2004 | 49 | 1-2 | 137-138
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In this presentation, I would like to draw attention to Prof. Z. Kurnatowska's excellent study (1993) of Mieszko I. I have repeatedly devoted attention to this ruler, considering him as the more prominent personality in the building of the state compared to Boleslaus the Brave. Let me cite just one opinion in confirmation: 'He was a remarkable army commander, but an excellent politician as well. A statesman who understood one of the fundamental wisdoms of politics and power: knowing when to stop, when to restrain himself and control his armed intoxication'. It is in this aspect that I judge Prof. Kurnatowska's study. The qualifying adjectives are hardly a diplomatic measure; they assess a truly excellent presentation, particularly the documentation based on her own studies. I have written of these before, in 1974. Her approach deserves to be commended for its variety as much as for its innovativeness. It is rightly enriching at times, and occasionally exceeding a literal understanding of the subject scope. One should mention her modern study of the communication network including waterways, written together with her husband, Prof. Stanislaw Kurnatowski. On the margin, I would opt for adding natural resources. They are important, for example, for the Goplo borderlands, which I prefer to call the Goplo-Venetic borderland. What I have in mind is salt. The Goplo-Venetic borderland is in itself an ethnic and cultural hybrid. It included, among others, Venetic elements intermixed with doubtful Goplo ones, some Polan ones, Celtic (possibly in Czech disguise) and Germanic ones occasionally suggested for Kruszwica. I have thus touched upon the debate over the ethnogenezology of Polish lands. It is yet another variant of the previously accepted hybridism, already formulated a number of times in cartographic form, not always recognized by other scholars in their transformed versions. Needless to say, while rightly opining in such positive light Z. Kurnatowska's study, I cannot refrain from a little nit-picking. Let me say that the author has treated the opinions of others with some disdain, considering them as misguided at the very least. Thus, I find in this important article lapses, such as the information about the ruins of a rampart uncovered in Poznan in 1938, now dated by the dendrochronological method to the middle of the 10th century, which is fortunately in accordance with my dating of 1938, based still on the old methods. Kurnatowska has overlooked the ruins of a purely wooden rampart discovered 10 m to the west of the above-cited fortifications. This other defense structure is usually forgotten, presumably overshadowed by the latter, monumental rampart. It was published in Kronika miasta Poznania (Chronicle of the Town of Poznan), a publication that is not easily available for consideration. It had not been possible to date this rampart at the time of discovery, nor had it been possible to determine its further course. I am presently of the opinion that it could have preceded Mieszko I's rampart by a mere few years. It was in the same fifth layer as the other rampart. Also, a formal analysis, the absence of any forked boughs used as anchoring elements and the inconsiderable width (4.5 m) of this fortification could point to the first half of the 10th century as a possible date of its construction.
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  • W. Hensel, ul. Marszalkowska 84/92 m. 109, 00-514 Warszawa, Poland
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