THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF RYSZARD KIERSNOWSKI
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Professor Ryszard Kiersnowski was born in Vilnius (today the Republic of Lithuania) on the 4th January 1926. During World War II he fought the occupants as a soldier of Polish Resistance Army (Armia Krajowa). In 1945 he was repatriated to Cracow, where he studied history at the Jagiellonian University and became a Doctor of Philosophy in 1951. In Warsaw (since 1949) he worked in the Ministry of Culture and Arts, later, from 1953, in the Institute of History of Polish Academy of Science. His activity was very extensive. He lectured on numismatics at Warsaw University, for many years he was the editor of 'Wiadomosci Numizmatyczne' and the VicePresident of the International Numismatic Commission. But the main aspect of his work was scientific research, which he conducted in many different fields. The basic one was history, but also history of culture, history of material culture, history of money, numismatics, heraldry and the history of literature. Among monographs and synthetic works, he published a lot of source material - the best known are 'The Corpus of the Early Medieval Polish Silver Hoards', where he collected all information about coin finds from Pomerania, Masovia, Ermland and Mazuria (1959-1966) and Polabia, as well (1964). In the beginning he studied the early medieval times and the most important work is 'Metal money in early medieval Poland' (1960). Only 4 years later, he published 'An Introduction to Polish Medieval Numismatics'. Being interested mainly in the great groschen reform in Europe and in Poland he published 'The Great Groschen Reform in the 13th and 14th century' (1969). Part two, concerning Poland, that was never published but might be reconstructed from the articles in 'Wiadomosci Numizmatyczne'. His research on iconography of European coins resulted in a book titled 'The Coin in the Culture of Middle Ages' (1988). Only two years later the next work 'Bears and People in the Former and Newer Days. Facts and Myths' was published. Despite of many different topics, all of Ryszard Kiersnowski's publications have one common character - the excellent form and the beauty of Polish language. He is an eminent historian, an outstanding scholar of medieval times and the creator of modern Polish numismatic school.
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