Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries 9089649832, 9789089649836, 9789048528998

Prior to the high Middle Ages, the Baltic Rim was largely 'terra incognita' - but by the late Middle Ages, it

279 36 3MB

English Pages 394 [396] Year 2016

Report DMCA / Copyright


Table of contents :
Editors Preface 9
Introduction. Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries / Wojtek Jezierski 11
Visions of Community
Imagining the Baltic. Mental Mapping in the Works of Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries / Thomas Foerster 37
Discourses of Communion. Abbot William of Æbelholt and Saxo Grammaticus: Imagining the Christian Danish Community, Early Thirteenth Century / Lars Hermanson 59
Envisioning a Political Community. Peasants and Swedish Men in Vernacular Rhyme Chronicles, Late Fifteenth Century / Margaretha Nordquist 89
Cultic and Missionary Communities
Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries. Women and Religious Bonds on the Baltic Rim and in Central Europe, Eleventh – Twelfth Centuries / Grzegorz Pac 123
Risk Societies on the Frontier. Missionary Emotional Communities in the Southern Baltic, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries / Wojtek Jezierski 155
Expanding Communities. Henry of Livonia on the Making of a Christian Colony, Early Thirteenth Century / Linda Kaljundi 191
An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Community. St. Henry and the Creation of Christian Identity in Finland, Thirteenth – Fifteenth Centuries / Tuomas Heikkilä 223
Legal and Urban Communities
The Making of Legal Communities. Royal, Aristocratic, and Local Visions in Sweden and Gotland, Thirteenth – Fourteenth Centuries / Thomas Lindkvist 255
Urban Community and Consensus. Brotherhood and Communalism in Medieval Novgorod / Pavel V. Lukin 279
Urban Community and Social Unrest. Semantics of Conflict in Fourteenth-Century Lübeck / Cordelia Heß 307
The Baltic Rim: A View From Afar
Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod. Scandinavian Perceptions of the Russians, Late Twelfth – Early Fourteenth Centuries / Bjørn Bandlien 331
Transient Borders. The Baltic Viewed from Northern Iceland in the Mid-Fifteenth Century / Hans Jacob Orning 353
Afterword. Imagined Emotions for Imagined Communities / Barbara H. Rosenwein 379
List of Abbreviations 387
General Index 389
List of Figures
Figure 1. Place-names mentioned in the book 8
Figure 2. Marriages of children of Bolesław the Wrymouth and his son, Mieszko III, with members of Scandinavian and Pomeranian ruling houses 126
Figure 3. Familial relations of Inge the Elder and Helena’s daughters 129
Figure 4. Emotion Words in the 'Chronicon Livoniae' 174
Figure 5. Law code provinces in Sweden, fourteenth century 254
Recommend Papers

Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries
 9089649832, 9789089649836, 9789048528998

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview

Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Crossing Boundaries Turku Medieval and Early Modern Studies The series from the Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (TUCEMEMS) publishes monographs and collective volumes placed at the intersection of disciplinary boundaries, introducing fresh connections between established fields of study. The series especially welcomes research combining or juxtaposing different kinds of primary sources and new methodological solutions to deal with problems presented by them. Encouraged themes and approaches include, but are not limited to, identity formation in medieval/early modern communities, and the analysis of texts and other cultural products as a communicative process comprising shared symbols and meanings. Series Editor Matti Peikola, University of Turku, Finland

Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries

Edited by Wojtek Jezierski and Lars Hermanson

Amsterdam University Press

Cover illustration: St. Henry and St. Eric arriving to Finland on the ‘First Finnish Crusade’. Fragment of the fifteenth-centtury sarcophagus of St. Henry in the church of Nousiainen, Finland Photograph: Kirsi Salonen Cover design: Coördesign, Leiden Lay-out: Crius Group, Hulshout Amsterdam University Press English-language titles are distributed in the US and Canada by the University of Chicago Press. isbn e-isbn doi nur

978 90 8964 983 6 978 90 4852 899 8 (pdf) 10.5117/9789089649836 684

© Wojtek Jezierski & Lars Hermanson / Amsterdam University Press B.V., Amsterdam 2016 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both the copyright owner and the author of the book. Every effort has been made to obtain permission to use all copyrighted illustrations reproduced in this book. Nonetheless, whosoever believes to have rights to this material is advised to contact the publisher.

Table of Contents Editors’ Preface Introduction

Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries Wojtek Jezierski*

9 11

Visions of Community Imagining the Baltic


Discourses of Communion


Envisioning a Political Community


Mental Mapping in the Works of Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries Thomas Foerster*

Abbot William of Æbelholt and Saxo Grammaticus: Imagining the Christian Danish Community, Early Thirteenth Century Lars Hermanson*

Peasants and Swedish Men in Vernacular Rhyme Chronicles, Late Fifteenth Century Margaretha Nordquist*

Cultic and Missionary Communities Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


Risk Societies on the Frontier


Women and Religious Bonds on the Baltic Rim and in Central Europe, Eleventh – Twelfth Centuries Grzegorz Pac*

Missionary Emotional Communities in the Southern Baltic, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries Wojtek Jezierski*

Expanding Communities


An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Community


Henry of Livonia on the Making of a Christian Colony, Early Thirteenth Century Linda Kaljundi*

St. Henry and the Creation of Christian Identity in Finland, Thirteenth – Fifteenth Centuries Tuomas Heikkilä*

Legal and Urban Communities The Making of Legal Communities


Urban Community and Consensus


Urban Community and Social Unrest


Royal, Aristocratic, and Local Visions in Sweden and Gotland, Thirteenth – Fourteenth Centuries Thomas Lindkvist*

Brotherhood and Communalism in Medieval Novgorod Pavel V. Lukin*

Semantics of Conflict in Fourteenth-Century Lübeck Cordelia Heß*

The Baltic Rim: A View From Afar Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


Transient Borders


Scandinavian Perceptions of the Russians, Late Twelfth – Early Fourteenth Centuries Bjørn Bandlien*

The Baltic Viewed from Northern Iceland in the Mid-Fifteenth Century Hans Jacob Orning*



List of Abbreviations


General Index


Imagined Emotions for Imagined Communities Barbara H. Rosenwein*

List of Figures Figure 1 Place-names mentioned in the book Figure 2 Marriages of children of Bolesław the Wrymouth and his son, Mieszko III, with members of Scandinavian and Pomeranian ruling houses Figure 3 Familial relations of Inge the Elder and Helena’s daughters Figure 4 Emotion Words in the Chronicon Livoniae Figure 5 Law code provinces in Sweden, fourteenth century

8 126 129 174 254

Figure 1 Place-names mentioned in the book

Editors’ Preface This volume is a result of two joyful and rewarding workshops conducted in the course of 2014, in Gothenburg (April) and Rome (December). The not-so-imagined community of authors gathered in this book is particularly indebted to the critical comments by Barbara H. Rosenwein and Hans Jacob Orning, which allowed the authors to revise and sharpen their arguments. The editors would also like to thank Auður G. Magnúsdóttir (Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg) for her assistance in organizing the workshop in Gothenburg. The Rome meeting which took place in the spectacular Institutum Romanum Finlandiae was co-organized with its director Tuomas Heikkilä, whose hospitality exceeded all expectations. The book owes a particular debt of gratitude to Kirsi Salonen (TUCEMEMS, University of Turku), whose Baltic expertise, unyielding scrupulousness, and editorial proficiency greatly improved the quality of the manuscript in terms of both content and form. Rich Potter (Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg) superbly assisted us with preparing the maps and figures for the book. The authors as well as the editors are also much obliged to the anonymous peer reviewers, who so positively recommended this volume for publication and whose abundant suggestions and detailed comments substantially enhanced the overall value of our work. Finally, the Amsterdam University Press editorial team – Simon Forde, Tyler Cloherty, and Jaap Wagenaar in particular – have done a terrific job in preparing this book for production. Thank you all. The editors’ research time devoted to the making of this book, as well as the funding of Barbara H. Rosenwein’s guest professorship in Gothenburg in the spring of 2014, were made possible by two munificent grants from the Humanist Faculty of University of Gothenburg. Additionally, the proofreading of English was funded thanks to the generous support of the Helge Ax:son Johnsons Stiftelse, as well as the Per Lindecrants’ Fond at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. Wojtek Jezierski & Lars Hermanson Gothenburg, May 2016

Introduction Imagined Communities on the Baltic Rim, from the Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries Wojtek Jezierski*

Baltic – The Final Frontier In the early 960s, an Andalusian slave merchant of possibly Sephardic or Muslim origin by the name Ibrāhīm Ibn Ya’qūb al-Turtushi made his way from his Cordovan caliphate to the northernmost edges of known Europe.1 On his journey he visited and was quite taken aback by the riches he saw in the city of Prague; he was also an early witness of the Polish Duke Mieszko’s (Mashaqqah) fetus state just before the duke himself put it on the map in 965. Ibn Ya’qūb also heard something of the berserk-like Burus (Prussians) dwelling on the shores of the ‘Surrounding Sea’ (‘Oceanum’ in the Latin rendition) and that the Russians crossed this sea on ships coming from the east to attack them. To the west of the Prussians and north of Mieszko’s country, also occupying the shores of the ‘Surrounding Sea’, lived the Velets (Waltabah) whose greatest city, perhaps identifiable as Jumne on the island of Wolin, was a mighty fortress with twelve gates. The great value of Ibn Ya’qūb’s sometimes surprisingly accurate and fascinating report – preserved in the eleventh-century Book of Highways and Kingdoms (Kitāb al-Masālik wa’l-Mamālik) by Abu Abdullah al-Bakrī * Wojtek Jezierski is Researcher in Medieval History at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. He defended his PhD thesis: Total St Gall. Medieval Monastery as a Disciplinary Institution (2010) at Stockholm University and published several articles on monastic power relations, cloistral surveillance, and subject-formation in early medieval St Gall. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the Deutsches Historisches Institut, Warschau 2011/2012. He recently co-edited the volume Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order, c. 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). His current research interests are the senses of danger & security among Baltic missionaries as well as historical semantics of emotions, eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Many thanks to Lars Hermanson, Barbara H. Rosenwein, and Thomas Foerster for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this introduction. 1 Relacja Ibrāhīma Ibn Jakūba z podróży do krajów słowiańskich w przekazie al-Bekrīego, ed. by Tadeusz Kowalski, Pomniki dziejowe Polski S.N., V. 1, Cracow: Wydawnictwa Komisji Historycznej. Polska Akademia Umiejętności Bd. 84, 1946); Mishin, ‘Ibrahim ibn-Ya’qub atTurtushi’s’; Pleszczyński, The Birth of a Stereotype, pp. 14-24.


Wojtek Jezierski

– springs from the fact that its author stood outside the western Christian tradition of imagining the waters of the ‘Surrounding Sea’ as an impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters. To be sure, the merchant was confronted with a rudimentary form of such a fearsome phantasm of the North when he talked to no other than Otto the Great (called Hutu in Abu Abdullah’s rendition), whom he met in Magdeburg. Yet for all his superficial fascination with rumours and myths of the distant Amazons which Otto supposedly fed him, what interested Ibn Ya’qūb the most were the customs and living conditions of his potential trade partners, that is, communities he actually encountered: peoples, towns, kingdoms – a very merchant-like point of view after all. He paid attention to their laws, settlements, types of association and rule, disposition towards others, etc. Ibn Ya’qūb, as it were, was making a discovery of the Baltic: the sea he saw, and subsequently the whole region, would be named after Adam of Bremen’s proposition. It was a discovery in the sense that its maker, truly coming from the outside, acted beyond an ossified mind-set and took a look with fresh eyes.2 It is also clear from his report that Ibn Ya’qūb, or at least the later compiler of his texts, reckoned that knowledge of a region did not come in some master narrative fully condemning or lauding whole patches of the earth. For him, knowledge circulated as an inherently fragmented commodity, whose oddly shaped, sometimes incompatible pieces to some extent corresponded to the size of the communities one could learn about. Knowledge was what one saw, found out via others, or heard from rumours. It was local knowledge3 par excellence – it is no mere accident that in his account Ibn Ya’qūb every so often raised the problem of languages spoken by a given community. The ability to converse or the occasional unreserved indifference to communication (Prussians)4 set the limits of acquiring knowledge. And what counted for a snoopy merchant were f irst and foremost 2 Obviously, Ibrāhīm Ibn Ya’qūb was neither the first nor the last to make the discovery and describe the Baltic Rim as an interconnected region populated by many divergent communities. A hundred years earlier a certain Ohthere of Hålogaland, a Viking seafarer visiting King Alfred’s court whose account has been preserved in the king’s Old English Orosius, with his voyage outlined the outer orbit of the Scandinavian Peninsula (Lund (ed.), Two voyagers). One could say that the geographical scope of this book is contained by these two journeys, the earlier one tracing its northwestern outskirts (with the exception of Iceland) and the latter exploring its southeastern frontiers and offering glimpses into the heart of the region. 3 Geertz, Local Knowledge. 4 Mishin, ‘Ibrahim ibn-Ya’qub at-Turtushi’s’, p. 188: ‘[The Burus] have their own language and ignore the languages of the neighbouring peoples’; Relacja Ibrāhīma Ibn Jakūba, ed. by Kowalski, Latin trans. by Marian Plezia, p. 147: ‘Sedes Burūs ad Oceanum. Hi linguam habent propriam neque linguas suorum vicinorum norunt’.

Introduc tion


connections and connectivity, ‘spider-webs of intricate relationships seeking a form’, as Italo Calvino put it poetically.5 This form-seeking, that is, what these communities narrated and imagined of themselves, Ibn Ya’qūb regrettably did not always have access to. But the timing of his inquiring gaze nonetheless coincided with a new interest in the communities inhabiting the coasts of the Baltic Sea – the same interest characterizing the pages and intent of this book.

Questioning Communities The purpose of this book is twofold. First, in twelve chapters and a final commentary, it aims to explore the ways in which political, cultic, missionary, legal, urban, or cultural communities were envisioned and imagined on the Baltic Rim between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. The chapters delve into the visions of particular communities existing on all shores of the Baltic Sea as well as the visions of the Baltic Rim as a whole. This includes both visions produced inside the Baltic region as well as the external, sometimes fantastic, or even utterly phantasmagorical views of this alter mundus penned across the whole period (eleventh through fifteenth centuries). Second, the book aims at a methodological and conceptual widening of the sense in which we study medieval communities. This includes the types of sources that can be mined for such examinations: historiography (both Latin and vernacular), hagiography, correspondence, law, saga literature, prayer books and calendars of the saints, administrative sources, etc. Moreover, the book seeks to extend the palette of perspectives, concepts, and types of questions with which we approach these sources – visions and imaginations of communities, their perception of their common past or present sense of communality, positioning vis-à-vis others, and emotions. This composite purpose gives rise to the following broadly comprehended questions featured in the chapters of this book: – How were these communities imagined? What common visions did they invoke? – What kind of relationships connected them or, occasionally, tore them apart? – What role did affections and emotions play in these projections of the past, present, and future?


Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 68.


Wojtek Jezierski

– How were these imaginings culturally, politically, and religiously deployed? The idea for this book originated in a dissatisfaction with the fact that the historiography of the Baltic Rim in the Middle Ages is traditionally preoccupied with questions about large scale processes which ‘made’ the region during this period: state-formation, urbanization, Christianization, etc. Although it would be virtually impossible to ignore the significant major insights delivered by these research traditions – traces of which are clearly visible in the following pages – their acolytes have often departed from a single aspect, process, or their own imagination of the Baltic Rim to pursue the study. As a result, the way medieval people around the Baltic Sea made sense of their own and others’ forms of life – what was the ‘native anthropology’ of their social, political, cultural, and religious environment – was often ignored or simply escaped the great narrative frames proposed by medievalists. Instead, this book’s perspective pays attention to self-imaginations and generic local knowledge of both big and small communities, which unavoidably emanate from the sources they produced. And since such communal imaginations cannot be boiled down to a single perspective or process, as a conceptual frame for our investigations we picked the late Benedict Anderson’s spacious and adaptable idea of imagined communities, which allows addressing a plethora of types of association and modes of self-invention. The two original workshops behind this book envisioned therefore a pluralistic approach to the making of medieval communities.6 As acutely pointed out by Barbara Rosenwein,7 there is a great intellectual affinity between Anderson’s concept of imagined communities,8 her own emotional communities,9 and Brian Stock’s textual communities10. After all, the affections and emotions connecting communities – given emotions’ inherently communicative and sociable nature – needed to be materially mediated and reproduced both synchronically and diachronically; as a result, texts as well as groups or traditions of texts served as means in this process. Considering the strong textual focus of this volume, the association between these three concepts of communities is further strengthened with reference 6 7 8 9 10

Lutter, ‘Comparative Approaches’. Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions’, p. 842; Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods’, pp. 11-12. Anderson, Imagined Communities. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities; Plamper, Geschichte und Gefühl, pp. 78-85. Stock, The Implications of Literacy, pp. 88-92, 526.

Introduc tion


to Stanley Fish’s interpretive communities,11 or the idea that the meaning of texts is neither inherent to texts themselves nor limited to authorial intent, but rests with the communities, their cultural (political, religious, etc.) assumptions and resultant modes of reading. We hope the book reflects this pluralistic ambition of investigating many possible relations and relationships connecting small, middle-sized, and large communities with their self-perception qua communities as the common denominator.

Medieval Imagined Communities As indicated in the title, the conceptual frame chosen for this book has been provided by the notion of imagined communities, which has been much used in the context of nationalism studies – the original domain intended for its application. As Anderson claims, the concept serves as a means of describing and expounding how in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the newly designated nations, far exceeding the possibility of faceto-face self-apprehension, began imagining themselves and their members as horizontal, limited, and sovereign communities. Despite the prevailing objective social and geographic distance between the citizens, their selfimagining in the form of such horizontal communities forged the sense of comradeship and solidarity united by a common past and future fate as a nation. In other words, nations-imagined-as-communities have been powerful political instruments in the hands of emergent nation-states.12 However, these all too obvious nineteenth-century nationalist connotations, the radically different, high and late medieval context of its current application, and more than thirty years of academic patina require a rethinking of the concept’s faculties for present purposes. Incidentally, it is worth pointing out that the concept itself is still readily used by medievalists13 and has been of implicit or explicit inspiration to several recently launched large research projects.14 The reason of this unabated interest 11 Fish, Is There a Text in This Class. 12 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 5-7; Kiossev, ‘The Self-Colonizing Metaphor’. 13 Gingrich, Lutter, ‘Visions of Community’, p. 2; Pohl, ‘Comparing Communities’, pp. 29-30; see the entire special issue of History and Anthropology, 26 (2015): Visions of Community: Comparative Approaches to Medieval Forms of Identity in Europe and Asia, (Guest Editors) Andre Gingrich, Christina Lutter; Goetz, Vorstellungsgeschichte. 14 See the Walter Pohl led Visions of Community. Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region and Empire in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism (400-1600 CE), a Sonderforschungsbereich at the Vienna University:; and the


Wojtek Jezierski

in the concept may perhaps be its hermeneutical capaciousness and aggregative character, that is, its ability to subsume and integrate multiple perspectives, which reflects the multiple styles in which communities can and could be imagined. The question appears: what exactly did this book’s medievalists retain from Benedict Anderson’s idea? For current purposes, this high-minded nationalist diapason linked with the notion of sovereignty can be subtracted from the concept and the sense of the communal imaginaire, as the French would put it, can still appear indispensable and worth exploring in any self-proclaimed high and late medieval social entity populating the Baltic Rim.15 First, as many examples discussed in this book show, even very small communities of prayer and devotion, connecting royal houses and monasteries across Europe, or close groups of missionaries writing missionary histories in different episcopal palaces of northern Germany needed an imaginative and ideological reminder to connect with their own past, with now dead members, or to conceptualize the ties that bound their contemporary members. Quite understandably, as this need grew, the larger the communities became. In other words, in the Middle Ages the imagination of a community or a polity was a compelling means to bridge the distance in both time and space between its members: a phantasmatic prosthesis of immanence. Second, Anderson makes it utterly clear that the imagined communities are social constructions which nevertheless exert real power and have lasting effects on those subscribing to these imaginings. The crucial question from his perspective – much the same as in this book – involves the style and means of these imaginings, not the genuineness of the communities they represented. The question of style regards both the different ways communities imagined themselves and the material means through which they did so. It made a profound difference in what way a given community imagined itself – as a family; a band of brothers or friends; as a coherent organism composed of consensually organized members, unified around its current ruler, patron saint, or a group of aristocrats; as ideally egalitarian or necessarily stratified, etc. It is also definitely worth studying the means communities used to reproduce this sense of togetherness, whether single texts and traditions of texts, rituals and performances, images of saints, Andrzej Pleszczyński led Imagined Communities: Constructing Collective Identities in Medieval Europe project at the Marie Curie University Lublin: communities/?page_id=160. 15 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6: ‘In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined’.

Introduc tion


prayers, recalling of actual or invented past and traditions, or creating real and imagined spaces for the community to master and occupy (and from which to exclude others).16 Third, just as they have their pasts, imagined communities also have their futures. They are communities to come. In this sense, we can study the destinies into which these visions propelled their group members, the goals they presented. These were visions in the double sense of the word – as representations of what was and projections of what was to be. Finally, this prospective rather than affirmative facet of imagined communities begs the question of how widespread were these convictions, though our sources will not always fully answer it. Were these merely parchment postulations penned by individuals or ideas cherished by dreaming elites? Or were they actually imprinted in the heart of every group member? And finally, were these projections actually intended to occlude the heterogeneity of the groups they, perhaps too easily, envisioned as consensual?

Themes: Frontiers, Otherness, Consensus, and Conflict Given the diversity of research traditions represented by the scholars in this volume, and considering the vastness of the literature on the history of all sorts of communities developing on the shores of the Baltic Sea in the high and late Middle Ages, even a brief synthesis of this background presents a near-impossible task, exceeding the scope of this short introduction. Instead, as a result of the adaptation of the Andersonian concept for medievalist purposes, the chapters in this book can be sorted into several themes anchored in wider research fields regarding the medieval Baltic Rim. Perhaps the widest research tradition drawn upon in this book is that of medieval frontier studies.17 As pointed out by Anderson, national and nationalist imagined communities tend to think of themselves as necessarily 16 Compare: Anderson, Specters of Comparison, pp. 29-45. 17 Bartlett, MacKay, Medieval Frontier Societies; Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion; Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures; Lehtonen, Jensen (eds.), Medieval History Writing; Lind, Selch Jensen, Jensen, Bysted, Jerusalem in the North; Abulafia, Berend (eds.), Medieval Frontiers; Tamm, Kaljundi, Selch Jensen (eds.), Crusading and Chronicle Writing; Sooman, Donecker (eds.), The “Baltic Frontier” Revisited; Drost, ‘Historische Grenzräume’; in the fashion of cultural geography: Kleingärtner, Newf ield, Rossignol, Wehner (eds.), Landscapes and Societies; Dalewski (ed.), Granica cywilizacji; incidentally, the Baltic Rim continues to be conceptualized as a frontier and border zone in strictly contemporary historiography too, see for example: Hurd (ed.), Bordering the Baltic; Götz (ed.), The Sea of Identities.


Wojtek Jezierski

limited, which stands in stark contrast to the missionary logic of perpetual expansion, in our context pertaining chiefly to the spread of Christianity.18 In the period discussed here we can see these two chains of logic – selflimitation and growth – often at loggerheads with each other, but also occasionally, being mediated between. In the most rudimentary sense medievalists representing this view insist on perceiving the Baltic Rim as a frontier region first discovered by Europe, then expanded and almost literally ‘made’ through conquest, Christianization, and colonization.19 This ‘expansionist’ view is represented in this book, for instance, in Thomas Foerster’s chapter discussing Adam of Bremen’s and Saxo Grammaticus’s colonizing views of the Baltic Sea, in Grzegorz Pac’s analysis of the Baltic Rim’s and Central Europe’s integration through intermarriage, and in Linda Kaljundi’s chapter on how the Christian community expanded in Livonia in the early twelfth century. However, all these texts add further nuance to the frontier perspective, actively arguing against the unilateral views of ‘Europeanisation’, thus stressing the negotiated and inventive character of inclusion and interchange between and within communities. Foerster, for instance, stresses the need to consider Adam’s and Saxo’s southwestern visions as increasingly emancipated from the classical and patristic views of the region, arguing that these authors’ ‘discovery’ of the Baltic was essentially driven by their particular political agendas. Furthermore, medieval frontiers were not merely spaces of separation or conflict. They also constituted zones of cultural exchange where communal syncretism, leading to fusions of religious traditions, rites, and identities, could thrive successfully.20 Pac hence emphasizes the sophistication of marital networks in the entire Baltic basin, which sometimes defied religious boundaries and were often built without the clear sense of who civilized whom in these relationships. Finally, Kaljundi underlines the Livonian Christians’ uneasy position on the question of their own exclusiveness, the precarious position of the neophytes, and the occasional culturally syncretic and transgressive practices enabling this expansion. The tension between expansion and self-limitation is also present in the chapter on the making of law communities in high medieval Sweden. 18 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 7. 19 Bartlett, The Making of Europe; Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic; Staecker (ed.), The Reception of Medieval Europe; Berend (ed.), Christianization and the Rise; see also: Scholz, Bohn, Johansson (eds.), The Image of the Baltic. 20 Abulafia, ‘Introduction: Seven Types’; Berend, ‘Frontiers’, pp. 158-160; Mažeika, ‘Granting Power’; in a wider perspective: North, ‘Raumkonstruktion durch künsterliche Kommunikation’, pp. 53-55.

Introduc tion


Thomas Lindkvist notes how these two judicial tendencies, royal expansionism and regional self-exclusion, clashed in the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in what could be called the state-formation process.21 On the other hand, Jezierski’s chapter explores the role of fear and horror in the internal structuring of missionary communities between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, but also the way emotions could be used to reach out to the addressees of the apostolic concern. The chapter also shows that the question of cultural and religious expansion in the Baltic exposed those responsible for this transformation to some known dangers, as well as produced new risks inherent in the very process of Christianization.22 The question of constructing and transgressing of frontiers and boundaries relates to the field of studies on the medieval Baltic senses of otherness and the way communities imagined themselves against other communities.23 As the late Ernesto Laclau insisted, identities and communal self-understanding are conceived thanks to the constitutive outsides, that is, through references and relations to other communities.24 Almost every chapter in this book touches upon the question of the representation of the self vis-à-vis the other. Tuomas Heikkilä, for instance, analyses how the thirteenth-century Legend of St Henry, the founding text for the Finnish Christian community,25 used the image of the pagan threat to boost the claims of the episcopal diocese of Turku (Åbo) and to justify its annexation of Finland Proper. Chapters by Bjørn Bandlien and Hans Jacob Orning predominantly deal with the question of how Baltic otherness was viewed and mediated the sense of collective self on the northern outskirts of this region, in Norway and Iceland. The cultural, religious, or political others furnishing ‘our’ constitutive outside are also explicitly discussed in the chapters by Foerster, Lindkvist, Kaljundi,26 and Jezierski.

21 Lindkvist, ‘Christianisation and State-Building’; Bagge, Lindkvist, and others, Statsutviklingen i Skandinavia. 22 Beck, Risk Society. 23 Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde; Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden; Foerster, Vergleich und Identität; Bandlien, Man or monster?; Janson, ‘Making Enemies’; Wood, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’; Adams, Heß, ‘Encounters and Fantasies’. 24 Laclau, ‘Subject of Politics’, p. 147: ‘The reference to the other is very much present as constitutive of my own identity. There is no way that a particular group living in a wider community can live a monadic existence – on the contrary, part of the definition of its own identity is the construction of a complex and elaborated system of relations with other groups’; Derrida, Politics of Friendship, pp. 152-153, 162-163. 25 Heikkilä, Sankt Henrikslegenden. 26 See also: Kaljundi, Waiting for the Barbarians.


Wojtek Jezierski

It should be stressed that the question of otherness is by no means limited to the external, absolute others of these communities. It includes also the distinction vis-à-vis others within one’s close community. Hence Margaretha Nordquist pointedly asks whether the aristocratic patrons and possibly authors of The Sture Chronicles considered peasants to be full members in the Swedish polity, despite the obvious coincidence of their political interests against the Danish Crown, their main opponent. Heikkilä, on the other hand, compellingly shows how the image of Lalli, St Henry’s murderer, has grown so deeply into the image of the saint, that Lalli could become Henry’s attribute or even, as depicted on the fifteenth-century paintings in Härkeberga Church (Sweden), the attribute could entirely emancipate itself from the saint.27 The visions of imagined communities directly or indirectly supplied answers to the most basic questions of power: who is to be governed by whom (political subjectivity) and through what means? In this sense more often than not they played into the hands of the powerful, justifying, legitimizing, and naturalizing their position in the community.28 By projecting a sense of an ever-present, unified, and consensual community, these imaginings smoothed over the potential cracks in a given polity. Pavel V. Lukin’s chapter on the sense of brotherhood in medieval Novgorod is a good case in point. In his exploration of the longue durée of the Novogorodians’ inner brotherly affection, Lukin points to how this idea of Novgorod’s imagined ideal community – in the high and late Middle Ages promoted mainly by the archbishop and the ruling boyars – its historiography projected back to the city’s earliest history and used as an interpretive frame for its dealings with neighbouring cities (e.g. Pskov). And yet, despite the fact that this top-down vision obviously supported the elites’ tight hold of the city, this sense of affective brotherhood as well as the collective identification and honour seem to have extended quite deeply into this urban community and was occasionally used to reprimand its meanest members for conduct not worthy of a Novgorodian. Somewhat similarly, Lars Hermanson’s chapter studies the means of governance and the desired types of relations proposed for a harmonious polity by two influential whisperers of the Danish mighty, Saxo Grammaticus and Abbot William of Æbelholt. Hermanson points to the correspondence 27 Derrida, Politics of Friendship, pp. 163-165. 28 Paroń and others (eds.), Potestas et communitas; Orning, Hermanson, Esmark (eds.), Gaver, ritualer, konflikter; Jezierski, Hermanson, Orning, Småberg (eds.), Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order.

Introduc tion


between virtues, affections, and desirable types of personal and interpersonal conduct proposed by the two early thirteenth-century authors, which could be employed as means of governance in a monastic community and in the newly established Christian kingdom alike. It remains open, however, how deeply the visions of these two pious counselors to the powerful reached into the communities they so much cared for, or if these ideas actually fall on deaf ears. Still, this top-down perspective on the imaginings of polities requires an essential caveat: imagined communities do not necessarily always come as visions dreamt by the dominant alone. As shown in Cordelia Heß’s chapter on the fourteenth-century urban rebellions in northern Germany, such consensual imaginings can be occasionally put into question, silently first and publicly in due course, or even hijacked by the disenfranchised and used to advance the latter’s political interests.29 Supporting her line of reasoning on Homi Bhabha and Walter Benjamin, the author unveils an important critique and correction to Anderson’s idea, who may have overemphasized imagined communities’ resultant consensus and concord, which smoothed over and stifled the disruptive heterogeneity inherent to the entities these projections called into being. Heß’s chapter asks thus whose interests were represented in fourteenth-century Mendicant historiographer Detmar’s report of the popular rebellions in Lübeck in the wake of the Black Death. Whose way of seeing do we get access to: the city council’s, which commissioned this report, the rebels’, or Detmar’s own? The author argues persuasively that in the late Middle Ages political subjectivity and ability to publicly represent one’s interests were no longer limited to the top strata in society. In exceptional moments of danger, they could also be briefly appropriated by members of the lower classes.

The Structure of the Book and the Individual Chapters The chapters have been divided into four thematic, chronologically organized sections. In the opening section, Visions of Community, three scholars – Foerster, Hermanson, and Nordquist – discuss high medieval visions of the Baltic writ large; the Danish christianitas; and the vision of Swedish polity in the late Middle Ages, respectively. Foerster’s chapter, taking cue

29 Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance, pp. 36-44, 108-135.


Wojtek Jezierski

from the studies on medieval spatialization and perception of space,30 is devoted to Adam of Bremen’s and Saxo Grammaticus’s visions of the Baltic Sea and can be read as a convenient extension of this introduction. The chapter shows how the initial, mainly missionary-inspired, imaginary mappings31 of the Baltic Sea as a frontier zone opening on the northern fringes of Germany were gradually pushed farther north and expanded. In the course of the eleventh, twelfth, and early thirteenth centuries the Baltic Rim was being intellectually transformed from a frightening, dangerous, and alien space populated by fantastic monsters – the epitome of otherness – into an explorable sphere of navigable waters, to be appropriated by the expanding Kingdom of Denmark for its imperial posturing.32 An important conclusion from Foerster’s chapter is that the Baltic was not so much discovered as invented by the likes of Adam and Saxo, who conceptualized it as a region with specific political goals in mind. Hermanson’s chapter is an exploration of two early thirteenth-century normative postulations about proper political culture for the Kingdom of Denmark. Two men from the circle of Archbishop Absalon of Lund, Saxo Grammaticus and Abbot William of Æbelholt, in their historiographic work and correspondence respectively, devised correct and just ways to rule the Danish christianitas. Hermanson, duly pointing to Saxo and William’s classical inspirations, dissects the correspondence between the inner framework and the virtues these authors displayed for their close political and monastic communities and the way imagined outer frameworks of the kingdom and the Baltic christianitas, in itself a highly contested political concept,33 should be governed. For both Saxo and William, the personal ( fides, amicitia,34 caritas, and strenuitas) was political, and as such was necessary to safeguard right order in the realm.35 Next, Nordquist studies the late medieval vision of the implicitly wishedfor Swedish polity in The Sture Chronicles, a series of vernacular rhyme chronicles composed at the behest of the Swedish regent Sten Sture the 30 Elden, Understanding Henri Lefebvre, p. 190; see also the important volume: Drost, North (eds.), Die Neuerfindung des Raumes. 31 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 170-178; Lilley, ‘Introduction: Mapping’; Melnikova, ‘The Baltic’. 32 A similar argument for the Mediterranean’s transition from a fearful to a navigable space in the high Middle Ages has been made in: Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea’; see also the exploration of the Viking notions of thalassocracy in: Föller, ‘Die soziale Konstruktion’. 33 Geelhaar, Christianitas. 34 Sigurðsson, Småberg (eds.), Friendship and Social Networks. 35 Hermanson, Bärande band.

Introduc tion


Elder.36 This chapter comes close to Anderson’s original intention, as the main thrust of the analysis focuses on the question: of whom did the imagined community of Swedes exactly consist? In Sweden of the Kalmar Union (1397-1523)37 political loyalties seemed like a quickly inflating currency. These authors – in their search for internal enemies and traitors, in their exasperation over the Danes repeatedly injuring the honor of the Swedes, in their squeamish and half-hearted attempts to properly deal with the Swedish peasants’ standing – were actually reconsidering anew the problem of political subjectivity for the Swedish realm. In this process of political self-conceptualization, Nordquist argues, collectively experienced emotions such as anger, shame, and grief played no minor role. The second section, Cultic and Missionary Communities, opens with Pac’s chapter on the communities of devotion on the southern fringes of the Baltic Rim in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The author shows how the newly baptized dynasties east of the Elbe emulated the western European patterns of royal piety in seeking association with particular saints as well as monastic communities of prayer, both across vast distances (in the Reich, in Scandinavia, and in Rus’) and across religious divides (between western and eastern Christianity). Central Europe seems to have been one of the forces pulling the Baltic Rim into the continental gravitational sphere through the integration of its elites into such imagined communities. Pac pays particular attention to the role of women mediating these contacts as bearers of socio-religious capital, and sees in this the source of these connections’ fragility – the fact that these bonds, admittedly prestigious and desirable, seldom extended over the lifespan of those establishing them.38 Jezierski’s chapter explores the missionary self-perception and selffashioning as risk societies in the works of Adam of Bremen, Helmold of Bosau, and Henry of Livonia. Reaching back to the ninth-century formative models of missionary sanctity (Anskar), one can show the social and communal implications of missionary fear and fearlessness, as well as the sense 36 Nordquist, A Struggle for the Realm. 37 A personal union between Denmark, Sweden, Norway (including its dependencies: Iceland, Faroe Islands, and Greenland). The union was incepted in 1397 by Queen Margaret I of Denmark who, through marital alliances, gathered the whole of Scandinavia under her rule to outmaneuver the Hanseatic influences in the Baltic. In the course of the fifteenth century the union was constantly torn apart by the conflict between centrifugal strivings of its subsequent monarchs and the centripetal forces of the Swedish and Danish aristocracy. It was dissolved with Gustav Vasa’s ascension to the Swedish throne in 1523. 38 Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów; Pac, ‘Kult świętych a problem granicy’; see also: Hermanson & Magnúsdóttir, ‘Medeltidens genus’; Haastrup & Lind, ‘Dronning Margrete Fredkulla’.


Wojtek Jezierski

of risk – for these authors’ communities in the later period. The problem of community-formation is primarily addressed on two levels, textual and imagined. This double perspective allows for comparisons between several serially connected authors using various emotionally underpinned means – spatial, metaphorical, and historical – to position themselves vis-à-vis the pagan threat. As hinted above, Kaljundi’s chapter investigates how Henry of Livonia envisioned the paths his Christian community was to take to expand in the early thirteenth century and include the newly converted.39 Kaljundi pays particular attention to public rituals, ceremonies, and elaborate performances orchestrated by the Rigan Church and the Sword Brethren to draw the neophytes into their sphere of influence. 40 The author also points to inclusive emotional practices such as common mourning41 or rejoicing, or postulations of brotherly affection between the colonizers and newly baptized Livs and Letts, as powerful tools of proselytizing and intercultural integration. Finally, Heikkilä’s chapter focuses on the making of the Christian identity vis-à-vis pagans through the veneration of Bishop Henry, the martyr saint of Finland Proper. The author addresses the question of community on two levels. He studies both the small textual community in and around the bishopric of Turku, responsible for the composition and dissemination of the Legend in the course of the Middle Ages, and the much larger imagined community of the Finnish Christians these texts were meant to create. Heikkilä also raises the problem of the interplay and dialogue between these ‘canonic’ texts and their audiences. As a result, he finds traces of a contemporary popular remembrance of St. Henry, which only surfaced in the post-medieval period, suggesting that occasionally the community had something to say in how it wished to be imagined. The third section, Legal and Urban Communities, opens with Lindkvist’s chapter studying three types of legal communities postulated in the law codes that emerged in continental Sweden (Uppland and Västergötland) and on the island of Gotland in the course of the thirteenth century. Lindkvist shows that in this period the making of the political communities through law, a normative vision par excellence, could be imposed both in a bottom-up and top-down manner and were coordinated by various political 39 Bombi, ‘Innocent III and the praedicatio’; Gli inizi del cristianesimo. 40 Hermanson, ‘Introduction: Rituals’. 41 Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, pp. 297-301; more generally: Althoff, ‘Gefühle in der öffentlichen Kommunikation’.

Introduc tion


actors to serve their purposes – society of wealthy peasants (Gotland), local aristocracy (Västergötland), or joint venture of the kings, Church, and emergent state aristocracy (Uppland). The author analyses the quaint patina of invented historical traditions and pagan-Christian lineages42 used to legitimize political claims these law codes put forward; he also pays attention to the different styles in which these legal communities positioned themselves against each other and external polities. Lukin’s chapter presents the imagined community of brothers uniting the city republic of Novgorod throughout the medieval period. As the author argues, the ancient and early medieval idea of brotherly attachment 43 can be considered as the ‘official’ ideology of the republic of Novgorod until its annexation by Moscow in 1478. Importantly, this self-perception of Novgorodians as brothers was not a mere imposition from above, but was seemingly deeply rooted in the lower levels of this community and even granted by Hanseatic merchants standing outside it. In his chapter Lukin meticulously reconstructs the entire spectrum of the means used by the ruling class and aspiring rulers of Novgorod to socially integrate the city’s citizens throughout the Middle Ages: the assembly (veche), 44 feasts that served as means of governance, 45 oaths, kisses put on the cross, the figure of St. Sophia, and other symbols of unity. Heß’s chapter explores the communal memory of a popular rebellion that rolled out on the streets of Lübeck and was put down in writing by Mendicant friar Detmar in the late 1380s. The outbreak of the Knochenhaueraufstand in 1385 gave the city’s council incentive to rethink the supposedly consensual common past of the urban community they presided over. However, rather than offering his patrons a conventional consolatory vision, this new interpretation of the city’s past and present penned by the Franciscan strived to incorporate some of the demands of the commoners, such as justice and righteousness (rechticheit). This new historiography recognized also the rioters’ rights to be represented and visible both in the public sphere of Lübeck and in the much closer confines of the city’s ‘official’ history, even if it set limits for this expression along the city’s walls. Finally, Heß introduces a much welcome nuance in our view of the sociopolitical effects of emotions and affections, which could occasionally 42 Hobsbawm, Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition; Pohl, ‘Introduction: Ethnicity, Religion and Empire’; Banaszkiewicz, Podanie o Piaście i Popielu. 43 Oschema, ‘Das Motiv der Blutsbrüderschaft’; Pieniądz, Więzi braterskie. 44 Lukin, ‘Gorod i veche’. 45 Althoff, ‘Der frieden-, bündnis-, und gemeinschaftsstiftende Charakter’; Orning, ‘Festive Governance’.


Wojtek Jezierski

appear in form as extremely short-lived communities of anger, gathered ad hoc to voice popular discontent. The last section of the book, The Baltic Rim: A View from Afar, takes a definite north by northwest curve. In his chapter, Bandlien explores the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century discourses of the Russian and Sámi otherness produced on the western and northern fringes of the Baltic Rim, that is, mainly in Norway and Sweden. Bandlien focuses on three types of discourses, which existed almost simultaneously: literate clerical discourses produced in the wake of the crusader movement emphasizing religious distance, heresy, and absolute otherness; chivalric discourses delivered in the Nordic chansons de geste picturing Russians as military adversaries; and contextual, symbiosis-oriented discourses produced in situ in Finnmark by the Norwegian, Russian, and Sámi merchants or emanating from the cooperative administrative treaties between the Norwegian crown and Novgorod. As a result, the author points to the overall ambivalent position of the Russians in the Norwegian imaginary, but also takes notice of a certain strategic liberty in the way contemporary political actors could switch between these different discourses to better serve their purposes. 46 The second chapter in this section, written by Orning, pushes the cultural perspective on the Baltic Rim yet farther northwest, to Iceland. Orning analyses a mid-fifteenth-century manuscript composed on the Möðruvellir farm in Eyjafjörður in northern Iceland and the collection of sagas it incorporates. Through a structuralist reading of the tensions between the Nordic centre and its Russian periphery, Orning elucidates the ‘political unconscious’ of the Icelandic ruling class. 47 Behind the sagas in this manuscript the author finds the minds of Icelandic aristocrats whose political dreams of Gardarike (Russia) populated by grotesque or threatening monsters were not trivial storytelling but ‘serious entertainments’ which helped this elite to imagine its own place on the political map of Scandinavia in the age of the Kalmar Union.48 In the context of this book, Orning’s chapter closes in on the wider problem of how early medieval authors’ imaginary monsters, thrown out the front door in the high Middle Ages, returned through the Icelandic window in the late medieval period. Considered together, Bandlien and Orning contribute a crucial external view of the Baltic Rim and present the ways in which, in the course of the high and late Middle Ages, the region gradually became seen as a strong ideational and politically gravitational centre, as 46 Bandlien, ‘Trading with Muslims’; see also: Lind, ‘Consequences of the Baltic Crusades’. 47 Jameson, The Political Unconscious. 48 Scheel, Skandinavien und Byzanz, pp. 735-798.

Introduc tion


culturally constitutive as continental Europe was for the Baltic basin in earlier periods. In other words, ‘the Baltic’ or ‘the Baltic Rim’ emerged as a geopolitical region not only through its ‘discovery’, but also through the appearance of an imaginary interface between its interior and exterior – all the way from the Bremen schoolmaster to the Möðruvellir scribes. Finally, Barbara H. Rosenwein’s afterword addresses the emotional dimension of imagined communities in general and those analyzed here in particular. By engaging with Anderson’s own implied and overt ideas of what sorts of commitments saturated his imagined communities – beliefs, affections, feelings, irrational convictions49 – Rosenwein also retraces larger research problems linking the chapters of the present book. She can thus further problematize the emotional aspect of medieval imaginaries in four important facets: the deeply ambiguous sense of medieval brotherhood and fidelity; the historical and transient character of emotions connecting imagined communities, as well as their conflicting rather than consensual affective bearing; the ‘twinned’ nature of such communities preoccupied with defining in or out of certain groups. As a whole, this book highlights the variety and complexity of different sorts of relations, processes, and affections connecting or tearing apart medieval communities, their self-imaginations inadvertently often dividing them against themselves and at the same time covering up for this rupture. These ineradicable shortcomings of political, cultural, and religious imagination – the everlasting presence of the difference within – was exactly what forced and enabled these imagined communities to transform, expand, include others in their sphere, but also be integrated into larger communal bodies, or even, eventually, cease to exist.50 Community held by just one type of bond and insisting on its own immediacy, as Jean-Luc Nancy asserted, would become inoperative.51 Wary of Ibn Ya’qūb’s intuition of the inevitable fragmentation of information and the motley character of its subject, the authors gathered here do not offer some definite, single master key to the understanding of how communities populating the Baltic Rim were made and unmade in the high and late Middle Ages. Rather, it is our hope to contribute to the research field with both new insights and further questions, but also with a stimulating conceptual bricolage which stresses 49 Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, pp. 48-49, 425-438. 50 Agamben, The Coming Community, pp. 67-68; Glynos, Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation, pp. 15, 107, 159-160, 162-163, 173-177; Fish, ‘Change’, pp. 147-148; Fish, ‘Unger and Milton’, pp. 422-423; Laclau, ‘Subject of Politics’, pp. 151-152. 51 Nancy, The Inoperative Community.


Wojtek Jezierski

the scholarly significance of our main research objects – imagination and fantasy. * * * Benedict R. O’G. Anderson passed away on December 13, 2015 in Malang, Indonesia at the age of 79. Although this book as well as its title was inspired by Anderson’s ideas, it would be both inappropriate and problematic to consider it a memorial book. Nevertheless, for many scholars in this volume the first reading of Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism was an experience close to revelation. In this sense our book is a testimony of what impact a great scholarly mind can make.

Bibliography Primary sources Relacja Ibrāhīma Ibn Jakūba z podróży do krajów słowiańskich w przekazie al-Bekrīego, ed. and trans. by Tadeusz Kowalski, Pomniki dziejowe Polski S.N., vol. 1, (Cracow: Wydawnictwa Komisji Historycznej – Polska Akademia Umiejętności: vol. 84, 1946).

Secondary literature David Abulafia, ‘Introduction: Seven Types of Ambiguity, c. 1100-1500’, in Medieval Frontiers. Concepts and Practices, ed. by David Abulafia, Nora Berend (Farnham: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 1-34. David Abulaf ia, Nora Berend (eds.), Medieval Frontiers. Concepts and Practices (Farnham: Ashgate, 2002). Jonathan Adams, Cordelia Heß, ‘Encounters and Fantasies: Muslims, Jews and Christians in the North’, in Fear and Loathing in the North. Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region, ed. by Jonathan Adams, Cordelia Heß (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 3-28. Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, trans. by Michael Hardt (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2003). Gerd Althoff, ‘Der frieden-, bündnis-, und gemeinschaftsstiftende Charakter des Mahles im früheren Mittelalter’, in Essen und Trinken in Mittelalter und Neuzeit, ed. by Irmgard Bitsch, Trude Ehlert, Xenja von Ertzdorff (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1990), pp. 13-25. Gerd Althoff, ‘Gefühle in der öffentlichen Kommunikation des Mittelalters’, in Emotionalität. Zur Geschichte der Gefühle, ed. by Claudia Benthien, Anne Fleig, Ingrid Kasten (Cologne: Böhlau, 2000) pp. 82-99. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 1991). Benedict Anderson, Specters of Comparison. Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World (LondonNew York: Verso, 1998).

Introduc tion


Sverre Bagge, Thomas Lindkvist, and others (eds.), Statsutviklingen i Skandinavia i middelalderen (Oslo: Dreyers Forlag, 2012). Jacek Banaszkiewicz, Podanie o Piaście i Popielu. Studium porównawcze nad wczesno­ średniowiecznymi tradycjami dynastycznymi (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2010). Bjørn Bandlien, Man or monster? Negotiations of Masculinity in Old Norse Society (Oslo: Unipub, 2005). Bjørn Bandlien, ‘Trading with Muslims and the Sámi in Medieval Norway’, in Fear and Loathing in the North. Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region, ed. by Cordelia Heß, Jonathan Adams (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 31-48. Ulrich Beck, Risk Society. Towards a New Modernity, trans. by Mark Ritter (Los Angeles: Sage, 1992). Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe. Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350 (London: Penguin, 1994). Robert Bartlett, Angus MacKay (eds.), Medieval Frontier Societies (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989). Nora Berend (ed.), Christianization and the Rise Christian Monarchy. Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ c. 900-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Nora Berend, ‘Frontiers’, in Palgrave Advances in the Crusades, ed. by Helen J. Nicholson (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 148-171. Nils Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic. The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (AD 1075-1225) (Brill: Leiden, 2005). Barbara Bombi, ‘Innocent III and the praedicatio to the Heathens in Livonia (1198-1204)’, in Medieval History Writing and Crusading Ideology, ed. by Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen, Kurt Villads Jensen (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2005), pp. 232-241. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, trans. by William Weaver (London: Vintage Books, 1997). Zbigniew Dalewski (ed.), Granica wschodnia cywilizacji zachodniej w średniowieczu (Warsaw: Instytut Historii PAN, 2014). Jacques Derrida, Politics of Friendship, trans. by George Collins (London-New York: Verso, 2000). Alexander Drost, ‘Historische Grenzräume in Ostseeraum: Livland. Borderland-Theorien und kulturelle Schichten’, in Die Neuerfindung des Raumes. Grenzüberschreitungen und Neuordnungen, ed. by Alexander Drost, Michael North (Cologne: Böhlau, 2013), pp. 113-141. Alexander Drost, Michael North (eds.), Die Neuerfindung des Raumes. Grenzüberschreitungen und Neuordnungen (Cologne: Böhlau, 2013). Stuart Elden, Understanding Henri Lefebvre: Theory and the Possible (London: Continuum, 2004). Stanley Fish, ‘Change’, in Doing What Comes Naturally. Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (Durham-London: Duke University Press, 1989), pp. 141-160. Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980). Stanley Fish, ‘Unger and Milton’, in Doing What Comes Naturally. Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 1989), pp. 399-434. Thomas Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. Selbst- und Fremddeutung im Norden des hochmittelalterlichen Europa (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009). Daniel Föller, ‘Die soziale Konstruktion des Meeres in der Wikingerzeit. Versuch einer historischen Thalassologie’, in Zeitschrift fur historische Forschung. Beihefte 49: Über die Küsten hinaus. Thalassokratien im Mittelalter, ed. by Nikolas Jaspert, Jan Rüdiger, forthcoming 2016.


Wojtek Jezierski

David Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden. Vorstellungen und Fremdheitskategorien bei Rimbert, Thietmar von Merseburg, Adam von Bremen und Helmold von Bosau (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2005). Tim Geelhaar, Christianitas. Eine Wortgeschichte von der Spätantike bis zum Mittelalter (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015). Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge. Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (New York: Basic Books, 1983). Andre Gingrich, Christina Lutter, ‘Visions of Community: An Introduction’, History and Anthropology, 26 (2015), 1-7. Gli inizi del cristianesimo in Livonia-Lettonia: atti del colloquio internazionale de storia ecclesiastica in occasione dell’VIII centenario della Chiesa in Livonia (1186-1986): Roma, 24-25 Giugno 1986 (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1989). Jason Glynos, David Howarth, Logics of Critical Explanation in Social and Political Theory (London-New York: Routledge, 2007). Hans-Werner Goetz, Vorstellungsgeschichte. Gesammelte Schriften zu Wahrnehmungen, Deutungen und Vorstellungen im Mittelalter, ed. by Anna Aurast and others (Bochum: Winkler, 2007). Norbert Götz (ed.), The Sea of Identities: A Century of Baltic and East European Experiences with Nationality, Class, and Gender (Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2014). Ulla Haastrup, John H. Lind, ‘Dronning Margrete Fredkulla. Politisk magthaver og mæcen for byzantisk kunst i danske kirker i 1100-talets begyndelse’, i Medeltidens genus. Kvinnors och mäns roller inom kultur, rätt och samhälle. Norden och Europa ca 300-1500, ed. by Lars Hermanson, Auður Magnúsdóttir (Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2016), pp. 29-71. Tuomas Heikkilä, Sankt Henrikslegenden, trans. by Rainer Knapas (Stockholm: SLS/Atlantis, 2009). Lars Hermanson, Bärande band. Vänskap, kärlek och brödraskap i det medeltida Nordeuropa, ca 1000-1200 (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2009). Lars Hermanson, ‘Introduction: Performative Power, Ritual, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe, c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 1-40. Lars Hermanson, Auður Magnúsdóttir, ‘Medeltidens genus’, i Medeltidens genus. Kvinnors och mäns roller inom kultur, rätt och samhälle. Norden och Europa ca 300-1500, ed. by Lars Hermanson, Auður Magnúsdóttir (Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 2016), pp. 11-28. Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). Madeleine Hurd (ed.), Bordering the Baltic. Scandinavian Boundary – Drawing Processes, 19002000 (LIT Verlag, Berlin, 2010). Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (London: Routledge, 1989). Henrik Janson, ‘Making Enemies. Aspects on the Formation of Conflicting Identities in the Southern Baltics around the Year 1000’, in Medieval History Writing and Crusading Ideology, ed. by Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen, Kurt Villads Jensen (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2005), pp. 141-154. Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (eds.), Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe, c. 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015).

Introduc tion


Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Thomas Småberg (eds.), Friendship and Social Networks in Scandinavia, c. 1000-1800 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013). Linda Kaljundi, Waiting for the Barbarians: The Imagery, Dynamics and Functions of the Other in Northern Missionary Chronicles, 11th – early 13th Centuries. The Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum of Adam of Bremen, Chronica Slavorum of Helmold of Bosau, Chronica Slavorum of Arnold of Lübeck, and Chronicon Livoniae of Henry of Livonia (Unpublished MA Thesis, Tartu University: Tartu 2005). Alexander Kiossev, ‘The Self-Colonizing Metaphor’, in Atlas of Transformation (accessed 2015-09-30). Sunhild Kleingärtner, Timothy P. Newfield, Sébastien Rossignol, Donat Wehner (eds.), Landscapes and Societies in Medieval Europe East of the Elbe: Interactions between Environmental Settings and Cultural Transformations, Papers in Mediaeval Studies, 23 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2013). Ernesto Laclau, ‘Subject of Politics, Politics of the Subject’, differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 7:1 (1995), 146-164. Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen, Kurt Villads Jensen (eds.), Medieval History Writing and Crusading Ideology (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2005). Keith D. Lilley, ‘Introduction: Mapping Medieval Geographies’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies. Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 1-20. John H. Lind, ‘Consequences of the Baltic Crusades in Target Areas: The Case of Karelia’, in Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier 1150-1500, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2001), pp. 133-150. John H. Lind, Carsten Selch Jensen, Kurt Villads Jensen, Ane L.Bysted, Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Christianisation and State-Building in the Baltic Sea Area’, in Der Ostseeraum und Kontinentaleuropa 1100-1600. Einflußnahme – Rezeption – Wandel, ed. by Detlef Kattinger and others (Schwerin: Thomas Helms Verlag, 2004), pp. 127-130. Pavel V. Lukin, ‘Gorod i veche: sotsial’nyj aspect. Istoriograficheslije zametki’ (Social aspects of the veche. Historiographical observations), Cahiers du Monde Russe, 46 (2005), 157-166. Niels Lund (ed.), Two voyagers at the court of king Alfred: the ventures of Ohthere and Wulfstan together with the Description of Northern Europe from the Old English Orosius (York: William Sessions, 1984). Christina Lutter, ‘Comparative Approaches to Visions of Community’, History and Anthropology, 26 (2015), 129-143. Rasa Mažeika, ‘Granting Power to Enemy Gods in the Chronicles of the Baltic Crusades’, in Medieval Frontiers. Concepts and Practices, ed. by David Abulafia, Nora Berend (Farnham: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 153-171. Elena Melnikova, ‘The Baltic on the Mental Map of the Old Russian Annalist’, in The Image of the Baltic. A Festschrift for Nils Blomkvist, ed. by Michael F. Scholz, Robert Bohn, Carina Johansson (Visby: Gotland University Press, 2012), pp. 11-21. Dmitrij Mishin, ‘Ibrahim ibn-Ya’qub at-Turtushi’s Account of the Slavs from the Middle of the Tenth Century’, Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU, 2 (1994/95), 184-199. Alan V. Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier 1150-1500 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2001). Alan V. Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Border (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009).


Wojtek Jezierski

Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community, ed. and trans. by Peter Connor (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1991). Margaretha Nordquist, A Struggle for the Realm. Late-Medieval Swedish Rhyme Chronicles as Ideological Expressions (Stockholm: Department of History, Stockholm University, 2015). Michael North, ‘Raumkonstruktion durch künsterliche Kommunikation. Die Ostsee in Spätmittelalter und Früher Neuzeit’, Die Neuerfindung des Raumes. Grenzüberschreitungen und Neuordnungen, ed. by Alexander Drost, Michael North (Cologne: Böhlau, 2013), pp. 53-67. Martha C. Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought. The Intelligence of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Hans Jacob Orning, ‘Festive Governance. Feasts as Rituals of Power and Integration in Medieval Norway’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe, c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 175-207. Hans Jacob Orning, Lars Hermanson, Kim Esmark (eds.), Gaver, ritualer, konflikter. Et rettsantropologisk perspektiv på nordisk middelalderhistorie (Oslo: Unipub, 2010). Klaus Oschema, ‘Das Motiv der Blutsbrüderschaft: Ein Ritual zwischen Antike, Mittelalter und Gegenwart’, in Riten, Gesten, Zeremonien. Gesellschaftlische Symbolik in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit, ed. Edgar Bierende and others (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2008), pp. 41-71. Grzegorz Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów. Rola społeczna piastowskich żon i córek do połowy XII wieku – studium porównawcze (Toruń: Wydawnictwo naukowe UMK, 2013). Grzegorz Pac, ‘Kult świętych a problem granicy między chrześcijaństwem zachodnim i wschodnim w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej X-XII wieku’, in Granica wschodnia cywilizacji zachodniej w średniowieczu, ed. by Zbigniew Dalewski (Warsaw: Instytut Historii PAN, 2014), pp. 375-434. Aleksander Paroń, Sébastien Rossignol, Bartłomiej Sz. Szmoniewski, Grischa Vercamer (eds.), Potestas et communitas. Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zu Wesen und Darstellung von Herrschaftsverhältnissen im Mittelalter östlich der Elbe (Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Instytutu Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, 2010). Aneta Pieniądz, Więzi braterskie we wczesnym średniowieczu. Wyobrażenia i praktyka społeczna (Cracow: Homini, 2014). Jan Plamper, Geschichte und Gefühl. Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte (Munich: Siedler, 2012). Andrzej Pleszczyński, The Birth of a Stereotype. Polish Rulers and Their Country in German Writings c. 1000 A.D., trans. by Robert Bubczyk (Leiden: Brill, 2011). Walter Pohl, ‘Comparing Communities – The Limits of Typology’, History and Anthropology, 26 (2015), 18-35. Walter Pohl, ‘Introduction: Ethnicity, Religion and Empire’, in Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World. The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 300-1100, ed. by Walter Pohl, Clemens Gantner, Richard Payne (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 1-23. Barbara H. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press 2006). Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions’, Passions in Context. Journal for the History and Theory of Emotions, 1 (2010), index.php?id=557, 1-32 (accessed 2015-09-30). Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions in History’, The American Historical Review, 107:3 (2002), 821-845. Luigi Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and the 12th centuries. Perceptions, fears and transformations of the mental landscape in the Central Middle Ages’, in Air, Fire, Water and

Introduc tion


Earth(quake). Perceived Threats from and to the Environment: Case Studies between Geography and History, ed. by Gianluca Casagrande, Davide Del Gusto (Rome: IF Press, 2014), pp. 17-34. Roland Scheel, Skandinavien und Byzanz. Bedingungen und Konsequenzen mittelalterlicher Kulturbeziehungen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015). Michael F. Scholz, Robert Bohn, Carina Johansson (eds.), The Image of the Baltic. A Festschrift for Nils Blomkvist (Visby: Gotland University Press, 2012). Volker Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde. Identität und Fremdheit in den Chroniken Adams von Bremen, Helmolds von Bosau und Arnolds von Lübeck (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2002). James S. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance. Hidden Transcripts (London: Yale University Press, 1991). Imbi Sooman, Stefan Donecker (eds.), The “Baltic Frontier” Revisited: Power Structures and Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Baltic Sea Region (Vienna: University of Vienna, 2009). Jörn Staecker (ed.), The Reception of Medieval Europe in the Baltic Sea Region. Papers of the XIIth Visby Symposium held at Gotland University (Visby: Gotland University Press, 2009). Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy. Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983). Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (eds.), Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). Ian Wood, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, in Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World. The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 300-1100, ed. by Walter Pohl, Clemens Gantner, Richard Payne (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 531-542.

Visions of Community

Imagining the Baltic Mental Mapping in the Works of Adam of Bremen and Saxo Grammaticus, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries Thomas Foerster*

The Baltic Sea has many names. The various languages spoken on its shores have developed very diverse designations for it. The Germanic languages have simply called it after their geographical directions. Hence, it became Ostsee in German, Østersøen in Danish, or Östersjön in Swedish. The Finnish name for the sea, Itämeri, originally derives from the Swedish hydronym. By contrast, the Estonian Läänemeri translates – somewhat more appropriately for this region – as the ‘Western Sea’. The other peoples along these waters use names that are cognates of how the English know it, too: the Baltic Sea.1 In Russian, it is called Baltijskoye more (Балтийское моpе), in Latvian Baltijas jūra, in Lithuanian Baltijos jūra, and in Polish Morze Bałtyckie. In addition to these peoples and the English, the ‘Baltic’ name has also been adopted in French, in Spanish, but also in Turkish, Kiswahili, Vietnamese, and, in fact, most languages of the modern world. In European usage, the term ‘Baltic’ has two meanings: apart from the sea, it also denotes a branch of Indo-European languages (namely Latvian and Lithuanian and a few extinct ones) and the countries and peoples living in this ‘Baltic region’ – which commonly include the Estonians, even though their language is of a completely different origin. This linguistic use of the term is rather recent: it was first introduced by the German linguist Ferdinand Nesselmann

* Thomas Foerster is Researcher in Medieval History at the Norwegian Institute in Rome (University of Oslo). He defended his PhD thesis Vergleich und Identität: Selbst- und Fremddeutung im Norden des hochmittelalterlichen Europa in 2008 at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (published Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2009). He has worked at the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway and, since 2013, at the Norwegian Institute in Rome. He is the author of several articles on various aspects of historiography and political culture in high medieval Europe. He is editor of Godfrey of Viterbo and his Readers: Imperial Tradition and Universal History in Late Medieval Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015) and together with Stefan Burkhardt co-edited Norman Tradition and Transcultural Heritage: Exchange of Cultures in the “Norman” Peripheries of Medieval Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). He is currently studying the importance of political myths in medieval political culture. 1

For an overview, see Dini, Aliletoescvr.

38 Thomas Foerster

in 1845.2 As a name for the sea, it is much older, but it also goes back to a German writer. It was first used in the late eleventh century by Adam of Bremen, in his missionary history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen.3 However, in Adam’s time, much of the Baltic coastline was not yet explored and many lands on the Baltic Rim were a terra incognita. Hence, the images or ‘mental maps’ a medieval author like Adam had of the ‘Baltic Sea’ must have differed considerably from the modern understanding. While in the early Middle Ages the northern seas were seen as a hostile region, inhabited by pagans and monsters, in the twelfth century, through trade and exploration, writers gained much more detailed geographical knowledge, and geographical descriptions in his time were increasingly independent of ancient (biblical or classical) writing. 4 This chapter will compare two authors and their ‘mental maps’ of the Baltic region: Adam of Bremen, who wrote at the beginning of this development of emancipation, and the Danish chronicler Saxo Grammaticus, who finished his Gesta Danorum at a time when the Baltic no longer instilled terror but had become a political battlefield for new powers in the region.

Medieval Geography between Space and Text Adam of Bremen wrote his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum in the mid-1070s, when his church could already look back on a long history of sending missionaries to the north to convert the Scandinavian peoples to the Christian faith. In the eleventh century, however, other churches had assumed similar undertakings in the north, primarily from England, but also from Germany and not least from the newly founded churches in the north itself.5 Adam wrote his history not least to defend the exclusive Hamburg claims to Nordic responsibility. He devoted his entire fourth book to a geographical description of the North, focusing particularly on the isles of the Danish realm and the lands along the Baltic and the North Seas. His geography and ethnography, despite its obvious agenda and its bias, has 2 Cf. Dini, Aliletoescvr, p. 23. 3 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 1, c. 60: ‘Deinde vestigia secutus magni predicatoris Ansgarii, mare Balticum remigans non sine labore pervenit ad Bircam’. 4 Here see particularly Gautier Dalché, ‘Le renouvellement’. 5 For Adam’s aims, his view of the Nordic mission, and the various churches active in it cf. Kluger, ‘Die neue Ordnung’, pp. 295-296; Hoffmann, ‘Die Salier und Skandinavien’, pp. 263-264; and Janson, ‘Adam of Bremen’, pp. 86-87.

Imagining the Baltic


become a major source for Nordic history in the early Middle Ages, and particularly for the peoples that lived along the Baltic Rim. Adam may have been the first to employ this ‘Baltic’ terminology (providing etymologists with an apparently eternal puzzle about its origins). However, for him it was only one of several designations he used in his work. Sometimes he spoke quite neutrally of the ‘Eastern Sea’, using a cognate of what most languages spoken on its western shores would later call it. Other names Adam used for the same sea were mare barbarum, the ‘Barbarian Sea’,6 or pelagus Sciticum, the ‘Scythian sea’, ‘after the barbarians that live along its shores’.7 While these were obviously frightening denominations, they were also meant to inspire further missionary zeal to convert these barbaric peoples. Adam drew a textual map of the north where his Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen was surrounded by barbarous pagans8 who needed to be converted and a few Christian realms, which (as he stresses) had already been successfully Christianized by the missionaries sent out by his church. The map Adam drew was both a success story and a claim to continue with these successes. It is evident not only in the description of Amazons9 and monstrous peoples10 on the edges of the known world and the wondrous things11 he described in the north that Adam was drawing an imagined map of the North. In recent years, scholars have become increasingly interested in such geographical imagination. Many maps are of a purely cognitive nature,12 but also topographical maps reflect human interpretations in their rendering of the landscape. Hence, maps are profoundly political. Benedict Anderson, for example, has shown the power of maps in the formation of modern nations.13 However, just as much as these nations are imagined communities, the maps were also imagined. In Edward Said’s terms, one could speak of an imagined geography,14 of the perception of space based on the experience and application of textual discourse. This holds equally true for the Middle Ages. It has been argued that the notion of presenting a coherent 6 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 1. 7 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10: ‘idemque mare Barbarum seu pelagus Sciticum vocatur a gentibus, quas alluit, barbaris’. 8 See also Wojtek Jezierski’s chapter on the notion of terra horroris in the present book. 9 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 19. 10 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 25. 11 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 36. 12 Here see Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, pp. 16-17. 13 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 171-178. 14 Said, Orientalism. Here cf. Tamm, ‘A New World’, p. 12.

40 Thomas Foerster

geographical entity on a map through clearly defined borders did not enter public debate before the Hundred Years War.15 However, in the high Middle Ages, as in any other period, political hegemony was never free of a territorial dimension and hence became a matter of imagined geography. These are, of course, not yet the spatial ideas that Benedict Anderson described in his Southeast Asian examples. In his argument, such spatial ideas make maps descriptive rather than prescriptive.16 Nevertheless, in Adam’s period such notions are clearly originating. This development occurred particularly in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when maps and texts that followed textual authorities rather than topography were gradually replaced by more accurate maps and descriptions with practical rather than symbolic purposes and applications.17 Early medieval maps of the world never aimed to be realistic renderings of topography, but rather symbolic representations of a divine order of the world. That may not have been their only intention,18 but it was certainly an essential one. This can be extended to any medieval description of space where intertextual references to biblical or classical scripture were much more important than the actual landscape.19 In the early Middle Ages, there were only very few faint voices which saw the seas as a navigable challenge rather than as a biblical region of monsters. It was, as Patrick Gautier Dalché has repeatedly demonstrated, particularly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that more and more topographical knowledge about the European seas was accumulated and represented in geographical texts and maps.20 Adam of Bremen’s description of the north is a very early example of this development.21 Obviously, when he provided sailing directions and distances this was also intended for actual travellers,22 but on a larger scale the intertextual, classicizing, and theological tendencies permeate his geographical chapters to a much larger extent than any practical interest. Lars Boje Mortensen has demonstrated that such geographical chapters in chronicles were much less meant to be accurate topographical descriptions 15 See Serchuk, ‘Gaul undivided’. Generally cf. Schneidmüller, Nomen Patriae, for an early example pp. 245-246; and cf. Foerster, Conquest and Political Culture. 16 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 172-173. 17 Here see the various publications by Patrick Gautier Dalché; namely Gautier Dalché, ‘Les savoirs’ and ‘Le renouvellement’. 18 Gautier Dalché, ‘Réalité et symbole’, pp. 380-381. 19 Gautier Dalché, ‘Principes et modes’. 20 Gautier Dalché, ‘Le renouvellement’. 21 Gautier Dalché, ‘Principes et modes’, pp. 29-30. 22 See e.g. Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, pp. lib. 4, cc. 1, 4, 6, 29.

Imagining the Baltic


of any given region than references to ancient, authoritative texts. ‘Geographical description was’, it has been argued, ‘primarily a textual exercise of an authoritative canon of theological doctrine’.23 To an early medieval reader, the biblical, patristic, and classical tradition offered all interpretations that were needed to conceptualize the world; and one needed to adapt new discoveries into this system of textual knowledge, rather than the other way round. Only gradually (over the course of the high Middle Ages) writers would begin to describe geography independently of such sources.

Between Frightening Oceans and Navigable Waters: Adam’s Northern Seas Generally, in the Middle Ages as much as today, the Baltic Sea was first and foremost only a large body of water and was considered as such even by people who did not know its full extent. However, when endowed with ‘semantic, pragmatic, and symbolic properties’, such a body of water can also be regarded as a ‘viable and meaningful cultural and political entity’.24 Simply by including their geographical chapters in their works, many chroniclers of the high Middle Ages created such entities,25 by imagining them as a particular region rather than as meaningless topography. Adam of Bremen displayed a very clear image of the geographical extent of the northern seas. He distinguished clearly between the North and the Baltic Seas,26 even though, based on Einhard’s biography of Charlemagne, he called the Baltic an estuary (sinus) of the North Sea.27 However, when he was writing of the Baltic independently of Einhard, he did refer to it as a sea of its own (as Balticum mare). For the term ‘Baltic Sea’, he provided the etymology from ‘belt’ (balteus), because it was believed to stretch like a belt over all the ‘Scythian’ regions of Eastern Europe to Greece.28 In a later addition it is stated that: 23 Tamm, ‘A New World’, p. 12. 24 See Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, pp. 23-24, where the case is made for the Mediterranean. 25 This tradition is followed in several sources of the time, not only from the North. One example is Benoît de Sainte-Maur, Chronique des ducs de Normandie, ll. 1-391, or Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, vol. 3, pp. 47-53, but several others could be mentioned, too. Generally cf. also: Gautier Dalché, ‘L’espace de l’histoire’. 26 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10. 27 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10. 28 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10.

42 Thomas Foerster

East, Barbarian, Scythian and Baltic Sea are names of the same sea which Marcianus and the ancient Romans call Scythian or Maeotian Marshes, the Desert of the Geats or Scythian shores. This sea lies in the West between Denmark and Norway and extends east at unknown length.29

In Adam’s time, both the ends of the Norwegian (or ‘Dark Sea’, ‘oceanus […] caligans’)30 and of the Baltic Sea were unknown, despite the efforts of various explorers:31 ‘Beyond Norway, the last land of the North, there are no more human settlements, but only the terrible and infinite ocean which surrounds the entire world’.32 Similarly, the northern ends of the Baltic were unknown to Adam and his contemporaries on the continent, but that did not form a particular predicament for them; where medieval authors did not know the geography, they knew the Bible or the classics.33 This was particularly the case for the ocean, whose extent was unknown and which for a medieval observer may well have consisted of nothing but a large void and hence touch upon the ends of the world. Especially the northern spheres included old myths (like those of the biblical aquilo or the ancient Greek tradition of Ultima Thule) that could be connected both to the spatial and to the temporal end of the world.34 Adam also saw the apocalyptic peoples Gog and Magog in the North.35 Even though not many of the ancient sources like Greek and Roman geographers or the biblical and patristic traditions of salvation history mention these Nordic regions in detail, the historical system they offered could easily be adapted to the North. The Christianization of Scandinavia, the Baltic lands, and Central Europe seemed to confirm old narratives of constant Christian expansion, which took the cross to the ends of the known world. Generally, 29 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10, Schol. 116: ‘Mare Orientale seu mare Barbarum sive mare Scithicum vel mare Balticum unum et idem mare est, quod Marcianus et antiqui Romani Scithicas vel Meoticas paludes sive deserta Getharum aut Scithicum littus appellant. Hoc igitur mare ab occidentali occeano inter Daniam et Nordwegiam ingrediens versus orientem porrigitur longitudine incomperta.’; also cf. ibid., c. 20. 30 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 10; also cf. ibid., c. 31. 31 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 11. 32 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 35: ‘Post Nortmanniam, quae est ultima aquilonis provintia, nihil invenies habitacionis humanae nisi terribilem visu et infinitum occeanum, qui totum mundum amplectitur’. 33 Here see generally: Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden; Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde; Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. 34 Here see esp. Gautier Dalché, ‘Comment penser l’océan?’; also cf. Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 22-24. 35 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 1, c. 26. Here cf. Gautier Dalché, ‘Comment penser l’océan?’, pp. 214-215.

Imagining the Baltic


Adam relied to a great extent on Einhard’s account, the only author who discussed the geography of the North in more than just a few words. Hence, Einhard’s Vita Karoli Magni became an authoritative text, even though Adam himself may have had access to better information than Einhard centuries before. However, for an early medieval author like Adam, ancient authorities were – generally at least – not to be questioned, and it was the geographical situation that had to be ideologically adapted to the textual tradition, and not the other way round. Nevertheless, in comparison to these earlier texts Adam’s Gesta represent a new look at the Nordic seas,36 a look that regarded accessibility and discovery rather than terror. Of course, the sea was still dangerous. Adam stated that the land routes in Jutland were to be avoided because of the lack of food to be found in this barren land. The sea routes were not much better, as they were constantly under threat by pirates.37 Nevertheless, for him the Baltic was already a navigable sea: repeatedly, he provided directions and sailing distances for the various islands he described; but that meant that the old monstrous peoples (as so much more of the Northern world was known then than under Adam’s predecessors) could no longer be located where they had been imagined before. The monstrous which, according to the authoritative European tradition, had to exist in the North, was simply pushed further and further away from the authors’ perspectives.38 For Adam, Sweden and Norway were still ‘another world’ (‘alter mundus’),39 and there he could still believe to find all the monstrous peoples. 40

The Conversion of the North: New Peoples, New Histories In a very detailed study, Nils Blomkvist has illustrated how the Baltic Rim was Europeanized in the twelfth century, how the various political entities that could be encountered there in the time of Adam of Bremen were

36 Gautier Dalché, ‘Comment penser l’océan?’, pp. 222-223; Gautier Dalché, ‘Principes et modes’, pp. 29-30. 37 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 1: ‘est Iudland ceteris horridior, quae in terra fugitur propter inopiam fructuum, in mari vero propter infestationem pyratarum’. 38 Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, p. 22. 39 Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, lib. 4, c. 21; here cf. Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic, p. 3. 40 Similarly for the Mediterranean see: Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea’, pp. 19-22.

44 Thomas Foerster

transformed into no more than four thoroughly Europeanized kingdoms. 41 As the peoples of the Baltic became Europeans, Europe also discovered the Baltic. The extent of the sea became known, vast space turned into controlled territory,42 and the sea itself changed from a frightening barrier to a political and economic network.43 This development can already be clearly seen in Adam’s work and then particularly in later texts. The monstrous was imagined yet again farther away, in regions that were still unknown and frightening, and that still needed to be converted. During the twelfth century, the Christianization of the North and large parts of the Baltic had made considerable progress. 44 Some historians have studied the conversion as one of many ‘cultural encounters’ in the Baltic in this time, 45 whereas other scholars have analysed such early contacts under the title of a ‘Clash of Cultures’.46 The differences in these contacts were particularly fundamental in the eastern region of the Baltic, where the process occurred later and sometimes led to fiercer conflict. 47 Generally, however, the integration of northern Europe into the Latin culture of the continent followed two basic patterns: emulation and rejection. More exactly, it was emulation or import of continental features, of cultural expressions or authoritative texts, and rejection of such influences by highlighting own traditions or defining those as a reaction to them. 48 The conquerors, with their military superiority, not only brought new technology and cultural advances into the region, 49 but also new texts that could be emulated or rejected. The first texts that were emulated were hagiographical ones (see also Tuomas Heikkilä’s chapter in this book). For many authors describing the North it was pivotal to place their own region onto the universal map of Latin Europe, and especially of the Latin tradition – ‘to integrate the conquered lands into European cultural geography and translate this new information into Latin learned discourse’.50 Obviously, this universal map 41 Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic. 42 Tamm, ‘A New World’, p. 11. 43 For (cognitive) sea networks on the example of the Mediterranean, see: Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, pp. 21-23. Now see also Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea’. More generally, but for the Baltic see: Zilmer, ‘The Representation’. 44 For a brief overview, see: Bartlett, The Making of Europe, pp. 15-18. 45 Here see Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic, pp. 97-201. 46 See the various contributions to the volume: Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures. 47 Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic, p. 170. 48 Here cf. basically Rüdiger, Foerster, ‘Aemulatio – Recusatio’. 49 Bartlett, The Making of Europe, pp. 72-78. 50 Tamm, ‘A New World’, p. 11.

Imagining the Baltic


was imagined, too, and as such, it was subject to constant development and change. The previously barbarian and pagan North, which only recently had joined the ranks of Christian peoples, had to be presented as a worthy and important part of the universal order. Many a medieval Christian would have seen that order in his world with its history of constant threats but eventual victory and expansion of Christendom (at least until the Battle of Hattin in 1187).51 The conversion of Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and Norway seemed to be the greatest yet confirmation of this success story. The Bohemians, Hungarians, Poles, Danes, and Norwegians, however, did not only see themselves at the receiving end of a Christianizing process, but also as very active parts of these developments. Hence, their regions had to be placed on the map – or better the maps. Theological, political, and cultural geography alike was changed by this expansion, and in many ways, especially the Nordic chroniclers tried to present their regions as equally important for universal history as all the others.52 For the chroniclers, that meant placing the north in textual traditions of Latin Europe. The hagiographical texts about the saintly kings and rulers, like St. Wenceslas in Bohemia, St. Stephen in Hungary, St. Olaf in Norway, and St. Canute in Denmark, placed all these saints and their realms in biblical and patristic and not least Roman narrative traditions.53 With the later Christianization of the eastern Baltic region, similar developments can be observed.54 I have discussed elsewhere how cultural identity was defined in the new Nordic kingdoms after the regions were converted and these kingdoms were established.55 Particularly the chronicles offer fascinating insights into the development of Nordic self-awareness. While the earliest texts simply imported all narrative traditions they could find in Europe, later writing, and namely the hagiographical texts, stressed primarily the equality of these Nordic kingdoms with those regions of Europe that were Christianized long before. In the next wave of historical writing, Danish chroniclers could even see Denmark as much more worthy of European traditions than their European neighbours.56 While all these texts were still written in Latin, and hence were clearly intended for European audiences, 51 For these notions, and their critical discussion, see Seitz, ‘Das lange Ende’, esp. pp. 16-17. 52 See especially: Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 177-187. 53 Cf. Klaniczay, Holy Rulers; Mortensen, ‘Sanctified Beginnings’. Also cf. Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 79-95; here see: Mortensen, ‘The Language of Geographical Description’, esp. pp. 119-121. 54 Cf. Tamm, ‘A New World into Old Words’; Tamm, ‘Inventing Livonia’. 55 Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. 56 For an overview see: Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 179-187.

46 Thomas Foerster

the last wave of historical writing had found the place of the North in the world and felt no need to present Nordic history to other readers. These texts were written in Old Norse.57 These developments are also evident in how these texts describe the Nordic seas. The equality is probably best exemplified by the anonymous Historia Norwegiae, which claims Norway to be a scene of the Odyssey, as Scylla and Charybdis were said to be located in a Norwegian f jord, alongside hafguva and hafkitta, two sea monsters of Nordic origins.58 In the hagiographical texts about St. Olaf, the holy king of Norway, written from about the mid-twelfth century in Trondheim, this location of Norway in the alter mundus, on the edges of the orbis terrarum was even turned into a major asset in salvation history. When Norway was Christianized, so the Passio Olaui tells us, God erected his house in the aquilo, the biblical North, whence in the end of days the apocalyptic peoples would come over the earth. In this regard, the Christian Norwegians could even become the katechon who withheld the apocalyptic hordes from the face of the world.59 Hence, the new kingdoms and their history and myths (even the maritime ones) were presented as worthy equals of older European kingdoms. This changed, however, in the years around 1200. In this time, the most important Danish chronicler of the Middle Ages, Saxo Grammaticus, a cleric at the court in Lund, wrote his Gesta Danorum. In this monumental work he told a new history of the Danes from their legendary beginnings to the late twelfth century, a history that was also written against Adam’s earlier depiction of the Danes, and in order to reflect the new political and religious situation in the North. Only a few generations after their own Christianization, the Danes themselves had become one of the major forces in the Europeanization of the Baltic Rim. That resulted in competition with the German expansion in the region.60 German traders explored the seas,61 and various north German lords claimed lands in the eastern marshes of the empire and even beyond. This competition is often reflected in the Gesta Danorum. According to Saxo, the Danes and the northern Germans 57 Here see especially: Mundal, ‘Den latinspråklege historieskrivinga’, p. 24; similarly see: Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 179-80. For a general overview cf. also Hedlund, ‘Latinet i norra Europa’. Generally for the connection between choice of language and audiences see also: Crossgrove, ‘The Vernacularization’. 58 Historia Norwegie, c. 2. 59 Passio Olaui, p. 67; here see: Foerster, Vergleich und Identität, pp. 90-92. 60 Generally cf. Bartlett, The Making of Europe, pp. 139-144 and see esp. Lübke, ‘Von der Sclavinia’. 61 For a brief overview: Bartlett, The Making of Europe, pp. 191-196.

Imagining the Baltic


(respectively Saxons) followed different interests in their Baltic expansion. While the Danes primarily intended to establish a trade network with a few posts throughout the region, the Saxons wanted to conquer the entire territory.62 Saxo’s Gesta stood constantly between emulation and rejection, and often enough, he opted for the latter. Like Adam, Saxo also included a detailed geographical description of the North in his text,63 but his chapter shows some major differences.

