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2011 | 42 | 115-204

Article title

Liczba chorągwi grunwaldzkich zawieszonych w katedrze wawelskiej. W związku z nową edycją 'Banderia Prutenorum' Jana Długosza i noty Klemensa Drzewickiego w 'Kalendarzu Katedry Krakowskiej'


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This article attempts to summarize the most important findings and hypotheses regarding a codex of the Banderia Prutenorum (Jagiellonian Library, Krakow, ms 10001), especially its genesis and initial concept, as well as the accumulation of iconographic and historiographical content of this oldest European Fahnenbuch, the co-operative work of the Krakow painter, Stanislaw Durink, and Jan Dlugosz (author of, primarily, the famous Annales comprising Polish history from its legendary origins to 1480). A parallel concern, closely linked to the issue analysed in the article, is the original number of banners acquired as trophies at Grunwald (Grünfelde)/Tannenberg on 15 July 1410 and hung in the Krakow cathedral in autumn of 1411 at the tomb of St. Stanislaus, the patron saint of the Polish Kingdom, as a votive offering for the victory. These reflections were brought about in part by the appearance of a new album edition of the Banderia Prutenorum in 2009 (Krakow-Proszowki 2009), containing the first coloured, full-size (at scale 1:1) reproductions of the original sheets, preceded by an extensive introduction by Krzysztof Stopka. In 1976 Sven Ekdahl published a dissertation, accompanied by an edition of the Banderia carefully prepared by him, which proved among other things the formation in two stages of the iconographic content of the codex and indicated - unlike the previous publisher (Karol Gorski) - the premises for the chronology in the placing of notes and comments in the codex. During discussions on the Swedish researcher's views (most of which were accepted in any case), a number of sometimes controversial hypotheses have arisen, concerning both the Banderia codex and the history of the banners gained at Grunwald. These require revision in the light of sources that were, so far, not used or were mistakenly interpreted. The primary content of the Banderia codex's notes regarding the size of the banners (most probably inscribed by Durink, marked as first hand according to Gerard Labuda's classification as adopted by Stopka) and Dlugosz's recommendations, contained in his Annales, suggest that the principal purpose for creating the Krakow Fahnenbuch in 1448 was an iconographic documentation of the 46 banners in the form of 47 illuminations (one of the banners having two sides), placed on the verso pages of the codex. Therefore, a basis in and of itself was created for the gradual reconstruction of the original banners, which was necessary due to the natural process of their decomposition as observed by contemporaries. The documentation was also justified by the awareness of the symbolic importance of the collection of trophies acquired from the Teutonic Knights. Among the banners immortalized in 1448, 41 were identified as having been taken on 15 July 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald from the Order's army (including the knighthood, the cities of the Teutonic state in Prussia, and external allies), one as having been acquired at Koronowo on 10 October 1410, and 4 at Dabki in 1431. The list of 'The Banners of the Prussians' was considered as a closed set until 1454 because of the validity of the 'everlasting' peace signed in Brzesc Kujawski in 1435. It seems that the banners hung in the Krakow cathedral at the tomb of St. Stanislaus - the patron of the Polish Kingdom - served not only as a votive offering. Some of them were most probably treated as a symbolic manifestation of the Polish Kingdom's rights to the territories historically associated with it, especially to those dominated by the Order (Pomerania and Chelmno (Kulm) land), but also to Silesia and Western Pomerania, from which the allies of the Order in the war of 1409-1410 came. Older sources than the Banderia, previously not used or incorrectly interpreted, inform us about the suspension of all banners acquired at Grunwald in Krakow, thus remaining silent regarding the Lithuanian side of these trophies. A note by Klemens Drzewicki in 'The Calendar of Krakow Cathedral', dated about 1422, mentions 44 banners captured at Grunwald (and not 39, as was earlier estimated in the literature), and suspended in the Krakow cathedral (Fig. 1-2). Dlugosz, on the basis of references unknown to us, finally determined the number of banners from Grunwald to be 51, and consequently refused to admit the Lithuanians' participation in these trophies. Probably during the Thirteen Years' War (1454-1466), in which Poland regained the Chelmno (Kulm) land, 10 additional miniatures of banners - mainly related to this land - were painted on the recto pages in the codex, despite its original conception placing the location of the illuminations on the verso pages. The illuminations themselves were affected by iconographic errors, such as the inversion of colours on the so-called St. George's banner that occurred, according to Dlugosz, on the side of the Order, indicating - according to Ekdahl - that they were composed from oral accounts, or from sketches. Unlike the original illuminations, these additional miniatures were not accompanied by notes regarding the size of the banner. Following these premises and based on the structure and concept of the codex, it has to be assumed that these banners were not present in the Krakow cathedral in 1448. There have been some attempts to resolve this problem, such as by a transfer of several of the trophies/banners to the cathedral of Vilnius, and it does not seem impossible, but it is not sufficiently confirmed in currently known sources, especially from the 1st half of the 15th century. Supporting this hypothesis using the 16th-century reference of the so-called Bykhovets (Bychowiec) Chronicle - a highly tendentious source which states that half of all banners taken at Grunwald were placed in Vilnius - is a historiographical mistake, but it has