pretext on which their privileges were based was obligation to provide unpaid military service (pospolite ruszenie). They constitued the lower and higher chamber of Parliament (Izba Poselska, Senat). They had the juridicial power over rest of society. They (and in most cases only they) held the state offices. What's your point in degrading them?

But can you say the Polish Freemen always had a high social standing?

Yes, always. Regardles of his wealth he was always a noble, a part of the high social class, with the same responsibilities, rights and privileges as the most afluent noble in Poland.

Don't come up with superficial definitions that have no relation to reality. Szlachta was nobility in Poland.

Unfortunately as with all forms of anarchy, the powerful (i.e. the true nobility) flourished at the expense of others.

For your information, the political system of I RP was Noble Democracy, not Anarchy. My point about stereotypes went straight over your head...

If you don't trust wikipedia, then read some books on the subject. Carlyle had no idea; Davies would be fine. I recommend God's Playground.
pip 10 | 1,661
13 Apr 2012 #40
Nowak, Nowakowski/ska, Kowalski/ska, Kucharski/ska --something ending in ski or ska. First names- Marta, Beata, Zuzanna, Anna, Karolina, Joanna.
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
13 Apr 2012 #41
I can propose more suitable one - by comparing status of the Polish nobles to that of the Roman citizen.

That seems to sum up my understanding of things. You could be a citizen who owned a tavern or a citizen in the senate,fair point,the majority in rome as in Poland had none of the rights of citizens where as in other feudal sociaties rights were extended further sooner. Again ironsides,this isnt a pissing contest to see who had the best or worst bunch of feudal wan kers lording it over people a few hundred years ago :)

It's an interesting thread though. I remember for instance a girl here in UK called 'Balinska' and she did go on about about how her dad had been a 'Count' in Poland

Lols, a friend of mine was the same,always harking on about her families old land. I eventually saw some old photos, bless. I mean, the place was pretty and quaint,plenty of "rustic charm",but not exactly what Id built up in my mind from her stories :)

As a child my family took holidays in Spain in their place (the days when you could buy a place for a couple of grand,not showing off here lol) and a neighbour was a lovelly old Polish Count called Maximilian, so down to earth but,even as a small child I could tell he was from a different breed to most people. Not snobby,just very elegant in an old fashioned ,manly way .

I hope he lived long enough to see Poland free again.

It must be borne in mind that those who claim to be descended from nobility or whatever don't really have anything to be proud of, just that they had an ancestor who was the King's bumboy.(or something)

Exactly what I said to my mate Bob Gaveston ;)
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #42
Polish Count called Maximilian

The Polish idea of nobility was that every noble is equal and he can't use titles other than titles of their state or military office/function. Those wo are using such titles bought them from other monarchies in XVIII c. or obtained them in XIX c. when the Prussian, Russian and Austrian idea of nobility was imposed.

There were some instances of buying titles befor XVIII but they were limited to the richest nobles and their titles had no meaning in IRP anyway.

Chleb
If you want a noble in your book, go for -ska/ski ending of surname. However you must remember that not every noble had a ski/ska ended surname, and not everybody who had ski/ska were noble.
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
13 Apr 2012 #43
Er, whatever, he was a nice bloke,and definatly not a fake or wannabe :)
TBH, Im going back nearly 30 years here but as far as I remember he himself never called himself a Count, it was more other people would say ," Oh yes,he was a Count or some such back in Poland " .
boletus 30 | 1,366
13 Apr 2012 #44
Guess who said this in a letter to his uncle Józef (my translation):
"It does not seem to me that I am unfaithful to my country just because I have proved to the British that a gentleman from Ukraine (originally: szlachcic z Ukrainy) can be as good a sailor as they are, and has something to say to them in their own language."
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #45
Józef Korzeniowski; but what about it?
boletus 30 | 1,366
13 Apr 2012 #46
Someone here tried to make the connection between nobility, their material health, ability to serve the country in military capacity, etc. In 1860s his fatherland did not exist and JK was practically penniless after his parents were sent to Siberia and not much better off after his father returned and then died two years later. From then on he was actually a blue collar working man - yet he still considered himself "szlachcic", as the quoted fragment demonstrated. Still proud of his family past - that's the point.
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #47
that's the point.

Then it is a good point :D
For fellow non-polish PF members Józef Korzeniowski = Joseph Conrad.
jon357 66 | 16,190
13 Apr 2012 #48
That seems to sum up my understanding of things. You could be a citizen who owned a tavern or a citizen in the senate,fair point,the majority in rome as in Poland had none of the rights of citizens where as in other feudal sociaties rights were extended further sooner.

I agree - this seems to be a pretty good explanation. One other (that was told to me a few years ago, by a Polish academic, was that the szlachta were those who considered themselves to be Polish. The peasantry didn't have that same identity - their sphere of experience was more regional.

For fellow non-polish PF members Józef Korzeniowski = Joseph Conrad.