A Rome of the North: Saxo’s mare nostrum Adam’s Gesta had fundamental importance for all Nordic chronicles written after him. However, many of the later texts were soon composed in opposition to Adam’s Gesta. Despite (or exactly because of) the many names Adam used for this sea, it is evident that he must have had a quite detailed image of the extents and the shores of this sea and of the peoples living along them.64 Saxo presented different attitudes with regard to these seas. In some of his poems, the old Danish Viking ways of roaming the seas are praised as a virtuous historical model.65 His understanding of the Baltic as an accessible sea rather than the horrifying abode of monsters and heathens becomes even clearer in his story of Amlethus, the prince better known as the eponymous hero in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. When Amlethus pretended to be mad, he was mocked and tested by some of his companions who did not believe his madness. When they found the rudder of a stranded ship on the beach, they told him that they had found a very large knife. To that Amlethus replied that this might cut a large slice of ham.66 The men 62 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 14, c. 37.2. Here cf. Blomqvist, The Discovery of the Baltic, pp. 203-276, esp. pp. 212-214. For the difference see again: Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 172-173. 63 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, Praef., cc. 2.1-3.0. 64 The Middle Ages had more geographical knowledge than is often assumed. Contrary to a widely held belief, Ptolemy’s geographical tradition was known and discussed in medieval Europe – even when the actual text was not available. Here see especially Gautier Dalché, La géographie de Ptolémée en Occident; Gautier Dalché, ‘Sur l’originalité’, pp. 44-45; For an English discussion of later views see: Gautier Dalché, ‘The Reception of Ptolemy’s Geography’; also cf. Lilley, ‘Introduction’, p. 5. For the example of Isidore of Seville see also: Merrills, ‘Geography and Memory’. 65 See, for instance: Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 1, c. 8.18. 66 Saxo Grammaticus, lib. 3, c. 6.10: ‘Idem littus pręteriens, cum comites, inuento periclitatę nauis gubernaculo cultrum a se eximię granditatis repertum dixissent: ‘Eo’, inquit, ‘pręgrandem pernam secari conuenit’, profecto mare significans, cuius immensitati gubernaculi magnitudo congrueret’.

48 Thomas Foerster

were surprised at the method in his madness: the ham was understood as the sea, and so the Danes could very well use their rudders to cut themselves some slices of the Baltic region. So, the prince bemused his audience, and gave Saxo’s readers yet another indication of how accessible and navigable the sea was understood to be in the Gesta Danorum. On occasion, the sea could still support the enemies of the Danish,67 and sometimes whole fleets were destroyed by raging storms.68 Nevertheless, such dangers are very different from those that Adam had still described, and generally Saxo understood the Baltic as a sphere of influence easily mastered by the Danes. Recently it has been argued that mastery of a difficult terrain was used by Norman chroniclers as a symbol for ruling the entire land and its people.69 Such a notion may already have influenced Adam of Bremen’s directions in his geography, but whereas the Baltic in Adam’s Gesta had merely become navigable, Saxo’s Danes roamed and mastered the waves of the Baltic, and hence also ruled those waves. Karsten Friis-Jensen has illustrated repeatedly that Saxo tried to present Denmark as a Nordic version of Rome, not only through the structure of his work,70 but also in various quotations, particularly from the Roman classics and from his preferred source for Roman history, Valerius Maximus.71 Of similar importance for Saxo’s Roman models was the Roman historian Orosius, whose geographical interest Saxo also introduced into his Gesta Danorum.72 From Orosius Saxo took over the notion of a mare nostrum: For the Romans, the Mediterranean had been their political backyard, their sphere of influence and the realm of their territorial expansion. When Saxo used the same wording for the Baltic Sea, he claimed Danish mastery of these seas in the same way the Romans had ruled the great sea in the south. This became all the more evident as Saxo used the expression when celebrating the conquest of Arkona on Rügen, the last bastion of west Slav paganism, by the Danes in 1168:

67 Saxo Grammaticus, lib. 5, c. 2.13: ‘Pugnabat pro eo mare’. 68 Saxo Grammaticus, lib. 14, c. 23.9: ‘Postera nocte concitatum acrius mare eo tempestatis excessit, ut regia classis non portu, non ancoris, quo minus sparsa pelago disiceretur, retentari potuerit’. 69 Hicks, ‘The Concept of the Frontier’. 70 Here see esp. Friis-Jensen, ‘Saxo Grammaticus’s Study’. 71 Friis-Jensen, Saxo Grammaticus as Latin Poet, pp. 192-198. 72 Mortensen, ‘The Language of Geographical Description’, pp. 115-116; generally on these texts as sources for medieval geography, see also Gautier Dalché, ‘Principes et modes’, pp. 11-12.

Imagining the Baltic


Until then, piratical outrages had dishonoured every quarter of our sea, but when Rügen had been captured, it was provided by a wise statute of the Danes that their fleet should be numbered and that every fourth ship should carry out the task of keeping watch against sea-rovers until the season came to an end, and thus the diligence of a few would acquit the rest for their pains.73

A similar (naval) imperial idea is expressed for King Frotho in the fifth book. In Saxo’s system of historical parallels, Frotho was the Danish equivalent of Augustus, and it is no surprise that terms like imperium Frothonis are used. This term may well be employed in the classicising sense of ‘command’, but it still carries all the medieval connotations of ‘empire’. Moreover, Frotho is presented as having created a Nordic form of the Augustan peace, and that was also enforced on the seas: While thus now all the storms of war had been ended, the pirates had not yet left the oceans. For that reason Frotho brought his arms to the west to attack it fiercely, as he only wished to spread the peace.74

Hence, it was the Danes who restored the peace and order that was the mark of an empire, and hence in Saxo’s view the Baltic should rightly be considered the Danish imperial sea. This becomes particularly evident in the story of the legendary King Harald Wartooth in Saxo’s seventh book. He was a man of such bravery that he conquered almost all lands round about. He had conquered Sweden and Norway; he had subjected the Frisians and the neighbouring Germans from the Rhine. He defeated the Slavs and conquered Aquitaine and Britain: The fame of these deeds attracted warriors from diverse parts of the world to him, whom he united as a band of mercenaries. By their large number he controlled the movements in all realms, simply through the 73 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 14, c. 39.49: ‘Capta Rugia, cum adhuc piraticę labes cunctos maris nostri secessus fœdaret, sollerti Danorum instituto prouisum est, ut eorum classe recensita quarta quęque nauis aduersum maritimos prędones, quoad temporum habitus sineret, excubandi off icio fungeretur, sicque quorundam assiduitas uniuersorum laborem absolueret’. 74 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 5, c. 14.1: ‘Ita cuncta admodum bellicarum rerum tempestate depulsa Oceanum manus adhuc piratica non reliquit. Quę res maxime Frothonem ad Occidentem armis incessendum adduxit, cuius unicum in propaganda pace studium uersabatur’.

50 Thomas Foerster

terror of his name, and thus their leaders lost their interest in fighting one another. No one dared to assume domination of the seas without his consent, for in Denmark in all times command (imperium) of the seas and of the land was divided.75

Saxo, therefore, imagined the Baltic Sea not only as a body of water that could be pagan or frightening, as Adam had argued, but as a sea that could and should also be mastered and navigated. For Saxo, the sea had become a political entity; a realm that was to be governed by the Danes. However, what did Saxo mean by this imperial sea? He used Orosius’ phrase mare nostrum in the fourteenth book, which tells the history of the Danish expansion in the Baltic in Saxo’s own lifetime. However, in his preface (which he probably – together with the prehistorical books – wrote later than the second, ‘contemporary’ half of his Gesta Danorum), he stated the extent of the empire he had in mind. In this part, he provided a detailed geographical description of the Danish isles, in the tradition of Orosius and Adam of Bremen. Even though in many instances in his work he told of hostilities and even hate between Denmark and all its neighbours, especially the Germans, but also the Swedes and Norwegians, his Danish imperium had larger borders than the actual Danish kingdom. In his geographical description he did not only include Jutland, Scania, and the islands between them. He stated that ‘Sweden and Norway are, both by language and by geography, part of this region’,76 and for that reason he included them in his geographical description. His intention may well have been more of an intertextual reference to Orosius here,77 but the Roman and most of all imperial connotations cannot be ignored. However, this description also provides some indication of what he had in mind when he used terms like mare: Moreover, the upper arm of the ocean that cuts through Denmark and streams by it, also reaches the southern coast of Götaland in a rather large bay. The lower arm, however, which passes by the northern coast 75 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 7, c. 10.10: ‘Hac rerum fama athletas e uariis orbis partibus accersitos in mercenariam manum redegit. Quorum frequentia auctus adeo regnorum omnium motus nominis sui terrore cohibuit, ut eorum rectoribus mutuum conserendę manus ausum excuteret. Sed nec quisquam maris dominationem absque eius nutu usurpare pręsumpsit. Quippe quondam in Danorum republica diuiduum terrę et pelagi imperium fuit’. 76 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, Praef., c. 2.6: ‘At quoniam regio hęc Suetiam Noruagiamque tam uocis quam situs affinitate complectitur’. 77 Mortensen, ‘The Language of Geographical Description’, p. 116.

Imagining the Baltic


of Götaland and Norway, turns east in a considerable extension, where it is limited by a curved coastline.78

The curved coastline in the east can only refer to the shores of what is today Latvia and Lithuania. Hence, this reference refers to the Baltic probably as far to the east as Saxo knew about it. What is interesting, however, is what he argued about the west. For Saxo, the Skagerrak and the waters between Götaland and Jutland seem not to be a strait between two seas but rather part of one larger sea that seems to stretch west just as much as east.79 The constant Danish involvement in English affairs, which Saxo often mentioned, seems to confirm that his mare nostrum not only referred to the Baltic, but similarly to the North Sea. For him, the Baltic Sea as the modern world understands it is nothing more than a large extension of the ocean that surrounded Denmark directly. Hence, when Saxo spoke of the mare nostrum, he did not only refer to the Baltic as it is known today, but to a region that also comprised parts of the North Sea. Similarly, Harald Wartooth’s imperium of the seas (or the ‘pelagi dominatio’)80 included territories from Britannia to Sclavinia. Frotho’s imperium, too, extended on these seas all the way to Britain. In an imperial understanding, this meant that probably the entire North Sea and the entire Baltic region, at least as far as these seas were known in Saxo’s time and to Saxo himself, should have been part of this Roman imperial sea of the North. However, Saxo’s mental map did not reach very much farther east than Sweden and the Lithuanian and Latvian coasts. It has already been mentioned that the latter seemed to delimit the sea altogether. He also indicated that the region of Finland was still barbarous or even monstrous: ‘East of Sweden, there is an abundant blend of various barbarian peoples’.81 What he knew to report for regions off the map seems to refer to what Adam had related for them and what an entire tradition of ethnographical writing had taught him. For these regions, Saxo also returned to the textual tradition of the monstrous north which was also not unlike what later maps would 78 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, Praef., c. 2.9: ‘Cęterum Oceani superior flexus Daniam intersecando prętermeans australem Gothyę plagam sinu laxiore contingit. Inferior vero meatus eius Noruagięque latus septentrionale pręteriens ad ortum uersus magno cum latitudinis incremento solido limitatur anfractu’; also cf. ibid.: ‘Quem maris terminum gentis nostrę ueteres Ganduicum dixere’. 79 For Old Norse sources, see Zilmer, ‘The Representation’, pp. 249-251. 80 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 7, c. 11.12. 81 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, Praef. c. 2.10: ‘Post quam ab ortu quoque multiplex diuersitatis barbaricę consertio reperitur’.

52 Thomas Foerster

state for the remotest regions: here there be monsters. This was less fantastic than what Adam had described in the most remote regions. In Saxo’s case, this should much rather be understood as a further call to Christianize and colonize the region, and not only an intertextual reference to ancient classics and medieval authorities. The Danes would answer this call and fulfil this obligation in salvation history through their Baltic crusades, but in their case Christianizing the region also meant building a political empire.82 Obviously, the eastern extent of the Baltic was known in the Nordic sources: Austrvegr had long been a popular route to Byzantium via Russia and Ukraine, so popular that it was sometimes even considered part of the wider Nordic world.83 However, the shape and extent of the northern Baltic was widely unknown in the high Middle Ages. Neither Saxo nor Adam could imagine the Baltic in any way similar to a modern reader, and neither of them would even have a ‘distorted cognitive map’84 of the Baltic area as a drainage basin or as the Baltic Rim. Because they did not know all the actual shores of the sea, they did not know how it was enclosed, mostly because their interests lay elsewhere. Saxo had no particular cognitive map of the Baltic Sea. Only once in his entire voluminous history Saxo uses the term Baltic (again when discussing pirates),85 even though he was well aware of Adam’s text, and hence his hydronyms. Quite clearly, Saxo did not primarily understand the Baltic Sea through textual discourse. He had quite obviously his own horizon.86 Of course, that is true for most late medieval chroniclers and their mental maps of different regions. These responded much more to the contemporary political and cultural regions and not least to the traffic routes that were used at the time.87

Conclusions While both Adam and Saxo included the regions of the North and the Baltic Sea in a worldview and a textual tradition derived from the Bible, 82 Here see especially Jensen, Lind, Bysted, Jensen, Jerusalem in the North. 83 Zilmer, ‘The Representation’, pp. 256-59. Also cf. Melnikova, ‘The Baltic on the Mental Map’. 84 Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, p. 18. 85 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib. 16, c. 5.8: ‘Syalandicos portus ac Balticum fretum pestifero piratarum incursu vacuefecit’. 86 Similarly, for Roger Bacon cf. Power, ‘The Cosmographical Imagination’, p. 87; or for Hugh of Saint Victor, see Gautier Dalché, ‘Réalité et symbole’. 87 For the example of the Old Russian Annalist: Melnikova, ‘The Baltic on the Mental Map’, p. 16.

Imagining the Baltic


the church fathers, and the classics, they still described the actual political and ecclesiastical horizons of their times and their circles. Though not topographically tangible, abstract geographical entities like the entire Baltic Rim were discussed in their works. In many cases, medieval chroniclers did not care much for or did not know much about the entire extent of a region or of a sea, whereas the extent is usually exactly what defines or at least heavily influences most modern understandings. Modern differences between the ‘Baltic countries’, ‘Baltic languages’, or even the ‘Baltic culture’ may differ considerably from the geographical extent of the ‘Baltic region’, just as much as – to resort to a somewhat anachronistic example – any idea of ‘Mediterranean cuisine’ does not necessarily refer to the gastronomic traditions of every coast between Gibraltar, Tunis, Beirut, and Dubrovnik.88 Nevertheless, the achievements of geographical exploration and research influence every modern conceptualization of a region or a sea much more than it possibly could those of medieval viewers.89 Based on a different set of knowledge, they defined their seas and their regions by the culture they themselves assigned to them, and not by topographical features (like a water drainage basin90). Their definitions were still in part influenced by scripture and textual tradition, but only in that fitting terms or phrases from authoritative texts were employed to describe and delineate the regions the authors could see within their own horizons.91 Hence, the sea that a modern viewer would define as the Baltic was, for Saxo, nothing but a large eastern extension of the ocean on which his work centred – and that his Danes were called to rule. Other twelfth- and thirteenth-century authors like Helmold of Bosau or Henry of Livonia (discussed in the chapters by Linda Kaljundi and Wojtek Jezierski) would still conceptualize larger regions with regard to their local interests in northern Germany or Livonia, respectively.92 A more detailed description of the Baltic and its entire rim would only emerge a generation after Saxo and these writers, when the thirteenth-century English Franciscan Bartholomaeus Anglicus (1203-1272) completed his encyclopaedia De proprietatibus rerum, which would become an instant success with 88 Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, pp. 17-18. 89 Generally cf. Simon, ‘Chorography reconsidered’. Generally cf. Gautier Dalché, ‘Connaisance et usages’. 90 Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic, pp. 11-12. 91 Also cf. Lilley, ‘Introduction’, pp. 4-5. 92 For Helmold and Arnold see esp. Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde. For Henry of Livonia cf. Tamm, ‘Inventing Livonia’; Kaljundi, ‘(Re)performing the past’; Kivimäe, ‘Henricus the Ethnographer’. See also the chapters by Kaljundi and Jezierski in this book.

54 Thomas Foerster

medieval readers,93 and when other texts would free themselves to a much larger extent from scriptural confinement and offer more accurate information about the region. Bartholomaeus’s description included six regions on the eastern Baltic shore that had still been widely unknown to Adam and Saxo. From then on, in texts like the Descriptiones terrarum or the Livländische Reimchronik, readers would encounter much more detail about the Baltic, have much more knowledge of its entire rim, and would hence also be more influenced by this topographical knowledge when imagining a ‘Baltic region’ or the ‘Baltic Sea’.94 However, this understanding of the Baltic would have been incomprehensible in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Nevertheless, that period witnessed fundamental changes in the mental mapping of the European seas: from a terrifying barrier, it turned into navigable waters, ‘a rationally mastered world’.95 To some extent, Adam and Saxo, the two authors studied here, are representatives of the beginning and the end of this transformational process in the North. Adam wrote his Gesta in the middle of the conversion period, and at a time when writers began to emancipate themselves from biblical, patristic, or classical authorities in geographical description. He perceived the seas as much more navigable and accessible than his predecessors Einhard or Rimbert (for whom it was mostly a frightening region). Still, Adam was quite hesitant in stepping out of the shadows of his authorities, as the classical and biblical models of salvation history served him well in his missionary account of Nordic history. Hence, he still imagined a sea that was frightening, but that could eventually be overcome. This presents the aim of his entire work in essence; for him, the Nordic regions around these seas were populated by frightening barbarians, but if only the church of Hamburg-Bremen was trusted to finish the job, the sea could be mastered. Saxo, on the other hand, did not discuss navigability or sailing distances very much. Of course, his work represents a different genre entirely: his aim is not to give an account of the successful mission of the North, but a political history of the Danes. The Gesta Danorum did not have to include frightening pagans as much as Adam’s ecclesiastical history of the Nordic mission. However, since he repeatedly ascribes to these Danes an imperial calling in the North, his intention is at least not entirely unlike Adam’s. Nevertheless, not all the differences between Adam’s and Saxo’s works can be explained by genre. Saxo wrote his Gesta Danorum at a time when the conversion process had made considerable inroads in the Baltic, 93 Cf. Tamm, ‘Signes d’alterité’. 94 Tamm, ‘A New World’, pp. 34-35. 95 Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea’, pp. 28-30, at p. 28.

Imagining the Baltic


when more and more of the Baltic topography was discovered and when, as a result, the region had already gained political implications. In other words, it was only in this period that a political history of the Danes without the frightening barbarians was even possible. For Saxo, the biblical models (that had still been of such importance for Adam) are still present,96 but are widely overshadowed by his representation of the geopolitical significance of the Baltic. His use of Orosius’ term mare nostrum has often served historians as indication that he imagined the Baltic as the northern equivalent of the Mediterranean, with Denmark governing it as a ‘Nordic Rome’. However, his mare nostrum meant not only the Baltic, but included also the North Sea. He imagined the two seas as one ocean which had to be governed by a Danish empire. His cognitive map of the North described a political entity. Hence, both the Baltic and the North Sea were only eastern and western extensions of his mare nostrum. While for Adam the Nordic world was set between the seas, for Saxo these seas surrounded Denmark as its naval empire. While Adam was still driving monsters from the edges of his imagined Baltic, Saxo was raising flags in his.

Bibliography Primary sources Adam of Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae episcopum / Hamburgische Kirchengeschichte, ed. by Bernhard Schmeidler. MGH Ser. Script. rer. Germ., vol. 2 (Hannover/Leipzig: Hahnsche Buchhandlung 1917). Benoît de Sainte-Maur, Chronique des ducs de Normandie, ed. by Carin Fahlin, 2 vols. (Uppsala: Bibliotheca Ekmaniana Universitatis regiae Upsaliensis, 1951-54). Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houedene, ed. W. Stubbs, 4 vols (London: Rerum Britannicarum medii ævi scriptores, 1868-71). Historia Norwegie, ed. by Inger Ekrem and Lars Boje Mortensen, trans. by Peter Fisher (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2003). Passio et miracula beati Olaui, ed. Frederick Metcalfe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881). Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum. Danmarkshistorien, ed. by Karsten Friis-Jensen, trans. by Peter Zeeberg, 2 vols. (Copenhagen: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, 2005). Saxo Grammaticus, Danorum Regum Heroumque Historia. The text of the first edition with translation and commentary in three volumes, ed. & trans. by Eric Christiansen (Oxford: British archaeological reports. International series, 1980-81).

96 Here see generally Skovgaard-Petersen, Da tidernes herre var nær. Also cf. Breengaard, Muren om Israels hus.

56 Thomas Foerster

Secondary literature Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London/New York: Verso, 2006). Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe. Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350 (London: Penguin, 1994). Nils Blomkvist, The Discovery of the Baltic. The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (AD 1075-1225) (Leiden: Brill, 2005). Carsten Breengaard, Muren om Israels hus: Regnum og sacerdotium i Danmark 1050-1170 (Copenhagen: G.E.C. Gads Forlag, 1982). William Crossgrove, ‘The Vernacularization of Science, Medicine, and Technology in Late Medieval Europe: Broadening Our Perspectives’, Early Science and Medicine, 5 (2000), 47-63. Pietro U. Dini, Aliletoescvr. linguistica baltica delle origini (Livorno: Books & Company, 2010). Thomas Foerster, Conquest and Political Culture. The Hohenstaufen in Sicily and the Capetians in Normandy, 1185-1215, forthcoming. Thomas Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. Selbst- und Fremddeutung im Norden des hochmittelalterlichen Europa (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2008). David Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden: Vorstellungen und Fremdheitskategorien bei Rimbert, Thietmar von Merseburg, Adam von Bremen und Helmold von Bosau (Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2005). Karsten Friis-Jensen, Saxo Grammaticus as Latin Poet. Studies in the Verse Passages of the Gesta Danorum (Rome: Bretschneider, 1987). Karsten Friis-Jensen, ‘Saxo Grammaticus’s Study of the Roman Historiographers and his Vision of History’, in Saxo Grammaticus Tra storiografia e letteratura, ed. by Carlo Santini (Rome: Il Calamo, 1992), pp. 61-81. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Comment penser l’océan? Modes de connaissance des Fines urbis terrarum du nord-ouest (de l’antiquité au XIIIe siècle)’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 203-226. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Connaissance et usages géographiques des coordonnées dans le moyen âge latin (du vénérable Bède à Roger Bacon)’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 257-292. Patrick Gautier Dalché, La géographie de Ptolémée en Occident: (Ive-XVIe siècle) (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009). Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘L’espace de l’histoire. Le rôle de la géographie dans les chroniques universelles’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 59-75. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Le renouvellement de la perception et de la représentation de l’espace au XIIe siècle’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 293-344. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Les savoirs géographiques en Méditerranée chrétienne (XIIIe siècle)’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 345-368. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Principes et modes de la représentation de l’espace géographique durant le haut moyen âge’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 5-30. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘“Réalité” et “symbole” da la géographie de Hughes de Saint-Victor’, in Ugo di San Vittore. Atti del XLVII Convegno storico internazionale (Todi, 10-12 ottobre 2010) (Spoleto: Fondazione Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo, 2011), pp. 359-381. Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘Sur l’“originalité” de la “géographie” médiévale’, in his L’espace géographique au moyen âge (Florence: Sismel, 2013), pp. 43-57.

Imagining the Baltic


Patrick Gautier Dalché, ‘The Reception of Ptolemy’s Geography (End of the Fourteenth to Beginning of the Sixteenth Century)’, in The History of Cartography, vol. 3: Cartography in the European Renaissance, ed. by David Woodward (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 285-364. Monica Hedlund, ‘Latinet i norra Europa’, Historisk tidskrift för Finland, 93 (2008), 351-361. Leonie V. Hicks, ‘The Concept of the Frontier in Norman Chronicles. A Comparative Approach’, in Norman Expansion. Connections, Continuities and Contrasts, ed. by Keith J. Stringer, Andrew Jotischky (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 143-164. Erich Hoffmann, ‘Die Salier und Skandinavien’, in Auslandsbeziehungen unter den Salischen Kaisern. Geistige Auseinandersetzung und Politik, ed. by Franz Staab (Speyer: Verlag der Pfälzischen Gesellschaft, 1994), pp. 239-264. Henrik Janson, ‘Adam of Bremen and the Conversion of Scandinavia’, in Christianizing Peoples and Converting Individuals, ed. by Guyda Armstrong, Ian N. Wood (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), pp. 83-88. Kurt Villads Jensen, John Lind, Ane Bysted, Carsten Selch Jensen, Jerusalem in the North. Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). Linda Kaljundi, ‘(Re)performing the past. Crusading, history writing, and rituals in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in The Performance of Christian and Pagan Storyworlds: Non-Canonical Chapters of the History of Nordic Medieval Literature, ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen, Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen, Alexandra Bergholm (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 295-338. Jüri Kivimäe, ‘Henricus the Ethnographer. Reflections on Ethnicity in the Chronicle of Livonia’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 77-106. Gabor Klaniczay, Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses. Dynastic Cults in Medieval Central Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Helmuth Kluger, ‘Die neue Ordnung im Norden: Hamburg-Bremen und das Integrationszentrum Lund’, in Salisches Kaisertum und Neues Europa: Die Zeit Heinrichs IV. und Heinrichs V., ed. by Bernd Schneidmüller, Stefan Weinfurter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007), pp. 291-305. Keith D. Lilley, ‘Introduction: Mapping Medieval Geographies’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies. Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 1-20. Christian Lübke, ‘Von der Sclavinia zur Germania Slavica: Akkulturation und Transformation’, in Akkulturation im Mittelalter, ed. by Reinhard Härtel (Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2014), pp. 207-233. Andy Merrills, ‘Geography and Memory in Isidore’s Etymologies’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies. Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 45-64. Lars Boje Mortensen, ‘The Language of Geographical Description in Twelfth-Century Scandinavian Latin’, Filologia Mediolatina, 12 (2005), 103-121. Lars Boje Mortensen, ‘Sanctified Beginnings and Mythopoetic Moments: The First Wave of Writing on the Past in Norway, Denmark, and Hungary, c. 1000-1230’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 247-273. Else Mundal, ‘Den latinspråklege historieskrivinga og den norrøne tradisjonen: ulike teknikkar og ulike krav’, in Olavslegenden og den latinske historieskrivning i 1100-tallets Norge, ed.

58 Thomas Foerster by Inger Ekrem, Lars Boje Mortensen, Karen Skovgaard-Petersen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum, 2000), pp. 9-25. Alan V. Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). Juval Portugali, ‘The Mediterranean as a Cognitive Map’, Mediterranean Historical Review, 19 (2004), 16-24. Amanda Power, ‘The Cosmographical Imagination of Roger Bacon’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies: Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 83-98. Jan Rüdiger, Thomas Foerster, ‘Aemulatio – Recusatio. Strategien der Akkulturation im europäischen Norden’, in Akkulturation im Mittelalter, ed. by Reinhard Härtel (Ostf ildern: Thorbecke, 2014), pp. 441-497. Luigi Russo, ‘Mediterranean Sea between the 11th and the 12th centuries: perceptions, fears and transformations of the mental landscape in the Central Middle Ages’, in Air, Fire, Water and Earth(quake): Perceived Threats from and to the Environment: Case Studies between Geography and History, ed. by Gianluca Casagrande, Davide Del Gusto (Rome: IF Press, 2014), pp. 17-34. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage books, 1979). Bernd Schneidmüller, Nomen Patriae. Die Entstehung Frankreichs in der politisch-geographischen Terminologie (10.-13. Jahrhundert) (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1987). Volker Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde. Identität und Fremdheit in den Chroniken Adams von Bremen, Helmolds von Bosau und Arnolds von Lübeck (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2002). Annette Seitz, Das lange Ende der Kreuzfahrerreiche in der Universalchronistik des lateinischen Europa (1187-1291) (Husum: Matthiesen Verlag: 2010). Camille Serchuk, ‘Gaul Undivided. Cartography, Geography and Identity in France at the Time of the Hundred Years War’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies. Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 175-200. Jesse Simon, ‘Chorography reconsidered. An Alternative Approach to the Ptolemaic Definition’, in Mapping Medieval Geographies. Geographical Encounters in the Latin West and Beyond, 300-1600, ed. by Keith D. Lilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 23-44. Inge Skovgaard-Petersen, Da tidernes herre var nær: Studier i Saxos historiesyn (Copenhagen: Den danske historiske Forening, 1987). Marek Tamm, ‘A New World into Old Words. The Eastern Baltic Region and the Cultural Geography of Medieval Europe’, in The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 11-35. Marek Tamm, ‘Inventing Livonia. The Name and Fame of a New Christian Colony on the Medieval Baltic Frontier’, Zeitschrift für Ostforschung, 60 (2011), 186-209. Marek Tamm, ‘Signes d’alterité. La représentation de la Baltique orientale dans le De proprietatibus rerum de Barthélemy l’Anglais (vers 1245)’, in Frontiers in the Middle Ages, ed. by Outi Merisalo (Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération internationale des institutes d’études médiévales, 2006), pp. 147-170. Kristel Zilmer, ‘The Representation of Waterborne Traffic in Old Norse Narratives. The Case of the Baltic Sea Area’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 2 (2006), 239-274.

Discourses of Communion Abbot William of Æbelholt and Saxo Grammaticus: Imagining the Christian Danish Community, Early Thirteenth Century Lars Hermanson*

At the turn of the thirteenth century Denmark had grown into a powerful North European realm, which exerted substantial political influence on the Baltic Rim. During the crusades led by Valdemar I (r. 1157-1182) and his sons, considerable achievements in Slavic and Baltic territories transformed the kingdom into a great power striving to depict itself as standard-bearer of the Catholic Church in the North. Even though politically strong, Denmark had only recently been incorporated into the European christianitas, which meant that its written culture was embryonic compared to its southern counterparts such as The Holy Roman Empire and France. As Thomas Foerster claimed in the preceding chapter, the governing Danish elite were at the time in urgent need of portraying its kingdom as a prominent cultural power that not only had a glorious history of its own, but correspondingly had access to intellectuals who could convey that message. In consequence the newborn Baltic great power had to recruit skilled literati from overseas whose mission was to spread Christian written culture and to act on behalf of Danish kings in Latin communication with foreign princes. Simultaneously the leaders strived to create a stratum of prominent scribes by sending young aristocrats for educational training abroad. This chapter focuses on two literati who shouldered these responsibilities in Denmark around the year 1200: William, an Augustinian canon from the abbey of St. Geneviève in Paris transferred to the abbey of Æbelholt, where * Lars Hermanson is Professor of History at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. His main research interest is the interplay between social, political, and spiritual relationships in northern European societies during the period c. 900-1200. His works include Bärande band. Vänskap, kärlek och brödraskap i det medeltida Nordeuropa, ca 1000-1200 [A Solid Bond: Friendship, Love, and Brotherhood in Medieval Northern Europe, c. 1000-1200] (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2009). He has recently co-edited the volumes Medeltidens genus. Kvinnors och mäns roller inom kultur, rätt och samhälle. Norden och Europa ca 300-1500 [Medieval Gender: Roles of Women and Men within Culture, Law, and Society in Scandinavia and Europe c. 300-1500] (Göteborg 2016) and Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order, c. 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). He is currently engaged in the project Nordic Elites in Transformation c. 1050-1250.

60 L ars Hermanson

he served as an abbot, and the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus. William was a member of an international monastic community, while Saxo was a secular clerk primarily associated with the Danish warrior-society.1 The purpose of this chapter is to elucidate how they imagined their communities in light of their distinct social and cultural backgrounds. In their capacities of literati they represented, to use Benedict Anderson’s words, ʻtiny literate reefs on top of vast illiterate oceans’ and hence their literary efforts should be considered as important contributions to the making of the Christian Danish community.2 Although William and Saxo belonged to different milieus, they imagined their communities in relation to the framework of ʻthe divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realmʼ which Anderson conceives as the predominant idea of societal order in Europe during the pre-modern era.3 Yet here it is not primarily their ideas about the construct of an ideal realm that is in focus, but rather the values, norms, and personal bonds that kept communities together. Hence the outer framework was constituted by the Christian Danish community, but in order to make it intelligible, William and Saxo elaborated on an inner framework encompassing groups and individuals who possessed the inner qualities that kept the outer frames together. For William the outer framework was associated with the international monastic community and its mission in Denmark. For Saxo it was linked to the Danish patria and its political role on the Baltic Rim. 4 A common trait for both scribes was that the inner framework served didactical purposes, 1 The Augustinian order was founded in 1256. However, during the twelfth-century, ‘Canons Regular’ following the rules of St Augustine founded several abbeys, such as the abbey of Prémontré and St Victor and St Geneviève abbeys in Paris. The Augustinian canons are here referred to as belonging to the monastic community due to the fact that they lived in common under a rule in contrast to secular clerics. When acting as a collective (the Order of the Canons Regular), I have chosen to use terms such as ‘brothers’ or ‘brethren’, i.e. terms used by William ( fratres). Canons regular were not monks since they choose to live an apostolic life imitating the life of Jesus. According to Bernard Ardura this life ‘is not limited to living in a cloister without the possibility of going out. It means belonging to an ecclesia, to a community’, Ardura, The Religious Profession, p. 342. Robert I. Moore states that the ‘ecclesiastical reform and urban growth created a host of communities of canons regular’, Moore, The First European Revolution, p. 114. 2 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 15. 3 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 7. 4 Thus their views on the relation between spiritual and temporal power – Ecclesia, Christianitas, and Regnum-Imperium differed. William represented Bernhard of Clairvaux’s vision of a monastic Christian world with a papal abbot at its helm, while Saxo’s visionary framework was more closely linked to the Regnum-Imperium-complex. Many episodes in the Gesta Danorum place the popes on equality with temporal lords.

Discourses of Communion


showing role models for human conduct embodied respectively by the pious brother and the wise statesman.

The Sacral Language of Love and Friendship As Anderson claims, a modern nation is imagined because regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings.5

Though Anderson deals with modern nations, comradeship and fraternity were not concepts solely to be associated with imaginations that sprung from revolutions of the eighteenth century. The medieval ‘divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm’ was certainly marked by hierarchical ideas of social order. Nevertheless, both in written theory and in practice, horizontal bonds of friendship and fraternity formed the glue that held communities together. To medieval intellectuals as well as their Greco-Roman forerunners, insights into the mysteries of human relations were a distinctive trait for profound knowledge about central values that upheld well-functioning communities. The distinguishing mark between pre-modern and modern conceptions was that friendship and fraternity had religious meanings in the medieval world.6 Another issue stressed by Anderson was the prominent role of written ‘sacral languages ̓ in pre-modern societies, such as Arabic in the Islamic world, Chinese in China, and Latin in the Medieval West. He stated that the use of sacred texts entailed that communities were created ‘out of signs, not sounds’.7 These languages were sacral because they were linked to a super-terrestrial order of power. Mastering a sacral language such as Latin 5 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 7. 6 It could also be added that the Roman concept of devotio, i.e. to die for your beliefs, was a wide-spread ideal in medieval texts where a common theme was heroes who died for their lords or companions. There are also plenty of examples of men who were willing to die for their patria in the same way as Cicero’s noble statesmen. 7 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 13. There is a huge scholarly literature on this topic, more recent (and sophisticated) than Anderson. See e.g. Resnick, ‘Lingua Dei, Lingua Hominis’, pp. 51-74.

62 L ars Hermanson

meant ‘that the bilingual intelligentsia, by mediating between vernacular and Latin, mediated between earth and heaven’.8 Only through a sacral language could the ontological proof of the foundation for solidarity be expressed. My primary focus here, however, is on how William’s and Saxo’s inner frameworks related to the outer counterparts. Both scribes used what one may call a sacred language in order to display the virtues of the selected few that served as role models for the true spirit of community. Mastering Church-Latin was not enough to be a part of this exclusive group. For admission to membership one had to be initiated into an esoteric language, which had a deeper meaning. Only through this wisdom was one able to understand the truths that were hidden underneath the surface. This neoplatonic differentiation between outward appearance and the community’s deeper essence meant that the sacral dictions used by William and Saxo were fusions of Christian and Greco-Roman ideals.9 A distinctive trait for both authors was their emphasis on love and friendship as the pillars of an ideal community. William clearly used his language to mediate between earth and heaven, while the historian Saxo conveyed his message through intermediating between time and space, portraying Denmark as a contemporary equivalent to the Roman Empire. This disparity regarding space and cultural context may seem huge, but the authors’ views on the essence of human cooperation converge in the prominent role they attribute to the Roman concept of fides-trust. In order to make their imagined communities intelligible, the conceptions of trust were well suited for bringing out their messages since trust was a socio-political ideal to which all members of the elite could relate irrespectively of their social or cultural background. The notion of fides has in previous research been viewed as the nucleus and chief characteristic of aristocratic political culture (sometimes termed ‘the culture of trust’). According to Christian ideas, fides’s faculties in this regard were on a par with love (caritas) and peace (pax).10 In consequence, the aristocratic ideal stipulated that allies should be united through indissoluble bonds of love and friendship.11 Thus love and politics walked hand 8 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 15-16. 9 Hermanson, Bärande band, pp. 49-80. 10 Church fathers such as Augustine connected fides with caritas and pax. This notion was based on Paul’s statements in the New Testament, which proclaimed that good Christian faith was the starting point and peace the final goal. This faith worked per dilectionem (Gal. 5,6) in contrast to the faith of demons. Dupont, Gratia in Augustine’s Sermones, p. 120. 11 See for instance Dudo of St Quentin in Hermanson, ‘Holy Unbreakable Bonds’, pp. 15-42.

Discourses of Communion


in hand. Honour-based medieval ideals could easily be combined with Ciceronian political ideas, which supplemented an extra dimension by accentuating obligations towards the state/patria that is the outer framework. Fides was not only a pivotal concept in aristocratic warrior-society, however, but also within monastic circles wherein trust was a prerequisite for keeping spiritual communities together. Though it was originally a Roman ideal with a divine essence, the notions of fides could without effort be merged with Christian ideas on love, friendship, and brotherhood. Brian McGuire and Stephen Jaeger have debated whether or not the medieval discourse on friendship was primarily a monastic phenomenon (McGuire) or if it originated in the courtly culture (Jaeger).12 The discussion concluded that it is not possible to make a clear distinction between monastic and profane courteous traditions. Hence the purpose here is not only to interpret how William and Saxo imagined their communities in light of different social and cultural backgrounds, but also to illuminate how they made use of the concept fides in order to display desirable patterns of behavior, which were the characteristic features of their communities. The fact that William’s letter collection and Saxo’s Gesta Danorum are didactical works instructing readers how to act in various situations also means that their works ought to be seen as political texts with the intention to exert an influence on actual social and political conditions. Through the use of a sacral language based on love and friendship combined with discourses on trust, ideological and utilitarian dimensions converged. As a result, strong and sincere emotions play a prominent role in William and Saxo’s texts. Their postulated inner frameworks constituted by solidarity between the virtuous could be interpreted as ‘emotional communities’. Barbara H. Rosenwein’s definition of the concept is partly influenced by Michel Foucault’s ‘common discourse’, that is, ‘shared vocabularies and ways of thinking that have a controlling function, a disciplining function’.13 Emotions played an important didactical role for Greco-Roman authors and medieval scribes when they separated the vicious from the virtuous.14 Those who followed the path of virtue were in control of their emotions and used them in a constructive manner. By 12 Jaeger, Envy of Angels, p. 104; McGuire, Friendship and Community; Hermanson, Bärande band, p. 50. 13 Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, p. 24. Rosenwein also relates to Bourdieu’s notion of ‘habitus’: ‘internalized norms that determine how we think and act and that may be different in different groups’. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, p. 25. 14 Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, pp. 46-49, 81-91, 182-183.

64 L ars Hermanson

contrast those who strayed from the path of virtue were the vicious, who gave vent to destructive emotions. It has been observed that Saxo used the language of love and friendship to distinguish between the edifying forces and the destructive forces that threatened the stability of the patria.15 For instance, according to Kim Esmark, Saxo was obsessed with the question of Schein und Sein, that is, contrasts between outward appearance and inner reality or truth.16 Esmark has discussed how Saxo uses depictions of bad (false) and good (true) rituals in order to disclose eternal truths regarding, for instance, political behavior and models for social order. Similar traits could be found in William’s letters, though the all-embracing order was represented by christianitas unified by caritas and the internal order by monastic solidarity. Though the emotional discourse alluded to a system of universal norms, it was simultaneously linked to rational acts concerning how to behave in relation to fellow-believers. In William’s letters the holy man, who not only was familiar with religious truths but also with how they were linked to righteous political behavior, represented good social and political conduct. In one of his letters William states ‘not through words but through deeds a friend learns with certainty to get to know another friend’s benevolence’.17 A pious man following monastic rules needed also to show the ability to take action by displaying strenuitas (strenuousness) when his community was threatened by internal disruption or external danger. In the Gesta Danorum (the parts dealing with the later twelfth century) exemplary social and political behaviour was primarily embodied by Bishop Absalon (Bishop of Roskilde, 1159-1192 and Archbishop of Lund, 1178-1201) and his kinsmen belonging to the most powerful aristocratic network in Denmark at that time, usually called the Hvide family. According to Saxo, these magnates constituted the inner framework upholding the outer framework, that is, the Danish patria. In the following, a righteous abbot and an energetic bishop should function as raw models illustrating William and Saxo’s imagined communities and the way these ideals should be implemented in their respective communities. Thus the abbot and the bishop represent two views on the Baltic christianitas, that is the monastic vis-à-vis the secular Church dressed

15 Hermanson, Bärande band, pp. 94, 175, 189. 16 Esmark, ‘Just Rituals’. See also Buc, The Dangers of Ritual, p. 8. 17 Will. ep. II. 59: ‘Non uerbis sed factis amicus amici beniuolentiam certius experitur.’

Discourses of Communion


in an imperial robe.18 Put into a larger context, these examples could be linked to a social process examined by Robert I. Moore, who has used the expression ‘revolution’ to explain the forming of the new clerical power elite that appeared during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.19 Abbot William and Bishop Absalon as portrayed by Saxo can in many ways be considered as typical representatives of this social group which strived for recognition on the Danish political scene.

Abbot William – Social Milieu and Intellectual Context William’s friend and fellow-student, Bishop Absalon of Roskilde, summoned him to Denmark from the Abbey of St. Geneviève in Paris in 1165. His mission was to educate the Danish clergy and to reform Augustinian fraternities in line with the strict rules proclaimed by the School of St. Victor. Endowed by Bishop Absalon and the Danish king, William founded in 1176 the monastery of Æbelholt in North Zealand (c. 40 km northwest of Copenhagen) where he worked as abbot until his death in 1203.20 He was involved in an intense correspondence with ecclesiastical and secular power holders in Denmark as well as in foreign realms such as France. William wrote, for instance, several letters to the popes Celestine III and Innocent III. In addition, he upheld a lively correspondence with his European fellow brothers following the Rule of St. Augustine and Danish monastic fraternities including the Cistercians and Cluniacs. William belonged to a community well-versed in the language of spiritual friendship. However, in his dual capacity of Augustinian canon, he was also connected to secular spheres, since members following the rules of St. Victor often stood in close relation to royal and aristocratic courts. Hence several of William’s letters were addressed to secular lords, such as Danish magnates and the French King Philip II Augustus (r. 1180-1223).

18 Distinct from secular clerics who foremost identified themselves with the Community of Christ, Canons Regular were members of a particular community and of a specific place, and they were bound to publicly pray the Liturgy of the Hours in choir. 19 Moore, The First European Revolution, pp. 1-6. 20 William was an archetype for a clerical careerist of the twelfth century. In St Geneviève he served as a deacon, while in Denmark he advanced to abbot and royal scribe. In 1224 he was canonized.

66 L ars Hermanson

William’s letter collection has been dated to the years 1194-1195 and categorized as belonging to the genre of ‘letters of friendship’.21 The collection has several functions. In most letters the pragmatic, spiritual, and didactic purposes overlap. They serve as a corpus of illustrative examples for the fine art of writing, ars dictaminis.22 One of their common traits is William’s diligent use of the language of friendship; the letters leave no doubt that the diction was framed to express strong emotions. Letter collections by, for instance, Bernhard of Clairvaux, Peter the Venerable, Peter of Blois, and John of Salisbury functioned as prime examples of this genre. The nucleus of the twelfth-century discourse on friendship was the spiritualis amicitia, that is, the bond that brought humans closer to God. The best-known conceptualization of this thesis was that of Aelred of Rievaulx in his De spirituali amicitia (c. 1150-1165). Influenced by Cicero’s De Amicitia, Aelred proclaimed that friendship constituted the aim for spiritual life since friendship was a way to reach and understand the Lord.23 Reginald Hyatte has elucidated the medieval notion of friendship as composed of three aspects: the friendship with God (amicitia Dei), the collective friendship that tied monastic communities together, and spiritual friendship, (spiritualis amicitia).24 The last-mentioned aspect has been defined as: A preferential affection that joins two or a few Christian friends through the medium of God’s love. Here the primary conditions are love of God, humble self-love, and charity towards others, to which is added the spiritual love, originating from God, of another for reason of her or his Christian goodness or capacity for virtue.25

Thus love and friendship were intimately connected. Terms such as caritas, amor, dilectio, devotio, affectus, and vera amicitia filled the purpose of creating a sense of community. Put into a social context, this discourse was used by the clergy both as a social and as a symbolic capital. The emotion of love symbolized the Christian ideal world and laid the foundation for 21 For this genre and ‘the language of friendship’ see e.g., Morris The Discovery of the Individual, p. 104; Hyatte, The Arts of Friendship; Haseldine, ‘Understanding the Language of amicitia’, pp. 237-260; McGuire, Friendship and Community. 22 Damsholt, ‘Abbed Vilhelm af Æbelholts brevsamling’, p. 8. For a closer analysis of William’s letter collection regarding intentions, structure, and the debate on whether the collection was formed by William himself or not, see Damsholt, ‘Abbot William of Æbelholt’, pp. 9-10. 23 Ziolkowski, ‘Twelfth-Century understandings’, p. 63. 24 Hyatte, The Arts of Friendship, p. 50. 25 Hyatte, The Arts of Friendship, p. 61.

Discourses of Communion


righteous order, while friendship was the social element that held together the Christian community. Spiritual friendship served ethical purposes such as orthodoxy and guidance to the path of virtue. In a letter from Stephen, Abbot of St. Geneviève (later Bishop of Tournai), to the Danish Bishop Omer of Ribe, the sender states that ‘there are four things which either brings new friendships to arise or give nourishment to old ones: mutual dialogues, reciprocal services, continuous interchange of letters, and virtuous reputation’.26 Letters acted as important instruments to mark or increase a position in the intellectual arena. To William, letters were not only strategies to obtain personal virtue. They also contributed to his abbey’s respect and good reputation, resulting in increased authority within monastic international circles. A friendship correspondence between two prominent persons on the intellectual field such as Abbot William and Stephen of Tournai often developed into a public idealistic friendship. It was therefore common that these letters were copied and widely read in order to serve as shining examples for future generations. Thus letter collections produced by holy men were considered to be sacred texts, which in turn meant that they established and reproduced values and norm systems governing conduct within the clergy. During the era of the intellectual revolution (c. 1000-1200), members of the clergy legitimized their recently achieved positions at the top level of society by depicting themselves as leaders of the ‘commonwealth of friendship’.27 However, this communion had an inner room wherein only a few were qualified to enter. Initiation in the secrets of spiritualis amicitia through mastering the sacral language of love and friendship meant not solely membership in an exclusive group of intellectuals (clerici), but also that the members had at their disposal a powerful instrument of communication tying together clerics separated by long distances. John of Salisbury’s denomination ‘men of letters’ reveals how a whole social group imagined itself through its specific means of communication.28 For this group, love and friendship were not only collective spiritual ideals uniting all Christians in a joint vision of society. Friendship functioned also as an elitist charismatic ideal, which played an important role for the creation of 26 DD1/3: 157. 27 The expression ‘commonwealth of friendship’ is used by Colin Morris to define the reformed Christian community, which was based on love and friendship. Morris The Discovery of the Individual, p. 104. 28 John of Salisbury, Policraticus, ch. 6, p. 44.

68 L ars Hermanson

social identity. In the intellectual correspondence, the language of friendship constituted a status marker that brought together an exclusive group embodying Christian cardinal virtues (sacris virtutes), which meant that they used a ‘sacral language’. As mentioned above, William belonged to several intellectual milieus, including both royal and aristocratic courts and ecclesiastical circles. His letters often had pragmatic purposes and the prominent role of emotional expressions is striking. In the correspondence with secular lords and clerical dignitaries, his language was deeply subservient, while letters to fellow brothers are marked by horizontal solidarity and affinity.29 For instance, in a letter to Archbishop Absalon, William uses the prefatory phrase, ‘From his devoted son and useless servant to my well-beloved father and lord I salute you in reverence and with love’.30 In letters to fellow brothers, such as Abbot Walbert of Esrum, William used a more fraternal tone with salutations such as ‘To the Abbot of Esrum, I salute you with God’s salvation’.31 In these letters he occasionally alluded to heart-to-heart talks between friends ‘because an intimate conversation between friends usually brings a word of dear consolation and expedience to face sorrow’.32 In some letters, however, he acted as a paternal authority in his abbatial capacity with the right to rebuke and castigate his ‘children’.33 William could thus adapt his emotional discourse to the different emotional, textual, and interpretive communities he communicated with.34

29 Though subservient in style, William did not hesitate to oppose demands from the Papacy when it came to protecting the privileges of Danish monasteries. For instance, he accused the papal legate Cardinal Fidentius for simony when he wanted to impose taxes on Danish monasteries. 30 Will. ep. I. 25: ‘Amantissimo patri et domino filius eius deuotus et inutilis seruus timorem partier et amorem’. 31 Will.ep. I. 37: ‘Abbati de Esrom salutem in salutari dei’. 32 Will.ep. I. 37: ‘Solet enim inter amicos esse in amore leuamen et in dolore remedium familiare colloquium’. 33 Sometimes William uses the parable of the shepherd and his sheep when depicting his relation to his disciples. However, in William’s Vita the native canons are described as his worst enemies trying to kill him through arson, drowning him in a sack, piercing him with a spear, and by slaughtering him with an axe. They also planned to sell William as a slave to the Vends. VSD: Ch. XIII., p. 324; Ch. XVII., p. 328. William also had to face similar plots planned by the secular canons in St Geneviève. VSD: Ch. II., pp. 301. 34 For the concept ‘textual community’ see Stock, The Implications of Literacy. For the concept interpretive community see: Fish, Is There a Text in This Class?

Discourses of Communion


Saxo Grammaticus – Social Milieu and Intellectual Context If Abbot William invested his literary drive into writing letters, his intellectual colleague Saxo Grammaticus was occupied with writing the Gesta Danorum. Whether they actually were ‘colleagues’ in the sense of also being friends remains unknown. Although they never mention each other, it is likely that they did meet at some point considering the fact that William and Saxo had so much in common. For instance, they shared the same patron, Bishop Absalon. He was the one who commissioned Saxo to write the Gesta Danorum and he was also the historiographer’s most important informant. Like William, Saxo had most probably studied in the cathedral schools in France and they were both connected to the intellectual milieu surrounding the Archbishopric of Lund. They both were well educated, but Saxo’s standing as a ‘grammaticus’ primarily dealing with secular history meant that his intellectual training was different.35 Though well acquainted with spiritual matters, Saxo’s literary prototypes were the Roman classical authors and poets. In addition, he strived to combine classical diction with Scandinavian oral traditions in his monumental work on the deeds of the Danish people. For some unknown reason he did not seem to be especially fond of monastic orders. They are very seldom mentioned in the Gesta Danorum and when they are, monks are depicted as particularly suspicious characters.36 It is probably not a wild guess to say that Saxo preferred clerics belonging to the secular church.37 Perhaps his aversion to brethren was an indication of a condition wherein Denmark’s literati competed for influence at the courts of the mighty. As a secular cleric, Saxo was familiar with spiritual conceptions of love and friendship due to the fact that he was a member of the intellectual milieu connected to the cathedral city of Lund. Like William, Saxo possessed the mastery of symbolic power by easily switching between linguistic and semiotic codes associated with various emotional, textual, and interpretative communities, such as clerical circles and honour-based secular 35 Saxo’s epithet ‘grammaticus’ is however a later denomination first mentioned in Chronica Jutensis from the middle of the fourteenth century. 36 For instance, when King Valdemar fell ill, an abbot named Joannes was summoned from Scania to cure him. However, after his treatment the king’s illness grew worse, and the next morning Valdemar was dead. Thus Saxo blames the abbot for the king’s death and he makes it pretty clear that monks should not be allowed to enter into the king’s private rooms, here represented by Valdemar’s bedchamber: Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 15, c. 6.9. 37 However, it is difficult to keep the two categories separated during this era. On medieval secular views of monks as unmanly, see Damsholt, ‘Er en munk en mand?’, pp. 120-142.

70 L ars Hermanson

groupings. Even though representing different genres (letter collections vis-à-vis history-writing) they practiced similar literary techniques adapted to the pluralistic intellectual arenas in high medieval Europe. Obviously Saxo was acquainted with the language of friendship represented by Bernhard of Clairvaux and others; he preferred, however, to express the ontological proofs embedded in the concept of spiritualis amicitia within a Roman classical framework. Using the very sophisticated linguistic style of Silver Age Latin, Saxo sought to demonstrate that the glorious history of the Danish people and their culture were on a par with those of the Romans. Thus, in the Gesta Danorum, Silver Age Latin was the sacral language par excellence linking the Danish past to a wide chronological, spatial, and cultural framework. Influenced by Platonism and Neoplatonism, Saxo combined Christian virtues (sacris virtutes) with Roman virtues as expressed by Cicero in De amicitia (in De officiis) and authors active during the age of Imperial Rome, such as Valerius Maximus, Livy, Justin, and poets such as Vergil and Horace. Love, friendship, and trust constituted the nucleus in this elitist discourse. Although deeply involved in the clerical elite, Saxo was the son of a royal retainer and therefore he belonged primarily to the secular warrior-society.38 Stephen Jaeger has shown how intellectuals within the profane sphere transmitted Ciceronian ideals of love, friendship, and trust into the courtly culture. Friendly love between men was considered as one of the most prominent virtues in courteous society. This ‘ennobling love’ was intimately associated with elitism and esotericism, here embodied and expressed through Saxo’s sophisticated Latin.39 Similarly to William of Æbelholt, who in his letters used the language of love and friendship to create a sense of community, Saxo practiced similar codes to launch a political ideology based on an idea of consensus. A community founded on concord between the king, the Church, and the aristocracy harmoniously working for the common good constituted the guiding principle in the Gesta Danorum. 40 For Saxo, virtues of love and friendship represented trust and sincerity, which were inherent 38 There are only two contemporary sources that mention Saxo. The author of the work Historia breuis, Sweyn Aggesen (a lay aristocrat) calls him his contubernalis (tent-comrade/companion). Archbishop Absalon’s testament mentions a clericus named Saxo, who probably is identical with the author of Gesta Danorum. Sven Aggesen, The Works of Sven Aggesen, p. 65; DD 4/32: 1201; Karsten Friis-Jensen argues convincingly for that Saxo was a secular canon of the chapter at Lund: Friis-Jensen, ‘Was Saxo Grammaticus a Canon of Lund?’, pp. 331-355. 39 Jaeger, Ennobling Love, pp. 4-5, 54. 40 Hermanson, ‘Friendship and Politics’, p. 265.

Discourses of Communion


qualifications characterizing the king’s ‘real friends’. 41 According to the classical Greco-Roman discourse, sincerity was considered as the distinctive mark for true friendship (‘vera amicitia’), implying that a friend should not hesitate to rebuke a partner who had left the path of virtue. The circle of intimates surrounding the king, his familia, was, according to Saxo, kept together by emotional bonds termed as familiaritas, amicitia, amor, and caritas. 42

Concord and Disruption in a Monastic Community The culture of trust was by no means something foreign to monastic communities. In fact, fides was crucial for solidarity within monastic orders and constituted a safeguard for good and fruitful relations between different orders. Membership of these communities entailed obligations linked to favours and favours in return. William’s letters reflected the same wishes that characterized the secular political arena, such as the search for benevolence (captatio benevolentiae), desires for unbreakable bonds, and assurances of trust. 43 In one of his letters, William stated that ‘love brings forth trust’. 44 The warrior-society, the default and dominant social background against which William wrote his letters, was marked by constant conflicts constituting a threat to social order. The creating of personal bonds and dispute-settlements – as countermeasures to disarm this threat – were dependent on face-to-face relations. Alliances and settlements were based on trust, which was established through ritual performances such as oathtakings or feasts. 45 Such symbolic acts were thus strictly situational and a prerequisite for their validity was that everyone involved participated as actors or spectators. 46 Contrary to the profane political arena, which was primarily based on oral and direct visual communication, interaction 41 According to Greco-Roman views, the true friend was supposed to see a mirror image of his own virtue in his partner. For the development of this view from Aristotle’s arête, via Cicero to the Middle Ages see, Hermanson, Bärande band, pp. 31-46. 42 This was nothing exceptional for Danish conditions; see for instance Althoff, Verwandte, Freunde und Getreue, pp. 88-119 or Tellenbach’s and Schmid’s discussions on Königsnähe. Tellenbach, ‘From Carolingian imperial nobility’, pp. 203-231; Schmid, ‘The Structure of the Nobility’, pp. 37-605. 43 William’s parents (Raoul and Emelina) were members of the French nobility. VSD: c. I, p. 300. 44 Will. ep. II. 59: ‘quoniam amor, ut quidam dixit et scripsit, nutrit fiduciam’. 45 See, for example: Jezierski and others, Performative Power. 46 Althoff, ‘Symbolic Communication’.

72 L ars Hermanson

within the clergy was based on networks established and maintained through the written word. The Gregorian reform and the massive expansion of the Latin Church during the twelfth century implied that fellow clergymen were separated from each other and scattered all over Europe. As a consequence, the need for communication through letters became a necessity. These intellectual networks had the capacity to bridge over space and time. In addition, this meant that acts and symbolical frames of thought had to be dressed in written words. Similarly to the performative expressions of the traditional ritual, the clergy used a multidimensional language to conceptualize abstract domains regarding, for instance, trust and obligations. Correspondingly, the written language of friendship (not dependent on face-to-face relations) was ritualised in accordance with a formalised pattern. Thus dictions and metaphors used by William can also be found in other European letters collections and theological works. Letters generally did not belong to the private sphere. Like ritual acts performed in secular culture, letters were public matters, read out loud and performed in front of an audience. 47 Rules of conduct were therefore framed through emotions to get readers or listeners to think and act in line with a predestined framework. Fides and predictability were essential to monastic networks. They represented semiotic communities where terms, wording, and phrases functioned as codes and symbols similar to visualized expressions in traditional ritual. 48 However, contrary to the oral political culture, the written language of love and friendship was not situational. It was autonomous due to the fact that it was attached to a system of universal norms. 49 Within the oral culture norms were instead activated in concrete situations.50 Thus, to scribes such as William of Æbelholt, the mastery of emotional language was a form of both symbolic and social capital. William not only had to deal with threats from local magnates who challenged his abbey’s rights and privileges, but also had to constantly strive to uphold the solidarity and concord within and between the monastic orders. William’s letters repeatedly referred to spiritualis amicitia as the nucleus for unity among brethren. In a letter to his intimate friend Stephen of Tournai, 47 During the Middle Ages, rituals and public readings of letters were often combined in order to control the meaning in written statements: Jezierski, ‘Verba volant’, pp. 33-34. 48 Hermanson, Bärande band, p. 63. 49 Concerning writing and the establishment of an autonomous discourse, see: Hirsh, The Philosophy of Composition, p. 21-23; Olson, ‘On the Language’, pp. 186-196; Ong, Orality and Literacy. 50 Althoff, ‘The Variability of Rituals’, pp. 71-88; Orning, Unpredictability and Presence, p. 5.

Discourses of Communion


he alludes to the uniting force of spiritual friendship by declaring that true friends ‘will not tolerate anything harmful which leads to disruption that forces its way into the field of love’.51 He continues: ‘An outsider has no part in this good, nor does a carnal, soulless human being, since he does not understand what belongs to God’.52 William of Æbelholt often used codes of love and friendship in order to appeal to a selected few inaugurated in theological matters. Thereby he created a reciprocal perception of solidarity based on esoteric ideas. Current beliefs influenced by Roman prototypes and Neoplatonism stated that friendship constituted the bridge between the spiritual world and the carnal world of humans. Still, being a part of this exclusive group implied certain obligations connected to rational acts. William finished his letter to Stephen by stating: ‘True charity never displays halfhearted idleness out of consideration for the distress of friends, but shows itself through obligingness when it comes to requested services’.53 Thus in the name of spiritual friendship William referred to a set of rules and regulations which guided how a friend was supposed to act in various situations. This interplay between spirituality and pragmatism was a distinctive mark in several of William’s letters; it was also a typical trait in other European letter collections.54 In the letter to Stephen of Tournai, William initiated his friend into the secrets of love and friendship by proclaiming: Thus for love there is an established law; yet he who violates it demonstrates that although he is called Friend, it is not by cultivating love. Will you learn this law? If there is a firm liaison between souls there can hardly be a doubt that there is also a communion in the Holy Spirit.55

Simultaneously letters were considered as gifts in a reciprocal gift-giving system used to lubricate and keep relations ‘warm’. In a letter to the nuns of the convent in Slangerup (North Zealand), William wrote that his brothers 51 Will. ep. II. 76: ‘ut nulla disiunctionis detrimenta in amoris terminus irrumpere patiantur.’; Stephen was abbot of St Geneviève 1176-92 and later bishop of Tournai. 52 Will. ep. II. 76: ‘Bonum est igitur [inter] nos [s]ic esse atque suaue, cui tamen bono non communicat alienus, nec enim potest animalis, siquidem non percipit, quæ dei sunt’. 53 Will. ep. II. 76: ‘In amici autem necessariis uera dilectio nunquam torporis ignauiam sentit, sed se totam officiosam exponit postulatis obsequiis’. 54 Similar phrases are e.g. to be found in John of Salisbury’s letters: Hermanson, Bärande band, p. 62; McLoughlin, ‘Amicitia in Practice’, pp. 165-182. 55 Will. ep. II. 76: ‘Est enim in amore lex posita, quam qui transgreditur, etsi amicus dicitur, non tamen amore conuincitur. Uis eam nosse? Ubi est animorum firma conexio, haud dubium quin et ibi spiritus sancti communio’.

74 L ars Hermanson

have received ‘caritas-gifts’, which probably meant that the nuns had offered their prayers to the Augustinian canons. William continued that his brethren were comforted and healed when they read the letter from the nuns, and he stated that ‘the sincere emotion of love […] blazed up’ when the letter was delivered.56 Thus emotional sincerity was essential for establishing agreements between monastic orders or between brethren and lay magnates. The concept of caritas was used as an assurance that agreements were based on sincere intentions.57 Though fides was crucial for fraternal solidarity, William’s letters bear witness to bitter conflicts in which trust was put to the test.58 One example was the lengthy discord between the brothers of Æbelholt and Esrum, a Cistercian abbey not very far from Æbelholt.59 In several letters addressed to Abbot Walbert of Esrum, William performed a rhetorical encounter with his adversary. Through the help of the language of love and friendship, the litigants tried to reach a settlement and re-establish their previous friendly relations. William reminded Walbert of promises of gifts and services that the latter had never fulfilled, suggesting that the relations of trust between the brotherhoods were impaired. Still, William had hopes that sincere friendship would be restored, implying that ‘the fraternal love between us will remain undisturbed’.60 Thus ‘feuds’ were fought also within the monastic spheres. Like feuds on the secular arena, such conflicts were often prolonged. The emotional discourse played a signif icant role in repairing and re-creating broken communities as well as restoring fruitful cooperation. 56 Will. ep. I. 28: ‘sincerus uidelicet dilectionis affectus […] mutuis fouetur alloquiis et scriptis recentioribus ualidius incalescit.’; In William’s letters fire and glow – heart and soul are metaphors frequently used to express perpetual love which never dies out between true friends. 57 For prayers as monks’ and nuns’ most important gifts to lay magnates, see, for example: Rosenwein, To be the Neighbor. 58 William acted as protector and spokesman in several conflicts. For instance, he protected the Cistercians of Guldholm Abbey in their dispute with the Cluniac order in Slesvig. He acted as spokesman for the repudiated Queen Ingeborg in her conflict with her husband Philip II Augustus of France. He protected and housed the Archbishop of Norway, Erik, who was forced into exile by the Norwegian King Sverre Sigurdsson. His role in top-level political issues is further accentuated by the fact that he constantly was involved in an intense correspondence with the pope. 59 The conflict was about competition for the recruitment of wealthy aristocratic sons and disputes about rights and privileges for collecting tithes from the parish Tjæreby. Concerning this conflict see, McGuire, ‘Property and Politics’, p. 143. Bishop Absalon was also patron of the abbey in Esrum. 60 Will. ep. I. 37: ‘Et inter nos fraternitatis caritas illæsa persistat’. See also Will. ep. I. 36; I. 38.

Discourses of Communion


For both lay and ecclesiastical groups, love was the unifying idea, while friendship was the method used for its implementation. In exchange for prayers, the secular lords gave protection and material resources to brotherand sisterhoods. In a letter to Archbishop Absalon’s kinsman, the powerful magnate Ebbe, William used a deeply subservient language connected to a patron-client discourse. In his salutation, William addressed Ebbe as ‘our beloved lord and dearest friend Ebbe’ (‘domino karrissimo et præcordiali amico Ebboni’). He petitioned for his patron’s benevolence, protection, and support in the canon’s conflict with Ebbe’s bailiffs. The abbot accused Ebbe’s men of maltreating and killing the brethren’s cattle. Despite repeated negotiations, proper justice had not been established and therefore William now put his trust in Ebbe, demanding that he should do justice.61 In another letter to Archbishop Absalon, the abbot petitioned to receive the bishop’s admission for a journey to France. William saluted Absalon with the paternal phrase ‘highly loving father’ (‘pater amantissime’), further writing that ‘if we act as friends do, this act ought to be supported by necessary funds’, thus supplicating Absalon in his capacity as ‘friend and lord to repay the beloved favour’.62 Unfortunately, we have only access to the services that William begged for, such as protection and material resources. We can only guess what patrons such as Absalon and Ebbe wished in exchange for their friendship. It probably involved spiritual gifts such as prayers for the benefactors. Due to his intellectual training and good connections with international networks, William was also able to offer more practical services, such as serving as a scribe on behalf of his patrons. Hence also vertical bonds of friendship expressed by subservient language were linked to reciprocal obligations. These ties were in fact a prerequisite for the monastic communities’ continued existence in Denmark.

Concord and Disruption in the Gesta Danorum Saxo diligently used a contrasting technique involving the dichotomy between fidelity and treason to sort out the king’s true friends and identify 61 Will. ep. I. 39. 62 Will. ep. II. 21: ‘decreuistis ut amicus et dominus amoris gratiæ respondere.’; William’s use of different ‘discourses’ when addressing lords and colleagues could of course also be seen as examples of the artes dictaminis for the salutatio and the captatio benevolentiae, which were formal parts of medieval letters. Boswell, ‘Captatio Benevolentiae’, p. 147.

76 L ars Hermanson

those who threatened the harmonious community tied to the king.63 The conditions within this group reflected the stability of the whole realm. Expulsion from the king’s familia was a constant threat to aristocrats. The possession of the king’s favour and friendship was always insecure, implying that magnates had to compete for the king’s favours. Therefore Saxo puts a lot of effort in showing that magnates belonging to Bishop Absalon’s network were the most reliable and noble friends. In the Gesta Danorum the relationship between the Danish King Valdemar I and Bishop Absalon served as a model for the classical ideal of friendship, amicitia perfecta. In several episodes Saxo demonstrated that the King and the Bishop were united through a deep spiritual bond of friendship. Their spiritual affinity and ennobling love was unique and thereby unattainable for the vast majority. It was a union between two souls, wherein love (caritas) constituted the unifying bond as expressed in this concept: two hearts = one soul. In return, love was rewarded with reciprocal fidelity. Mutual respect in which both sides showed each other benevolence (benevolentia) was essential and formed the basis of loyalty. It was a friendship between two equals who have freely chosen each other in which each repays favour with favour. The inner framework, that is, the relationship between the king, representing the Valdemarian dynasty, and the bishop, embodying the noblest aristocracy as the pater familias of the Hvide-clan, was reflected in an outer framework constituted by the true upholders of the Danish patria. This finds expression in Valdemar lying on his deathbed in 1182. The dying king was depicted as a penitent sinner duly confessing his sins to Absalon. After the king’s death, Saxo mentioned that only ‘the king’s friends’, that is, the members of the Hvide-family were present in the royal chamber. With this the author sought to demonstrate the intimacy of these magnates with Valdemar’s familia, and their place in the innermost private sphere. When Absalon is to read his requiem at the king’s funeral he is suddenly overwhelmed by such strong feelings of sorrow and distress that he wants to give up the ghost and die with his soul mate. By bursting into tears the bishop displays his great benevolentia for the king.64 But despite his despair

63 Hermanson, ‘How to Legitimate Rebellion’, p. 112. 64 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 15, c. 6.12. Absalon’s tears, conjoined with the incense, appear to symbolise his spiritual unification with Valdemar. Thereby his tears help to absolve the king from his sins. It is worth noting that Saxo here seems to estimate tears higher than prayers. Absalon’s tears signify that his emotions were genuine.

Discourses of Communion


Absalon found the courage to complete his mission in life. According to Saxo: The one light of our country was extinguished, fortune did not permit the other to perish, or deprive us of the man under whose leadership the Slavs could be subjected beneath the feet of the Danes, nor leave without a protector the nation which had been advanced to an outstanding position of honour under the command of such mighty leaders. And the altar, wet with tears that fell from him instead of prayers, was no insignificant token of his love towards the king. I trust that the incense which was moistened by those tears gave off a fragrance that was acceptable to God.65

Remarkably, Saxo did not even once mention the current heir of the realm, Canute VI. The interplay between the inner- and the outer frameworks of Saxo’s imagined community can also be seen in the depiction of Danish patria as an organic unity based on friendship between the king and his people. The nobility often acted as the people’s representatives, a common characteristic. The greatest threat to this unity were the kings who acted against the will of the people such as Valdemar’s predecessor King Sweyn Grathe (r. 1146-1157), who did not enjoy the people’s (read the nobility’s) friendship. This made him incapable of protecting the Danish realm against continual attacks from the Slavs. The people were not able to live up to their collective duty to defend the kingdom because of their hatred towards the king caused by an ‘ignoble subordination’. It meant that they could not serve him with ‘sincere fidelity’.66 Thus the patria belonged to the king and the people. As in William of Æbelholt’s letter collection, the interplay between spirituality and pragmatism is also a characteristic feature in the Gesta Danorum. Bishop Absalon incarnated an amalgamation of classical chivalrous virtues and Christian ideals of piety. He was not only portrayed as a person who brilliantly fulfilled duties connected to his holy office. Simultaneously, the bishop was depicted as a brave war-leader and crusader (miles Christi) who always succeeded with his royal missions in the Baltic. 65 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 15, c. 6.12: ‘Sed fortuna altero patrię lumine extincto reliquum perire passa non est, ne deesset, cuius ductu Danię pedibus Sclauia subiiceretur, aut gens, quę sub tantis ducibus ad excellentem honoris habitum prouecta fuerat, tutore uacua remaneret. Cuius lachrymis precum loco defusis respersa altaria non prauulum promptissimę eius erga regem beniuolentię indicium prębuere. Iisdem quoque madefacta thura gratu, deo odorem dedisse crediderim’. 66 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 11, c. 1.

78 L ars Hermanson

Saxo repeatedly showed how the king’s intimate friendship with Absalon also bore fruit in a utilitarian relationship. In contrast to Valdemar’s disloyal and cowardly kinsmen, Bishop Absalon and the other members of Hvideclan were always ready to undertake dangerous military expeditions. Saxo was eager to show that all successful military operations in the Baltic Sea were a result of a fruitful cooperation between friends. Corresponding to William’s letters, friendship and trust were sometimes put to the test in the Gesta Danorum as well. One such example was when Bishop Absalon accused Valdemar of cowardice because the latter wanted to withdraw his fleet during an expedition against the Slavs. The bishop considered this course of action dishonourable, cowardly, and ‘womanish’. Instead the king ought to show bravery by defending the patria and thereby prove his ability to take action. Here Absalon represented the classical Greco-Roman virtues such as strenuitas, andreia, and pietas. The spirit of the bishop was contrasted with the lack of spirit of the king. Here the Ciceronian notion of dying for one’s patria was counted as the foremost duty.67 Bishop Absalon also possessed the ability to use strong emotions in a rational way. In medieval sources, wrath (ira) was a royal prerogative – ira regis.68 It occurs on several occasions in the Gesta Danorum; however, it is bishops who represent wrath, an ira episcopi instead of ira regis. In several episodes Absalon scolds King Valdemar, who had to deeply regret his behaviour and humble himself by showing his respect and piety (pietas) for Absalon’s severe reprimands. This is often expressed in symbolic supplicatory forms, with the king displaying his gratitude in public by embracing and kissing his friend.69 Occasionally Valdemar was portrayed as a child unable to control his emotions. Saxo blamed the king for failed military expeditions and explained the failures as a consequence of Valdemar acting too impulsively, by following his personal emotions and rejecting the bishop’s advice. By contrast, Absalon’s emotions were always in conformity with what was good for the Danish patria. Thereby he not only displayed the virtue of temperantia (self-discipline), but also prudentia (foresight/wisdom) enabling him to foresee the future, which meant that Absalon embodied the true responsible visionary in the Gesta Danorum. According to the Greco-Roman 67 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 14, c. 23.7. 68 Althoff, ‘Ira Regis’, pp. 59-74; White, ‘The Politics of Anger’, pp. 127-152. 69 Gerd Althoff claims this was a common theme in accounts of the life of bishops which describes the friendly relations between a bishop and his lord. Althoff, ‘Friendship and Political Order’, p. 95.

Discourses of Communion


paragon of virtue, when misused andreia (manliness, courage, manly spirit) manifested itself as anger, aggression, and military vain-glory; properly used, it appeared as self-directed, constructive anger.70 Hence Absalon used his emotions in a rational manner and through him Saxo utilized the disciplining and controlling function of emotions.71 The bishop’s emotions were always in symbiosis with the wellbeing of the patria. Emotions played thus an important role in the Gesta Danorum as intermediating links between the inner and the outer framework of Saxo’s imagined community.

Fides as the Intermediate Link between Inner and Outer Frameworks Though the friendship between King Valdemar with Bishop Absalon was sometimes put to the test, Saxo could demonstrate how it bore fruit in utilitas. According to the Ciceronian ideals, the highest stage of human friendship was reached when uprightness and expediency, honestas and utilitas, coalesced.72 Similar traits could be found in William’s letter collection. The relation between their inner and outer frameworks was in many ways different due to the genre and cultural backgrounds. Nevertheless, the emphasis on spiritual friendship, benevolence, sincerity, and powerful emotions as a criterion for true friendship united them. So did also the esotericism and the accentuation of the practical, reciprocal benefits of friendship connected to favours and favours in return. There are also parallels regarding the notion of fides as a prerequisite for a harmonious and stable community. These ideas emanated from an old Roman tradition in which relationships governed by the fides were, for instance, those between two friends (amicus-amicus), between father and household (pater-familia), between father and son (pater-filius), and between patron and client (patronus-cliens). The paternal view was of course obvious in William’s letters where he presented himself as a father 70 Uebersax, ‘Andreia’. 71 Absalon’s energetic character is e.g. expressed in an episode where king Valdemar asked his men if someone were willing to act as an envoy to Henry the Lion. However, his men were scared to ‘undertake so perilous an embassy, when Absalon came out of a thicket where he had been passing the time as usual by cutting wood’. Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 14, c. 25.11. The king then turned to Absalon with his inquiry and the bishop did not hesitate to undertake the mission. ‘Idleness is the parent of all vices’, but the virtuous Absalon always knew how to do something useful and rational. Accordingly, he spends his spare time cutting wood. 72 McGuire, Friendship & Community; Jaeger, Ennobling Love, p. 112.

80 L ars Hermanson

for his children/brothers on whom he depended so much. For instance, he dedicated his letter collection to his disciples, that is, those to whom he was devoted through ‘the glue of love’, caritas.73 As an abbot he sometimes acted as a patronus and, reversely, as a client in his conflicts with the local magnates. When communicating with royalties and dignitaries such as Archbishop Absalon and his successor Anders Sunesen (r. 1201-1222), William’s language would become deeply subservient, almost in line with the Roman relationship between master and slave (dominus-servus). Saxo occasionally used paternal discourse when describing the personal relationship between the king and the bishop in which Absalon played the role of the father. The bishop also acted as a pater-familia for the Hvide clan. In the Gesta Danorum’s prologue, Saxo depicted himself as a cliens to Absalon, who commissioned him to write the work. The paternal discourse is, however, seldom used when he dealt with the kings’ relationships with the nobility or the Danish people. Only in the prologue is Valdemar addressed as a father and given the epithet ‘the radiant light of the fatherland’.74 In the following, he is rarely portrayed as the father of his people. This role seems instead to have been reserved for Bishop Absalon. Another relationship governed by fides in Roman tradition was that between the Roman State and an ally of Rome (Respublica-socius). This relationship was due to genre and context not apparent in William’s letter collection. In the Gesta Danorum, however, this was a great governing principle, though adapted to a Danish imperial context and a medieval intellectual discourse on the origins of power proclaiming contractual relationships between kings and subordinates. While William’s outer framework was associated with the international monastic community and the mediation between earth and heaven, Saxo’s outer framework was primarily constituted by the Danish Empire. Yet in the Gesta Danorum, the idea of ‘the divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realmʼ was not tantamount to the dei gratia-doctrine stating that fides was based on a unilateral bond between the king and his subjects. The preambles (arengae) in the Danish diplomas issued by the king stating that he derived his power from God formed a sharp contrast to Saxo’s imagined community founded on bilateral bonds of friendship and reciprocal trust.75 The strictly hierarchical Christian ideology of kingship constituted a threat to Danish aristocracy, which risked losing its political influence in the royal corridors of power. 73 Damsholt, ‘Abbot William of Æbelholt’, p. 12. 74 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, Praef., c. 1.6: ‘clarissima lux patriae’. 75 For royal ideology in Danish diplomas, see Damsholt, ‘Kingship in the Arengas’, pp. 66-108.

Discourses of Communion


Probably Saxo wished, with the aid of classical and Christian theories of friendship, to create a kind of aristocratic political alternative to kingship by the grace of God. Saxo represented in this context an archaic feudal ideology of consensus whose roots can be traced back to the Carolingian era.76 Although Saxo should primarily be considered as a spokesman for Danish high-aristocracy embodied by the Hvide clan, parallels could be drawn to William of Æbelholt. In his capacity as a member of the social group of literati, the abbot was a typical representative of the ‘intellectual revolution’. According to Moore’s thesis mentioned above, the most important structural transformation during the eleventh and twelfth centuries was the emergence of the clerical elite, whose position was a result of a written, administrative, and juridical revolution. Moore stated further that the idea of Europe as an immediate heir to the Greco-Roman culture was a conception that was constructed during the twelfth-century renaissance. As mentioned above, the prominent figures of the Danish Christian community, that is, the abbots and the bishops acting as heads of the secular Church, depicted themselves as leaders of the ‘commonwealth of friendship’. This framework was a fusion of Roman and Christian traditions and the spirit of community was expressed through the sacral language of love and friendship. Both William and Saxo obviously felt an urgent need to defend the clergy’s recently achieved positions close to the kings. They were ‘new men’ (‘novi homines’) and challengers to the traditional groups of royal confidants.77 Episodes in the Gesta Danorum indicate that members of the royal family felt excluded from the circle of royal counsellors due to Valdemar’s tendency not only to take advice from bishops, but also to entrust them with important public functions. One example is Valdemar’s nephew Canute Prizlavsen. After an expedition against the Slavs the king entrusted Canute with a military command to guard the island of Rügen. Saxo wrote, however, that his nephew ‘ungenerously’ refused and said that Valdemar had rewarded him too poorly with estates in Denmark. With indignation he concluded by exclaiming that it was ‘more properly an affair for the bishops, who were the king’s only counsellors, and it was hardly fitting for the job to be assigned to him, when he was so far removed from the king’s confidence’.78 It is quite obvious that the object of Canute’s envy 76 Hanning, ‘Consensus fidelium’; Le Jan, ‘Continuity and Change’, pp. 53-68. 77 For novi homines see: Moore, The First European Revolution, p. 115. 78 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 14, c. 43.5: ‘Cęterum id negotii iustius ad pontifices, quos solos rex arbitros habeat, pertinere, quod tanto indignius ad se referri, quanto remotiorem

82 L ars Hermanson

was Bishop Absalon and his friends. Valdemar rejected the accusation by saying ‘he was granted little because he had deserved little’.79 Positions of bishops were probably not only threatened by members of the royal family. Saxo’s assumed aversion against the monks could perhaps be explained by the fact that the monastic literati were also entrusted with important tasks at the royal court. This was a characteristic feature of the Augustinian Canons, who had an established reputation as skilled scribes at royal courts all around Europe. For instance, Valdemar’s successor Canute VI turned to William of Æbelholt when the political crisis between the Danish and the French royal houses erupted in 1192, when Philip II Augustus repudiated his wife Queen Ingeborg (Canute VI’s sister) after their horrendous wedding night. For some unknown reason the King was suddenly overwhelmed by revulsion that made him incapable to fulfill his marital obligation. The following morning he immediately imprisoned her and during the following years the King did all he could to have the marriage annulled. Among other things he claimed that the marriage was never consummated, accusing her of sorcery which made him impotent.80 William took care of nearly all correspondence in the embarrassing case, writing to the French king, the pope, and dignitaries in France. It was most certainly not simply his capacity of being a Frenchman that qualified him for the important task, but rather his literary competence and good connections with the European royal and clerical elite.81 William was also a close friend to Archbishop Absalon and perhaps one may speculate if Saxo in his role as a client felt envy towards his patron’s good relations with canons and abbots following monastic rules. In the Gesta Danorum he does not pay much attention to Absalon’s role as a generous benefactor of monastic communities. William and his abbey were continuously endowed, while Saxo in Absalon’s testament was requested to pay back two and half marks of silver and to return a book which belonged to Sorø Abbey (in central Zealand), the Hauskloster of the Hvide family.82 This

a regis familiaritate gradum obtineat’. 79 Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum, lib., 14, c. 43.5: ‘exigua illum beneficia, quod exiguis dignus sit (accepisse respondit, de cętero se eff icente spoliandium magis honoribus quam beandum)’. 80 Conklin, ‘Ingeborg of Denmark’, p. 45. 81 The abbey of St Geneviève had close connections with the French royal family. For instance, Abbot Odo acted as godfather of the future king Philip II Augustus: Damsholt, Abbot William of Æbelholt, p. 8. 82 DD 4/32: 1201. See also: Skovgaard-Petersen ‘Saxo, the clericus of Absalon’, p. 181.

Discourses of Communion


seems to be a rather curious way to express one’s gratitude to a man whose lifework was completely dedicated to honouring Absalon and his clan. Envy or not, it seems plausible that a competition emerged between the representatives of the secular Church and the leading figures of the monastic community.83 Although William was very active at the Danish royal court, in contrast to Absalon he never became an energetic part of the expansive imperial Danish policy on the Baltic Rim. Moreover, members of the monastic community were not entrusted with fiefs and political offices as in the case with Saxo’s favourites within the Hvide family. This in turn meant that the brethren did not expect the same kinds of rewards because the allocation of resources was different between monastic clerics and native clerics belonging to the secular Church. Perhaps the Danish kings sometimes preferred to entrust important tasks to foreign clerici simply because it was cheaper and because foreigners lacked connections with powerful native aristocratic networks.

