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Poland and every aspect..... Please help me learn and understand the realities?


OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #61
Harry,do you feel that Poland didn't do enough to help the Jews during WW2?
Harry
19 Sep 2012 #62
Hard to say, given that Poland didn't really exist during WWII. Some Poles most certainly did far more than any of us would do to help Jews during WWII. Poles as a whole could certainly have done more to help Jews (both Polish and non-Polish Jews) but they also could have done much less to help. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't say that Poland didn't do enough.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #63
Harry,so who is considered more credible in Poland,Gross or Davies?
Harry
19 Sep 2012 #64
By the general public, most certainly Davies. By historians, most probably Gross. Davies is a something of a 'pop-histo' type and plays to the crowd a bit.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #65
Harry,do you know of any other Historians that are considered an authority on Polish History?
delphiandomine 85 | 18,254
19 Sep 2012 #66
Timothy Garton-Ash is very credible - he wrote a fantastic book on Solidarity that's well worth reading if you're interested in modern history.

but in Poland some resistance groups saw it as their duty to hunt down and murder Jews.

Which makes the amount of crying over the UPA so strange - if they had defended their own in modern day Ukraine rather than spending their time hunting down Jews, perhaps they would've saved some lives.

Davies is a something of a 'pop-histo' type and plays to the crowd a bit.

His book on Wroclaw is very much that, unfortunately.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #67
Delphiandomine,thank you for the suggestion.
Harry
19 Sep 2012 #68
Timothy Garton-Ash is very credible - he wrote a fantastic book on Solidarity that's well worth reading if you're interested in modern history.

+1 for Timothy Garton-Ash.

Martin Gilbert is also very good. Timothy Snyder likewise. Christopher R Browning is must read. Laurence Rees is pretty good.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #69
Harry,are they all good in regards to the early Piast era?
Harry
19 Sep 2012 #70
Nope, they're rubbish for that!
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #71
Harry,is there any one who is?I read the source provided by boletus and it was pretty informative,but it seems to me there was a lot they had to surmise.
boletus 30 | 1,366
19 Sep 2012 #72
I read the source provided by boletus and it was pretty informative,but it seems to me there was a lot they had to surmise.

There are some, yes. But if you want to go one step above this concise history try wikipedia's History of Poland during Piast dynasty. Armed with you synthetic knowledge you already have you will find a bit more details and - first of all - maps. The style is of course very boring. :-)
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #73
Thank you boletus.I had started to read that before and then got sidetracked.Do you agree that Casimir lll had the greatest impact on Poland after Mieszko during the early era.
boletus 30 | 1,366
19 Sep 2012 #74
Do you agree that Casimir lll had the greatest impact on Poland after Mieszko during the early era.

We all do. He is not called Great for nothing:-)
What a relief to get something united after so many years of fragmentation. However he lost Silesia and West Pomerania forever. And he watched the Teutonic Knights becoming stronger and stronger. But kids are taught in schools that he "zastał Polskę drewnianą, zostawił murowaną" - He found Poland made of wood, and he left her made of brick.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #75
boletus,that's a good way to equate it.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,228
19 Sep 2012 #76
P3, why this vivid interest of yours in the history of Poland under the Piasts? Are you perhaps a descendant of the dynasty? :-)

A fascinating story is told in the Wikipedia on Ostrów Lednicki, an island on Lake Lednica between Gniezno and Poznań. Its castle is thought to be the home of the first kings of the Piast dynasty. Unfortunately, the entire article is in Polish, with an English version comprising only four sentences. An animated documentary film about the ancient Ostrów Lednicki will be shown on TVP Historia channel on Friday.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
19 Sep 2012 #77
Harry:
Davies is a something of a 'pop-histo' type and plays to the crowd a bit.

His book on Wroclaw is very much that, unfortunately.

Actually, this is the one book written by him which I enjoyed. Perhaps because he did not write it alone?
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
19 Sep 2012 #78
Ziemowit,I want to learn the history of Poland and this entails every period.For now I'm focused on the early History and being that the Piast dynasty was instrumental in shaping Poland......Thank you for the suggestions.

boletus,what would you recommend for the next chapter in Polish history?

Is there anyone who can make some suggestions or provide some information on the next phase of Polish History after the early Piast era?
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 Sep 2012 #79
boletus,what would you recommend for the next chapter in Polish history?

The obvious and natural step is to read about Jagiellonians - a dynasty that originated in Lithuania and which ruled Poland and Lithuania from 1386 to 1572 in the form of personal dynastic union between the two countries. The union was strengthen and refined by various specific unions in years 1385, 1401, 1432-1434, 1499, 1501. That period predated the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania, which was established in 1576 by the Union of Lublin.