been treated in some scholarly publications as a certainty. The original conception and construction of the codex probably did not anticipated any additional illuminations, but it can be assumed that it implied the possibility of expanding the historical comments, and creating thereby both a catalogue and a historiographical work. Enlarging and correcting - even an already-formed narrative - is a well-known feature of Dlugosz's workshop, visible in the same Banderia and in preserved parts of the so-called Annales 'autograph' (Czartoryski's Library in Krakow, ms 1306). Initially, Dlugosz himself supplemented the illuminations of all but five banners with informative notes on their origin, ownership, and the commanders associated with them (the so-called second hand). In some notes, apparently not knowing all the details, he left gaps. These notes were gradually added to and developed by the unidentified writer (the so-called third hand) who also participated in the copying of the Annales. The chronology of the third hand's comments and their relationship to the list of the Order's banners included in the Annales before the description of the Battle of Grunwald (where the banners had been ordered according to territorial and hierarchical criterion, and where their appearance was blazoned), has been a subject of controversy between Ekdahl, Gorski and Labuda. Sometimes, a dogmatic conviction -shared especially by the Polish scholars - that the part of the Annales, comprising the events from the Battle of Grunwald (along with a list of banners) was completely edited before 1458, has played too significant a role in these disputes. At the same time, not enough attention was paid in the polemics to the intertextuality between the two descriptions of the banners, which otherwise they were well aware of. The comments of the so-called third hand - identified as belonging to one of the writers of the preserved part of the Annales 'autograph' - are based on information collected around the - mid-1460s, but edited and introduced to the codex perhaps around ten years later. This approach enables us to combine the paleographic assumptions for identifying the so-called third hand with the hand of an active writer who participated in the preparation of the 'autograph' of the Annales at the end of the seventies. A careful postulation, requiring many more verifications, revelas him as a notary working for Dlugosz (or at least copying his works on parchment) - Krzysztof of Debowiec. The issue of primary and secondary sources for Banderia's iconographic content is closely connected with the dating and interpretation of the triumphant presentation of King Wladyslaw II Jagiello with three Grunwald banners. These were located from the 15th century at his tombstone, but today they are known mainly from one iconographic reference: the seventeenth-century woodcut called Typus fundationis Academiae Cracoviensis [Fig. 2-3]. The woodcut's interpretation of the gothic painting poses a difficulty in identifying the second of the presented banners. The author is not convinced that it might be a banner of St. George, painted in the Banderia after 1448 and mistakenly presented with inverted colours (as if it were a banner of the same name appearing in the Battle of Grunwald on the Polish side), which is justified by a separate analysis. The absence of this banner, more than likely, in the Krakow cathedral before 1448, cannot be without influence on the identification of the second banner in the Typus Fundationis painting, nor for views on dating the same picture, especially before 1448. According to the author (who is not alone in this position), the Order's banner (No. 3 in Banderia) was presented as the second in the woodcut , which in fact does not prevent the possibility of dating the painting before 1448. The unquestionable identification of the third banner as a banner of the city of Chelmno (Kulm) and the Chelmno knights indicates that the composition was made before 1466. After this year, the symbolic manifestation of the Polish Crown's rights to the Chelmno land lost its specific reasons. Among the source materials on the Grunwald banners in the Krakow cathedral, probably the most important would appear to be a proto-edition of the illuminations and descriptions of the Banderia codex posted in 'The Coats of Arms of the Polish Knighthood' (Herby rycerstwa polskiego) by Bartosz Paprocki (Krakow, 1584). In the descriptions of the banners, Paprocki reported information on the sizes of almost all the banners painted in the Banderia codex after 1448. The analysis of Paprocki's phrases and sizes of the illuminations in the codex, from which he undoubtedly benefited, shows that these could not have been deduced from representations of the banners, but only from the real ones with which he apparently had dealt. This means that before 1584, and perhaps even during Dlugosz's life, and according to his own demands, an actual reconstruction of the collection of banners was made, completing 51 of the total number fixed by him. Recently, Magdalena Piwocka reflected on the practice of reconstructing the banners in Switzerland, which was not confirmed until the turn of the 16th century. The postulated reconstruction of the banners, expressed by Dlugosz in the Annales, is at least a quarter of a century earlier. The presented comments, conclusions and the author's own hypotheses (only the most important of which were reported in this summary) need to be discussed, especially for new analytical studies of the codex, including comparative studies on the handwriting of the records of the so-called third hand and performance of a second physicochemical analysis of the miniatures with the use of available modern research methods.







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  • dr Marek Andrzej Janicki, Warsaw University, Institute of History, Department of the Auxiliary Sciences of History and Methodology, Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland


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Publication order reference


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