Conclusions The outer and inner framework of William’s and Saxo’s ‘imagined communities’ differed due to diverse social and cultural backgrounds of the two visionaries. However, there were also striking resemblances. For both scribes the ‘commonwealth of friendship’ was essential. This framework was upheld by a small group of virtuous persons initiated in the eternal truths on the maintenance of ideal communities. William’s and Saxo’s use of contrasting emotional terms was, however, full of nuances since they were well aware of the various meanings to their respective interpretative communities. Even though multifunctional and subjected to dissimilar readings, this terminology was used by the authors in their visions of bringing together communities on the northern margins of Catholic Europe in order to integrate them into an imagined community united by Christian solidarity. Parallels could also be drawn between the monastic and the secular cleric’s inner frameworks when it comes to the utilitarian benef its of friendship and trust resulting in fruitful cooperation based on reciprocal 83 However, it is important to bear in mind that it is not possible to draw a sharp dividing line between the secular and the monastic church (especially when dealing with Canons Regular). For instance, it was not unusual that abbots such as Stephen of Tournai crowned their careers holding positions as bishops.

84 L ars Hermanson

exchange. These frames served to furnish tangible proofs (exempla) that William’s and Saxo’s visions were not pure imaginations. Thereby the outer framework assumed a more definite shape. Although William and Saxo must be considered as ʻtiny literate reefs on top of vast illiterate oceansʼ, they exerted an influence on the making of the Danish Christian community. The Baltic Rim could, during the twelfthcentury renaissance, be considered as an illiterate ocean but it was on the verge of being incorporated into the intellectual revolution of the high Middle Ages. William of Æbelholt and Saxo Grammaticus were two literati who had crossed the Baltic Ocean from different directions but the result of their literary efforts was a juxtaposition of Christian, Scandinavian, and Roman traditions.

Bibliography Primary sources DD 4 = Diplomatarium Danicum, 1. række, vol. 4, ed. by Niels Skyum-Nielsen (Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaards, 1958). John of Salisbury, Policraticus. Of the Frivolites of Courtiers and the Footprints of Philophers, ed. and trans. by Cary J. Nederman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Saxo (English trans.) = Saxo Grammaticus, Danorum Regum Heroumque Historia. Books X-XVI, vols. 1-3, trans. by Eric Christiansen (Oxford: BAR International Series 84, 1980-81). Saxo (Latin text) = Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum. Danmarkshistorien, 2 vols., Latin text ed. by Karsten Friis-Jensen, trans. by Peter Zeeberg (Copenhagen: Gad, 2005). Sven Aggesen, The Works of Sven Aggesen. Twelfth-Century Danish Historian, trans. by Eric Christiansen (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1992). Will. ep. = Epistolœ abbatis Willelmi (Diplomatarium Danicum 2:3), ed. by C.A. Christensen, Herluf Nielsen, Lauritz Weibull (Copenhagen: Reitzel, 1977). VSD = Vitæ Sanctorum Danorum, ed. by M.Cl. Gertz (Copenhagen: Gad, 1908-1912), Sanctus Wilhelmus Abbas et Confessor, pp. 285-386.

Secondary literature Bernard Ardura, ‘The Religious Profession in the Order of the Canons Regular of Prémontré: A Challenge of Loyalty’, in Loyalty in The Middle Ages. Ideal and Practice of a Cross-Social Value, ed. by Jörg Sonntag & Coralie Zermatten (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 327-344. Gerd Althoff, Verwandte, Freunde und Getreue. Zum politischen Stellenwert der Gruppenbindungen im früheren Mittelalter (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1990). Gerd Althoff, ‘Ira Regis: Prolegomena to a History of Royal Anger’, in Anger’s Past. The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca/New York: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 59-74.

Discourses of Communion


Gerd Althoff, ‘Friendship and Political Order’, in Friendship in Medieval Europe, ed. by Julian Haseldine (Stroud: Sutton, 1999), pp. 91-105. Gerd Althoff, ‘The Variability of Rituals in the Middle Ages’, in Medieval Concepts of the Past. Ritual, Memory, Historiography, ed. by Gerd Althoff and others (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 71-88. Gerd Althoff, ‘Symbolic Communication and Medieval Order. Strength and Weaknesses of Ambiguous Signs’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London/New York: Verso, 2006). Grant Boswell, ‘Captatio Benevolentiae: A Note on the Relationship of Prayer and Meditation Treatises to the Ars Dictaminis’, Disputatio, 1 (1996), 147-152. Philippe Buc, The Dangers of Ritual. Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001). George Conklin, ‘Ingeborg of Denmark, Queen of France, 1193-1223’, in Queens and Queenship in Medieval Europe, ed. by Anne J. Duggan (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1997), pp. 39-52. Nanna Damsholt, ‘Abbed Vilhelm af Æbelholts brevsamling’, Historisk tidsskrift (D), 78 (1978), 1-22. Nanna Damsholt, ‘Abbot William of Æbelholt. A Foreigner in Denmark’, in Medieval Spiriuality in Scandinavia and Europe. A Collection of Essays in Honour of Tore Nyberg, ed. by Lars Bisgaard and others (Odense: Odense University Press, 2001), pp. 3-20. Nanna Damsholt, ‘Kingship in the Arengas of Danish Royal Diplomas 1140-1223’, Medieval Scandinavia, 3 (1970), 66-108. Nanna Damsholt, ‘Er en munk en mand? Refleksioner over maskulinitet i 1100-talets Danmark’, in Ett annat 1100-tal. Individ, kollektiv och kulturella mönster i 1100-talets Danmark, ed. by Peter Carelli, Lars Hermanson, Hanne Sanders (Gothenburg/Stockholm: Makadam, 2004), pp. 120-142. Anthony Dupont, Gratia in Augustine’s Sermones ad Populum during the Pelagian Controversy. Do Different Contexts Furnish Different Insights? (Leiden: Brill, 2013). Kim Esmark, ‘Just Rituals. Masquerade, Manipulation, and Officializing Strategies in Saxo’s Gesta Danorum’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 237-267. Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980). Karsten Friis-Jensen, ‘Was Saxo Grammaticus a Canon of Lund?’, Cahiers de l´institut du moyenâge grec et latin, 59 (1989), 331-357. Jürgen Hanning, Consensus fidelium. Frühfeudale Interpretationen des Verhältnisses von Königtum und Adel am Beispiel des Frankenreiches (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1982). Julian Haseldine, ‘Understanding the Language of amicitia. The Friendship circle of Peter of Celle’, Journal of Medieval History, 20 (1994), 237-260. Lars Hermanson, ‘Friendship and Politics in Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum’, Revue Belge de Philogie et D’Historie, 83 (2005), 262-284. Lars Hermanson, Bärande band. Vänskap, kärlek och brödraskap i det medeltida Nordeuropa, ca 1000-1200 (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2009). Lars Hermanson, ‘Holy Unbreakable Bonds. Oaths and Friendship in Nordic and Western European Societies c. 900-1200’, in Friendship and Social Networks in Scandinavia c. 1000-1800, ed. by Jon Viðar Sigurðsson, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Leiden, 2013), pp. 15-42.

86 L ars Hermanson Lars Hermanson, ‘How to Legitimate Rebellion and Condemn Usurpation of the Crown: Discourses of Fidelity and Treason in the Gesta Danorum of Saxo Grammaticus’, in Disputing Strategies in Medieval Scandinavia, ed. by Kim Esmark, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Helle Vogt (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2013), pp. 107-140. Eric Donald Hirsh, The Philosophy of Composition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977). Reginald Hyatte, The Arts of Friendship. The Idealization of Friendship in Medieval and Early Renaissance Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1994). Stephen C. Jaeger, Envy of Angels. Cathedral Schools and Social Ideals in Medieval Europe 950-1200 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994). Stephen C. Jaeger, Ennobling Love. In Search of a Lost Sensibility (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999). Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Verba volant, scripta manent. Limits of Speech, Power of Silence and Logic of Practice in some Monastic Conflicts of the High Middle Ages’, in Understanding Monastic Practices of Oral Communication, ed. by Steven Vanderputten (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 23-48. Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (eds.), Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). Regine Le Jan, ‘Continuity and Change in the Tenth-Century Nobility’, in Nobles and Nobility in Medieval Europe. Concepts, Origins, Transformations, ed. by Anne J. Duggan (Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2000), pp. 53-68. Brian P. McGuire, ‘Property and Politics at Esrum Abbey: 1151-1251’, Mediaeval Scandinavia, 6 (1973), 122-150. Brian P. McGuire, Friendship and Community. The Monastic Experience (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1988). John McLoughlin, ‘Amicitia in Practice: John of Salisbury (circa 1120-1180) and his Circle’, in England in the Twelfth Century. Proceedings of the 1988 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. by Daniel Williams (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1990), pp. 165-182. Robert Ian Moore, The First European Revolution, c. 970-1215 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000). Colin Morris, The Discovery of the Individual 1050-1200 (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1972; revised ed. 1987). David R. Olson, ‘On the Language and Authority of Textbooks’, Journal of Communication, 30 (1980), 186-196. Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word (London: Routledge, 2002). Hans Jacob Orning, Unpredictability and Presence. Norwegian Kingship in the High Middle Ages, trans. by Alan Crozier (Leiden: Brill, 2008). Irven M. Resnick, ‘Lingua Dei, Lingua Hominis: Sacred Language and Medieval Texts’, Viator, 21 (1990), 51-74. Barbara H. Rosenwein, To be the Neighbor of Saint Peter: The Social Meaning of Cluny’s Property, 909-1049 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1989). Barbara H. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006). Karl Schmid, ‘The Structure of the Nobility in the Earlier Middle Ages’, in The Medieval Nobility. Studies of the Ruling Classes of France and Germany from the Sixth to the Twelfth Century, ed. and trans. by Timothy Reuter (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1979), pp. 37-60. Inge Skovgaard-Petersen, ‘Saxo, the clericus of Absalon’, in Archbishop Absalon of Lund and his World, ed. by Karsten Friis-Jensen, Inge Skovgaard-Petersen (Roskilde: Roskilde Museums Forlag, 2000), pp. 181-193.

Discourses of Communion


Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy. Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1982). Gerd Tellenbach, ‘From Carolingian Imperial Nobility to the German Estate of Imperial Princes’, in The Medieval Nobility. Studies of the Ruling Classes of France and Germany from the Sixth to the Twelfth Century, ed. and trans. by Timothy Reuter (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1979), pp. 203-231. Stephen D. White, ‘The Politics of Anger’, in Anger’s Past. The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca/New York: Cornell University Press, 1997), pp. 127-152. John Uebersax, ‘Andreia’: (accessed 2015-03-03). Jan M. Ziolkowski, ‘Twelfth-Century Understandings and Adoptions of Ancient Friendship’, in Mediaeval Antiquity, ed. by Andries Welkenhuysen and others (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1995).

Envisioning a Political Community Peasants and Swedish Men in Vernacular Rhyme Chronicles, Late Fifteenth Century Margaretha Nordquist*

For much of the late medieval period in Sweden, vernacular history writing took the form of rhyme chronicles, mainly depicting the recent past of the realm. The chronicles tended largely to deal with the shifting fortunes of the realm and its inhabitants under the rule of domestic kings, regents (riksföreståndare) and union kings, as well as the actions of some of the central agents in the power struggles of the period. As tools for political mobilization strongly favouring particular political actors, the rhyme chronicles aimed at persuading their audience of the legitimacy of a certain political order and the illegitimate claims of its challengers. This vision of a political community was therefore a fundamental part of both the prescriptive and descriptive operation of the chronicles and central both to the rhetoric of the chronicles and their representation of the past. This chapter focuses on one of these rhyme chronicles, now commonly referred to as the Sturekrönikan (the Sture Chronicle). The chronicle is a composite work, written at different stages and probably by different authors, and covers the period between 1452 and 1496. The rhyme chronicles were the most comprehensive vernacular narratives of political events in late-medieval Sweden. They are thus vital for inquiring into the conceptions of identity and political culture in this period. What ideas, notions, and expectations did the Sturekrönikan’s references to a ‘community of Swedes’ represent? What were the constituent parts of this political community? To what extent was this community unitary in terms of membership or constituent elements? The common and crucial aspect for all these questions were social and political differences,

* Margaretha Nordquist is Researcher in Medieval History at the Department of History and Centre for Medieval Studies, Stockholm University. She defended her PhD thesis, A Struggle for the Realm: Late-medieval Swedish Rhyme Chronicles as Ideological Expressions (2015) at Stockholm University. She is studying the writing and dissemination of historiographical and political discourse as part of the negotiation of power and influence in the Baltic area in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

90 Margaretha Nordquist

which can be seen as inherent in the notion of imagined community itself.1 The quest for unity and coherence within a community or against other communities simultaneously implied a continuous presence of difference, which threatened this unity. In other words, while narratives such as the Sturekrönikan sought to create a coherent and unitary political community, they necessarily preserved also certain shifts, tensions, and ambivalences within this imagination. Since communities to a great extent define themselves through distancing themselves from other communities, this chapter focuses also on what distinguished this community and set it apart from others. While the game of power that the chronicle accounted for was to a great extent related to the Swedish realm, the Baltic region formed an important backdrop for the political struggles and the perceived boundaries of the community of Swedes. Another, more immediate political context for the chronicle was the union between the three Scandinavian kingdoms, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (including Finland). These countries were brought together in a personal union under a common king in the late fourteenth century, confirmed in Kalmar 1397. In spite of the fact that the union king was only intermittently accepted as king of Sweden in the later part of the fifteenth century, the Kalmar Union remained a viable political structure throughout the period and the union kings, who were also kings of Denmark, persevered in their claims to the Swedish throne. The chronicle’s envisioning of a Swedish, regnal community was thus part of a more comprehensive political discourse that served very specific purposes in the struggle for power within the realm as well as vis-à-vis a current union king. Secondly, a signif icant, but perhaps less apparent, formation of the political community in Sweden at the time was a result of the changing dynamics between social groups within the realm. This aspect is linked to the question of how far the idea of a united political community of Swedish men can be said to have encompassed broader segments of the population, on the level of provinces and local communities. The ambivalences mentioned above primarily related to the peasantry and their potentially vacillating status in regard to the political community of the realm.2 In a way, the peasantry constituted a category of social otherness within the realm, with an uncertain position in the imagined political community of Swedish men. Finally, the third aspect of the political vision propagated in 1 Bhabha, ‘Introduction’, pp. 4-5; Kramer, ‘Historical Narratives and the Meaning of Nationalism’, pp. 536-537. 2 Bjarne Larsson, ‘The freeholder’, pp. 75-81.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


the Sturekrönikan regarded the question of what kind of community their authors considered foundational for political power and what this entailed in terms of political agency. As we shall see, history writing was a matter of depicting political power and actions for a contemporary audience – publics which the chroniclers necessarily imagined in terms of shared values, norms, and a self-image that differed from other communities both internal and external to the realm.

The Imaginary as an Object of Investigation Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities – emphasizing the fundamentally creative element involved in the (self-)definition of collectivities – comes as a convenient tool for the analysis of the ways in which the political community was conceived in the chronicle.3 The Sturekrönikan depicted the political community in ways that aimed at triggering recognition as well as intellectual and emotional response among the readers and listeners of the text. The communicative and rhetorical elements present in the rhyme chronicle can be further illuminated through Charles Taylor’s concept of the ‘social imaginary’. 4 According to Taylor, social imaginary consists in ‘the ways people imagine their social existence, how they fit together with others, how things go on between them and their fellows, the expectations that are normally met, and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie these expectations’.5 Such common understanding among larger groups enables social practices and acceptance of certain practices to appear as meaningful and legitimate (or illegitimate) because this understanding is based on past experiences of how interaction usually works, as well as on expectations and norms regarding how interaction should proceed.6 For Taylor, the term imaginary points to the human tendency to articulate conceptions of social contexts in images, narratives, or legends, rather than as theoretical and abstract statements. Taylor also draws attention to the communicative aspects related to the social imaginary. The social imaginary involves an implicit understanding of the relationship existing between the members of a group and the relations between these members, visible, for instance, in speech 3 4 5 6

Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6. Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, pp. 23-30. Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, p. 23. Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, p. 24.

92 Margaretha Nordquist

acts between the addresser and addressees.7 The communication of an ideological message between a sender (chronicler) and an audience in the form of rhyme chronicles also relied on a shared social imaginary. To study the exhortative and persuasive aspects of how a political community was imagined in historical narratives does not only involve the focus on how this community was represented or spoken to, but also on the voice of the chronicler, who placed himself in a particular position vis-à-vis the community. The Sturekrönikan’s narrative can thus be interpreted as reflecting a social imaginary in the sense that its authors claimed to represent a factual, verisimilar account of the past, based on norms and expectations related to the present and the future.

The Framework of a Political Community in Late Medieval Sweden As stated above, the Sturekrönikan depicted political events and main political actors in late fifteenth-century Sweden on behalf of some of these actors, notably Sten Sture the Elder (r. 1470-1497, 1501-1503). He was the regent and supervisor of the realm (riksföreståndare) during much of the period covered in the chronicle. According to the Law of the Realm, Sweden was an elective monarchy ‘that was to be ruled with the help of native-born men’, a stipulation which begged the question of who was to be considered as native-born.8 Political power in late-medieval Sweden was fragmented and scattered in the hands of secular and ecclesiastical aristocracy, who through the administration of revenues from the fiefs could establish power bases of their own.9 The leading men in the three administrative systems of provinces, dioceses, and fiefs were also represented in the Council of the Realm, which gained an increasingly important political standing in the Swedish realm, particularly during the intermittent periods of regency until the Vasa dynasty established its supremacy in the early sixteenth

7 For Taylor, shared social imaginary enables us to understand or make sense of actions as part of a collective repertory of actions that involve speech acts and relationships between addressers and addressees: Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, pp. 26-27. 8 Schück, ‘Sweden as an Aristocratic Republic’, p. 66. 9 Hallenberg, Kungen, fogdarna och riket, p. 13; Reinholdsson, Uppror eller resningar?, pp. 144145; Jan Glete describes Sweden as a ‘fairly typical medieval society with much local power and no monopoly of violence controlled by the state’: Glete, War and the State, p. 183.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


century.10 The opposition against the Kalmar Union and the union kings in late-medieval Sweden to a great extent concerned the control over the resources of the realm and the distribution of power between the king and the aristocratic elite. Scholars have shown that in the absence of a king or full monarchical authority in fifteenth-century Sweden, the concept of the realm acquired a new meaning as a symbol of sovereignty.11 The political struggles within the Kalmar Union and the claims of the union kings led to attempts to assert and reinforce a constitutional supremacy through symbols and expressions of regnal significance. The struggle about and for the realm proceeded on different levels: through warfare, negotiations, and treaties, but also on a symbolic level of representation. The increasing prominence given to the patron saints of the realm,12 the erection of the statue of St. George and the dragon in the Stockholm Cathedral as a symbol for the victory over King Christian I (1426-1481) at the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471, the establishment of Uppsala University, and the production of the new political discourse, including the proliferation of pamphlets, open letters, and popular songs, were all signs of this development. 13 The continuing writing of rhyme chronicles as one of the streams in this political discourse also testifies to the widespread conviction of the importance of communicating political messages to key social groups. The struggle about the realm was beginning to be conducted on a broader social arena. According to John Watts, political rebellions in late fifteenth-century Europe provide evidence that the forms for voicing opposition were indeed changing and resulted in new ways of representing political conflicts. Vernacular manifestoes were a means of communicating political messages, which to an unprecedented extent claimed to express the concerns of the political community as a whole: ‘[t]he political community was thus, in every 10 The late-medieval governmental system in Sweden has been referred to as an aristocratic republic. Schück, ‘Sweden as an Aristocratic Republic’, pp. 66-68. 11 Ferm, State-Formative Tendencies; Schück, Rikets brev och register; Reinholdsson, Uppror eller resningar?, pp. 53-54; Ågren, Michelsson, Sundqvist, Royalties and Sanctuaries, pp. 68-69. 12 For the importance of the patron saint Henry for the development of notions of a particular Finnish identity, see Lehtinen, ‘Notions of a Finnish National Identity’, p. 278. Bernard Guenée observes that the emerging states in the Middle Ages more frequently invoked saints in general, and their newly acquired patron saints in particular, than God. Religious sentiments thus contributed to the formation of national ideas, rather than to the formation of a universal sense of community. Guenée, States and Rulers, p. 56. 13 Reinholdsson, Uppror eller resningar?, p.  63; Lindroth, Uppsala universitet, pp.  11-12; Blomqvist, Schacktavelslek och Sju vise mästare, pp. 221-227; Hildeman, Politiska visor, pp. 261-262; Ståhle, Medeltidens profana litteratur, pp. 93-95.

94 Margaretha Nordquist

country, a much more extensive, complex, and ever-present phenomenon, and politicians of all kinds were forced to engage with it in real, as well as verbal, terms’.14 In Bernard Guenée’s view, the states of the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Europe were characterized by a structural and ideational duality, which comprised the equal prominence of ‘on the one hand, the ruler, and, on the other, the country, nation, or community’.15 The emergence of a ‘national’ political community in dialogue with the ruler, and increasingly diversified languages of power and politics were significant cultural factors, which transformed the character of the state in the late-medieval period.16 The mode of political interaction in regard of the realm involved different social groups in late-medieval Sweden, but the ability to act on the central level was normally a prerogative reserved for the political elite, not least because of the large territory of the realm.17 If the realm was an arena for a continuous reconfiguration of power relations between the ruler and aristocracy, the question can be posed as to how appeals to a broad community of Swedes in political discourse fit into this power game.18 The actual relevance of this identification for the peasantry is uncertain, but as a tax-collecting organization exacting resources from its subjects, the state was probably a tangible reality for most peasants, who most likely entertained some idea of a political framework hovering above their local and provincial levels.19

The Sturekrönikan The rhyme chronicle tradition considered here probably came to Scandinavia from the German areas, in the form of the Braunschweig or Livonian chronicles, a route possibly facilitated by the extensive contacts between 14 Watts, The Making of Polities, p. 9. 15 John Watts discusses Guenée’s conclusions about medieval society: Watts, The Making of Polities, p. 25. 16 Watts, The Making of Polities, p. 27. 17 Ferm, State-Formative Tendencies, pp. 7-9. 18 The meaning of the terms ‘Swedes’ and ‘the Swedish men’ have been investigated by Herman Schück, as part of his analysis of the shifting roles of council and meetings of lords in the Middle Ages. For a long time, the terms referred to the privileged men of the realm. Schück, Rikets råd och män. In the Sture era, there are indications that terms such as ‘realm’, ‘the inhabitants of the realm’, and ‘the privileged groups’ were sometimes used as synonyms, sometimes as separate entities. Palme, Riksföreståndarvalet 1512, pp. 239-240. 19 Gustafsson, ‘The Eighth Argument’, p. 107.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


North German and Scandinavian ruling families in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.20 The tradition of writing history in the form of rhyme chronicles was tenacious in Sweden, and resulted in a continuous historical narrative of the history of the realm mainly written in the fifteenth century, with the fourteenth-century Erikskrönikan (Chronicle of Duke Erik) as a starting point (see also Bjørn Bandlien’s chapter).21 The chronicles were often copied and transmitted as a whole, which suggests they were perceived as related works, although different in origin and contents.22 The very persistence of this historiographical tradition indicates that it apparently possessed an attractive ideological and rhetorical force, which secured the continuation of its narrative in new additions to this body of texts. Many continuations and copies from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries are also evidence of the particular impact of this form of history writing. The oldest extant version of the Sturekrönikan is found in KB D5, a manuscript dating from the late fifteenth century. 23 The tendency and the circumstances of writing make Sten Sture the Elder (~1440-1503) a likely commissioner of a large part of the chronicle. Archbishop Jakob Ulfsson (r. 1469-1515) may have initiated the concluding part of the Sturekrönikan, written at the turn of the year 1496/1497. The final part was written not long before the deposition of Sten Sture and the acceptance of King Hans in the autumn of 1497. The archbishop was a key figure in the opposition against Sten Sture, which would be in line with the more critical attitude to the regent in the last part of the narrative.24

The Dynamic of Formation: Inclusion/Exclusion The main ideological thrust of the Sturekrönikan rests on the presupposition of the existence of a community of Swedes as a particular political force 20 Ferrari, ‘Literature as a Performative Act’, pp. 56-57. 21 Jansson, Medeltidens rimkrönikor, p. 140. 22 Of the nineteen extant manuscripts containing the Erikskrönikan, only three contain it as a separate historical work, apart from the other rhyme chronicles: Jansson, Medeltidens rimkrönikor, pp. 140-144. 23 Hagnell, Sturekrönikan, p. 19; There are at least two separately composed parts of Sturekrönikan; one part dealing with the period 1452-1487 and a second, final part dealing with the years 1488-1496, but there are many indications that the first part (1452-1481) consists of more than one chronicle. 24 Olsson, Stat och kyrka, p. 123.

96 Margaretha Nordquist

that the chronicler clearly exploits for political purposes. It is an imagined political community: its existence and validity is assumed as a commonly acknowledged fact in the minds of the chronicle’s writers, narrators, and readers/audiences. In the rhyme chronicle, this wide community coexists with other kinds of provincial or local communities.25 As will become evident below, the fact that multiple identifications were possible blurs out the clear-cut distinctions between social and political communities. The question of who was considered to be a Swede implicitly came up as a consequence of the claims for a monopoly of Swedish men regarding all positions of power within the realm in the fifteenth century.26 The treaty of Kalmar from 1436, for instance, which was the result of negotiations between King Erik and the councils of Denmark and Sweden regarding the terms of the union in the aftermath of a violent uprising in Sweden (the Engelbrekt rising), included an attempt to distinguish between Swedes and foreigners that stressed the place of birth as a basic criterion.27 There is evidence that a ‘Swede’ was synonymous with ‘native’ and ‘native born’, but was also associated with the place of permanent domicile. A stranger or a foreigner was someone with a more temporary residence in the realm.28 This notion is present in the Sturekrönikan, where ‘Swede’ is also used as a hypernym, denoting the inhabitants of the realm on the level above provinces and hundreds. In that sense, by referring to men who lived in the realm as a geographical and territorial unit, the chronicle linked the term to a place of domicile.29 The terms ‘Sweden’ and ‘Finland’ both referred to geographical areas in the realm, but the use of ‘Swedes’ and ‘Finns’ as designations for the inhabitants of the respective areas differed in sources such as the rhyme chronicles. Marko Lamberg’s analysis of the vernacular rhyme chronicles (such as the Sturekrönikan) suggests that while Finland was indeed mentioned in the chronicles, this occurred almost exclusively in the neutral, toponymic sense of a geographical unit on the level above the various districts. When the chronicles referred to 25 As Benedict Anderson contends, all communities are essentially imagined unless they consist in personal, face-to-face-relationships. It is ‘the style in which they are imagined’ that separates them from each other. Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6. 26 Lundholm, ‘Sverige’, p. 92. The same demands were voiced in Norway, but the initial demands that only native-born men should be appointed to administrative posts were later modified, and men who were married to native noblewomen and thus ‘naturalized’ could also be counted as Norwegians. Opsahl, ‘Conflict and Alliance’, p. 171. 27 Sveriges traktater med främmande makter, pp. 165-167. 28 Ferm, State-Formative Tendencies, pp. 16-17. 29 The connection between Swedishness and place of domicile is notable for example in SMR 4, lines 857-858, 1861-1862, SMR 5, lines 2186-2187, 2310-2311, 2586-2588.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


the inhabitants of Finland these were designated as provincial groups, not as ‘Finns’.30 The reluctance to use the term ‘Finn’ may be linked to a wish to avoid the ethnic implications of a concept of ‘Finns’ among the high aristocracy.31 On the other hand, both Swedish- and Finnish-speaking people were considered to be ‘Swedes’ in political sense, as subjects of the realm.32 When discussing how Swedes were imagined as a collective actor in the Sturekrönikan, it is important to note that expressions such as the ‘men of the realm’ or ‘Sweden’s men’ had a fundamental political-constitutional meaning for much of the Middle Ages.33 The connection between the realm, political power, and the men of the realm was traditionally based on the idea that the privileged groups provided counsel and military services to the crown in exchange for tax exemption. ‘Swedes’, or the ‘men of the realm’, referred to men acting on a regnal level in matters pertaining to the governance of the kingdom. ‘The realm’, significantly, referred to the area for which the Law of the Realm was valid. As a collective designation, the Sturekrönikan linked the term ‘Swedes’ to the realm as a political power structure. Nevertheless, the concept of a ‘Swede’ had wider connotations than just that of a permanent resident in the realm and a subject to the Swedish law. As a result, over time the concept acquired a fundamental mobilizing function resting on its multiple meanings. As will be shown below, it became strongly imbued with notions of political and military mobilization and referred to certain ideals such as honour, manliness, loyalty, and faithfulness. It signified a common identity and self-image of a group of men involved in the struggle over the realm.34 The community of Swedes imagined in this manner rested thus on a number of potent morals and values.

Transcending the Narrative: ‘Swedes’ as ‘We’ and ‘You’ In the Sturekrönikan, the construction of the regnal community of Swedes sometimes transcends the narrative itself, particularly when the chronicler 30 The same applies to the inhabitants of Sweden proper, where peasants frequently are referred to in terms of their area of living. However, unlike the term ‘Finn’, ‘Swede’ is also used. 31 Lamberg and Sjöstrand, ‘Finnar, svenskar eller främlingar?’, pp. 506-508, 520. 32 Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater, p. 303. 33 For the changing meanings of the terms ‘Council of the Realm’ and ‘men of the realm’ in the Sture period, reflected in the references to the ‘Council and men of the Realm’, see Schück, Rikets råd och män, pp. 117-121, 123-129; Schück, ‘Sweden as an aristocratic republic’. 34 In Sturekrönikan, ‘Swedes’ almost exclusively refers to men. Women are rarely spoken of as a group and never as active participants of a Swedish community.

98 Margaretha Nordquist

addresses his readers and listeners directly with exhortations of political counsel. In other words, the authors established a link between historical writing, communities, and political legitimacy, in a manner similar to what Matthew Kempshall claimed: ‘[p]erhaps the most familiar dimension of historiography as a form of deliberative rhetoric is the function it served as a means of political legitimation, providing a narrative of the past, not for individuals, but for groups or communities’.35 The direct references to the community of Swedes are one of the most important ways in which the past is linked to the present and to the future in the chronicle. Through the fluid identification between the community depicted in the chronicle and the implied audience of Swedes addressed by the chronicler, the distinction between the textual (narrative) and contextual (reception) levels becomes suspended.36 The concept of the community of Swedes or Swedish men is a key element in the chronicle’s ideological message, which gains force from the chronicle’s shifts between the representation of Swedes as a historical collective actor and as an audience. The two levels merge, for instance, when the chronicler, depicting the double threat the realm faced from the Russians and the Danes, refers to the Swedes as ‘us’ and thereby includes himself among the Swedes.37 The ‘us’ invites the audience to identify with the narrator’s perspective. The pronoun affirms the group and serves to persuade audience members that their status and identity as individuals is dependent on the cohesion of the community they belong to. The social imaginary is brought to convey a meaningful message to a community and enables it to apprehend the shifting moods of the chronicler’s voice; from threats to persuasion and affirmation. The relationship between the narrator and his audience is also that of a single ‘I’ and a plural ‘You’. In the latter case, the narrator chooses to speak to his public and assumes the position of a counsellor or judge. He confronts his audience with a situation that demands its attention and active response while providing advice. But he also addresses ‘You honest Swedish men’ directly to praise both them and their leader Sten Sture for their achievement in favour of all the Swedes, in which case the receiver of the text may also identify with these groups.38 35 Kempshall, Rhetoric and the Writing of History, p. 256. The role of history-writing in the construction of identity and communities is often maintained, see for example Shopkow, History and Community. 36 See also discussion in Nordquist, ‘“What You Hear is the Truth”’, pp. 309-313. 37 SMR 5, lines 4035-4036: ‘ryzer oss hötass mz thera her saa stark / och samaleedes konungh hanis i danmark’ (Russians threaten us with their strong army, as does King Hans in Denmark). 38 SMR 5, line 3356: ‘i ärligha swänske meen’.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


The chronicler expects consent and support from the audience who, as Swedes, are also potential victims of Danish deceit. It characterizes a proper Swede that he (since this is a predominantly male category) regrets Danish influence in the realm: ‘all true Swedes should complain about that’.39 Furthermore, by referring to true Swedes, the chronicler implies that there are also false ones and that the difference can be told from their respective reactions to the Danish advances. 40 This suggests an underlying, complex idea of Swedishness according to which a person could be a Swede (in a more formal sense) yet not behave like a ‘true’ Swede. When the chronicler speaks in deprecating terms of the allies of Ivar Axelsson (~1420-1487), one of the opponents of Sten Sture the Elder, this notion of different layers of Swedishness can be detected: the chronicler cannot defend all Swedes against the allegations of piracy that foreigners make, since some of the Swedes prefer to look after their own interests rather than the honour of Swedish men.41 This notion of Swedishness can also be understood in terms of what Harald Gustafsson referred to as the duties of a ‘good subject’. 42 In his analysis of the conceptions of identity in the early sixteenth-century Scandinavia, Gustafsson argued that being an inhabitant of the realm was seen in terms of rights and obligations attached to the realm. Arguments for or against certain actions could therefore be based on an expectation that identification with the realm was perceived as a legitimate basis for action. 43 The frequent interchange between the chronicler and his implied audience, and the shifts in identification between the Swedish men in the chronicle and the audience, meant that the audience supposedly faced and participated in the same immediate political struggles as the chronicler. The imagined political community based on the Swedish realm was thus an important common denominator in the interaction between the chronicler

39 SMR 5, line 2441: ‘thz sculle alla rätte swänske klagha’. This passage is not entirely clear. The subject for complaint is probably to be understood as the Danish influence in the realm or, more specifically, the failure of Sten Sture to achieve a desirable separation between Danes and Swedes (SMR 5, line 2435). 40 This is implicit in the chronicler’s comment on the discord within the Swedish Council of the Realm in connection with the election of Sten Sture the Elder as regent: SMR 5, lines 1889-1890: ‘än tha thz wille ekke wäl falla / likawäll waare the swänske alla’ (still it did not end well, yet they were all Swedes). 41 SMR 5, line 2801. 42 Gustafsson, ‘The Eighth Argument’, pp. 98-99. 43 Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater, p. 281.

100 Margaretha Nordquist

and his reader/listener. 44 The latter apparently possessed political agency, sometimes explicitly so, and thus constituted an important resource in the power struggle. 45

Swedes as a Collectivity The depiction of a community of Swedes is mainly linked to the perceived need to defend the political and economic rights and legal integrity of the members of the group. The cultural traits of this imagined community are not articulated quite as clearly as an ideological argument in the Sturekrönikan. The arguments for the solidarity of Swedish men are first and foremost based on the conception of the Swedes as a political community. An analysis of the episodes where the chronicle speaks of Swedes as a collective actor shows that they appear mainly in three different roles. First, Swedes carry responsibility for the realm and represent the realm to outsiders. Second, they defend the realm and/or the ruler, but also, importantly, their own sense of honour. Third, they are the potential victims of foreign attempts to rule and exercise power in the realm. It is important to notice that the first category consists of Swedes in a very narrow sense of the word, as a limited group of aristocratic men, while the two other categories comprise Swedes in a more general sense. In the Sturekrönikan, the responsibility for the realm belongs to a group of Swedes, the members of the council of the realm. 46 An underlying assumption is that the council members – as Swedes – ought to have a common understanding of what the welfare of the realm requires. Swedes represent or even embody the realm in relation to foreign powers.47 An expression 44 He communicates with his audience in a way that reinforces this mutual understanding: ‘käre wenner’ (dear friends) he begins his account of the election of Sten Sture the Elder and the strange circumstances concerning the split within the Swedish Council of the Realm. SMR 4, lines 1869-1872. 45 Most of the chronicle addresses an audience of Swedish men, sometimes specified as Swedish lords, and sometimes addressed with the epithet honest. SMR 5, lines 2586: ‘hören tiil i som i swerige boo’ (Listen you who live in Sweden), 2750: ‘beetänk tiik swänske herre’ (consider this, Swedish lord), 2882: ‘Hören nw tiil alla ärligha män’ (Now listen all honest men), 3118: ‘i swänske män i faan nw röna’ (You Swedish men you will now learn), 3356: ‘nw i ärligha swänske meen’ (now you honest Swedish men). 46 In the political struggles of the fifteenth century, the Council of the Realm developed into an ‘embodiment’ of the realm, and, as such, became an essential factor in any attempt to seize power in the realm. Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater, p. 42. 47 SMR 4, lines 121-148.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


such as ‘all Sweden’s might’ indicates that ‘Swedes’ constitute a physical embodiment of the might of the realm, but again, in a predominantly aristocratic sense. 48 The second feature that characterizes the Swedes as a collectivity is the connection to warfare and defense.49 They are often depicted going to battles or engaging in warfare. Territorial immunity has been defined as a basic constituent of medieval concepts of liberty, and for the individual, it was membership of a community that upheld legal or social claims.50 Commitment to the realm was therefore hardly an abstract form of loyalty even if it might entail an abstract idea of the state. It was a safeguard of individual and communal rights. In the unravelling of the conflict between Ivar Axelsson on the one side, and Sten Sture and the Swedes on the other, the Swedes’ final resort to violence was thus praised by the chronicler: ‘he [Ivar Axelsson] has evil designs on Sweden [...] he wanted to harm Sweden [...] Lord Sten has many knights in armour with him, all Swedes were confident [...] Lord Sten was in good spirits, because all Swedes stood firm [together]’.51 This quotation also shows that loyalty towards the realm (and thus, implicitly, to the community of men) was difficult to distinguish from loyalty to the commanding lord. The chronicle frequently represented the action of going to war as a venture conflating these two types of loyalty. It entailed both feudal and patriotic loyalties. A similar duality is observed by Gabrielle M. Spiegel as part of her analysis of how the idea of the ‘defense of the realm’ evolved as a powerful political slogan in the Capetian historiography in response to the political needs of the high Middle Ages. In France, the quintessential role of the king as defender of the realm, largely based on personal (feudal) bonds of commitment between king and persons and institutions (Church) was supplemented with new forms of allegiance that bound together kings and subjects through mutual obligations towards the state as a ruled collective (rather than as ruled persons). This shift brought 48 SMR 4, lines 84, 200. 49 On the narrative level (the production of meaning), there is a consistent pattern of a threat that has to be met. The plot is never about taking initiative for aggression or offensive, expansionist movements. The basic plot is about the rightful consolidation and maintenance of a political order. The prominent role of warfare is of course also a consequence of the chronicle’s emphasis on military events and actions in the narrative. It also corresponds to the characterization of the text as a narrative of events, of actions. Warfare contributed to the shaping of identities in early modern Europe: Gunn, ‘War and Identity’, p. 171. 50 Black, ‘The Individual and Society’, p. 591. 51 SMR 5, lines 3258: ‘han akter swerige eeth storth riiss’, 3263: ‘han wille swerige göra skadhe, 3276-3277: ‘her steen han haffuer mz siik mangha riddara rösthe / alla swänske waare tröste’, 3282-3283: ‘her steen war saa wäll tiil moodha / thy alle swänske the fasthe stodho’.

102 Margaretha Nordquist

about a new emphasis on the realm and patria as objects of allegiance, common to both king and his subjects, and the need to create an awareness of a new kind of political community.52 The chronicle’s account of the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471 can serve as a good exemplification of a similar shift occurring here. The battle, in which Sten Sture’s troops (identified as Swedes) triumphed over the Union King Christian I, was represented as a pivotal event in the chronicle. Before the battle, Sten Sture the Elder spoke to his troops: ‘If you want to live in peace in Sweden, then you should keep faith with me today, and if you want to live with honour and all remain in Sweden, then you should now all stand firm and no one should desert the other’.53 He urged them to remain faithful to him and stand united in order to safeguard peace in the realm as well as an honourable life. Religious fervour further united the assembled troops as they moved forward in the name of God.54 In other words, a loyalty to the regent, religious conviction, and a commitment to both the realm and to a code of honour united the victorious side at Brunkeberg.55 The prelude to the battle was depicted largely as an interaction between Sten Sture the Elder and his men. The battle itself, however, was set as a narrative of the heroic fight of the Swedes against the Danes and King Christian, as witnessed by the chronicler himself.56 Swedish ardour and struggle were stressed through a deliberate, repetitive pattern of parallelisms, with verses beginning with

52 Spiegel, ‘Defense of the Realm’, pp. 121-124; The process that led to the formation of the idea of the kingdom as a separate institution from the person of the king was strengthened in Scandinavia as a result of the establishment of the Kalmar Union. While the three kingdoms had the same king, each kingdom maintained its status as independent polity. 53 SMR 5, lines 2186-2191: ‘wylin i mz friidh i swerige boo / tha maghin y i dagh mik halla troo / och wylin i mz ärom liffua / och alla i swerige bliffua / tha maattin i nw alla fasta staa / och ingen fraan androm i dagh gaa’. 54 SMR 5, lines 2211-2221. 55 Religious symbols and saints typically unite the community. According to the chronicle, the Swedes share a common sense of joy when honour is bestowed upon the daughter of St. Birgitta as well as St. Brynolf of Skara. SMR 5, lines 3386-3389. The beatification of Katarina and Brynolf is the first information provided by the last author of Sturekrönikan in his continuation of the narrative. As Anthony D. Smith argues (Smith, The Cultural Foundations of Nations, pp. 32-33): ‘the cultivation of symbolic elements’ is an important part of nation-forming processes, which include both a development towards ‘an ethno-cultural self-definition’ and towards ‘a territorial, legal, and political solidarity’. 56 The chronicler indicates his own presence as an eyewitness in the account: SMR 5, lines 2290 ‘skrii och ropp jak nogh hörde’ (cries and shouts I did hear), 2298 ‘jak stodh och saagh oppa’ (I stood and watched this), 2316 ‘ekke wille jak tha gerna när wara’ (I was present only with reluctance).

Envisioning a Political Communit y


‘the Swedes …’.57 In addition, the account of the battle was intersected with dramatic speeches in which the Swedes collectively repeated what had been said in the prelude to the battle. The Swedes must at any cost defend their right to live a long life in their country and avoid any shame.58 The ultimate confirmation of the righteous unity of the Swedes was the heavenly portent which appeared in the sky. The sword of the patron saint of the realm, St. Eric, came into view and was interpreted as a sign of divine approval. The blessing of the saint was also invoked in connection with the war in Finland in 1495, which had broken out as a result of Russian attacks on the Swedish border strongholds of Viborg and Nyslott. As the Swedes prepared to leave for Finland, the prelates of Uppsala allowed Sten Sture the Elder to bring the banner of St. Eric with him, ‘to the comfort and peace of all Swedes’.59 Here, again, it was a matter of defending the realm both in terms of the Christian faith and against the aggression of the Russians. However, the last part of the Sturekrönikan was commissioned by men who opposed Sten Sture the Elder and sought to decry him. From that perspective, it is quite remarkable how the chronicler first depicted Sten Sture as a knight on a holy enterprise, leading all the Swedes to the war against the Russians;60 a scene which stands in stark contrast with the later events in Finland, where Sten Sture, according to the chronicle, failed to fulfill his duties as regent and defender of the realm’s territory. As a collectivity, the Swedes thus appeared as the leading body of government in Sweden and as a community engaged in the defense of the realm. The third feature that characterized the representation of the Swedes in the Sturekrönikan was the notion that these men were the victims of the realm’s enemies. In the aftermath of the Battle of Brunkeberg, the chronicler stated that it was Christian I’s original intention to enslave the Swedes and make them into objects of derision. It was only thanks to the grace of God that the Swedes avoided this fate and defeated the king at Brunkeberg.61 By depicting the attempts of outsiders to gain control not only over material assets of the realm but also over the Swedes themselves, the chronicles identified 57 See for example in SMR 5, lines 2259-2276, where the lines 2259, 2261, 2263, 2265, 2266, 2276 begin with ‘the swänske’ (the Swedes) or ‘swänske’ (2272). In the remaining account of the battle, ‘Swedes’ occur initially in 2295, 2301, 2306, 2340, 2350, 2382. 58 SMR 5, lines 2268, 2306-2313, 2340-2349. 59 SMR 5, line 3656: ‘allom swänskom tiil hunghnadth och roo’. SMR 5, lines 3846-3853: the banners of St. Eric and St. Olof appear in the battle at Viborg, as well as the cross of St. Andrew above the town. 60 SMR 5, lines 3651-3679. 61 SMR 5, lines 2398-2403.

104 Margaretha Nordquist

the Swedes as those with a legitimate claim to control the resources of the country and the freedom of all Swedish men, which implies a more limited social category of men. The invocation of a regnal community served to unite a group of men perceived as an important political resource. From the chronicler’s point of view this group needed to be convinced that its common interests could only be safeguarded by the person who would remove threats to it as a collective. Swedish men were similarly pictured as the suffering part in the chronicle’s account of the conflict in the 1480s between Sten Sture and the Council of the Realm and the powerful Axelsson (Tott) family, who belonged to the group of powerful aristocratic families with considerable economic interests in both Denmark and Sweden. Ivar Axelsson and his brothers were depicted as bent on harming the Swedes.62 This message is communicated early on in the text: ‘when Lord Erik Axelsson [one of the brothers] died, Swedish men were thrown into distress’.63 The chronicler’s account of this conflict focuses on the resources (castles, fiefs, and taxes) of the Swedish realm that the Tott family was supposedly eager to lay its hands on.64 It was the potential loss of these resources that constituted the distress for everyone. This, again, suggests that in this context ‘the Swedes’ denoted a relatively exclusive category of politically active men, who had a stake in the resources of the realm. What united them, in addition to their common distress, was their emotional response to it. The Swedes, wanting to follow the Swedish law, had been deceived by the artful double-dealing of Ivar Axelsson and his brothers.65 As a result, they were thrown into sorrow and silence, feeling ill at ease: ‘their hearts were hurt and they felt ill at ease, for this benefited them little’.66 Their expressions were described as pitiable 62 SMR 5, lines 2611, 2706-2707, 3160, 3216-3221, 3257-3261, 3268-3269. 63 SMR 5, lines 2560-2561: ‘tha her erik axelsson han bleeff dödh / komme swänske män i nödh’. 64 See for example SMR 5, lines 2570-2575, 2918-2927. The crown castles, the Council of the Realm, and the commonalty (menigheterna) were the three key factors for anyone attempting to seize power in the realm. Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater, pp. 41-44. SMR 5, lines 2767-2771: the chronicler claims that Ivar Axelsson is able to collect vast sums of money from Sweden, where he appoints Danish bailiffs to look after his interests. 65 SMR 5, lines 2612-2639. 66 SMR 5, lines 2634-2635: ‘thera hierta war saarth och illa tiil modha / thy theta kom them lithet tiil godha’. Also in SMR 5, line 2669: ‘och för santh i hiertat graatha’ (and for truth cry in their hearts, SMR 5, lines 2946-2947: ‘swänske ä hwar the waare / stora sorgh i hiertadh baare’ (Swedes everywhere carried sorrow in their hearts), these stereotypical expressions for distress are also used in the account of King Karl Knutsson’s second defeat: SMR 4, lines 1240-1241, ‘the swänske flydde i stadhen in / mz sorgfulth hierta och bleeka kin’ (the Swedes fled into the town, with hearts filled with sorrow and pale cheeks); Similar conventional expressions are used generally to describe reactions to military defeat: SMR 4, lines 484, 495-499.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


and in spite of this common distress they were unable to act in unison.67 As Swedes, they had a common reputation to defend and therefore reacted with anger as foreigners started to call Swedes ‘pirates’ as a consequence of Ivar Axelsson’s maritime raids.68 In this light, the Swedes’ violence in their dealing with Ivar Axelsson appeared as an absolute necessity.69 Their blamelessness was further visible in their initial efforts to reestablish mutual harmony and concord between the parties involved in the conflict. The Swedes attempted to accommodate the demands of Ivar Axelsson and display their love in letters and communications.70 This language suggests that, similarly to what Lars Hermanson states in his chapter, political bonds were at the time still conceived of as bonds of friendship and love. The political community was ideally a means to realize the God-given urge towards love and affection between human beings.71 But the community and realm had to be defended. And so as the conflict with Ivar ended up in violence and sieges, the Swedes appeared as defenders of the realm, finally acting as they should. The chronicler was nevertheless careful to point out that Ivar Axelsson was the aggressor and that all Swedes were willing to risk their lives in the fight.72 Both their steadfastness and innocence were emphasized: they had gone to great lengths to resolve the conflict peacefully, sacrificing their peace of heart and mind. All Swedes now stood firm and confident against their enemies.73 The stress on the need of concord and unity was expressed in terms of taking responsibility for the welfare of the realm, since any display of discord played into the hands of the enemies.74 The envisioning of a Swedish regnal community served as means of socio-political co-ordination: converting diverse interests into a single cause aimed at the defense and benefit of

67 SMR 5, lines 2636-2637. 68 SMR 5, lines 2797-2798. 69 SMR 5, lines 2740-2741: ‘thz motte swänska göre i nödh / om the wille wiika een ondan dödh’; The reference to necessity as reason for the Swedes’ actions can also be found in SMR 5, lines 2946-2949. 70 SMR 5, lines 2954-2958. 71 Black, ‘The Individual and Society’, p. 597. 72 SMR 5, lines 3168-3169. 73 SMR 5, lines 3277, 3283; The chronicle’s account of the fighting against Ivar Axelsson contains stereotypical formulations that are also used in the account of the Brunkeberg battle. The enemy intends to give Sweden a flogging (‘eeth storth riiss’) (SMR 5, lines 2146, 3258), the Swedish troops stand shining as ice and as a mirror respectively (SMR 5, lines 2143, 3303). 74 SMR 4, lines 1849-1857 (the essential unity of the Council of the Realm), SMR 5, lines 33723377 (the unity of the Swedish men will deter the enemy).

106 Margaretha Nordquist

the realm.75 The exhibition of courage, commitment, and confidence or trust (tröste) among the Swedes represents more or less conventionally the preconditions for political and military success.76 Furthermore, the political and military actions necessary to defend the realm were represented as matters of life and death, both for individual actors and whole groups.77 It was the honour and honesty of these individuals and groups that were at stake. The gain or loss of honour and shame could be triggered by actions directly connected to the realm and to identification as a Swede. This becomes apparent in the chronicles’ account of the peasants’ rising against Christian I in 1463, discussed below, where honour and shame were depicted as prominent elements in the peasants’ reactions to the events.

Stereotyping the Self and the Others The three main ideological positions that the Swedes occupy in the narrative (responsibility, defense, and victimization) implied the presence of opponents or enemies to the realm and the Swedes. Typically, it was the Danes and Russians that threatened and attacked the Swedish realm and its inhabitants. The representation of Swedes as a group was essentially dependent on the existence of other groups that were placed in an outsider position in relation to Swedes.78 As stated in the introduction to this book, a political community usually develops in contradistinction to foreigners, even if such dissociation from what is considered not being a part of one’s community, according to Anthony D. Smith, is of secondary importance to the process of collective self-definition (what a community is) in nationforming processes.79 There is little doubt that the chronicles’ descriptions of foreign polities, communities, and individuals served as a means of coordinating and mobilizing internal support as a legitimate defense against external enemies. The anti-Danish rhetoric was an element of the regnal ideology of the chronicle, which, among other things, operated through the appropriation of the good 75 John Breuilly stresses three functions which ideology can play within a political movement: co-ordination, mobilization, and legitimation: Breuilly, Nationalism and the State, p. 93. 76 SMR 5, lines 2388-2389, 3272-3283. 77 SMR 4, lines 45-46, 168, 744-745, (795), SMR 5, lines 2346-2347, 3168, 3178-3169. 78 This corresponds to Harald Gustafsson’s conclusion that ‘The Danes (and Russians) were ‘the others’ of the Swedish chronicles’. Gustafsson, ‘The Eighth Argument’, p. 108. 79 Smith, The Cultural Foundations of Nations, p. 33.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


qualities on behalf of the chronicler’s own political community and the ascription of bad qualities to those considered enemies of the realm. This form of stereotyping was a twofold process, which through the ascription of negative qualities to foreigners and usually a ‘superior’ set of qualities to one’s own group, created ‘heterostereotypes (standardized images of others)’ and ‘autostereotypes (standardized self-images)’.80 The Danes were thus depicted as the stereotypical foe, impersonating vices that easily deluded and led righteous men astray from their proper loyalties. The core of the anti-Danish rhetoric was the attempt to delegitimize and cast suspicion on the political intentions and claims of Danish actors regarding the Swedish realm, primarily through allegations of falseness and deceitfulness that were reiterated throughout the chronicle.81 Faithlessness was a crucial political concern for those writing or commenting on the power game in fifteenth-century Sweden.82 As a stereotypical allegation against an enemy in a society where bonds of loyalty still constituted the essential part of interpersonal relationships, faithlessness was part of a rhetorical arsenal used against the Swedes as well. For instance, in the Danish rhyme chronicle, printed in 1495, and extended in 1533, the Danish kings complained about the cunning and deceitful nature of Swedes. According to the Danish rhyme chronicle, faithlessness was part of the Swedes’ nature.83 The stereotypical enemy in Swedish and Danish chronicles was thus represented not as an incomprehensible and alien figure, but as someone who violated the fundamental norms of fidelity in interactions 80 Beller, ‘Stereotype’, p. 429. 81 Some examples: SMR 4, lines 106-112 (when the Danes fail to win in battle, they instead speak soft words, smile, and secretly lay plots), 153-154, 1153-1158, 1170; The ‘right’ kind of faithfulness may turn out to be immediately rewarding, as the chronicler observes. As the Danish king enters Stockholm in 1464, the inhabitants of the town are all happy that they have remained loyal to the king, SMR 4, lines 1033-1034: ‘alla waare gladha i stokholm boo / thz the hullo konungen rätta troo’ (all who lived in Stockholm were happy that they had kept the right faith to the king). 82 According to Erik Lönnroth, the problem concerning faithfulness and the binding force of oaths occupied the minds of people in the middle of the fifteenth century. Lönnroth cited the poem of Bishop Thomas, Troheten, that shows a concern with the weakened status of fidelity. For Lönnroth, these concerns largely disappeared in political literature from the 1460s, increasingly replaced with elements of demagogy and humour: Lönnroth, Från svensk medeltid, pp. 79-81. There is nevertheless a recurring theme of faithlessness and treason in the chronicles from the later part of this century. 83 According to the Danish rhyme chronicle, the Swedes ‘handler ikke blot troløst i enkelte situationer; troløsheden er en del af deres natur’: Frederiksen, ‘Nationale fjendebilleder’, p. 31; In his article, Frederiksen accounts for the main features of the reciprocal Danish and Swedish stereotyping based on the Danish Rhyme Chronicle and the Swedish response to the 1555 version of the chronicle, commissioned by Gustav Vasa.

108 Margaretha Nordquist

with others. Ideologically, this argument functioned as a powerful counterimage of one’s political virtue.84 Allegations of duplicity and treason were thus a common theme used to discredit certain actors and actions in the chronicles, not only those directly associated with Danes.85 The Danes were like untamable wolves, whose innate wiliness and fraudulence needed to be underscored.86 When Ivar Axelsson was likened to a fox, this was both a description of the enemy and of the risks involved in letting enemies into the country.87 Stereotypes might also serve as a means to ridicule groups or persons through irony.88 When Christian I and his men marched towards the leader of a rebellion in Sweden, Bishop Kettil Karlsson (Vasa), in the winter of 1464, the chronicler remarked that the Danes’ insufficient clothing and their inexperience with the winter climate prevented them from prevailing against Kettil’s forces. The forces of climate thwarted the Danish plans and the inadequacy of their outfits deprived them of dignity. The notion of being defeated by cold weather suggested perhaps something unmanly and shameful about Danish men,89 but above all marked them out as foreign to the territory. The foreignness of an enemy could also be rendered through his speech in a different language. Language could function as a marker of an outsider,90 and so in the chronicle King Christian spoke distinctively in Low German.91 Language was also used as a marker of the moral standing of individuals and groups. The chronicler made an explicit point of drawing 84 Faithfulness as a core value in this period was also stressed by Harald Gustafsson. He observed that faithfulness was a basic factor in many different relationships, not necessarily related to communities or realms, but formed between family members, patron and client, to the church, etc. Too frequent changes of allegiance could make a man vulnerable to accusations of disloyalty: Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater, p. 302. 85 Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson (Oxenstierna) is for example accused of treason against both King Karl Knutsson (Bonde) and King Christian I. SMR 4, lines 365-375, 776. A traitor in Sten Sture’s army causes him great shame, SMR 4, lines 1655-1660. 86 SMR 4, lines 180-182. 87 SMR 5, lines 2750-2763. 88 Beller, ‘Stereotype’, p. 432. 89 In the chronicle’s description of the Danish campaign in 1464, conspicuous attire also plays a part in the king’s humiliating defeat against Bishop Kettil in Hällaskogen. The king’s green hat makes him an easy target for the crossbowmen, SMR 4, line 1061: ‘een ropadhe skiuth then som mz gröna hatten riidher’ (one [man] shouted, shoot the rider wearing a green hat). 90 Language in the Middle Ages was the most important marker for a nation, besides such factors as physique and customs. Guenée, States and Rulers, pp. 52-53. 91 For example in SMR 4, lines 1065-1066: ‘k sadhe do my hir dyn ysserin hoth / gotes wunne see skedi my all doth’ (k said give me here your iron hat, by the wounds of God, they shoot me to death); See also SMR 5, lines 2165-2179.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


attention to the abusive talk of the Danish union king and his men, talk that unveiled their discourteous nature and flawed political intentions.92 Norwegians and Russians were two further communities the Swedes were positioned against. Norwegians were represented more as allies and the absence of any value judgments regarding Norwegians makes it difficult to place them in the role of a particularly distant ‘other’. The chronicler did in fact regret that the firm bond between Swedish and Norwegian men had been ruptured through Danish manipulations.93 In his analysis of the struggle between the Danish and Swedish kings for the Norwegian throne in 1448-1450, Erik Opsahl contended that ‘geographical, social, political, and economic structures made Norway and Sweden much more closely linked to each other than either country as to Denmark’.94 To maintain a dissociative stance from Norway did not fulfill a similar ideological function as the stereotypical representation of Denmark. The Russians, on the other hand, did constitute a true menace to the Swedish realm in the narrative. According to the chronicler, Russians and Danes were like two fires, closing in on the Swedes between them.95 Russians represented a foreign scourge, invading and ravaging the eastern parts of the realm.96 Yet, at the same time, the Russian threat was interpreted as a Danish plot. The claim was that the Danish king sought to defeat Sweden through threats based on his alliance with the Russians.97 The bond established between Denmark and Russia gave the chronicler occasion to lament the ungodly politics of King Hans. To side with Russians against Christian people was reprehensible, and the chronicler pronounced God’s revenge for any such plans against Sweden (compare this stance with Bjørn Bandlien’s conclusions).98 The king should have considered what faith the 92 SMR 5, lines 2093-2096: ‘paa höffuisth tall oc höffuisk laath / kan man akta herres daath / nw konung cristiern talar saa hardh ordh / thy wäxte ther aff eeth storth mordh’ (from courteous speech and courteous conduct, a lord’s actions can be determined, now King Christian speaks so harsh words, that they gave rise to a major bloodshed). 93 SMR 5, lines 2546-2547: ‘tha brasth thz bandh som för war fasth / millan swänske och norghes män lasth’ (then the bond ruptured that in the past was fixed between Swedes and the men of Norway). 94 Opsahl, ‘Conflict and Alliance’, p. 172. The chronicle’s friendly attitude towards the Norwegians indicates the potential room for collaboration between Sweden and Norway. The three kingdoms within the union could each act separately, which the friendship agreements between Norway and Sweden in the late fifteenth centuries show. 95 SMR 5, line 2749. 96 In the Sture period, Russians were more frequently mentioned in Swedish sources than before, often as evil, unreliable, and cunning. Scheglov, ‘Bilden av Ryssland och ryssar’, p. 72. 97 SMR 5, lines 3411-3413, 3456-3459. 98 SMR 5, lines 3434-3435.

110 Margaretha Nordquist

Russians kept before he joined them in any hostile acts against Christian men, the chronicler insisted. Bernard Guenée argued that the gradual development of what was perceived as ‘natural’ bonds between people, country, and state in the late Middle Ages was accompanied by a corresponding notion of foreignness as a matter of being born outside or inside a kingdom, and of a natural community constituted by political bonds. The ascription of vices and virtues on a national basis was nothing new in the late Middle Ages, but the stereotyping of enemies now became part of the formation of states and national identities of the period: ‘this elementary national psychology, which gave nations a sense of identity, a yardstick for comparison and the wherewithal for self-glorification, was another means by which national consciousness grew stronger and developed self-expression’.99

Peasants as Swedes? In the Sturekrönikan, the peasantry, or commonalty (almoghen) appeared as the assembled men of the provinces and districts of the realm, as armed levies, as the tax-paying inhabitants of the realm, and as the subjects of the laws of the kingdom.100 The political importance of the peasantry, not least as a military force, was shown generally in the chronicle. Historically speaking, the increased role of the peasantry in the political struggles of the fifteenth century has frequently been noted in historical works.101 Their political involvement has been characterized in different ways: as an indication of the role of peasants as a military force and the increasing dependence and interaction between peasantry and elite, linked to the latter’s need for money and resources. The picture is complex, however, since there is also simultaneous evidence of aristocratic attempts to circumvent the statutory 99 Guenée, States and Rulers, p. 65. Medieval rhetoric operated with a set of commonplaces, or topics, also regarding national characters, that had ancient origin. Beller, ‘Topos’. 100 For commonalty, see Schück, ‘Sweden’s Early Parliamentary Institutions’, p. 27. According to Torbjörn Eng, the late medieval Swedish realm was conceived of partly as a federation of provinces (this was also what def ined the realm constitutionally): Eng, Det svenska väldet, pp. 75-77; The fundamental legal subject who had full legal rights in the medieval Swedish laws was the peasant with fixed place of abode: Ekholst, A Punishment for Each Criminal, pp. 12-13, 26; Bjarne Larsson, Stadgelagstiftning, p. 1; see also Thomas Lindkvist’s chapter in this book. 101 Harrison, Uppror och allianser, p. 17. Harrison provides examples of seemingly self-assured peasants who refuse to respond to the summons of the aristocratic lords straight off but answer back in: Harrison, ‘Bondeuppror och allianser’; see also: Cederholm, De värjde sin rätt, pp. 11-12; Reinholdsson, Uppror eller resningar?, pp. 27-30.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


rights of the freeholder peasant by introducing statutes (new legislation) affecting matters concerning their rights and livelihood.102 The political development in the late medieval period still predominantly saw the peasants organize themselves locally or regionally under the personal leadership of lords, but also that they increasingly perceived direct allegiance to the realm as a motive for action.103 As mentioned earlier, ideas about the realm and the patria that gained in significance in the fifteenth century created a new discourse regarding the inhabitants of the realm.104 The chronicle reflects the growing importance of another pattern of interaction: that of a Swedish community writ large, consciously acting on behalf of the realm, and identifying with the polity on the regnal level.105 The ambivalent character of the imagined political community signaled in the introduction to this chapter is nowhere more apparent than in the chronicle’s relation of the events connected with the conflict between the Union King Christian I and the Swedish Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson in 1463, which led to a rising of peasants marching to Stockholm. The account of the uprising was characterized by an evident ambivalence that indicates conflicting attitudes towards the independent political actions of the peasantry.106 The representation of the peasants shifted from the initial assertion of their justified and honourable anger to the concluding pitiful account of their defeat. By way of introduction, the chronicler accounted how, after seven years on the throne, the Union King Christian I started to exploit the resources of the Swedish realm – the castles and the fiefs, and by introducing a new, unlawful tax to pay his soldiers.107 According to the chronicle, the king explicitly demanded that the Swedish peasantry accepted his tax levy.108 Rumours about the tax reached the peasants who responded with anger.109 102 Bjarne Larsson, ‘The Freeholder’, pp. 79-80. 103 For the leading political actors, the role of the peasantry was probably still a matter of providing aid in the struggle for the realm through the demonstration of personal loyalty ‘to a national claimant to power’. Hallenberg, ‘For the Wealth of the Realm’, p. 562. 104 Ferm, State-formative Tendencies, pp. 8-11; Watts, The Making of Polities, pp. 8-9. 105 Hallenberg, ‘For the Wealth of the Realm’, p. 558. 106 A similar situation is described in SMR 4, lines 405-412. 107 SMR 4, lines 674-675. 108 SMR 4, lines 735-736. 109 This account is not entirely clear at this point due to the omission of some details, such as the archbishop’s decision to abolish the tax in the king’s absence. (Hagnell 1941, 192). In SMR 4, lines 739-740, the chronicler states that ‘almoghen thz ryktet hörde / huru byscopin för them thz rörde’ (the commonalty heard the rumour / how the archbishop related it for them). In SMR 4, lines 739, 754, 783, the chronicle speaks of reactions among ‘almoghen’ (commonalty) as a group, without specifying their regional belonging.

112 Margare tha Nordquist

This response was expressed in passionate exclamations and the peasants swore that they would rather die than pay this unlawful tax.110 The ultimatum was repeated twice, which emphasizes the vehement emotions stirred up by the king’s tax. The peasants’ response can be interpreted as an expression of their perceived rights. The payment of an unlawful tax constituted a violation of Swedish law, the institutional basis of the realm, and was also a violation of subjects’ rights.111 The chronicler formulated this in strong terms as a matter of honour for the peasants. The substance of their response had a direct bearing on the main political issue in the realm: the perceived threats against the Swedish realm, its law, and its communities through the rule of a foreign king such as Christian I. The narrative gained increased rhetorical and ideological impact through the focalization on the peasants’ perspective rather than on the chronicler’s mere assertions that the king’s taxes were unlawful.112 When the king captured the archbishop, this caused even more violent reactions among the peasantry. A rumour about Jöns Bengtsson’s imprisonment reached the peasantry and the chronicler stated that the rumour was ‘a great shame to Swedish men’.113 The statement added further significance and force to the narrative and its interpretative frame. Here, the peasants (almoghen) were identified as the Swedish men whose honour too was at stake. The actions of the king were represented as a threat, not only to the taxpaying commoners and subjects to the law, but to the whole community of Swedish men. The peasants’ indignation was so strong that it needed to be expressed in direct speech; they represented themselves so to speak.114 The wording of the first line of their speech was similar to the quotation

110 As tax-payers, the peasants legitimately reacted to undue taxation. Because sources are insufficient, it is often difficult to ascertain the degree to which peasants acted on their own in conflicts. In many cases, the peasants preferred to act in alliance with noble power-holders or influential men instead of on their own: Cederholm, De värjde sin rätt, pp. 541-542. 111 The ownership of rights (and duties) was a central element in medieval societies. Peasants claimed the right to consent in matters concerning him, not least in matters of taxation. Bjarne Larsson, Stadgelagstiftning, pp. 5-6. 112 As in SMR 4, line 674. In the pamphlet ‘Danske kong Christierns handel’ (c. 1466), the peasant’s rising is explained as a result of their refusal to pay unlawful taxes, and their demand that the king keep his oaths and promises. Tre politiska pamfletter, p. 19. 113 SMR 4, lines 783-784: ‘swänskom mannom tiil stora skam’. Again, it is a matter of rumours spreading among the commoners (as in SMR 4, line 739), but this time the chronicler does not mention any person in connection with the rumours. 114 Here ‘almoghenom’ (peasantry/commonalty), indicating the interchangeability of ‘almoghe’ and ‘swänskom mannom’ (Swedish men) in this passage.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


above, expressing their deeply felt shame. So great a shame could only be remedied by an armed rebellion or by death.115 The chronicler’s statement was rephrased and repeated by the peasants and the cause of their indignation was clearly stated. The king’s imprisonment of the archbishop constituted a dishonour that required an adequate response. The speech ended with a collective call for action, exhorting all men to defend their honour.116 The use of an honour-shame motif emphasized the status of peasants as full-scale members of this sociopolitical community: a further sign that the peasants in this episode defended their rights and honour as Swedish men.117 According to Gustafsson, it is clear that ‘the idea about defending honour is closely knit to the realm, its institutions and its aristocracy’, but as an argument, it was lacking in non-aristocratic sources.118 The honour motif had a strong aristocratic bias. The ambivalence of the chronicle’s narrative can be seen as related to the uneasy application of a predominantly aristocratic code of conduct comprising honour, political action, and the realm to a subordinate social group, which could nevertheless claim the right of belonging to the inhabitants of the realm. This is the only passage in the Sturekrönikan where peasants were explicitly identified as members of the community of Swedes in this way.119 To give one’s life for the fatherland (patria), or rather, for the rights embedded in the membership in the political community on the regnal level, was an argument used by the commonalty as well and gave it a clearly patriotic overtone.120

115 SMR 4, lines 787-795. 116 SMR 4, lines 794-795; In the anonymous pamphlet from 1466, there is also a connection between a sense of shame and harm befalling the Swedish realm and ‘us’ (the inhabitants) as a result of the political upheavals. 117 The links between political actions, justice (law), self-defence, honour, violence, and masculinity have been recognized by many scholars. See for example: Liliequist, ‘Violence, Honour and Manliness’; Ekholst, A Punishment for Each Criminal; Hallenberg, ‘The Golden Age of the Aggressive Male?’. 118 Gustafsson, ‘The Eighth Argument’, p. 103. 119 Peasantry, acting independently also in SMR 4, beginning lines 1436, 1565. 120 For a long time, death for the supreme divine or feudal lord was more central to medieval political thought than dying for the realm, but the secularization of the idea of holy war contributed to the elevation of the ideal of dying for the realm, and for the defense of the realm. Kantorowicz, ‘Pro Patria Mori’, p. 482. While avoiding the term ‘patriotism’ as an eighteenth-century addition, Bernard Guenée concludes that ‘throughout the medieval period everyone was constantly exhorted to love his country, to fight and, if necessary, die for it’. Guenée, States and Rulers, p. 54. This can be related to Benedict Anderson’s reminder of how, in a modern context, ‘nations inspire love, and often profoundly self-sacrificing love’: Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 141.

114 Margaretha Nordquist

The episode can also be read as an expression of peasant anger, which was a subject medieval historical or literary sources rarely touched upon; if so, it was treated with the type of uneasiness discussed above. Various aspects of anger as a social phenomenon in the Middle Ages have been discussed in the anthology Anger’s Past, in which Barbara H. Rosenwein concludes that ‘the written sources largely succeeded in making anger the monopoly of lords’.121 Indeed, according to one of the contributors, Paul Freedman, anger was an emotion frequently associated with the defense of honour in the Middle Ages, but it was a predominantly noble prerogative.122 Peasants’ anger, particularly when described as the anger of an individual peasant, was often represented as ludicrous and cowardly. The anger of a peasant collectivity, on the other hand, could be represented both as righteous and as a pious expression of protest. The latter type of collective anger was clearly perceived as threatening: ‘anger, in this respect, transformed them [...] from docile to violent’.123 Freedman’s examination of peasants’ grievances shows an important link between righteous anger and the perceived violation of honour through injustice perpetrated against the whole community, not just against individual peasants.124 The perception of peasant anger identified by Freedman can be found in the Sturekrönikan too. The transformation of the peasants from men defending their collective honour to a threatening mob was reflected in the change of tone in the account of their march towards Stockholm and their nightly arrival.125 The peasants’ failure to enter into the town became a turning point in the narrative and in the characterization of the peasants. From being represented as proud Swedish men, they were now referred to merely as peasants (as bönder instead of commonalty or almoghen).126 In this peremptory assertion they were no longer identified as Swedish men.127

121 Rosenwein, ‘Controlling Paradigms’, p. 244. 122 Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger’, p. 172. 123 Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger’, p. 188. Freedman argued that this image became increasingly common in the late medieval period, due to insurrections and unrest. 124 Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger’, p. 184. 125 In accordance with the concluding words, SMR 4, lines 794-795: ‘wy motte man aff huse wth gaa / bätre är oss döö än liffua mz skam’ (we ought to turn out to a man, it is better to die than to live in shame). 126 This is apparent from SMR 4, line 811 and further on (813, 818, 824, 832, 842), where the term ‘bönder’ is used instead of ‘almoghe’. 127 There are few examples of explicit references to peasants or commoners as Swedes. One such example occurs in a letter to King Hans in 1501, referring to the poor Swedish men and women who had fallen victim to the king’s bailiff. Bidrag till Skandinaviens historia, vol. 4, p. 269.

Envisioning a Political Communit y


Conclusions The writing of vernacular rhyme chronicles served important political and ideological purposes for participants in the struggle for power in the late-medieval Swedish realm. The accounts of the recent past served to justify and legitimize as well as to castigate and delegitimize the conduct of historical actors for present and future purposes. They also served to mobilize support for a certain vision of the realm and the way it should be ruled. For all of these aspects, the envisioning of a political community of Swedes played a key role, both in terms of its role in the past events recounted in the historical narratives and as the implied audience of the chronicles. In this chapter, this double envisioning of the Swedes as a political community in the late fifteenth-century Sturekrönikan has been the focus of attention, with the aim of showing the multifaceted and inherently ambivalent character of this community. The imagined political community envisaged in the chronicle was intended as a fundamentally mobilizing construct. It served to appeal to a certain audience who shared the same social imaginary and therefore could recognize and act upon its meaning. In the broader geopolitical context of the late-medieval Baltic region, the political community of Swedes was set against other communities, primarily the Danes and the Russians. They functioned as the stereotypical other, whose threatening presence warranted a continuous commitment to one’s own community in order to safeguard its integrity and welfare. While these external conditions influenced the ways in which the Swedish community was envisioned in the chronicle, differences and tensions within the realm were no less signif icant. The community of Swedes was essentially a political community, and the laws, territory, and institutions of the Swedish realm provided a basic framework for defining who belonged to the community. Nevertheless, when this basic framework was set against the dynamics of the historical narrative, the complex character of the imagined community became more apparent. The economic, military, and emotional elements making up this imagined community appeared in the chronicle as framings of Swedes’s divergent responsibilities for the realm: as defenders of the realm or potential victims of external aggressions. Actions or events related to the regnal community were associated with the notions of honour, shame, loyalty, and faithlessness, which suggested the primarily aristocratic character of this imagining. The chronicle’s narrative served as an evaluation of how the Swedish men demonstrated their dual loyalty to the realm and

116 Margaretha Nordquist

its leader as a prerequisite for harmony, peace, and concord in the realm. Put differently, internal discord and strife were perceived as threats to the realm and its inhabitants and added to the external threats. The imagined communion between the members of the political community was of fundamental ideological significance. As stated in the introduction to this chapter, the problem of social difference and political incongruity was inherent to the construction of imagined communities. Part of my purpose was to show that while the discourse on the realm and the political community in the chronicle superficially represented the Swedes as a horizontal political community, hierarchic notions of society fundamentally prevented an unequivocal attribution of a status as Swede to peasantry or commoners. As the final example has shown, peasantry appeared in the role of the defender of the honour of Swedish men in only one notable episode. Peasants were thus momentarily cast as defenders of the Swedish realm and the collective honour. However, their transformation from courageous Swedish men back into a threatening, angry mob of peasants in the narrative revealed the possible limits to the imagination of a political community of Swedish men during this period.

Bibliography Manuscripts Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, D5

Primary sources Bidrag till Skandinaviens historia ur utländska arkiver. Vol. 4, Sverige i Sten Sture den äldres tid, 1470-1503, ed. by Carl Gustaf Styffe (Stockholm: Norstedt, 1875). SMR 4 = Svenska medeltidens rimkrönikor. Fjerde häftet. Nya krönikan 3. Nya krönikans fortsättningar 1, ed. by Gustaf Edvard Klemming (Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner, 1866). SMR 5 = Svenska medeltidens rimkrönikor. Femte häftet. Nya krönikans fortsättningar 2, ed. by Gustaf Edvard Klemming (Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner, 1866). Sveriges traktater med främmande magter: jemte andra dit hörande handlingar. D. 3, 3, 4, 1409-1520, ed. by Olof Simon Rydberg (Stockholm: Norstedt, 1895). Tre politiska pamfletter från 1460-talets Sverige. Med ett bidrag om Danske kong Christierns handel av Carl Claeson, Ebba Edberg och Peter Isotalo, ed. by Roger Andersson (Stockholm: Runica et mediævalia, 2011).

Envisioning a Political Communit y


Secondary literature Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 2006). Manfred Beller, ‘Stereotype’, in Imagology. The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters: A Critical Survey, ed. by Manfred Beller, Joep Leerssen (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), pp. 429-433. Manfred Beller, ‘Topos’, in Imagology. The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters: A Critical Survey, ed. by Manfred Beller, Joep Leerssen (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007), pp. 441-442. Homi K. Bhabha, ‘Introduction: narrating the nation’, in Nation and Narration, ed. by Homi K. Bhabha (London: Routledge, 1990), pp. 1-7. Gabriela Bjarne Larsson, Stadgelagstiftning i senmedeltidens Sverige (Stockholm: Institutet för rättshistorisk forskning, 1994). Gabriela Bjarne Larsson, ‘The Freeholder and Positive Legislation in Late Medieval Sweden’, in Legislation and State Formation: Norway and Its Neighbours in the Middle Ages, ed. by Steinar Imsen (Oslo: Akademika, 2013), pp. 67-83. Antony Black, ‘The Individual and Society’, in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c. 350-c. 1450, ed. by J.H. Burns (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988), pp. 588-606. Gunnar Blomqvist, Schacktavelslek och Sju vise mästare. Studier i medeltidens litteraturhistoria = De ludo scaccorum (Stockholm: Geber, 1941). John Breuilly, Nationalism and the state (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993). Mathias Cederholm, De värjde sin rätt. Senmedeltida bondemotstånd i Skåne och Småland (Lund: Historiska institutionen, Lunds universitet, 2007). Christine Ekholst, A Punishment for Each Criminal. Gender and Crime in Swedish Medieval Law (Leiden: Brill, 2014). Torbjörn Eng, Det svenska väldet. Ett konglomerat av uttrycksformer och begrepp från Vasa till Bernadotte (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2001). Olle Ferm, State-Formative Tendencies, Political Struggle and the Rise of Nationalism in Late Medieval Sweden (Stockholm: Runica et mediævalia, 2002). Fulvio Ferrari, ‘Literature as a Performative Act. Erikskrönikan and the Making of a Nation’, in Lärdomber oc skämptan. Medieval Swedish Literature Reconsidered, ed. by Massimiliano Bampi, Fulvio Ferrari (Uppsala: Svenska fornskriftsällskapet, 2008), pp. 55-80. Niels Werner Frederiksen, ‘Nationale fjendebilleder. Rimkrøniken og de dansk-svenske relationer 1495-1613’, in Tænkesedler. 20 fortællinger af fædrelandets litteraturhistorie: festskrift til Flemming Lundgreen-Nielsen, ed. by Henrik Blicher and others (Copenhagen: Reitzels Forlag, 2007), pp. 25-37. Paul Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger in the Late Middle Ages’, in Anger’s Past. The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 171-188. Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe. Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as Fiscal-Military States, 1500-1600 (London: Routledge, 2002). Bernard Guenée, States and Rulers in Later Medieval Europe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1985). Steven Gunn, ‘War and Identity in the Habsburg Netherlands, 1477-1559’, in Networks, Regions and Nations: Shaping Identities in the Low Countries, 1300-1650, ed. by Robert Stein, Judith Pollmann (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 151-172. Harald Gustafsson, Gamla riken, nya stater: statsbildning, politisk kultur och identiteter under Kalmarunionens upplösningsskede 1512-1541 (Stockholm: Atlantis, 2000).

118 Margaretha Nordquist Harald Gustafsson, ‘The Eighth Argument: Identity, Ethnicity and Political Culture in SixteenthCentury Scandinavia’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 27:2 (2002), 91-113. Karin Hagnell, Sturekrönikan 1452-1496: studier över en rimkrönikas tillkomst och sanningsvärde (Lund: PH Lindstedts, 1941). Mats Hallenberg, Kungen, fogdarna och riket: lokalförvaltning och statsbyggande under tidig Vasatid (Eslöv: B. Östlings bokförl. Symposion, 2001). Mats Hallenberg, ‘For the Wealth of the Realm: the Transformation of the Public Sphere in Swedish Politics, c. 1434-1650’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 37:5 (2012), 557-577. Mats Hallenberg, ‘The Golden Age of the Aggressive Male? Violence, Masculinity and the State in Sixteenth-Century Sweden’, Gender & History, 25:1 (2013), 132-149. Dick Harrison, ‘Bondeuppror och allianser på 1460-talet’, Folkets historia, 23:2-3 (1995), 67-77. Dick Harrison, Uppror och allianser: politiskt våld i 1400-talets svenska bondesamhälle (Lund: Historiska media, 2004). Karl-Ivar Hildeman, Politiska visor från Sveriges senmedeltid (Stockholm: Geber, 1950). Sven-Bertil Jansson, Medeltidens rimkrönikor. Studier i funktion, stoff, form (Stockholm: Studia litterarum Upsaliensia, 1971). Ernst H. Kantorowicz, ‘Pro Patria Mori in Medieval Political Thought’, The American Historical Review, 56:3 (1951), 472-492. Matthew S. Kempshall, Rhetoric and the Writing of History, 400-1500 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011). Lloyd Kramer, ‘Historical Narratives and the Meaning of Nationalism’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 58:3 (1997), 525-545. Marko Lamberg, Per Olof Sjöstrand, ‘Finnar, svenskar eller främlingar?: inblickar i den finska befolkningsdelens status i det svenska riket under senmedeltiden’, Historisk tidskrift (S), 120 (2000), 497-526. Erkki Lehtinen, ‘Notions of a Finnish National Identity During the Period of Swedish Rule’, in Scandinavian Journal of History, 6 (1981), 277-295. Jonas Liliequist, ‘Violence, Honour and Manliness in Early Modern Northern Sweden’, in Crime and Control in Europe from the Past to the Present, ed. by Mirkka Lappalainen, Pekka Hirvonen (Helsinki: Academy of Finland, 1999), pp. 174-207. Sten Lindroth, Uppsala universitet 1477-1977 (Uppsala: Uppsala univ., 1976). Kjell-Gunnar Lundholm, ‘Sverige’, in Den nordiske adel i senmiddelalderen. Struktur, funktioner og internordiske relationer. Rapporter til det [15.] nordiske historikermøde i København 1971, 9-12 august, ed. by Ole J. Benedictow, Troels Dahlerup (Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, 1971). Erik Lönnroth, Från svensk medeltid (Stockholm: Bonnier, 1959). Margaretha Nordquist, ‘“What you hear is the truth”. Authorization Strategies in Late Medieval Swedish Rhymed Chronicles’, in Authority and Gender in Medieval and Renaissance Chronicles, ed. by Juliana Dresvina, Nicholas Sparks (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), pp. 291-317. Gunnar Olsson, Stat och kyrka i Sverige vid medeltidens slut (Gothenburg: Elanders, 1947). Erik Opsahl, ‘Conflict and Alliance’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 33:2 (2008), 161-182. Sven Ulric Palme, Riksföreståndarvalet 1512: studier i nordisk politik och svensk statsrätt 1470-1523 (Uppsala: Lundequistska bokhandeln, 1949). Peter Reinholdsson, Uppror eller resningar? Samhällsorganisation och konflikt i senmedeltidens Sverige (Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 1998).

