Remuneration for Works Dedicated or Donated to the City Council of Gdańsk in the 17th century
Wynagrodzenia za dzieła dedykowane lub ofiarowane Radzie Miejskej Gdańska w XVII wieku
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In the 16th century the custom of putting dedications in printed books spread widely. They quickly became a conventional form of writing, serving as an ad¬vertisement and decoration, and often stressing the bond between the author and his patron. Apart from literary aspects and gestures of gratitude, dedications normally were not selfless. Their aim was often to elicit a particular profit – for example compensation for incurred costs or time - as a token of the addressee’s appreciation. The problem lies in determining the actual amount of this appre¬ciation. The account book of Gdańsk, the biggest Polish city of the 16th and 17th centuries, comes to our aid. In books of the city’s budget expenses, we can find notes on funds spent on dedications written for the city council, the mayor, or the whole city. Despite the brevity of entries, we can easily make a correlation between tenths of dated notes on the amount of payments, and particular publi¬cations and their authors. In the lists of those awarded we can find the names of famous as well as completely unknown people from Gdańsk, Poland, and abroad. This publication is the result of an introductory query into several volumes of the city’s accountancy. Materials from Gdańsk’s municipal treasury, without any major deficiency, are well preserved from the end of the 17th century to the Sec¬ond Partition of Poland, when Gdańsk was seized by Prussia. It is a fact that more detailed studies of accountancy mentions would result in a deeper understanding of extra-literary aspects of the custom of dedications in Gdańsk itself, and in the Poland of that era.
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