A dispute over the name of Silesia

Wacław Korta
Original title: Spór o nazwę Śląska
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 1986

The question of derivation and notional content of the name of Silesia has over a thousand-year-long history behind it. The first mention of the subject was made in the 11th century by the German chronicler Thietmar. As a participant of the war expedition against Poland launched by Emperor Henry II in 1017 and an observer of events which occurred on the occasion near Niemcza, he noted that the town lied ‘in the country of Silesia which inherited its name after one great and very tall mountain’. The chronicler considered the land’s name to be a derivation a mountain’s name, and, in spite of the fact that he failed to mention this name in his writings, his description is clear enough to leave no doubt that it was Ślęża (mons Silensis) he was referring to…

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