Envisioning a Political Communit y


Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Controlling Paradigms’ in Anger’s Past: the Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 233-247. Andrej Scheglov, ‘Bilden av Ryssland och ryssar i svenska källor fram till 1500-talet’, in Tankar om ursprung. Forntiden och medeltiden i nordisk historieanvändning, ed. by Samuel Edquist, Lars Hermanson, Stefan Johansson (Stockholm: Statens historiska museum, 2009), pp. 67-79. Herman Schück, Rikets brev och register: arkivbildande, kansliväsen och tradition inom den medeltida svenska statsmakten (Stockholm: Liber Förlag/Allmänna förl., 1976). Herman Schück, ‘Sweden as an Aristocratic Republic’, in Scandinavian Journal of History, 9 (1984), 65-72. Herman Schück, ‘Sweden’s Early Parliamentary Institutions from the Thirteenth Century to 1611’, in The Riksdag: A History of the Swedish Parliament, ed. Michael Metclaf (Stockholm: Swedish Riksdag, 1987), pp. 5-60. Herman Schück, Rikets råd och män. Herredag och råd i Sverige 1280-1480 (Stockholm: Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitets akademien, 2005). Leah Shopkow, History and Community. Norman Historical Writing in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1997). Anthony D. Smith, The Cultural Foundations of Nations: Hierarchy, Covenant, and Republic (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008). Gabrielle M. Spiegel, ‘‘Defense of the Realm’: Evolution of a Capetian Propaganda Slogan’, Journal of Medieval History, 3 (1977), 115-134. Carl Ivar Ståhle, Medeltidens profana litteratur (Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1967). Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). John Watts, The Making of Polities. Europe, 1300-1500 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). Henrik Ågren, Elisabeth Michelsson, Olof Sundqvist, Royalties and Sanctuaries: Religious and Historical Symbols in the Context of Cultural Change in Sweden and England c. 1000-1600 (Gävle: University of Gävle, 2009).

Cultic and Missionary Communities

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries Women and Religious Bonds on the Baltic Rim and in Central Europe, Eleventh – Twelfth Centuries Grzegorz Pac*

Bonds of a religious nature, by which I mean those linking individuals and social groups with particular religious houses and patron saints, were essential for the creating of devotional communities in medieval society. A crucial role in the forming of such communities was played by common emotions and feelings such as devotion, religious affection and attachment, as well as hope for prosperity in temporal and, especially, eternal life. In most cases, however, these bonds were not limited to religious emotions alone. Thus, in order to disambiguate the term ‘community of devotion’, I should clarify that within such communities we could be dealing with very complex, multifaceted ties, as shown for example in the studies of Barbara H. Rosenwein on the circle of people connected to the abbey of St. Peter in Cluny.1 They included, apart from the strictly religious, significant social and economic components, intertwined within a network of familial, feudal, and political (to refer to German studies on amicitia)2 relations. Additionally, in all cases discussed below, the relations, networks, and communities constituting them – notwithstanding their strong, religious component – involved various other realms. The creation of these communities allows for studying the way common emotions of a religious character, the meaning of familial relations, and power and prestige could merge * Grzegorz Pac is Assistant Professor at the Institute of History, Warsaw University. In 2013 the Foundation for Polish Science published his PhD thesis Kobiety w dynastii Piastów. Rola społeczna piastowskich żon i córek do połowy XII wieku - studium porównawcze [Women in the Piast Dynasty. The Social Role of Piast Wives and Daughters before c. 1150. Comparative Study]. He is currently studying the cult of saints, especially the Virgin in the early Middle Ages, as well as continuing his research on medieval queenship. The research for this chapter was funded by the Polish National Science Centre as part of the post-doctoral internships, decision No. DEC-2012/04/S/HS3/00220. 1 2

Rosenwein, To Be the Neighbor. Cf. especially Althoff, Adels- und Königsfamilien.

124 Grzegorz Pac

during the period in question. Furthermore, a wide circle of benefactors and other people related to a religious house or those involved in the cult of one patron saint can be seen as an imagined community par excellence. The participation in these communities did not depend on everyday contacts or familiarity with other people involved in the same religious phenomenon, but rather, like in Benedict Anderson’s conceptualization of nations as imagined communities, their members would ‘never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each [lived] the image of their communion’.3 In this sense, although one could assume that a community of monks from a single monastery perceived itself as a ‘real’ community, spending almost each moment of the day with their brothers, even a monastic community would fulfill Anderson’s definition to a certain degree. After all, monks recognized ties to those whom they would never meet, that is, their dead fellow brothers. Mind also the close bond that existed between them and the monastery’s patron saint, 4 as well as the fact that monks also felt a strong sense of a wider community with their deceased predecessors and benefactors and incorporated them into their daily prayers; as Anderson would say, they all belonged to the same ‘ancient nation’.5 It is no coincidence that nationalism’s concern with death and immortality ‘suggests a strong affinity with religious imaginings’.6 However, the devotional communities I am going to describe were imagined not only in the sense that their members felt related to the dead – patron saints, dead members of wide communities of those tied to particular monasteries or their own ancestors sharing the same religious attachment to the holy person or place. As opposed to monks from one religious house, their living members usually had no chance to meet each other or, at least, did not have regular, direct contacts for a very simple reason: they were separated in the geographical sense, living in different countries of the Baltic Rim and Central Europe. They were, however, linked by a common devotion and attachment, which made all of them members of the same, if imagined, community. In Central Europe and on the Baltic Rim, the two regions under scrutiny in this chapter, such communities of devotion prevailed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries as elsewhere in the Christian realm. The religious 3 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6. 4 Cf. for instance: Geary, Living with the Dead, p. 95; Rosenwein, To Be the Neighbor, p. 204. 5 Cf. especially Schmid, Wollasch, ‘Die Gemeinschaft der Lebenden und Verstorbenen’, pp. 365-366. Cf. also Jezierski, ‘Speculum monasterii’. 6 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 10.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


characteristic of the region was, however, different from Western Europe. Not only were countries around the Baltic recently converted and the process of their Christianization at a rather initial stage, but also, while most of them received Christianity in the Latin form, Kievan Rus’ remained under the influence of the Greek. As opposed to Western Europe in that period, in Central Europe we are dealing therefore with Churches following two different rites and adhering to two different religious centres, more and more alien and hostile toward each other. However, as we will see, in the period we are discussing, religious bonds and devotional communities on the Baltic Rim and in Central Europe sometimes bridged the border between what we call in the later period Catholic and Orthodox. What communities of devotion in the West, East, and the North had in common was that they usually consisted of direct interpersonal relations; those created by ruling families are the most noticeable in sources of the period. Thus, on the eleventh- and twelfth-century Baltic Rim, dynasties were tied by a dense network of familial bonds created by marriages. It was especially so in the case of Kievan Rus’ and the Scandinavian alliance system continued for generations until the mid-twelfth century.7 I will discuss a few examples of such relations below. The Polish dynasty of the Piasts also had very close, familial bonds with the Rurikids, but at the same time connected the Baltic region with spheres that did not strictly belong to it, like some parts of the Empire or Bohemia. This role played by the Piasts is well illustrated by the marriages of children of two rulers: Duke Bolesław the Wrymouth of Poland (1086-1138) and his son, Duke Mieszko III (Mieszko the Old, 1122/25-1202) of Greater Poland (see Figure 2). Richeza (1116-after 1155), the daughter of Bolesław, was consecutively wife of the ruler of Götaland and an heir to the Danish throne, Magnus I (1106-1134), the Rurikid Vladimir (Volodar), and Sverker I of Sweden (r. ~1130-1156)8 (which shows that relations between the Piasts and Scandinavian royal houses were occasionally very close). Richeza’s siblings married representatives of German aristocracy as well as Russian, Hungarian, and Bohemian ruling dynasties. The case was similar with the children of her brother, Mieszko III, whose spouses came from all possible directions, including the north. In fact, it seems that Duke Mieszko III considered the relations with dynastic 7 Cf. de Baumgarten, Généalogies et mariages, p. 68. 8 Cf. Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, pp. 210-217. Note that the identification of the second husband, Vladimir (Volodar), is a matter of controversy. Most scholars have identified him with Vladimir, son of Vsevolod Mstislavich, but some with Volodar Glebovich of Minsk. For further reading see: Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, pp. 211-214 and de Baumgarten, Généalogies et mariages, p. 26.

126 Grzegorz Pac Figure 2 Marriages of children of Bolesław the Wrymouth and his son, Mieszko III, with members of Scandinavian and Pomeranian ruling houses

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


families spread on the Baltic coasts as particularly important. Out of nine marriages arranged for Mieszko’s children, two of his daughters and one son wed members of the Pomeranian ruling house. Another son married a daughter of Jaromar I, prince of Rügen, and Hildegard, who was a daughter of Canute V of Denmark; Jaromar himself was a Danish vassal.9

Women and beata stirps The significance of familial bonds leads us to the crucial role of women when it comes to creation of religious bonds and communities of devotion. The reasons for this were complex and will be discussed later, but let us note the most fundamental following Constance B. Bouchard. In her analysis of this phenomenon in the context of the spread of monastic reforms in eleventh- and twelfth-century France, Bouchard noted: ‘When a woman married she took to her new home and new husband an interest in the monasteries she had been brought up to admire. She might introduce her husband’s family to a house they had never before patronized, or she might continue to make her own gifts to the same monastery that her family – though not her husband’s – had long patronized’.10 Women incorporated into their husbands’ houses usually conformed to the religious ties prevailing there, but they had also an option that men often did not. They could contribute to the creation of new connections, linking their new kin with the monasteries or patron saints important to their native families. This role of women was of course based on the medieval marriage custom, which ordered the bride to move to the house of her new husband and join his family. In the case of ruling dynasties they left not only their native families, but also their countries. At the same time those women allied politically, but also culturally or religiously, two families. These women were not necessarily just passive tools used to create political alliances. Sometimes they assumed an active role by bringing to their new environment their own values, customs, and devotional practice.

9 About Mieszko III’s offspring and their marriages see: Balzer, Genealogia Piastów, pp. 339-395 with later supplements and corrections: Jasiński, ‘Jeszcze o Zwinisławie’, pp. 81-101 (passim); Jasiński, ‘Uzupełnienia’ pp. 89-97; Rymar, ‘Dobrosława, księżniczka zachodniopomorska’, pp. 12-28. 10 Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister, p. 142.

128 Grzegorz Pac

The idea of a close connection between sanctity and familial affinity, which Karl Hauck dubbed Geblütsheiligkeit,11 privileged certain lineages in a sacral sense in particular. Those ties between ruling houses, intermediated by women, were thus religious per se, especially when one keeps in mind the inclusion of royal saints into lineages of those dynasties.12 In fact, the role of women in sanctifying particular lineages was crucial and performed in multiple ways, as showed by probably the best example of Ottonian ideology, expressed in narrative texts written in the circle of the dynasty.13 A very good example of such a network of saintliness created by women in Central Europe comes from the thirteenth century. Probably the most emblematic figure of this phenomenon was St. Elisabeth (1207-1231), who came from the Hungarian dynasty of the Arpads. As a matter of fact, we are dealing here with a wider circle of saintliness, which included also the families of the Piasts, the Přemyslids, and the Andechs. This circle was represented not only by rulers’ daughters who joined the convent, such as St. Agnes of Prague, a Clarisian nun, or the Dominican nun St. Margaret of Hungary, but also by lay saint women, who united the above-mentioned families, such as Hedwig of Silesia, Anna, Cunegond (Kinga), Jolenta, and Salomea.14 All those women were sisters, nieces, aunts, cousins, sisters- or mothers-in-law,15 all were venerated as saints (although sometimes rather locally). This is probably one of the best illustrations of the idea of beata stirps, the carriers of which in this case were clearly women.16 We can find a similar phenomenon on the Baltic Rim in the period we are dealing with. Scandinavian dynasties were not only strictly related to each other, but had also family relations with the Piasts and, to a certain point in time, very close ones with the Rurikids. Those alliances often had 11 Hauck, ‘Geblütsheiligkeit’, pp.  187-240; In the later period cf. Vauchez, ‘Beata stirps’, pp. 397-407. 12 See especially: Folz, Les saints rois; Folz, Les saintes reines; Klaniczay, Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses. 13 Hauck, ‘Geblütsheiligkeit’, pp. 190-191; Corbet, Les saints Ottoniens, esp. pp. 242-255. 14 Cf. Michalski, Kobiety i świętość, pp. 164-180; Klaniczay, Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses, esp. pp. 202-232; Felskau, ‘Von Brabant bis Böhmen’, pp. 67-103. 15 Cunegond and Jolenta were sisters of Margaret and all three were nieces of Elisabeth, as their father, king Bela IV, was Elisabeth’s brother. Salomea was a sister-in-law of Elisabeth (as the wife of her brother, Coleman) as well as Cunegond (as the sister of her husband, Bolesław the Chaste). Hedwig was not only an aunt of Elisabeth, whose mother was Hedwig’s sister, but also mother-in-law to Anna, who married her son, Henry the Pious. Anna herself was a sister of Agnes of Prague and both were cousins of Elisabeth, as their mother was a sister of king Andrew II, Elisabeth’s father. 16 Michalski, Kobiety i świętość, p. 180.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries

Figure 3 Familial relations of Inge the Elder and Helena’s daughters


130 Grzegorz Pac

a character of holy networks, too, especially as Scandinavian dynasties used the sanctity of their members as a manner of self-legitimization.17 A very good example of such a system of familial ties and the role of women in its creation was shown by Lars Hermanson, who analyzed the dynastic connections of the Swedish royal couple of Inge the Elder (d.~1105) and his wife Helena, mediated by their daughters (see Figure 3). One of their daughters, Margaret, first married Magnus Barefoot (1073-1103) and after his death Niels, who actively supported the cult of his brother Canute of Denmark (St. Canute the King). Catherina, another offspring of Inge and Helena, married Bjørn Haraldsen Ironside (d. 1134), a grandson of Eric I Ejegod (Evergood), who was a brother of both Niels and Canute. Catherina’s daughter’s husband, Eric the Saint (d. 1160), was the king of Sweden. Finally, Christina, the third daughter, wed Mstislav, prince of Novgorod and later Great Prince of Kiev, whom we will discuss below. Later on we will say a little bit more about the daughters of this last couple, Mstislav and Christina Ingesdotter, but let us now just mention that one of them, Ingeborg, married Canute Lavard (St. Canute the Duke), while another, Malmfrid, wed his half-brother Eric Emune (the Memorable).18 Their other half-brother was Harald Kesja, father of the above-mentioned Bjørn Haraldsen Ironside. The latter was therefore a nephew of St. Canute the Dux. As we can see, Inge and Helena had a familial relationship with many ruling dynasties on the Baltic Rim. They were also quite closely related with at least three saint rulers, i.e. St. Canute the King, St. Canute the Dux, and St. Eric of Sweden, who were husbands or brothers-in-law.

Familial Bonds and the Litany of Saints Familial connections created through women not only built an abstract sacral network of ruling families, but also played an important role in the propagation of particular cults in the Baltic area. That could be the case with the presence of Scandinavian saints in the litany, which is included in the Old Russian text known as Prayer of the Holy Trinity (Molitva sv. Troicě) or Kirill Turovskii’s Prayer of Penitence (Molitva Kirilla Turovskogo o pokaianii). The text is known from a few manuscripts, including the oldest surviving

17 Lindkvist, ‘Legitimisation of Power’, pp. 34-35. 18 Hermanson, ‘Det tidiga Vreta’, pp. 231-233.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


fragment from the thirteenth or fourteenth century.19 The original was probably written around the mid-twelfth century.20 Beside universal saints such as George, Stephen, or Christopher, as well as Russian ones like Boris and Gleb, the text lists a group of saints in the following order: Vâčeslav (that is Wenceslaus), Magnus, Canute, Benedict, Alban, Olaf, and Botulf. Additionally, in another place, Adalbert-Vojtech of Prague can be found.21 Most of these saints were unknown elsewhere in medieval Rus’. Further, the cult of three of them, which should be identified with Magnus of Orkney (d. 1115, translation of the body in 1135),22 Canute (St Canute the King) of Denmark (d. 1086), and his brother Benedict,23 had literally no chance to begin before the so-called Great Schism of 1054 (leaving the problem of the real importance of this particular date out of present consideration 24). František Dvorník had no doubt that the prayer is of Western, more exactly Bohemian, origin,25 but other scholars have proved independently26 that it was the original product of a Russian clergyman, who used various sources and was not opposed to including Western saint figures into the prayer. Thus, particular groups of western saints added to the prayer could have come from different directions. The Scandinavian group, apart from saints like Magnus, Canute, Benedict, and Olaf Haraldson (d. 1030), contained also Anglo-Saxon saints, Alban and Botulf. The latter two were widely popular in Scandinavia and could not have entered Kievan Rus’ from elsewhere. We do not have any hard evidence, unfortunately, but it is difficult not to connect the presence of this group of saints in the Russian prayer with the close dynastic ties between the royal houses of Denmark, 19 This fragment, [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment ed. by Šlâpkin], was published in the review of the f irst edition of the source: [Molitva sv. Troicě, ed. by Arhangel’skij]. Cf. Ingham, ‘The Litany of Saints’, p. 121; Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, pp. 1-2; Dvornik, ‘Les bénédictins et la christianisation de la Russie’, p. 326; Dvornik, ‘Die Benediktiner und die Christianisierung Rußlands’, p. 294. 20 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, pp. 9, 15-17; Lind, ‘Varangian Christianity’. I am extremely grateful to John H. Lind, who kindly sent me his yet unpublished text, as well as to Lars Hermanson who mediated the contact. 21 I will use here the edition of the litany: [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment (Litany of Saints), compiled by Ingham], which joins two older ones (see above, note 19); the saints mentioned here on pp. 124-125. Cf. Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, pp. 7-9. 22 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, p. 9. 23 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, pp. 9-14. 24 Cf. for example: Runciman, The Eastern Schism, pp. 55, 159-170; Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire, pp. 135-136. 25 Dvornik, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe, pp. 242-244; Dvornik, ‘The Kiev State’, pp. 38-40; Dvornik, Les bénédictins, pp. 326-327; Dvornik, Die Benediktiner, pp. 294-295. 26 Ingham ‘The Litany of Saints’, pp. 129-130; Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, esp. pp. 19-21.

132 Grzegorz Pac

Sweden, Norway, and Kievan Rus’. These were so strong that the omission of Canute Lavard (d. 1131, solemnly translated in 1170) as well as two other saints important in Scandinavia in the second half of the twelfth century such as Swedish king Eric the Saint and Thomas Becket, led John H. Lind to the conclusion that the group must have found its way to Rus’ earlier. It is hard to believe that Canute Lavard would not be included in the prayer. Bear in mind that not only was Canute himself married to the daughter of the above-mentioned Mstislav of Novgorod, but also his son and the promoter of his cult, King Valdemar I the Great, had very strong connections in Rus’.27 Looking for possible paths of the Scandinavian group into Rus’, Lind suggested other dynastic ties (see Figure 3) and the role of women, who could mediate in the creation of a community of devotion to Scandinavian saints in ruling families on both sides of the Baltic Sea. He pointed to the possible role of Malmfrid, consecutively wife of King Sigurd the Crusader of Norway and Danish King Eric II Emune.28 Considering the Norwegian domination over the Orkney Islands, where her former husband ruled at the turn of twelfth century, Malmfrid was likely to bring the cult of Magnus of Orkney to Denmark. At the same time, her tie with the Kievan Rus’ was more than close, as she was, as mentioned above, a daughter of Mstislav, by this time already the Great Prince of Kiev. Malmfrid could thus be involved in the transmission of the ‘Scandinavian’ group of saints to Rus’.29 The same can be said about her sister, Ingeborg, wife of Canute Lavard, half-brother of Eric Emune. As Lind recently suggested, the wedding of this couple around 111630 ‘may well have been the occasion when the three saints of Odense [i.e. King Canute, Benedict, and Alban] found their way to Rus’,31 particularly when one remembers the role of relics as precious gifts, used also in political relations.32 Another possibility was connected with Sophia (future wife of Valdemar I the Great, a son of Canute Lavard and Ingeborg). After the dissolution of the marriage of her parents, Vladimir33 and Richeza of Poland, she moved to Sweden, where Richeza married King Sverker I. The testified

27 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, pp. 15-17. 28 Cf. Dąbrowski, Genealogia Mścisławowiczów, pp. 88-97. 29 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, p. 18. 30 Cf. Dąbrowski, Genealogia Mścisławowiczów, pp. 98-100. 31 Lind, ‘Varangian Christianity’. However, he also pointed out that it could very well have happened during the reign of King Canute’s half-brother Eric I Ejegod. 32 Cf. in a different context: Michałowski, ‘Le don d’amitié’, pp. 339-416 (passim). 33 See: above, note 8.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


contacts of Sophia with her father ‘may also have been a medium for the transfer of the Scandinavian cults’.34 It should be added that the cult of the group of Western saints from the Prayer of the Holy Trinity appeared to be rather transitory. Not only is there no other proof of the veneration of Magnus, Canute, Olaf, Alban, or Adalbert-Vojtech in Rus’,35 but names of some of them are also absent from one version of the prayer itself. In this manuscript,36 the names Magnus, Canute, and Alban have been replaced with different names – for example, the word Alban has clearly been corrected to read Izmael.37 The reason was the growing distance between Western and Eastern Christianity that made the presence of Western saints in orthodox litany problematic.

St. Pantaleon, Cologne, and Novgorod Let us now look at a case in which the role of women in the transmitting of a particular cult is, as opposed to the case of Western saints in Prayer of the Holy Trinity, not only supposed, but was well recorded by the sources. Rupert of Deutz in his sermon on the day of St. Pantaleon written in the 1120s38 told a story about Mstislav, Prince of Novgorod (d. 1132). In the sermon Mstislav is addressed as ‘Aroldus, king of the nation of Russians’ (‘Aroldus, rex gentis Russorum’), as he was known also as Harald. Once, while hunting, the prince was injured by a bear. He was carried to his bed by his companions, and remained unconscious for several days, so that everyone expected his death. After a few days Mstislav awoke, however, and told his mother watching over him of the vision he had: a doctor, introducing himself as Pantaleon, came to him and mentioned that his favourite house was in Cologne. The saint told Mstislav that he would not die but return to health on that same day. His mother, as the author informs us, already knew of the merits of St. 34 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, p. 19. 35 This is not the case with St. Wenceslaus’s cult, as his lives in Old Russian versions were not only available, but quite well-known in Rus’, while his name is to be found in some medieval calendars there, cf. for example Ingham, ‘The Martyred Prince’, pp. 31-53 (passim), where further reading. 36 Published version [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment ed. by Šlâpkin] (cf. above, note 19). 37 Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense’, p. 7. The text see: [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment (Litany of Saints), compiled by Ingham], p. 125. 38 Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, pp. 585-586; Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’, p. 65. Cf. also the polemic with Nazarenko’s ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’: Kučkin, Čudo sv. Pantalejmona, pp. 50-82 (passim). Nazarenko responded convincingly to most of the points risen in his Drevnââ Rus’. I am grateful to Pavel V. Lukin for drawing my attention to Kučkin’s article.

134 Grzegorz Pac

Pantaleon: she was in fact a sister in the community serving Jesus Christ in the saint’s name in Cologne. When she heard her son’s words, she exclaimed joyfully: ‘This Pantaleon who you have seen, my son, is my master.’ (‘Ille, inquit, Pantaleon, quem vidisti, fili, dominus meus est.’). With such a patron the prince was sure to recover. On the same day, a young man, like the one from his vision, came to the prince and prescribed him a treatment which returned him to health.39 The mother of Mstislav was Gytha, daughter of the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson (see Figure 3). Before she came to Rus’, Gytha had been in exile following the death of her father, first in Flanders, then at the court of her cousin (son of her mother’s brother), the King Sweyn II of Denmark. It was during exile that she must have formed a bond with the Abbey of St. Pantaleon in Cologne. The word soror, used in the sermon, suggests not only Gytha’s participation in the community of the abbey, but also the formal character of this connection, a relation of confraternitas. 40 We can also assume that her bond with the Cologne monastery must have been continued later, when she was already in Rus’ as the wife of Vladimir II Monomakh. Otherwise it would be difficult to explain how the miracle experienced by her son would be known on the Rhine; this also justifies why her death was noted in a necrology of St. Pantaleon Abbey, where she appears on 10 March as ‘Gida regina’. 41 In Rupert’s description, the emotional character of the bond between Gytha and the Cologne community and St. Pantaleon is noticeable – the overjoyed mother has no doubt that under the protection of this saint her son will recover. What is even more important, however, is that she succeeded in transmitting this devotion to her son, in which the fact that the point of reference for this cult is a Latin monastery, interestingly, does not make any difference. Although St. Pantaleon was of course known in Rus’, 42 he was not particularly popular. And yet, Mstislav had a son, Iziaslav, whose baptismal patron is the same Panteleon. This is unusual, as no other Rurik before or after received this name. 43 Iziaslav himself, as was the Russian custom, venerated his patron – he founded a monastery under his name; St. 39 This is based on [Rupert of Deutz, The Miracle of St Pantaleon], the text given by Nazarenko, in which he takes into account two older editions based on two different manuscripts. 40 Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, pp. 597-599; Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’, pp. 68-69 41 Die Urbare von S. Pantaleon, p. 18 (10.03). Cf. Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, pp. 596-597; Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’, p. 68. 42 This is testified to by the fresco in St. Sophia Kiev, Vysockij, Drevnerusskie nadpisi, pp. 51-52; Logvin, Sobor svjatoï Sofiï, p. 127 and il. 243 (p. 300). 43 Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, pp. 593-594; Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’, pp. 66-68.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


Pantaleon’s image also appeared on his seal as well as on his helmet. 44 At the same time, we cannot speak of a lasting transmission of the cult – nothing is known of its later manifestations in this line of the Rurikids. The role of the emotional bond between the saint, his abbey in Cologne, and Gytha is therefore decisive. It was she who succeeded in planting the cult in her son, who surely took on his mother’s faith in the saint’s role in his recovery, and gave the name Pantaleon to the son born to him after this event. 45 Here, however, the relation ended. The community of devotion to the saint, with the point of reference in a monastery in remote Rhineland, appeared therefore not to be very lasting. The relations with Cologne were probably broken after Gytha’s death, and the special attachment of St. Pantaleon seemed to be limited, apart from herself, to her son and grandson.

St. Nicholas’s Cult between East and West The next case we will look at is quite different – here the saint’s cult endured several generations. The cult was also connected with a particular monastery, but mainly, it seems to have been linked with the prestige of a certain lineage. Its story began in the second half of the tenth century with the empress Theophanu, a Byzantine on the West imperial throne, also, as it happens, devoted to St. Pantaleon, in whose aforementioned church in Cologne she asked to be buried. 46 She was the promoter of several Eastern cults, and undoubtedly her marriage with Emperor Otto II in 972 was also crucial for the cult of St. Nicholas in the Holy Roman Empire. The cult itself was not popular in Western Europe before the translation of the saint’s body to Bari in 1087.47 Obvious signs of Theophanu’s influence were the foundations of the two first monasteries of St. Nicholas in the Empire, both established by her children: Otto III founded an abbey in Aachen, precisely in Burtscheid; his sister, Matilda, together with her husband Ezzo, established the abbey of St. Nicholas and Medarus in Brauweiler.48 As Klaus Beuckers noted, the saint 44 Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, p. 593; cf. Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod’, p. 68; The seal, see also: Ânin, Aktovye pečati, vol. 1, No. 214-215, p. 208. 45 Iziaslav was probably born in the first decade of the twelfth century, and so after the death of his grandmother Gytha, who died no later than 1099, Kučkin, Čudo sv. Pantalejmona, pp. 69-70; Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, pp. 605-607; Dąbrowski, Genealogia Mścisławowiczów, pp. 114-118. 46 Cf. esp. Wolf, ‘Kaiserin Theophanu’, p. 27; Fußbroich, ‘Das Grab der Kaiserin Theophanu’, pp. 295-300 (passim). 47 Meisen, Nikolauskult, pp. 81, 94-96; Wolf, ‘Kaiserin Theophanu’, pp. 27-38 (passim). 48 Wolf, ‘Kaiserin Theophanu’, pp. 29-33; Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, p. 271.

136 Grzegorz Pac

himself can be seen simply as a Familienheiliger of the Ottonians and, until the first quarter of the eleventh century, a direct connection of the cult of St. Nicholas with the imperial house can be noted. In fact, until the end of the 1060s the cult was still present mostly in places somehow related with the Liudolfings from the Ottonian line.49 It is striking that before this time, a new dynasty, the Salians, had no interest in the cult.50 There is one probable, but very significant exception: the palace chapel in Nijmegen, founded by Henry II or rather Conrad II, which received the patronage of St. Nicholas. Not only could the choice be influenced by Adelheid and Sophie, daughters of Theophanu and powerful abbesses of Quedlinburg and Gandersheim, but also the viscera of the empress herself was probably kept in the chapel of the Nijmegen palace, where she passed away.51 The cult of the bishop of Myra was therefore still strictly connected with Theophanu and her circle. After Otto III’s death, the cult was supported by those related to the Ottonians, that is, Ezzo and Matilda as well as their descendants. This can be seen partly as the effect of the personal devotion of Theophanu’s daughter, Matilda, partly as a way to stress the prestigious bond of the Ezzonids with the former imperial house.52 This devotion, linked with the family’s Hauskloster in Brauweiler, was also clear in the next generation and we can easily find several foundations of chapels or altars of St. Nicholas established by the children of Ezzo and Matilda: count palatine Liudolf, the Abbess Theophanu of Essen, the Archbishop of Cologne Hermann, and finally Richeza, wife of Mieszko II and Queen of Poland.53 Richeza spent her widowhood in the Holy Roman Empire, in the family goods, as the last descendent of the formerly powerful family of the Ezzonids. She was also a generous donor to the abbey of St. Nicholas in Brauweiler and other religious institutions. Importantly, as wife of Mieszko, she seems to have been the one who brought the cult of St. Nicholas to Poland. As noted by Roman Michałowski, in a few (about five to seven) royal or ducal centres of the Piast country, St. Nicholas churches can be identified quite early: in the eleventh or early twelfth centuries.54 As usually in the history of Poland of this period, we are dealing here with a complicated issue due to 49 Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, pp. 270-271. 50 Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, p. 271. 51 Wolf, ‘Kaiserin Theophanu’, pp. 33-38. 52 Cf. Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, p. 272. 53 Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, pp. 63-65, 87-90, 115-116, 198-199, 218-220, 270-272. On the foundations of Theophanu cf. Fremer, Äbtissin Theophanu, pp. 68-94. 54 Michałowski, ‘Kościół św. Mikołaja’, pp. 63-74 (passim). I undertake and actualize this question in my monograph: Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 202-220. Cf. also doubts raised

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


the lack of sources. In all the cases of St. Nicholas’s churches from that period we have information in written sources or from archaeological research which testifies to the early existence of the churches, but in each case the patronage is known from a much later period, which does not add much strength to my point. However, even if in some of the cases mentioned by Michałowski and in my own research it is conceivable that the name of St. Nicholas was adopted later for older churches, there is no reason to assume that in the case of his patronage a phenomenon of a mass changing of patron saint had taken place. We have further evidence of the early cult of St. Nicholas in Poland. In the Calendar in the Psalter of Egbert, which seems to be a copy of the oldest calendar of the Cracow cathedral, made in 1060s or 1070s, the biggest feasts are written in gold letters. Surprisingly, two important saints are missing – an empty space is left on the day of St. Mark and on the day of St. Adalbert. Considering that three other evangelists as well as other, less important Polish saints were mentioned in the calendar, Zofia Kozłowska-Budkowa assumed that the empty place was left to be written in gold letters too. The third empty space is to be found on 6 December, that is, on the day of the feast of St. Nicholas. By the same token, this saint’s name was to be written in gold letters.55 This would be a sign that St. Nicholas, in the second half of the eleventh century, was venerated in Cracow, an important centre of the Piast power, and that his feast received the highest possible rank. It seems thus that the cult of the Bishop of Myra reached Poland before it began to be more widely popular in the West, including the neighbouring Holy Roman Empire. That last point becomes clear when one reads Fundatio monasterii brunwilarensis, the narration about the beginnings of Brauweiler Abbey, written in the last quarter of the eleventh century.56 An anonymous author, describing the foundation of the monastery in Burtscheid, explains that Otto III chose St. Nicholas for the holy patron of the abbey, as he was Greek from his mother’s side (‘materno ex sanguine Grecus erat’).57 It shows not only that the Brauweiler monk who wrote the text connected by Artur Różański to Michałowski’s propositions in Różański, Jednoprzestrzenne kościoły romańskie, pp. 69-106, with which I polemicize in: Kobiety w dynastii Piastów. 55 Kozłowska-Budkowa, ‘Wstęp’, pp. XXIV-XXV. To be precise: the space on 6 December is not empty, but the octave of St. Andrew is noted there by mistake. The note is repeated correctly on the very next day, 7 December. 56 Müller-Mertens, Regnum teutonicum, pp. 268-269; Tomaszek, Klasztor i jego dobroczyńcy, pp. 73-83. Cf. Wattenbach, Holzmann, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter, part 2, pp. 644-645. 57 Fundatio monasterii Brunwilarensis, cap. 10, p. 131, vv. 34-35.

138 Grzegorz Pac

the patronage of the Bishop of Myra with the Byzantine sphere,58 but also that at this time it was still unusual in the Holy Roman Empire and needed to be explained. In fact, not until the last third of the eleventh century did the cult appear in wider circles of German aristocracy. Still, when looking at a few foundations of churches or monasteries of St. Nicholas from this period, in most of the cases the choice of patronage is easy to explain by the family connection of founders with the Ezzonids or with Brauweiler abbey.59 It is reasonable to suppose that the cult of the saint, certified in Poland quite early, came to the Piast family through the same two agents. The only possible emissary of the cult of St. Nicholas was therefore Queen Richeza. His veneration may have played a role for the Piasts, as it did for the Ezzonids, that is, it marked their close relation with the former dynasty of the Ottonians, crucial as a point of reference for the Polish ruling dynasty.60 It was not the only way both families employed to stress their consanguinity with the former imperial house, as they used also children’s given names for the same purpose61. It seems that the imperial connections of Mieszko II’s wife were important and quite simply useful for the Piast ideology.62 It is very likely that this line of female propagators of the cult of St. Nicholas had its continuation in Gertrude, daughter of Richeza. However, her situation was completely different, as she brought her personal devotion to Kievan Rus’, where the veneration of St. Nicholas was not only already present, but in fact very lively. Surprisingly, it was Gertrude herself who established a nunnery of St. Nicholas in Kiev.63 As we have seen in the case of Iziaslav-Pantaleon, it was common for the members of the Rurik dynasty to choose their own patron saint as a patron of a monastery of their foundation. In the case of Gertrude she could not choose St. Gertrude, as she was unknown in Rus’ and the duchess did not use this name officially in the Kiev court. Instead she was called Jelisava (Elisabeth).64 But St. Elisabeth was also problematic in a way. Although the mother of St. John the Baptist 58 Cf. Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen, p. 271. 59 Cf. Michałowski, ‘Kościół św. Mikołaja’, p. 66; Michałowski, ‘Święta moc fundatora klasztoru (Niemcy XI-XII wieku)’, p. 18; see also the Italian version of the article: Michałowski, ‘Il culto dei santi fondatori’, p. 129. 60 Cf. Pac Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, p. 231. 61 In the case of the Ezzonids see: Althoff, ‘Namengebung’, pp. 132-134; in the case of Mieszko II and Richeza see: Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 559-565. 62 Cf. Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 183-184. 63 Poppe, ‘Gertruda-Olisawa’, pp. 587-589. 64 Poppe, ‘Gertruda-Olisawa’, pp. 576. The first to identify her as Gertrude was Ânin, ‘Russkaja kniaginia Olisava-Gertruda’, pp. 142-164 (passim). On the custom of changing the names of women entering new families in the Early Middle Ages, see: Thoma, Namensänderungen,

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


was naturally widely known from the Gospel both in the East and in the West, we know nothing about her cult, including the use of her patronage for churches or monasteries. From this perspective St. Nicholas could be for Gertrude the closest saint who can be seen as an ersatz-patron of sorts. Of course, all argumentation presented here has one weak link. As mentioned above, Gertrude moved to Rus’, the country of Eastern Christianity, where the cult of St. Nicholas, similarly to other elements typical of Byzantine religiosity, was already thriving.65 It was possible that Gertrude’s devotion to the saint simply resulted from her becoming engaged in a cult, which was important in Rus’ and to her husband’s kin. However, there is one strong counterargument connected to the political meaning of particular cults of saints. The name of St. Nicholas was given at baptism to Sviatoslav, brother of Iziaslav, Gertrude’s husband. Sviatoslav himself was in conflict with Iziaslav for most of his life, which affected the cult of St. Nicholas too. As Ildar H. Garipzanov has noted, as long as Iziaslav’s line ruled in Novgorod, the cult of this saint was of little importance.66 The author points to a birch bark letter (gramota) from the time of Iziaslav’s rule, or of that of his son.67 The document lists the most important feasts of the church in the autumn and early winter, including the feasts of a few saints.68 We thus find: St. Luke Evangelist, St. Dymitr, St. Cosma and Damian, St. Archangels Michael and Gabriel, St. Philippe Apostle, and St. Barbara. Surprisingly, the list mentions neither St. Nicholas, celebrated on 6 December, nor the 30 November feast of St. Andrew, an important apostle, widely revered in Rus’, although St. Philippe Apostle is present here. It would be difficult not to connect this with political circumstances and recall that Nicholas and Andrew were the Christian names of two brothers, Sviatoslav and Vsievolod, who were long-time political rivals of Iziaslav.69

pp. 169-201; Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 486-509, esp. pp. 492-495, where the case of Gertrude and the functioning of this custom in Rus’ is described. 65 The issue of the saint’s early cult in Rus’ is summarized by Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, pp. 232-233. On the cult of the saint in Byzantium cf. Ševčenko, The Life of Saint Nicholas, pp. 18-24; Meisen, Nikolauskult, pp. 50-52. 66 Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 234; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 137. 67 The letters have been digitalized and are available, along with dating and descriptions, at (accessed at 2015-03-03), No. 913; see also: Zaliznâk, Drevnenovgorodskij dialekt, А 32, No. 913, pp. 281-282; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, pp. 121-122; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 233. 68 Zaliznâk, Drevnenovgorodskij dialekt; А 32, No. 913, pp. 281-282; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, pp. 121-122; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 233. 69 Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, pp. 121-122; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 233.

140 Grzegorz Pac

It would be absurd of course to state that Iziaslav and his sons actively battled the cult of St. Nicholas, so important to Eastern Christianity. They did maintain a certain reserve towards him for political reasons, however, and were not interested in promoting him. It is hard therefore to imagine that it was in Iziaslav’s circle that the idea of founding a monastery devoted to St. Nicholas arose. It seems that this choice of patrocinium for his wife’s foundation must have had roots elsewhere, namely in the personal and familial attachment to this cult of Gertrude herself. She would therefore be the last in a line of women transmitting the cult of St. Nicholas to the families they entered. After the end of the rule of Iziaslav’s line in Novgorod, the popularity of the cult in this city increased rapidly, starting with the reign of the abovementioned Prince Mstislav. He himself founded a church of St. Nicholas in 1113,70 while two other churches dedicated to the Bishop of Myra were established later in the twelfth century.71 It is an open question whether the vibrant cult can be related to the close connection between Novgorod and Scandinavia, but certainly veneration of St. Nicholas developed on both sides of the Baltic in the very same period and in a way connected their inhabitants. In Denmark, for instance, the oldest church of St. Nicholas may have been built as early as the 1080s,72 while around the year 1100 King Eric I of Denmark (Ejegod) established the nunnery in Slangerup dedicated to the same saint. According to the Gesta Danorum, the nunnery received precious relics of the Holy Cross and the Bishop of Myra from the king.73 Across twelfth-century Denmark, almost ten churches of St. Nicholas were established.74 According to Karl Meisen, the Normans from southern Italy, who were responsible for the translation of St. Nicholas’s relics in 1087, influenced the transmission of the cult of the saint to Normandy, England, and Scandinavia

70 Ipat’evskaâ letopis’, a. 6621 (1113), col. 276-277; Novgorodskaâ pervaâ letopis’, a. 6621 (1113), p. 20, 204. Cf. Podskalsky, Christentum und theologische Literatur, pp. 132-133; Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, p. 608. 71 Novgorodskaâ pervaâ letopis’, aa. 6643-6644 (1135-1136), 6673 (1165), pp. 23-24, 31-32, 208-209, 219. Cf. Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, pp. 233-234. 72 The cathedral in Aarhus, discernable archeologically from the 1080s, is believed to be dedicated to St. Nicholas from its foundation, although written evidence of such a patrocinium is from a much later period, Ciardi, ‘Saints and Cathedral Culture’, p. 57; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 140; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, pp. 235-236. 73 Saxonis Gesta Danorum, book 12, cap. 7,4, p. 339. Cf. Antonsson, ‘Saints and relics’, p. 64; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 140; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 236. 74 Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 236.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


also in the earlier period.75 Its clear evidence in Denmark is the name given to a Niels born in the 1060s (future King Niels I), a son of King Sweyn II and a brother of the abovementioned Eric I Ejegod (see Figure 3). This veneration of the saint in the Danish royal family could have also influenced St. Nicholas’s cult in Novgorod and, again, women, would be the potential link. As mentioned above, the English refugee Gytha, before she wed Vladimir II Monomakh, spent some time at the court of Sweyn II, whose agency, according to Saxo Grammaticus as well as certain sagas, played a role in the contraction of the marriage.76 Actually, Gytha was present in the circle of the Danish king exactly at the time his son Niels was born and received his name. She could thus have been familiarized with the cult of St. Nicholas there. And as she inspired the devotion of her son, Mstislav, to St. Pantaleon, she could also influence his veneration of the bishop of Myra,77 verified by the fact that the prince established the first church of St. Nicholas in Novgorod. Another likely reason for Gytha’s potential familiarity with the cult could have been her contacts with Cologne and Rhineland where, thanks to Theophanu, Otto III, and the Ezzonids, it was already well-known. On the other hand, one of the first churches of St. Nicholas in Norway was built in the royal palace in Nidaros (Trondheim). Ildar H. Garipzanov links it to Sigurd the Crusader, who traveled to Jerusalem from 1108 to 1111, visiting also Constantinople and Sicily, so he could bring some relics and establish a church after his return.78 Interestingly, between 1111 and 1115 Sigurd married a daughter of Mstislav of Novgorod, Malmfrid, future wife of Eric Emune (see Figure 3).79 In fact, father- and son-in-law founded their churches of St. Nicholas in the very same years, ‘thus, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that dynastic contacts between the two royal families might somehow have been involved in these parallel dedications’.80

75 Meisen, Nikolauskult, pp. 89-102. Cf. Thiriet, ‘Essai sur la géographie’, p. 10; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, pp. 230-231; Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 138. 76 Saxonis Gesta Danorum, book 11, cap. 6,3, p. 308: ‘Cuius [=Haraldi] filii duo confestim in Daniam cum sorore migrarunt. Quos Sueno, paterni eorum meriti oblitus, consanguineae pietatis more excepit puellamque Rutenorum regi Waldemaro, qui et ipse Iarizlavus a suis est appellatus, nuptum dedit’. Note that Saxo mixed up the name of Gytha’s husband. Cf. Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’, p. 589; Džakson, ‘Islandskie korolevskie sagi’, pp. 160, 163. 77 Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 140; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 235. 78 Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, pp. 140-141; Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas’, p. 237. 79 Dąbrowski, Genealogia Mścisławowiczów, pp. 89-92. 80 Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod’, p. 141.

142 Grzegorz Pac

In the Circle of Zwiefalten Abbey While the roles of Gytha or Malmfried in the creation of the community of devotion to St. Nicholas across the Baltic Sea were rather tentative than well proved, in another example to be discussed here the key role of women in the transfer of religious culture is very clear. This time it was more the question of ties with a particular monastery than a saint, and the community that formed around it was much clearer, since it engaged people living in the same period. Around the year 1115, Salomea, daughter of Count Henry of Berg, married the Polish ruler Bolesław the Wrymouth. Soon after, they became generous benefactors to the Swabian abbey of Zwiefalten, which was the Hauskloster of Salomea’s family.81 The list of her gifts to the abbey, named by the monastery’s chronicler Bertold, was impressive and included, among others, rich liturgical utensils and vestments, expensive textiles, gold and silver, ivory boxes, horses, and many relics. The author stressed that Zwiefalten messengers did not manage to bring all the gifts from Poland – they left for instance a curtain and a carpet so huge, that ‘two horses could hardly carry them’. Bolesław’s contribution, although more modest, was also quite rich.82 The place the couple took in the minds of the monks and nuns of the double monastery are testified to by its necrology. According to Salomea’s obituary note describing the extent of her support, it was so generous that she should be called the mother of the Zwiefalten congregation.83 Further, her name was included in the first column of the obituary where only Zwiefalten monks were listed.84 The anniversary of the death of Bolesław, who is thus described in the necrology, ‘along with his wife Salomea, [he] gave us numerous gifts,’ was to be observed in the same way as that of the Zwiefalten abbots.85 From our perspective it is worth noting the presence of relics among Salomea’s other gifts as another example of women’s involvement in the spreading of saints’ cults. Bertold says that their total number amounts to 81 The question of these contacts is described by Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’; Wieczorek, ‘Die Schenkung Bolesławs III. und Salomeas von Berg’. 82 Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, pp. 174-176. Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, pp. 31–32. 83 Necrologium Zwiefaltense, pp. 256-257 (27.07): ‘…[que mater Zwi]vildensis congregationis debito dici poterit ex innumerabilibus be[ne]ficiis, que nobis impendit’; I am basing this here on the MGH compiled edition, where square brackets indicate damaged places, but certainly the editors had to have some basis for the reconstruction presented here. Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 34. 84 Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 34. 85 Necrologium Zwiefaltense, p. 263 (28.10): ‘Bolezlaus dux Bolaniorum, 5 lumina cum caritate; iste multa bona contulit nobis cum uxore sua Salomę’. Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 34.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


90 and enumerates some of them: teeth of St. John the Baptist, St. Cecile, and St. Pancras, drops of Holy Blood and of the Virgin’s milk, a piece of St. Peter’s chain.86 But the most important one was the hand of St. Stephen, which was so precious for Zwiefalten that a separate fragment, added to the older monastery’s chronicle by Ortlieb, was devoted to its translation. Translatio manus sancti Stephani is interesting, as it also shows the personal character of the relation between the Swabian monastery and Salomea. The author wrote that shortly after Bolesław’s death Salomea sent a messenger to Zwiefalten asking for one of the monks, Otto of Steusslingen, to come to Poland together with another monk-priest. A special tie bonded the duchess with Otto, whom ‘she used to call master (magister)’. Before she let them return to Swabia with rich gifts, they joined Salomea and her entourage travelling around Poland.87 Not only was Salomea personally attached to Zwiefalten, not severing ties to the family monastery after leaving her native Swabia, she brought other people into its circle – both Bolesław and their daughter Gertrude. The text of the Translatio clearly states that it was the widow Salomea who destined Gertrude to become a nun at Zwiefalten. It was probably also her idea, never actualized but nonetheless noted in the same source, that their other daughter would enter this convent as well. 88 Further evidence of Salomea’s involvement in contacts with Zwiefalten is the figure of Bilihilt, who is named as the donator of a valuable reliquary cross by the abbey chroniclers Ortlieb and Bertold, who called her ‘the maid of the duchess of Poland’ and ‘the servant of duchess Salomea’, respectively.89 Salomea’s involvement not only transferred the community of Zwiefalten Abbey from the local, Swabian into a much broader one, but also linked it directly to the Baltic Rim. The last statement is not just a case of pure geography. Keep in mind that her husband, Duke Bolesław the Wrymouth, led a particularly active Baltic policy. For most of his reign he was therefore engaged in long-term and finally successful combat to control Pomerania. The northern direction of his policy manifested also in the marriages of Salomea and Bolesław’s daughters. One of them, unknown by name, was engaged to Margrave Konrad von Plötzkau of the Northern March. The marriage was never to be concluded due to the imminent death of the groom 86 Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, pp. 174-176. 87 Translatio manus sancti Stephani, pp. 126-128. 88 Translatio manus sancti Stephani, pp. 126-128. 89 Ortliebi Chronicon, II, 2, p. 114: ‘ducis Boloniorum cubicularia’; Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, p. 178: ‘Salome ductricis pedissequa’.

144 Grzegorz Pac

during Lothar III’s campaign in Italy in 1133.90 The other daughter was the above-mentioned Richeza, consort of two Scandinavian rulers, Magnus I and Sverker. Her sons from the marriage with Sverker – Kol and Burislev (the latter named after his maternal grandfather) – were contenders for the Swedish throne. But the relations between Polish court and Zwiefalten had also a wider, Central-European context. A similar commitment to Swabian Abbey was evident in the sisters of the Polish duchess, Richeza and Sofia. The first was married to the Bohemian duke Vladislaus I, the second to the Moravian duke Otto. Both maintained contact with the Berg Hauskloster and Richeza drew her husband into the circle of Zwiefalten.91 Better still, Bertold noted that gifts were also sent to the abbey by Bishop Meginhard of Prague and a Bohemian woman named Seztibrana.92 An exceptional testimony of favour and respect for the Swabian abbey instilled in their new families by the daughters of Count Henry of Berg, is seen in the fact that the Bohemian ruler Vladislaus turned to Zwiefalten monastery for help in establishing an abbey.93 Ortlieb, describing this event, emphasized the reserve of the monks toward this initiative and the great determination of the duke and his entourage, which resulted in the foundation of a new convent in Kladruby despite various complications.94 The chronicler had no doubt that a crucial role was played by Richeza and her familial relations. He explained that Zwiefalten monks yielded to the requests of Vladislaus’s friends, especially his wife, who, as he readily emphasized, ‘was a daughter of Henry count of Berg reposed in this place’.95 We find here an interesting phenomenon: the countesses of Berg, entering new families through marriage, actively and effectively created ties between their husbands’ courts and their own native house convent, adding new members to the devotional community existing around the abbey. Their role here was fundamental; in the case of the Berg daughters’ families, contacts with Zwiefalten began with their marriages and ended with their deaths. Salomea’s sons did not continue these relations. The necrology of their sister’s cloister mentioned none of them,96 although the memory of 90 Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, pp. 217-218. 91 Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, p. 174; Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 40. 92 Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, p. 178. 93 Cf. Jooss, ‘Zwiefalten und Kloster Kladrau’, pp. 49-52; Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 25. 94 Ortliebi Chronicon, I, 19, pp. 82-84. 95 Ortliebi Chronicon, I, 19, p. 82: ‘Quod ab amicis maximeque ab uxore memorati ducis petebatur, eo quod erat filia Heinrici comitis de Berge hoc loco quiescentis’. 96 Cf. Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, pp. 53-54.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


their siblings, who passed away while their parents were still alive, was cultivated, probably due to the efforts of Salomea and Bolesław.97 This shows not only the importance of women in organizing religious bonds and communities but also of the personal rather than institutional character of the latter. People involved in this community shared a whole cluster of common beliefs and feelings, which corresponds with Rosenwein’s notion of emotional communities ‘not constituted by one or two emotions but rather by constellations – or sets – of emotions’.98 A devotional community in Zwiefalten Abbey’s circle was therefore united not only by the popular belief in the meaning of monks’ mediation in prayer or the role of giving material goods for the acquisition of supernatural gifts. There was also a sense of connection with this particular monastery and an admiration for the specific piety of the monks living there. Similarly to the cases described by Bouchard, monastic reform may have played a role here. Zwiefalten was an important centre of the Hirsau Reform, which may have led its contemporaries to see it as an exceptionally pious community, giving those involved a chance for prominent spiritual benefits. Finally, let us note that in the families of the Polish and Bohemian rulers, two parallel and interdependent relations developed with Zwiefalten Abbey and with the house of the counts of Berg. This development is very clear; not only did Salomea give her daughter to the convent, but also her two sisters, Richeza and Sofia, despite belonging, through marriage, to different families and living in different (though not too distant) courts, undertook a common initiative for the abbey in the foundation of a new refectory and dormitory for lay brothers.99 These common actions allowed the daughters of the Berg count to maintain their family ties and identity, constituting an important element of their self-awareness. In fact, by supporting Zwiefalten Abbey, the three sisters did exactly the same as their three brothers, Henry, Dipold, and Rapoto, as they were all, according to the tradition of their house, involved in support of the monastery.100 This connection between the relations with the abbey and family relations is noticeable also in the names used by both Richeza and Salomea for their younger sons, Henry and Dipold,101 typical names in the house of the counts of Berg. 97 Necrologium Zwiefaltense, p. 259 (26.08), 263 (19.10). Cf. Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, pp. 209-210, 219-220. 98 Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, p. 26. 99 Bertoldi Chronicon, cap. 10, p. 174. 100 Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska’, p. 47. 101 Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów, pp. 247-249; ‘Přemyslovská dynastie’, p. 558.

146 Grzegorz Pac

All this shows that for the provincial rulers of Poland and Bohemia, links with the family of the counts of Berg and with Zwiefalten may have been seen as prestigious or, at least, culturally or socially attractive, which was why they willingly maintained them. As observed by Bouchard: ‘Men always tried to improve their own position by marriage with women of more powerful families and identification with this greater power, which seems in many cases to have included the patronage of the same houses the wife’s more powerful family had patronized’.102 One should not conclude that the counts of Berg were more powerful than rulers of Poland or Bohemia. It seems, nevertheless, that in the case of ties with Zwiefalten, as in that of the cult of St. Nicholas, we deal with a situation in which an element of religious culture was adopted as a sort of distinguishing feature of a community, willingly accepted by those who wished to be associated with its members and identified with its prestige.

Conclusions Discussing examples of women’s importance in creating ties of a religious nature between different families on the Baltic Rim and in Central Europe, which built devotional communities of people involved in the same cult or relation with the same monastery, we should question again the role played by gender in this phenomenon. As noted at the beginning, these women served as links and mediators between two kin, obliged by marriage custom to displacement from one house (village, region, country) to another. But it seems that this is not the whole answer to that question. Women’s facility to domesticate a new cult of saint or tie with a particular monastery in a new house was partly based on their gender-determined role in the family. As noted by Bouchard: ‘When husbands and wives decided together where to make their pious gifts, the husbands of the eleventh and twelfth centuries often trusted their wives’ judgement more than their own’.103 It was so, as in the familial distribution of duties women were expected to take care of the religious life, almsgiving, and other acts of charity, as well as donations for the church. It was, of course, also one of the obligations of men, but it seems that for women it was central and essential. As Karl Leyser noted about Saxon noblewomen, ‘their good works and prayers were felt to secure the successes of their menfolk, fathers, uncles, 102 Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister, p. 147. 103 Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister, pp. 147-148.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


brothers, husbands, and sons, in this life and they were responsible for the welfare of their souls in the next’.104 This observation applied not only to the Ottonian period, but also to later times,105 while ‘sainthood continued to reward women who expressed their high status by generosity to the church and to the poor’, as Jo Ann McNamara noted, calling it ‘rituals of mercy and charity’.106 This was probably especially fitting for the social expectations related to the position of ruler’s wife,107 so that the same author recognizes even ‘sainthood as an attribute of queenship’.108 Not only was the religious involvement of women determined by their gender, but so was the durability of ties created by them. In most of the cases analysed here those ties were rather of short duration – sometimes, as in the case of the Piast relation with Zwiefalten, no longer than the life of the female figure who mediated it. It is telling that Constance B. Bouchard, analysing the role of women in monastic reforms and showing a few examples of couples’ involvement in a monastery close to the woman’s native family, also rarely mentions that the next generation sustained the tie; even if this did happen, it seems to have been the result of additional factors. Of course, sometimes the reason for religious bonds’ brevity had nothing to do with the gender of those creating them, as in the case of saints who were ousted from the Russian prayer not because their cult was potentially brought by women, but because they were Western and therefore improper in orthodox devotion. In most cases, however, it seems the brevity of bonds created by women was related to the patrilineal character of medieval kin. A woman joining a family remained, in a way, an outsider or a guest.109 If she was especially active or if the religious tradition of her native family was especially attractive, she had a chance to tie her husband to it, but she was rather expected to get involved in the devotional practice of her new family and join its religious circle.110 This role applied also to the cases of devotional bonds of families with particular patron saints or monasteries, well illustrated by the case of Salomea. Apart from her involvement in the relation with Zwiefalten, as a widow she also supported two other 104 Leyser, Rule and Conflict, p. 72. Cf. Corbet, Les saints Ottoniens, esp. pp. 263-268. 105 Cf. Bernards, ‘Die Frau in der Welt und der Kirche’, pp. 39-100. 106 McNamara, ‘The Need to Give’, p. 203. 107 Cf. Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 100-116, for further reading. 108 McNamara, ‘Imitatio Helenae’. 109 Cf. Bouchard, ‘Patterns of women’s names’, pp. 11-12. 110 Cf. for instance the case of women’s participation in prayer commemorations of the deceased, Hillebrandt, ‘Stiftungen zum Seelenheil’, pp. 61-63; Santinelli, Des femmes éplorées?, pp. 290-297; White, Custom, Kinship and Gifts to Saints, p. 268, note 104.

148 Grzegorz Pac

monasteries: the Benedictine one in Mogilno and that of the Canons Regular in Trzemeszno (both in Great Poland).111 In both cases she simply joined the pious commitment of her husband’s family, as those monasteries were established by the Piasts (Trzemeszno by Bolesław the Wrymouth himself, Mogilno by his paternal uncle, King Bolesław II).112 Her sons continued this commitment as generous donors to both houses.113 At the same time, as noted above, the sons manifested no interest in the connection with Zwiefalten. It is therefore clear that it was rather the religious tradition of the patrilineal family that was maintained in next generations of kin, while support for the traditions of the woman’s native family was related more to her personal attachment and, as such, usually ended at the moment of her death. Finally, let us notice one last element of this issue. In the case of political alliances, the role of women appears to have been rather passive. Given in marriage as part of the sealing of these alliances, they were rather the objects than the subjects of these actions. In most of the instances discussed here, the situation was quite different: the appearance of religious ties seemed to be the effect of the woman’s personal devotion and activity. The Piast or the Rurikid dynasties would never have built the connections with Zwiefalten Abbey, the cult of St. Nicholas, St. Pantaleon, and maybe also with the Scandinavian saints without their foreign wives pushing them into these new, profitable spheres. Creation of those new communities of devotion required of course the acceptance and involvement of the men around them, but was always initiated by the women. It is perhaps worth returning to the question posed at the very beginning, which regards the distinct traits of the period and region discussed here. As we have seen, it seems that until at least the mid-twelfth century the importance of the frontier between Western and Eastern Christianity cutting across the Baltic Rim should not be overestimated. Some of the devotional communities presented here linked people from both sides of that frontier as if it did not exist at all. This illustrates what Michele Colucci also noted in the context of the cult of St. Nicholas, which crossed this confessional border, namely, ‘a continuity in church relations between Rus’ and the West that, despite all, had not yet been entirely severed’.114 111 Dobosz, Monarchia i możni, pp. 295-296; Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów, pp. 264-223, where further reading. 112 Dobosz, Monarchia i możni, pp. 140-147, 194-196. 113 Kürbis, ‘Najstarsze dokumenty’, pp. 61-68; Dobosz, ‘Dokument Mieszka III’, p. 101; Dobosz, Monarchia i możni, pp. 342-346, 355-357, 359. 114 Colucci, ‘The Image’, p. 582.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


In the eleventh and early twelfth centuries at least some elements of the devotional community between Western and Eastern Christianity still existed in Central Europe and the Baltic Rim.

Bibliography Primary sources Bertoldi Chronicon, ed. by Luitpold Wallach, Erich König, Karl O. Müller, in Die Zwiefalter Chroniken Ortliebs und Bertolds, Schwäbische Chroniken der Stauferzeit, vol. 2 (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1978; 1st edition: 1941). Fundatio monasterii Brunwilarensis, ed. by Georg Waitz, MGH SS, vol. 14 (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1883). Ipat’evskaâ letopis’, Polnoe sobranie russkih letopisej, vol. 2 (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Vostočnoj Literatury, 1962). [Molitva sv. Troicě, ed. by Arhangel’skij], in Aleksandr S. Arhangel’skij, ‘Lûvopytnyj pamâtnik’’ pis’mennosti XV věka’, Pamâtniki drevnej pis’mennosti, 50 (1884), 1-19. [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment (Litany of Saints), compiled by Ingham], in Norman W. Ingham, ‘The Litany of Saints in “Molitva sv. Troicě”’, in Studies presented to Professor Roman Jakobson by his students, ed. by Charles E. Gribble (Cambridge, Mass.: Slavica Publishers, 1968), pp. 123-126. [Molitva sv. Troicě, fragment ed. by Šlâpkin’’], in Il’â A. Šlâpkin’’, [review of: Arhangel’skij, ‘Lûvopytnyj pamâtnik’’ pis’mennosti’], Žurnal’ Ministerstwa narodnago Prosvěŝeniâ, 236 (1884), 267-269. Necrologium Zwiefaltense, ed. by Franz Ludwig Baumann, MGH Necrologia, vol. 1: Dioceses Augustensis, Constantiensis, Curiensis (Berlin: Weidmann, 1888). Novgorodskaâ pervaâ letopis’ stars�ego i mlads�ego izvodov, ed. by Arsenij N. Nasonov (Moscow/ Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1950). Ortliebi Chronicon, ed. by Luitpold Wallach, Erich König, Karl O. Müller, in Die Zwiefalter Chroniken Ortliebs und Bertolds, Schwäbische Chroniken der Stauferzeit, vol. 2 (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1978; 1st edition: 1941). [Rupert of Deutz, The Miracle of St Pantaleon], in Aleksandr V. Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’ na meždunarodnyh putâh: meždisciplinarnye očerki kul’turnyh, torgovyh, političeskih svâzej IX-XII vekov (Moscow: Âzyki russkoj kul’tury, 2001), pp. 586-587. Saxonis Gesta Danorum, ed. by Jørgen Olrik, Hans Ræder (Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard, 1931). Translatio manus sancti Stephani, ed. by Luitpold Wallach, Erich König, Karl O. Müller, in Die Zwiefalter Chroniken Ortliebs und Bertolds, Schwäbische Chroniken der Stauferzeit, vol. 2 (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke, 1978; 1st edition: 1941). Die Urbare von S. Pantaleon in Köln, ed. by Benno Hilliger, Rheinische Urbare. Sammlung von Urbaren und anderen Quellen zur Rheinischen Wirtschaftsgeschichte, vol. 1, Publikationen der Gesellschaft für Rheinische Geschichtskunde, vol. 20, 1 (Bonn: Hermann Behrendt, 1902).

150 Grzegorz Pac

Secondary literature Gerd Althoff, Adels- und Königsfamilien im Spiegel ihrer Memorialüberlieferung. Studien zum Totengedenken der Billunger und Ottonen (Munich: W. Fink, 1984). Gerd Althoff, ‘Namengebung und adliges Selbstverständnis’, in Nomen et gens, ed. by Dieter Geuenich, Wolfgang Haubrichs, Jörg Jarnut (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1997). Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 1991). Valentin L. Ânin, Aktovye pečati drevnej Rusi X-XV vv., vol. 1, Pečati X – načala XIII v. (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo ‘Nauka’, 1970). Valentin L. Ânin, ‘Russkaja kniaginia Olisava-Gertruda i ee syn Jaropolk’, Numizmatika i epigrafika, 4 (1963), 142-164. Haki Antonsson, ‘Saints and Relics in Early Christian Scandinavia”, Mediaeval Scandinavia, 15 (2005), 51-80. Oswald Balzer, Genealogia Piastów (Cracow: Avalon, 2005; 1st edition: 1895). N. de Baumgarten, Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russe du Xe au XIIIe siècles, Orientalia Christiana, vol. 9,1 = No. 35 (Rome: Pontificium Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1927). Matthäus Bernards, ‘Die Frau in der Welt und der Kirche während des 11. Jahrhunderts’, Sacris erudiri. Jaarboek voor Godsdienstwetenschappen, 20 (1971), 39-100. Klaus G. Beuckers, Die Ezzonen und ihre Stiftungen. Eine Untersuchung zur Stiftungstätigkeit im 11. Jahrhundert, Kunstgeschichte, vol. 42 (Münster/Hamburg: Lit, 1993). Constance B. Bouchard, Bouchard, ‘Patterns of Women’s Names in Royal Lineages, NinthEleventh Centuries’, Medieval Prosopography, 9 (1988), 1-32. Constance B. Bouchard, Sword, Miter, and Cloister. Nobility and the Church in Burgundy, 980-1198 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987). Anna M. Ciardi, ‘Saints and Cathedral Culture in Scandinavia c. 1000-c. 1200’, in Saints and Their Lives on the Periphery: Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000-1200), ed. by Haki Antonsson, Ildar H. Garipzanov (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), pp. 39-66. Michele Colucci, ‘The Image of Western Christianity in the Culture of Kievan Rus’’, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 12-13 (1988-1989), 576-586. Patrick Corbet, Les saints Ottoniens: Sainteté dynastique, sainteté royale et sainteté féminine autour de l’an Mil (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1986). Dariusz Dąbrowski, Genealogia Mścisławowiczów. Pierwsze pokolenia (do początku XIV wieku) (Cracow: Avalon, 2008). Józef Dobosz, ‘Dokument Mieszka III Starego dla kanoników regularnych w Trzemesznie (28 kwietnia 1145 r.)’, in Gniezno. Studia i materiały historyczne, vol. 4, ed. by Jerzy Topolski and others (Gniezno: Prymasowskie Wydawnictwo Gaudentinum, 1995), pp. 87-106. Józef Dobosz, Monarchia i możni wobec Kościoła w Polsce do początku XIII wieku (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2002). František Dvornik, ‘The Kiev State and its relations with Western Europe’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th series, 29 (1947), 27-46. Francis Dvornik, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe (Gulf Breeze: Academic International Press, 1974; 1st edition: 1949). François Dvornik, ‘Les bénédictins et la christianisation de la Russie’, in L’Église et les églises, 1054-1954; neuf siècles de douloureuse séparation entre l’Orient et l’Occident, Études et travaux sur l’unité chrétienne offerts à Dom Lambert Beauduin, vol. 1 (Chevetogne: Éditions de Chevetogne, 1954), pp. 323-349.

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


Franz Dvornik, ‘Die Benediktiner und die Christianisierung Rußlands’, Erbe und Auftrag, 35 (1959), 292-310. Tat’âna N. Džakson, ‘Islandskie korolevskie sagi kak istočnik po istorii drevnej Rusi i ee sosedej. X-XIII vv.’, Drevnejšie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR, [12] (1988-1989), 5-169. Christian-Frederik Felskau, ‘Von Brabant bis Böhmen und darüber hinaus. Zu Einheit und Vielfalt der „religiösen Frauenbewegung“ des 12. und des 13. Jahrhunderts’, in Fromme Frauen – unbequeme Frauen? Weibliches Religiosentum im Mittelalter, ed. by Edeltraud Klueting (Hildesheim: OLMS, 2006), pp. 67-103. Robert Folz, Les saintes reines du Moyen Âge en Occident (VIe-XIIIe siècles) (Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1992). Robert Folz, Les saints rois du Moyen Âge en Occident, (VIe-XIIIe siècles) (Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1984). Torsten Fremer, Äbtissin Theophanu und das Stift Essen. Gedächtnis und Individualität in ottonische-salischer Zeit (Bottrop: Peter Pomp, 2002). Helmut Fußbroich, ‘Das Grab der Kaiserin Theophanu in Sankt Pantaleon zu Köln’, in Kaiserin Theophanu. Prinzessin aus der Fremde – das Westreichs Große Kaiserin, ed. by Gunther Wolf (Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Böhlau, 1991), pp. 295-300. Ildar H. Garipzanov, ‘The Cult of St Nicolas in the Early Christian North (c. 1000-1150)’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 35 (2010), 229-246. Ildar H. Garipzanov, ‘Novgorod and the Veneration of Saints in Eleventh-Century Rus’: a Comparative View’, in Saints and Their Lives on the Periphery: Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c. 1000-1200), ed. by Haki Antonsson, Ildar H. Garipzanov (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), pp. 115-145. Patrick J. Geary, Living with the Dead in the Middle Ages (New York: Cornell University Press, 1994). Lars Hermanson, ‘Det tidiga Vreta. En helig plats i ett europeiskt maktsystem?’, in Fokus Vreta kloster. 17 nya rön om Sveriges äldsta kloster, ed. by Göran Tagesson and others (Stockholm: Statens historiska museum, 2010), pp. 219-240. Karl Hauck, ‘Geblütsheiligkeit’, in Liber floridus. Mittellateinische Studien. Paul Lehmann zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. by Bernhard Bischoff, Suso Brechter (St Ottilien: Eos Verlag der Erzabtei, 1950), pp. 187-240. Maria Hillebrandt, ‘Stiftungen zum Seelenheil durch Frauen in den Urkunden des Klosters Cluny’, in Vinculum Societatis. Joachim Wollasch zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. by Franz Neiske, Dietrich Poeck, Mechtild Sandmann (Sigmaringendorf: Glock und Lutz, 1991), pp. 58-67. J. M. Hussey, The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986). Norman W. Ingham, ‘The Litany of Saints in “Molitva sv. Troicě”’, in Studies Presented to Professor Roman Jakobson by His Students, ed. by Charles E. Gribble (Cambridge, Mass.: Slavica Publishers, 1968), pp. 121-137. Norman W. Ingham, ‘The Martyred Prince and the Question of Slavic Culture Continuity’, in Medieval Russian Culture, ed. by Henrik Birnbaum, Michael S. Flier, California Slavic Studies, vol. 12 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), pp. 31-53. Kazimierz Jasiński, ‘Jeszcze o Zwinisławie, żonie Mszczuja I’, Zapiski Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, 16 (1950), 81-101. Kazimierz Jasiński, Rodowód pierwszych Piastów (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskiego Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Nauk, 2004; 1st edition: 1992). Kazimierz Jasiński, ‘Uzupełnienia do genealogii Piastów. Dokończenie’, Studia Źródłoznawcze, 5 (1960), 89-111. Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Speculum monasterii. Ekkehart IV and the Making of St Gall’s Identity in the Casus sancti Galli-tradition (9th-13th centuries)’, in Ekkehart IV. von St Gallen, ed. by Norbert

152 Grzegorz Pac Kössinger, Elke Krotz, Stephan Müller, Lingua Historica Germanica 8 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 267-302. Rainer Jooss, ‘Zwiefalten und Kloster Kladrau (Kladruby) in Böhmen’, in 900 Jahre Benediktinerabtei Zwiefalten, ed. by Hermann J. Pretsch (Ulm: Süddeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1989), pp. 49-60. Gábor Klaniczay, Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses. Dynastic Cults in Medieval Central Europe (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002). Zofia Kozłowska-Budkowa, ‘Wstęp’, in Najdawniejsze roczniki krakowskie i kalendarz, Monumenta Poloniae historica, series nova, vol. 5 (Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1978), pp. VIII-LXI. Vladimir A. Kučkin, ‘Čudo sv. Pantalejmona i semejnye dela Vladimira Monomaha’, in Rossiâ v srednie veka i novoe vremâ. Sbornik statej k 70-letiû čl.-korr. RAN L. V. Milova, ed. by Vladimir A. Kučkin and others (Moscow: ROSSPÈN, 1999), pp. 50-82. Brygida Kürbis, ‘Najstarsze dokumenty opactwa benedyktynów w Mogilnie (XI-XII w.)’, in Na progach historii: prace wybrane (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Abos, 1994), pp. 37-82. Karl J. Leyser, Rule and Conflict in an Early Medieval Society. Ottonian Saxony (London: Arnold, 1979). John H. Lind, ‘The Martyria of Odense and a Twelfth-Century Russian Prayer: The Question of Bohemian Influence on Russian Religious Literature’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 68 (1990), 1-21. John H. Lind, ‘“Varangian Christianity” and the Veneration of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Saints in Early Rus’, in Crossing Cultural Boundaries, ed. by Johan Callmer, Ingrid Gustin, Mats Roslund (Leiden/Boston: Brill Academic Publishers), forthcoming. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Legitimisation of Power and Crusades as Europeanisation in Medieval Sweden’, in The Reception of Medieval Europe in the Baltic Sea Region. Papers of the XIIth Visby Symposium held at Gotland University, Visby, ed. by Jörn Staecker (Visby: Gotland University Press, 2009). Grigorìj N. Logvin, Sobor Svâtoï Sofìï v Kiêvì / Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Kyiv (Kiev: Mistectvo, 2001). Luboš Polanský, David Kalhous, Petr Kopal, Irena Moravcová (eds.), ‘Přemyslovská dynastie: Soupis členů původního českého panovnického rodu’, in Přemyslovci. Budování českého státu, ed. by Dušan Třeštík, Petr Sommer, Josef Žemlička (Prague: Nakladatelství Lidové nowiny, 2009), pp. 542-575. Jo Ann McNamara, ‘Imitatio Helenae: Sainthood as an Attribute of Queenship’, in Saints. Studies in Hagiography, ed. by Sandro Sticca, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, vol. 141 (Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1996), pp. 51-80. Jo Ann McNamara, ‘The Need to Give: Suffering and Female Sanctity in the Middle Ages’, in Images of Sainthood in Medieval Europe, ed. by Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Timea Szell (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 199-221. Karl Meisen, Nikolauskult und Nikolausbrauch im Abendlande (Düsseldorf: L. Schwann, 1931). Maciej Michalski, Kobiety i świętość w żywotach trzynastowiecznych księżnych polskich (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2004). Roman Michałowski, ‘Il culto dei santi fondatori nei monasteri tedeschi dei secoli XI e XII – Proposte di ricerca’, in Culto dei santi, istituzioni e classi sociali in età preindustrialne, Collana di studi storici, vol. 1, ed. by Sofia Boesch Gajano, Lucia Sebastiani (L’Aquila/Rome: Japadre Editore, 1984), pp. 107-140. Roman Michałowski, ‘Le don d’amitié dans la société carolingienne et les “Translationes sanctorum”’, in Hagiographie, culture et sociétés IVe – Xlle siècles Actes du colloque organisé

Communities of Devotion across the Boundaries


à Nanterre et à Paris (2-5 mai 1979), ed. by Evelyne Patlagean, Pierre Riché (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1981), pp. 339-416. Roman Michałowski, ‘Kościół św. Mikołaja we wczesnopiastowskich ośrodkach rezydencjonalnych’, in Społeczeństwo polski średniowiecznej, vol. 6, ed. by Stefan K. Kuczyński (Warsaw: DiG, 1994), pp. 63-74. Roman Michałowski, ‘Święta moc fundatora klasztoru (Niemcy XI-XII wieku)’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, 91 (1984), 3-24. Eckhard Müller-Mertens, Regnum teutonicum. Aufkommen und Verbreitung der deutschen Reichs- und Königsauffassung im früheren Mittelalter, Forschungen zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte, vol. 15 (Vienna/Cologne/Graz: Böhlau Verlag, 1970). Aleksandr V. Nazarenko, Drevnââ Rus’ na meždunarodnyh putâh: meždisciplinarnye očerki kul’turnyh, torgovyh, političeskih svâzej IX-XII vekov (Moscow: Âzyki russkoj kul’tury, 2001). Aleksandr V. Nazarenko, ‘Neizvestnyj èpizod iz žizni Mstislava Velikogo’, Otečestvennaâs istoriâ, 2 (1993), 65-78. Grzegorz Pac, Kobiety w dynastii Piastów. Rola społeczna piastowskich żon i córek do połowy XII wieku – studium porównawcze, Monograf ie Fundacji na rzecz Nauki Polskiej (Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, 2013). Gerhard Podskalsky, Christentum und theologische Literatur in der Kiever Rus’ (988-1237) (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1982). Andrzej Poppe, ‘Gertruda-Olisawa, regina Russorum. Materiały do życiorysu’, in: Scriptura custos memoriae. Prace historyczne, ed. by Danuta Zydorek (Poznań: Instytut Historii UAM, 2001), pp. 575-591. Barbara H. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 2006). Barbara H. Rosenwein, To Be the Neighbor of Saint Peter. The Social Meaning of Cluny’s Property, 909-1049 (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 1989). Artur Różański, Jednoprzestrzenne kościoły romańskie z terenu Wielkopolski (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2010). Edward Rymar, ‘Dobrosława, księżniczka zachodniopomorska, pani na Sławnie potem Chockowie oraz Audacja (Eudoksja) Piastówna, hrabina zwierzyńska’, Studia i Materiały do Dziejów Wielkopolski i Pomorza, 14 (1981), 5-38. Steven Runciman, The Eastern Schism. A Study of the Papacy and the Eastern Churches During the XIth and XIIth Centuries (Oxford: Clarendon, 1955). Emmanuelle Santinelli, Des femmes éplorées? Les veuves dans la société aristocratique du haut Moyen Âge (Villeneuve-d’Ascq: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2003). Karl Schmid, Joachim Wollasch, ‘Die Gemeinschaft der Lebenden und Verstorbenen in Zeugnissen des Mittelalters’, Frühmittelalterliche Studien, 1 (1967), 365-405. Nancy P. Ševčenko, The Life of Saint Nicholas in Byzantine Art, Centro Studi Bizantini Bari, Monografie, 1 (Turin: Bottega d’Erasmo, 1983). Gertrud Thoma, Namensänderungen in Herrscherfamilien des mittelalterlichen Europa, Münchener Historische Studien, Abteilung Mittelalterliche Geschichte, 3 (Kallmünz: Michael Lassleben, 1985). Michał Tomaszek, Klasztor i jego dobroczyńcy. Średniowieczne narracje o opactwie Brauweiler i rodzie królowej Rychezy (Cracow: Avalon, 2007). André Vauchez, ‘“Beata stirps”: Sainteté et lignage en occident aux XIIIe et XIVe siècle’, in Famille et parenté dans l’Occident médiéval, ed. by Georges Duby, Jacques Le Goff, Collection de l’École française de Rome, 30 (Rome: École française de Rome, 1977), pp. 397-407. Sergej A. Vysockij, Drevnerusskie nadpisi Sofii Kievskoj XI-XIV vv. (Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 1966).

154 Grzegorz Pac Wilhelm Wattenbach, Robert Holzmann, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter. Die Zeit der Sachsen und Salier, vol. 2, Das Zeitalter des Investiturstreits (1050-1125) (Cologne/Graz: Böhlau Verlag, 1967 – edition improved by Franz-Josef Schmale; 1st edition: 1940). Stephen D. White, Custom, Kinship and Gifts to Saints. The Laudatio Parentum in Western France 1050-1150 (Chapel Hill/London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988). Szymon Wieczorek, ‘Die Schenkung Bolesławs III. und Salomeas von Berg an die Benedikti­ nerabtei Zwiefalten in den 1130-40er Jahren’, in Monarchische und adlige Sakralstiftungen im mittelalterlichen Polen, ed. by Eduard Mühle, Stiftungsgeschichten, 9 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2013), pp. 131-170. Szymon Wieczorek, ‘Zwiefalten i Polska w pierwszej połowie XII w.’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, 103 (1996), 23-55. Gunther Wolf, ‘Kaiserin Theophanu, die Ottonen und der Beginn der St Nikolaus-Verehrung in Mitteleuropa’, in Kaiserin Theophanu. Prinzessin aus der Fremde – das Westreichs Große Kaiserin, ed. by Gunther Wolf (Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 1991), pp. 27-38. Andrej A. Zaliznâk, Drevnenovgorodskij dialekt (Moscow: Âzyki slavânskoj kul’tury, 2004; 1st edition: 1995).

Risk Societies on the Frontier Missionary Emotional Communities in the Southern Baltic, Eleventh – Thirteenth Centuries Wojtek Jezierski*

In what sense can we consider missionary communities exploring and evangelizing various areas of the Baltic Rim in the high Middle Ages as imagined? Although the category of missionary was not emic, it cannot be denied that many missionaries did perceive themselves as a special class of the Church’s representatives. Their number, geographical dispersion, and centuries-long activity also exceeded any prospect of a face-to-face self-apprehension. Furthermore, as agents working on the forefront of the northern European christianitas, missionaries proffered a very specific, both practical and ideological comprehension of their own and the Christian community’s limits and questions of belonging and otherness. Finally, by often being confronted with similar types of challenges and threats they seem to have become a community of experience as well as common history and can thus be considered a community of fate united by feelings of togetherness and brotherhood to some extent.1 Such a rudimentary description obviously overlooks many local differences, characteristics of particular missionary authors, and many individual turns taken by the historical expansion of Christianization. A possible way to retain these differences and discrete features while giving analytical coherence to the imagined missionary community is to pay attention to its * Wojtek Jezierski is Researcher in Medieval History at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. He defended his PhD thesis: Total St Gall. Medieval Monastery as a Disciplinary Institution (2010) at Stockholm University and published several articles on monastic power relations, cloistral surveillance, and subject-formation in early medieval St Gall. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the Deutsches Historisches Institut, Warschau 2011/2012. He recently co-edited the volume Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order, c. 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). His current research interests are the senses of danger & security among Baltic missionaries as well as historical semantics of emotions, eleventh to thirteenth centuries. The research for this chapter was funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), grant nr.: 2014-673. 1 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 6-7; Wood, The Missionary Life, pp. 247-271; von Padberg, Mission und Christianisierung, pp. 28-31; Geelhaar, Christianitas, pp. 275-304.


Wojtek Jezierski

socially significant passions.2 That is, those passions that both mediated the community’s relationship with pagans and the outside world, to a large extent regulated the inner group relationship in concrete monasteries or episcopal palaces and the Christianization movement writ large. Two such crucial social passions were the missionary sense of risk and danger as well as the accompanying fear. This chapter will thus treat high medieval missionaries operating on the Baltic frontier as a Risikogesellschaft of sorts, constituted by the selfconsciousness of dangers and risks it was exposed to. Risk society – a term coined by the late Ulrich Beck to describe the discontents of late modernity – is the manner in which (modern) society organizes in response to risk and implies heightened preoccupation with the questions of future, unpredictability, and safety.3 These aspects were particularly acute for the societies existing on the frontiers of medieval Christendom, entangled in a cultural haze of known and unknown, possibilities and dangers – among which the Baltic missionaries represent a frontier society par excellence. 4 The aim of this chapter is to investigate a wide palette of responses, functions, and (unforeseen) implications of the emotion of fear produced by the different communities or individual missionaries in this imagined society.5 These questions will be addressed on two levels. First, I would like to explore some general understandings of missionary fear and risks. Their relative importance was stretched between normative expectations created by the institutional and literary contexts in which the authors under scrutiny worked, and subjective – personal as well as collective – experiences channeled by their texts. As I would like to show, the differential distance from the missionary front profoundly influenced the way Adam of Bremen, Helmold of Bosau, and Henry of Livonia related both to their own anxieties and those of their predecessors and contemporaries. Second, it seems that 2 Jonsson, Crowds and Democracy, p. 26: ‘By socially signif icant passions, I mean the affective aspects of human labor and the libidinal need for social recognition that form the binding medium of society and hold collectivities together.’; Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 141-142. 3 Beck, Risk Society, pp. 19-50; Giddens, ‘Risk and Responsibility’, p. 3: ‘A risk society is a society where we increasingly live on a high technological frontier which absolutely no one completely understands and which generates a diversity of possible futures. … it is a society increasingly preoccupied with the future (and also with safety), which generates the notion of risk’; see also: Douglas, Wildavsky, Risk and Culture, pp. 6-9; Samimian-Darash, Rabinow, ‘Introduction’; Patzold, ‘Human Security, fragile Staatlichkeit’. 4 On the notion and examples of medieval frontier societies see: Bartlett, MacKay (eds.), Medieval Frontier Societies; Abulafia, Berend (eds.), Medieval Frontiers. 5 Bourke, ‘Fear and Anxiety’, pp. 124-126.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


emotions and affections in general and, as I would like to claim, missionary fear in particular could also function as cognitive categories which helped groups and communities structure their social and natural environments. Emotions themselves – ironically, even the negative or flat-out aversive as well – are vehicles of sociability.6 Knowledge and judgment, too, are essentially social phenomena that rest on a commonality of experiences, which are underpinned with an affective charge further motivating response and action.7 These collectively held, emotionally laden values pertained among others to the perception of landscape and physical surroundings of the missionary outposts. Hence, in the penultimate section of this chapter, I will study several metonymical expressions of both actual and imagined spaces informed by risk and fear. These two levels of inquiry may appear to be neatly distinguished; actually, against the background of my sources they appear to be porous and permeate each other, for the most part because they address very different texts written across three centuries. For this reason my focus does not rest on any particular small emotional community à la Barbara H. Rosenwein, especially since I am not studying a constellation of emotions but the relevance of one.8 My focus rather rises to the level of larger, non-concentric circles of emotional societies and discourses, which were nonetheless intersected by institutional belonging, commonality of experiences, and kindred readership.