I suspect most people know that, but thanks for mentioning it. He took the equality thing to an extreme - refusing a knighthood around the time that the Polish state was re-established for that very reason.

For your information, the political system of I RP was Noble Democracy, not Anarchy. My point about stereotypes went straight over your head...

What on paper is called a democracy is all to often something quite different in reality - the 1st Republic is a prima facie example of this.
Alligator - | 261
13 Apr 2012 #49
the 1st Republic is a prima facie example of this.

By saying that IRP was an example of that, you can't possibly mean three centuries of IRP?
I'm not saying that Noble Democracy didn't deteriorate in the last years before it was attacked by Russia, Prussia and Austria, but saying that the system of a country for three hundred years was an Anarchy is a bit too much...
jon357 66 | 16,190
13 Apr 2012 #50
By saying that IRP was an example of that, you can't possibly mean three centuries of IRP?

Of course not - it worked (if not perfectly) reasonably well for much of its life - the problems came in the last few decades when it effectively ceased to function as a viable regime.
Ironside 50 | 10,814
14 Apr 2012 #51
What on paper is called a democracy is all to often something quite different in reality -

There are and were different devices and shapes of democracy.

One other (that was told to me a few years ago, by a Polish academic, was that the szlachta were those who considered themselves to be Polish. The peasantry didn't have that same identity - their sphere of experience was more regional.

That would be only byproduct of social and political system and generally speaking not a rule.
jon357 66 | 16,190
14 Apr 2012 #52
There are and were different devices and shapes of democracy.

Yes. And few have ever been what they were on paper.

That would be only byproduct of social and political system and generally speaking not a rule.

No. The reverse is true. That is the very foundation of that system. Poland is not unique in that respect.
Ironside 50 | 10,814
14 Apr 2012 #53
No. The reverse is true. That is the very foundation of that system. Poland is not unique in that respect.

I mean that not all nobles considered themselves Poles. However most did.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Apr 2012 #54
'Nobility' is an English word, not a Polish word.

Actually, it is derived from Latin/French.

Being szlachta had much more to do with Freedom than responsibility - as one poster said 'Golden Freedon'.

You misconceive the relationship, in the Polish context, between freedoms and responsibilities. The szlachta, per se, did not seek to hamstring the imposition of responsibilites purely by virtue of the fact that they wished more 'freedom'. The freedom aspect to Constitutional policy during the Cth. had more to do with limiting absolutist, arbitrary and despotic rule of a king. They saw and foreshadowed what would happen to the Cth (as happened in England) if they allowed themselves (like the Brits) to be taken over by "Royalty". It was the Freedom to have a voice and a guiding hand in how you were governed. Sometimes the partnership worked well (Bathory), other times it didn't (Wettin).

The paramount responsibility of the szlachta (or nobility) was that of protecting Poland, or Pospolite Ruszenie, the levee en masse. Freedom and responsibility were not mutually exclusive mind you - for example; in the C15, certain 'privileges' were agreed upon for the szlachta, and given by the King, one of which was the obligation of Pospolite Ruszenie being limited to actions inside Poland. Thus, the szlachta sought to limit the King's ability to issue the call to arms and prevent involvement in the disputes of other countries.

This is why Freemen is a much better English translation.

Sorry, but it's not - a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid. It would be like saying that a frog has skin, and because humans have skin, we must be frogs too.

But can you say the Polish Freemen always had a high social standing?

You ought to be disabused of your misconception. Whether you like it or not, szlachta were nobles. Sorry, but you can't change that. I would suggest a perusal of Lukowski's "Liberty's Folly". It is in depth, though elementary, and you will find it easy to understand. Relying on Carlyle will not allow an understanding of the nuances of Polish nobility and Constitutional Law.

Unfortunately as with all forms of anarchy, the powerful (i.e. the true nobility) flourished at the expense of others

You again misconceive and misrepresent the legal/constitutional concept of unanimity with anarchy. Please refrain from sniping and being disingenuous.

For example, the Liberum veto was not so stupid, as some believe.

Exactly (it's good to see someone who seems to understand it). The Liberum Veto was the purest form of democracy (I acknowledge its applicability to the szlachta however). It was not an object to which failings could be ascribed. The only failing of the Polish body politic was not legislating contingency protocols for what was to happen if the Liberum Veto was enacted, and such enaction hamstrung the passing of other legislation.

To blame the Liberum Veto as some sort of vehicle for 'anarchy' is simply wrong because it is illogical, when you really sit down and think about it.

For your information, the political system of I RP was Noble Democracy,

Indeed it was. At the time, it was a stupendous victory for unanimity and consent over unilateral, arbitrary despotism.
jon357 66 | 16,190
16 Apr 2012 #55
Actually, it is derived from Latin/French.

As is English in part.

szlachta were nobles.