Members of the Jagiellonian dynasty were Grand Dukes of Lithuania (1377-1392 and 1440-1572), Kings of Poland (1386-1572), Kings of Hungary (1440-1444 and 1490-1526), and Kings of Bohemia (1471-1526).

There are many good history books that treat Jagiellonian period quite extensively - including Norman Davies books (I don't care for Harry's biased opinions; those are actually good books), Zamoyski's, or £ukowski's concise history. However, I cannot recommend anything concise enough, which is available online, other than various wikipedia articles. But you may want to start with this article, which describes the international exhibition (Czech Republic, Germany, Poland) celebrating the Jagiellonian Dynasty:

Europa Jagiellonica, Art and Culture in Central Europe under the Reign of the Jagiellonian Dynasty 1386-1572
uni-leipzig.de/~gwzo/images/GWZO_images/Verschiedenes/AJAG_eng.pdf
Ziemowit 13 | 4,228
21 Sep 2012 #80
Is there anyone who can make some suggestions or provide some information on the next phase of Polish History after the early Piast era?

P3, before you move on to the Jagiellonian era, you should perhaps present an account of what you've really learnt about the early Piast era. Then, even before considering the Jagiellonians, you should consider - or, in fact, people who advise you should consider - that the early Piast era neither comprises the middle Piast era nor does it comprise the late Piast era.
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 Sep 2012 #81
or, in fact, people who advise you should consider - that the early Piast era neither comprises the middle Piast era nor does it comprise the late Piast era.

If this is the reference to myself then my answer is that p3undone evidently read about Casimir the Great, the last of Poland's Piasts - as it is evidenced by his questions. Are you referring to Silesian Piasts or Pomeranian Piasts by any chance? Those are nice subjects by themselves, but they are outside a cursory look at the history of Poland.

Something eating you, Ziemowit? I will gladly let you take a lead in tutoring. :-)
Ziemowit 13 | 4,228
21 Sep 2012 #82
my answer is that p3undone evidently read about Casimir the Great, the last of Poland's Piasts - as it is evidenced by his questions.

That is true, indeed. But then P3 didn't properly grasp the idea of what the early Piast era was. That's why I told him to write an account of what he knows about the Piasts as he evidently counts Casimir III among the early Piasts, while the king was in fact the last Piast on the throne of Poland. By the way,

He is not called Great for nothing:-) What a relief to get something united after so many years of fragmentation.

Casimir the Great was not the one who united the kingdom. The one who did it was his father, nonetheless Casimir expanded the kingdom considerably.

But even so, I insist that the middle Piast era is still missing in the process of tutoring P3.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
21 Sep 2012 #83
Ziemowit,I should have said Piast era I was actually combining early meaning early history and Piast in the same phrase,as Casimir lll was the last Piast ruler.I am going to do some more extensive reading on it.I am finding out that there is a lot they don't know about this era.Such as What Meiszko's name meant and his reasons for Joining the Church.They don't know where his baptism took place.Was it because they didn't really keep records then?Not that it's really important,but I'm just curios.
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 Sep 2012 #84
Was it because they didn't really keep records then?Not that it's really important,but I'm just curios.

The oldest historical documents are those of Gallus Anonymus chronicle (1112-1118) and Wincenty Kadłubek chronicle (around 1190-1208), written way after the reign of early Piasts. They both include the mythological stories about ancestors of Mieszko I.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
21 Sep 2012 #85
boletus,I am just curios as to why it wasn't chronicled until so much later.It seems to me that Roman history was more extensively recorded.
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 Sep 2012 #86
This is a good good question, but partially easy to answer. Before 966, the land of Polans was of no interest to Romans, as it did not lie at that time on any major trade route. Nothing could be recorded in Poland before 966, until the first clergy arived, with ability to read and write - obviously in Latin. Earlier sources are only of the foreign origin, such a chronicle of Ibrahim ibn Jakub (Ibrâhîm ibn Ya`qûb) (961-962), who visited Poland during Mieszko I reign.

The further explanation is taken from a paper in Polish The origin of Poland in a new light by Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Jasiński, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza, Instytut Historii, Poznań .

First fuller mentions of tribes from or near Poland come from "Bavarian Geographer", a 9th c. source from monastery of St. Emmeram in Regensburg (Czech Řezno, Polish Ratyzbona), Bawaria. It lists tribes, including number of strongholds or regions. Some of such names are very readable and recognizable:

18 - Goplanie (Kuiavian region), 33 - Lędzianie (East of Lesser Poland), 48 - Wiślanie (Lessar Poland) , 49 - Ślężanie (Wrocław region), 51 - Dziadoszanie (near Głogów); 57 - Opolanie and 58 - Gołęszycy (near Racibórz).