Sources of Fear and Imagination With the above questions in mind I would like to investigate three texts spanning the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries: Adam of Bremen’s Gesta hammaburgensis ecclesie pontificum (mid-1070s), Helmold of Bosau’s Chronica Slavorum (c. 1168-1172), and Henry of Livonia’s (Henricus Lettus’s) Chronicon Livoniae (c. 1224-1227). From the point of view of missionary 6 Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, pp. 19-88; Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods’, pp. 19-20. 7 Mannheim, Ideology & Utopia, pp. 21-22, 31: ‘Precisely because knowing is fundamentally collective knowing […], it presupposes a community of knowing which grows primarily out of community of experiencing prepared in the subconscious. However, once the fact has been perceived that the largest part of thought is erected upon a basis of collective actions, one is impelled to recognize the force of the collective unconscious’. See also pp.128-134 and footnotes 19-20 there; Öhman, ‘The Biology of Fear’, pp. 38-39. 8 Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions’, pp. 842-843; Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, pp. 25-29; Plamper, Geschichte und Gefühl, pp. 78-83.


Wojtek Jezierski

experience and expressions of fear, this corpus of texts offers opportunely diversified vantage points on the process of Christianization both from the period preceding the crusade movement and afterwards. Most importantly, however, within the genre of missionary/crusading historiography these three texts were composed in radically dissimilar circumstances and widely varying distances from the main course of events. Adam’s Gesta, to start with, were written in a politically volatile situation in Northern Saxony during the 1060s and 1070s, a period when the Hamburg-Bremen’s archiepiscopal supremacy in the North had been seriously questioned. When it comes to Adam’s own experiences of missioning, however, he only had second-hand information and wrote his work in fairly comfortable circumstances in Bremen, rather distant from the missionary frontier. Helmold, on the other hand, wrote his Chronica in Bosau (he served there as priest since 1156), which was a small missionary outpost in Wagria at this point. At the same time, such a position allowed Helmold to be deeply involved in the daily practice of Christianization. His points of institutional reference were the episcopal chapters of Lübeck and Oldenburg, but his point of view, unlike Adam’s – whose Gesta he nonetheless used extensively – was much more individual, supported by the personal experience of missioning. As suggested by Volker Scior, Helmold was guided by a desire to contribute, with an accurate description of the Slavs as the object of his evangelical concern. Helmold wrote also in a transition period in which missioning was still driven by individual missionaries like himself, but large-scale military support in the Christianization process was becoming its main tenet, especially after the 1147 crusade against the Wends.9 Finally, Henry of Livonia composed his Chronica in an era when the crusading military industry has recently become synonymous with Christianization. Even though he wrote and operated mostly from his peripheral parish in Papendorf (Lat. Rubene) and not from central Riga, he actively partook in and personally saw large-scale armed operations, hence witnessing the unprecedented mobilization potential in the era of military orders.10 It is also crucial to point out that before Henry arrived in Riga in 1205 to spend the next two years in the episcopal milieu, he was educated in the Augustinian

9 Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde, pp.  138-146, 186-191; see also: Kaljundi, ‘Medieval Conceptualizations’. 10 Brundage, ‘Introduction: Henry of Livonia’; Johansen: ‘Die Chronik als Biographie’; Vahtre, ‘Kroniki bałtyckie’.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


monastery of Segeberg, an institution founded in 1134 by Bishop Vicelin of Oldenburg (where Helmold himself studied in 1134-1138).11 Considering the chapter’s focus on missionary fears and sense of risk or danger, the crucial aspect appears to be how far from the missionary front a given author found himself and what kind of knowledge he disposed with: in other words, his risk position. As Ulrich Beck put it, ‘in class positions being determines consciousness, while in risk positions, conversely, consciousness (knowledge) determines being’.12 The uneven grade of engagement in the practice of missioning and the different political and individual agendas represented by these three authors offer thus a fortunate opportunity to use these circumstances in an explanatory fashion. Although the main focus of this chapter concerns the period from the mid-eleventh to mid-thirteenth centuries, it opens with a reading of a crucial and deeply formative ninth-century text, Vita Anskarii. As we shall see, the Vita gave an important initial thrust to how high medieval authors such as Adam of Bremen or Helmold of Bosau thought about the task of missioning and the desirable qualities of missionaries. For centuries, the Vita Anskarii constituted a crucial reading in the episcopal palaces of Hamburg-Bremen, Lübeck, Oldenburg, and, possibly, at Segeberg.13 The Vita Anskarii and the remembrance of Hamburg-Bremen’s first bishop can be considered as the initial text in what was to become a missionary discursive formation which would link together northern-German episcopal institutions and dioceses considered in this chapter. As mentioned above, Adam of Bremen used Rimbert’s text quite extensively, and after him both Helmold of Bosau, and Helmold’s continuator Arnold of Lübeck (omitted in this chapter because of his much stronger Mediterranean focus in comparison to the above-mentioned texts) depended on both the Vita as well as Adam’s Gesta. These connections were concomitantly actual and imagined as they are bound to be in any long-lasting tradition whose adherents are 11 Bünz, Zwischen Kanonikerreform, pp. 8-40. 12 Beck, Risk Society, p. 53 [emphasis in the original]: ‘Crucial for this is the type of knowledge, specifically the lack of personal experience and the depth of dependency on knowledge, which surrounds all dimensions of defining hazards’. 13 Not only did Rimbert write the Vita in Bremen leaving a copy there (some version of it was used by Adam in the1070s), but also a hexameter version – composed by a monk in Corbie, Waldo in the early 1060s – boomeranged to Bremen with a dedication to Archbishop Adalbert in 1069 (at the latest). Furthermore, a B version was embraced in the Codex Vicelini by a Bremen canon Vicelin (subsequently Helmold’s teacher and bishop), who sent it to the monastery of Abdinghof in Paderborn before 1123. Helmold also had a version of the Vita at his disposal in 1160s-1170s and did not only depend on Adam in this regard: Trillmich, ‘Einleitung’, pp. 9-12; Hallencreutz, Odelman, ‘Rimbert som ärkebiskop’, pp. 130-132.


Wojtek Jezierski

not connected through face-to-face relationships.14 Like beads on a string, individual yet sequentially connected, these texts’ manner of articulation was further limited by the fact that their authors explicitly referred to each other, that is, consciously wrote in a chain gang. As a result, these texts operated within a constricted field of enunciation, which regulated also what could be said about the experience of fear, risk, and missionary commonality vis-à-vis different others.15 In terms of previous research on the topic addressed here, one should point out that a decade ago David Fraesdorff showed how the medieval imaginary of the North considered the region to be a cold, dark, and inhospitable place closely associated with fear and devilish manipulations. Fraesdorff argued that even if this discourse was quite broad and well-established throughout early medieval Europe, its intensity, sophistication, and cultural impact expanded once the missionary activity in the North gained momentum in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries. According to Fraesdorff and Scior, authors such as Rimbert, Adam of Bremen, and Helmold of Bosau not only (re-)produced and adapted this discourse to new Nordic and Baltic circumstances. They also channeled missionary experiences from the region and contributed to converting ideological convictions about, say, heathen treacherousness or Slavic hospitality into practical actions and expectations about the future.16 Risk and sense of danger – as well as accompanying emotions like anxiety or panic – constituted important components in this discourse. Who or what inspired fear in the missionaries differed from one author to another, however.17 It should be pointed out that even though fear and threat of military intervention were often quite concrete means of missioning,18 especially after the crusading movement on the Baltic Rim accelerated in the mid-twelfth century,19 scholars have devoted much more space to the military techniques used to induce fear, than to how this emotion was experienced by the contemporaries on both sides of the front. Although the paramount importance of fear and a sense 14 Compare: Jezierski, ‘Speculum monasterii’. 15 Dreyfus, Rabinow, Michel Foucault, pp. 44-78; Fish, ‘Working on the Chain Gang’, pp. 87-102; Stock, The Implications of Literacy, pp. 88-92, 526. 16 On the circular relationship between emotional experiences and expectations see: Büchsel, ‘Die Grenzen’, p. 152. 17 Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden; Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde; see also Kaljundi, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’. 18 McLuhan, ‘Evangelico mucrone’. 19 See the articles collected in these volumes: Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures; Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion; Lind, Jensen, Jensen, Bysted, Jerusalem in the North.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


of danger during this period has widely been acknowledged,20 almost no research has been done on the social implications of these emotions in the missionary and crusading context.21

Anskar: Early Forms of Missionary Fearlessness In his study of soldierly fear in Tsarist and early Soviet Russia, Jan Plamper has observed a profound shift in the military understanding of distress and trauma connected to warfare between the early nineteenth century and the 1920s. In General Mikhail Kutuzov’s (1745-1813) era, soldiers were perceived as insensitive drilling machines whose only permissible feeling was the desire to sacrifice their lives for the fatherland. With the Crimean War of 1853-1856 as the tipping point, further towards the Russian-Japanese War of 1905, and then into the early Soviet age, the Russian army, particularly the rapidly growing military psychiatry, learned to reckon with the horror of the battlefield and began treating shell-shock and post-traumatic stress. As Plamper claims, in the 1830s the negation neustrashimost’ (fearlessness) belonged to the military sphere of the sayable but its root noun, that is, fear (strakh) did not.22 The question appears whether a similar ideal of fearlessness could be found in regard to the early and high medieval missionaries, and if so how categorical was its imperative? Was the missionaries’ fear expected, desirable perhaps? Or was it detestable, or maybe even unmentionable? As stated earlier, a good departure point is a text that was formative for several missionary generations educated in the cathedral schools such as Hamburg-Bremen and Lübeck, that is, Vita Anskarii. Anskar was definitely not a man of many fears. In the final words and his ultimate praise of the greatest missionary to Scandinavia, Anskar’s biographer and closest companion, Rimbert, claims that the bishop was ‘semper imperterritus’, always fearless and just as steadfast in the Christi confessione.23 No matter what dangers and perils he faced in his mission – and they were legion, everything 20 Fumagalli, Landscapes of Fear; Scott, Kosso (eds.), Fear and its Representations; Dinzelbacher, Angst im Mittelalter. 21 As an exception to this trend see: Menache, ‘Love of God’. 22 Plamper, ‘Fear: Soldiers and Emotion’; Bähr, Furcht und Furchtlosigkeit. 23 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 42, pp. 132-133: ‘Martyr fuit, quia inter diaboli temptamenta, inter carnis illecebras, inter persequentes paganos, inter obsistentes christianos semper imperterritus, semper immobilis, semper invictus in Christi confessione usque ad exitum vitae permansit.’ (emphasis mine).


Wojtek Jezierski

from sudden attacks of robbers and pagans, through perils of the sea, up to hunger, cold, and nudity, as St. Paul enumerated24 – he seemed absolutely unmoved, sometimes almost jaded. On the other hand, fear, understood as the ‘metus auctoritatis’,25 did constitute an important element in the emotional arsenal of a ninth-century missionary as one of the emotions his activity was to induce in others.26 According to Rimbert, Anskar’s commanding manner of preaching was a perfect mixture of mildness and fright (‘miscens terroribus blandimenta’). As such it was particularly apt for (as well as and an unmistakable evidence of) conveying the authority of the Holy Ghost, so that: ‘The powerful and the rich, but above all proud and impudent people looked at him in fright’.27 In one of his visions Anskar saw himself ‘cheerful and joyful’ (‘letus et adgaudens’) walking next to Christ as well as his own believers across the ideal landscape his mission would bring about, where ‘the defiant were struck by godly terror’ (‘terror divinitus’).28 When one pays close attention to the contexts in which fear is mentioned in the Vita, it appears that this emotion most often comes to the fore when Anskar explicitly acts as God’s intermediary. The emotion of fear is thus both an evidence of divine intervention as well as a way of persuading and/ or punishing the infidels and those of the Christians who opposed the mission. In 845, after people of Birka (on the island of Björkö on Lake Mälaren, c. 30 km west of Stockholm) persecuted and expelled Gauzbert from the city, one of the persecutors, a son of a local nobleman, was stricken with God’s anger. The true addressee of this divine interference was the nobleman himself, whose family and cattle began to perish. His blasphemous son died first, then his wife, and then the rest of his children. After this, the heathen Job was instructed by a local sorcerer that this calamity was Christ’s wrath on him for a book his son stole from Gauzbert and stashed in his house. The nobleman was ‘anxious’ (‘mente pertractans sollicita’) about what to do. Worse yet, with the only priest gone there was no one around to whom he could return this unwanted, though extremely imposing gift. This filled him with the utmost fear and horror (‘qua de re horrore nimio 24 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 42, pp. 130-131; with a quotation from the II Corinthians 11:26-29. 25 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 38, pp. 120-121. 26 McLuhan, ‘Evangelico mucrone’. 27 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 37, pp. 118-119: ‘eum potentes et divites maxime tamen contumaces et protervi terribilem attenderet’. 28 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 38, pp. 120-121: ‘Visumque est ei, quod isset cum multitudine f idelium, et quod ipse, videlicet domnus episcopus, cum eo [the Christ-WJ] in eodem esset itinere letus et adgaudens, quia nulla erat contradictio, ut ipsi videbatur, sed erat in omnibus contumacibus terror divinitus illatus …’.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


et terrore perculsus’), and had it not been for one local Christian (Rimbert’s supposed source of the story) who eventually took this burden from him, this Swedish nobleman (and soon a convert) would perish too.29 The second occasion for displaying the impact of the ‘terror divinitus’ was one of many dreams Anskar had30 which targeted Reginar, to whom Anskar’s dependent monastery, Torhout, was enfeoffed. This Reginar, instead of educating the Northmen and Slavs whom Anskar sent to the monastery, used them as personal slaves. In his vision Anskar saw himself complain to Reginar and Emperor Charles the Bald when suddenly Christ appeared and started to admonish and threaten both men with consequences: ‘After hearing that, both were terrified and confused’.31 As usual, Anskar’s vision was soon confirmed in reality and Reginar lost the royal favour. If not having God’s assistance or, worse yet, being in conflict with His representatives usually set one in deep horror and confusion, the opposite was true as well. Being on or converting to the Christian side immediately freed one from fear. One such visible proof could be recognized right after the conversion of the Swedes, c. 854, when King Olaf sent a large plundering expedition to Courland (Lat. Kurzeme). Despite moments of hesitation, the conviction of God’s assistance released the newly converted troops from ‘anxiety and fear’ and helped them conquer the strongholds of Seeburg (Lat. Grobiņa) and Apulia (Lit. Apuolė).32 This very sketchy picture of Rimbert’s rather dichotomic approach to fear feeds into two scenes of missionary anxiety and fear conveyed in the Vita Anskarii which directly connect with the topic of my chapter. The first occasion came early on in Anskar’s career, in the summer or early autumn of 826, when Wala of Corbie (~755-836) elected him from among his monks and recommended him to Louis the Pious as an apposite candidate to introduce Christianity to Denmark. Anskar was to accompany King Harald Klak Halfdansson (~785-~852) in his Christian reconquista of the country and the future bishop, when presented with the offer, eagerly accepted the task. The moment his decision became public – within the confines of the monastery, that is – his brothers reacted in two ways: ‘Many loathed 29 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 18, pp. 54-55. 30 On Anskar’s dreams see: Mehnert, ‘Ansgar als Visionär’; Dutton, The Politics of Dreaming, pp. 51-53; Haendler, Kirchliche Verbindungen, pp. 82-92. 31 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 21, pp. 68-69; c. 36, 116-119: ‘Quo dicto, ipsi exterriti facti, conturbati sunt’. 32 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 30, pp. 98-99: ‘‘Quid’, inquiunt, ‘nunc nobis formidandum quidve pavendum est? Christus est nobiscum; pugnemus et viriliter agamus, nihil nobis obstare poterit.’’.


Wojtek Jezierski

him and attacked with reproofs; others attempted to convince him to take back this decision’.33 Rimbert does not make it entirely clear what reasons or feelings motivated these reactions. To offer a pious reading, it seems that Anskar’s decision might have been perceived as undermining monastic stabilitas loci fiercely pontificated at the time – a bomb Rimbert himself was at pains to disarm.34 Still, a more empathetic reading detects both some deal of affectionate fear for Anskar’s life as well the monks’ personal envy and anxiety which resulted in this harassment of the holy man (narratively, yet one hurdle to overcome) – the aspects of which we shall learn more about once we focus on the high Middle Ages. In any case, this line of interpretation was surely not unthinkable for Adam of Bremen, who knew that too much eagerness in apostolic zeal might be deemed arrogant by both Anskar’s and Adam’s own communities: Although he [Anskar] was not unaware of the canonical decrees which provide that a bishop who, as a result of persecution, is expelled from his city, may be received in another where the see is vacant, Anskar nevertheless did not for a long time yield to Caesar in respect of this proposal in order that others might not through envy be scandalized. Finally he consented, but only on condition that it could be done without complaint on the part of the brethren.35

To be sure, both in Adam’s and Rimbert’s words an old leitmotif of humilitas constituting a necessary cure for superbia when accepting new tasks and honors can be detected. However, considering the general tone of the Vita Anskarii and the Gesta, in which missionary ambition either came in short supply or in the form of a misguided vainglory, such a more socially realistic apperception of missionary anxiety should be taken into account too.36 The second scene is perhaps more revealing when it comes to attitudes towards fear. As mentioned above, back in 845, Bishop Gauzbert (after 851 33 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 7, pp. 32-33: ‘Multi quoque eum super hoc detestari et improperiis lacessire, quidam a proposito revocare conabantur’. 34 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 7, pp. 32-33: ‘quod scilicet, relicta patria et propinquis suis, fratrum quoque, cum quibus educatus erat, dulcissima affectione, alienas expetere vellet nationes et cum ignotis ac barbaris conversari.’; Härdelin, ‘Ansgar som munk’; Odelman, ‘Ansgar’s Life’, pp. 292-293; Palmer, ‘Rimbert’s Vita Anskarii’, pp. 245-247. 35 Adam, Gesta I, c. 24 (26), pp. 196-197: ‘At ille, quamvis canonum decreta non ignoraret, quibus cautum est, ut episcopus, qui a sua civitate persecutionem passus expellitur, in alia vacante recipiatur, tamen, ne pro invidia ceteri scandalizarentur, cesari super hac re diu resistit;’; trans. by Tschan: I, c. xxiv (26), p. 29. 36 Wood, The Missionary Life, pp. 133-134, 217-219.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


legate to Sweden) had been expelled from Birka after a short popular revolt against Christianity. For the next several years Sweden was without a bishop or priest and this negligence worried Anskar immensely. He approached Gauzbert to send a new priest there, but the bishop refused, expressing his angst. Because of the danger and hostile attitude of the locals he did not dare to return, but he surely deemed Anskar to be an appropriate replacement. This whole episode was to secure Anskar his legation to Scandinavia, but what interests me here is Rimbert’s attitude towards Gauzbert’s anxiety.37 According to the Vita, his fear or even trauma seemed justified; after all, his expulsion was particularly turbulent, with blood-thirsty heathens breaking into Gauzbert’s house and killing his cousin, Nithard, in his presence.38 The Vita does not convey any explicit critique against the always venerable Gauzbert or even a trace of deriding his cowardice. Yet effectively the whole scene is there to prove Anskar’s extraordinary courage and valor in the face of, as Adam put it, the ‘praiseworthy hazard’ (‘laudabile periculum’).39 Even if comparison between the two men was not implied, it was still inevitable. It may well be that missionary fearlessness and quasi-emotional immobilitas (which gave in almost exclusively to timor Dei), at least during this period and in such black-and-white, intellectually crude, though not an exceptionally imperative version, was genre-dependent, specific to hagiography. 40 It would be difficult, for instance, to deny that situations which the audience of vitae would normally associate with endangerment and horror functionally constituted trials and hardships through which the holy man or martyr proved his spiritual stamina and prowess. 41 In fact, Rimbert did admit once to Anskar’s ‘angustiam maximam mentis’ during his preparations for the journey to Scandinavia, but smoothed it over in his final appraisal of the missionary. 42 When we move to the corpus of texts for which the Vita came to be an inspiration – the main object of my study here – we will see that missionary historiography composed between the 37 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 25, pp. 82-83: ‘Praedictus vero pontifex Gauzbertus, qui et Symon, se inde expulsum rursus locum illum repetere non ausum respondit, nec ide valde proficuum fore posse, immo magis periculosum, si denuo priorum remini’; Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden, p. 221. 38 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 17, pp. 52-53. 39 Adam, Gesta I, c. 26 (28), pp. 198-199; trans. by Tschan: I, c. xxvi (28), p. 30. 40 Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, pp. 41-42, 145-147, 157-158, 160-161; von Padberg, Mission und Christianisierung, pp. 23-28. 41 Dinzelbacher, Angst im Mittelater, pp. 73-80. 42 See however: Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 29, pp. 94-95: ‘Porro angustiam maximam mentis, quam in ipso perpessus est itinere, dum illud iter pararetur, Domino revelante pater noster sanctissimus ante praescivit’.


Wojtek Jezierski

eleventh to thirteenth centuries has taken over some of these early ideals of missionary fearlessness, but also occasionally took a more accepting stance towards timor clericalis.

Timor clericalis in the High Middle Ages For Adam of Bremen, a particularly avid reader of the Vita Anskarii, missionary fearlessness still seemed to have constituted an ideal to emulate. At least this was what the Bremen schoolmaster praised Anskar for. For instance, ‘Anskar did not fear to go’ to Horik II (r. 854-~860s) in Denmark despite the king’s harsh persecution of Christians in his territory. Together with his first companion Autbert, Anskar was always ready for martyrdom and did not shun even the most dangerous tasks.43 The examples of Anskar and Rimbert and their like could thus be used to reprimand Adam’s contemporaries who did not show enough zeal and courage in performing their missionary obligation: Lo, ye bishops who, sitting at home, make the shortlived pleasures of honor, of lucre, of the belly, and of sleeping the first considerations of episcopal office! Look back, I say, upon this man […] who […] gave posterity such an example that your indolence cannot be excused by any harsh condition of time and place. Undergoing such perils by sea and by land, he went among the fierce people of the north […]. 44

For Adam, Anskar’s courage seemed to exceed human condition. Nevertheless, or perhaps exactly because of this, he held it up as a standard to the palace community he belonged to and the Baltic missionaries in general – that ‘lazy crew that delights in shelter and shade’.45 Still, this hard to attain,

43 Adam, Gesta I, c. 29 (31), pp. 202-203: ‘Ad quem sanctus Dei confessor Ansgarius venire non trepidans’; trans. by Tschan, I, c. xxix (31), p. 32; I, c. 15 (17), pp. 188-189. 44 Adam, Gesta I, c. 63 (65), pp. 232-233: ‘Eia vos episcopi, qui domi sedentes gloriae, lucre, ventris et somni breves delicias in primo episcopalis officii loco ponitis! Respicite, inquam, istum pauperem… qui nuper tam nobili fine coronatus exemplum dedit posteris, nulla temporum vel locorum asperitate vestram pigriciam excusari posse, cum per tanta pericula maris et terrae feroces aquilonis populous ipse pertransiens ministerium legationis suae tanto implemeret studio’; trans. by Tschan, I, c. lxiii (65), p. 53. 45 Adam, Gesta I, c. 42 (44), pp. 214-215: ‘Nunc autem, ‘quoniam defecit sanctus, quoniam diminutae suntveritates a filiis hominum’, vix possibile credimus ‘nos genum ignavum, quod tecto gaudet et umbra’, ut in tam aspero persecutionis tempore, in tam feroci, quae vix hominem vivit, natione, in tam remotissima… ab nostro mundo regione,’; trans. by Tschan, I, c. xlii (44), p. 41.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


early medieval ascetic-monastic ideal had to be negotiated and integrated into the eleventh-century episcopal palace’s politick. 46 A similar point of critique against lazy and anxious clerics can be found in the Chronica Slavorum. It comes embedded in the description of Vicelin’s career, after all the man Helmold admired most. Vicelin, who excelled both as a pupil and later as a teacher (also Helmold’s), had bad luck coming to schools where other teachers, pupils, and co-brothers would soon become envious of him. It was particularly true of Bremen where he came to teach in the late 1110s and early 1120s. Vicelin’s authority, so respected by Archbishop Fredrick I of Bremen (r. 1104-1123), awoke bad blood among other housemates. Those ‘used to avoiding duty in the church as well as clerical discipline, drinking in taverns, dawdling around in houses and alleys, indulging in vanities’ feared (‘pertimescebant’) that Vicelin’s example would lay bare their own faults and began to backtalk and ridicule the priest. 47 Lazy, sleepy, anxious bishops and clerics must have been a usual problem given how often critique against them comes up in the sources. These admonishments and concerns about anxious missionaries wasting their time are, especially in Adam’s case, something much more than just casual rhetoric or topos. One has to remember in what context Adam himself lived and worked in the late 1060s. Bremen under Adalbert’s rule had by then become practically a hornet’s nest ruled by a whimsical and vain archbishop, whose search for glory transformed his community into a band of competitive flatterers and hypocrites. 48 This contributed to – but was also the effect of – the already ongoing crisis of the archbishopric. Hamburg-Bremen’s legatio and Adalbert’s personal authority were put into question by Pope Gregory VII, by the House of Billungs in Saxony, at Henry IV’s court, and in Scandinavia at that time. For obvious reasons this endangered the very prospect of Christianization of the North under the auspices of Hamburg-Bremen. 49 This crisis was the obvious counterpoint in the mid-1070s, after Adalbert’s death, for both Adam and his intended readership, that is, the newly installed Archbishop Liemar (r. 1073-1101) and 46 Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness, pp. 25-28. 47 Helmold, Chronica c. 44, pp. 176-177: ‘Illis solum onerosus videbatur, quibus consuetudini fuerat deserto cultu ecclesiae et disciplina clericali bibere in tabernis, spaciari per domos et plateas, vanitatibus obsecundare, qui insolentias suas argui ab ipso pertimescebant. Unde etiam probris et derogationum spiculis sepius eum appetere solebant’. 48 Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness, pp. 67-81. 49 Althoff, ‘Causa scribendi’; Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde, pp. 47-49; Janson, Templum nobilissimum, pp. 43-47.


Wojtek Jezierski

the chapter of Hamburg-Bremen. By dedicating his Gesta to Liemar, Adam wanted to motivate the archbishop to put more efforts into reestablishing the bishopric’s position. Particularly Liemar should personally – not through his suffragans – undertake the ‘legatio gentium’ to the North. As observed by Volker Scior, in the Gesta Adam promoted examples of proactive bishops who set aside the comforts of life, travelled extensively, and fearlessly confronted the dangers of missioning.50 In a more general sense, the words of critique as well as examples mentioned above exceed their local contexts and show a deeper emotional management problem pertaining to cathedral communities of that time. On the one side stood an intrepid, larger-than-life holy man speaking and acting from high moral ground; on the other, the community of co-brothers ‘qui domi sedentes’, for whom this eagerness seemed almost deviant because it seriously put their own merits into question.51 The obvious tension seems to have been located between the ideals of fearlessness presented in a somewhat orthodox fashion by hagiographers and historiographers and the missionary community’s everyday doxa, their burdening ‘earthly business’ (‘terrenis gravatus negotiis’) as Adam put it. They were bothered by care for the poor, reception of guests, matters of the cathedral school, but also by competition for access to the bishop’s ear, politics of the court (both imperial and episcopal), etc.52 Adam preferred bishops and clerics more similar to Anskar who, like Bishop Adalvard of Bremen (r. 1035-1043), were ‘the splendor of the clergy …, the dread of powerful evildoers (‘terror male potentium’) an exemplar for the benevolent’, etc.53 Despite all his criticism for anxious missionaries and admiration for strong, intimidating figures, Adam was much more a man of the cathedralcourtly milieu than he actually realized, let alone wanted to be. If we take a look at Adam’s only personal sensation of fear we know of, expressed in the prologue to the Gesta, it is, symptomatically, the angst of a writer and school master, not of a missionary. Clothed in erudite borrowings and copious use of captatio benevolentiae and the humilitas motif, it is worry about recognition, not fear of pagan danger. The prologue, addressed to Liemar, is speckled with Adam’s anxieties – undeniably rhetorical and yet 50 Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde, pp. 64-71. 51 Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness, p. 7. 52 Adam, Gesta III, c. 24 (23), pp. 358-359. 53 Adam, Gesta II, c. 69 (67), pp. 312-313: ‘Ut enim brevi quodam indiculo complectamur ymaginem virtutis eius, pater patriae fuis, decus cleri et salus populi, terror male potentium exemplarumque benevolentium, egregius pietate vel qua omnia vellet ad profectum ducere.’; trans. by Tschan: II, c. lxxi (69), pp. 103-104.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


all the same significant in this context54 – about the reception the Gesta would meet and how this would influence his own position: I was anxious to show that I, a proselyte and stranger, did not appear ungrateful for having been granted so big a favor. I entreat the more indulgence because, since scarcely any predecessor has left a tread to follow, I did not fear, as if in the dark, to grope along an unknown way. It was my purpose to please not everybody but you, father, and your Church. To please the envious is very difficult. But because of the ill will of my rivals… Let all know that for this work and for such a bold venture I neither desire to be praised as an historian nor fear to be condemned as a falsifier …55

From this perspective, it seems that if Adam did take over some of Rimbert’s imperative of missionary fearlessness it was because it was an imperative he could quite easily afford from his safe place in Bremen. As I have claimed elsewhere on the subject of Adam’s represented scenes of slaughter and martyrdom, the Bremen schoolmaster had actually very little to say about fear and suffering experienced both by the victims and witnesses of heathen gore.56 It is because, first, his knowledge of them was secondhand at best. Second, an all too horrific, arduous vision of missioning was incompatible with Adam’s ideological goal to present the pilgrimage to the North as a feasible enterprise.57 Instead Adam often opted for an aesthetic attitude towards the pain and suffering of others, which could be called fear of a safe place. It was the dissociative sensation that the pain of others as well as the emotions attached to it were a mere spectacle, which only confirmed the observer’s feeling of being safe and secure.58 The complicated sense of fear emerging from Adam’s Gesta was composed of 1. hagiographical ideals of fearlessness, 2. the more general, sometimes aestheticizing and almost always imagined fears and anxieties connected 54 Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness, pp. 68-69; Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, pp. 27-29; Garrison, ‘The Study of Emotions’, pp. 245-246, Schnell, ‘Erzähler – Protagonist – Rezipient’; to see how supposedly ‘empty’ topoi and literary borrowings can be telling of a courtier’s emotions (a courtier whose text Adam was incidentally well acquainted with) compare: Patzold, Ich und Karl der Grosse, pp. 193-205, 236-239; Patzold, ‘Einhards erste Leser’. 55 Adam, Gesta, Praefatio, pp. 160-163; trans. by Tschan, Prologue, pp. 1-5. 56 Jezierski, ‘Fears, Sights and Slaughter’. 57 Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris’. 58 Mieszkowski, ‘Fear of a Safe Place’.


Wojtek Jezierski

to the risk inherent in missionary endeavor, and 3. his own actual worries and fears connected to cathedral and courtly life. All stood in stark contrast to Helmold’s much more direct experiences of heathen danger and their emotional consequences. For him, dread implied by some missionary tasks definitely belonged to the sphere of the mentionable. For instance, in January of 1156 Helmold himself was a member of the missionary expedition to Wagria led by Bishop Gerold of Oldenburg. Deep in the woods the expedition found the heathen temple of Prove, the local deity: As we approached this grove, the refuge of unholiness, the bishop encouraged us to approach and to start vigorously destroying this place. He himself jumped off the horse and with his staff crushed the richly decorated front of the door. We entered the court of the temple, cut down the branches of the holy trees, put up fire on this stack of wood and made it into a bonfire, not without fear of being overwhelmed by the crowd of the [local] inhabitants. But God protected us.59

Scholars working on the history of Christianization have often juxtaposed Helmold’s account about the destruction of the temple of Prove with other similar stories of the destruction of pagan idols by authors such as Thietmar of Merseburg, or the anonymous author of The Kievan Primary Chronicle.60 What interests me here is not the religious, symbolic, or ritual dimension of scenes like these, but the practical management of risks as well as the emotions and feelings of those who set out to destruct the pagan deities. Thus, when one compares the Wagrian episode with Saxo Grammaticus’s depiction of the destruction of the Svantevit temple in Arkona in 1168, an even fuller picture of clerical micromanagement of missionary risks appears. The two protagonists, Esbern Snare and Sune Ebbesen (respectively, brother and nephew of Bishop/Archbishop Absalon of Roskilde and Lund (r. 1158/1178-1201), went at great lengths to ensure that their helpers did not take any unnecessary risks when cutting down the Svantevit’s mighty figure. Time and again they warned their subjects ‘that they should be very careful 59 Helmold, Chronica, c. 84, pp. 288-291: ‘Venientibus autem nobis ad nemus illud et profanacionis locum adhortatus est nos episcopus, ut valenter accederemus ad destruendum locum/ locum. Ipse quoque desiliens equo contrivit de conto insignes portarum frontes, et ingressi atrium omnia septa atrii congressimus circum sacras illas arbores et de strue lignorum iniecto igne fecimus pyram, non tamen sine metu, ne forte tumultu incolarum obrueremur. Sed divinitus protecti sumus.’ (emphasis mine). 60 See for instance: Rosik, Interpretacja chrześcijańska; Gieysztor, Mitologia Słowian; Modzelewski, Barbarzyńska Europa.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


when the colossus is falling, so that it does not fall directly on themselves’, and that ‘they should not cut the tree too eagerly thus forgetting themselves and risking being crushed and killed under the falling stature’.61 There is little doubt that Esbern’s and Sune’s primary concern was the impression this sacrilegious spectacle would have on the heathen audience, that is, inhabitants of Arkona. Saxo duly reported reactions of the crowd. After all, the superstitious Rugian spectators might have jumped to the hasty and undesirable conclusion that the god resisting to be taken down or falling on the Danes was in fact executing his wrath on the Christians.62 In the margins of this story, however, there is discernible emotional micromanagement of both too much eagerness and anxiety of those directly responsible for the dirty work of wiping out pagan beliefs. Even if Archbishop Absalon’s mighty army standing outside Arkona’s high ramparts did not run the same risk of being outnumbered – as experienced by the small troop of Bishop Gerold in the winter of 1156 – the sense of being in jeopardy and the emotional response to this were much the same. Returning to the Chronica Slavorum, however – if Helmold’s own fear in a situation like this was admissible and not particularly shameful, so also was the fear of other clerics saving their lives in the face of imminent danger. For instance, during the destruction of Old Lübeck in 1128/29 by the Rani: ‘The illustrious priests [Ludolf and Volkward, whom Vicelin installed shortly before this attack – WJ] fled through one door of the church as the barbarians stormed the other and safely hiding themselves in the nearby forest escaped to the security of Faldera’.63 Admittedly, Helmold did promote strong, energetic figures and his description of Vicelin’s coming to Wagria is one impressive tour de force, a visible proof of both his piety, power of persuasion, vigor, and excellent evangelical work. The author mentions, however, next to nothing about his fearlessness.64 Symptomatically – even if an argument ex silentio should be taken with caution – Helmold did not praise Anskar for his fearlessness either. He rather appreciated his 61 Saxo, Gesta Danorum, vol. II: lib. 14, c. 39,31, pp. 370-371: ‘Esbernus ac Suno… abstractis famulos succidendi officium arripere iussos attentius monere coeperunt, ut adversum tante molis ruinam cautious se gererent, ne eius pondere oppressi infesto numina poenas luere putantetur.’; vol. II: lib. 14, c. 39,32, pp. 370-373: ‘Suno ministros ad eiusdem parietis deiectionem hortatus cauere iussit, ne succidendi auiditate pericula sua parum dispicerent neu se labenti statue per incuriam proterendos obiicerent’. 62 Banaszkiewicz, ‘Zabić Boga!’, pp. 330, 338-340. 63 Helmold, Chronica, c. 48, pp. 186-187: ‘Sacerdotes incliti, barbaris unam ecclesiae ianuam irrumpentibus, per aliam elapse beneficio vicini nemoris salvati sunt et ad Falderensem portum refugerunt’. 64 Helmold, Chronica, cc. 46-48, pp. 180-187.


Wojtek Jezierski

‘desiderium magnum’, the great desire to convert the pagan Swedes.65 The watershed between Adam and Helmold seems to concern the immediate contexts of their activity, that is, the relatively safe cathedral school in Bremen vis-à-vis the exposed position of a priest in Bosau. The senses of fear generated in these radically different contexts, and by extension, in the communities these authors belonged to, must have been radically dissimilar too. Still, as we have seen, fear in the Chronica Slavorum did not constitute any particularly privileged way of making distinctions between Christian and pagans, or drawing lines within the christianitas between the just and unjust, cowards and the brave. Seen from the perspective of the Vita Anskarii or the Gesta hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, the emotion of fear in the Wagrian context appears to have been de-ideologized, thus becoming a more ordinary motivational force similar to other emotions, like hatred or love. It seemed to be as true of missionaries, primates imperii as of heathen leaders.66 As a matter of fact, if there was any distinct emotional property or socially significant passion clearly describing a particular group in the Chronica Slavorum, it was rather the furor Slavicus and cruelty resulting from it.67 If fright in the Chronica Slavorum seemed not to be privileged in any special regard to other emotions connecting missionaries to each other, fear in all its fifty shades (from worry and anxiety, through angst, distress, up to horror and panic) was the dominant emotion in Henry of Livonia’s Chronicon Livoniae. As indicated in Figure 4, the sheer count of words like timor,-is; timeo,-ere and their derivatives (pertimesco,-ere; pertimefactus, etc.) in Henry’s Chronicon reveals the relative significance of this emotion over all other emotional terms.68 We find 60 hits over 221 full pages in Leonid Arbusow’s and Albert Bauer’s 1955 edition.69 Terror,-is and its larger family (per-, ex-, con-, territus; terribilis etc.) account for another twenty instances.

65 Helmold, Chronica, c. 5, pp. 52-53. 66 For the confusion of the electors in the wake of Pope Hadrian IV’s death, unsure whom to support to please Frederick Barbarossa: Helmold, Chronica, c. 91, pp. 314-317; for the fear of the columpnae regni in the troublesome negotiations between Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Hadrian IV regarding the Stratordienst: Helmold, Chronica, c. 81, pp. 278-279; for the fear of pagan leaders before and during a siege of Plön in 1075: Helmold, Chronica, c. 25, pp. 110-119, for Vicelin’s fears and worries: Helmold, Chronica, c. 45, pp. 178-179. 67 Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde, pp. 208-15 and references there. 68 Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods’, pp. 15-16; Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, pp. 57-78. 69 Heinrich, Livländische Chronik (1955).

Risk Societies on the Frontier


Only one other emotional term, joy, rejoicing (gau(v)dium,-i(i); con-, gau(v) deo,-ere), is used more frequently, 117 times in total. Without paying attention to the concrete contexts in which the terms depicting fear appear in the Chronicon Livoniae, their distribution over the work’s chronological span is significant in itself. The Chronicon covers the period between 1181 to 1227, but slightly over 50 per cent of the occurrences of timor come very early in the work, until about 1208. This accounts for just one third of the entire volume’s length as the year entries get longer in the later part of the Chronicon, mostly because Henry had more knowledge about this period. We know Henry came to Livonia from Segeberg as an adolescent in 120570 and immediately became a member in Bishop Albert of Buxhoeveden’s (r. 1199-1229) household in Riga. In 1208 he was ordained as a priest and left Riga for his newly established parish in Papendorf. Although Henry did not start composing his Chronicon before 1224 (finishing it about 1227 when he handed it over to the Papal Legate William, Bishop of Modena (r. 1222-1251) en tour in Livonia),71 it seems striking that the majority of the fear terms come from a period for which he himself was not a witness. In other words, both Henry’s knowledge and the emotions connected to the stories from this period seem borrowed and instilled during the formative period in the episcopal community. They come from ‘my lords and companions’ in Riga, as he puts it, rather than from the period of his solitary activity on the outskirts of the colony.72 Obviously, all Henry’s historical emotions are anachronistic in the sense of being attributed and retrof itted to past f igures and events from his perspective in the mid-1220s. Yet given that the very memorability of events and people hinges on the emotional charge that accompanies these memories and the social framework in which they are created, this particular condensation of fear and trauma into the period before Henry’s own activity (though forged in Riga as the particularly lively missionary center) seems noteworthy to say the least.73

70 Brundage, ‘Introduction: Henry of Livonia’, pp. 2-5; Bünz, Zwischen Kanonikerreform, pp. 35-40. 71 Brundage, ‘Introduction to the 2003 edition’, pp. xxv-xxviii; Brundage, ‘Introduction: Henry of Livonia’; Johansen, ‘Die Chronik als Biographie’. 72 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. XXIX,9, pp. 326-327. 73 Misztal, Theories of Social Remembering, pp. 15-19, 80-81; Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, p. 177.


Wojtek Jezierski

Figure 4 Emotion Words in the Chronicon Livoniae74

The frequency of occurrence of the word gau(v)dium,- i(i), con-, gau(v)deo, -ere – emotion experienced almost exclusively by the Christians and their allies75 – follows a reverse pattern. The majority of occurrences, about 60 per cent, are reserved for the latter 45 per cent of the Chronicon’s length. Furthermore, the occurrences grow exponentially the closer Henry gets to his finish. The last twenty-five pages (c. 11 per cent of the total length), covering the period between 1224 and 1227, stand for one-third of all expressions of joy in the entire work. This amazing surge of rejoicing over the three years when Henry was composing his chronicle requires a few words 74 I opted for showing the data series as a line rather than separate points in order to better illustrate the tendencies in Henry’s use of emotion words. In the opposite case, each word occurrence would have to be shown separately per page – rather than being summed for every 10 pages in the edition – which would drastically impair the intelligibility. The data series for ‘aggregated fears’ includes both results for timor as well as all its different verbal and adverbial and word occurrences such as ex-, per-, con-, territi as well as terribilis, and terror (79 occurrences in total). Linear trend lines have not been included in the table in order not to obscure the data. However, the trend line for gaudium shows obviously a raising trend of word occurrences, whereas trend lines for timor, -is as well as the ‘aggregated fears’ series both show diminishing trends, the former falling more steeply than the latter. 75 Undusk, ‘Sacred History’, pp. 72-73.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


of explanation. It seems to be primarily connected to a long series of joyful receptions and rituals of occursus with which the Papal Legate William of Modena was received all round Livonia by the newly baptized peoples (see the particularly joyful, somewhat lengthy chapters XXIX,3 and XXIX,7) as well as the joy he expressed himself upon witnessing the apostolic success of the Rigan church.76 Happy he who lived in the best of times! If intended, Henry’s somewhat ingratiating and self-serving rhetorical maneuver is perhaps not so surprising considering that William was the addressee of the chronicle in the first place. The second reason for the explosion of rejoicing in those final parts of the work is the final subjugation of the ultimate and die-hard base of paganism, the island of Ösel (chapter XXX). More generally speaking, it seems that from a point of view of crude statistics of emotions, the vision of history presented by the Chronicon Livoniae seems like an optimistic, gradual transition from the age of horror to the age of joy in just over 45 years.77 This tentatively sketched emotional shift seems to corroborate other analyses of Henry’s metaphorical imagery of plantation, growth, and bearing of the fruit of faith similarly underpinned with optimism and feelings of progress.78 Importantly, one should not conclude that the correlation between timor and gaudium is purely arbitrary. Timor and gaudium reveal actually a high rate of co-occurrences, which would imply a more causal relationship. These co-occurrences refer to the episodes of warfare, preceded by and lived through with great anxiety and immediate horror (on both sides of the front) though often leading to joy 76 See e.g. Heinrich, Chronicon, c. XXIX,2 pp. 316-317: ‘Et occurrerunt ei [the Papal Legate] Rigenses, excipientes eum et cum gaudio magno deducentes eum in civitatem. Congaudebat simul et ipse et collaudabat Iesum Christum, eo quod vineam Dei tam gloriose plantatam et ecclesiam fidelium sanguine multorum irrigatam et tantam dilatatam invenit …’. 77 Three disclaimers are in place. First, Figure 3 does admittedly ignore whose joys or fears intensify or diminish over time. A more nuanced study (in preparation) will show when, for whom, and how emotion terms exactly fluctuate. So it would be statistically conceivable, though not very likely given the overall context of the Chronicon and previous research on the subject, that the pagans’ fears dominate the early parts of the work; those of the missionaries/ crusaders the later sections. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Second, the very repetitiveness of emotion words, which makes them statistically relevant in the first place, depends on Henry’s very limited vocabulary. It is also a result of his heavy debt to and reuse of the language of the Bible and the breviary (see the works referred to in the next note). Three, the simple count of emotion words rests on an implicit assumption that these words designate the same sentiments every time. All these problems can be disregarded here, however. What is crucial for the current study is the communal, chronological, and emotional dimension of the knowledge of the past. For methodological approach compare: Geeraerts, Gevaert, Speelman, ‘How anger Rose’. 78 Linda Kaljundi, ‘Young Church’; more on Henry’s literary borrowings see: Arbusow, ‘Das entlehnte Sprachgut’; see however: Undusk, ‘Sacred History’.


Wojtek Jezierski

and happiness from yet another victorious battle of the Sword Brethren or German crusaders. Considering the large count of these word occurrences, it would be very difficult to even summarize, let alone fully present the senses and contexts of the emotion of fear in Henry of Livonia’s text. Below I have focused only on the episodes I dubbed as timor clericalis.79 It seems that missionaries fearing or running from pagan danger and immediate attack – sometimes even returning to Saxony – were not at all uncommon, especially in the early days of the mission in Livonia, and Henry did not seem to be judgmental about their reactions.80 Some clerics, like Bishop Bertold (r. 1197-1198, previously abbot of Loccum monastery) in 1197, were actually not eager to travel to and convert Livonia. They had to be coaxed by their superiors (though Bertold’s sanctity could hardly be disputed given that he was considered the first Livonian martyr).81 And not every missionary or priest felt secure among the parishioners he himself newly converted, like priests Peter Kakuwalde and Otto, the Sword Brethren who in 1215 converted the Saccalians and Ungannians: ‘When this was done they returned to Livonia, for they were not yet able to live in those parts because of the hostility of the other Estonians’.82 Priestly courage and the virtue of being able to overcome one’s fears stood high in price in Livonia, nonetheless, which dovetailed in the rudimentary militant and revanchist, if somewhat idiosyncratic, crusading ideology of which Henry was a proponent.83 For instance, in 1207 a Lithuanian troop attacked a church in Kipsal (Lat. Krimulda) as two priests, John (Johannes) Stric and Theodoric, were performing the mass. Despite the spreading panic and parishioners fleeing the church, the priests continued with the celebration. In the meantime, their house was plundered which, fortunately, went on long enough so that John: finished … the most holy mysteries of the body and blood of the Lord, and not hesitating to offer himself as a sacrifice to God, commended himself 79 The social and institutional distinctions constitute yet another problem. Livonia in Henry’s time and from his perspective was a colony where clerical status merged with the knightly ideals and crusading ideology. 80 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. II,10, pp. 16-17; c. XI,5, pp. 72-73. 81 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. II,1, pp. 10-11. 82 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. XIX,4, pp. 188-189: ‘Quo facto reverse sunt in Lyvoniam, nondum valentes cohabitare cum eis propter aliorum Estonum ferocitatem.’, trans. by Brundage, c. XIX,4, p. 147. 83 Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia’, pp. 23-44.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


to God. Theoderic the priest, as a minster, and his servant, by watching the door, faithfully stood by him, encouraging him not to neglect the divine service for fear of the pagans.84

The moment the mass was finished the priests hid in a dark corner of the church and the three consecutive Lithuanian intruders, who broke into the temple, miraculously did not discover the courageous men. After the Lithuanians departed, John and Theodoric ‘gave thanks to God for keeping them safe and unharmed in the face of the enemy’.85 Marek Tamm, who analyzed scenes of miraculous death and martyrdom in the Chronicon Livoniae, has suggested that episodes in which the crusaders and priests consciously exposed themselves to the risk of death were negotiated in a very narrow zone of the acceptable conduct. This zone was defined by the prescriptions of Canon Law (which denied self-inflicted martyrs entry into the communitas sanctorum) and popular opinion among the crusaders (which in a bottom up fashion promoted certain ideals of purity and selfless courage).86 The way priests and the Sword Brethren were (not) afraid in Livonia was tightly attached to this zone too. Inside of it, there were also discernible traces of older patterns of seeking martyrdom similar to Anskar’s, where the martyrdom could be seen as an extreme, beneficial form of risk calculation salvation-wise. In Livonia, however, these patterns appeared in a much more militant fashion and blended with quite pragmatic approaches to fear as a necessary, if manageable, element of missionary and crusading activity. Furthermore, if what implicitly mattered for Helmold was simply how danger and fear were managed when a perilous situation demanded it,87 for Henry words like terror, timor, and horror had also an enormous surplus potential of expressing both associative and dissociative relationships, also across cultural and religious boundaries.88 The most important conclusion regarding fear and the sense of risk as socially significant passions in the Livonian context, however, is that the 84 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. XI,5, pp. 72-73: ‘Et cum spoliantes in curia tantam facerent moram, sacerdos interim in ecclesia Dominici corporis et sangvinis sacrosancta conficiens mysteria et se ipsum sacrificium Deo offerre iam non dubitans Domino se commendabat. Cui Theodericus sacerdos ministrando, servus hostium servando fideliter astabant, confortantes eum, ne propter paganorum timorem divinum negligeret officium.’, trans. by Brundage, c. XI.5, p. 71. 85 Heinrich, Chronicon, c. XI,5, pp. 74-75: ‘Illi autem gratias Deo referents, eo quod ipsus sanos et incolumnes ante faciem paganorum conservaverat,’, trans. by Brundage, c. XI.5, p. 72. 86 Tamm, ‘Martyrs and Miracles’, pp.  149-152; see also: Brundage, ‘Voluntary Martyrs’, pp. 145-146. 87 Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris’. 88 Jezierski, ‘Fears, Sights and Slaughter’.


Wojtek Jezierski

missionary and crusader collectives channeled these feelings through their imagined past and future fate, as both bygone hardships and forthcoming challenges to confront.

Emotional Space: terra horroris In his book from 1990, Vito Fumagalli used a telling metaphor – paesaggi della paura (landscapes of fear) – to describe the uneasy interaction of people of the early Middle Ages with nature surrounding them. The metaphor was also to catch the more hazardous aspects of the lives of common people, such as supposedly omnipresent violence, murky city life, or dark temptations of the body. Fumagalli himself, however, failed completely in addressing how fear was experienced. Instead of studying actual accounts and expressions of the emotion, he imputed distress to contemporaries by focusing on what he considered dangerous or risky around them and from this extrapolated what he believed they must have been afraid of.89 Fumagalli’s topographical metaphor of fear’s situatedness still seems potent, however. Here I would like to move its focus from the early medieval Apennine Peninsula to the Baltic ‘extremum terrae’90 in the high Middle Ages and narrow it down from the general population to the missionary environment. It is beyond doubt that in the high medieval missionary imagination, pagan danger had a unique ability to deeply scare entire cities and landscapes located on the northern periphery of Europe. Adam, getting support from memories of the old citizens of Bremen (‘sicut antiqui meminerunt’), recounted how during the 990s, a period particularly speckled with Viking pirate attacks, ‘[a]ll the Saxon cities were terrified, and the people began to fortify Bremen itself with an exceedingly strong wall’. Archbishop Liawizo I (r. 988-1013), alarmed by the news, had the cathedral treasury moved to the canonry at Bücken, because ‘so great was the fear in all parts of this diocese’.91 Most often it was Christian communities and cities that feared for their lives and safety, but fear on a mass scale did affect pagans, too, and 89 For a similar point of critique against too naïve extrapolations of fears from natural or cultural threats see: Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions’, p. 833 and note 54. 90 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 25, pp. 86-87. 91 Adam, Gesta, II, c. 33 (31), pp. 268-269: ‘In metu errant omnes Saxoniae civitates; et ipsa Brema vallo muniri [cepit] f irmissimo. Tunc quoque, sicut antiqui meminerunt, Libentius archiepiscopus tesaurum ecclesiae omniaque ecclesiastica deportari fecit ad Bugginensem preposituram; tantus erat timor in omnibus finibus huius parrochiae.’, trans. by Tschan II, c. XXXIII (31), p. 77.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


not necessarily in the form of a ‘timor divinitus’ but, for instance, as fear of heathen marauders. In the early 1090s the Danish and Slavic troops of Henry of Lübeck attacked Oldenburg and large portions of the Wagrian coast controlled by the Obodritian duke Kruto. After they did so for the second and third times, ‘a great fear spread among the people of Slavs populating the islands and shores of the sea’.92 Now and then the pagan threat was so profound that, by way of a synecdoche, it made entire landscapes shiver. Back in 919/920 the Danes came into alliance with the Slavs and it ‘made Saxony tremble in great terror’.93 This emotion was as widespread as it was impersonal, affecting faceless populations or urban communities. For instance, the Gesta reports that in 882 ‘the people of Mainz began to erect fortifications for fear of the barbarians’. This particular piece of information Adam took from the Annales Fuldenses (a. 882). Interestingly, the Bremen schoolmaster retrofitted the widespread emotion into the account, which mentions only the hastened fortification of Mainz in the face of imminent attack from the Northmen, and says nothing about the citizens’ unmanaged hearts.94 This way of attributing emotions and landscapes or cities in a pars pro toto manner, although relevant from the point of view of this chapter, was hardly exceptional and did not ineludibly depend on medieval topoi. However, the emotion of fear on the Baltic Rim had sometimes a tendency to attach itself to spaces, or even entire landscapes, almost like a particularly viscous, adhesive substance. Neither fear nor danger were homogenously distributed, but were wont to concentrate, seep down, and stick in specific areas.95 An example of such a space was described by Rimbert as the location to which newly appointed Bishop Anskar was sent by Louis the Pious in November of 831. As Rimbert put it, the entire diocese of Hamburg ‘in periculosis locis fuerat constituta’ (‘was located in dangerous regions’).96 92 Helmold, Chronica, c. 34, pp. 141-143: ‘Et cum hoc secundo et tercio fecitsset, factus est timor magnus omnibus Slavorum populis insulas et litus maris habitantibus […]’. 93 Adam, Gesta, I, c. 55 (57), pp. 226-227: ‘magno Saxoniam terrorque quassabant.’; trans. by Tschan I, c. LV (57), p. 49; compare: Helmold, Chronica, c. 5, pp. 50-51: ‘Saxonia magno terrore concussa est’. 94 Annales Fuldenses a. 882, p. 97; Rosenwein, Generations of Feeling, p. 177. 95 Although this paragraph may seem reminiscent of some studies of ‘sticky’ emotional landscapes by archeologists of emotions, it should be stressed that the attributions of feelings to space analyzed further are linguistically emic and not scholarly ascribed; see: Tarlow, ‘The Archeology of Emotion’, pp. 173-175, 180-181. 96 Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, c. 12, pp. 46-47: ‘Et quia diocesis illa in periculosis locis fuerat constituta, ne propter barbarorum imminentem saevitiam aliquot modo deperiret, et quia omnimodis parva erat […]’. See also: Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden, p. 221.


Wojtek Jezierski

What was already forgotten in this expression was obviously the fact that the diocese to some extent was just a physical space to which Anskar came and occupied. Rather, it was the arrival of the missionaries and their very presence there, which created – or produced – such space under threat of imminent barbaric storms.97 It is because periculum is a relational concept that can only be understood in terms of interaction, and thus immediately begs the question: dangerous for whom? And then, danger of what? Given the self-reflexive manner in which this dangerous periphery was imagined, we could paraphrase Beck and define risk in the missionary context of the Baltic frontier as to some extent ‘a systemic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by the Christianization itself’.98 A particularly illustrative way to understand how spaces were invested with an emotional charge or acted as catalysts of emotional transformation or (de)intensification for their current occupiers was offered by Rosenwein’s notion of emotional space.99 The cases in point can be Adam’s and Helmold’s different uses of the quotation from Deuteronomy 32:10: ‘in terra deserta in loco horroris et vastae solitudinis’. This expression has often been translated as ‘a desert land and the waste howling wilderness’,100 and can be read in this sense, for instance, against the background of high medieval Cistercian foundations actually or allegedly taking into possession and colonizing empty lands on the outskirts of civilization.101 In the context of the early and high medieval Baltic frontier and the intensified missionary awareness of risk-taking, however, we should speak not only of an empty but also of an emotional space – the land of horror – as the connotation much closer at hand. Additionally, as pointed out by William Ian Miller, horror as a subcategory of fear and disgust is particularly associated with freezing in one place, the inability to move or escape the threatening situation: ‘Horror is horror because it is perceived as denying all strategy, all option’.102 97 Cassidy-Welch, ‘Space and Place’. 98 Beck, Risk Society, p. 21: ‘The concept of risk is directly bound to the concept of reflexive modernization. Risk may be defined as a systemic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernization itself.’ [emphasis in the original]; see also Giddens’s notion of manufactured risk: Giddens, ‘Risk and Responsibility’, p. 4. 99 Rosenwein, ‘Emotional Space’; Reckwitz, ‘Affective Spaces’. 100 See e.g. King James Version: ‘He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness’; The 1599 Geneva Bible: ‘He found him in the land of the wilderness, in a waste and roaring wilderness’; however, in Wycliffe Bible: ‘The Lord found him in a desert land, in the place of horror, either hideousness, and of waste wilderness’. 101 Lutter, ‘Locus horroris’, pp. 163-164; Jamroziak, Survival and Success, pp. 47-55, 198. 102 Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust, pp. 26-27: ‘We have a name for fear-imbued disgust: horror. What makes horror so horrifying is that unlike fear, which presents a viable strategy (run!),

Risk Societies on the Frontier


Metaphorically speaking, horror seems like an exceptionally static – if typically extremely short-lasting – emotion. Adam, to begin with, conflates the quotation from Deuteronomy with a similar expression from Jeremiah 17:6,103 and hence imagines the Danish Jutland as ‘a salt land and a vast wilderness’.104 As he insists, the land is even horridior than the already frightful whole of Germany: ‘Jutland is a sterile, inhabitable land infested with pirates’.105 It is the fourth book of his Gesta that comprises this description, the book Scior persuasively argued was intended as a practical plan for Archbishop Liemar’s future journey to Scandinavia. The book was also a program for how Hamburg-Bremen’s legatio to the north should be put into action after Adalbert’s failed attempts.106 This horrifying land, in other words, was a space located outside Adam’s current community and constituted a task for the future, important but not pending: indeed, just over the horizon but hardly at ‘Adam’s doorstep’.107 By contrast, Helmold uses the expression from Deuteronomy twice. On the first occasion, he describes the situation in the second half of the eleventh century, when all of Germany became a ‘terra horroris et vastae solitudinis’.108 At the time Slavic leader Kruto succeeded in a brutal subjugation of the entire land of Nordalbingians and ousted the Saxonians from their power position in the north. In this period the troubles of Emperor Henry IV’s juvenile government became apparent too. The second occasion strictly regards the peripheral missionary context and considers the beginnings of Vicelin’s activity in Wagria. In 1127, the inhabitants of Faldera (Neumünster) asked Archbishop Adalbero to provide them with a priest, who would convert the Holsteinian frontier, a ‘very inhospitable place with its wide, barren moors’.109 Vicelin agreed and ‘began to live in the middle of horror denies flight as an option. And it seems to deny fight as an option too. […] Horrifying things stick, like glue, like slime’. 103 Jer 17:6: ‘sed habitabit in siccitate in deserto in terra salsuginis et inhabitabili’. 104 Adam, Gesta, IV, c. 1, pp. 434-435: ‘terra salsuginis et vastae solitudinis’; trans. by Tschan IV, c. 1, p. 187. 105 Adam, Gesta, IV, c. 1, pp. 434-435: ‘Porro cum omnis tractus Germaniae profundis horreat saltibus, sola est Iudland ceteris horridior, quae in terra fugitur propter inopiam fructuum, in mari vero propter infestationem pyratarum’; trans. by Tschan IV, c. 1, p. 187. 106 Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde, pp. 68-72, 137. 107 Wood, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, pp. 540-542. 108 Helmold, Chronica, c. 27, pp. 118-119: ‘Nil autem mirum, si nacione prava atque perversa, in terra horroris et vastae solitudinis sinistri casus emerserunt, siquidem per omne regnum illis in diebus bellorum tempestates consurgebant’. 109 Helmold, Chronica, c. 47, pp. 182-183: ‘Cumque pervenissent ad locum destinatum, perspexit habitudinem loci campumque vasta et sterili mirica perorridum’.


Wojtek Jezierski

a raw and perverse people, in this land of horror and a waste and howling wilderness; the more eagerly he commended himself to God’s protection, the more he was deprived of human solace’.110 Keep in mind that Faldera, exactly like Helmold’s own Bosau, lay in or at the very entrance to Wagria. In other words, for Helmold, ‘terra horroris’ as an emotional space was the very place in which both Vicelin and he himself acted and lived. Contrary to Adam, the land of horror was not some blurry future project intended for someone else to tackle. It was rather a vivid recent experience and Helmold’s own alarming present, from which no safe place could insulate him.111 Carsten Selch Jensen, who analyzed the ways in which the Livonian Church and the crusaders converted the pagan landscapes in the East Baltic, has suggested that in the process of Christianization two types of sacred geography – two symbolical orders anchored in physical space – clashed and that only one of them could succeed in the long run.112 Importantly, the Livonian examples show an advanced and sophisticated system of beliefs preceding the arrival of Christianity, a system which came to constitute an intellectual and evangelical challenge. Yet, as Thomas Foerster shows in his chapter, these landscapes, spaces, and territories had to be imagined and mentally mapped out first, sometimes long before being explored and converted.113 And the initial manner of imagining, even before acknowledging the pre-existing pagan classifications that the missionaries were about to transform, was through self-centered emotional reactions – as close or remote lands of horror and dangerous places, respectively.114 Put otherwise, from the missionary point of view the ‘terra horroris’ as an emotional space was only partially a place of affective transformation for its visitors. In the first instance, this terra itself constituted a sphere that needed to undergo an emotional conversion and, ideally, was supposed to cease to exist. What we encounter in these expressions is thus essentially a cluster made up of tightly interwoven emotions, space, and time. In this sense Adam’s and Helmold’s ‘terrae horroris’ functioned as Bakhtinian chronotopes, as 110 Helmold, Chronica, c. 47, pp. 182-183: ‘Incipiens igitur habitare in medio nacionis pravae et perversae, in loco horroris et vastae solitudinis eo artius divino se commendabat presidio, quo [magis] humano desitutus est solacio.’. See also Helmold, Chronica, c. 51, pp. 194-95: ‘terram hostilem’. 111 Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden, pp. 329-333; Douglas, Wildavsky, Risk and Culture, pp. 121-124, 191; Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris’. 112 Jensen, ‘How to Convert a Landscape’; Kjersgaard Nielsen, ‘The Making’; see also Mo­dze­ lewski, ‘Laicyzacja przez chrzest’; Banaszkiewicz, ‘Fabularyzacja przestrzeni’; for a useful recent overview see: Szczepanik, Wadyl, ‘A Comparative Analysis’. 113 Kjersgaard Nielsen, ‘The Making’; see also Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 170-178. 114 Kolnai, On Disgust, pp. 98-99.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


time-spaces whose slightly altered emotional charge equipped them with rather different senses of urgency regarding their present and future.115

Conclusions There is little doubt that collective fear of the same threats or risks and the same enemy usually produces a sense of commonality or, as Beck would put it, solidarity motivated by anxiety. What is considered as threat, risk, or enemy will differ locally and historically, however. Furthermore, fear – as with many other emotions – can be evoked not only through actual but also imagined (sometimes even unconscious) objects of aversion, which more often than not are culturally acquired and culturally specific. Putting it elliptically, fear is a form of imagination.116 The question this chapter addressed regards the social, communal, and cognitive aspects as well as consequences of the emotion of fear and sense of risk experienced by high medieval missionaries. Sociologically speaking – and contrary to the intuitive, crudely functionalistic conviction that fear is always a particularly aversive emotion 117 – the Baltic material calls for a more sophisticated view of fear’s dissociative and associative potential. This potential was strictly dependent on the context of the emotion’s expression as well as the manner of underlying experience. The examples of Anskar and Rimbert, Adam and Helmold, and finally Henry of Livonia reveal a wide range of experiences and normative standpoints towards these emotions, stretched between fears for a safe place, fretful perception of the landscape, and actual life-threatening dangers as simply unavoidable challenges in need of practical response – even if we could perhaps classify the problem of martyrdom and life-threats explicitly sought or advocated by some authors and figures as the most radical type of risk calculation involved in the missionary activity. Either way, these fears and threats usually achieved greater social integration of missionary communities. Furthermore, as Linda Kaljundi’s chapter shows in detail and my own tentatively suggests, missionary emotions in general and fear in particular could also be a

115 Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time’, pp. 84-85; Kjersgaard Nielsen, ‘The Making’, pp. 148-149. 116 Öhman, ‘The Biology of Fear’, pp. 35-50; Kolnai, On Disgust, pp. 38-47. 117 For a critique of this traditional view see: McNally, ‘Fear, Anxiety’.


Wojtek Jezierski

way of reaching out across religious boundaries.118 They brought together Christians, converts, and – extremely occasionally – heathens. Against this background, it appears that it was rather the very rare missionary fearlessness that had (and, so it seems, was supposed to have) a very strong individuating impact on the person revealing such a trait. This courage in the face of danger and death – propagated mainly in hagiography – obviously elevated a given athleta Christi (as Rimbert called Anskar) both over his close community and its larger worldly counterpart. At the same time, as Tuomas Heikkilä also argues in this book, such an unreachable ideal and the remembrance of figures embodying it (through liturgy, literary production, etc.) were ideal for missionary imagined communities to build their identities around. Finally, a striking feature of the missionary fear and sense of danger in the Baltic context as socially significant passions is in how many directions they influenced the sphere of the imagined. They affected and sometimes altered missionaries’ perception of the past (also past long gone), their assessment of the present as well as their anticipations or calculations of the future in both strictly temporal as well as spatial sense. Importantly, this interplay of remembrance, imaginings, and expectations created an animated literary traffic of particular texts being widely read and commented upon for generations. It was the traffic between limited textual communities of authors explicitly working one after another and larger missionary societies they belonged to, which through their stories further influenced the authors in question. In the long run, it was exactly this circulation of ideas and memories between the authors and their close and remote (in time and space) publics as well as their emotional attachment that fueled the missionary self-consciousness thus vastly contributing to creating the missionary imagined communities on the Baltic Rim.119

118 See more in: Jezierski, ‘Fears, Sights, and Slaughter’; more generally: Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought, pp. 300-302. 119 Warner, Publics and Counterpublics, pp. 90, 105-106; see also: Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 32-36; Douglas, Wildavsky, Risk and Culture, pp. 192-194; Wood, The Missionary Life, pp. 18-20, 247-250.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


Bibliography Primary sources Adam von Bremen, Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae Pontificum, in Ausgewählte Quellen des 9. und 11. Jahrhunderts zur Geschichte der Hamburgischen Kirche und des Reiches, ed. by Rudolf Buchner, trans. by Werner Trillmich, FSGA, 11 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978), pp. 135-503. Adam of Bremen, History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen, trans. by Francis J. Tschan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). Annales Fuldenses, ed. by Friedrich Kurze, MGH SRG 7 (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1891). Heinrich von Lettland, Livländische Chronik, ed. by Leonid Arbusow, Albert Bauer, MGH SRG (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1955). Heinrich von Lettland, Chronicon Livoniae/Livländische Chronik, ed. and trans. by Albert Bauer, FSGA 24 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1959). Henricus Lettus, The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, trans. by James A. Brundage (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). Helmold von Bosau, Chronica Slavorum/Slawenchronik, ed. & trans. by Heinz Stoob, FSGA 19 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1990). Rimbert, Vita Anskarii/Ansgars Leben, in Ausgewählte Quellen des 9. und 11. Jahrhunderts zur Geschichte der Hamburgischen Kirche und des Reiches, ed. by Rudolf Buchner, trans. by Werner Trillmich, FSGA 11 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968), pp. 16-133. Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Danorum/Danmarkshistorien, ed. by Karsten Friis-Jensen, trans. by Peter Zeeberg (Copenhagen: Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, 2000).

Secondary literature David Abulaf ia, Nora Berend (eds.), Medieval Frontiers: Concepts and Practices (Farnham: Ashgate, 2002). Gerd Althoff, ‘Causa scribendi und Darstellungsabsicht: Die Lebensbeschreibung der Königen Mathilde und andere Beispiele’, in Litterae Medii Aevi: Festschrift Johanne Autenrieth, ed. by Michael Borgolte, Herrad Spilling (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1988), pp. 117-133. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London/New York: Verso, 1991). Leonid Arbusow, ‘Das entlehnte Sprachgut in Heinrichs ‘Chronicon Livoniae’. Ein Beitrag zur Sprache mittelalterlicher Chronistik’, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 8 (1951), 100-153. Mikhail M. Bakhtin, ‘Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel. Notes Towards a Historical Poetics’, in The Dialogic Imagination. Four Essays, trans. by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), pp. 84-258. Jacek Banaszkiewicz, ‘Fabularyzacja przestrzeni. Średniowieczny przykład granic’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, 4 (1979), 987-999. Jacek Banaszkiewicz, ‘Zabić Boga! Saxo Gramatyk o niszczeniu przez Duńczyków w 1168 roku rugijskich świątyń Arkony i Gardźca. Povest’ vremennych let i historia zagłady Peruna za panowania Włodzimierza Wielkiego’, in Takie sobie średniowieczne bajeczki (Cracow: Avalon, 2012), pp. 321-360.


Wojtek Jezierski

Robert Bartlett, Angus MacKay (eds.), Medieval Frontier Societies (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989). Andreas Bähr, Furcht und Furchtlosigkeit. Göttliche Gewalt und Selbstkonstruktion im 17. Jahrhundert (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013). Ulrich Beck, Risk Society. Towards a New Modernity, trans. by Mark Ritter (Los Angeles: Sage, 1992). Joanna Bourke, ‘Fear and Anxiety. Writing about Emotion in Modern History’, History Workshop Journal, 55 (2003), 111-133. James A. Brundage, ‘Introduction: Henry of Livonia, the Writer and his Chronicle’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 1-20. James A. Brundage, ‘Introduction to the 2003 edition’, in Henricus Lettus, The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, trans. by James A. Brundage (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), pp. xi-xxxiv. James Brundage, ‘Voluntary Martyrs and Canon Law: The Case of the First Crusaders’, Cristianesimo nella storia, 27 (2006), 143-160. Martin Büchsel, ‘Die Grenzen der Historischen Emotionsforschung. Im Wirrwarr der Zeichen – oder: Was wissen wir von der kulturellen Konditionierung von Emotionen?’, Frühmittelalterliche Studien, 45 (2012), 143-168. Enno Bünz, Zwischen Kanonikerreform und Reformation. Anfänge, Blütezeit und Untergang der Augustiner-Chorherrenstifte Neumünster-Bordesholm und Segeberg (12. bis 16. Jahrhundert), Schriftreihe der Akademie der Augustiner-Chorherren von Wildesheim Band 7 (Paring: Augustiner-Chorherren-Verlag, 2002). Megan Cassidy-Welch, ‘Space and Place in Medieval Contexts’, Parergon, 27 (2010), 1-12. Peter Dinzelbacher, Angst im Mittelalter: Teufels-, Todes- und Gotteserfahrung: Mentalitätsgeschichte und Ikonographie (Paderborn: Schöningh, 1996). Mary Douglas, Aaron Wildavsky, Risk and Culture. An Essay on the Selection of Technological and Enviromental Dangers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983). Hubert L. Dreyfus, Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault. Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983). Paul E. Dutton, The Politics of Dreaming in the Carolingian Empire (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994). Stanley Fish, ‘Working on the Chain Gang: Interpretation in Law and Literature’, in Doing What Comes Naturally. Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (Durham-London: Duke University Press, 1989), pp. 87-102. David Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden. Vorstellungen und Fremdheitskategorien bei Rimbert, Thietmar von Merseburg, Adam von Bremen und Helmold von Bosau (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2005). Vito Fumagalli, Landscapes of Fear. Perceptions of Nature and the City in the Middle Ages, trans. by Shayne Mitchell (Oxford: Polity Press, 1994). Mary Garrison, ‘The Study of Emotions in Early Medieval History: Some Starting Points’, Early Medieval Europe, 10 (2001), 243-250. Tim Geelhaar, Christianitas. Eine Wortgeschichte von der Spätantike bis zum Mittelalter (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015). Dirk Geeraerts, Caroline Gevaert, Dirk Speelman, ‘How anger Rose. Hypothesis Testing in Diachronic Semantics’, in Current Methods in Historical Semantics, ed. by Kathryn Allan, Justyna A. Robinson (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), pp. 109-131. Anthony Giddens, ‘Risk and Responsibility’, The Modern Law Review, 62:1 (1999), 1-10.

Risk Societies on the Frontier


Aleksander Gieysztor, Mitologia Słowian (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Artystyczne i Filmowe, 1982). Gert Haendler, Kirchliche Verbindungen über die Ostsee hinweg in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Ein Überblick, zehn Studien und eine Predigt (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1999). Carl Fredrik Hallencreutz, Eva Odelman, ‘Rimbert som ärkebiskop och författare’, in Boken om Ansgar. Rimbert: Ansgars liv, ed. by Carl Fredrik Hallencreutz, Tore Hållander (Stockholm: Proprius, 1986), pp. 115-132. Alf Härdelin, ‘Ansgar som munk’, in Boken om Ansgar. Rimbert: Ansgars liv, ed. by Carl Fredrik Hallencreutz, Tore Hållander (Stockholm: Proprius, 1986), pp. 147-161. C. Stephen Jaeger, The Origins of Courtliness: Civilizing Trends and the Formation of Courtly Ideals 939-1210 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985). Emilia Jamroziak, Survival and Success on Medieval Borders. Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to the Late Fourteenth Century (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011). Henrik Janson, Templum nobilissimum. Adam av Bremen, Uppsalatemplet och konfliktlinjerna i Europa kring år 1075 (Gothenburg: Avhandlingar från Historiska institutionen i Göteborg: 21, 1998). Carsten Selch Jensen, ‘How to Convert a Landscape: Henry of Livonia and the Chronicon Livoniae’, in The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 151-168. Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris. Helmold of Bosau’s Rituals of Hostipitality’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe, c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 139-173. Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Fears, Sights, and Slaughter. Expressions of Fright and Disgust in the Baltic Missionary Historiography (11th-13th centuries)’, in Tears, Sighs and Laughter. Proceedings of the symposium on the expression of emotions in the Middle Ages, ed. by Gunnel Engwall, Per Förnegård, Erika Kihlman, Mia Åkestam (Stockholm: Vitterhetsakadmien Conference Series: Stockholm, 2016), forthcoming. Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Speculum monasterii. Ekkehard IV and the Making of St Gall’s Identity in the Casus sancti Galli-tradition (9th-13th centuries)’, in Ekkehart IV. von St. Gallen, ed. by Norbert Kössinger, Elke Krotz, Stephan Müller (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 267-302. Paul Johansen, ‘Die Chronik als Biographie: Heinrich von Lettlands Lebensgang und Weltanschauung’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 1 (1953), 1-24. Stefan Jonsson, Crowds and Democracy. The Idea and Image of the Masses from Revolution to Fascism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). Linda Kaljundi, ‘Medieval Conceptualizations of the Baltic Sea Region. Performing the Frontier in Helmold of Bosau’s “Chronicle of the Slavs”’, in The “Baltic Frontier” Revisited: Power Structures and Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Baltic Sea Region, ed. by Imbi Sooman, Stefan Donecker (Vienna: University of Vienna, 2009), pp. 25-40. Linda Kaljundi, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians. Reconstruction of Otherness in the Saxon Missionary and Crusading Chronicles, 11th-13th Centuries’, The Medieval Chronicle, 5 (2008), 113-127. Linda Kaljundi, ‘Young Church in God’s New Vineyard. The Motifs of Growth and Fertility in Henry’s Chronicle of Livonia’, Ennen ja nyt: Historian tietosanomat, 4 (2004), http://www. (accessed 2014-09-26). Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen, ‘The Making of New Cultural Landscapes in the Medieval Baltic’, in Medieval Christianity in the North: New Studies, ed. by Kirsi Salonen, Kurt Villads Jensen, and Torstein Jørgensen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013) pp. 121-153. Aurel Kolnai, On Disgust, trans. by Barry Smith, Carolyn Korsmeyer (Chicago: Open Court, 2004).


Wojtek Jezierski

John H. Lind, Carsten Selch Jensen, Kurt Villads Jensen, Ane L.Bysted, Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). Christina Lutter, ‘Locus horroris et vastae solitudinis? Zisterzienser und Zisterzienserinnen in und um Wien’, Historisches Jahrbuch, 132 (2012), 141-176. Karl Mannheim, Ideology & Utopia. An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, trans. by Louis Wirth, Edward Shils (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985). Elizabeth McLuhan, ‘Evangelico mucrone: With an Evangelical Sword: Fear as Weapon in the Early Evangelization of Gaul’, in Fear and its Representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, ed. by Anne Scott, Cynthia Kosso (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002), pp. 107-124. Richard J. McNally, ‘Fear, Anxiety, and Their Disorders’, in Fear: Across the Disciplines, ed. by Jan Plamper, Benjamin Lazier (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), pp. 15-34. Gottfried Mehnert, ‘Ansgar als Visionär: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der christlichen Visionen des Frühmittelalters’, Schriften des Vereins für Schleswig-Holsteinische Kirchengeschichte, 21 (1965), 44-67. Sophia Menache, ‘Love of God or Hatred of Your Enemy? The Emotional Voices of the Crusades’, Mirabilia, 10 (2010), 1-10. Jan Mieszkowski, ‘Fear of a Safe Place’, in Fear: Across the Disciplines, ed. by Jan Plamper, Benjamin Lazier (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), pp. 99-117. William Ian Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997). Barbara A. Misztal, Theories of Social Remembering (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2003). Karol Modzelewski, Barbarzyńska Europa (Warsaw: Iskry, 2004). Karol Modzelewski, ‘Laicyzacja przez chrzest’, in Sacrum: Obraz i funkcja w społeczeństwie średniowiecznym, ed. by Aneta Pieniądz-Skrzypczak, Jerzy Pysiak (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2005), pp. 99-114. Alan V. Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier 1150-1500 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2001). Alan V. Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Border (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). Martha C. Nussbaum, Upheavals of Thought. The Intelligence of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). Arne Öhman, ‘The Biology of Fear. Evolutionary, Neural and, Psychological Perspectives’, in Fear: Across the Disciplines, ed. by Jan Plamper, Benjamin Lazier (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), pp. 35-50. Eva Odelman, ‘Ansgar’s Life – a Piece of Carolingian Hagiography’, in Hortus Troporum: Florilegium in honorem Gunillae Iversen, ed. by Alexander Andrée, Erika Kihlman, Studia Latina Stockholmiensia, 54 (Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2008), pp. 290-296. Lutz E. von Padberg, Mission und Christianisierung. Formen und Folgen bei Angelsachsen und Franken im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1995). James T. Palmer, ‘Rimbert’s Vita Anskarii and Scandinavian Mission in the Ninth Century’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 55 (2004), 235-256. Steffen Patzold, ‘Einhards erste Leser. Zu Kontext und Darstellungsabsicht der “Vita Karoli”’, Viator: Multilingual, 42 (2011), 33-55. Steffen Patzold, ‘Human Security, fragile Staatlichkeit und Governance im Frühmittelalter. Zur Fragwürdigkeit der Scheidung von Vormoderne und Moderne’, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 38 (2012), 406-422. Steffen Patzold, Ich und Karl der Grosse. Das Leben des Höflings Einhard (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2013).

Risk Societies on the Frontier


Jan Plamper, ‘Fear: Soldiers and Emotion in Early Twentieth-Century Russian Military Psychology’, Slavic Review, 68:2 (2009), 259-283. Jan Plamper, Geschichte und Gefühl. Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte (Munich: Siedler, 2012). Andreas Reckwitz, ‘Affective Spaces: a praxeological outlook’, Rethinking History: Journal of Theory and Practice, 16:2 (2012), 241-258. Barbara H. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006). Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Emotional Space’, in Codierungen von Emotionen im Mittelalter/ Emotions and Sensibilities in the Middle Ages, ed. by C. Stephen Jaeger, Ingrid Kasten (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003), pp. 287-303. Barbara H. Rosenwein, Generations of Feeling. A History of Emotions, 600-1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions’, Passions in Context. Journal for the History and Theory of Emotions, 1 (2010), index.php?id=557, 1-32 (accessed 2015-03-03). Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions in History’, The American Historical Review, 107:3 (2002), 821-845. Stanisław Rosik, Interpretacja chrześcijańska religii pogańskich Słowian w świetle kronik niemieckich XI-XII wieku (Thietmar, Adam z Bremy, Helmold) (Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 2000). Limor Samimian-Darash, Paul Rabinow, ‘Introduction’, in Modes of Uncertainty: Anthropological Cases (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015), pp. 1-9. Volker Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde. Identität und Fremdheit in den Chroniken Adams von Bremen, Helmolds von Bosau und Arnolds von Lübeck (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2002). Rüdiger Schnell, ‘Erzähler – Protagonist – Rezipient im Mittelalter, oder: Was ist der Gegenstand der literaturwissenschaftlichen Emotionsforschung?’, Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur, 33 (2009), 1-51. Anne Scott, Cynthia Kosso (eds.), Fear and its Representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002). Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy. Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983). Paweł Szczepanik, Sławomir Wadyl, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Early Medieval North-West Slavonic and West Baltic Sacred Landscapes: An Introduction to the Problems’, Networks & Neighbours, 2:1 (2014), 1-19. Marek Tamm, ‘Martyrs and Miracles: Depicting Death in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm and others (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 135-156. Sarah Tarlow, ‘The Archeology of Emotion and Affect’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 41 (2012), 169-185. Werner Trillmich, ‘Einleitung [Vita Anskarii]’, in Ausgewählte Quellen zur deutschen Geschichte des Mittelalters, ed. by Rudolf Buchner, trans. by Werner Trillmich, FSGA 11 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968), pp. 3-14. Christopher Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia and the Ideology of Crusading’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm and others (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 23-44. Jaan Undusk, ‘Sacred History, Profane History. Uses of the Bible in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier. A Companion


Wojtek Jezierski

to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm and others (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 45-75. Sulev Vahtre, ‘Kroniki bałtyckie (inflanckie) XIII-XVIII wieku jako źródła historyczne’, Zapiski Historyczne, 34 (1969), 73-89. Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics (New York: Zone Books, 2005). Ian Wood, The Missionary Life. Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe 400-1050 (Harlow: Longman, 2001). Ian Wood, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, in Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World. The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 300-1100, ed. by Walter Pohl, Clemens Gantner, Richard Payne (Ashgate: Farnham, 2012), pp. 531-542.