No. They were without the structure and the responsibility that go with nobility, and their rights and responsibilities were analogous to Freemen in England. Whether they were or were not descended from nobility, by the Eighteenth Century socio-economically only a portion of them could aspire to gentility, much less nobility. If a genuine nobility emerged, it was no comprised no more than a fraction of the Freemen.

he only failing of the Polish body politic was not legislating contingency protocols for what was to happen if the Liberum Veto was enacted, and such enaction hamstrung the passing of other legislation.

An understatement to say the least.

At the time, it was a stupendous victory

History proves that statement to be very, very wrong. Unless you're suggesting it was so victorious it was just too good to survive!
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Apr 2012 #56
They were without the structure and the responsibility that go with nobility,

They were nobility - res ipsa loquitur.

They also had structure and responsibilities, though these principles/concepts, or lack thereof, do not necessarily serve as the litmus test for what is or isn't noble. Whilst at all times the Polish nobility may not have enjoyed 'gentility' or 'wealth' commensurate to each other, they were, legally, all the same at all times, that is, nobility with equal legal rights. Just because they were politically and legally active does not mean that such interests were contra-indicators to their statuus as nobles.

An understatement to say the least.

Why an understatement? If you distill it, isn't that the only failing?

History proves that statement to be very, very wrong.

Be wary of presentism and hindsight.

Unless you're suggesting it was so victorious it was just too good to survive!

I don't catch your drift.
jon357 66 | 16,190
16 Apr 2012 #57
They were nobility - res ipsa loquitur.

They also had structure and responsibilities, though these principles/concepts, or lack thereof, do not necessarily serve as the litmus test for what is or isn't noble

No - the litmus test if anything is socioeconomic. Distressed gentlefolk are not nobility, and most of the Freemen were not even that.

equal legal rights

As have Freemen.

politically and legally active

To get more than a fraction of them to the Election Field would have been a logistical impossibility, so it is disingenuous in the least to describe more than a tiny number as politically or legally active.

Be wary of presentism and hindsight.

Hindsight is all we have - and the First Republic ended in disaster.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Apr 2012 #58
No - the litmus test if anything is socioeconomic.

I'm sorry, but it's not. Socio-economic standing is a corrollary to the practical trappings of nobility, not the definitive test. I'm sure that in England (and indeed elsewhere), there are nobles who live in penury. This doesn't make them any less noble.

The szlachta (noble) status of the szlachta was enshrined in legislation, documented and carried forward organically (somewhat) through tradition. It is up to you to prove they were/are not nobles, and no, this is not a Russell's teapot type request.

Again, just because you say it is, doesn't make it so, and indeed, you are stepping into the realms of petition principii.

As have Freemen

Fallacy of composition.

To get more than a fraction of them to the Election Field would have been a logistical impossibility,

You're clutching at straws. What was the role of dietine deputies?

Hindsight is all we have - and the First Republic ended in disaster.

It is fallacious to try to prove an argument as to the quality or otherwise of the subject based on hindsight. Be wary too of the fallacy of circular cause and consequence, vis a vis your reference to anarchy
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
16 Apr 2012 #59
nobility with equal legal rights

All the Rights,none of the responsibilities,so,no,not Nobles just people who may or may not at one time have had a rich ancestor.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
16 Apr 2012 #60
No. They were without the structure and the responsibility that go with nobility

The szlachta were a republican nobility in structure and they had the responsibility of defending their republic.

and their rights and responsibilities were analogous to Freemen in England

They had far more rights then English Freeman, such as the right to elect their king. The Polish nobility had a military responsibility to defend Poland. Pretending they needed other responsibilities to be noblemen is just stupid. They were freer than most other nations’ noblemen because they were not caught in a constricting web of feudal fealty. Freedom and nobility go hand in hand. The Polish nobles were nobler than the nobility of most other nations because the Polish nobles had less responsibility. Jon537 just can't understand Poland on her own terms he has to apply ill-fitting British concepts to her and thus he fails.

by the Eighteenth Century socio-economically only a portion of them could aspire to gentility, much less nobility.

Socially, as has been explained to jon756 numerous times, all of the szlachta were of equal rank. Polish nobles didn't need to be wealthy to be gentlemen or nobles. They were gentlemen and nobles regardless of their wealth or lack thereof. Read the memoirs of Jan Pasek he was not wealthy but his speech, his attitude, and his pride were all that of a genuine republican nobleman. This insistence on pecuniary status is, I suppose, to be expected from someone hailing from the "nation of shopkeepers". Explaining the splendid Polish republican nobility to such stunted folk is like trying to make someone whose feeble withered limb does naught but shift beads on an abacus, in a smelly counting house, understand what it is like to have a strong right arm, which wields a saber, outdoors in the fresh air, upon the field of honor.

If a genuine nobility emerged, it was no comprised no more than a fraction of the Freemen.

Hahahaha! "it was no comprised no" It seems that jon572's insistence on saying "no" is some sort of fetish that takes precedence over his writing intelligibly.


Home / Life / Do Polish names generally have a meaning to them or a particular structure?.
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.