But that list does not mention Polanie, which have puzzled the historians for decades. The answer apparently was found recently, with the help of natural sciences.

The oldest mention about Mieszko I was written about year 1000, by a Saxon chronicler Widukind from bendictine monastery Corvey near Höxter. It mentions battles between Mieszko I and graf Wichman in year 963.

Gero returned Wichman back to the barbarians, from where he got him. He, being welcomed by them, destroyed the barbarians living further away during his many attacks. He defeated Prince Mieszko, a ruler of Slavs who call themselves Licicaviki, two times, killed his brother and snatched from him a great booty.

More information about beginning of Poland comes from dendrochronology.
[Example: Now we know for sure that most of the trees used to built Biskupin stronghold were cut down between 738 and 737 BC. This has nothing to do with the beginning of Poland; it just illustrates accuracy of the method]

Based on 1999 explorations we now know that most of the strongholds in Greater Poland are younger than previously thought. Gniezno stronghold was built in 940 (not in 800s), so it is younger than Mieszko I himself, probably born in 935.

Today we know that the beginnings of Giecz, Moraczewo and probably Poznań are dated at around 850s. Several strongholds were being erected around Gniezno Uplands, incrementally so to speak: A powerfull stronghold in Grzybów about 915-922 (many times improved upon and expaned after that), a stronghold at Ląd just after 926, and at Bnin - before 934. That was an evolutional process.

Situation changed in between 930-940. New strongholds were built in 940 in Bnin, Giecz, Ląd. In 939-942 Grzybów was expanded for the last time. The second stronghold in Poznań was very probably built in about 940.

So five new strongholds were built in 940, protected from north, west and south by the rivers Noteć, Wełna and Warta. All oak trees were cut down from the Gniezno Upland. The hypothesis is that the reason for building so many strongholds in such a short time must have been caused by a sense of a great danger. What kind of danger? In 940, German King Otto I crushed the great uprising of the Elbe Slavs. They mutinied in 936, in aliance with Czechs, at the time of intronisation of Otto I.

That felt like a great danger: "we could be next", but not only coming from Saxony but also from Bohemia. This is why Mieszko decided to join the Christianity: to neutralize both and to knock out the argument of necessity to convert Polish pagans by sword. But before he did so Mieszko I expanded enough to assure safe border for his new kingdom.

The dendrochronology proves that incorporation of south and south-west Great Poland, as well Sieradz and £ęczyca - and probably Kuiawy, Mazovia and Gdansk Pomerania - was done in 950s. In addition, new strongholds were built, which replaced the old ones, destroyed during previous wars.

When Poland was first mentioned in 960s in first written documents Mieszko I fought with Welets and their allies Wolinians.


  • Poland about 940
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
21 Sep 2012 #87
I found this in my files for what it's worth:

The oldest surviving record of early Poland was penned by Ibrahim ibn Jakub, a Sephardic Jew in the diplomatic service of the Muslim Caliphate of Cordoba (Spain). He visited the Poland of Mieszko I in the 10th century and wrote: ‘The land of Mesko (Mieszko) is the most expansive of the Slavic countries. It abounds in food, meat, honey and arable land. The taxes Mesko collects go to pay his army. He has got 3,000 armored warriors whom he supplies with clothing, horses, arms and everything they need.. When one of them father a son, the offspring receives army pay from the moment of birth. When he grows up, he (Mieszko) marries him off and gives the girl’s father a wedding gift.
OP p3undone 8 | 1,135
21 Sep 2012 #88
Boletus thank you for the info and links.I would have thought the upper class such as Mieszko and the other Dukes etc. would have been literate.I also figured he would have had court scribes as well.I understand that the mentioned factors give credence to the theories.I wonder if a good deal of records had been lost.I should continue to read and keep the focus on that objective though.Polonius3,Thank you as well for the info.

boletus,Google translate won't translate that first link into English..
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 Sep 2012 #89
boletus,Google translate won't translate that first link into English..

Are you talking about Chrome browser? I think it offers to translate entire pages only if they are formatted as HTML. The source I sent you is in PDF format. But since it is searchable; that is, it not just an image of a text, you can still translate it, fragment by fragment, by pasting them to the box translate.google.com.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
21 Sep 2012 #90
I believe Mieszko was above all a warrior prince who probably did without such niceties as court scribes. Before accepting Christianity , the various Lechitic tribes were regarded by Christian nations as barbarians. The time difference between when Poland and other countries adotped Chrstianity was a sgnificant determinant of prevailing practices and norms. Poland in its turn Christianised Lithuania a couple centuries later.


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