Expanding Communities Henry of Livonia on the Making of a Christian Colony, Early Thirteenth Century Linda Kaljundi*

In 1839, the Baltic-German artist Friedrich Ludwig von Maydell published the opening volume of his Fünfzig Bilder aus der Geschichte der deutschen Ostsee-Provinzen Russlands. One of the illustrations of this first Baltic history in images depicted A Biblical Play in Riga.1 This fine theatrical performance recalls the nineteenth-century historical dramas. Yet, the engraving is based on a passage from the Chronicon of Henry of Livonia (c. 1225-1227), which covers the crusades, mission, and colonization in today’s Latvia and Estonia between the 1180s and 1227. The chronicle describes the scene in the following way: That same winter a very elaborate play of the prophets was performed in the middle of Riga in order that the pagans might learn the rudiments of the Christian faith by an ocular demonstration. The subject of this play was most diligently explained to both converts and pagans through an interpreter. When, however, the army of Gideon fought the Philistines, the pagans began to take flight, fearing lest they be killed, but they were quietly called back. This play was like a prelude and prophecy of the future for in the same play there were wars, namely those of David, Gideon, and Herod, and there was the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments. Certainly, through the many wars that followed, the pagans were to be * Linda Kaljundi is Associate Professor at the Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, and Researcher at the Finnish Literature Society. She defended her PhD thesis The Baltic Crusades and the Culture of Memory: Studies on Historical Representation, Rituals, and Recollection of the Past at the University of Helsinki in 2016. She is also the director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, Tallinn University. She has co-edited volumes on medieval and early modern history, and cultural memory studies. Her current research interests include the colonial discourses of identity and the other in medieval and early modern Eastern Baltic historiography, as well as their afterlives in modern memory politics. This work was supported by institutional research funding IUT (18-8) of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Finnish Academy project no. 288119. 1 Biblisches Shauspiel in Riga, 1204. – von Maydell, Fünfzig Bilder, Bild 9. Detailed comments of the image and the historical milieu it represents are provided in Friedrich Ludwig von Maydelli, pp. 99, 121-122. Maydell dates the event to 1204, while the correct year would be 1205-1206.

192 Linda K al jundi

converted and, through the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, they were to be told how they might attain to the true Peacemaker and eternal life.2

While earlier interpretations have indeed treated the event as a theatrical play, in recent years scholars have sought to revise this understanding. Nils Holger Petersen claims that the ludus magnus ‘may have been anything from a large-scale enactment of biblical wars and fighting, combined with an exhortation to remind pagans of the urgency of their conversion, to a more traditional Latin sung play text of a more or less liturgically informed kind […]. Whatever the case, it seems that, for his description, Henry chose to justify the violent conversion of the pagans in the Baltic by using Old Testament models’.3 Although some contemporary plays show analogies with Henry’s description and allow for fitting it into the broad context of religious enactments around 1200, any discussion about the precise details of the ludus magnus is strictly speculative. 4 This should not lead us to disregarding the performance’s relevance in the border area, however. On the contrary, at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, similar reenactments of biblical events were practiced on other missionary frontiers, organized to lay the foundations for the continuity of worship amongst the neophytes.5 Henry’s passage reflects well the role of rituals in conquest and conversion, but also the overall importance of the ritualization of political and social life in the Middle Ages. Recently, this has been emphasized by a number of studies focusing on the social role of medieval rituals. Encouraged by the spread of historical anthropology into diverse fields of historical 2 HCL IX.14, p. 32; Brundage, p. 53: ‘Eadem hyeme factus est ludus prophetarum ordinatissimus in media Riga, ut fidei Christiane rudimenta gentilitas fide disceret oculata. Cuius ludi materia tam neophitis quam paganis, qui aderant, per interpretem diligentissime exponebatur. Ubi autem armati Gedeonis cum Phylisteis pugnabant, pagani timentes occidi fugere ceperunt, sed caute sunt revocati. Sic ergo ad modicum tempus siluit ecclesia in pace quiescendo. Iste autem ludus quasi preludium et presagium erat futurorum. Nam in eodem ludo erant bella, utpote David, Gedeonis, Herodis; erat et doctrina Veteris et Novi Testamenti, quia nimirum per bella plurima que sequuntur convertenda erat gentilitas, et per doctrinam Veteris et Novi Testamenti erat instruenda, qualiter ad verum pacificum et ad vitam perveniat eternam’. 3 Petersen, ‘The Notion of a Missionary Theatre’, p. 242. 4 Petersen, ‘The Notion of a Missionary Theatre’, p. 243. 5 As argued in Bolton, ‘Message, Celebration, Offering’, p. 103. The use of such performances was especially characteristic of the reign of pope Innocent III, who also produced several regulations for such liturgical performances in the frontier areas. Ibid., pp. 93-97. Schneider, ‘Straßentheater im Missionseinsatz’ also analyses Henry’s description in a missionary context. A bibliography of relevant studies is provided in Ibid., pp. 107-111.

Expanding Communities


scholarship, these studies take seriously the social role of performances instead of treating them as mere show and masquerade.6 Departing from this research tradition, this chapter will address the role of performances during the missionary crusades in medieval Livonia. Concentrating on the above-mentioned Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, the following discussion is especially interested in how the chronicler represents the public rituals and displays of emotion to have contributed to the subjugation and integration of native groups, as well as the construction of the new Christian community at the frontier. Similarly to rituals, the medieval perceptions and constructions of community have been an object of lively scholarly interest, as attested by this book.7 The issue of community has likewise been raised in the studies of the medieval enlargement of Christian Europe.8 Much of this research argued for the fundamental importance of the expansion for the formation of Latin Christian identity. As this process brought the Europeans into contact with a number of new peoples, it enabled to define Christendom by way of negation and opposition. Also within Europe, the medieval formation of the Christian community was inseparable from the segregation of the outcasts. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215), contemporary to the Livonian crusades, was a major landmark in establishing ‘a machinery of persecution for Western Christendom’.9 Thus a number of authors have poignantly drawn attention to the importance of the construction of the other for defining the Christian community, the others including the non-Christians at the frontiers of Europe, the Jews, heretics, and other marginalized groups within Europe.10 This chapter suggests another perspective for examining the formation of the high medieval Christian identity, arguing that this process was shaped not only by the exclusion, but also by the inclusion of other groups into the body of Christendom. The missionary crusades fought around the Baltic Sea offer particularly instructive examples of this, as they brought along the need to integrate the native neophytes into the Christian community. The 6 As put by Clifford Geertz in his ‘Blurred Genres’, pp. 171-172. 7 For an overview of the new approaches to medieval communitas, see Visions of Community. See also the introduction to the current volume. 8 Bartlett, The Making of Europe. 9 Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society, pp. 6-11. What the council changed most signif icantly was that it laid down a range of sanctions, which was to prove adaptable to a much wider variety of outcasts (for instance, the Jews, lepers, homosexuals) than the heretics for whom it was designed. 10 Berend, ‘Défense de la Chrétienté’.

194 Linda K al jundi

Livonian expeditions, similarly to the Wendish campaigns in the second half of the twelfth century and Prussian crusades in the early thirteenth century, bore witness to the close relationship between conquest, conversion, and crusading. This differentiates the area sharply from the traditional theatres of the crusades that did not witness any large-scale efforts for the conversion of the non-Christians.11 It is worth stressing that admitting the importance of including the other for the making of Christian community does not, however, mean overlooking the potentially highly aggressive and oppressive nature of this integration based on warfare and brute force. Focusing on the adoption of Christian rituals to the borderlands and the involvement of the recently subjugated peoples in these performances can provide fresh angles for exploring the social role of rituals in the Middle Ages, which have been mostly studied in connection to the centres of medieval Europe.12 At the same time, analyzing them through historiography – such as the chronicle by Henry of Livonia – also raises a number of questions that have lately been widely debated in connection to medieval rituals. Even though recent decades have revitalized the study of the social dimensions of medieval performances, as well as liturgies,13 the approach has also been heavily contested.14 The critics have mainly stressed the fact that we have no unmediated access to medieval rituals, and pointed to the partisan aims of the authors of those narrative and visual representations.15 The depictions of the community-building function of medieval rituals are a particularly poignant example of this, as medieval authors were often inclined towards showing as great a unity and concord as possible. This chapter tackles the above-stated questions through the Andersonian terms of imagining a community, a concept central to this book as a whole.16 11 Although there also circulated ideas of the conversion of the Muslims into Christianity, as shown by Kedar, Crusade and Mission. Next to these, the crusades also brought along the often highly violent conversion of the Jews within Europe, see Riley-Smith, ‘The First Crusade and the Persecution of the Jews’. 12 A trend most influentially exemplified by Gerd Althoff’s studies on the Ottonian Reich (for instance, Spielregeln der Politik). 13 Palazzo, La liturgie, esp. pp. 194-212. 14 Buc, The Dangers of Ritual. For two biased, but stimulating overviews of the debate, see Koziol, ‘Review Article’ and Buc, ‘The Monster and the Critics’. 15 The criticism was particularly strongly voiced during the debate provoked by Philippe Buc’s book The Dangers of Ritual (2001). For example: Buc, The Dangers of Ritual; Warner, ‘Ritual and Memory’. The issue has been topical in connection to historical anthropology, as following the ideas of functionalist anthropology, historians have tended to overstress system, order, and consensus at the expense of change and conflict. Davis, ‘The Possibilities of the Past’, pp. 274-275. 16 Anderson, Imagined communities.

Expanding Communities


Even though Benedict Anderson’s study is concerned with the specifics of modern nationalism, he poignantly argues that ‘all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined’.17 Anderson continues by adding that ‘communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style they are imagined’.18 His main focus was the media and genres characteristic to the era of modern nationalism and print capitalism,19 while this study examines history-writing from the medieval frontier. The potential of medieval and modern historiography for imagining a community have no doubt been crucially different due to the major dissimilarities in the spread of these texts and the scale of their readership. Nevertheless, Anderson’s call to study the various styles of imagining a community is relevant for a medieval narrative too. Although the circulation of medieval texts was incomparable with the modern or even early modern period, a number of studies have pointed to the role of medieval historiography in forging communal identities. While the layers of literary culture were particularly thin in the recently converted borderlands, Patrick J. Geary has argued well that medieval history-writing showed its full functionality namely in these areas.20 This chapter focuses also on the potential of rituals in constructing new identities at the frontiers. As shall be analyzed in closer detail below, Henry’s chronicle aimed to show that the core ideas of the Livonian crusades and the community were constantly repeated in different media – texts, liturgies, and rituals. Even if the details or even the very taking place of the performances described by Henry shall always remain in doubt, his narrative constantly highlights the importance of performances in the construction of crusades and Christian community in Livonia.21 Moreover, although scholars today often juxtapose text and ritual, in Henry’s representation they appear as two complementary media that are both involved in establishing Christian authority in Livonia. Recently, the idea 17 Anderson, Imagined communities, p. 6. 18 Anderson, Imagined communities, p. 6. 19 As one of Anderson’s key arguments states, it was namely print capitalism ‘which made it possible for rapidly growing numbers of people to think about themselves and to relate themselves to others, in profoundly new ways’. Anderson, Imagined communities, p. 36. 20 Geary, ‘Reflections on Historiography’. 21 In connection to the representations of rituals in the Ottonian sources, David A. Warner has pointed towards a similar perspective. Admitting that ‘the degree to which an account of a ritual corresponds with the actual event must always remain in doubt’, Warner argues that ‘the very fact that ritual exerted such a powerful influence on the historical imagination offers still other, potentially fruitful avenues of inquiry’. Warner, ‘Ritual and Memory’, p. 260.

196 Linda K al jundi

of remediation has been especially prominent in cultural memory studies. Here scholars have been developing the argument that in order to establish effective collective memories and identities, it is crucial to repeat the same ideas in different media, which could stretch from history-writing to various ceremonies.22 This angle offers fruitful perspectives for the study of medieval historiography.23 Despite the fact that the history of the Christianisation of the Nordic and Baltic realms is largely known through the lens of historiography, in the following I will also make an attempt to treat historiography as one among several media used by medieval elites for organizing collective memories and identities.

Contextualizations: Crusading and the Making of a Christian Community in Livonia The Livonian crusades and the making of a Christian community in these borderlands should be viewed at the background of a much broader Christianization process. Although mostly religious terms are used for designating this major medieval expansion, this process had a significant social dimension, as it first and foremost meant the integration of the frontiers into Latin European structures and the re-organization of the society according to Western Christian models. The Nordic and Baltic fringes of Europe were no exception to this.24 As a good reminder that the Christianization was not uniform, the Eastern parts of the Baltic Sea region also showed significant variances in comparison to their neighbours. The conversion of Scandinavia was accompanied by the rise of a mostly indigenous Christian monarchy.25 In contrast, the Slavic and Eastern Baltic lands were colonized by the Latin Christians, who settled into these Eastern European territories mostly from Germany, but also from other Northern and Central European lands. However, while in the late twelfth century the Wendish territories 22 See Rigney, ‘Plenitude, Scarcity’, drawing on Jan and Aleida Assmann’s concept of the kulturelle Gedächtnis. 23 This argument has recently been pointed out in connection to the study of the Nordic frontier, see Mortensen, ‘Introduction’, pp. 12-13. For the growing emphasis on the various media of medieval memoria, see Medieval Concepts of the Past. 24 As well analysed analyzed in the framework of a considerable new and international research interest in the Christianization of the Baltic Sea region, see: Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion, and Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures. 25 This development is often compared with similar processes in Central Europe and Russia, see Berend (ed.), Christianisation and the Rise.

Expanding Communities


witnessed a large-scale immigration of European settler peasants, this did not happen in Livonia. Instead, a new mostly German-speaking ruling class gradually began to dominate this territory. At the Wendish borderlands, war and mission virtually ended in the 1160s-1170s. The Livonian crusades started almost immediately thereafter, initiated by the secular and clerical lords of Saxony and Denmark who had also been behind the subjugation of the Wendish territories. In the 1170s, there are the first signs of the Danish missionary and crusade aspirations in Livonia. In the 1180s, the Germans established their first missionary outposts in Livonia at the local trading route, the Düna (Lat. Daugava) river.26 The establishment of strongholds soon led to conflict with the native Livs, as well as the neighbouring Lithuanians and Russians. From 1198 on, we can speak of a more or less regular flow of crusaders from Germany and Denmark to Livonia. In 1201 the town of Riga was founded at the mouth of the Düna, which became the new centre for the Christian colony of the Germans. As the Livish and Lettgallian peoples were converted and subjugated to the new lords in the early 1200s, the crusades were directed towards the Estonian territories in around 1208. In the early 1220s, the successful Danish crusaders established their own stronghold and spiritual centre in Reval (Est. Tallinn) in Northern Estonia, an initiative that lead to a conflict between the Danish and the German mission. This chapter covers the Livonian crusades only until the year 1227, which is the ending date of Henry’s chronicle. At this point the German crusaders gained domination over all of Livonia and Estonia and temporarily outmanoeuvred the Danish king. The conflicts over hegemony in Livonia and Estonia lasted well into the late thirteenth century, however. Focusing on Henry’s work, which constitutes the only preserved contemporary chronicle about the early thirteenth-century Livonian crusades, this chapter inevitably deals with the German visions about the making of a Christian community around the Church of Riga. The majority of the leading knights, clerics, and others who stood behind the German crusade enterprise in Livonia had a remarkably similar background, as they originated from the Northern-German ministeriales. Emblematic of this was the social belonging of the bishop of Riga and one of the chief leaders of the crusades, Albert of Buxhoeveden (r. 1199-1229), who belonged to the ministeriales of Bremen, as did his two predecessors. It is likely that Henry

26 In the 1180s, the first fortified Christian centres were established in Üxküll (Lat. Ikšķile) and Holme (Lat. Mārtiņsala), around 40km upstream from the Düna river.

198 Linda K al jundi

also originated from the same circles.27 Such a background must have made him deeply familiar with the missionary and colonial history of the SaxonSlavic frontier, shaping also his vision of the Christian community (see also Wojtek Jezierski’s chapter). Interestingly enough, Henry does not make any mention of the earlier Christianization history. This might be explained by the aspirations of the Church of Riga to become an independent archdiocese and free from its subordination to the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. Loyalty to his institution appears to have been one of the most important factors shaping Henry’s work. His apologetic attitude derives not only from Riga’s aspirations for ecclesiastical independence, but also from the overall situation in Livonia where many diverse groups fought for hegemony. Next to the native peoples, pagan Lithuanians and Orthodox Russians, there also emerged rivalries between the different Latin Christian groups (Germans, Danes, Swedes), as well as factions within the German side.28 Even though most scholars admit the value of Henry’s chronicle as a good example of high medieval history-writing at the crusading frontier, they also tend to stress that the text is deeply biased.29 For the aims of the present study, nevertheless, Henry’s partial – and also strongly clerical – perspective is not necessarily a fault. Due to his keen concern for the privileges of his church and close involvement in expanding Christendom, his history of the Livonian crusades provides a good close-up perspective on various rituals. This, in turn, enables us to study the making and imagining of a community from a number of aspects, even if the very existence of concrete rituals described by Henry shall always remain in doubt. One should also assume that his vision of a community was inclined towards showing as great a unity as possible. Very likely his representation of rituals did not remain unaffected by this goal. The image of coherence was also supported by the numerous typological analogies with biblical history,

27 Johansen, ‘Die Chronik’; Brundage, ‘Introduction’, pp. 1-5. Moreover, it seems quite possible that Henry had gained his education from the Augustinian monastery in Segeberg, the leading centre for educating the missionaries for the Christianization of the Wendish frontier. Also, Meinhard, the first bishop of Livonia (r. 1186-1196), was an Augustinian from Segeberg. 28 The German side of the Livonian crusades was gradually torn into internal struggles, as the Order of the Sword Brethren (founded in 1202) started to demand a share of the conquered lands. Next to this, the other major institution of the early years of crusading in Livonia was the Cistercian order that founded its own Dünamunde (Lat. Daugavgriva) monastery at the mouth of the Düna River (1205-1208). 29 For a range of new perspectives on Henry’s chronicle, see Crusading and Chronicle Writing. For the discussions on the involvement of the chronicler in the crusade endeavour and his partiality, see Johansen, ‘Die Chronik’; Brundage, ‘Introduction’; Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia’.

Expanding Communities


backed by almost omnipresent biblical and liturgical citations.30 Mid-range clerics like Henry were those who actually organized and orchestrated the rituals for the frontier crusades and frontier communities. Since these rituals were greatly based on the same biblical and liturgical language and commemorated often the same biblical events, this would also suggest that the public performances of community-making relied on the very same vocabulary as Henry’s chronicle. Before moving to Henry’s accounts on rituals and expansion, one should briefly sketch his overall approach to the role of Christian community in the context of crusade and mission. Throughout his chronicle, Henry develops imagery of a little group of Christians at the frontier, encircled and threatened by the pagans and apostates.31 Even though it seems plausible that Christian faith was not as unfamiliar in Livonia as Henry claimed, at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries especially the number of foreign Christians (crusaders, clerics, merchants, members of the spiritual and military orders) who were loyal to the Church of Riga was no doubt small. Strategically speaking, this lack of loyal manpower must have been a serious problem, but in terms of crusade rhetoric and ideology, it was surely an asset. The small number of Christians and their vulnerability are also central elements in the image and authority of Riga as the ‘new church’ (‘novella ecclesia’).32 The chronicle frequently points to the frequent tribulations of its few members who, surrounded by pagans, are yet relieved by the help of God, who ‘with so few men and in the midst of pagans, always maintained His church’.33 In the Christian tradition, the appraisal of the small and threatened community of believers was age-old and Henry, too, typologically compared the Livonian Christians both with the Old Testament Israelites and the early Christians. This image of a small Christian frontier community was well established in the regional hagiography and history-writing, as shown in the current volume by Jezierski’s chapter on the representations of missionary communities around the Baltic Sea. 30 Arbusow, ‘Das entlehnte’; Arbusow, Liturgie und Geschichtsschreibung. For a re-reading of citation and typology in Henry’s chronicle, see: Undusk, ‘Sacred history’. 31 The small number of the Germans is emphasised in HCL IX.3, pp. 27-28; X.12, pp. 41-43; XXI.7, p. 147; XXII.3, pp. 149-150; XXV.4, pp. 183-184; XXVIII.1, p. 199; and that of the crusaders in general in HCL VI.1, p. 16; XXV.1, p. 177. 32 The notion ‘novella ecclesia’ occurs in HCL X.8, p. 37; XVI.2, p. 104; XIX.7, p. 132; XXII.1, p. 147; XXIV.4, p. 174. 33 HCL X.13, p. 43; Brundage p. 64: ‘eo quod in medio gencium in tanta paucitate virorum suam semper conservat ecclesiam’. The Livonian Church also is called ‘still-small’ (HCL XII.5, p. 61; Brundage, p. 82: ‘adhuc parva’); and the Estonian Church ‘weak and an infant’ (HCL XXVIII.4, pp. 201-202; Brundage, p. 222: ‘parvula adhuc infirma’).

200 Linda K al jundi

It was of great importance for the crusades as well, since the protection of Christian community was one of the key elements of legitimating the crusades, which was frequently used in papal calls for crusades, sermons, and historiography. Once established, the Rigan Church provided its own justification, as Christopher Tyerman has remarked: as a Christian outpost, always in need of liberation, it suited well with the key ideas of crusade ideology.34 It can be misleading to think that the crusades only appropriated an image of a Christian community. They also offered various discursive and performative tools for the making of this community. The Livonian crusades coincided with the high point of the crusade movement and benefited from the development of crusade institutions and communication as well as ideology and vocabulary.35 The text of Henry’s chronicle demonstrates how the crusades provided a rich repertoire of tropes and ideas under which to unite the identity of the new community. Equally important, the campaigns to Livonia ran parallel with the development of the crusade rituals towards greater coherence.36 This is noticeable in the way Henry highlighted various crusade processions, liturgies, and other symbolic practices.37 Next to the ritualization of warfare,38 Henry was also keen to stress the involvement of the whole Christian community in many of these occasions. The involvement of the entire Christian community in crusade rituals relates to another tendency common to the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. At around that time, the performance of intercessory liturgies, processions, and prayers in support of the crusades spread widely throughout Western Christendom.39 This process echoed what has been labelled by Christoph T. Maier as Pope Innocent III’s (r. 1198-1261) ‘vision of 34 Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia’, p. 37. 35 Tyerman, God’s War, p. 245. The more distinctive vocabulary also included a corpus of scriptural references and paraphrases, the influence of which is also visible in Henry’s chronicle, as shown in Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia’. For the ideology of the Livonian crusades, as well as to its connections with the contemporary crusade discourse, see also Tamm, ‘How to justify’. The communication between Riga and Rome is tackled in: Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes. 36 The emergence of a more specific crusade liturgy particularly after the defeat of Hattin (1187) is a good example of this. See Linder, Raising Arms. 37 For a reading of Henry’s representation of crusade rituals as a re-enactment of the sacred past, see Kaljundi, ‘Re-performing the Past’, pp. 305-312. 38 The close intertwining of ritual practices and warfare characterized already the First Crusade, which struck contemporaries ‘as being like a military monastery on the move, constantly at prayer’. Riley-Smith, The First Crusade, p. 84, see also pp. 83-86. 39 Most important of the new practices was the inclusion of the Holy Land Clamour in mass and in office. Linder, Raising Arms, p. 97. Cf. Maier, ‘Crisis, liturgy’, pp. 631-634; Maier, ‘Mass, the Eucharist’, p. 352.

Expanding Communities


a Christian society organized for the negotium Crucis’. 40 On the one hand, the aspiration to involve the whole society in the crusades was closely bound to pastoral concerns, as liturgies enabled people to take part in spiritual aspects of crusading. On the other hand, the involvement of the communities in the intercessory liturgies organized at the home front did not lack strategic considerations, which found further support in ideas about the providential nature of religious warfare. 41 To cite Maier once again, in the view of Pope Innocent ‘only a society which was properly organized for participation in the crusade and in which everybody contributed to the business of the cross could sway God’s favour and ensure the success of the movement’. 42 We may hence assume that in Livonia, too, the unification of the whole Christian community for the crusade effort was important not only for practical but also for spiritual reasons. At a borderland where the number of Christians seemed always very small, the belief that only a concerted effort of all the faithful ensured a successful crusade must have resulted in considerable concern for the devotional involvement of the whole community. What, however, made Livonia different from many crusading frontiers, equally ill-populated with Christians (such as the Holy Land) was the involvement of the neophytes in the Christian community and the spiritual effort for the crusades.

The Integration of the Neophytes: Crusading and Communitybuilding As a missionary narrative, Henry’s chronicle eagerly emphasized the growth of Christendom in Livonia. A good indication of this is the chronicler’s abundant use of agricultural and fertility metaphors for the enlargement of Christianity, as he speaks of cultivating the vineyard, or envisions the 40 Maier, ‘Mass, the Eucharist’, p. 352, cf. pp. 354-355. 41 Concerning the religious warfare in Iberia, for example, Joseph F. O’Callaghan has even argued that religious rituals were ‘equally important as considerations of strategy’. O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade, p. 177. For his analysis of the uses of liturgy during the reconquista, see Ibid., pp. 177-208. 42 Maier, ‘Mass, the Eucharist’, p. 355. This also led to a multiplication of the ways in which people could take part in crusades (for example, partial indulgences for those who helped to finance the campaigns) and thereby had a strong effect on crusade propaganda, which became aimed as much at people who supported the crusade on the home front as the participants of the crusades. Maier, ‘Mass, the Eucharist’, pp. 354-555, 360.

202 Linda K al jundi

Church of Riga as a fertile mother. 43 These powerful images, emblematic of the reign of Innocent III, first and foremost relate to the ecclesiastical institution. Next to this, Henry also appears to have been highly interested in representing the people who made up the body of the church, carefully describing the integration of the neophytes into the Christian community. Stressing the role of various rituals in this process, Henry particularly points to public displays of emotions. This illuminates the social role of medieval emotions, which has recently been emphasized by a number of scholars. 44 This view differs remarkably from the earlier paradigm – best illustrated by Johan Huizinga – that stressed the irrationality of medieval emotions and saw them as a destabilizing element in politics. 45 As argued by Gerd Althoff among others, ritual demonstrations were a leading element in medieval governance that was based on personal relations rather than institutions. 46 The extravagance of medieval emotions thus does not derive from any primitive lack of restraint, but from their active role in the social and political life of the period. 47 This approach enables us to see medieval emotional displays as goal-oriented and to discuss how they, for instance, contributed to the making of social bonds. Barbara H. Rosenwein’s influential concept of emotional communities has also highlighted the functionality of emotions in building medieval collectives. 48 Yet, the role of emotions has also been studied mostly from the perspective of the core areas of Europe, similarly to the treatment of the ritualization of medieval social life. The missionary crusades, however, offer a different kind of material for exploring these issues, of which Henry’s chronicle is a good example. At these frontiers, emotional displays were closely related to the submission and integration of the other. Henry’s chronicle also points 43 Kaljundi, ‘Young church’. 44 For one of the pioneering studies on the topic, see: Althoff, Spielregeln der Politik, pp. 258-281. 45 Thus Huizinga’s widely influential The Waning of the Middle Ages (first published in 1919) treated the period as an age of emotional chaos, also starting with a chapter on ‘The Violent Tenor of Life’. Another classic of cultural and social history promoting similar views about the primitiveness of emotions and the lack of emotional control in the Middle Ages was Norbert Elias. 46 Althoff, Spielregeln der Politik, pp. 258-262. 47 In connection to the crusades, this has challenged the traditional view, according to which the strong emotional element has been interpreted as an expression of the irrationality of crusading. Menache, ‘Love of God or Hatred’. The role of emotions in crusades and crusade discourse has however been studied but very little, as also pointed out by Menache: ‘the crusades and the Latin states of the Outremer offer a precious source of research on a rich spectrum of emotions, which in many aspects still remains a terra incognita’ (Ibid., p. 2, cf. p. 19). 48 Rosenwein, Emotional Communities.

Expanding Communities


to another characteristic feature concerning the dynamic representation of the native population. This dynamic was based on the belief in the fundamental transformative power of baptism. Baptism was not only the most important of the Christian sacraments, demarcating initiation into Christian faith, but it also was the precondition for integrating the other into the Christian community. 49 During the time Henry was writing his work, this mainly concerned the Lettgallians and Livs.50 Our chronicler organizes the representation of this major transformation – which includes conversion, submission, and integration – around an equally major emotional change. At first, Henry’s depiction of the transfer from paganism into the acceptance of Christianity focuses on the rejection of fundamental vices. This finely reflects the binary logic behind the medieval understanding of virtues and emotions.51 Perfidy, one of the key vices of the natives, was prominently presented in the very beginning of the chronicle, which told of the early mission in Livonia during the 1180s1190s. These chapters were also to provide a legitimization of the Livonian crusades. Henry thus carefully represented two Livish groups making and then breaking the promise to accept baptism.52 The story about the early German mission to Livonia also introduced another vice, stubbornness.53 Given that most of the chronicle deals with the crusades against the Estonians, stubbornness as well as pride was mainly 49 Palazzo, La liturgie, pp. 41-47. 50 Due to the course of the Livonian crusades, Henry’s chronicle describes mainly the integration of the Livs and Lettgallians, who were subjugated to Christian rule during the first decade of the thirteenth century, whereas the Estonians were finally conquered and converted only in the 1220s; the chronicle, ending with the year 1227, does not reach much beyond describing their submission. 51 Similarly to the way main Christian virtues and vices constituted a binary system, as noted by Barbara Rosenwein (in her Emotional Communities), all central emotions of medieval Latin Christendom also functioned in very close association with their opposites. 52 According to Henry, both the Livs dwelling near Üxküll and Holme promise to accept the faith in return for a castle (HCL I.5, 6, p. 3 and I.7, p. 3), yet refuse to do so when the forts are ready (HCL I.6, p. 3 and I.9, p. 4). The Üxküll Livs make the promise even twice: at first, they ‘confirmed by an oath that they would receive baptism’ (HCL I.5, p. 3; Brundage, p. 26: ‘ut baptismum reci­ piant, iuramento firmatur’) and shortly afterwards ‘confirmed the sincerity of their intentions a second time’ (HCL I.6, p. 3; Brundage, p. 26: ‘sinceritas a Lyvonibus confirmatur secundo’). Thereafter the Holme Livs are said to have ‘cheated Meinhard by making a similar promise’ (HCL I.7, p. 3; Brundage, p. 27: ‘simili promissione prefatum Meynardum circumvenientes’). The story does not appear strange, considering that the forts must have had a considerable military importance. For the current analysis, however, the story is interesting due to the perfidy motif. 53 Thus Henry explains the failure of Meinhard’s mission by saying that the ‘had observed the stubbornness of the Livonians and had, accordingly, seen his labours falling to the ground’ (HCL I.11, p. 5; Brundage, p. 28: ‘visa autem Lyvonum pertinacia et labore cassato’).

204 Linda K al jundi

used for explaining their resistance to the Christian rule.54 The choice does not appear as random. Perfidy, stubbornness, and pride were the fundamental vices of medieval Christendom. Equipped with both religious and feudal connotations, they illustrate very well how closely intertwined was the feudal and religious terminology in medieval Europe, especially from the eleventh century onwards. In the framework of missionary crusades, the combination is particularly significant, because the natives’ fidelity towards the new rule was closely connected with their fidelity towards the new faith. This no doubt enabled a view of resistance and revolt as an attack on Christianity. Perfidy provided also a good justification for a missionary war. The charge of apostasy, contrary to that of paganism, allowed for the use of force in bringing the relapsed Christians back to the true faith.55 All the above-mentioned concepts are supported by typological comparisons to the biblical past, which Henry used extensively for conceptualizing Livonian history. The connections with the sacred are backed by almost omnipresent biblical and liturgical citations in the work of Henry.56 While in this framework perfidy was connected to Judas, pride and stubbornness related to the foes of the Old Testament’s Israelites. These associations form an important element in Henry’s image of native pagans and apostates, who are very often compared to the Philistines, a Canaanite tribe depicted by the Deuteronomic tradition as the most powerful enemy of the Israelites.57 The first and pivotal Christian emotion that Henry attributes to the pagans is no less filled with biblical connotations, as this is the fear of God (‘timor Dei’). This idea features frequently in the Old Testament descriptions of the wars between the Israelites and their foes. In Henry’s text, the most iconic example of this occurred in connection to the biblical play in Riga discussed in the beginning of this chapter. Even though the way Livs were frightened of the staged fighting underlines their ignorance, it seems plausible to suggest that their fear was not simply depicted as naïve. What they saw re-enacted there was the same biblical past that, according to Henry, was 54 Thus, for example, the chronicler has the Lithuanians say that ‘the Estonians still held up their heads [cf. Job 15: 26] and would obey neither the Germans nor the other nations’ (HCL XVI.8, p. 112; Brundage, p. 132: ‘Estones adhuc collo incedere erecto et nec Theuthonicis nec aliis gentibus obedire’). 55 Tamm, ‘How to justify’. 56 Arbusow, ‘Das entlehnte’; Arbusow, Liturgie und Geschichtsschreibung. For a recent reinterpretation of Henry’s uses of citation and typology as a kind of ‘metaphysical machinery’, see Undusk, ‘Sacred history’, here p. 47. A catalogue of the biblical and liturgical citations in Henry’s chronicle is provided by Bilkins, Die Spuren von Vulgata. 57 Kaljundi, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’. For Henry’s uses of the analogy with the Old Testament wars, see: Undusk, ‘Sacred history’.

Expanding Communities


re-enacted during the Livonian crusades.58 In this sacred history, it was fear that helped the Israelites to subdue Philistines. In the same way, according to Henry, the fear of God also aided the crusaders in subjugating the native pagans of Livonia. In Henry’s chronicle, the fear of God also is the first sign of a major emotional change in the hearts and minds of the pagans, which led them into confusion and inspired them to surrender. Concerning the following integration of the native neophytes into the Christian community, Henry gives preference to another Christian emotion – grief. Differently from fear, which is publicly manifested only in connection to the above-discussed play in Riga, grieving was closely connected to emotional display. In the missionary context, the high value Henry places on grief was no doubt related to the conversion of the neophytes and the multiple positive meanings of grief in the Christian tradition.59 At the same time, an equally important reason for highlighting grief seems to relate to the legitimization of the crusades. Tellingly, the Livish and Lettgallian neophytes gained the ability to grieve in the wake of the crusades to Estonia in 1208, where they joined the troops of the German crusaders. The first time we read about the mourning neophytes is on the occasion of the Livs and Lettgallians expressing their grief over their kinsmen killed by the Estonians. After an Estonian raid (1208), the Lettgallians of Beverin were ‘sad because of the deaths of their men, whom the Esthonians had slaughtered and cremated’.60 The sentence immediately continues with a call for vengeance, as the Lettgallians ‘sent word to all the Letts round about to be ready to march [cf. 1 Maccabees 3, 28:44], in order that, when God gave the opportunity, they might take vengeance on their enemies’.61 From here onwards, the suffering of the neophytes at the hands of the pagans developed into one of the key elements in Henry’s justification of the crusades against the Estonians.62 58 A typological analysis of Henry’s account of the biblical performance is given in Undusk, ‘Sacred History’, pp. 64-65. 59 See Nagy, Le don des larmes. 60 HCL XII.6, p. 64; Brundage, p. 86: ‘tristes de morte suorum, quos Estones trucidaverant et igne cremaverant’. 61 HCL XII.6, p. 64; Brundage, p. 86: ‘miserunt ad omnes Leththos in circuitu, ut essent ad iter parati, ut si quando donante Deo se de suis possent vindicare inimicis’. 62 The argument opened up fruitful avenues for legitimating the campaigns, as Henry also refers to the misfortunes that the Livs and Lettgallians had suffered from the Estonians in the past. Before launching the very first crusade campaign to Estonia (1208), the Lettgallians and the Sword Brethren sent messengers to Estonia ‘to demand satisfaction for all the injuries which they had suffered from them’ (HCL XII.6, p. 61; Brundage, p. 83: ‘requirere que iusta sunt de omnibus

206 Linda K al jundi

Since the First Crusade, the idea of vengeance upon nations – featured in the citation above – had been a prominent element of crusade discourse, being widely rooted in crusade calls, sermons, liturgies, and chronicles.63 In the crusade context, the injuries of Christian lands and peoples often served as a cause for the campaigns against the infidels.64 Nevertheless, there are two features that make Henry’s legitimization of the crusades noteworthy. First, instead of emphasizing the misfortunes of the German settler Christians, his argumentation was very strongly oriented towards the sufferings of the neophytes.65 Though they sound appealing, such claims were by no means widespread. Second, next to the physical suffering, or death of the neophytes,66 Henry highlighted just as strongly their emotional response to the injuries. In the chronicle, this emotional reaction was always mentioned in connection to public manifestations. During an Estonian campaign to Toreida (1211), the Livish messengers who sought help from Riga ‘tearfully made known all the misfortunes which the Livonians and Letts had suffered from the pagans. They begged the bishops to send their men and liberate their church’.67 Referring to a public display, the whole representation did not only suggest the importance of staging emotions, but also abounded with crusade vocabulary: the neophytes called for the liberation of the church iniuriis sibi illatis ab eis’). The idea of avenging the injuries dominates the representation of the following campaigns to the Estonian territories of Ugaunia (HCL XII.6, pp. 62-63) and Saccala (HCL XII.6, pp. 64-65). 63 Throop, Crusading as an Act of Vengeance; cf. Riley-Smith, The Crusades, pp. 14-16. In connection to the crusades, Throop (‘Zeal, Anger and Vengeance’) has also highlighted the emotional potential of the calls for vengeance. At the same time, she warns against the traditional view according to which the idea of crusade as vengeance springs from an overemotional reaction and irrational passions, claiming that this interpretation relies not on the medieval but modern concept of vengeance. Ibid., pp. 145-146. 64 Riley-Smith, What Were the Crusades, pp. 22-24. Recently, Menache (‘Love of God or Hatred’) has pointed to the perspectives of studying such descriptions for analyzing the catalyzing role of emotions in crusade propaganda. 65 Indeed, Henry also points to the requests of the settler Christians who ask a reward for the injuries and the innumerable goods the Estonians had unjustly taken from them (HCL XII.6, p. 62). Yet, the suffering of the neophytes is much more pronounced in the chronicle as a whole. 66 From the very beginning of its narrative, Henry pays attention to the killed neophytes, sometimes also calling them martyrs. See Tamm, ‘Martyrs and Miracles’, pp. 140, 149-154. Paul Johansen (‘Die Chronik’) also links it to the chronicler’s role as the cleric of the Lettgallian neophytes. This is another typical feature of the crusade discourse that in Henry’s chronicle is connected to the neophytes, while in the mainstream of the crusade writings the physical injuries of the Christians and crusaders are connected to the Latin, or also Byzantine, Christians. 67 HCL XV.3, p. 90; Brundage, pp. 110-111: ‘omnes miserias, quas a paganis passi sunt Lyvones et Letti, lacrimabiliter insinuant, episcopis supplicant, ut missis viris suis ecclesiam suam liberent’.

Expanding Communities


and thereafter the bishops spoke about the remission of sins and revenge.68 On the same occasion, the bishops also named the Livs ‘the brethren’ of the settler Christians. Ideas about fraternal love and the defence of one’s brethren were of just as great importance in crusade legitimization and propaganda, where they were mostly developed either in connection to the Byzantine Christians, or fellow crusaders.69 In Henry’s chronicle, these ideas were, again, closely connected to conversion and the inclusion of the neophytes into the brotherhood of the Christians.70 Such use of family vocabulary and ideas of horizontal comradeship raise questions about the inclusion of the neophytes into the new, broader Christian community. Even though lamenting over the fallen neophytes played a prominent role in justifying the crusade campaigns, as shown above, Henry represents such demonstrations of grief to have also functioned as manifestations of new social bonds. This reflects the sociable and outreaching character of grieving, yet also shows that crusading provided various ritual occasions for publicly staging the unification of the new Christian community. The best examples of the ritual manifestations of new social bonds related to public commemorations of the deceased. Concerning the potential of mourning to unite all Christians of Livonia, the chronicler especially highlighted the importance of the mutual mourning of the dead, in which the neophytes mourned for the settler Christians and vice versa. It has been often remarked in connection to the centrality of the remembrance of the dead in medieval society that group ties mostly implied the duty of memoria.71 Concerning Henry’s vision of the Livonian neophytes, it appears that he treated commemoration of the Christians not only as an obligation of the neophytes, but also as manifestation of the neophytes’ loyalty to the settler Christians. In Livonia of the time, loyalty must have 68 ‘The bishops immediately called on their knights and commanded the pilgrims and all the people, for the remission of their sins, to relieve their Livonian brethren ( fratribus suis Lyvonibus) and to take revenge, if God gave it, upon the Esthonian tribes [cf. Psalms 149:7].’ HCL XV.3, p. 90; Brundage, p. 111: ‘Confestim episcopi milites suos hortantes peregrinis et omni populo in remissionem peccatorum iniungunt, ut fratribus suis Lyvonibus subveniant et vindictam faciant Deo donante in Estonum nationibus’. 69 Riley-Smith, ‘Crusading’. 70 While it is not possible to analyse Henry’s use of family metaphors here in detail, one should mention the existence of both the hierarchical (paternal and maternal), as well as horizontal metaphors (brotherhood), all of which are linked to the expansion of Christendom, often conceptualized with the help of bodily or family vocabulary. Cf. Kaljundi, ‘Young church’. 71 For instance: Althoff, Friends and Followers, p. 20. The social relevance of memoria in the Middle Ages has been thoroughly analyzed in many studies by Otto Gerhard Oexle, for instance: ‘Memoria in der Gesellschaft’.

208 Linda K al jundi

been of paramount importance, as succeeding in making reliable alliances must have been a crucial issue especially during the early phase of conquest and conversion. Although Henry’s chronicle valued neophytes’ grief as a sign of alliance, his text revealed also anxieties and doubts related to the sincerity of the natives’ grief and, consequently, of their loyalty. This becomes especially evident at Henry’s first mentions of the grief of the natives. The first time, we meet the neophytes grieving over the misfortunes and death of the settler Christians in the first chapters about the early mission in the 1180s-1190s, which were to demonstrate the perfidy of the baptized Livs and justify the following crusades. While capitalizing on their treachery, Henry also argues that the Livs’ grief over their Christian brethren was not true but false. Moreover, the insincerity of the first emotional displays of the neophytes becomes one of the key elements in Henry’s construction of the Livish perfidy. A good example of such duplicity occurs in the dialogue between the Livs and the missionary bishop Meinhard, who decided to leave Livonia due to their perfidy and apostasy (1195-1196): The tricky Livs thus feared and suspected that a Christian army would come upon them. They therefore sought deceitfully with guile and tears and in many other ways to call back the bishop. They said to him as was formerly said to St. Martin, although the intention was not the same: ‘Why do you desert us, father? And to whom are you leaving us desolate creatures? Does a shepherd by going away dangerously expose his sheep to the jaws of wolves?’72 And these very Livonians again promised that they would fully receive the faith. The innocent bishop believed every word [cf. Proverbs 14:15], and upon the advice of the merchants and upon the promise of an army, went back with the Livonians.73

At first glance, the passage exemplifies Henry’s predilection for typological framing. The reference to St. Martin (316-397), a legendary fighter against 72 According to Leonid Arbusow, the sentences in direct speech are a possible citation from the Office of St. Martin (11 November) in the Roman Breviary. See HCL, p. 6, note 1. 73 HCL I.11, pp. 5-6; Brundage, pp. 28-29: ‘Unde Lyvonum astucia christianorum timet et suspicatur super se venturum exercitum, unde dolis et lacrimis et aliis multis modis prefatum ficte revocare student episcopum, dicentes, ut illi quondam beato Martino, licet intentione non similia: ‘Cur nos, pater, deseris aut cui nos desolatos relinquis? Nam recedendo pastor oves suas periculose faucibus luporum exponit’. Et ipsi Lyvones plene se fidem suscepturos repromittunt. Credit innocens omni verbo et mercatorum consilio simulque futuri exercitus fiducia accepta cum Lyvonibus revertitur’.

Expanding Communities


paganism and heresy, not only fit well in the Livonian context but also provided Henry’s words with authority.74 Leaving aside the obvious fact that the Livs likely did not use a citation from St. Martin’s office, it seems noteworthy that the meaning of the original story was disturbingly inverted. The performance of the Livs was false; they have pretended to identify themselves with the good disciples of this sacred story. Immediately after the ‘innocent’ Meinhard decided to stay, the Livs revealed their treachery, as they ‘greeted the bishop on his return like Judas, and said ‘Ave Rabbi!’75 The mention of Judas, the archetypical example of all perfidy in the Christian tradition, also recalled the religious condemnation of such insincerity.76 Such representations of public dissimulation and treachery seemed also to have been important for legitimizing the crusades, as the story given above served as an introduction for the first crusade call to Livonia in 1198.77 Next to this, however, the representation of the Livs’ display of false emotion also seemed to reveal a certain anxiety. Tellingly, Henry’s narrative about Meinhard ended with a scene in which the Livs, once again, wailed false tears. We learn namely that after Meinhard’s death (1196-1197) the Livs buried their shepherd with ‘the false wailing [cf. Genesis 50:1] and tears’.78 In contrast to these stories, throughout the chronicle the ability to grieve for the fallen settler Christians or share their grief remained to be one of the most significant ways in which the good neophytes could demonstrate their loyalty to the new faith and rule. Henry provides a good exemplum in connection to a miracle story concerning the burial of a certain monk in 1203. We learn that ‘a crowd of weeping converts bore and followed his little body to the church, as is customary among the faithful’.79 The ensuing story about the miraculous lengthening of a plank for a coffin the Livs had 74 References to St. Martin were widespread in the crusade discourse, as they had been in the literature covering the conversion of the Nordic lands. Tveito, Ad fines orbis, p. 296. 75 Cf. Matthew 26:49. HCL I.11, p. 6; Brundage, p. 29: ‘redeuntem episcopum Holmenses salutatione et animo Iude salutant, dicentes: ‘Ave rabbi’’. 76 The example of Judas is recalled also later when Henry represents the Estonians to have hailed a Rigan priest coming to Fellin (Est. Viljandi) in 1212 ‘with greetings from the mouth and not from the heart, as Judas hailed the Lord [cf. Matthew 26:49, Acts 13:26]’ (HCL XV.9, p. 99; Brundage, p. 119: ‘salutatusque est salutatione oris et non cordis, qualiter Iudas Dominum salutavit’). Also in this case the natives have promised to accept baptism, but relapse and eventually kill the priest. See HCL XV.9, p. 99. 77 HCL I.12, pp. 6-7. 78 HCL II.1, p. 8; Brundage, p. 31: ‘qualicunque Lyvonum planctu et lacrimis sepulto’. For Meinhard’s death, see HCL 1.14, p. 7. 79 HCL VII.6, p. 23; Brundage, p. 44: ‘Cuius corpusculum more fidelium ad ecclesiam deferens cum lacrimis neophitorum turba prosequitur.’ This particular monk, Siegfried, had resided in Holme where the story also takes place.

210 Linda K al jundi

made for the monk further verified the authenticity of their grief and their identity as good neophytes.80 Still, concerning a fuller inclusion of the neophytes among the Christians and the building up of a new, enlarged Christian community in Livonia, the chronicle highlighted not only the importance of mutual grief and mourning. In Henry’s scheme of things, it was the settler Christians’ reaction which ultimately demarcated the inclusion of the neophytes. Thereby the chronicle also reminded its readers of the hierarchies inherent in this new community, where the settlers came to hold a dominant and privileged position. For the first time the reader sees the settlers’ sorrow over the neophytes after the first major defeat of the joint army of the crusaders composed of Livs and Lettgallians in the Ymera battle, which they lost to the Estonians in 1210.81 Initially and quite typically to his way of connecting the key elements of crusade legitimization to the neophytes, Henry gave a detailed description of the torture and martyrdom of the newly converted warriors.82 Then the focus moved from the physical injuries to the manifestation of emotions, particularly those of the settler Christians: ‘Caupo [a Livish chieftain], the Livonians, and the Letts returned from the fight, bewailed their dead, and were joined by the whole church in grieving over the newly baptized who had been butchered by the pagans’.83 It was the reaction of the ‘whole church’, manifesting the inclusion of the neophytes, which was significant here. While the representation of the battle concerned two groups being more or less joined into one, Henry’s text also suggests the role of the elite in the 80 In this story, Henry has also used the paternal and family metaphors, comparing the Livs to good sons: ‘As sons for a beloved father, they made a coffin for him’ (HCL VII.6, p. 23; Brundage, p. 44: ‘Cui tamquam filii dilecto patri sarcofagum … facientes’). Not insignificantly, the ending of the story stresses for the second time that the Livs ‘buried their shepherd according to the custom of the faithful’ (HCL VII.6, p. 23; Brundage, p. 44: ‘pastore suo fidelium more sepulto’). The miracle story, including the widely spread motif of miraculously lengthened plank, is analyzed in Tamm, ‘Martyrs and Miracles’, pp. 145-146. 81 HCL XIV.8, pp. 79-80. 82 Saying that the Estonians ‘tortured them in a cruel martyrdom … they roasted some alive, and, after stripping the others of their clothes and making crosses on their backs with their swords, they cut their throats, and thus, we hope, sent them into the heavenly company of the martyrs’. (HCL XIV.8, p. 80; Brundage, p. 102: ‘crudeli martirio cruciaverunt … quorum alios vivos assaverunt, alios nudantes vestimentis suis et gladiis suis in dorsis eorum crucibus factis iugulaverunt et in martyrum consorcium ut speramus in celum transmiserunt.’) For the possible numerous liturgical references of this representation of martyrdom, see HCL, p. 80, footnotes 3-4; cf. Arbusow, Liturgie und Geschichtsschreibung, p. 71. 83 HCL XIV.8, p. 80; Brundage p. 102: ‘Caupo itaque et Lyvones et Letti reversi de prelio plaxerunt interfectos suos, tristes eo quod nuper baptizati a paganis sint trucidati’.

Expanding Communities


work of mourning as a way of creating social bonds between the natives and the settler Christians. The best example of this concerns the death of the aforementioned Caupo in an otherwise victorious battle against the Estonians in 1217.84 Even though Henry does not call Caupo a martyr, the description of his death is very detailed, containing a number of possible liturgical citations as well as many explicit comparisons to the crucifixion.85 Caupo was a key ally of the Church of Riga and hence the chronicle not only represented the mourning of the Christians over his death, but also named several authority figures acting likewise: ‘Count Albert, the abbot, and all who were with them, mourned over him’.86 As the joint crusade campaigns of the settler Christians and neophytes against the Estonians become a regular phenomenon, the representations of shared grief and mourning start to feature regularly in Henry’s chronicle too. Proof that they did not lose their significance is Henry’s description of the reactions to the losses caused by the Estonian assaults in 1223. 87 Henry argues: ‘In Riga the word became known about all the evils [cf. 1 Maccabees 7:30] which had been brought upon the Livonians and Letts and everyone wept and mourned over their colleagues who had been killed’.88 On this occasion, too, the manifestation of tears and mourning appeared significant for the legitimization of the following campaigns.89 In addition, its representation refers to the strengthening of the social bonds, as well as highlights the unity of the Christian communitas. By this time, stressing the unanimity of the new community under the leadership of the Church of Riga had also developed into a useful argument in conflicts over hegemony. The rivalry had become especially pronounced in the 1220s, due to the collision of the Rigan-German and Danish interests in the Northern Estonian territories.

84 The battle of St. Matthew’s Day on 21 September 1217. 85 Arbusow, Liturgie und Geschichtsschreibung, pp. 56-57; Tamm, ‘Martyrs and miracles’, pp. 137-138, 142. 86 HCL XXI.4, p. 144; Brundage, p. 163: ‘luctum habuerunt super eum tam comes Albertus quam abbas et omnes, qui errant cum eis’. 87 See HCL XXVII.1, p. 193. 88 HCL XXVII.1, p. 193; Brundage p. 213: ‘Et innotuit sermo in Riga de omnibus malis, Lyvonibus et Lettis illatis, et fleverunt et doluerunt omnes de confratribus suis occisis’. 89 First, for taking revenge on retreating Estonians (HCL XXVII.1, pp. 193-195), and thereafter for organizing a campaign to Saccala (HCL XXVII.2, pp. 195-196).

212 Linda K al jundi

The Joy that Binds Us: Public Rejoicing and Rituals of Unification Despite the significance Henry gives to grieving, in his vision of the Livonian crusades and the coming community, the neophytes were also to join the settler Christians in rejoicing. Similarly to grief, joy was one of the fundamental Christian emotions. As with all major Christian emotions, joy and rejoicing had multiple meanings. In Henry’s chronicle, they also have variable connotations. Being one of the key elements of public communication, rejoicing has been often studied in connection to the rituals of coronation and adventus.90 In a missionary context, it should first and foremost be linked to joy over the salvation. Also in Henry’s chronicle, rejoicing is one of the key elements demarcating the transformation of the native peoples from pagans into Christians, as the notion of joy is mentioned in most representations of baptism. While in connection to baptism and submission Henry does not describe any significant public displays of emotions, the chronicle does not lack representations of the public rejoicing of the neophytes. Similarly to their grieving, the neophytes’ manifestations of joy have been most strongly connected to crusading: as the newly converted peoples joined the crusade campaigns, Henry also highlights their participation in public thanksgiving and rejoicing over divine favour and help in war. The first time, such representation occurs again in connection to the first joint, victorious campaign of the crusaders and neophytes against the Estonians (1208), already mentioned above. We learn that ‘the Letts … returned to Beverin rejoicing’.91 In immediate connection to this, Henry refers to a liturgical ritual of thanksgiving that involved both the settler Christians as well as the Lettgallian neophytes. ‘Since it was Gaudete Sunday [14 December], all, without exception,92 joyfully (‘cum gaudio’) blessed God, because, through new converts, the Lord had taken such vengeance, even on other nations [cf. Psalms 149: 7]’.93 Typical of Henry’s thinking of the crusades, this sentence includes both a traditional element (vengeance upon 90 For example, Warner, ‘Ritual and memory’; cf. Althoff, Spielregeln der Politik, pp. 276-277. 91 HCL XII.6, p. 65; Brundage, p. 87: ‘Lethi … leti in Beverin redierunt’. In the Latin original the chronicler has thus played with the homophonic pun Lethi and leti. Next to victory, this joy also relates to the division of spoils among the Lettgallians, the crusaders, and the Sword Brethren. Ibid. 92 In Latin: ‘all unanimously’ (‘omnes unanimiter’). 93 HCL XII.6, p. 65; Brundage, p. 87: ‘Et cum esset in dominica Gaudete, omnes unanimiter cum gaudio Deum benedicebant, eo quod [per] noviter conversos Dominus tantam fecerit vindictam eciam ceteris in nationibus’.

Expanding Communities


nations), as well as notice of the special contribution of the neophytes. The feast itself was most suitable for celebrations of joy, as Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday of advent, an occasion on which the lines Gaudete domino semper were read from the Bible. This passage highlights the instructive role of liturgy for manifesting emotions, and exemplifies how crusade rituals benefitted from the existing religious calendar and liturgies. Similarly to Henry’s representations of grieving, this passage brought together key ideas characteristic to his crusade ideology, as well as revealed his belief in the importance of the public, ritual, and liturgical manifestation of those ideas. At the same time, the chronicle represented such emotional displays as a way of achieving unanimity within this new, larger crusade army. A fine example of this occurred in connection to a return from a campaign to Western Estonia (1218), where the Rigan army had fought both the Estonians and the Russians. The expedition took place during Lent,94 which must have amplified the religious connotation of rejoicing: The Germans returned singing on the road, all safe and unharmed,95 save for one of Henry Borewin’s knights, who fell, wounded by an arrow [cf. I Maccabees 1:19], and another, a Lett, a certain Veko, who fought alone with nine Russians for a long time with his back to a tree. He was finally wounded from behind, fell, and died [cf. I Maccabees 1:19]. All the other Livonians [Livs] and Letts returned without any wound. Many of them came again to the Germans, from the forests to which they had fled, as the Germans returned by the road. They rejoiced with them (congaudantes) that so few out of such a multitude of Russians had escaped. They all praised the clemency of the Saviour, Who brought them back and freed them from the hands of the enemy [cf. I Ezra 8:31], or rather, Who had allowed so few of them to kill about fifty Russians and carry off their weapons and loot [cf. 2 Chronicles 14:13].96 94 28 February till 14 April 1218. 95 In Latin: ‘omnes sani et incolumes’. The phrase is a possible liturgical citation from the oration Itinerarium Clericorum. See: Brundage, p. 169. 96 HCL XXII.3, p. 150; Brundage, p. 169: ‘Theuthonici vero omnes sani et incolumes per viam cantantes redierunt, preter unum militem Heinrici Borewin, qui sagitta vulneratus cecidit; et alter Lettus quidam Veko, qui cum novem Ruthenis solus, ad arborem versus, diutissime pugnavit et tandem post tergum vulneratus cecidit ipse et mortuus est. Alii vero omnes, Lyvones et Letti, sine lesione aliqua redierunt, quorum multi de silvis, ad quas fugerant, iterum ad Theuthonicos per viam redeuntes venerunt, congaudentes eis, eo quod tam pauci de tanta multitudine Ruthenorum evaserunt. Et laudaverunt omnes Salvatoris clemenciam, qui reduxit eos et liberavit de minibus inimicorum, immo qui in tanta paucitate suorum fere quinquaginta de Ruthenis interfecerunt et arma et spolia et equos eorum tulerunt’.

214 Linda K al jundi

This account unmistakably illuminates the chronicler’s belief in the potential of ritual thanksgiving to bind different groups. It also shows the power of ritual to vocalize the core ideologies of crusading, such as divine intervention and the idea of God working through the hands of a small group. At the same time, the passage reveals how the textual representation of such ritual occasions offered good opportunities for stressing aspects of great rhetorical value for the justification of the crusades and colonization, including the unanimity of the Christian community in Livonia or the rightfulness of their cause. The representation of the scene is structured cumulatively: it starts off by describing the Germans singing together, then adds that their Livish and Lettgallian allies joined the rejoicing, and finally states that ‘they all’ praised the Saviour. The scene highlights the inclusion of all different groups into ritual thanksgiving, but it nonetheless differentiated the German crusaders from the neophytes, who arguably fled to the forests. In general, in a military context Henry tended to assess the military input of the natives as lower than that of the European crusaders. Despite the emphasis on the unanimity of the crusade army, until the end of his chronicle, he also lists different groups of the army separately. This illustrates the fact that integration of the neophytes among the crusaders was complicated and that there were different considerations behind judging their input. The strong tendency to esteem the neophyte’s contribution to the crusading cause is exemplified by the ending of the chronicle. In connection to the visit of the papal legate William of Modena to Livonia in 1225-1226, the chronicler has put a strong emphasis on the praise of the neophytes. Henry likely operated as a translator for the legate, whom many scholars suggest was the main addressee of his chronicle.97 Henry’s representation of the whole visit stands out in the chronicle as a kind of a tribute to Christian joy. First and foremost, the legate rejoices over and with the neophytes, not the crusaders and settler Christians. Henry depicts the newly converted peoples as the main object of the legate’s interest, praise, and preaching – they stand in the centre of the representation of the whole visit. During his stay in Livonia, William travelled quite extensively. According to Henry, the reason for this was the legate’s desire to meet the newly converted.98 In fact, 97 For Henry’s account of William’s visit see HCL XXIX.2-8, pp. 208-214; XXX.1, pp. 215-216. See also: Brundage, ‘The Thirteenth-Century’. In 1224, William had been appointed by pope Honorius III as a legate to the Baltic region (including also Prussia and Holstein) upon the request of Albert, bishop of Riga. For the documentation concerning William and his views on the mission among the pagans, see: Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes, pp. 170-176. 98 Henry claims that ‘The legate being anxious about the new converts, frequently called together the Livonians and others who were in the city [Riga], both men and women. He

Expanding Communities


William was sent to Livonia to settle the quarrels between the Danish king and the Church of Riga.99 However, the emphasis on pastoral care can be traced back both to the broader papal policies during the reign of Honorius III (r. 1216-1227) and to William’s own interest in mission.100 In addition, Henry’s emphasis on the joyful neophytes contributed to the promotion of the interests of the Church of Riga. Henry’s representation of William’s travels in Livonia provides good examples of the multiple meanings of rejoicing on a missionary frontier. This is best illustrated in connection to a sermon William gave to the Lettgallians: The legate joyfully preached the Word of God to them [the Lettgallians from Tolowa (Lat. Tālava)] and explained all the sacraments of the faith. He went from there to Wenden [Lat. Cēsis], where he was received with the greatest devotion by the Brothers of the Militia and the other Germans who lived there. He found there a very great multitude of Wends and Letts. In the morning, when all the Letts had joyfully (cum leticia) gathered, he preached to them the joyous (letam) doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ. Frequently he made mention of the passion of that same Lord Jesus and, happy (letos) as they were, gladdened them greatly (plurimum letificavit). He commanded their faith and constancy because they had first received the Christian faith voluntarily and without being disturbed by any wars, and later had never violated the oaths of baptism, in the manner of the Livonians and Letts. He praised highly their humility and patience [cf. Acts 9:15], for they had gladly (lete) borne the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Esthonians and other peoples, and had sent many of their people, slain for the Christian faith, into the company of the martyrs as we believe. He did not deny the Wends the faithful admonition of his diligently ministered the Word of God [cf. 2 Kings 4: 13] and joyfully gave many indulgences. After this, desiring to see the Livonians [Livs] and the others, the Lithuanians [in the original: ‘Lettgallians’] and Esthonians, he journeyed […]’(HCL XXIX.3, p. 209; Brundage, p. 230: ‘Ipse vero circa noviter conversos sollicitus Lyvones et alios, qui errant in civitate, viros et mulieres sepe convocando verbum Dei sedulo ministravit et indulgentias multas cum gaudio donavit. Post hoc Lyvones et alios et Estones videre desiderans abiit […]’). Thus also here the neophyte groups are differentiated, as the legate desires to see the Lettgallians, Wends, and Livs – and not so much the Estonians who were subjugated later. 99 The legate’s activities as a mediator of this conflict, as well as Henry’s representation of William’s role, are discussed in: Mäesalu, ‘Päpstliche Gewalt im Kreuzzugsgebiet’ and his ‘A crusader conflict’. 100 For the legate’s interest in the mission amongst the pagans and the Dominican influences on that, see Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes, pp. 172-176; for the impact of the papal curia’s growing emphasis on the care of the neophytes, see Ibid., pp. 177-179.

216 Linda K al jundi

teaching, nor did he fail to bid their lords, the Brothers of the Militia, to live faithfully with their subjects and always to impose upon them a light yoke [cf. Matthew 11:30].101

This passage brings together many key elements of Henry’s imagining of the good neophytes. It also stresses the feature especially characteristic to his chronicle, the neophyte contribution to the crusades. Finally, it elevates the deceased neophytes to the status of martyrs, as well as directly refers to the Christo-mimetic nature of such martyrdom. Still, the passage suggests the pragmatic and partisan considerations that often loom behind an emphasis on unanimity. Bear in mind that the passage appears in connection to the rivalries between the Church of Riga and the Sword Brethren, where the complaints about the order’s poor care for the neophytes served as a suitable argument for the chronicler. The scene contrasts the harmony between the legate, the church, and the neophytes with the troublesome relations between the Sword Brethren and the newly converted peoples. At the broader background, the Church of Riga also needed to support its privileges against the Danish king. It thus points to the next phase in the making of the Livonian colony. Here, the public display of emotions was not used to stress the unity of the Christian community as a whole, but to establish factions inside that larger community.

Conclusions In its entirety, Henry’s chronicle shows considerable interest and concern in the making of a new Christian community in Livonia. His representations of that process stress the importance of rituals and public 101 HCL XXIX.3, p. 210; Brundage, pp. 231-232: ‘ad eum, quibus ipse verbum Dei predixit cum leitcia et omnia fidei sacramenta diligenter exposuit. Et inde procedens in Wenden a fratribus milicie et ab aliis Theuthonicis ibidem habitantibus devotissime receptus est, et invenit ibi Wendorum et Lettorum maximam multitudinem. Unde mano facto, congregatis Lettis universis, cum Leticia letam eis domini Ieusu Christi doctrinam predicavit et, sepius passionem eiusdem domini Iesu commemorans, letos eosdem quam plurimum letificavit fidemque eorum et constantiam commendans, eo quod sponte et absque ulla bellorum perturbatione fidem christianam primo susceperunt et postmodum nunquam more Lyvonum et Estonum baptismi sacramenta violaverunt, humilitatem et patientiam eorum collaudavit, qui nomen domini nostri Iesu Christi ad Estones et ad alias gentes lete portantes, multos de gente sua propter eandem fidem christianam occisos in martyrum, ut credimus, consorcium transmiserant. Wendis eciam doctrine sue fidelia monita non subraxit nec non et dominis ipsorum, fratribus milicie, quatinus subditis suis leve sepmer iugum imponentes fideliter cohabitarent, attentius iniunxit’.

Expanding Communities


manifestation of emotions in the making of a new, broader Christian community on the frontier that would include both the settler Christians and the neophytes. The chronicle also points to the close and mutual relations between community and crusading, the crusade rituals often also used for binding the community together. At the same time, these public displays of emotions figured prominently in the justification of the crusade campaigns. In addition, the contemporary concern for the spiritual contribution of the whole community to crusading must have added further topicality to these issues, especially considering the overall small number of Christians. In connection to the neophyte involvement in the public performance of emotions, however, one should also point towards a certain anxiety. The establishing of effective social bonds must have been a crucial issue on a crusading frontier like Livonia, where building up a loyal community was of crucial spiritual as well as political importance. On the one hand, the success of crusading depended on whether all the Christians, both settlers and neophytes were involved both spiritually and militarily. On the other hand, the inclusion of the newly converted natives raised the question of fidelity, reflected in the chronicler’s stories of the neophytes displaying false emotions. The need to recurrently reproduce confirmations of the neophytes’ loyalty to the new community might also explain the chronic­ ler’s keen interest towards depicting the various performances where the neophytes manifest their belonging among the Christians. Even if there is no way of knowing whether the rituals described in Henry’s chronicle actually took place – ultimately, we can only study their textual mediations – they still finely represent the chronicler’s conviction of the significance of rituals in the process of conquest and conversion and in the making of a new community on the Livonian frontier. Irrespectively of the historical actuality of these rituals, Henry’s understanding of the social and spiritual importance of such performances is still illuminating. It reflects the belief in the power of rituals in conveying messages about social belonging, power, and authority and the role they played in the imagining of a coming community. His chronicle also shows that medieval rituals and writing did not necessarily compete, but could also complement each other. In Henry’s representation, the core elements of the crusade ideology and the Christian community are repeated in different media, including various public performances as well as history-writing. The iteration of these ideas in various media gains further coherence from being typologically connected to the same sacred past. Henry bases the authority of his history writing on biblical analogies and citations. The public performances represented

218 Linda K al jundi

in his chronicle – including the displays of various emotions – most often rely on the same liturgical and biblical vocabulary.

Bibliography Primary sources Brundage = The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, trans. by James A. Brundage (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003; 2nd revised edn). HCL = Heinrici Chronicon Livoniae, ed. by Leonid Arbusow and Albert Bauer, Scriptores rerum Germanicarum ex Monumentis Germaniae historicis separatim editi (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1955).

Secondary literature Gerd Althoff, Johannes Fried, Patrick J. Geary (eds.), Medieval Concepts of the Past: Ritual, Memory, Historiography (Cambridge: German Historical Institute / Cambridge University Press, 2002). Gerd Althoff, Spielregeln der Politik im Mittelalter. Kommunikation in Frieden und Fehde (Darmstadt: Primus Verlag, 1997). Gerd Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers: Political and Social Bonds in Medieval Europe, trans. by Christopher Carroll (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 2006). Leonid Arbusow, ‘Das entlehnte Sprachgut in Heinrichs ‘Chronicon Livoniae’: Ein Beitrag zur Sprache mittelalterlicher Chronistik’, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 8:1 (1950), 101-153. Leonid Arbusow, Liturgie und Geschichtsschreibung im Mittelalter: In ihren Beziehungen erläutert an den Schriften Ottos von Freising (†1158), Heinrichs Livlandchronik (1227) und den anderen Missionsgeschichten des Bremischen Erzsprengels: Rimberts, Adams von Bremen, Helmolds (Bonn: Ludwig Röhrscheid Verlag, 1951). Robert Bartlett, ‘The conversion of a pagan society in the Middle Ages’, History, 70:1 (1985), 185-201. Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonisation, and Cultural Change, 950-1350 (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press, 1993). Nora Berend, ‘Défense de la Chrétienté et naissance d’une identité: Hongrie, Polonge et péninsule Ibérique au Moyen Âge’, Annales HSS, 5 (Sept.-Oct.) (2003), 1009-1027. Nora Berend (ed.), Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus’ c. 900-1200 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Wilis Bilkins, Die Spuren von Vulgata, Brevier und Missale in der Sprache von Heinrichs Chronikon Livoniae (Riga: Walters & Rapa, 1928). Brenda H. Bolton, ‘Message, Celebration, Offering: The Place of Twelfth- and Early ThirteenthCentury Liturgical Drama as ‘Missionary Theatre’’, in Continuity and Change in Christian Worship, ed. by Robert N. Swanson (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1999), pp. 89-103.

Expanding Communities


James A. Brundage, ‘Thirteenth-Century Livonian Crusade: Henricus De Lettis and the First Legatine Mission of Bishop William of Modena’, in James A. Brundage, The Crusades, Holy War and Canon Law (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1991), pp. 1-9. James A. Brundage, ‘Introduction: Henry of Livonia, The Writer and His Chronicle’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 1-19. Philippe Buc, The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). Philippe Buc, ‘The Monster and the Critics: A Ritual Reply’, Early Medieval Europe, 15:4 (2007), 441-452. Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘The Possibilities of the Past’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 12:2 (1981), 267-275. Iben Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes and the Baltic Crusades 1147-1254 (Leiden: Brill, 2007). Friedrich Ludwig von Maydelli pildid Baltimaade ajaloost = Friedrich Ludwig von Maydells Baltische Geschichte in Bildern = Friedrich Ludwig von Maydell’s Baltic History in Images, ed. by Linda Kaljundi, Tiina-Mall Kreem (Tallinn: Eesti Kunstimuuseum – Kadrioru Kunstimuuseum, 2013). Patrick J. Geary, ‘Reflections on Historiography and the Holy: Center and Periphery’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 323-330. Clifford Geertz, ‘Blurred Genres: The Refiguration of Social Thought’, The American Scholar, 49:2 (1980), 165-179. Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1954). Paul Johansen, ‘Die Chronik als Biographie: Heinrich von Lettlands Lebensgang und Weltanschauung’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 1:1 (1953), 3-24. Linda Kaljundi, ‘Young Church in God’s New Vineyard: The Motifs of Growth and Fertility in Henry’s Chronicle of Livonia’, Ennen ja nyt: Historian tietosanomat, 4 (2004), 1-14, http://www. (accessed 2015-03-03). Linda Kaljundi, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians: Reconstruction of Otherness in the Saxon Missionary and Crusading Chronicles, 11th-13th Centuries’, in The Medieval Chronicle 5, ed. by Erik Kooper (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2008), pp. 113-127. Linda Kaljundi, ‘(Re)performing the Past: Crusading, History Writing, and Rituals in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in The Performance of Christian and Pagan Storyworlds: NonCanonical Chapters of the History of Nordic Medieval Literature, ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen, Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 295-338. Benjamin Z. Kedar, Crusade and Mission: European Approaches toward the Muslims (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1984). Geoffrey Koziol, ‘Review Article: The Dangers of Polemic: Is Ritual Still an Interesting Topic of Historical Study?’, Early Medieval Europe, 11:4 (2002), 367-388. Amnon Linder, Raising Arms: Liturgy in the Struggle to Liberate Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003). Mihkel Mäesalu, ‘Päpstliche Gewalt im Kreuzzugsgebiet: Gründete Wilhelm von Modena in Estland einen “Pufferstaat”?’, Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte, 6 (2011), 11-30. Mihkel Mäesalu, ‘A Crusader Conflict Mediated by a Papal Legate: The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia as a legal text’, The Medieval Chronicle, 8 (2013), 233-246. Christoph T. Maier, ‘Crisis, Liturgy and the Crusade in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 48 (1997), 628-657.

220 Linda K al jundi Christoph T. Maier, ‘Mass, the Eucharist and the Cross: Innocent III and the Relocation of the Crusade’, in Pope Innocent III and His World, ed. by John C. Moore (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), pp. 351-360. Friedrich Ludwig von Maydell, Fünfzig Bilder aus der Geschichte der deutschen Ostsee-Provinzen Russlands nebst erklärendem Text, vol. 1 (Dorpat: C.A. Kluge, 1839). Sophia Menache, ‘Love of God or Hatred of Your Enemy? The Emotional Voices of the Crusades’, Mirabilia, 10 (2010), 1-10. R.I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250. 2nd edition (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007). Lars Boje Mortensen, ‘Introduction’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 7-16. Alan V. Murray (ed.), Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier 1150-1500 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2001). Alan V. Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Border (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). Piroska Nagy, Le don des larmes au Moyen Âge: Un instrument spirituel en quête d’institution, Ve-XIIIe siècle (Paris: Albin Michel, 2000). Joseph F. O’Callaghan, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain (Philadelphia: University of Pennyslvania Press, 2004). Otto Gerhard Oexle, ‘Memoria in der Gesellschaft und in der Kultur des Mittelalters’, in Modernes Mittelalter: Neue Bilder einer populären Epoche, ed. by Joachim Heinzle (Frankfurt am Main: Insel Verlag, 1994), pp. 297-323. Éric Palazzo, La liturgie dans la société médiévale (Paris: Aubier, 2000). Nils Holger Petersen, ‘The Notion of a Missionary Theatre: The ludus magnus of Henry of Livonia’s Chronicle’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 229-243. Ann Rigney, ‘Plenitude, Scarcity and the Circulation of Cultural Memory’, Journal of European Studies, 35:1 (2005), 11-28. Jonathan Riley-Smith, ‘The First Crusade and the Persecution of the Jews’, Studies in Church History, 21 (1984), 51-72. Jonathan Riley-Smith, What Were the Crusades? (London: MacMillan, 1992). Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading. 2nd, revised edition (LondonNew York: Continuum, 2003). Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Crusades: A short history (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2005). Jonathan Riley-Smith, ‘Crusading as an Act of Love’, in Medieval Religion: New approaches, ed. by Constance H. Berman (London: Routledge, 2005), pp. 44-60. Barbara Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006). Reinhard Schneider, ‘Straßentheater im Missionseinsatz: zu Heinrichs von Lettland Bericht über ein großes Spiel in Riga 1205’, in Studien über die Anfänge der Mission in Livland, ed. by Manfred Hellmann (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1989), pp. 107-121. Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (eds.), Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011).

Expanding Communities


Marek Tamm, ‘Martyrs and Miracles: Depicting Death in Henry’s Chronicle of Livonia’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 135-156. Marek Tamm, ‘How to Justify a Crusade? Conquest of Livonia and the New Crusade Rhetoric in the Early Thirteenth Century’, Journal of Medieval History, 39:4 (2013), 431-455. Susanna A. Throop, ‘Zeal, Anger and Vengeance: The Emotional Rhetoric of Crusading’, in Vengeance in the Middle Ages: Emotion, Religion and Feud, ed. by Susanna A. Throop, Paul R. Hyams (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 177-202. Susanna A. Throop, Crusading as an Act of Vengeance (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011). Olav Tveito, Ad fines orbis terrae – like til jordens ender: en studie i primær trosformidling i nordisk kristningskontekst (Oslo: Unipub, 2004). Christopher Tyerman, God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (London: Penguin Books, 2007). Christopher Tyerman, ‘Henry of Livonia and the Ideology of Crusading’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 23-44. Jaan Undusk, ‘Sacred History, Profane History: Uses of the Bible in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in Crusading and Chronicle Writing on the Medieval Baltic Frontier: A Companion to the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, ed. by Marek Tamm, Linda Kaljundi, Carsten Selch Jensen (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 45-75. David A. Warner, ‘Ritual and Memory in the Ottonian Reich: The Ceremony of Adventus’, Speculum, 76:2 (2001), 255-283. Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World: The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 300-1100, ed. by Walter Pohl, Clemens Gantner, Richard Payne (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Community St. Henry and the Creation of Christian Identity in Finland, Thirteenth – Fifteenth Centuries Tuomas Heikkilä*

This chapter aims to explore the creation of a new, Christian identity in the newly Christianized eastern part of the Swedish realm in the thirteenth century by a close analysis of one single text and the cult of one single saint. Although the actual process of Christianization of the area of present-day Finland was slow and the concomitant moulding of values took several centuries, much of the ideals were concretized in a single text written in commission of the Bishop of Turku (Sw. Åbo) in the late thirteenth century: the Latin legend of the semi-legendary Apostle of Finland, St. Henry. By far the most influential medieval text written in the Österlandet, the eastern part of the Swedish realm, the legend provided its audience – the faithful of the diocese of Turku – with the right answers regarding both the religious and temporal history of Finland, as well as with the proper Christian set of values to follow. Thus, the Legend of St. Henry was enormously important in building a Christian identity and creating a new community that shared the same values and the same concept of history. It should be noted that the medieval term ‘Finland’ referred only to the southwestern area around the city and episcopal see of Turku, hence also known as ‘Finland Proper’. For practical reasons, however, I use the term according to the normal practice of medieval studies to signify the whole eastern part of the Swedish realm known as the Österlandet, comprising the coastal regions and the southern inlands of the area. Similarly, the term ‘diocese of Turku’ is being used in scholarship synonymously with ‘medieval Finland’ or Swedish Österlandet. * Tuomas Heikkilä is Director of the Finnish scholarly Institute in Rome, Italy. In his research, he has concentrated on high medieval monasticism, saints and hagiography, manuscript studies (especially parchment fragments), computer-assisted stemmatology and dissemination of texts, as well as phylomemetics. He is currently studying the various uses and aspects of time in medieval and Renaissance Rome. In addition, he is finishing a critical edition of the Vita et miracula s. Symeonis Treverensis for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica.

224 Tuomas Heikkil ä

As I will show, the fact that the first local literary work written in Finland was a hagiography of the local apostle was by no means a coincidence or a result of a traditional pattern just repeated everywhere where Christian faith was spread during the Middle Ages. Quite the contrary, the writing of the Legend of St. Henry (Legenda sancti Henrici) served very specific purposes and was a vital part of a very active moulding of the variety of old values towards a more uniform Christian group identity. More than being just a series of topoi and conventions dictated by the hagiographic genre, the writing of the legend was a creative and dynamic process, which took into account both the Christian universe and the expectations of the local audience. What tied a Christian community together was a common body of knowledge or beliefs and a shared interpretation of that knowledge. In our case, the Legend of St. Henry was an early compendium of this new set of ideals.

Communities in Search of Identities First, a conceptual caveat is in order. Identity is a particularly flexible social phenomenon: people have different identities depending on time and place, and the social situation in which they find themselves. It is not stable but prone to change, and shaping of an identity is a dynamic process in which one’s relationship to other individuals is being negotiated and one’s position in the world redefined. A personal identity cannot be simply imposed in a top-down manner, but in the end, it is always the individual who, partly consciously, partly unconsciously, creates an identity from the building blocks available. Still, individual and collective forms of identity have much in common, as – to quote John Donne – ‘no man is an island’ and it lies in human nature to belong to a group by sharing its values and ideals, thus creating a feeling of togetherness (see also Wojtek Jezierski’s introduction to this book). This chapter focuses on only one type of identity, namely the collective identity, since it can provide us with an insight into a society undergoing a deep transformation. The members of a group can only share identity if they share at least some ideals, convictions, and loyalties, in other words, a set of values that is not only considered to be correct and unique by also differentiating ‘us’ from the ‘others’ – by creating an imagined community.1 In 1 On a theoretical level, see Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism, p. 12; Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, p. 7.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


the context of medieval Finland, it is about finding common denominators, features of self-understanding that were shared by newly converted Christians in Finland. In contrast to individual identities, group identity can be used to control, influence, and construct the shared stories of the past, the morals and values of today, and the dreams of tomorrow. Obviously, these criteria and the boundaries they constitute are not absolute or objective in their nature, but imagined from within the group, that is, they were a result of a shared project of the community.2 Consequently, historical break points in which identities were moulded or changed radically allow a historian to trace glimpses of the construction and deconstruction of group identities. It would be easy for a modern scholar to interpret the imagining or building of a Christian identity as a matter of unidirectional interaction of two groups with two very different roles: the closed circles of clergy who actively created, built, shared, and interpreted the common body of knowledge, and the ranks of ordinary people passively receiving the ideas of the former group. However, such a schematic view does not hold true, as we will see, but the creation of an imagined community was more versatile and a matter of broader cooperation. The Legend of St. Henry was by far the most important text in creating the basis for the new group identity (and thus that of the individual identities), in creating a Christian history for the area and its inhabitants, and in giving a new set of ideals to pursue. Thus, we shall concentrate on the analysis of the Legend of St. Henry in order to reveal how the new community of Christians was being imagined in the eastern part of medieval Sweden.

From Pagans to Christians The Legend of St. Henry is one of the main sources of the Christianization of Finland. It is, however, a story written not to describe the real course of history but to influence the thoughts of the public into a certain direction. Hence, it is relevant to ponder how the Christianization took place according to current scholarship. What do we really know about the process of adopting new faith that affected the worldview and identity of the inhabitants of medieval Finland in a profound manner? The area of present-day Finland was Christianized relatively late. As elsewhere in medieval Europe, three different stages can be observed. 2

Anderson, Imagined Communities; Hansen, ‘Interaction’, p. 6.

