Did the Wrocław people want change? The medieval concepts of the city history present in selected works of local historiography

Przemysław Wiszewski
Original title: Czy wrocławianie chcieli zmian? Średniowieczne koncepcje dziejów miasta w wybranych dziełach historiografii wrocławskiej
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 2010

The purpose of the article is to research into the way ‘a change’ was regarded by the local medieval historiography, and was it seen as an essential element of the history of the town. Three monuments of literature were chosen and analyzed: the first The Old Wrocław Annals (from the first half of the 14th century), a chronicle by Peter Eschenloer (from the second half of the 15th century) and The Annals of Wrocław Magistrate (from the beginning of the 16th century). The method chosen for the research is to analyze the references within the narrative and the presentation of the main problems crucial for the reception of ideas in the works. No elements, that would relate to the phenomenon of ‘a change’ in the survey of the history of the city, were found in The Old Wrocław Annals. A change as an element necessary for the course of the history appears at the chronicle by Eschenloer, but it is not a focal point for forming the image of the past. The problem of choices made by the inhabitants plays an essential role. A change is only a derivative of the choices and is estimated lower than making steady and proper choices that not lead to any changes. A change as an essential problem does not appear within the annalistic entries in The Annals of the Wrocław Magistrate, either. Stressing the meaning of ‘a change’ in forming the image of the history is, however, visible. Setup of the entries divides the history of the city into three periods: before it became part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, during disturbances in the 15th century, and after the end of the disturbances what was reached together with the coronation of Vladislav II for the king of Bohemia (1491). Thus, the meaning of ‘a change’ in the description of the past increased gradually. Further research is required, however, to answer the question, how ‘a change’ was estimated by general public.


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