‘In pago Silensi, vocabulo hoc a quodam monte… Sibi Indito.’ On the role of pagan cult sites in the tribal politicial system of the westerns Slavs

Lech Leciejewicz
Original title: ”In pago Silensi, vocabulo hoc a quodam monte ... sibi indito” : o funkcji miejsc kultu pogańskiego w systemie politycznym Słowian zachodnich doby plemiennej
Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 1987
Translated by: Katarzyna Hussar

Thietmar of Merseburg’s famous description of the war of 1017 contains a mention of the town of Niemcza. ‘Posita est autem haec in pago Silensi, vocabulo hoc a quodam mon te nimis excelso et grandi olim sibi indito; et hic ob qualitatem suam et quantitatem, cum execranda gentilitas ibi veneraretur, ab incolis omnibus nimis honorabatur’ (VII 59). This is the only surviving such explicit record of the cult of a mountain in the community of Western Slavs, or rather on rituals performed on the site. The fact that the description is written in the past tense does not leave any doubt that the scribe was not referring to practices that took place in his times but to customs from before the age of Christianisation, reaching back to as early as the 10th century…

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