226 Tuomas Heikkil ä

First, the knowledge of Christian values and practices was disseminated through cultural contacts, trade, and possibly through single preachers. There is clear evidence of Christian influence in Finland from the tenth century onwards.3 The next step, the second phase of Christianization, was the formation of small Christian parishes. There were obviously some Christian communities in southwestern Finland as early as in the eleventh century. 4 It has been argued that the central role was possibly played by priests supported by local potentates. Thus, the traditional local elite did not lose its previous status through the adoption of the new faith, but rather became an important ally of the Church expanding into new territories.5 Even with Christianity gaining ground in southwestern Finland already in the eleventh and much more in the early twelfth centuries, the overall picture was still both patchy and extremely fluid when it came to religious practices. One should keep in mind that the contents of this early Christianity were bound to be an amalgam of old and new beliefs. Consequently, the next phase of Christianization brought the more uniform organization of both the Christian doctrine and the proto-parishes as a part of the universal christianitas. This phase took place from the mid-twelfth to the late thirteenth century and was much characterized by the active participation of the Swedes, as the political and ecclesiastical situation of the realm both allowed and necessitated a more active role in the East. According to the traditional – in fact, already medieval – view it was during this phase of Christianization that the Finns were really joined to the christianitas. Its history has been oversimplified by the claim that it only consisted of three Swedish crusades to Finland. The first one of them took place in the 1150s and was directed to Finland Proper in the southwest, the second headed to Häme (Sw. Tavastland) in the mid-thirteenth century, and the third crusade had southern Karelia, Vyborg, as its objective in 1293. For both medieval and later historians, the concept of crusades as the means of Christianizing the Finns was a comfortable one, since it tied the conversion history of the North conveniently together with the famous and 3 To get an overview, see, for example: Tuovinen, ‘Finnish Archipelago Coast’, pp. 38-39; Hiekkanen, ‘Burial Practices’, pp. 271-379; Purhonen, Kristinuskon saapumisesta, pp. 45-58; very early Christianization already since the sixth century proposed by for example: Salo, Risti ja rauta. 4 See Tahkokallio, ‘Kristinuskon tulo’, p. 71; Hiekkanen, Suomen kivikirkot, pp. 11-16; Purhonen, Kristinuskon saapumisesta; Palola, ‘Yleiskatsaus’, pp. 67-104. 5 See: Tahkokallio, ‘Kristinuskon tulo’, pp. 71-72; Haggrén, ‘Moisio – kartano – kirkko’, pp. 1226; Knuutila, Soturi, kuningas ja pyhimys, p. 39; Taavitsainen, ‘Finnish Limousines’, pp. 75-88; Pirinen, ‘Kirkollinen järjestäminen’, pp. 53-56.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


important pan-Christian crusades to the Holy Land and thus emphasized the relationship between the Swedish realm and the salvation history of Finland with the rest of Christendom. Still, the real picture looks different. With the possible exception of the ‘second crusade’, none of the Swedish expeditions seems to have been a fully authorized crusade with clearly stated religious goals or ecclesiastical authorization, but they were rather ordinary military raids.6 If the Swedish expeditions to Finland included religious or ecclesiastical aims, they were probably not so much about converting pagans to Christianity as about organizing and supporting the already existing Christian communities. Whatever the real nature of the crusades, the increasing interest and influence of the Swedish realm and its leaders in areas east of the Gulf of Bothnia led to very close ties over the Baltic Sea during the thirteenth century. The whole southern part of Finland was annexed to Sweden and its believers were organized into parishes. At first, the Finnish parishes seem to have formed a missionary diocese, but during the thirteenth century a proper bishopric was established, with its episcopal see first at Nousiainen (Sw. Nousis) and, probably from the 1230s onwards, in Turku.7 As an indication of a new level of organization, the Church began to collect taxes probably in the mid-thirteenth century.8 The first Mendicant convent struck root in the diocese in 1249, and the cathedral chapter and cathedral school were established in Turku in the 1270s.9 By the end of the thirteenth century, the Christianization of the southwestern parts of Finland had reached more or less the same organizational level as in the other dioceses of the realm. Turku was still a small diocese with only a modest number of parishes, but the Christian faith and the Church had nevertheless established their status. The next challenge was to build a feeling of togetherness for the community of newly converted Christians. The Christianization of Finland and the annexation of the area to the Swedish realm had profound implications on values and identities. It was only after this that ‘Finland’ began to take shape as a broader geographical entity than just Finland Proper; as new areas were Christianized, the people began to identify themselves more with the southwestern parts of 6 Tahkokallio, ‘Kristinuskon tulo’; Heikkilä, ‘Ristiretkiä Suomeen?’, pp. 80-107; Hiekkanen, ‘Kirkkorakennukset’, pp. 18-23. On Northern or Baltic Crusades in general, see, Murray (ed.), Clash of Cultures; Reynolds, Prehistory. It should be noted that the classic work Christensen, Northern Crusades, is very bad in regard to the raids to Finland. 7 Gallén, ‘Biskopssäte’, p. 320; Gardberg, Åbo stads historia, pp. 57-60, 110-114. 8 Pirinen, Kymmenysverotus, pp. 72, 74. 9 Keskiaho, ‘Hiippakunnan järjestäytymiskausi’, p. 88.

228 Tuomas Heikkil ä

present Finland, on one hand, and with the Swedish realm as a whole, on the other. The process of moulding the people’s values, ideals, and identity from pre-Christian to Christian was exceedingly slow and took a much longer time from the very first Christian influences to the end of the Middle Ages and beyond.

The Legend of St. Henry St. Henry was the most important person of the Finnish Middle Ages – in spite of the fact that his historicity is far from certain. According to the later medieval tradition, he was the first bishop of Finland in the mid-twelfth century, but there are no really trustworthy sources to support such an early organization of the actual diocese. Still, the tradition was probably based on real events, maybe on the activities of an early missionary, although the details of medieval ‘knowledge’ on the saint were only added later.10 The paramount source on St. Henry is his liturgical legend, written in Latin by commission of the local bishop in Turku during the last quarter of the thirteenth century.11 The writing of the legend was the logical next step after the establishment of the proper ecclesiastical organization, as it provided the new diocese and its bishop with historical background and legitimation, and the broad public with a new set of values upon which to build a new Christian identity. It deserves to be emphasized that while the legend is a liturgical text with hagiographic contents, it was also a historical work. Therefore, there is no point in holding on to traditional, often too schematic and thus disadvantageous genre classifications of hagiography vs. history.12 For both its writer(s) and to its audience, the Legend of St. Henry was a text that showed saints making history in the way God had intended. The legend 13 starts with describing the state of affairs in mid-twelfth century Sweden: the saintly King Eric rules the Christian nation and his friend, the English-born Bishop Henry, presides over the Uppsala Cathedral. The writer praises their close relationship and co-operation, thanks to which peace and harmony prevailed in the realm. He constantly emphasizes how the Crown and the Church work together for the blessing of the entire 10 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 25-37, passim; cf. Heikkilä, ‘Finlands införlivande’, pp. 437-468. 11 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 149-154. 12 Lifshitz, ‘Beyond Positivism and Genre’, pp. 95-113. 13 The hitherto only critical edition of the legend is included in Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 254-275.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


people of the realm. According to the vita, the only cloud on the horizon of happiness of the Christian Swedes were the heathen Finns who carried out frequent pillaging raids on the Swedish side. Consequently, King Eric called Bishop Henry from Uppsala Cathedral and took him along to war against ‘the enemies of the name of Christ and of his own people’, as the text put it.14 The journey to Finland and the battles were not described in any detail in the legend; the writer merely states that Eric defeated the Finns, conquered them, and converted them to Christianity, after which he returned to Sweden. Bishop Henry, however, stayed to build and strengthen the Finnish Church. In this work, he wanted to punish a murderer through ecclesiastical discipline, but ended up being martyred by him. After his death, Henry undoubtedly ascended to the celestial Temple of Jerusalem. The Legend then goes on to describe eleven miracles St. Henry performed in the afterlife, through which the saint demonstrated his power as a protector of the devout and as a punisher of evil deeds. The miracula begins with the divine punishment of the murderer of the saint: as he tried to take off the headgear he had taken from the Bishop, his hair and scalp went off with the cap. The next miracle explained how a finger relic of the saint had been found after his death. Needless to say, this was an important and very convenient miracle from the point of view of the later Bishops of Turku, since they used – and, in fact, still continue to use today – the finger relic of Henry as a symbol of the episcopal succession of their power directly from their first, saintly predecessor. The following miracles include the resurrection of two dead children, cripples starting to walk, the blind receiving sight, a Franciscan brother being relieved of his headache, and sealers getting rescued from a storm. The whole legend ends with a miracle, in which a Swedish cleric receives a punishment for doubting the sainthood of St. Henry.15

From Sources to Impact It deserves to be mentioned that the Legend of St. Henry is the oldest literary work composed within the medieval diocese of Turku. The life and deeds of the earliest predecessor of the local bishop were a topic non plus ultra for the clergy, in whose hands the written culture had arrived in Finland, and that would continue to control reading and writing for several 14 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 2, lines 24-25: ‘contra nominis Christi et populi sui’. 15 Legenda s. Henrici, pp. 254-275.

230 Tuomas Heikkil ä

generations to come. The choice of the topic was understandable and the same pattern can be seen in several other newly Christianized areas in the Middle Ages: the local apostles and other early saints were the most important topic, for instance, in Bohemia (Sts. Ludmila and Venceslas), Hungary (Sts. Stephen, Emeric, and Ladislaus) and Poland (St. Adalbert and the local saintly hermits – for more see Grzegorz Pac’s chapter in this book).16 What all the mentioned examples have in common is that they were exceedingly influential in showing their public a Christian niche in the world, in building the new Christian understanding of history, their present day, and future. Although its contents testify that the material for the Legend was collected locally in and around Turku, there are indications of the use of the best available writers to compose the Legend of St. Henry. Interestingly, since the local written culture was only taking its first steps and we have no knowledge whatsoever of local book production prior to the first half of the fourteenth century, this would most likely imply commissioning one or several learned clerics from some other Swedish diocese to do the job so important for the bishop. The Legend, however, was by no means a peripheral product of newly acquired literacy. On the contrary, it was a surprisingly high-quality intellectual work that put the creation story of the diocese and its Christian inhabitants into well-chosen words of sophisticated Latin.17 Even the sources of the Legend testify to the effort put into it.18 As an example, some passages suggest that the author(s) knew mainstream Latin works, like those of Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153).19 More importantly, the included sources show a good knowledge of the new legend of St. Eric, King of Sweden, a text that had been written only some years earlier. Furthermore, the Legend of St. Henry contains echoes from the passio of St. Olaf, the martyr King of Norway, as well as from the vita of St. Sigfrid, the Apostle of Småland and Västergötland (Sweden).20 Thus, the sources knitted the 16 Fontes rerum Bohemicarum 1; Bláhová, ‘Function of Saints’, pp. 83-119; Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum 2; Veszprémy: ‘Royal Saints’, pp. 217-245; Monumenta Poloniae Historica, series nova 4, 1-3; Kersken, ‘God and Saints’, pp. 153-194. 17 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 129, 133-134; Kajanto, Latina, kreikka ja klassinen humanismi, p. 17. 18 See esp. Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 129-133. 19 Bernardus Claraevallensis, Sermo I in festo SS. Petri et Pauli apostolorum, pp. 405C, 409B; Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, p. 132. 20 Passio s. Olavi, p. 125D; Miracula s. Sigfridi. p. 849C; Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, p. 132; Önnerfors, Die Hauptfassungen, p. 46.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


Legend together with several texts that affected people’s understanding of the temporal and ecclesiastical history of their country. This took place very much in the same way that the contents of the Legend showed the Finns their new but rightful place in the rich tapestry of Christianity and Latinitas. In this respect, one source stood above the others: the Bible. Since the Bible contained God’s own words, its authority was unsurpassed and Biblical quotes loaned a writer authority that was not of this world.21 The author(s) of the legend made sure to use both the New and the Old Testament: evangelists Luke and Matthew as well as quotes from the Psalms were used most frequently.22 The use of the Bible as an easily identifiable source of the legend of the local Apostle demonstrated that St. Henry and the Christianization of Finland through his virtues had their proper place in God’s great plan that would culminate on Judgement Day. The applicability of the word of God in describing St. Henry’s life and deeds showed the very same thing as the martyrdom of the saint: God and the values set by Him were, mutatis mutandis, just as present in the northern outskirts of Christianity as in areas Christianized much earlier. In other words, St. Henry had made Finns a part of the christianitas, the vast Christian community that stretched from Finland to the Mediterranean and from Ireland to the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Such distinguished use of texts might have been a source of interest and identification as part of an international literary community for the more learned part of the legend’s audience, for those who could read and knew other texts to compare the legend with. Furthermore, such passages may have been explained to the illiterate public. For the majority of the prospective audience, however, it was the contents of the story that mattered. As a whole, it was a versatile text, as is highlighted by the different ways the existing manuscript versions title it. Some of its copyists understood it as a hystoria, that is, a liturgical or historical story; most call it a legenda, a text that was to be read aloud; and according to some, it was a passio, giving account of a martyrdom.23 21 For example: Lobrichon, ‘Gli usi della Bibbia’, pp. 523-562. On Biblical quotes in the Legend of St. Henry, see: Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 132-133. 22 See Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 1-4 (pp. 256-262). 23 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 27-28. Most manuscripts do not contain another title than ‘De s. Henrico’ or something similar. Legenda is used as an epithet in Stockholm, Riksarkivet, Fr 1891 (Leo 30, codex 303), Västergötlands handligar 1607:17:2, fol. 1vb; ibid. Fr 1951, Västergötlands handlingar 1609:5:2, fol. 1rb-1va; Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, Ms. C15, fol. 174r-176v; Helsinki, National Library, ‘Lect. A’ (missing since the 1990s). The text is called hystoria in the

232 Tuomas Heikkil ä

Even the most carefully composed text was of no use in building the identity of a community if it was not disseminated, read aloud, and taught to the people. The Legend of St. Henry and its saintly hero were, however, a literary work and a character one just could not avoid in medieval Finland. As the only ‘local’ saint and as the Apostle of the Finns, Henry had a special position among the saints venerated within the region. The Bishop of the Finns was the most significant person in Finland throughout the Middle Ages both in terms of religious, political, or economic importance. Whatever the current incumbent of the office did, he made sure that everyone perceived him as a legitimate successor of St. Henry. 24 As for the saint, there were two feasts in his honour, on 20 January and 18 June, the first being the date of his dies natalis as well as one of the most important fairs of medieval Finland, the latter celebrating the translation of his relics to Turku cathedral and closely tied to the dedication feast of the cathedral on 17 June, thus creating an important double feast. The cathedral itself was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Henry at some point between 1292 and 1296, and there were several other churches and chapels within the diocese that had him as their patron saint: Nousiainen, that boasted of its status as the original burial place of the saint (St. Henry was the patron already in the early thirteenth century); Pyhtää (fourteenth century), Laukko (before 1518); and possibly the chapels of Köyliö and Laukko (before 1518). In addition, the chapels of Köyliö, according to the medieval tradition the place of the saint’s martyrdom, and Kupittaa (in the outskirts of Turku) are hypothesized to have had St. Henry as their patron.25 Given the importance of St. Henry as the patron saint of the diocese, his legend was disseminated to every church and every corner of the Turku bishopric. In the churches, it was read aloud in extenso as a part of the liturgy on his feast days, but St. Henry was present in every mass and every service of the hours in prayers and the litany of saints. There is some evidence that the legend was also explained to the people who could not read it by itself. To judge from the very scarce sermon material that remains from the following mss.: Uppsala, Uppsala universitetbibliotek, Ms. C21, fol. 35v-37v; Helsinki, National Library, ‘Lect. B’ (missing since decades); and Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, Ms. A56, fol. 2r-7v. The mss. Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Ser. N. 12814, fol. 186r-187r calls the text a passio. Modern scholarship prefers to call the text Legend of St. Henry. 24 Heikkilä, ‘Tracing pater patriae’. 25 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 59, 282; Wallin, ‘Kirkkojemme suojeluspyhät’, pp. 54-76. In addition, there were some churches dedicated to St. Henry elsewhere in Sweden: in Vittinge and Österunda (both in the archdiocese of Uppsala) as well as in Örebro. See Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 77, 83.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


diocese of Turku, there were sermons on St. Henry, using the legend as their main source of knowledge about the saint.26 In all, the legend was a text that reached, in one form or the other, a very big part of the faithful of the Turku bishopric. Thus, it was an excellent tool to influence the historical self-portrait and identity of the Christian community in Finland. In whatever manner the Legend of St. Henry was disseminated, it remained a fact that only a small minority of the faithful of the diocese of Turku could read it. In other words, the question of explaining its contents is central to the understanding of the implications of the legend to the group identity. In terms of diffusing ideas as building blocks for identity, there were two levels in the text. One was that of the learned clergy who could understand all the finesses of the text and was could interpret it themselves. The other was that of the illiterate people and the sheer contents, strictly dependent on those able to explain the text and whatever they considered worth mentioning. Explaining the contents of the legend meant performing it in one way or the other,27 and included selecting the parts deemed as the most important. In addition, it gave the text a new, fresh dimension; as the explanation had to find an echo in the minds of the audience, explaining the text tied it to the given context. These two levels and approaches to the text are important for the understanding of the Finns as an imagined as well as a textual community bound together by Christian values and customs. They are nowhere as aptly and authoritatively represented as in the Christian writings and the Legend of St. Henry in particular. Much of the religious social life of ‘us’ was centred around such texts – with the legend of Henry as the only local example – and their interpreters.28 The contents of the legend had implications for everyone within the group of Christian Finns, regardless of whether or not they could read. If the contents of the Latin legend were well known throughout the diocese of Turku, the Legend of St. Henry circulated even outside Finland. Just as for the inhabitants of the eastern part of the Swedish realm, the legend was a part of historical self-understanding and identity constructed for the people from the area of present-day Sweden. The Legend of St. Henry is still known in fifty-three manuscript and early printed versions, most of which differ slightly from each other and thus represent the lively copying 26 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 142-147. 27 On the messages of a ritual performance, see Rappaport, Ritual and Religion, pp. 51-54, 103, 119. 28 On textual communities, see esp. Stock, Implications of Literacy, pp. 522-531; Stock, Listening to the Text, pp. 150-153.

234 Tuomas Heikkil ä

tradition of the legend. Most of the versions originate from the area of present-day Sweden and Finland, but there are manuscripts and early printed texts that were written in Denmark, Germany, and Flanders.29 There is no reason to doubt that Turku was the initial centre of dissemination of the Legend of St. Henry. As St. Henry was the only local saint within the diocese of Turku and as it was the responsibility of the local bishop to oversee the liturgical books used in the parishes, we can safely assume that the legend spread and was used in every church and parish of the diocese. The dissemination must have begun right after the text had been written and continued throughout the Middle Ages, as testified by the varying age of the remaining manuscripts. The double motive of liturgical needs and the legend as a building block for imagining community was very strong, and, consequently, we have a high number for the modest Finnish conditions: at least nine, possibly fifteen, text versions with a provenance within the diocese. The importance of St. Henry for local self-understanding is underlined by the fact that all the Finnish text versions contain the Legend in its broadest redaction, with the whole vita and all the miracles. The liturgical veneration and the chance to understand and build the community’s own history through a text played roles even in other Swedish dioceses. St. Henry was venerated throughout the Swedish realm and most of the remaining versions of the Legend of St. Henry originating in one of the Swedish dioceses – naturally, Turku included – are found in liturgical books, most typically in breviaries and lectionaries.30 In addition, there are several manuscripts that testify to an interest in the legend not only as a part of liturgy, but as a source of the past of the pan-Christian community.31 The Legend of St. Henry was also quite concretely used as an authoritative source for sermons about the saint. Vadstena monastery’s (in Sweden) vast sermon collections contain no less than nine sermons on St. Henry, all of which rely on the legend as their main source. The relatively high number of the extant versions of the legend gives reason to assume that the text must have been very widely known throughout the Swedish realm, and the versatility of 29 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 85-88, 138-139, 180-181, 204-206. The rough chronological distribution of the witnesses is as follows: eleven from the fourteenth century, two from the fourteenth/fifteenth centuries, thirty-three from the fifteenth century, five from the fifteenth/ sixteenth centuries, and two from the sixteenth century. 30 More than half (27) of the known text versions are contained in breviaries, be they hand written or printed. There are seven known lectionaries containing the Legend. Moreover, a quire with the Legend added to a psaltery testifies to liturgical use. 31 See Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, Ms. C15, fol. 174r-176v; ibid., Ms. C21, 35v-37v; ibid., Ms. C23, fol. 65r-66r; ibid., Ms. C55, fol. 19r-21r.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


transmission contexts shows the different uses and audiences of the legend. Moreover, the surviving textual witnesses from the area of modern-day Sweden cover a long period from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the eve of the Reformation.32 This goes to show the importance of the story describing the Christianization of Finland and the martyrdom of St. Henry even outside the diocese of Turku. Whereas the Legend of St. Henry seems to have reached practically all the Christian corners of the Swedish realm as early as the fourteenth century, its wider dissemination outside the realm seems to have been a matter for the following century. Even the motivation seems to have been different. Although the legend was the source non plus ultra for the earliest Christian history of Finland, one should not think that it would have been copied for that outside of Sweden. All the text versions we have from elsewhere are contained in large late medieval collections of hagiographic texts, and the reason to include the Legend of St. Henry is bound to have been a general interest in saints. Interestingly, the legend was copied in two of the most influential fifteenth-century European hagiographic collections: the Sanctilogium of Johannes Gielemans, writing in Rouge-Cloître in Belgium, and Herman Greven’s Legendarium, written in the Carthusian monastery of St. Barbara in Cologne.33 To be included in such works is evidence that the legend was understood elsewhere: the Christianization of some obscure land in the far north was not only an important topic in the periphery, but also part of a broad Christian narrative. Thus, the legend contributed with a small but relevant part in the imagined community of Christendom in the Middle Ages. In addition to the dissemination of the text of the Legend, there is evidence of St. Henry’s cult in England (Great Yarmouth and possibly Syon Abbey in the fifteenth century) and many areas surrounding the Baltic Sea, including Denmark (Lund, Odense, and Landskrona in the fifteenth century at the latest) and Danzig/Gdańsk (at least from 1438 onwards). The geographically most distant pieces of evidence of the knowledge of St. Henry are mural paintings in Rome and an altar piece in Bari, in southern Italy.34 32 In fact, two of the oldest three manuscript versions of the legend originate from other Swedish dioceses than Turku: Lund, Universitetsbiblioteket, Fragment 106, fol. 1r-1v (early fourteenth century); Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, Ms. C55, fol. 19r-21r (early or mid-fourteenth century). 33 Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Ser. N. 12814, fol. 186r-187r; Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Theol. Lat. Fol. 706, fol. 102r-102v. 34 Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cod. Vat. lat. 5742; Ecclesiae Anglicanae trophaea, plate 24. The collections of Pinacoteca Provinciale di Bari include Madonna con Bambino tra S. Enrico d’Uppsala e S. Antonio da Padova, painted by Paris Bordone (1496-1570).

236 Tuomas Heikkil ä

The listing of such evidence is relevant in the context of this article, since knowledge of the saint contributed to the perception of the Christianization and the history of Finns even outside the Swedish realm. Hence the Legend of St. Henry dictated both a local and a universal understanding of how Finns and Finland had become a part of christianitas and Sweden, both of which fit each other seamlessly. As can be understood by the effortless reception of the story of St. Henry outside Turku diocese, universality was an important trait in the message of the legend composed according to international models. The shared history was, ideologically and politically, an excellent way to bind Finland to Sweden and other Christian parts of Europe. Therefore, the legend did not endeavour to emphasize local or national particularities in St. Henry’s work, but rather tried to underline its universality and similarities with other Christian missionaries elsewhere. The efforts of the local apostle showed everyone that God was as actively present and interested in the fates of the inhabitants of even the most remote corners of the known world as in the more central parts of the European christianitas.35

Building Blocks of a Christian Identity A community is created by shared values and by the idea of a shared past, present, and future. On the other hand, a community can be further strengthened by comparison with other people who do not share the same values and are thus outside the community.36 As stated in the introduction, it is a fundamental part of the group identity to define who belongs to ‘us’ and who and how the ‘others’ are. In this sense a common enemy, who essentially embodies the idea of what ‘we’ are not, is and was just as important for the members of a group.37 As the commonly accepted values are the basis of a community, the men and women belonging to ‘our’ group are defined to be good by the very fact of belonging, while those remaining outside of it are often described as evil. This was exactly the case when the community of Christians was being imagined to exist in medieval Finland: It was not only a matter of differences between Christians and heathens; the latter represented otherness with a negative connotation from the Christian

35 See generally Geary, ‘Reflections’, p. 328. 36 A classical work pondering these issues is Anderson, Imagined Communities. 37 See also: Hansen, ‘Interaction’, p. 39.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


viewpoint.38 Therefore, it was important for the Legend of St. Henry and all the other sources following its tone to underline the ferocity of the pagans as well as blindness and cruelty of the pagan Finns.39 One should observe that the view of the pagans presented in the Legenda continued to shape the self-perception of the Finnish and Swedish Christians in general, and the Turku episcopal see in particular, as primarily fighters against the infidels. The formidability of the pagans as battlefield opponents was emphasized even in the picture panels of the sarcophagus of St. Henry, which Bishop Magnus II Olai Tavast of Turku commissioned from Flanders in the 1420s (see the fragment on the cover of this book). The pictures depicting the battle between the Swedes and the Finns on the sarcophagus represent the pagan army as well-organized, carrying their own banner (with a dragon, the symbol of paganism), being armoured and having both crossbows and even proper cannons. This was huge exaggeration – as the inhabitants of the area seem not to have formed any tightly knit tribes capable of efficient joint action40 – that served to glorify the victory of the Christians and thus to strengthen the coherence of the Christian community. Simultaneously, the idea of paganism as dangerous for both temporal well-being and the salvation of one’s soul helped to encircle ‘our’ own Christian group: there was no salvation but only peril outside this community of believers. The Christian counterpart of the pagan ferocity was, of course, the fortitude shown by St. Henry in the face of the violence of the infidels. His courage and faith are essential topics for the author of the Legend and his audience, since the text dedicates a lengthy passage to describing how the bishop was well aware of the dangers he would face by staying in Finland. 41

38 Among scholarship of different fields, there has been a fair amount of discussion about vocabulary in studying imagined differences between communities. In fact, some disciplines consider ‘otherness’ as a term historically burdened and too biased, and have introduced other terms, like ‘difference’, ‘alterity’, ‘otherhood’ and ‘outsidehood’. For the purposes of this chapter, however, ‘otherness’ suits well, since the medieval idea of ‘us’ and those representing ‘otherness’ was and aimed to be clearly biased. See Neverdeen Pieterse, ‘Europe and its Others’, pp. 23-24. 39 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 2: ‘plebs Finlandiae, tunc ceca et crudelis gentilitas, habitantibus in Svecia gravia damna frequenter inferret’. 40 For an overview, see Line, Kingship, pp. 462-463; cf. Taavitsainen, ‘Kun nuoruus on ongelma’, pp. 131-166. 41 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 3: ‘Henricus … in partibus illis audacter remansit, non metuens se quibuslibet adversis exponere, ut posset gloriam Dei dilatare […] postpositis opulenciis rerum et amicorum solaciis et Upsalensis presulatus sede sublimi, pro paucarum et pauperum ovium salvacione multis se mortis periculis exponebat’.

238 Tuomas Heikkil ä

As mentioned above, the Legend of St. Henry describes eloquently the happiness of life in Christian Sweden and emphasizes the advantages of the Finns now joining the same community. Nowhere in the legend can one detect an undertone that would make a difference between the degree of Christianity in the western and eastern parts of the Swedish realm in the author’s own time. For the author of the text, writing in the late thirteenth century, Finland was not a colony of minor importance nor were its inhabitants peripheral people defeated by the Swedes. The eastern part of the realm was for him a self-evident part of the whole of a both ecclesiastical and political entity. For the author of the legend this may have been true partly due to the activities of St. Eric and St. Henry but there was also more than mere symbolism to that. Even according to current scholarship, the southwestern areas of Finland – the oldest Christian part of the area – belonged to the most central and important regions of the realm already in the late thirteenth century, alongside such core Swedish areas as Uppland and Östergötland. Against this background, it is symptomatic that the Legend of St Henry – or any other medieval literary source on the Christianization of Finland, for that matter – pays no attention to the undisputed fact that there had been Christians in Finland Proper before the events described in the legend, that is, before the so-called first ‘crusade’ of the mid-twelfth century. It was more important to get a dashy, precise beginning, a Big Bang as it were, for the relevant history of the area. The darker and more pagan the history before St. Henry, the brighter and more important his activities in overcoming the infidels. This led to a picture of local history painted in black and white with very sharp contrasts. As to the line between Christians and pagans, it is necessary to note that neither the Latin legend nor the popular oral tradition represented by the Piispa Henrikin surmavirsi (Death Psalm of Bishop Henry) – a lengthy poem of obviously medieval origin but written down only in the seventeenth century42 – lead to the understanding that St. Henry was martyred by a pagan. The very names of the murderer and his wife in the Death Psalm, Lalli and Kerttu, attest to their status as Christians (the Finnish versions of the names of St. Lawrence and St. Gertrud). Still, Lalli, Kerttu, and the anonymous murderer from the Latin legend were important as representatives of the otherness: albeit not necessarily pagans, they were something 42 The oldest known version is Helsinki, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, Kansanrunousar­ kisto, Reinius, Th. III 1853. Many of the known versions have been transcribed in: Haavio, Henrik ja Lalli.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


evil outside the community of the good, someone who did not respect and apply the virtues and values St. Henry stood for. In a story providing newlyChristianized Finns with building blocks of a new identity and conception of their own history, such characters were necessary to draw a clear line between ‘us’ and ‘the others’. Taking into account the fact that the diocese of Turku was located on the easternmost edge of Latin Christianity, it is interesting to note that neither the Legend of St. Henry nor any other source related to the cult of the saint mentions the Russian Orthodox Christians. Although the religious rivalry between the western and the eastern interpretations of Christianity in the North of Europe may have been exaggerated in previous scholarship, 43 the clashes with Novgorodians confessing Russian Orthodox Christianity were a recurring theme of Swedish and Finnish history of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Thus, one would expect to find something about this topic in the legend. An absolute lack of such references suggests that for the author and the commissioner of the legend the really important division within the human race was made between the Christians and the pagans. When it comes to presenting the qualities of ‘our’ community, the Legend of St. Henry went to great lengths to show the blessings Christianity had given ‘us’ both on this earth and in the afterlife. Redemption is a constantly present theme throughout the legend: through his life and death, St. Henry redeemed the Finns and brought them from dreary paganism to eternal life as Christians. There was thus a clear analogy to Christ himself, an analogy that the author of the legend underlined by the choice of his words: ‘He imitated the shepherd who, leaving the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness, searched for the one who was going astray, and having found it, lifted it on his shoulders and brought it back to the fold’. 44 In explaining the efforts of Henry in saving the souls of the Finns, he uses the parable of the good shepherd and the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7; Matthew 18:12-14) that immediately brought Christ to the minds of the audience. According to the legend, Christians already benefitted from their true faith in their current lives; a topic that can be followed throughout the text is how Christianity brings peace and order to society. On one side there is the chaos of the pagan world, on the other the harmony of Christian 43 For the traditional view see: Gallén, Finland i medeltidens Europa; for the recent accounts and literature of this postulated confrontation see: Lind, ‘Scandinavian Nemtsy’, as well as the contributions by Grzegorz Pac and Bjørn Bandlien in this book. 44 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 3: ‘pro paucarum et pauperum ovium salvacione multis se mortis periculis exponebat. Illius imitatione pastoris, qui relictis nonaginta novem ovibus in deserto unicam errantem sollicite requisivit et inventam ad ovile propriis impositam humeris reportavit’.

240 Tuomas Heikkil ä

society. In fact, even the zeal of St. Henry to punish a murderer – who was to martyrize the saint later on – had double implications. On one hand, Henry wanted to save the soul of the sinner, but the punishment was also necessary from a societal point of view, as the criminal had broken the rules of organized Christian society that brought its own system of law to Finland. As the Legend put it, a punishment was necessary ‘so that the easiness of forgiveness would not become an incentive to commit crimes’. 45 According to the author of the legend, the interplay between the Crown and the Church – exemplified by Sts. Eric and Henry – leads to ‘correcting the old and false pagan laws and to upholding peace and justice’ within the society. 46 The collaboration between the worldly and ecclesiastical rulers was a topic of great significance everywhere during the Middle Ages. In fact, when Ericus Olai, a well-known canon of Uppsala, wrote his highly interesting historical work Chronica regni Gothorum in the 1470s, he quoted the Legend of St. Henry as the perfect example of the blessings of the sword and the cross working together towards a common aim. 47 It is important to stress that the legend was not a normative text in the sense that it offered its audience a detailed set of instructions on how to please God or how to be a good Christian. Still, one could easily find some rough directives to follow. Obviously, the life and manners of St. Henry set an example for everyone, and the legend mentions, not surprisingly, all seven virtues as features of the Apostle of the Finns. On a more practical level, the legend gave some instructions about how to lead a Christian life within society. Firstly, the bishop of Turku used his power as the successor of St. Henry, in whom it had been invested by God. The fate of the murderer of the saint as well as that of a Swedish priest doubting St. Henry’s sanctity showed what would happen to anyone disagreeing with ecclesiastical power and the saint as its source. The authority of the church was sovereign and should not be challenged. Secondly, a Christian had not merely a passive role in his or her relationship to St. Henry. Several 45 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 4: ‘… homicidam quendam ob ipsius facinoris immanitatem ecclesiastica disciplina vellet corrigere, ne facilitas nimia venie incentivum delinquendi preberet.’; On the idea of people belonging to different systems of law, or even the principle of ‘personality of the law’, see: Bartlett, Making of Europe. 46 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 1: ‘Non erat tunc formidini, ut regnum in se divisum desolaretur, dum ad gloriam dei, et iustum tranquillumque regimen subditorum capita populorum tam concorditer convenerunt.’ Lect. 2: ‘… rectificabantur leges, quas simplex antiquitas vel minus recte condiderat vel obliquaverat perversitas malignorum. Studebatur paci et iusticie subditorum’. 47 Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 139-147; Tjällén, Church and Nation, pp. 80-90.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


miracles raise the votive gifts promised for a miracle as an example of the do ut des nature of the relationship between a Christian human being and the supernatural power. 48

Cui bono? On whose terms was the Christian community imagined? One is tempted to think that it was primarily the local bishop and the highest clergy and to some extent the temporal rulers who dictated the new, Christian group identity; it is obvious that those circles played the decisive role in the official understanding of the Christian community’s past, present, and future. Especially the bishop and the highest ecclesiastical administration had the means, motives, and opportunity to influence people’s ideas of where they belonged and their rightful context. Just as in the case of the truths of the Christian faith and the Bible, the Church had a monopoly on writing and explaining the texts related to the beginnings and true context of the Christian community in the Österlandet. It could shape the past to fill the needs of the present, as it saw them. However, this does not seem to have been the whole truth. The scholars of medieval hagiography have discovered that the successful texts on saints’ lives and miracles were not composed merely in a top-down manner. They were rather a careful mixture of historical facts and innovative though often pious falsifications, which promoted the authors’ own interests and ideals and fulfilled the wishes of their intended lay public. 49 If an author failed to respond to the expectations, the hagiographic work was bound to be unsuccessful. This brings us to an important question: How did the author of the Legend of St. Henry understand his own role? Was it about carefully documenting the course of history or about creating something new and contributing to the local group identity through the text? The answer is: both. One can hardly doubt the pious intentions of the author to tell a story that was correct. On the other hand, St. Henry’s life and activities were already rather distant history by the time of the writing of his legend: the events – if historical – had taken place 120-150 years (that is, four to five generations) earlier. In medieval historical writing, three generations or roughly one hundred

48 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 6, 7, 8, 9. 49 On this discussion, see, for instance: Graus, Volk, Herrscher und Heiliger, pp. 32-33; Delehaye, Légendes, pp. 11, 16.

242 Tuomas Heikkil ä

years was often the limit that collective memory could not overcome.50 Thus, it was only natural that the author could not know every detail of St. Henry and his missionary activity and had to fill in some gaps with his pious imagination. For instance, when it was necessary to describe Henry’s actions in taking care of the neophytes, there were no real sources available, and the author decided to use a biblical quote about the Good Shepherd.51 The texts were written in a thoroughly Christian context and served a special purpose: to give examples of God’s work and models to follow. Therefore, the authors must have had the sense of immensely influencing the local group identity. Considering the question of authority, the work was commissioned by the local bishop, who in turn used his ecclesiastical and temporal power as St. Henry’s rightful successor. In the end, it was he who accepted or rejected the contents and surely he knew better than anyone what purpose the legend was to serve. The author could rely on the authority of the commissioner, had privileged access to sources, be they written or oral, local or international, and it was his task to compose a balanced text that was truthful to the current vision of the past and useful in affecting the audience’s morals and identity. There is some evidence suggesting that not even the most official and learned text on St. Henry, his Latin legend, was written in a vacuum, separated from the sphere of thoughts of laymen. The miracles have a significant role in the legend, and most of them had happened to ordinary, simple men and women. Information about the miracles was collected by clerics at the shrines of the saint, in Henry’s case in Nousiainen and Turku, in the thirteenth century and was then added to the miracula. In hagiographical sources, the mentioning of names of persons involved in the miracles and the places in which they had taken place was important for the documentation of the saint’s continuous presence and for the credibility of the story. However, in our context of imagined communities they served yet another purpose, namely that of contributing to the several local identities inside the framework of the diocese. For small communities like the tiny villages of Kaisala, Vehmaa, Sastamala, Kyrö, or Kokemäki,52 to be mentioned in the legend as a venue of heavenly powers meeting earthly life was more than just fifteen minutes of passing fame. It testified to the fact that one’s own village had a special place and a meaning in God’s great plan for the salvation of the world. In this respect, it is interesting that the eleven miracles attributed to 50 Esch, ‘Zeitalter und Menschenalter’, pp. 321-325; Guenée, ‘Temps’, pp. 25-35. 51 Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 3. 52 All mentioned in Legenda s. Henrici, lect. 6-9.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


St. Henry did not take place only in Turku, blessed with the episcopal see and cathedral with Henry’s relics, or in Nousiainen by the original grave of the saint, but they covered most of the area of Christian Österlandet by the latter half of the thirteenth century.53 An interesting feature in the building of identity through the St. Henry tradition is the vernacular Death Psalm of Bishop Henry that seems to represent an alternative tradition of not only teaching, but performing the fate of St. Henry. It is usually considered to represent an alternative, popular tradition related to the saint.54 It should be mentioned that the plot of the Death Psalm differs greatly from the story explained in the Latin legend, and it probably gives an insight into the oral remembrance of the saint, a tradition that may have been vast in the Middle Ages, but whose only known example remains the Death Psalm in its various versions.55 Still, the differences are, with a closer look, superficial and have to do with the details rather than with the overall interpretation of St. Henry’s blessed activities. An analysis of what remains of the vernacular tradition on St. Henry shows that it struck a similar tone as the Latin legend when it comes to identity building: Sts. Eric and Henry were aware of the ferocity of the pagan Finns, but were willing to risk their lives for the immortal souls of their adversaries. The connection of this idea to Christ himself probably escaped no one with any basic knowledge of Christianity, and thus linked it to the Latin legend that plays with similar imageries. In addition, the Death Psalm includes the legitimization of St. Henry’s relics, crucial for the succession of episcopal power, by repeating the story of finding the saint’s finger relic and by explaining in detail how the saint himself gave instructions for his burial place in Nousiainen, which was to be the first seat of the episcopal see.56 In other words, even the vernacular tradition faithfully contains all the main elements of legitimizing the ecclesiastical hierarchy.57 As the Legend of St. Henry and the Death Psalm are versions of the genesis of Christian Finland, it is interesting to find an obvious analogy to the Genesis of the Bible in the latter. The vernacular story tells how the murderer of the saint, Lalli, was tricked into his evil deed by his wife, Kerttu – in a clear parallel to Adam and Eve. The analogy between the two unhappy 53 See the map in Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, p. 111. 54 Jokipii, ‘Ensimmäinen ristiretki’, pp. 326-327; Katajala, Suomalainen kapina, p. 483; Haavio, Henrik ja Lalli. 55 Haavio, Henrik ja Lalli, passim. 56 See Haavio, Henrik ja Lalli, pp. 102-105. 57 On the different versions of the Death Psalm, see Kuusi, ‘Kalevalainen runous’, pp. 303-307; Haavio, Henrik ja Lalli; Heikkilä, Henrikslegenden, pp. 159-161.

244 Tuomas Heikkil ä

couples was well understood by the medieval audience, as testified by the fifteenth-century frescoes of Albertus Pictor at the entrance to Härkeberga church (in the archdiocese of Uppsala, c. 40 km from the city): Adam, Eve, Lalli and Kerttu are all represented together in the vaults of the weapon house of the church.58 Interestingly, St. Henry cannot be found among the saints depicted in Härkeberga church, which suggests that at that point Lalli and Kerttu had become recognizable enough to be easily understood as symbols even without the saint himself. As elsewhere, the support of the local elite was by all appearances important in the Christianization of Finland. In many recently converted areas, one of the aims of the first Christian writings was to ensure the participation of the elite in the next steps of the Christianization process.59 In this respect, there is a marked difference in several other newly Christianized areas in Finland: unlike in the western parts of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, or Hungary,60 for instance, there were no identity-building texts centred around the local temporal elite. One reason for the difference was the very modest literary production in the diocese of Turku during the Middle Ages. Another had to do with a major difference from the examples mentioned above. Whereas the Christianization of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Hungary left the traditional local elite still in charge of temporal matters, in Finland the Christianization was so tightly connected to a political annexation of the area to a new context, that it forced the local nobility to find a new role for itself in more than one respect. This aspect gave additional importance to the emphasis of the collaboration between the temporal and ecclesiastical rulers underlined in the Legend of St. Henry. In addition, there was another legend dedicated to St. Eric, written slightly before that of St. Henry, which provided its public with a perfect model for a Christian nobleman. Interestingly, St. Eric never became a very popular saint in the eastern part of the Swedish realm, unlike his Norwegian counterpart, St. Olaf, who enjoyed immense popularity in the medieval diocese of Turku and was thus an important part of the role model for the Christianized elite.61 Still, the local nobility was not left without guidelines in the indigenous religious literature, since it definitely could be counted among the intended audiences of the Legend of St. Henry. In fact, the Latin liturgical and the oral vernacular traditions around St. Henry played together in this respect, 58 59 60 61

Heikkilä, ‘Vördnaden’, p. 105. Mortensen, ‘Sanctified Beginnings’, p. 269. Mortensen, ‘Sanctified Beginnings’, p. 257. On the cult of St Olaf in the diocese of Turku, see Knuutila, Pyhä Olavi.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


offering two different examples for the local elite. Either its members could follow the model of St. Eric as described in his own legend and that of St, Henry, that is, fight for Christianity and receive fame and eternal life. Or they could imitate Lalli, the murderer of St. Henry, fight against the true faith and receive a punishment both in this life and in the kingdom to come. All in all, it can be concluded that it would be an oversimplification to claim that the making of Christian identity was entirely in the hands of those who wrote the Latin legend of St. Henry, that is, the clergy. Just as they were the starting point of the official and uniform cult of the saint, the clerics provided many of the building blocks to construct a new identity through their knowledge of the faith, their texts, and their explication. Furthermore, the construction of the Christian way of thinking and definition of a Christian community was no doubt more conscious and purposeful among the ranks of the Church than among laymen. And surely, the Christian identity of the high clergy had elements – be they dogmatic or pragmatic – which they did not share with their countrymen, but rather with other clerics throughout western christianitas. Nevertheless, the laymen and laywomen had their own ways of carrying the official ideas further and developing them into directions not intended by the clergy. Thus, the overall picture was developed continuously in a constant interplay between the learned and the unlearned. While the versatility of this process can obviously not be grasped in full due to the lack of sources testifying to the popular, mostly oral traditions, it is important to note that there do not seem to have been big discrepancies in the overall sense of official and popular identity. It should also be pointed out that both the writing of a legend of the local apostle and the use of it in building an imagined community was by no means a Finnish specialty – quite the contrary. We know of numerous cases from various parts of medieval Europe, in which the legend of the first local saints – preferably martyrs related to the Christianization of the area – was hurriedly written after the triumph of Christianity. This was a very common phenomenon, and the examples are ubiquitous. For instance, as mentioned above, saints and legends from Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary follow a similar kind of mechanics,62 but there are just as well examples from Norway and the other Swedish dioceses. In fact, it is interesting that although the Christian faith had reached the other six medieval Swedish dioceses earlier than Turku, the legends of the local apostles and most 62 Fontes rerum Bohemicarum 1; Bláhová, ‘Function of Saints’, pp. 83-119; Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum 2; Veszprémy, ‘Royal Saints’, pp. 217-245; Monumenta Poloniae historica, series nova 4, 1-3; Kersken, ‘God and Saints’, pp. 153-194.

246 Tuomas Heikkil ä

important patron saints were written only slightly earlier than in Turku.63 This may indicate a broader phenomenon that may have had to do with the development of the literate culture in the realm, but most certainly contributed to the self-understanding of the local Christians.

Conclusions: Past and Present Since the Legend of St. Henry showed God’s work in the past and present, and let its audience understand that a happy future was waiting for them, it was a text that was constantly topical, and it was read and explained over and over again, from one century to another. Its basic contents were important and impressive, but most of the details were described so vaguely that the legend could be easily reformed and applied in diverse contexts. This was a most opportune feature, taking into consideration the use of the story in constant redefinition of Christian group identity. This is proven by the success of the Legend of St. Henry from its very writing to the end of the Middle Ages and beyond. More than merely a manual for a proper Christian life, the legend envisioned a common past as the basis for present and future Christian Finnish community. One of the most important aspects of the Legend of St. Henry was that it put the contemporary Christian Finns into their right historical context. Predominantly teleological in its tone, the legend offered the correct answers to questions about the most significant events in the history of Finland: how the area had been annexed to its present political and societal context and how its inhabitants had changed their pagan customs to Christianity. At the same time, it legitimized the status of both ecclesiastical and temporal rulers and their administrative organization, as they were both ordained by God through his saints Henry and Eric. Emblematic of the significance of the Legend of St. Henry, the concept of a sudden Christianization of the previously pagan Finland through three crusades in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries proved to be a very longlived phenomenon. All of the few other historical works written in medieval Finland used the legend as one of their most important sources and took for granted its explanation about the starting point of Finnish and Christian history. The oldest part of the local Bishops’ Chronicle was written by all

63 See Brunius, Atque Olavi, passim; Önnerfors, Hauptfassungen, p. 40; Önnerfors, Offiziendichtung, p. 60; Heikkilä, ‘Tekstit identiteetin rakentajina’, p. 107.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


appearances in the early fourteenth century.64 Although not as ambitious a literary undertaking as the writing of the legend, the Bishops’ Chronicle had the same aims as the Legend of St. Henry: to build the historical memory of the young diocese and its self-understanding by writing down the merits of the local Bishops, naturally starting from St. Henry. Thus, the dominating theme was the succession of authority and following the example set by the saintly first Bishop of Finland. In addition to the Bishops’ Chronicle, the very modest work known as the Annals of Turku echoed the view of the earliest history of Christian Finland taken from the Legend of St. Henry.65 It is doubtful if the Annals can be considered as a real historical work per se: it was probably more a matter of originally scattered notes of historical contents that were later copied and compiled.66 Still, the contents of those notes show that in the latter half of the fifteenth century, St. Henry was a widely accepted and self-evident starting point of the relevant history of the area. One can conclude that the approval of the contents of the Legend of St. Henry as the basis of Finnish history is evident in all the written sources with historical contents stemming from medieval Finland. In addition to the historical works mentioned above, one can add, for example, Ramus virens olivarum, a hymn known from the Piae cantiones collection published in 1582 but with clearly medieval roots.67 The hymn goes faithfully through the contents of the legend and compares it with the flood narrative of Genesis: just as the Christianization of Finland ended the pagan era, the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch announced the end of the great deluge caused by the misdeeds of humanity. Another example is the co-called Legenda nova of St. Henry – actually a sermon probably written in the monastery of Naantali (Sw. Nådendal) in the fifteenth century – that decorated the contents of the original legend with new details. Interestingly, the Legenda nova states expressis verbis that ‘he was the first in Finland to scatter the pearls of articles of faith and to show the path to eternal salvation’,68 that is, St. Henry was the first to preach Christianity in Finland. 64 The edition of the chronicle is included in: Catalogus et ordinaria successio episcoporum Finlandensium. See Heikkilä, ‘Tekstit identiteetin rakentajina’, pp. 115-120; Heininen, Historiankirjoituksen synty, pp. 52-57, 94-96. 65 The extant manuscripts of the Annales are Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, Ms. A942, pag. 10-11; Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, Ms. K12a, pag. 1-2. 66 Heikkilä, ‘Tekstit identiteetin rakentajina’, pp. 120-123. 67 Piae cantiones. 68 Legenda de sancto Henrico (Legenda nova), p. 89, lines 127-129: ‘Ipse quidem cepit primus in terra nostra Finlandie margaritas articulorum fidei in populo spargere viamque salutis eterne monstrare predicando.’

248 Tuomas Heikkil ä

The Reformation brought no change to the importance of the legend as an authoritative text on the earliest Christian history of Finland. In fact, the reformer of Finland, Michael Agricola, was convinced of the paramount merits of his predecessor as Bishop of Turku in the Christianizing of the Finns, when he wrote about the early history of Finland in his preface to the Finnish translation of the New Testament in 1548. According to Agricola, the Finns were Christianized during a military raid by St. Eric and St. Henry. But even Agricola made sure to mention that Eric and the Swedes took the defeated Finns under their patronage right after the battle,69 and thus emphasized the goal-oriented transformation of the Finns from their pagan context to their rightful place as a part of the Christian Swedish realm. Interestingly, the triumph of the picture of the Christianization of the Finns painted in the Legend of St. Henry lasted until the latter half of the twentieth century,70 when more profound multidisciplinary studies brought more detailed information on the different phases of Christianization.71 It should be mentioned that the Christianization of Finland and the historicity of St. Henry was a controversial research topic as early as the third millennium, as the present author experienced upon receiving a public death threat after he put in doubt the historicity of St. Henry as written in his legend. All this shows the ingenuity and power of simplification as well as the value of telling a good story by the author of the Legend of St. Henry. It shows also people’s reluctance to question the components of the imagined community they belong to, as well as its supposedly medieval foundations laid in the thirteenth century. The mental structures and group identity constructed from the building blocks shaped in the Legend of St. Henry and re-invented by modern nationalism have proven to be surprisingly resistant.

Bibliography Manuscripts Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. Theol. Lat. Fol. 706. Helsinki, National Library, ‘Lect. A’ (missing since the 1990s). Helsinki, National Library, ‘Lect. B’ (missing for decades). 69 Se Wsi Testamenti, fol. b r. 70 See, for instance: Jokipii, ‘Lähetyspyhimysten muistoja’, p. 93; Anthoni, ‘Korstågstiden’, p. 170. 71 As the latest summary, see Heikkilä, ‘Christianization of Finland’; Tahkokallio, ‘Kristinuskon tulo’, pp. 67-80.

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


Helsinki, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, Kansanrunousarkisto, Reinius, Th. III 1853. Lund, Universitetsbiblioteket, Fragment 106. Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, A56. Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, A942. Stockholm, Riksarkivet, Fr 1891 (Leo 30, Codex 303), Västergötlands handlingar 1607:17:2. Stockholm, Riksarkivet, Fr 1951, Västergötlands handlingar 1609:5:2. Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, C15. Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, C21. Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, C23. Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, C55. Uppsala, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, K12a. Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cod. Vat. lat. 5742. Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Ser. N. 12814.

Primary sources Bernardus Claraevallensis, Sermo I in festo SS. Petri et Pauli apostolorum, in Patrologia Latina 183 (Paris: Victor Palmé, 1854). Ecclesiae Anglicanae trophaea (Rome: Collegium Anglicum, 1584). Fontes rerum Bohemicarum 1, ed. by J. Emler (Prague: Muzeum Království Českého, 1873). Paulus Juusten, Catalogus et ordinaria successio episcoporum Finlandensium, ed. by Simo Heininen (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura, 1988). Legenda de sancto Henrico episcopo Aboensi, per quendam fratrem nouiter compilata, in De S. Henrico episcopo et martyre. Die mittelalterliche Literatur über den Apostel Finnlands II., ed. by Aarno Maliniemi (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura, 1942), pp. 85-98. Legenda s. Henrici, ed. by Tuomas Heikkilä, in Sankt Henrikslegenden (Helsinki/Stockholm: SLS/Atlantis, 2009), pp. 254-275. Miracula s. Sigfridi, in Acta Sanctorum Feb. II (Paris/Rome: Victor Palmé, 1864). Vitae sancti Adalberti, MPH, Series Nova 4, 1-3, ed. by Jadwiga Karwasińska (Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1962-1973). Passio s. Olavi, in Acta Sanctorum Jul. VII (Paris-Rome: Societas Bollandiana, 1868). Piae cantiones ecclesiasticae et scholasticae veterum episcoporum (Greifswald, 1582). Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum 2, ed. by E. Szentpétery (Budapest: Academia Litter. Hungarica atque Societate Histor. Hungarica, 1938). Se Wsi Testamenti (Stockholm: Anund Laurentsson, 1548).

Secondary literature Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London/New York: Verso, 1991). Eric Anthoni, ‘Korstågstiden och dess innebörd’, in Kring korstågen till Finland (Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 1968), pp. 155-172. Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950-1350 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). Marie Bláhová, ‘The Function of the Saints in Early Bohemian Historical Writing’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 83-119.

250 Tuomas Heikkil ä Jan Brunius, Atque Olavi. Nordiska helgon I medeltida mässböcker, Scripta minora 17 (Stockholm: Runica et mediævalia 2008). Eric Christiansen, The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier 1100-1525 (London: Macmillan 1980). Hippolyte Delehaye, Les légendes hagiographiques (Bruxelles: Société des Bollandistes, 1955). Arnold Esch, ‘Zeitalter und Menschenalter. Die Perspektiven historischer Periodisierung’, Historische Zeitschrift, 239 (1984), 309-351. Jarl Gallén, Finland i medeltidens Europa: valda uppsatser, ed. by John Lind (Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 1998). Jarl Gallén, ‘När blev Åbo biskopssäte’, Historisk tidskrift för Finland, 63 (1978), 312-324. C.J. Gardberg, Åbo stads historia. Från mitten av 1100-talet till år 1366 (Åbo: Åbo stad, 1973). Patrick Geary, ‘Reflections on Historiography and the Holy: Center and Periphery’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 323-329. Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1983). František Graus, Volk, Herrscher und Heiliger im Reich der Merowinger. Studien zur Hagiographie der Merowingerzeit (Praha: Nakladatelství Československé akademie věd, 1965). Bernard Guenée, ‘Temps de histoire et temps de la mémoire au moyen âge’, Bulletin de la Société de l’histoire de France (1976-1977), 25-35. Martti Haavio, Piispa Henrik ja Lalli. Piispa Henrikin surmavirren historiaa (Porvoo: WSOY, 1948). Georg Haggrén, ‘Moisio – kartano – kirkko’, SKAS, 1 (2005), 12-26. Lars Ivar Hansen, ‘Interaction between Northern European Sub-arctic Societies during the Middle Ages. Indigenous Peoples, Peasants and State Builders’, in Two Studies on the Middle Ages, ed. by Magnus Rindal (Oslo: KULT, 1996), pp. 31-95. Mikko Heikkilä, ‘Om Finlands världsliga och kyrkliga införlivande med Sverige’, in Historisk Tidskrift (F), 97 (2012), 437-468. Tuomas Heikkilä, ‘Vördnaden av Sankt Henrik i det svenska riket’, Finskt Museum, (2007), 101-126. Tuomas Heikkilä, Sankt Henrikslegenden, trans. by Rainer Knapas (Helsinki/Stockholm: SLS/ Atlantis, 2009). Tuomas Heikkilä, ‘Tekstit identiteetin rakentajina’, in Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa, ed. by Tuomas Heikkilä (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010), pp. 115-127. Tuomas Heikkilä, ‘Ristiretkiä Suomeen?’, in Suomalainen sotilas III. Muinaisurhosta nihtiin, ed. by Hannele Klemettilä (Helsinki: Karttakeskus, 2010), pp. 80-107. Tuomas Heikkilä, ‘Tracing the heavenly pater patriae of medieval Finland’, in Let these bones live!, ed. by Marika Räsänen (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming). Tuomas Heikkilä, ‘The Christianization of Finland’, in Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Histories and Structures, ed. by Anders Andrén, John Lindow, Jens Peter Schjødt (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming). Simo Heininen, Suomalaisen historiankirjoituksen synty. Tutkimus Paavali Juustenin piispainkronikasta (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura, 1989). Markus Hiekkanen, ‘Kirkkorakennukset ja keskiajan yhteiskunta’, in Kirkko kulttuurin kantajana, ed. by Nina Lempa (Helsinki: Kirkkohallitus, 2000), pp. 18-23. Markus Hiekkanen, Suomen keskiajan kivikirkot (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2007). Markus Hiekkanen, ‘Burial practices in Finland’, in Från hedniskt till kristet. Förändringar i begravningsbruk och gravskick i Sverige ca 800-1200, ed. by Bertil Nilsson (Stockholm: Runica et Mediævalia, 2010), pp. 271-379. Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism (London/Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2002).

An Imaginary Saint for an Imagined Communit y


Mauno Jokipii, ‘Ruotsin ja Länsi-Suomen lähetyspyhimysten muistoja’, Suomen Museo (1989), 61-131. Mauno Jokipii, ‘Ensimmäinen ristiretki Suomeen ja sen lähin jälkimaine’, in Muinainen Kalanti ja sen naapurit (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2003) pp. 300-411. Iiro Kajanto, Latina, kreikka ja klassinen humanismi Suomessa keskiajalta vuoteen 1828 (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2000). Kimmo Katajala, Suomalainen kapina. Talonpoikaislevottomuudet ja poliittisen kulttuurin muutos Ruotsin ajalla (n. 1150-1800) (Helsinki: Suomen Historiallinen Seura, 2002). Norbert Kersken, ‘God and the Saints in Medieval Polish Historiography’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 153-194. Jesse Keskiaho, ‘Hiippakunnan järjestäytymiskausi’, in Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa, ed. by Tuomas Heikkilä (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010), pp. 87-104. Jyrki Knuutila, Soturi, kuningas ja pyhimys. Pyhän Olavin kultti osana kristillisty-mistä Suomessa 1200-luvun alkupuolelta 1500-luvun puoliväliin (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistoriallinen seura, 2010). Matti Kuusi, ‘Keskiajan kalevalainen runous’, in Suomen kirjallisuus I. Kirjoittamaton kirjallisuus (Helsinki: Otava, 1963), pp. 303-307. Felice Lifshitz, ‘Beyond Positivism and Genre: ‘Hagiographical’ Texts as Historical Narrative’, Viator, 25 (1994), 95-113. John H. Lind, ‘Scandinavian Nemtsy and Repaganized Russians: The Expansion of the Latin West during the Baltic Crusades and its Confessional Repercussions’, in The Crusades and the Military Orders: Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Christianity, ed. by Zsolt Hunyadi, József Laszlovszky (Budapest: Central European University, 2001), pp. 481-497. Philip Line, Kingship and State Formation in Sweden 1130-1290 (Leiden: Brill, 2007). Guy Lobrichon, ‘Gli usi della Bibbia’, in Lo spazio letterario del medioevo I (Rome: Salerno, 1992) pp. 523-562. Lars Boje Mortensen, ‘Sanctif ied Beginnings and Mythopoietic Moments. The First Wave of Writing on the Past in Norway, Denmark, and Hungary, c. 1000-1230’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 247-273. Alan V. Murray (ed.), The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier (Farnham: Ashgate 2009). Jan Neverdeen Pieterse, ‘Europe and its Others’, in A Companion to Racial and Ethnic Studies, ed. by David T. Goldberg, John Solomos (London: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 17-24. Ari-Pekka Palola, ‘Yleiskatsaus Suomen keskiaikaisten seurakuntien perustamisajankohdista’, Faravid, 18-19 (1996), 67-104. Kauko Pirinen, ‘Suomen lähetysalueen kirkollinen järjestäminen’, in Novella plantatio, ed. by Aarno Maliniemi, Mikko Juva, Kauko Pirinen (Helsinki: Suomen kirkkohistori-allinen seura, 1955), pp. 42-81. Kauko Pirinen, Kymmenysverotus Suomessa ennen kirkkoreduktiota (Helsinki: Suomen Historiallinen Seura, 1962). Paula Purhonen, Kristinuskon saapumisesta Suomeen. Uskontoarkeologinen tutkimus (Helsinki: Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistys, 1998). Roy A. Rappaport, Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Burnam W. Reynolds, The Prehistory of the Crusades: Missionary War and the Baltic Crusades (London: Continuum 2016).

252 Tuomas Heikkil ä Unto Salo, Risti ja rauta. Kristilliset kuvat, symbolit ja ornamentit Suomen rautakauden löydöissä. Kristinuskon esineellistä kulttuurihistoriaa ennen kirjoitetun sanan aikaa (Helsinki: Emil Cedercreutzin säätiö, 2005). Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy. Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983). Brian Stock, Listening to the Text. On the Uses of the Past (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990). Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen, ‘Finnish Limousines. Fundamental Questions about the Organizing Process of the Early Church in Finland’, Medium Aevum Quotidianum, 10 (1989), 75-88. Jussi-Pekka Taavitsainen, ‘Kun nuoruus on ongelma – Rapolan muinaislinnan keskuslinnaajatuksen purkuyritys’, in Masunni. Kirjoituksia Tampereelta ja Pirkanmaalta, 3 (1999), 131-166. Jaakko Tahkokallio, ‘Kristinuskon ja kirjoitetun kulttuurin tulo Suomeen’, in Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa, ed. by Tuomas Heikkilä (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2010), pp. 67-80. Biörn Tjällén, Church and Nation: The Discourse on Authority in Ericus Olai’s Chronica regni Gothorum (c. 1471) (Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2007). Tapani Tuovinen, ‘The Finnish Archipelago Coast from AD 500 to 1550 – a Zone of Interaction’, Iskos, 19 (2011), 10-60. László Veszprémy, ‘Royal Saints in Hungarian Chronicles, Legends and Liturgy’, in The Making of Christian Myths in the Periphery of Latin Christendom (c. 1000-1300), ed. by Lars Boje Mortensen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2006), pp. 217-245. Väinö Wallin, ‘Kirkkojemme suojeluspyhät’, Suomen Museo, 3 (1896), 54-76. Alf Önnerfors, ‘Zur Offiziendichtung im schwedischen Mittelalter. Mit einer Edition des Birger Gregersson zugeschriebenen ‘Officium s. Botuidi’’, Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, 3 (1966), 55-94. Alf Önnerfors, Die Hauptfassungen des Sigfridoffiziums. Mit kritischen Editionen (Lund: Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund, 1968).

Legal and Urban Communities

Figure 5

Law code provinces in Sweden, fourteenth century

The Making of Legal Communities Royal, Aristocratic, and Local Visions in Sweden and Gotland, Thirteenth – Fourteenth Centuries Thomas Lindkvist*

The period from the late thirteenth century up to the middle of the fourteenth century was one with intense legislative activity in the emerging kingdom of Sweden. As in the other Scandinavian realms, the creation of a more complicated political structure and the making of extensive written laws are concurrent phenomena. State formation is, of course, a very complicated process, which includes the introduction of permanent taxation and the rise of an administrative literacy. What this chapter focuses on, however, are the ideological consequences of the entirely new judicial culture emerging then. As outlined by Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde,1 the laws were necessary for regulating the growing complexity of social relations and hence essentially contributed to a wholly new definition of the political and social community. This chapter will thus explore the visions of community propagated in three Swedish provincial law codes: the Västgöta (Westrogothic) Law from the period after 1220; the Guta Law from the late thirteenth century to the middle of the fourteenth century; and the Uppland Law confirmed in 1296.

Laws and Communities The notion of an imagined community has been associated with the rise of nationalism in Europe after the Napoleonic wars and the congress of Vienna. Imagined communities and the styles of their making are mostly * Thomas Lindkvist is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg. His research interests include the agrarian history of medieval Sweden in a comparative Nordic perspective. He has also studied the transition from the political culture of the Viking Age to the medieval state, notably the transition from a predatory economy to a system based upon appropriation of internal resources. He has also participated in several projects, notably about Christianization in Sweden. He is currently studying the Västgötalagen/ Westroghotic Law and the emergence of legislation in medieval Sweden. 1

Sunde, Speculum legale, pp. 97-98.

256 Thomas Lindk vist

associated with the modern nationalist concept of citizenship. But there were definitely deliberate pre-modern ways of creating polities and new communities. In a community too large for its members to know each other, the laws constituted a useful tool for its own imagination and provided its members a sense of belonging. Such an imagined community rested also on some notion of – admittedly stratified – equality of its members.2 Nevertheless, the laws give the impression of a social order without differences between classes or groups, which stands in stark contrast with the actual contemporary tendencies towards increasing social differentiation. Still, the very idea of law suggested some degree of commensurability of those subjected to it. The community through law was thus predominantly based on horizontal relations. This was, as notably pointed out by Susan Reynolds in her study of the notion of communitas, one of the fundamental principles of organizing social relations in medieval Europe and one of the cardinal terms designating what we nowadays call society. According to Reynolds, the hierarchical structures, often labelled as feudal, were not dominant. Instead, the medieval societies were from the twelfth century increasingly composed of horizontally positioned communities. Allegiance to these communities could overlap and they were sometimes ordered in hierarchical structures. The medieval individual was member and participant in different, often intersecting communities.3 Some communities – like villages, manors, and guilds whose members were familiar with each other – were linked by the production of similar goods or the very fact of being neighbors. But the tendency that started in the twelfth century in Scandinavia and on the Baltic Rim was the emergence of larger and more comprehensive communities such as different lordships and provincial polities. Lordship itself became more impersonal and was less based upon face-to-face relations. The rise of kingdoms in this region implied also that the community constituted by the realm came into being and the coherence of this community needed to be upheld by different symbols. For instance, as shown in Tuomas Heikkilä’s chapter, local patron saints hitherto promoting the identity of different communities raised to the level of saints of the realm. But also the notion of having a common law and a common set of rules provided the essential coherence of a community. The bylaws of villages and manors, the statutes of craft guilds are important examples of smaller 2 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 6-7. 3 Reynolds, Kingdoms and communities, pp. 1-64; see also Pennington, ‘Law, Legislative Authority’, pp. 443-444.

The Making of Legal Communities


communities. Another important and invented community was the parish. In some areas, e.g. Uppland, the parish was probably invented during the establishment of the local church organization and without predecessors. In Gotland and in Hälsingland the parish corresponded more to the already existing neighborhood communities, while in Västergötland the parish was partly based upon petty local lordships before it was integrated within the ecclesiastical organization. However, the ways the parochial formation advanced in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries differed in various parts of Sweden. 4 Such large-scale, collective re-organizations implied substantial developments in law. The change in the European legal systems from the twelfth century and especially during the thirteenth century was partly a consequence of the rise of the aforementioned communal activity and growth of new and bigger polities. These new communities were mostly politically determined as different principalities and kingdoms.5 New polities and new forms of lordships were thus in acute need of legitimization and the new type of laws came in handy to imagine them as broad and fairly equal communities. One important instrument in creating an imagined community and to legitimize it further was the invention or re-invention of a common past. History as a construction was important in the process of making new identities, both by remembrance and by oblivion. There is also an imagined common past for the community. The three law codes discussed in this chapter, those for the provinces of Gotland, Uppland, and Västergötland, are accompanied by some kind of history-writing, devised in order to legitimize the law and the community. An imagined community is in need of a subjectively very ancient past. Both legislation and historiography, to borrow a phrase from Gabrielle M. Spiegel, ‘played an important role in the politics of a traditional society dependent, as was medieval society, upon the past for legitimacy’.6

Traditional or Modern Laws? The legislative activity came to Sweden later than to the other emerging kingdoms of Scandinavia. We have nine Swedish provincial laws (Sw. landskapslagar) preserved for each of the legal regions or districts of Sweden 4 Brink, ‘Sockenbildningen i Sverige’, pp. 113-139. 5 Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities, pp. 250-331. 6 Spiegel, The Past as Text, p. 83; Geary, The Myth of Nations.

258 Thomas Lindk vist

known from the late thirteenth century. It has also been discussed whether three other laws existed which, however, have not been preserved. The other provincial laws, not discussed here, from the provinces of Östergötland, Uppland and Södermanland, Västmanland, Dalarna, and Hälsingland, are all from the late thirteenth and the early fourteenth centuries and reveal a great deal of similarities. These laws demonstrate in varying degrees the influence of the Church, the monarchy, and the aristocracy upon the rural communities. The three laws to be discussed in this chapter seem to have been more distinct from these but also differing from each other. The Guta Law, written in Old Gotlandic, is perhaps the most distinctive. The first version of the Västgöta Law is considered to be the most ancient of the Swedish laws and has traditionally been dated to the 1220s; its second version comes from the first half of the fourteenth century. The Uppland Law was provided with a royal confirmation in 1296 and in many respects served as a model for the other laws of the Svealand provinces. The provincial laws were replaced by a single law code for the entire realm confirmed by King Magnus Eriksson (1316-1374) around 1350 (Magnus Erikssons landslag), which was based on the Uppland Law. Magnus Eriksson’s Law was revised in a version confirmed in 1442 in Christopher’s Law (Kristofers landslag).7 The origins and nature of the Swedish laws have been debated and profoundly conflicting interpretations exist. According to a view which dominated the scholarship for a long period, the laws reflected an ancient endogenous legal tradition and the Old Germanic law. However, the laws had also clearly been influenced by Canon law, a process in which both the Church and royal power advanced their interests. It has thus often been assumed that different chronological layers and traditions could be reconstructed in the law material. This view of different layers in medieval Swedish legislation has been challenged in a study by Elsa Sjöholm from 1988. Sjöholm promoted the view that the laws in their entirety were a result of the reception of foreign law. In other words, that there were no traditional and endogenous elements preserved in the law texts.8 The merits of Sjöholm’s studies lay in pointing to the similarities with contemporary continental law, focusing on the fact that the coming of laws was actually 7 Strauch, Mittelalterliches nordisches Recht bis 1500, pp. 385-512; Lindkvist, ‘Law and the Making’, pp. 211-228. 8 Sjöholm, Sveriges medeltidslagar. See also Sjöholm, Gesetze als Quellen. Sjöholm’s study is, however, mostly based on the rather late laws from Eastern Sweden, Uppland, and Östergötland. See also the discussion in Norseng, ‘Law Codes as a Source’, pp. 137-166; Tamm, ‘How Nordic’, pp. 4-22.

The Making of Legal Communities


a general European phenomenon, even if the content was always modified and adapted to local, social, and political conditions. In many respects there are considerable differences between the three law codes discussed here, not least in the way they adopted European and/ or Canon Law. The Uppland Law reflects this adoption most clearly, while the Västgöta Law and, most notably, Guta Law seem to have preserved more endogenous traditions. There were possibly different agents behind the judicial visions and I would like to discuss each of them.

Guta Law and Guta Saga The thirteenth-century Guta Law, pertinent to the island of Gotland (with the exception of the city of Visby), differs in many respects from the laws of the Swedish mainland, particularly in terms of its alien content and structure. Similarly to the Västgöta Law, the texts reflect a process where different sections have been added and the final effect is therefore very diversified. The dating of the law code is notoriously problematic and different hypotheses have been suggested. Evidently there are chronological differences within the text. It is preserved in one single manuscript in Old Gotlandic from around 1350 (KB B 64). There are other versions differing in the text included or excluded.9 When it comes to the question of the law code’s origin, Johan Hadorph assumed that it was composed between 1220 and 1250 on the initiative of the Danish Archbishop Andreas Sunesen (r. 1201-1228). 10 Carl Johan Schlyter proposed, however, the second half of the thirteenth century as the period when substantial parts of the law emerged.11 This conclusion was based on some of the complicated inheritance rules, for instance, the fact that two non-Gotlandic (that is, probably meaning mainland Swedish) sisters get the identical inheritance as one brother.12 This was in accordance with the inheritance rules of Jarl (Earl) Birger Magnusson (r. 1248-1266) introduced in 1260. A much later dating has been suggested by Sjöholm, who proposed that the Guta Law was a product of the mid-fourteenth century. 9 There is also one paper MS from 1587 (AM 54 4:o), based upon a lost MS from 1470, containing regulations from a version earlier than the one preserved. There are regulations concerning priest’s children. There are also two medieval translations preserved, a Low German (KB B 65) and a Danish (AM 55 4:o). 10 Gothlandz-Lagen. 11 Samling af Sweriges gamla lagar, 7. 12 Guta Law, c. 24.

260 Thomas Lindk vist

She based this assumption on the fact that the inheritance rules of Gotland differ from those of the mainland. It was in the interest of the community of the island, she asserted, to stress these differences against the law of mainland Sweden as it was formulated in the law code of the realm (Magnus Erikssons Landslag). It was necessary to keep the Gotlandic rules intact and the inheritance had to be more restricted to keep the landholding from fragmenting, which might have led to a crisis of the social structure.13 In this interpretation, the Guta Law underwent its supposed final redaction partly as a reaction against the legislative activities of the Swedish kingship. Finally, the complicated textual character of the Guta Law has recently been thoroughly studied by Tobias Boestad. He has confirmed and elaborated the opinion that the text reflects a long development from the early thirteenth to the mid-fourteenth centuries in which the community of the Gotlanders adapted and partially resisted the political structure of the realm of Sweden.14 The Guta Law was thus a law made by one imagined community against other communities. At different times it was simply necessary to adjust the law to the outside world. Attached to the Guta Law is a text commonly called the Guta Saga, the saga of the Gotlanders.15 This text is also preserved in a Low German translation in a manuscript from 1401 and there are three different translations into Danish from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The saga could be regarded as a concise history of Gotland consisting of different episodes, in which the island’s relationship to the Swedish king and the bishop of Linköping is very important to understand. The first part of the saga narrates the mythical beginning of the first settlement and the division of the island into three parts (thirds: tredingar), through which the saga offers an explanation for the principal administrative division and how these new forms of communities with important judicial functions originated. Here is also the much debated story about an ancient emigration from Gotland before Christianization: the emigrants ‘travelled up the watercourse called the Dvina, and forward through Russia. They travelled for such a distance that they came to Greece (the Byzantine empire)’.16 The Gotlanders’ affinity with 13 Sjöholm, Gesetze als Quellen, pp. 163-173; see also the discussion in Guta Law, ed. Peel, pp. xxxvi-xl. 14 Boestad, Les bourgeois. 15 Carl Johan Schlyter introduced the Latin term Historia Gotlandiæ. It was Schlyter who established the division into separate chapters. 16 Guta Saga, c. 1: ‘foru upp at vatni, þy sum haitir Dyna, ok upp ginum Ryzaland. So fierri foru þair, en þair quamu til Griklanz’.

The Making of Legal Communities


the kinsfolks in the south is explicitly stressed as those who ‘still retain some of our language’.17 Although a common language as a source of a community’s coherence was seldom declared in the medieval sources and virtually absent from the laws, the Guta Saga does declare that language was crucial in identifying a dispersed community. No common cult or creed is mentioned, however.18 The rest of the Guta Saga treats what could be seen as the historical background to the emergence of the Gotlandic community’s constitutional framework. There are no precise chronological references, but evidently the events from the twelfth century are meant.19 One of these is the treaty the Gotlanders made with the king of the Swedes. They had to pay an annual tribute of sixty marker (marks), forty to the king and twenty to the jarl. This was the establishment of a tributary relation between the community of the Gotlanders and the mainland, but beside this tribute the island had no further obligations to the king (or the jarl). Although a certain Alvair Stråbein is named as the negotiator, it is stressed that the agreement was, in fact, a collective decision. It was thus essentially a direct treaty between a community and a king and in this regard the agreement suggests similar relations in the Norwegian skattlands (taxlands). However, contrary to, for instance, the Orkneys, the Guta Saga does not refer to any tradition of a formal endogenous hierarchical structure with an earl as principal of the community. There were no prehistoric ‘kings’ or any ancient ‘kingdom of Gotland’ – in contrast to Bornholm, for instance.20 Christianization and the establishment of the ecclesiastical organization were also important elements of the integration and transformation of this community. One of the purposes of the Guta Saga was to commemorate the fact that the Gotlanders had once Christianized themselves. The new creed was not imposed through conquest or penetration from the outside, even though Christianity arrived admittedly late to the island. It was stated that pre-Christian, pagan Gotlanders traded with both Christian and pagan areas,21 and there were evidently internal conflicts within the 17 Guta Saga, c. 1: ‘ok enn hafa þait sumt af varu mali’. 18 The emigration as a historical event has been questioned, see Weibull, ‘En forntida utvandring’, pp. 267-276. 19 Yrwing, Gotland under äldre medeltid, pp. 51-68. 20 Lindquist, ‘Sextio marker silver vart år’, pp. 139-149. The Norwegian or Norse skattlands are discussed in Imsen, ‘Royal Dominion’, pp. 35-94. Regarding the traditions of ‘kings’ on Gotland, see Andrén, ‘Lies about Gotland’, pp. 47-55. 21 Guta Saga, c. 4.

262 Thomas Lindk vist

community of Gotlanders regarding these issues. The first church was built on the initiative of a certain Botair from Akebäck but it was burnt down. The Guta Saga stresses also that the treaty between the Gotlanders and the bishop of Linköping was voluntary too. Gotland became a part of this bishopric but the position of the bishop on the island was largely restricted compared to his discretions on the mainland. He inaugurated churches and proclaimed holy days, but these had to be confirmed by the community. He had no part of the tithe and certain fines. The lay influence of electing a priest was more substantial on Gotland, which was partly sanctioned by the papal bulls.22 The bishop was regarded as an external lord whose power needed to be restricted. Finally, church buildings on Gotland were in most cases built by owners of large farms.23 There were no manorial estates but large farms roughly corresponding to twice the size of a normal farm. The origin of the parish system in Gotland can be traced back to some form of private church system resembling continental Eigenkirchen.24 The Guta Saga ends with an episode in which the Gotlanders could choose to follow the ledung, the naval military conscription of the Swedish king, or to pay a collective compensation, a fine called ledungslame. The ledung duty on the island had hitherto a more voluntary nature than in the area around Lake Mälaren. These admittedly favourable conditions for Gotland changed with King Magnus Birgerssons’s charter of 1285. The ledung became an annual tax, if not an explicit demand for military duty. The Guta Saga thus emphasizes an order more ancient than 1285.25 The Guta Saga might therefore be regarded as being integrated into the law itself. There are rules which, in other law codes, like that of Uppland, were assimilated into the section (book) of the king (Konungabalken in modern Swedish). Here the king and kingship are totally absent and together with the Icelandic Grágás, the Guta Law is the only Nordic law which does not mention the king.

22 Yrwing, Gotland under äldre medeltid, pp. 79-80; Schück, Ecclesia Lincopensis, pp. 265-267; Pernler, Gotlands medeltida kyrkoliv, pp. 66-89. 23 Andrén, ‘Vem lät bygga kyrkorna på Gotland?’, pp. 31-54. 24 Lindquist, ‘Sockenbildningen på Gotland’, pp. 45-64. 25 Yrwing, Gotland under äldre medeltid, pp. 60-61. The divergences between the Saga and the treaty of 1285 are of course the topic of the Guta Saga.

The Making of Legal Communities


The Västgöta Law The Västgöta Law exists in two versions, which is unique amongst the provincial law codes of Sweden.26 The first version of the Västgöta Law is considered to be the oldest preserved provincial law code in Sweden. It is traditionally dated to the 1220s and is ascribed to the lawspeaker Eskil Magnusson. A short fragment has been dated to c. 1250 based upon paleographical evidence. The entire law is preserved in one single manuscript from the period after 1281. The second, more extensive, and reworked version is preserved in a manuscript from c. 1350. The manuscript of Västgöta Law I or Older Västgöta Law (KB B 59) also contains several other texts, amongst those the Book or Excerpts of Lydekinus. It has been regarded as a collection of excerpts and annotations from the second version of the law. In a recent study Göran B. Nilsson has demonstrated that these excerpts or annotations are in fact remnants of complicated negotiations from the period between 1290 and 1315 when the interests of the Church and the king were implemented upon the legal traditions of the province. 27 The manuscript of KB B 59 itself was probably part of the process of making a new Västgöta Law. As a result, the first version of the law is only known from the period when it was going to be replaced and can therefore be interpreted as a late thirteenth-century construction of what was then regarded as an ancient and established law. Apart from the Excerpts, there were other texts added to the law containing lists of different kinds. There are lists of common mountains, forests, and waters in Västergötland. The commons listed in the codex were probably considered to belong to the land (province) of Västergötland. It was evidently necessary to name the common land against the demands of the king during the second half of the thirteenth century. It was a period when kings like Magnus Birgersson Ladulås (r. 1275-1290) developed a custom of donating parts of common forests. The lists were created to defend the common rights and possessions of the land of Västergötland.28 The most notable parts of the law are, however, the enclosed lists ‘narrating’ the history of the Christian kings of Sweden, the bishops of Skara, and the lawspeakers of Västergötland. These rather primitive and brief lists 26 It has been assumed by C.J. Schlyter that the Dala Law was an older version of the Västmanna Law. This interpretation has not been widely accepted in the scholarship, however. 27 Nilsson, Nytt ljus, pp. 177-211; the results are more accessible in: Nilsson, ‘Vad man bör veta’, pp. 5-18. 28 Lindkvist, ‘Individ och kollektiv’, pp. 180-181.

264 Thomas Lindk vist

are considered to be the first example of history-writing of the nascent Swedish realm. Nineteen lawspeakers, 17 bishops, and 18 kings are named and remembered in short notices written probably in the mid-thirteenth century. 29 The list of the Christian kings of Sweden has been used to reconstruct political history during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. But, it is important to note, the listed kings of Sweden are all related to Västergötland in a rather specific manner – the good kings were those that respected the law of Västergötland. The first was Olof Skötkonung (995-1022) and it is mentioned that he was baptized at Husaby. Especially the kings of the Stenkil dynasty were remembered as wardens of the rights of the province. King Stenkil (d. 1066) ‘loved the Western Goths (Västgötar) more than other men of the realm’.30 The successors of his dynasty Inge (d. 1100), Halsten (d. 1070) and Philip (1100-1118) were all good rulers; ‘they fared well with Sweden. No one could accuse them of violating the law’.31 Halsten ‘achieved justice in every case that was presented to him’.32 Their follower, Ragnvald Knaphövde (1120s), is said to have been ‘disrespectful of the law and therefore received a disreputable death. Then a good lawspeaker (lagman) ruled in Västergötland’.33 According to the law text, the lawspeakers, those who ‘made’ the law, were of special importance. The first two, Lumber and Björn, were explicitly pagan, and were soon followed by Tore Räv of Gökhem, about whose confession nothing is mentioned.34 The lawspeakers had thus a more ancient legitimacy than the kings and the bishops. Again, there could be good and bad lawspeakers, but it is evident that they ought to be the guardians of the law since they represented the province, especially in relation to kings. Lumber was the first one and he ‘thought much of our law’, stressing the

29 It has been pointed out that the list could not be based upon an oral tradition; Carlquist, ‘Fornsvenska lagmans’, pp. 133-144. See however: Lindquist, Västgötalagens litterära, pp. 11-62. 30 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 196: ‘han ælksæðhi wæstgøtæ vm fram allæ þe mæn i hans riki waru’. 31 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 198: ‘at þer foro wæl mæð sweriki. Ingin matti oc hanum laghæ spiæl kyænnæ’. 32 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 196: ‘hwat mal fore han kom , þa war han bøtændi at’. 33 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 198: ‘oc fore þa sæwirðningh han giorðhe allum wæstgøtom, þa fek han skiæmðær døðhæ, styrðhi þa goðhær laghmaðþær wæstrægøtllandi’. 34 Lumber was ‘heðþen’ while Björn ‘eygh kunugh hælægh crisnæ’, that is, he did not know the holy Christendom. Both were buried in a mound, which was thus considered to be un-Christian. Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 192.

The Making of Legal Communities


pagan, or pre-Christian origins of the law.35 Karl of Edsvära was another hero praised as an ideal judge in the twelfth century,36 who ruled the land when no king was recognized. He is described as ‘faðþir at fostærlanði’, which well corresponds to the Latin pater patriæ. Another very prominent lawspeaker was Eskil Magnusson during the early thirteenth century. Eskil is said to have investigated the pagan law of Lumber and how it was interpreted and was thus remembered as a learned man and a peer to the most learned clerics. It has therefore been assumed that Eskil was the man who took the initiative to codify the law text known as the first version of the Västgöta Law, although it is nowhere stated explicitly. Later lawspeakers were remembered to have imposed regulations that modernized the Västgöta Law: ‘They got rid of many pagan customs from our law and excluded concubines’ children from inheritance’.37 These first lawspeakers were named by name and origin, like Tore Räv of Gökhem, Karl of Edsvära, etc. Thereafter, probably in the second half of the twelfth century, the off ice became more or less hereditary and controlled by certain lineages. For instance, the sons of Algut held the title for three generations at the end of the twelfth century and the early thirteenth century. Algut’s son, Sigtrygg, considered himself to be too young and unlearned to hold the office. Instead Önd was elected and after him his brother Nagle. After them, the lawspeaker office was held by Sigtrygg Algutsson, later succeeded by his son Algut. This Algut was the immediate predecessor of Eskil, probably without any kin relationship. With Eskil, the office was held by a member of the mighty clan of Bjälbo from Östergötland. He was the half-brother of Jarl Birger Magnusson, subsequent founder of Stockholm and the power broker in Sweden at the time. In other words, this nucleus of history incorporated into the law strongly foregrounds the lawspeakers’ legislative initiative rather than the kings’ or bishops’. It is thus hardly surprising that Canon Law was much less implemented in Västergötland in the late thirteenth century than in provinces such as, for instance, Uppland.38 There is no doubt that the lawspeakers enumerated in the Västgöta law code represented the aristocratic elite. Consequently, the role of individuals 35 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, p. 192: ‘han sighs hawa huxæt oc gørt en mykin loth aff laghum warum’. 36 He is probably identical with the jarl Karl Sunesson, mentioned in Fagrskinna, ed. Bjarni Einarsson, pp. 198, 331. 37 Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. Wiktorsson, 2, pp. 194, 196: ‘toko marghir heþær af warum laghum oc frillubørn gengu ffra arwi sinum’. 38 Inger, ‘Kanonisk och inhemsk’, pp. 9-15.

266 Thomas Lindk vist

is much more emphasized in the Västgöta tradition than in the Gotlandic communal tradition. The endogenous lawspeaker, as in the case of Karl of Edsvära, was a jarl in the Norse terminology and tradition. In fact, Norse literature emergent at that time in what we now call Sweden mentions several jarls, most of whom are associated with the Götaland provinces, especially Västergötland. The examples are few and some of the recorded jarls were possibly not historical persons at all, but in this comprehensive and varied Norse tradition the province of Västergötland was associated not with kings (as in Uppsala), but with the mighty jarls. There was just one jarl of Västergötland at a time, so the title assumed the character of an office and there might have been a see of the jarl at Brunnsbo outside Skara.39 The jarl was evidently the Norse term or equivalent for the lawspeaker. The first version of the Västgöta Law and its appendices of KB B 59 might therefore be interpreted as representing a remembrance perpetuated by the lay and ecclesiastical guardians of a Västgöta legal and political tradition which underlined the province’s supposedly ancient rights in relation to the kingdom. The Law of Västergötland might be seen as a joined effort of the local aristocracy and the episcopal chapter of the Skara cathedral. In the process of the creation of the law, the land (province) of Västergötland became imagined as a community united by an invented historical tradition, with this tradition upheld by the aristocratic elite of the province.

The Uppland Law The Uppland Law was sanctioned and confirmed in 1296 by King Birger Magnusson (r. 1290-1318). It is also said that the law was prepared by a commission led by the lawspeaker Birger Persson and the Provost Andreas of Uppsala Cathedral, accompanied by several other members of the Uppland landed aristocracy. 40 The drafting of the code was definitely a deliberate adaptation of Canon and Roman Law aimed at adjusting the legal tradition to modern law heartily supported by the Church. Provost Andreas held the title magister from the University of Paris and the chapter of Uppsala had in the previous decades sent several men for studies at the University of Bologna, amongst those a cousin to lawspeaker Birger. 41 Birger Persson 39 Gräslund, ‘Snorre, Ragnvald Ulfsson’, pp. 39-50. 40 There were no representatives of what might be termed peasantry. 41 The Chapters of the cathedrals of Skara and Uppsala had both student houses at Paris by that time. Inger, ‘Upplandslagen 700 år’, pp. 423-437; Sällström, Bologna och Norden, pp. 220-231.

The Making of Legal Communities


could be considered as one of the first known members of the new landed aristocracy that emerged under the second half of the thirteenth century with estates and other economic assets located in different provinces of Sweden. He and some other members of the commission represented hence not only the province, but also the realm as a form of political community. The making of the Uppland Law can thus be seen as a top-down imposition prepared and coordinated by the regional church and aristocracy, eagerly supported by the king. The new law deliberately abandoned the ancient forms of communities such as the three folklands. Unfortunately, we have very imperfect knowledge about the precise functions of the folklands, but they were evidently a form of local community that was abandoned from the late thirteenth century. It has been suggested that one of them, Fjärdhundaland in the southwestern part of Uppland, together with adjacent parts of the land of Västmanland, could have been the power base for one of the factions, the folkungar, opposing the centralization of the Swedish kingdom. 42 According to the Uppland Law, each folkland had its own assembly with judicial functions and in some cases the region was also presided over by a folklandsherre. His authority seems to have regarded the cases concerning the military duties, 43 the division concerning especially high compensations of manslaughter, 44 and he was also the recipient of fines in certain cases. 45 Beyond this his functions are, however, difficult to reconstruct. In general, the assemblies of the folklands are seldom mentioned in the Uppland Law, since it was exactly the type of community that the law code was making obsolete and henceforward lost its importance, although it did resurface later in some circumstances. 46 The task of the new Uppland Law was to bring together various legal customs from three different folklands. The confirmation of Uppland Law in 1296 by King Birger Magnusson contains a narrative that the province 42 Lindström, Lindström, Svitjods undergång, pp. 217-218; cf. Lönnroth, Från svensk medeltid, pp. 13-29. 43 Uppland Law, Konungabalk 10:11. 44 Uppland Law, Manhelgd 14; cf. Manhelgd 1. 45 Uppland Law, Thingmala 2. If a länsman (royal bailiff) summoned an assembly without the permit of the king (letter from the king) and failed the oath, he had to compensate the folklandsherre. 46 This is also the case with the Västmanna Law. Liedgren, ‘Folkland’, cols. 469-470. The term folklandsting was used in Fjärdhundraland as late as 1435. It was then used for meetings of political agitation during the revolt against the king of the Union. Cf. Liedgren, ‘Folklandsting’, col. 471. It was Fjärdhundaland that had been an area of opposition against the kingship during the late thirteenth century.

268 Thomas Lindk vist

itself came into being simultaneously with the making of the law; the name Uppland was in fact f irst recorded there. 47 The area was well def ined: it was a law to all who lived between the coast of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, and Sagaån and Ödmården. Sagaån is a small river on the border between Uppland and Västmanland, while Ödmården is a forest ridge between Gästrikland and Hälsingland. According to the preface, the code was intended for a broadly conceptualized community; the law was meant to ‘be of guidance to all the people, both rich and poor’ and ‘to the protection of the poor’. 48 One could thus state that the preface postulated a wide, socially inclusive imagined community connected through horizontal bonds, but without any clear demarcations against those remaining outside of it. The Uppland Law in many respects erased the ancient communities of the folklands. There is less historical legitimization of the Uppland Law compared with the Guta and the Västgöta Laws. There are no Upplandic equivalents to the Guta Saga or the lists attached to the first version of the Västgöta Law. But legitimization through the past is far from absent. In the confirmation text of the law code, the making of the law is historically motivated. There was a certain Viger and his ‘flockar’ (flocks). This Viger was the first man who gave law and he was pagan in pagan times. ‘Maker of the law was Viger the wise, pagan in pagan times. What we find to be useful in his law for everyone is included in this book’. 49 Similarly to Lumber in the case of the Västgöta Law, we here find that the first law was given in pre-Christian, pagan times. And like Lumber, Viger is mentioned only once. In other words, the laws were ancient, older than Christianity, and it was also stressed that the laws were originally given, invented perhaps, by local representatives.

Inside and Outside the Community In general a law – written or not – was intended to encompass all members of a community or society and hence to be excluded, to become an outlaw, was one of the most severe sanctions available. The three laws discussed here reveal interesting differences in this regard. In the law code for 47 Uppland Law, Confirmatio (SDKH nr. 1684); Calissendorff, Ortnamn i Uppland, p. 17. 48 Uppland Law, Praefatio: ‘Lagh skulu wara satt oc skipaþ almænne til styrsl baþæ rikom oc fatøkom. … Lagh skulu gømæs oc haldes fatøkom til wærnr.’ Quotation from Upplandslagen enligt Codex Esplunda, ed. Henning, p. 3. 49 Uppland Law, Praefatio: ‘Lagha yrkir war wigær spa. hæþin i hæþum timæ. Hwat ær wi hittum i hans lagh saghu ær allum mannum þarflikt ær þæt sætiom wir i bok þæssæ’.

The Making of Legal Communities


Västergötland the status of outlawry (urbota) was confined to the province and sanctioned by the lawspeaker and the assembly (thing). The Uppland Law comes from a period when particularly severe crimes were under the jurisdiction of the king, and thus outlawry applied here to the entire realm. There were no similar regulations on the island of Gotland since the Guta Law knew no authority that could sentence or sanction outlawry. There were, however, certain regulations about certain confined peace circles where a killer and some of his closest male relatives were considered to be safe from revenge.50 Generally speaking, all three law codes drew very few social distinctions. The default subject of a legal community in all three laws was a peasant (bonde, pl: bönder); a free man and a landowner or at least a head of a household and farm. Minors, women, and children, with reduced legal capacity, were included in the legal community, however. The unfree, slaves or thralls, on the other hand, were in general placed outside the legal community.51 There were, with few exceptions, no distinctions made concerning legal capacity or social honour amongst the freemen. Interestingly, the hierarchical structure of the society with the privileges of the aristocracy ( frälse) and the ecclesiastical institutions are not visible in the laws. By comparison, some Norwegian law codes did draw distinctions in regard of the rights and the capacity of different freemen. Similarly, the Norwegian law codes, which are older than their Swedish equivalents, did differentiate between categories of peasants (bönder).52 The Swedish laws discussed here introduced, however, no formal distinctions between the rights and honours of the freemen. Bonde was in many respects a ‘zero degree’ member of the legal community, an ‘ideal’ member. The bonde constituted the norm. Behind the norm there could be considerable economic differences.53 There could be distinctions between the community and the outside world, however. In the Uppland Law there is no such distinction; the legal community was simply confined to a certain area and its definition was more or less territorial. But the community of the Upplanders was not treated differently from other men of the realm, which is understandable 50 Guta Law, ch. 13. The killer could remain within the peace circle, but had also a respite of eight days to leave it in order to go abroad on a pilgrimage to atone for his sins. 51 See the discussion in: Ekholst, För varje brottsling; Nevéus, Trälarna i landskapslagarnas. 52 Gulathing Law chs. 56, 91, 185, 198, 200; Frostathing Law, chs. IV:49, 53, X:35, 41, 46, XIII:15. 53 Lindkvist, ‘Bonden i lagen’, pp. 57-68. See also Lindkvist, ‘The Peasantry and Peasant Communities’, pp. 392-397. In the ongoing project of translating the medieval Nordic provincial laws into modern English (MNL; University of Aberdeen), the term bonde will in most cases be translated as ‘householder’.

270 Thomas Lindk vist

given the royal support for the law and that the drafting of the code coincided with the state formative tendencies of the realm. In the Västgöta Law, on the other hand, there are several indications about the limitation against the outer world. For instance, the law code stipulates distinctions made between men from different areas. Manslaughter was differentiated between a man from Västergötland (Västgöte), and a man from the realm, but not a Västgöte. There was a notion of the province as distinct from other areas. A Swede, ‘Smålander’, ‘a man from the realm’, is one such category. Swedish refers probably to a man from Svealand. There is a statement that compensation to kin had to be paid for manslaughter of a man outside Västergötland. Yet another category dealt exclusively with more distant foreigners such as Danes and Norwegians, upon whom a lesser compensation was bestowed. Finally, there is a further, most distant category with only four marker (marks) compensation: a man from the South (a German?) and an Englishman.54 In the second version of the law two denominations of origin are added, which are notoriously difficult to interpret: alzman and ymuman.55 A similar distinction concerned the wounding of a man – the compensation was equal compensation to that for men from Västergötland, from the realm, Danes, and Norwegians, but it was less for Southerners or Englishmen. The latter foreigners were entitled to the identical compensation for that of a freed slave.56 In Västergötland, contrary to the other provincial law codes of the Swedish mainland, there are clear distinctions between men from different areas, not only the distinction between domestic and foreigner. A foreigner vis-à-vis a domestic is also problematized concerning purchase of an animal. There was a distinction between a man from the province and one from outside it. This implied also that the province had clearly defined borders or boundary-marks. The other side of Käglan, that is, the Lake Mälaren region, was considered to be abroad. Another foreign area mentioned here is Denmark.57 Ravaging and plundering in the home province (Västergötland) was considered to be a particularly severe offense,

54 Older Västgöta Law, Mandråp, 5. 55 Younger Västgöta Law, Dråp 15; possibly refers to men from islands of the Baltic Sea and the north of Sweden. 56 Older Västgöta Law, Såramål, 3, 5. 57 Older Västgöta Law, Tjuva 12:2. Käglan was – and is – the forest on the border between Närke and Västmanland in central Sweden. Here, but in no other cases, Närke was considered to be a part of Västergötland.

The Making of Legal Communities


in stark contrast to similar crimes committed in other places which passed as inculpable.58 The Guta Law made similar distinctions in several respects and in some cases differentiated between Gotlanders and non-Gotlanders. If a Gotlander killed a non-Gotlander he did not need to flee to a peace circle or offer a wergild, even if he was able to pay wergild.59 There was also a difference in wergild’s value for a Gotlander and a non-Gotlander. For the former, it was three marker (marks) in gold while all other men were compensated with nine marker of silver. When a Gotlander married a non-Gotlandic woman, the children inherited the father’s value concerning wergild.60 Similarly, when a thrall killed a Gotlandic man, the master compensated with nine marker silver and hands over the slayer pinioned. If there was no killer presented, the compensation was twelve marker; if a thrall killed a non-Gotlander the compensation was smaller.61 The legal importance of Gotlandic belonging stretched into the past as well as into the future. A son born outside marriage could make himself an heir unless he has a real Gotlandic father and mother and their lineage could be traced for three generations back.62 These matters were evidently crucial when one of the parents was of non-Gotlandic origin.63 Intercourse between Gotlander and non-Gotlandic and the eventual results thereof were regulated in some detail.64 Sexual assaults were compensated differently depending on whether or not the woman was Gotlandic.65 The regulations are far from clear and partly contradictory, which might be explained by chronological differences, but the general tendency that can be observed is the effort to protect the Gotlandic laws of inheritance against those of the Swedish realm. In a similar manner, the question of honour was associated with being a Gotlander and belonging to the community of the Guta Law. The law code nowhere specified explicitly what was meant by non-Gotlandic, but the possibly defensive character of the law is directed against the city of Visby and the realm of Sweden. The imagined community of the Guta Law was thus defined by excluding itself from its surroundings and neighbors. 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

Äldre Västgöta Law, Urbota 3. Guta Law, cc. 13, 14. Guta Law, c. 15. Guta Law, c. 16. Guta Law, c. 20:14. Guta Law, c. 20. Guta Law, c. 20a. Guta Law, c. 23.

272 Thomas Lindk vist

Conclusions: The Making of Legal Communities The making of laws was a prominent instrument to enhance the identity of a community. The three laws discussed above were an important part of the growth of a vernacular literacy and thus the spread of the sense of community.66 The three propagated senses of community were, however, quite different and, in the parlance of political history, they might also be presented as alternatives to state formation. As indicated above, the agents behind these laws were very dissimilar and these visions of new political structures served different political interests. To begin with, Gotland as an island was very loosely integrated within the realm of Sweden during the Middle Ages. The island had an important position in the middle of the Baltic Sea and was a vital link in the exchange of products within the Baltic Rim and beyond. Several crucial ports around the island, like Visby and Paviken, show that seaborne communications were important and frequent. The many and large finds of silver hoards containing Cufic coins indicate the pivotal role of the Gotlanders in the Viking Age trade system. These commercial activities continued into the Middle Ages and a Gotlandic representative could be found as far as in Novgorod.67 The Guta Law represents a rather broad elite whose economic power extended to control over the exchange of products, among others. It was this elite that organized the Gotlandic society and built the impressive parish churches, 92 in total, all of which had been erected before the end of the thirteenth century. This broad social elite never developed into a landowning aristocracy but, as the modern historiography (also fostered by local historians) called it, developed into a ‘republic of farmers’ (bonderepublik).68 This is too much an idealization of the island’s social structure, which offers a vision of medieval Gotland as the very egalitarian society it never was. It was, admittedly, a community with a different structure than that promoted by the emerging kingdom in Sweden, and definitely distinct from the small but powerful polity hidden behind the new mighty ramparts of the city of Visby. It was in opposition to the latter that the Guta Saga narrated the history and secured the rights and status of the broader Gotlandic 66 The importance of vernacular literacy for the making of comprehensive communities is stressed in Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood, pp. 22-25, 150-155, 193-195. 67 Blomkvist, ‘Spåren av en svunnen världskonjunktur’, pp. 155-183; Carlsson, ‘Vikingahamnar på Gotland’, pp. 17-25. 68 See most recently Siltberg, Gotlands landsbygdssamhälle, pp. 30-46.

The Making of Legal Communities


community. Gotland remained perceivably less integrated into the realm of Sweden than most other provinces until the middle of the fourteenth century, when the island was seized by the Danish king. Västergötland, on the other hand, was a province where Christianization arrived very early, with Christian burials datable as early as the tenth century.69 The first permanent bishopric was founded shortly after the year 1000 at Skara and Västergötland was central to many of the first Christian kings. A Christian monarchy settled in the Götaland provinces rather than around Lake Mälaren. Varnhem Monastery in central Västergötland, one of the earliest Cistercian houses in Sweden, was the sepulchral church of three of the kings of King Erik’s dynasty: Knut Eriksson (r. 1167-1195), Erik Knutsson (r. 1208-1216), and Erik Eriksson (r. 1222-1229, 1234-1250). The incipient ecclesiastical and royal structures evolved there as well. Still, the local elite, the great landowners, and the descendants of the first church-builders, joining forces with the regional church (Skara Cathedral), tried to protect the provincial legal tradition and practice when an increasingly powerful monarchy fought provincial polities.70 The past imagined in Västergötland stressed thus the regional community as opposed to the realm. Finally, Uppland, or the eventual Uppland, was a point of political gravitation during the Viking Age. Gamla (Old) Uppsala was an important center for political power, known in Norse literary tradition through its famous ‘kings at Uppsala’. Uppland and the area around Lake Mälaren constituted also the economical center of external appropriation during the Viking Age; this culture was upheld by chiefdoms and petty kings. When a Christian monarchy became established around the year 1000, its acceptance in Uppland was problematic. Instead, it was Västergötland and Östergötland where a new polity was established and evolved. Interestingly, for a long period Uppland was a center of resistance – not against Christendom per se – but against the more centralized Christian monarchy. During the second half of the thirteenth century these factions of opposition lost and Uppland, together with the rest of the Lake Mälaren region, was swiftly integrated into the kingdom.71 New ideological and administrative instruments of social control were introduced and the Uppland Law was probably the most decisive part of this process. It created an imagined community that broke

69 Theliander, Västergötlands kristnande; Vretemark, ‘Fru Sigrids gård i Varnhem’, pp. 138-141. 70 Lindkvist, ‘Land och rike’, pp. 515-530. 71 Hyenstrand, Lejonet, draken och korset, pp. 74-88, 128-152; Lindkvist, Plundring, skatter, pp. 56-70.

274 Thomas Lindk vist

with many, though not all, older notions of identity, such as the folklands as regional communities. As mentioned above, the codification of laws was synonymous with the making of legal communities. These communities were of course imagined by those who initiated them, more of a prospect than a constative act. Obviously, these communities were pre-modern in the sense that they did not promote national consciousness; nonetheless, they did postulate a coherence legitimized by an invented common past. The agents of lawmaking differed, but in all three cases the written culture, both the legislation and the making of the past, was employed for transforming or preserving the social structure. On Gotland it was probably a large group of wealthy farmers that tried to preserve the endogenous social structure against the realm of Sweden. In Västergötland there was a more socially and economically differentiated society, where the elite (or elites?), partly using some sort of an imagined past, tried to preserve a more archaic structure. In the case of the Uppland Law, it was a highly deliberate and calculated effort carried out in a top-down manner by the royal power, the church, and the leaders of aristocracy (all personally interrelated by kinship and alliances) aimed at modifying vital parts of the legal system and creating a new legal community with the concept of the realm on the horizon. In this work the need to create a common past was less important, although, as Margaretha Nordquist’s chapter in this book acutely shows, it was far from absent.

Bibliograhpy Manuscripts Copenhagen, Københavns universitet, Den Arnamagnæanske håndskriftsamling, AM 54 4o, AM 55 4o. Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, B 64; B 65.

Primary sources Äldre Västgötalagen, ed. and trans. by Nataniel Beckman (Uppsala: Norrblads bokhandel, 1924). Äldre Västgötalagen och dess bilagor i Cod. Holm. B 59, 1-2, ed. by Per-Axel Wiktorsson. Skara stiftshistoriska sällskaps skriftserie, 60 (Skara: Föreningen för Västgötalitteratur, 2011). Fagrskinna – Nóregs konunga tal. Àgrip af nóregskonunga sögum, ed. by Bjarni Einarsson. Íslenzk fornrit, 29 (Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 1985). Gothlandz-Laghen på gammal göthiska, ed. by Johan Hadorph (Stockholm 1687). Gotlands-Lagen, ed. by C.J. Schlyter. Samling af Sweriges gamla lagar, 7 (Lund: Berlingska boktryckeriet, 1852).

The Making of Legal Communities


Guta Lag. The Law of the Gotlanders, ed. and trans. by Christine Peel (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2009). Guta Saga. The History of the Gotlanders, ed. by Christine Peel (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 1999). SDHK = Svenskt Diplomatariums huvudkartotek över medeltidsbreven. http://sok.riksarkivet. se/sdhk (accessed 2015-03-03). Svenska landskapslagar tolkade och förklarade för nutidens svenskar, 1-5, ed. and trans. by Åke Holmbäck, Elias Wessén (Stockholm: Hugo Gebers Förlag, 1933-1946). Uplands-lagen, ed. C.J. Schlyter. Samling af Sweriges gamla lagar, 3 (Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söner, 1834). Upplandslagen enligt Codex Esplunda, ed. by Sam Henning. Samlingar utgivna av Svenska Fornskriftssällskapet, 51 (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1934). Westgöta-Lagen, ed. by H.S. Collin, C.J. Schlyter. Samling af Sweriges gamla lagar, 1 (Stockholm: Z. Haeggström, 1827).

Secondary literature Benedict Anderson, Imagnied Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 1991). Anders Andrén, ‘Lies about Gotland’, in Facets of Archaeology. Essays in Honour of Lotte Hedeager on her 60th Birthday, ed. by Konstantinos Chilidis and others (Oslo: Unipub, 2008), pp. 47-55. Anders Andrén, ‘Vem lät bygga kyrkorna på Gotland’, Saga och sed. Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademiens Årsbok, (2009), 31-59. Nils Blomkvist, ‘Spåren av en försvunnen världskonjunktur’, in Spillingskatten. Gotland i vikingatidens världshandel, ed. by Ann-Marie Pettersson (Visby: Länsmuseet på Gotland, 2008), pp. 155-185. Tobias Boestad, Les bourgeois de Visby et la société paysanne (1288-1361). Rapports de pouvoir sur l’île de Gotland à la lumière des textes juridiques (unpublished Master thesis, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 2013). Stefan Brink, ‘Sockenbildningen i Sverige’, in Kyrka och socken i medeltidens Sverige, ed. by Olle Ferm (Stockholm; Riksantikvarieämbetet, 1991), pp. 113-142. Karin Calissendorff, Ortnamn i Uppland (Stockholm: Norstedts, 1986). Jonas Carlquist, ‘Fornsvenska lagmans-, kunga- och biskopslängder – memorerande eller informerande?’, in Ny väg till medeltidsbreven. Från ett medeltidssymposium i Svenska Riksarkivet 26-28 november 1999, ed. by Claes Gejrot and others (Stockholm: Riksarkivet, 2002), pp. 133-146. Dan Carlsson, ‘Vikingahamnar på Gotland’, Gotländskt arkiv, 76 (2004), 17-26. Christine Ekholst, För varje brottsling ett straff. Föreställningar om kön i de svenska medeltidslagarna (Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2009). Patrick J. Geary, The Myth of Nations. The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002). Bo Gräslund, ‘Snorre, Ragnvald Ulfsson och Brunnsbo Storäng. Till frågan om ett jarlssäte i Västergötland vid skiftet mellan forntid och medeltid’, Västergötlands fornminnesförenings tidskrift, (1983-1984), 39-50. Adrian Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood. Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Åke Hyenstrand, Lejonet, draken och korset. Sverige 500-1000 (Lund: Studentlitteratur, 1996).

276 Thomas Lindk vist Steinar Imsen, ‘Royal Dominion in the “Skattlands”’, in Rex Insularum. The King of Norway and his ‘Skattlands’ as a Political System c. 1260-c. 1450, ed. by Steinar Imsen (Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2014), pp. 35-99. Göran Inger, ‘Upplandslagen 700 år’, in Festskrift till Stig Strömholm, 1, ed. by Åke Frändberg and others (Uppsala: Iustus, 1997), pp. 423-437. Göran Inger, ‘Kanonisk och inhemsk rätt under biskop Brynolf Algotssons tid’, Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift, 99 (1999), 9-16. Jan Liedgren, ‘Folkland’, Kulturhistoriskt lexikon för nordisk medeltid, 4 (Malmö: Allhem, 1959), cols. 469-470. Jan Liedgren, ‘Folklandsting’, Kulturhistoriskt lexikon för nordisk medeltid, 4 (Malmö: Allhem, 1959), cols. 471-472. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Bonden i lagen’, in Agrarhistoria på många sätt. 28 studier om människan och jorden. Festskrift till Janken Myrdal på hans 60-årsdag, ed. by Britt Liljewall and others (Stockholm: Kungl. Skogs- och Lantbruksakademien, 2009), pp. 57-72. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Individ och kollektiv. Kring allmänning i Äldre Västgötalagen’, in Berättelser från markerna. En antologi om järn, skog och kulturarv, ed. by Ing-Marie Pettersson Jensen and others (Norberg: Norbergs kommun, 2013), pp. 177-182. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Land och rike. Västergötland och det svenska riket under medeltiden’, in Svärdet, ordet och pennan. Kring människa, makt och rum i nordisk historia. Festskrift till Nils Erik Villstrand den 24 maj 2012, ed. by Christer Kuvaja, Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo: Historiska samfundet i Åbo, 2012), pp. 515-532. Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Law and the Making of the State in Medieval Sweden: Kingship and Communities’, in Legislation and Justice, ed. by Antonio Padoa-Schioppa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 211-228. Thomas Lindkvist, Plundring, skatter och den feodala statens framväxt. Organisatoriska tendenser i Sverige under övergången från vikingatid till tidig medeltid. Opuscula historica Upsaliensia, 1 (Uppsala: Historiska institutionen vid Uppsala universitet, 1993; 3rd edn). Thomas Lindkvist, ‘The Peasantry and Peasant Communities’, in Campagnes médiévales: l’homme et son espace. Études offertes à Robert Fossier, ed. by Elisabeth Mornet (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1995), pp. 387-398. Ivar Lindquist, Västgötalagens litterära bilagor. Medeltida svensk småberättelsekonst på poesi och prosa, Skrifter utgivna av Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund, 26 (Lund: Gleerup, 1941). Sven Olof Lindquist, ‘Sockenbildningen på Gotland. En korologisk studie’, Gotländskt arkiv, 53 (1981), 45-64. Sven Olof Lindquist, ‘Sextio marker silver vart år…’, Gotländskt arkiv, 56 (1984), 139-150. Fredrik Lindström, Henrik Lindström, Svitjods undergång och Sveriges födelse (Stockholm: Bonnier, 2006). Erik Lönnroth, Från svensk medeltid (Stockholm: Bonnier, 1959). Clara Nevéus, Trälarna i landskapslagarnas samhälle. Danmark och Sverige, Studia historica Upsaliensea, 58 (Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 1974). Göran B. Nilsson, Nytt ljus över Yngre Västgötalagen. Den bestickande teorin om en medeltida lagstiftningsprocess, Rättshistoriskt bibliotek, 69 (Stockholm: Rönnells antikvariat, 2012). Göran B. Nilsson, ‘Vad man bör veta om Yngre Västgötalagen’, Kungl. Vitterhets historie och antikvitetsakademiens årsbok, (2014), 87-107. Per G. Norseng, ‘Law Codes as a Source for Nordic History in the Early Middle Ages’, Scandinavian Journal of History, 16 (1991), 137-166.

The Making of Legal Communities


Kenneth Pennington, ‘Law, Legislative Authority, and Theories of Government, 1150-1300’, in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c. 350-c.1450, ed. by J.H. Burns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 424-453. Sven-Erik Pernler, Gotlands medeltida kyrkoliv. Biskopar och prostar. En kyrkorättslig studie (Visby: Press, 1977). Susan Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984). Åke Sällström, Bologna och Norden intill Avignonpåvedömets tid, Bibliotheca historica Lundensis, 5 (Lund: Gleerup, 1957). Herman Schück, Ecclesia Lincopensis. Studier om Linköpingskyrkan under medeltiden och Gustav Vasa, Stockholm Studies in History, 4 (Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 1959). Tryggve Siltberg, Gotlands landsbygdssamhälle under tidigmodern tid. Skatterna, gårdarna och befolkningen, Arkiv på Gotland, 8 (Visby: Landsarkivet i Visby och Regionarkivet på Gotland, 2013). Elsa Sjöholm, Gesetze als Quellen mittelalterlicher Geschichte des Nordens, Stockholm Studies in History, 21 (Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 1976). Elsa Sjöholm, Sveriges medeltidslagar. Europeisk rättstradition i politisk omvandling, Rättshistoriskt bibliotek, 41 (Stockholm: Nordiska bokhandeln, 1988). Gabrielle M. Spiegel, The Past as Text. The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997). Dieter Strauch, Mittelalterliches nordisches Recht bis 1500. Eine Quellenkunde, Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 73 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011). Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde, Speculum legale – rettsspegelen. Ein intoduksjon til den norske rettskulturen si historie i eit europeisk perspektiv (Bergen: Fagboksforlaget, 2005). Ditlev Tamm, ‘How Nordic are the Old Nordic Laws?’, in How Nordic are the Nordic Medieval Laws. Medieval Legal History, ed. by Ditlev Tamm, Helle Vogt (Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen Press, 2005), pp. 6-22. Claes Theliander, Västergötlands kristnande. Religionsskifte och gravskickets förändring 700-1200 (Göteborg: Gothenburg Archaeological Theses: 41, 2005). Maria Vretemark, ‘Fru Sigrids gård i Varnhem’, in Medeltida storgårdar. 15 uppsatser om ett tvärvetenskapligt forskningsproblem, ed by. Olof Karsvall, Kristofer Jupiter (Uppsala: Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur, 2014), pp. 131-143. Lauritz Weibull, ‘En forntida utvandring från Gotland’, Scandia, 15 (1943), 267-276. Hugo Nilsson Yrwing, Gotland under äldre medeltid. Studier i baltisk-hanseatisk historia (Lund: Gleerupska universitetsbokhandeln, 1940).

Urban Community and Consensus Brotherhood and Communalism in Medieval Novgorod Pavel V. Lukin*

Novgorod’s independent or, more accurately, autonomous polity emerged as a result of disintegration of the more or less united Rus’ (Kievan Rus’ in the historiographic tradition) in the second half of the eleventh century to the first decades of the twelfth century. It is often assumed that the ‘Novgorod republic’ was born in 1136 when after acute domestic conflicts Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich was expelled by Novgorodians. However, the actual development of ‘republican’ political institutions in Novgorod was a more complex process, which had started much earlier and would be completed much later. In its heyday, Novgorod ruled over a vast territory stretching from the headwaters of the Volga in the south to the White and Barents Seas in the north, from the shores of Lake Peipus in the west to the banks of the Northern Dvina River in the east.1 Gradually Novgorod became a mighty trading power on the Baltic Rim thanks to the foreign permanent centers of trade, which were founded in Novgorod. The first of them was the Gothic court built by Scandinavian tradesmen from the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea at the turn of the twelfth century. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it was rented by the Hansa and it was German merchants who owned it. In the end of the twelfth or in the early thirteenth century an originally German St. Peter Court was founded.2 Along with Bruges, London, and Bergen, Novgorod was one of the most important trade partners of the Hansa, an exporter of such goods as furs and wax which were in high demand on the West European market.

* Pavel V. Lukin is Senior Researcher in the Centre of Old Rus’ Studies at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. He defended his doctoral dissertation (habilitation), The Veche (Assembly) in the Social and Political System of Medieval Novgorod in 2015. He authored two monographs: Popular Political Beliefs in 17th Century Russia (Moscow 2000) and The Veche of Novgorod (Moscow 2014), as well as many articles on various aspects of political culture in pre-Petrine Russia, including those in English and French. 1 2

Nasonov, Russkaya zemlya, pp. 99-126. Rybina, Inozemnye dvory, p. 19; Angermann, ‘Nowgorod’, pp. 234, 238.


Pavel V. Lukin

Sources covering the period of Novgorod’s independence (1136-1478) tend to emphasize the idea of the fraternal unity between the members of polity. In a way, this ‘brotherly communalism’ resembled (but of course was not completely identical with) the bonds within the more typically West European guild culture (see also below). Of course, those Novgorodians did not need to be actually genetic ‘brothers’ to each other. Indeed, some of them could have been brothers or other members of the same family, of the same blood kin, since medieval Novgorod was de facto ruled by the local aristocratic elite, the boyars. Thus, since the very beginning of Novgorod’s autonomy and even earlier it was only boyars who held the top position in the local social hierarchy – that of the posadnik (burgomaster). And those boyars would most often belong to kin-based clans.3 Not being a modern-type nation, in a sense Novgorodians made up an imagined community – according to Benedict Anderson’s description ‘all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined. Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined’. 4 Anderson emphasizes also that pre-modern ‘[s]olidarities were the products of kinship, clientship, and personal loyalties’. It is worth noting that those nets of kinship may have been and in fact were – partially or completely – imagined.5 The task of this chapter is to examine some crucial elements of the language and symbols through which Novgorodians represented themselves as brothers, the brotherhood – with the proper spiritual charge held by this notion in this era – being the best way to justify the status of rightful members of their polity. In contrast to Cordelia Heß’s chapter, which stressed the disruptive potential of late medieval urban polities, this chapter will discuss how the Novgorodian brotherly self-perception was developed, what social rituals and occasions were employed to reinforce it, and what symbols, ideas, and procedures facilitated such reinforcement. Research of the last fifty years has shown that medieval Novgorod was by no means a place where – according to the idea commonly accepted by nineteenth-century scholarship – everybody except clergy was illiterate. However, the Novgorodian ‘ideology’ was not shaped by all Novgorodians, but mainly by the literate elite, and came mainly in the form of the city’s chronicles. Leaving aside the narratives compiled after the annexation 3 For more details, see: Yanin, Novgorodskaya feodal’naya votchina; Yanin, Novgorodskie posadniki. 4 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6. 5 Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 76-77.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


of Novgorod the Great by Moscow in 1478, one can see that the extant Novgorod chronicles fall into two categories. The first is comprised by the Novgorod First Chronicle. It survives in two versions, the Older Recension which is represented by a single manuscript (Sinodal’nyj manuscript) written basically in the mid-thirteenth century (being, by the way, the earliest extant manuscript of any of the Old Russian chronicles), and the Younger Recension. The latter is found in several manuscripts, the earliest of them being the Komissionnyj and the Akademicheskyj manuscripts, both from the 1440s. It is the established view among the students of medieval Russian chronicles that both recensions are based on the same source text – the Novgorodian Archbishop Compilation, which in its turn is supposed to have been based on the hypothetical compilation written at the princely court most likely about 1115 (that is, before Novgorod became independent from Kievan princes). The Older Recension (covering the period 1016-1333) and the Younger Recension (continuing into the fifteenth century) are quite similar to each other and the former is assumed to represent an earlier variant of their common source. The chronicles derived from the hypothetical Novgorod-Sophia Compilation (first half of the fifteenth century) fit into the second group (the Novgorod Fourth Chronicle, The First Sophia Chronicle, The Karamzin Novgorod Chronicle, the Avraamka’s Chronicle). Who exactly ordered the compiling of their shared source has been disputed, but it is generally accepted that it could have been the contemporary Metropolitan of all Rus’ (the specific name depends on the exact date of the compilation, which is unclear) and/or Novgorodian ecclesiastical authorities. The author (or authors) of the Novgorod Sophia Compilation could also have borrowed material from the Novgorodian Archbishop Compilation and from other sources.6 It should be stressed that the chroniclers who worked at the time of Novgorod’s independence were almost exclusively clergymen closely allied to archbishops of Novgorod. Alexej A. Gippius convincingly showed that the text of the ‘Novgorodian Archbishop compilation’ (best preserved in The Novgorod First Chronicle) falls into distinct sections written by the scribes of this or that Novgorod archbishop.7 The later annalists sometimes may have updated preceding sections, but those updates would have been relatively rare and most often can be reliably detected. That makes the Novgorodian 6 For more on the Novgorodian annalistic tradition, see: Gippius, ‘K istorii slozhenija’; Guimon, ‘Christian Identity’. 7 Gippius, ‘Novgorodskaya vladychnaya letopis’.


Pavel V. Lukin

annalistic tradition an extremely important source not only for studying the city’s history, but also for understanding the evolution of Novgorod’s political ideology and self-perception. On the other hand, the chroniclers’ religious and cultural background, their status as officials of the Novgorodian diocese (the latter was as much part of the Novgorodian ‘republican’ system as of episcopal polity) beyond doubt deeply influenced their political ideas and, moreover, the very language which they used to frame those ideas. Fortunately, accounts of chronicles can be confronted with evidence from other, non-narrative, much less ‘ideological’ sources, such as charters, birch-bark letters and, most importantly, Hanseatic documents written by the German merchants in Novgorod (which was then one of the most important trade partners of the Hansa). The purposes of the authors of birch-bark letters or Hanseatic documents written in Middle Low German usually had nothing to do with the city’s political agenda.8 For this reason, their evidence, having to do more with mentality than ideology, can to some extent complement the more sophisticated accounts of the chronicles.

Egalitarianism and Hierarchy in the Community There has never existed any law stipulating who had the right to participate in Novgorodian politics and who had to stay outside it. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that those Novgorodians who were supposed to make up the fraternal unity were by no means the whole population of Novgorod. They were, first, townspeople: residents of the City of Novgorod only. They were, second, male (as everywhere in the Middle Ages, women in Novgorod were excluded – even if not completely – from politics). Thirdly, they should have been independent and free. The rural population of women, children, and serfs neither counted as full members of the community nor participated in the veche (popular assembly) and hence the rhetoric of fraternal unity never applied to them. Information about such a composition of the Novgorodian polity can be inferred from various data, though the evidence is sometimes indirect, especially for the pre-Mongol time (1130s-1230s). The most important test in this sense is the composition of the veche, first mentioned in 1015, that is, 8 For more on birch-bark documents, Novgorod-Hansa correspondence and literacy in Novgorod as a whole see: pp. Franklin, Writing, pp. 35-45; Gippius, ‘Birchbark Literacy’, pp. 225251; Lukin, ‘Ganzejskie istochniki’, pp. 22-30.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


even before Novgorod gained its independence.9 Obviously, the veche was the most open (or, in present-day terms, ‘democratic’) political institution in Novgorod and yet there are numerous accounts of chronicles implying that it only included the townsmen. It is perfectly clear as early as in the abovementioned first account of the Novgorod veche. This account most likely derives from a relatively early text no later than 1060-1070s. In a sanguinary conflict of 1015 between Novgorodians and Varyags (the name given by the East Slavs to the Vikings active in Rus’), many Novgorodians were killed. Unexpectedly, Yaroslav, then prince of Novgorod, received a message from Kiev, telling him that his father, Prince Vladimir (later known as Vladimir the Saint), had died and his brother Svyatopolk was struggling for the throne of Kiev. Now Yaroslav needed military support from Novgorodians again. So he ‘gathered the rest of the Novgorodians in the morning and held a veche in a field and told them […]’.10 The same entry explicitly states that those Novgorodians were grazhane (townsmen). It seems that for the chronicler (whether he was a Kievan or a Novgorodian is unclear),11 the identity of those Novgorodians and townsmen went without saying. A model description of the Old Russian veche is found not in Novgorodian annals, but in the fourteenth-century Laurentian Chronicle, incorporating The Kievan Primary Chronicle (The Tale of Bygone Years [Povest’ vremennykh let]) and its continuations composed in the Grand Duchy of Vladimir.12 In The Laurentian Chronicle, the entry of the year 1175, deriving most likely from the hypothetical compilation created between 1185 and the end of the twelfth century, reads: From the beginning people of Novgorod and Smolensk and Kiev [and Polotsk] and all volosti have gathered at veche as at assembly; what the older ones decide should be accepted by suburbs.13

Notably, even the chronicle coming not from Novgorod but from Vladimirna-Klyaz’me mentions Novgorod in the first place when it comes to speaking 9 PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 174-175. 10 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 174: ‘Заутpа собpа новгоpодцовъ избытокъ, и сътвоpи вѣче на полѣ, и pече к ним’. 11 For more details, see: Lukin, ‘Sobytiya 1015 g.’; Gippius, ‘Do i posle Nachal’nogo svoda’, pp. 60-61. 12 For more details, see: Shakhmatov, Obozrenie, pp. 11-12, 51-55; Luria, ‘Lavrent’evskaya letopis’. 13 PSRL, vol. 1, cols. 377-378: ‘Новгоpодци бо изначала, и Смолняне, и Кыяне, [и Полочане] и вся власти, якоже на д[у]му, на вѣча сходятся; на что же стаpѣишии сдумають, на томь же пpигоpоди стануть’.


Pavel V. Lukin

about the veche. Nominally, all volosti (the population of principalities) were involved in the veche. In fact – which is clear from this account – decisions were made in the hearts of Old Russian polities by townspeople. This account is heavily loaded with the chronicler’s discourse on rights of the townspeople (and not of the whole population). What does the wording ‘the older ones’ mean? Who were those ‘older ones’? Beyond doubt, it would mean older towns (contrary to ‘suburbs’), rather than volosti, villages, or the whole population. Later periods saw little change in this respect. Moreover, the purely urban affiliation of those Novgorodians constituting ‘the people’ of Novgorod became more institutionalized and descriptions of its unity became more elaborate. One can think of the Novgorod Judicial Charter, a law code issued in the fifteenth century (it was less fortunate than its Pskovian counterpart, being preserved only incompletely). Its introductory clause reads: This was decided by the burgomasters of Novgorod, and the thousandmen of Novgorod, and boyars, and zhitii liudi [a kind of Novgorodian middle class, literally ‘well-to-do people’], and merchants, and chyornye liudi [literally, ‘black people’, ‘black’ being a word for low-class], all five kontsy [boroughs of Novgorod, literally ‘ends’], all Sovereign Novgorod the Great at the veche at Yaroslav’s court.14

We see that only various strata of free independent townsmen are listed according to the Novgorodian social and political hierarchy as members of ‘the people’ of Novgorod. Slaves and other people not possessing full rights were not supposed to be members of the ‘all [!] Novgorod the Great’ and thus were excluded from participating in Novgorodian politics. Of much importance is also the fact that ‘all Novgorod the Great’, the imagined community of Novgorodians enjoying full rights, was assumed to be constituted by the city’s kontsy (ends). Those kontsy were both local administrative units and communities of full rights members.15 It is an established view that initially there were three ‘ends’ (according to the widely accepted among scholars, albeit not definitely substantiated hypothesis of V.L. Yanin, the very city of Novgorod developed from three villages which subsequently became 14 Pamyatniki russkogo prava, vol. 2, p. 212: ‘Се покончаша посадникы Ноугоpодцкие, и тысятцкие ноугоpодцкие, и бояpя, и житьи люди, и купци, и чеpные люди, вся пять концов, весь госудаpь Велики Новгоpод на вече на Яpославле двоpе’. 15 On the kontsy see e.g.: Artsikhovsky, ‘Gorodskie kontsy’; Birnbaum, Lord Novgorod the Great, pp. 55-70.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


the initial kontsy)16. Two more emerged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and from the late thirteenth century until the annexation of Novgorod by Moscow in 1478 Novgorod had consisted of five ‘ends’. Therefore, Novgorodian townsmen may be seen as belonging primarily to the ‘ends’ communities. It seems, though, that at least one exception to this rule did exist. It concerned the ‘suburban’ population – that is, of other towns in the Novgorodian lands, such as Ladoga and, in the earlier period, Pskov. However, in essence, it can hardly contravene the view of Novgorod as the association of the ‘ends’ communities. In 1132 and 1136, the representatives of the most important ‘suburbs’, Pskov and Ladoga, did take part in the Novgorod veche.17 Incidentally, these assemblies were linked to significant events in the history of Novgorod. The once-popular in Soviet scholarship theory of the so-called ‘Novgorodian revolution’ was based on these very events. No further evidence of the ‘suburban population’s’ involvement in the Novgorod veche can be attested in chronicles, however. It means that in reality the participation of suburban residents in Novgorod’s political life was hardly more than limited and sporadic. In a sense those Novgorodians entitled to full rights can be compared to ‘full members’, or ‘full citizens’, or just ‘the people’ of the West European early town communes, who by no means comprised the whole population. For instance, it is established in the scholarship that the ‘classical’ medieval communes in Italian towns represented ‘interests equally rural and urban – though with the difference that the territory (contado) was now to be subordinate – and democratic only by inclusion of all cives’.18 In Novgorod, as in other European towns, being a member of the community meant, above all, being a member of the assembly.19 Despite the fact that all full members of the Novgorod polity could have been called ‘brothers’, there was a well-defined social hierarchy among them.20 For instance, everyone in Novgorod knew that real power belonged mostly to local noblemen, boyars. Foreign trade partners also knew very well the extent of the role played by the boyars in Novgorodian politics. Sometimes they even addressed their letters not to ‘Novgorod the Great’ (which would have been typical), but simply to boyars. For example, salutation in the 16 17 18 19 20

Yanin, Aleshkovsky, ‘Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda’, pp. 41-43. PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 22-24. Jones, The Italian City-States, pp. 145-146. Black, Guilds and Civil Society, p. 47; Black, ‘Communal Democracy’, p. 7. Goehrke, ‘Die Sozialstruktur’.


Pavel V. Lukin

message from Heinrich von Plauen, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, to the Novgorodian authorities (1412) reads: To the venerable father [Archbishop of Novgorod] and to the beloved gentlemen, and to the most beloved friends: to the posadnik [burgomaster], to the tysiatskii [thousandman], and to all boyars in Novgorod the Great.21

These social distinctions between Novgorodians can be clearly traced in legal and documentary sources. At the same time, the political community of Novgorod was imagined as if such distinctions in a sense were not of great importance. In spite of clear social differences, all Novgorodians belonging to ‘the people’ of Novgorod are often labelled in chronicles as brothers – all of them, from boyars to commoners, the chyornye liudi. As stated above, the brotherly terms obviously stood not (or, at least not only) for real but for an imagined type of kinship, the ideology working as a way of strengthening the bonds within the community. Social and political hierarchy within the Novgorodian polity went together with ‘the abstract egalitarianism’ of ‘the people’ of Novgorod.22 This notion persisted until Novgorod’s annexation by Moscow. When in 1477 conflict arose in Novgorod between pro- and anti-Moscow parties (Novgorod would finally lose its independence the following year), opponents of Moscow accused the presumably pro-Moscow Novgorodian Vasily Nikiforov of treason. Vasily tried to justify his actions by his promise to Ivan III, Grand Prince of Moscow, to ‘serve him with good faith and to wish him well’, stating that he was not plotting against ‘his sovereign Veliky Novgorod’, nor against Novgorodians, ‘his lords and brothers’23 (this explanation, however, failed to help him, as he was nonetheless ‘killed without mercy’ at the veche assembly, on the spot). In this account of the chronicle, Novgorodians are presented simultaneously as lords and brothers at the same time, without any attempt to resolve this contradiction. On the one hand, every Novgorodian was expected to obey the decisions made by ‘Veliky Novgorod’, that is, the political community of Novgorodians that voiced its will at veche assemblies or through elected officials. In this sense, Novgorodians were ‘lords’ of the above-mentioned Vassily Nikiforov. On the 21 HUB, vol. 5, No. 1046, pp. 542: ‘Еr wirdeger vater und leve herre, und leven besundern frunde, burggreve, herczoge und gemeynen beyaren czu Grote Naugarden’. 22 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 35, footnote. 23 PSRL, vol. 25, p. 310: ‘[Ц]еловал есми кpестъ к великому князю в том, что ми служити ему пpавдою и добpа ми хотѣти ему, а не на госудаpя своего Великого Новагоpода, ни на вас на свою господу и бpатию’.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


other hand, as one of the Novgorodians involved in decision-making – whether directly in the veche or indirectly, through elected (in the same veche) officials – he might well refer to Novgorodians as his brothers. Naturally, the idea of brotherhood appealed to the unity of the townspeople. The chronicles articulate this notion of solidarity in the expressions such as byti odinakym (to be in conformity; to be together with someone) or to do something оdinodush’no (unanimously; with a single soul), which is seen as a kind of ideal model.24 Such expressions first appear in the Novgorod First chronicle in the 1210s, but the idea of Novgorodian unity is unlikely to have been introduced just then. As a matter of fact, the twelfth-century Novgorodian chronographic tradition is notable for its brief, business-like style and almost complete absence of extensive narratives.25 Given that, the exact date of emergence of the ideas underlying these expressions can hardly be established. It is notable how such expressions would be transformed in later nonNovgorodian chronicles. The Moscow chronicle compilation (late fifteenth century) is based inter alia on the Novgorod Sophia Compilation, which in its turn had the Novgorodian Archbishop’s Compilation as its main source (perhaps as all other major Novgorodian chronicles). However, while retaining many accounts from the Novgorodian source, the Moscow chronicler writing just after the annexation of Novgorod re-worked the narrative in a very distinctive manner. Sometimes it is even difficult to detect such changes without paying specif ic attention. For instance, the Novgorod First Chronicle, relating to the Novgorodian events of 1215, says that Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodich, the son of the powerful Vladimir-na-Klyaz’me prince, Vsevolod The Big Nest, sent to Novgorod envoys commissioned to force Novgorodians to expel the then Prince of Novgorod Mstislav Mstislavich. The entry of the chronicle reads: ‘[They] did not agree to do it, being all unanimous’.26 The Moscow chronicle compilation introduces some minor editing: ‘And Mstislav kissed the cross to Novgorodians and Novgorodians kissed the cross to him in order to be at one with each other’.27 Here the special emphasis is placed on the role of the prince, who seems to be the central figure of the story. On the other hand, there is also a reason to think that the rhetorical formulas of Novgorodian affective brotherhood were not just invented 24 PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 54, 55. 25 See: Guimon, ‘Christian Identity’, p. 256. 26 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 54: ‘[И] не яшася по то, нъ вси быша одинодушно’. 27 PSRL, vol. 25, p. 111: ‘[И] цѣлова Мъстиславъ кpестъ къ Новугоpоду, а Новогоpодци к нему, яко быти за одинъ’.


Pavel V. Lukin

by the authors of the chronicle narratives. The fourteenth- and fifteenthcentury letters from Hanseatic merchants in Novgorod also indicate that Novgorodians called each other ‘brothers’ (brodere). In the 1337 conflict between Novgorodians and Hanseatic merchants, envoys of the veche claimed compensation for damage done to their ‘brothers’: ‘Novgorod the Great decided that they [Novgorodians] should secure without fail as much merchandise as had been taken from their brothers’.28 Furthermore, brotherly terminology was used not only within Novgorod, but also applied to relationships with other Old Russian polities. For instance, residents of Pskov – another medieval Russian ‘republic’ – were, from the Novgorodians’ point of view, their ‘younger brothers’. A Hanseatic document tells us how in 1436 German merchants complained to Novgorod about Pskovites, who ‘against God’s will and the cross-kissing oath detained [the Hanseatic] merchandise’. The Germans placed special emphasis on the fact that Pskovites were ‘considered to be younger brothers’29 by the Novgorodians. Earlier in history, Pskov used to be actually Novgorod’s prigorod (suburb, a subordinate city). As such, it could have been considered Novgorod’s ‘younger brother’. However, in the fifteenth century this wording must have been considered a mere piece of political rhetoric, without any real legal sense. As the near future was to show, Novgorod retained no real control of its younger brother. Nonetheless, such wording was not a mere formality. It did matter, being closely associated with the memory of past relations between Novgorod and Pskov, Novgorod’s political claims ideologically based on that memory and, even more importantly in this case, certain notions of the brotherly solidarity of townspeople, both Novgorodians and Pskovites.

Reproducing the Imagination: Oaths and Feasts There were certain ceremonies through which the Novgorodian unity was reaffirmed when necessary – most commonly, the mutual kissing of Christian relics such as revered icons or crosses.30 Mutual cross (or icon) 28 LECUB, vol. 6, No. 2807, col. 113: ‘Grote Nogarden is des to rade worden, dat se iummer also vele godes hebben willen to einem pande, als eren broderen nomen is’. 29 Hanserecesse von 1431-1476, vol. 1, No. 586, p. 517: ‘Vortmer spreke wy als van den Pleskauweren, de se vor ore jungesten brodere heilden… dat sede Dutzschen, de se tegen God unde de krucekussinghe myt oren guderen holden gevangen’. 30 The adjective ‘mutual’ (oath) seems more appropriate than ‘collective’ which is also used in historiography. As Pierre Michaud-Quantin correctly pointed out (with regard to western European medieval towns), ‘L’expression “serment mutuel” serait peut-ětre préférable à celle

Urban Communit y and Consensus


kissing as an oath between the members of Novgorodian society should be distinguished from mutual oaths sworn to confirm an agreement between the Novgorodians as a whole and a prince. The latter have been attested in Novgorod chronicles since the twelfth century, while accounts of mutual oaths within Novgorodian society emerged in chronicles in the thirteenth century, most often related to domestic conflicts and their settling. Thus, in 1218 ‘brothers’ (read: the conflicting Novgorod factions) after an acute clash finally gathered and ‘kissed the cross’.31 Sometimes such ceremonies would be held when Novgorod was in peril. For instance, when in 1229 the Novgorodians decided to oust then Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodich and to invite Prince Mikhail Vsevolodich of Chernigov in his place, they ‘kissed [the icon of] the Holy Virgin to be all united’.32 That is, they collectively swore an oath by having kissed the icon of the Holy Virgin that they would stand together against Yaroslav Vsevolodich. In another case from 1386, elite Novgorodians and the representatives of different strata of Novgorod’s ‘people’ swore an oath by kissing the cross at the veche assembly: There was a kissing of the cross […] posadnik [burgomaster] Feodor Timofeevich, tysyatskii [thousandman] Bogdan Obakunovich, and all the boyars and deti boyarskie [gentry; literally: children of boyars], and zhit’i liudi, and chiornye liudi kissed the cross at the veche, in the Princely Court that they would not go to the Metropolitan [of Moscow].33

Obviously, these ceremonies were used to reinforce the unity of Novgorodians and to (re)create the network of social and emotional bonds within ‘the people’ of Novgorod. Taken for granted in times of peace, this symbolical de “serment collectif”; il ne suff it pas que le groupe considéré jure de façon globale, il faut surtout que l’engagement qu’il prend lie ses membres les uns aux autres et tous ensemble à la communauté qu’ils constituent’. (Michaud-Quantin, Universitas, p. 170). In medieval Germany such reinforcement of townspeople’s unity took a more regular and legal form of the coniuratio reiterata (‘repetetive oath-swearing’) (Ebel, Der Bürgereid, p. 36). Moreover, a town commune may be considered as an institution based on various collective oaths (See: Prodi, Il sacramento del potere, pp. 116-117). 31 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 59: ‘[C]ъидошася бpатья въкупѣ […] и кpестъ цѣловаша’. 32 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 67: ‘[Ц]ѣловаша святую Богоpодицю, яко быти всемъ одинакымъ’. 33 PSRL, vol. 4, 1, p. 342: ‘[Б]ысть цѣлование […] цѣловаше кpестъ Феодоpъ посадникъ Тимофеевичь, тысячкои Богданъ Обакуновичь, на вѣчи на княжи двоpѣ, и вси боляpе и дѣти боляpьскии, и житьеи и чеpныи люди, и вся пять концевъ, что не зватися к митpофолиту…’) (there was an argument over who should have been in charge of the ecclesiastical court in Novgorod).


Pavel V. Lukin

reinforcement would become vital during wars or domestic conflicts. This perfectly corresponds with observations made by various scholars who have studied rituals in recent decades: above all that, these ceremonies were not only manifestations of social and political harmony, but served also as instruments for solving conflicts.34 Apparently, Novgorodians – not unlike Scandinavians – would occasionally create sworn communities ‘often expressed through the language of ritual kinship’, members of which were called brothers.35 Another important ceremonial form of reaffirming unity was collective feasting, which was a popular means for creating groups throughout the Middle Ages, aimed at consolidating communities and strengthening ties between members.36 Such a phenomenon can be inferred for Novgorod too. The 1148-1149 entry of the same Hypatian Chronicle describes a veche in Novgorod that convened on the occasion of Prince Izyaslav Mstislavich’s arrival in the city: And so [Izyaslav] arrived to Novgorod with great honour on Sunday, and there met [him] his son Yaroslav with the Novgorod boyars and he [Izyaslav] went to the [Cathedral of] St Sophia to the liturgy. Izyaslav with his son sent podvoiskij and birich [heralds] to announce in the streets, calling [people], young and old alike, to take part in a dinner party with the Prince, and so, having dined, they enjoyed themselves with great joy and returned to their homes with honour. On the next day, Izyaslav, having sent [heralds] to the Yaroslav’s Court [the usual place for veche assemblies in Novgorod] in the morning commanded to ring [the bell], and so Novgorodians and Pskovites gathered at the veche.37

The link between the veche and the feast (here obed, dinner) seems to be rather clear. The prince called all the Novgorodians ‘from young to old’ to the obed. Although this expression was formulaic, there were apparently 34 See also: Hermanson, ‘Introduction’. 35 See: Haugland, ‘Guilds as Political Playground’. 36 Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers, pp. 152-153. 37 PSRL, vol. 2, cols. 369-370: ‘И тако в Новъгоpод пpиде с великою честью и въ день недѣльныи, и ту усpѣте сынъ его Яpославъ с бояpъ Новгоpодьцкыми и ѣхаста къ святои Софьи на обѣднюю. Изяславъ же [с] сыномъ Яpославом и посласта подвоискѣи и биpичѣ по улицамъ кликати, зовучи къ князю на обѣдъ от мала и до велика, и тако обѣдавше, веселишася pадостью великою, честью pазидошася въ своя домы. На утpии же день пославъ Изяславъ на Яpославль двоpъ, и повелѣ звонити, и тако Новгоpодци и Плесковичи снидошася на вѣче’.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


many people who took part in the feast, and they represented the whole of Novgorod, or, more precisely, ‘the people’ of Novgorod (as the heralds were sent to the streets of the city of Novgorod rather than to the ‘suburbs’, to say nothing of the rural periphery). The same people presumably gathered together at the veche in the morning after the Novgorodians had ‘enjoyed themselves’ at the ‘dinner’ with ‘great joy’ and gone home. One might even say that the dinner evolved into a veche. It is also clear that the feast was held by the prince in order to secure support from the Novgorodians and particularly to ensure that the upcoming veche would make ‘the right’ decisions. As the feast was equipped with such clear political purpose, it was to symbolize the unity of the full members of the community, that is, members of the veche. It is likely that what is implied in the 1239-1240 entry of the Novgorod First Chronicle is essentially the same phenomenon: Prince Aleksandr, son of Yaroslav was betrothed in Novgorod […] and married in Toropets, and he arranged there a kasha [a Russian meal, a kind of cereal porridge], and in Novgorod – another one.38

That feasts in Toropets and Novgorod were called kashi (porridges) rather than obedy (dinners) is not surprising. After all, quite late sources – dating from the seventeenth century – provide us with the evidence of brotherly parish feasts where the main nourishments consumed consisted of beer and kasha (grain, porridge).39 The reason for this particular feast was the marriage of the prince, the future Aleksander Nevsky. The phenomenon was the same nonetheless – a feast celebrating a certain event of social importance. Why did the prince need to arrange these kashi? Certainly in order to secure support from the townspeople. For them, these feasts were a symbolic manifestation of their unity. On the other hand, they were organized by the princes, who used them for their own political goals. Aleksander Nevsky held an interest in strengthening the defence of the western Russian frontiers against the Lithuanians, who were becoming more and more dangerous. Most likely, both the marriage itself and the feasts following it were aimed at forging a stronger alliance between Novgorod and two

38 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 77: ‘Оженися князь Олександpъ, сынъ Яpославль в Новѣгоpодѣ, поя в Полотьскѣ у Бpячьслава дчеpь, и вѣнчася в Тоpопчи; ту кашю чини, а в Новѣгоpодѣ дpугую’. 39 See: Florya, Issledovaniya po istorii Tserkvi, p. 67.


Pavel V. Lukin

western Russian principalities, Smolensk and Polotsk. 40 This is the reason Aleksandr married the Polotsk princess and the wedding feasts were held in both Toropets (a town in the Principality of Smolensk) and Novgorod. It is worth taking into account another (though non-Novgorodian) reference to a collective brotherly feast. It comes from another medieval Russian town, Polotsk. Nonetheless, making use of the Polotsk evidence seems reasonable since the political structure of Polotsk was not much different from Novgorod’s. It can be well established for the time since the first half of the fourteenth century onwards, but also may be assumed for the second half of the twelfth century. The legendary part of the Second Compilation of the Chronicles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (compiled in the 1520s) states that ‘the men of Polotsk’ ‘were governed by the veche like in Novgorod the Great and Pskov’. 41 This later account can be to some extent corroborated by some earlier and more reliable data. 42 In the 1158 entry of the Hypatian Chronicle, a bratchina (brotherly feast) on St. Peter’s Day in Polotsk is mentioned, which developed into a veche opposing the prince: The men of Polotsk […] began to treacherously call [prince] Rostislav to the bratchina at the Old [Church] of the Holy Virgin on St. Peter’s Day [feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on June 29th] in order to capture him there. 43

However, the prince wore armour under his clothing and his enemies were afraid to attack him. On the following day, the people of Polotsk invited the prince again, but a member of the prince’s retinue, having arrived from the city, said to Rostislav, ‘Do not go, o Prince! The veche is [gathering] against you in the city, your retinue is being killed, and they [people of Polotsk] want to capture you’. 44 Even though historians offer different interpretations of the Polotsk bratchina, the understanding of it as a ‘festive banquet’45 40 See also: Fennell, The Crisis, p. 102. 41 PSRL, vol. 35, p. 130: ‘вечом спpавовалися, яко Великии Новгоpод и Пъсков’. 42 See: Yakubovskij, ‘Zemskie privilei’, pp. 275-279; Florya, ‘Istoricheskaya traditsiya’; Lukin, Novgorodskoe veche, pp. 518-519. Cf. also a more sceptical view: Rohdewald, ‘Vom Polocker Venedig’, pp. 11-12, 24. 43 PSRL, vol. 2, cols. 494-495: ‘Полочане начаша Pостислава звати льстью у бpатьщину къ святѣи Богоpодици къ Стаpѣи на Петpовъ день, да ту имуть и’. 44 PSRL, vol. 2, col. 495: ‘Не ѣзди, княже, вѣче ти в гоpодѣ, а дpужину ти избивають, а тебе хотять яти’. 45 See: Tikhomirov, Krest’yanskie i gorodskie vosstaniya, p. 212; Rybakov, Kievskaya Rus’, p. 520; Froyanov, Drevnyaya Rus’. Opyt issledovaniya, p. 526; Mühle, Die städtischen Handelszentren,

Urban Communit y and Consensus


seems indisputable. Notably, etymologically the word bratchina is derived from brat (brother). 46 Bratchina was a feast of and for the brat’ia (brothers), bound not by blood but rather by belonging to the same community. Wojtek Jezierski has very recently pointed out that medieval feasts (and their descriptions in medieval narratives) could manifest hostility as well as hospitality. Feasts were not only used to maintain, restore, and reinforce peace within a community as was traditionally assumed by previous scholarship. 47 Jezierski clarifies the issue by revisiting a classical source for the (allegedly) native Slavic hospitality – Helmold of Bosau’s Chronica Slavorum. 48 As shown above, the Old Russian material also fits in this more sophisticated interpretation. In Polotsk’s case, the feast was intentionally used as a quasi-legal venue needed by those Polochane striving to oust their prince. In Polotsk, the reason (at least the formal one) was a religious holiday, which is quite expected. Sacred ceremonies presupposed a heavenly sanction. Brotherly feasts were usually timed to coincide with the most important religious holidays or Sundays. A hypothesis has been put forward that such Old Russian collective feasts have some roots in Slavic pagan ritual ceremonies.49 However, ritual feasts sometimes may be traced back to a wellknown part of Christian tradition. Particularly those such as the agapae or ‘love feasts’, which by the fourth and fifth centuries had already ceased to exist, though their survivals still existed both in worship and, more importantly for us, in the order of monastic festival and funeral meals.50 Obviously, it does not imply a direct continuity between ancient agapae and medieval Russian feasts. It would rather attract our attention to the common Christian background, which shaped such ceremonies as collective ritual feasts. Interestingly enough, the above-mentioned rural ritual feasts of the seventeenth century were also – as in medieval Polotsk – called bratchiny (brotherly feasts). These are attested primarily in the Russian North, which was previously part of Novgorodian lands, being colonized by the

p. 236. 46 See the Etimologicheskij Slovar’, vol. 3, p. 9. 47 See, for instance: Hauck, ‘Rituelle Speisegemeinschaft’, p. 615. 48 Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris’. 49 See: Papkov, Drevne-russkij prikhod, pp. 3-4; Bogoslovskij, Zemskoe samoupravlenie, p. 22; Florya, Issledovaniya po istorii Tserkvi, pp. 67-68. 50 See: Sokolov, Agapy ili vecheri liubvi, pp. 257-270. See also an updated although to some extent biased overview: Zheltov, Vasilik, ‘Agapa’. On the Western medieval tradition of the agapae see: Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers, pp. 156-157.


Pavel V. Lukin

Novgorodians.51 However, these collective feasts attested for the seventeenth century were assemblies of rural parishioners, comprised almost entirely of peasants. They had no political significance, although issues pertinent to this or that local community were discussed and decisions were made about them. Interestingly enough, in Scandinavian studies there was a dispute on the question of whether the Nordic gildedrikk gatherings held by urban and rural guilds ‘could have had a political function’. Apparently, the answer to this question depends on how ‘political’ is defined. Anyway, it is clear that the medieval Norway communal meals at such gatherings – as in Novgorod – were ‘social arenas that contributed to peace keeping and conflict resolution in society’.52

Symbols of Unity The Novgorodian ‘people’ as a kind of imagined community must have had symbols embodying and representing solidarity. An aristocrat (boyarin) and a craftsman (a member of the chyornye liudi) must have felt that they had something in common. Therefore Novgorod the Great needed commonly shared symbols and notions, or, to employ Anderson’s term, regalia. Benedict Anderson pointed out that in modern societies ‘the infinite quotidian reproducibility of [their] regalia […] revealed the real power of the state’.53 Medieval polities apparently were incapable of reproducing their symbols as efficiently as modern states, but nevertheless they could not have survived for a long time without construing themselves, among other things, through symbols. As for the mutual oaths, their guarantors were the supernatural patrons of Novgorod. The issue of who was the patron saint of Novgorod is complicated. Since the thirteenth century, this role had been played (besides God, of course) by St. Sophia. In the Novgorodian chronicles from this time, the formula ‘God and St. Sophia’54 occurs. Thus, two uses of the formula are found in the fragment of the Novgorod Chronicle, edited in the time of Archbishop Anthony.55 In the accounts of the domestic conflicts resolved in Novgorod in 1218 and 1220, the chronicler states respectively: ‘Thanks to 51 52 53 54 55

See: Florya, Issledovaniya po istorii Tserkvi, pp. 67-68. Haugland, ‘Guilds as Political Playground’. Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 182-183. See: Gippius, ‘Arkhiepiskop Antonij’. See: Gippius, ‘Novgorodskaya vladychnaya letopis’, p. 215.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


God and St. Sophia the devil was defeated and the cross exalted; and the brothers came together unanimously and kissed the cross’; and ‘Thanks to God and St. Sophia, the cross was exalted and the devil defeated, and the brothers were all together’.56 The guarantors of brothers’ reconciliation and reunion were God and St. Sophia, the heavenly patron of Novgorod. The city cathedral, raised in the eleventh century, was dedicated to St. Sophia.57 This is basically consistent with Max Weber’s concept of the ‘Western city’ as a community ‘above all constituted, or at least interpreted, as a fraternal association, as a rule equipped with a corresponding religious symbol for the associational cult of burghers: […] a city-saint’.58 Despite the fact that the figure of St. Sophia, or the Wisdom of God, was rather abstract and to a certain extent ‘immaterial’, she undoubtedly played the role of palladium of the Novgorod polity being – as with cults of saint patrons in other medieval European towns – ‘special vehicle and stimulus of civic solidarity’.59 The St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod was seen as the physical embodiment of the Novgorodian brotherhood, having been a symbol of the Novgorodian ‘spiritual community’ (as were, for example, cathedrals in Italian city states60). The square near the Cathedral of St. Sophia (within the kremlin of Novgorod, detinets) was one of the spots where veche assemblies gathered. It was at the veche on Sophia Square that Novgorodians since the mid-twelfth century61 until the end of their independence usually elected the archbishop, who was the head of the local diocese. The archbishop was then approved and ordained by the Metropolitan of all Rus’.62 A veche meeting could have been an expansion of the liturgy celebrated in St. Sophia Cathedral. So it was, for example, in May of 1388, after the then archbishop had retired: 56 PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 59, 60: ‘[Б]огомъ дияволъ попpанъ бысть и святою Софиею, кpестъ възвеличянъ бысть; и съидошася бpатья въкупѣ однодушно, и кpестъ цѣловаша’; ‘Богомь и святою Софиею кpестъ възвеличянъ бысть, а дьяволъ попpанъ; а бpатья вся въкупѣ быша’). 57 We leave aside the extremely complicated problem of historical and theological aspects of the cult of St. Sophia and the related problem of the dedication of St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod. 58 Weber, Economy and Society, p. 1241. 59 Jones, The Italian City-States, p. 124. 60 Jones, The Italian City-States, p. 81. 61 The first reference to the election of the Novgorod archbishop dates from 1156 (PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 29-30), though the election procedure would change throughout history. 62 For details of electing archbishops by Novgorodians, see A.I. Nikitsky’s classic work (Nikitsky, ‘Ocherk vnutrennej istorii Tserkvi’, pp. 20-25) and an attempt at critical reappraisal: Paul, ‘Episcopal Election in Novgorod’. Also cf. interesting, but very controversial ideas of Joel Raba: Raba, ‘Church and Foreign Policy’, p. 52.


Pavel V. Lukin

And all the priests began to chant the liturgy, and Novgorodians stood in the veche at the St. Sophia [Cathedral]; and when the divine service was over, archpriest Izmailo drew the lot of Athanasius, then Parthenius; and God and St. Sophia and the altar of God chose the good, quiet, humble man – John, abbot of [the monastery of] St. Saviour, and left his lot on their altar.63

Here the election of the Archbishop of Novgorod by drawing lots is described, a Novgorodian procedure unique in Rus’. First, three candidates from the clergy were nominated at the veche assembly. Then lots bearing their names were placed on the altar at St. Sophia Cathedral, and then removed one by one. The elected candidate was the one whose lot was the last to remain on the altar. From several Old Russian references and parallels we can infer that ‘secular’ officials of medieval Novgorod were elected by acclamation or, in Old Russian, proslavlenie (glorification) – a method that did not imply voting in any form, but rather a collective (and formally unanimous) approval of candidates.64 As for casting of lots, its use as a method of electing the archbishop was most likely a unique phenomenon and can be explained by the specific functions of the archbishop in Novgorod. In a sense, he was also one of the main symbols of the imagined community of the Novgorodian ‘people’, playing the role of a guardian of civic solidarity and patriotism as it was in some prominent medieval Italian cities (such as Milan or Ravenna)65. What was then the point of electing the archbishop by lots? There was only one archbishop and he could occupy this position for a very long time. It was not easy to depose him (although this indeed happened). He was dependent not only on Novgorod, but on the Metropolitan of all Rus’, who installed and ordained him. Consequently, this position, one of the most important in Novgorod, could be de facto monopolized by one of the factions struggling for power (indeed, the Burgundian knight Ghillebert de Lannoy, who spent the winter in Novgorod in 1413 called the Novgorod hierarch comme leur souverain (‘as if their [the Novgorodians’]

63 PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 381-382: ‘И начаша иеpѣи сбоpомъ обѣднюю пѣти, а новгоpодци сташа вѣцемъ у святѣи Софѣи; и сконцанѣ святѣи службѣ вынесе пpотопопъ Измаило жеpебеи Афанасьевъ, потомъ Поpфѣниевъ; и избpа богъ и святая Софѣя и пpестолъ божии мужа добpа, тиха, смиpена Иоана, игумена святого Спаса, и стави жеpебеи его на пpестолѣ своемь’). 64 See Lukin, ‘Novgorodskoe veche v XIII-XV vv.’, pp. 43-46. 65 Jones, The Italian City-States, p. 81.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


ruler’).66 The blind lottery (which could have been blind in the most literal sense of the word, as a case is known when an actually blind man performed drawing the lot)67 levelled the chances to some extent and did not in general run counter to the brotherhood of the Novgorodians (what was random in these conditions was only the choice; the candidates were nominated, undoubtedly, by certain influential groups). In the clan society of medieval Novgorod, autocracy was absent. Several elite groups (at least in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) struggled for power in Novgorod, drawing support from different districts of the city: the kontsy and the streets. The number of higher ‘secular’ magistrates, posadniki (burgomasters) and tysyatskii (thousandmen), was gradually increasing, most likely to avoid power monopolization by some of the aristocratic (boyar) clans.68 The archbishop’s position was an entirely different matter. There could not be more than one archbishop at a time, and although candidates for the position were nominated and lobbied by respective groups, they could not ‘share’ the post, unlike the posadniki and then the tysyatskii. Hence a solution was election by lots. It is usually assumed that all the higher Novgorod magistrates were elected this way. However, while there is direct evidence for the election of archbishops by lots in the chronicles,69 all historiographical argument for the allegedly same way of electing posadniki and tysyatskii is based on a single reference in a 1439 Hanseatic document. Here, German merchants complained to the authorities of Reval (Tallin) about a very vexing Novgorodian custom of the time: Also, you should know that we have here a great nuisance from the posadnik and tysyatskii. As before, and now, when a new posadnik or tysyatskii is being nominated, they want to have gifts and bestowals, and they say that they are supposed to receive them [in accordance with their positions]. If we are to bestow gifts on them all, then [the court] of St. Peter [that is, German merchants’] will need a large sum of money since they are nominated and deposed by der gisse [emphasis mine].70 66 Œuvres de Ghillebert de Lannoy, p. 33. 67 See PSRL, vol. 3, p. 232. 68 See Yanin, Novgorodskie posadniki, pp. 236-489. 69 The most significant accounts dating from the twelfth century until the fall of Novgorod’s independence see in: PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 232, 373, 381-382; vol. 16, col. 197; vol. 25, p. 284. 70 LECUB, vol. 9, No. 546, p. 393: ‘Vortmer so wetet, dat wy hir grote besweringe hebben van borgermester und hertigen. Also vro also dar eyn nyghe borgermester off hertighe upgheworpen wert, so willen se giffte und gave hebben und segghen, et sy er plicht. Solde wy se alle begifftegen, so behovede sunte Peter vele geldes, wente se werpen se up and aff by der gisse’.


Pavel V. Lukin

According to one hypothesis, this passage implied the election of Novgorod magistrates by lots.71 However, the meaning of ‘lot’ is unattested for the Middle Low German word gisse. Its primary meaning, according to the dictionary, is Mutmaßung (assumption, conjecture, speculation); the phrase by der gisse should rather be translated into modern German as ‘aufs Geratewohl, nach Gutdünken’ (at random, arbitrarily, at [somebody’s] discretion).72 Linguistic data cannot provide any evidence for election of ‘secular’ magistrates in Novgorod by casting lots, nor can they corroborate the idea of guessing/divination (in the sense of ‘guessing’ as discerning from several candidates). Gisse is first and foremost ‘conjecture’ and not ‘cleromancy’. To do something by der gisse seems to mean doing something not by casting lots, but at somebody’s discretion, at random, arbitrarily. In the Novgorodian-Hanseatic treaties a different word was used to denote lots which the Germans and Novgorodians should have cast in the event of a lawsuit: lot (just the same word as in modern English).73 Hence German merchants in Novgorod were very much familiar with lots but used a different word for them and not gisse. From the perspective of the Novgorodian chronicler, who was the archbishop’s official chronicler, it was not so much the veche assembly itself that elected the archbishop as the supernatural patrons of Novgorod: God, St. Sophia, and ‘the altar of God,’ that is, the altar of the Cathedral of St. Sophia, upon which the Eucharist was celebrated. In the era of Novgorod’s independent existence the procedure of electing archbishops would change, but its core remained much the same. The procedure was not only a political action but also a religious ritual, a sacrament of sorts. Of course, it bore an important political meaning; it was used to symbolically consolidate Novgorod. Needless to say, behind the scenes of this ritual was an intense political struggle for the archbishop’s position between different clans of Novgorodian nobility, but the ritual was intended to ensure that this struggle would not split the integrity of Novgorod’s community. Aleksandr E. Musin correctly draws attention to the fact that in Novgorod (as in the neighbouring Pskov), the urban community was essentially identical with the community of believers, and the veche was both a ‘political’ assembly and an assembly of believers.74 The dichotomy between ‘secular’ and ‘religious’, which was common for the positivist historians of the nineteenth 71 72 73 74

Kleinenberg, ‘Izvestiya o novgorodskom veche’, p. 171. Mittelniederdeutsches Handwörterbuch, vol. 2, 1, p. 117. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova, p. 61. Musin, Tserkov’ i gorozhane, p. 314.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


century and became especially characteristic of the Soviet historiography, is thus an ‘ahistorical approach to the issue’.75 There is, however, another and perhaps even more important aspect of the issue. Religion was not limited to cults and related ceremonies, which served to consolidate the Novgorodians. Novgorod’s political language itself was religious, which, according to Benedict Anderson, is quite typical also of modern imagined communities which too fashion themselves in sacral (or quasi-sacral) terms and formulas.76 The aforementioned notion of brotherhood undoubtedly carried religious connotations. The ideal of brotherly love was central to the New Testament texts read during each liturgy. In the prayers of the Orthodox liturgy, calls for unity are repeated constantly. In its crucial moment, during the Holy Anaphora (the Orthodox Eucharistic Prayer) a priest exclaims: ‘And grant that with one voice and one heart we may glorify and praise Your most honoured and majestic name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages’.77 No wonder, as we have already seen, oft-recurring conflicts in Novgorod were considered by chroniclers as inspired by the devil and reconciliations were described as victories of God. On the other hand, complete harmony of rhetoric, ideology, and actual political practice was impossible. The idea of Novgorodian brotherhood could not always prevent domestic conflicts. As in medieval Western Europe,78 there was no institution in Novgorod which would have been authorized to force the conflicting groups to restore peace. When such a conflict arose between brothers, they would not hesitate to take up arms. We have already mentioned the 1218 conflict in Novgorod, which resulted in an armed clash between supporters and opponents of Posadnik (burgomaster) Tverdislav. The sides represented different boroughs (‘ends’) of the city. The conflict came to the point of a secha (battle) at the city gates. However, it ended in reconciliation achieved through negotiations between the Novgorodians and Prince Svyatoslav Mstislavich at the veche. The negotiations were difficult and dealt with a quite ‘secular’ political problem – whether the then Posadnik Tverdislav should be removed from his office or not (which was the main cause of the conflict). Nonetheless, the language in which the final reconciliation was described in the chronicle

75 76 77 78

Musin, Tserkov’ i gorozhane, p. 314. Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 143-145. The Divine liturgy. Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers, pp. 135, 139-140.


Pavel V. Lukin

was religious: ‘the brothers’ ‘came together in concord’.79 Thus, even while fighting, the Novgorodians remained brothers to one another, at least in the imagined reality. This seems to have helped the management of conflicts that could erupt at any moment. An important manifestation of brotherhood was the collective defence. We see clear evidence of this in the 1224/1225 account of the Novgorod chronicle. This account describes the conflict and subsequent negotiations between Novgorodians and Iurii Vsevolodich, Prince of Vladimir-naKlyaz’me, who demanded the extradition of the Novgorodians in his disgrace. In response to Iurii’s demands, the Novgorodians began military preparations and declared to the prince through envoys: ‘O prince, we are bowing before you, but we will not give up our brothers’.80 This applies not only to domestic conflicts, but also to international ones. The same attitudes can be seen in the letters of Hanseatic merchants. There are multiple references to conflicts between Germans and Novgorodians. Novgorodian authorities, to whom the Hanseatic merchants complained about harassment, frequently turned down these complaints on the grounds that their Novgorodian brothers also had problems in Hanseatic cities. In 1409 German merchants in Novgorod complained to the local authorities about an act of violence committed by some Novgorodians against one of them. Having examined the complaint, the Novgorod Tysyatskii (thousandmen) responded in a quite peculiar way, stating that their own Novgorod ‘brothers were beaten [in German lands] harshly and wounded’.81 What the sources document very clearly is that references to Novgorod’s brotherhood in chronicles and other narratives are not merely a product of rhetoric. More specifically, behind this rhetoric stood actual policy based on the desire to secure the community’s integrity and to strengthen the shared identity of Novgorodians. The Novgorod chroniclers were interested in serious (in their view, of course) subjects, so the chronicles are only helpful if one looks into the issue at the macro level. However, the micro-level is approachable, too, thanks to the sources, which are very characteristic of medieval Novgorod – birchbark letters found during excavations since 1951. Being mostly of personal or business nature, they offer us the opportunity to look at the problem from below. The birch-bark document no. 954, discovered in 2005 in the Troitskii (Trinity) excavation site in Veliky Novgorod and dated paleographically and 79 PSRL, vol. 3, pp. 58-59. 80 PSRL, vol. 3, p. 64: ‘[К]няже, кланяемъ ти ся, а бpатьи своеи не выдаваемъ’. 81 HUB, vol. 5, No. 883, p. 464: ‘He claghede, er brodere weren ghehouwen unde gheslaghen’.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


archaeologically to the first quarter of the twelfth century, shows that such a shared identity existed not only on the level of the whole city, but on that of self-governing city boroughs – the kontsy. A certain Shil’tse, resident of one of Novgorod’s ‘ends’, Liudin, was accused of having ‘shamed the whole Liudin end’. The case was described in the following words: ‘Why do you violate [poshibaesh’] others’ pigs?’82 What exactly Shil’tse was accused of is not exactly clear – whether it was bestiality or laying some hex on the pigs (the verb poshibati may have meant both). What is important here is that the city district was seen as a collective victim whose honour had suffered. The authors of the message, Teshko and Zhirochko, considered the main guilt of the accused to be the sorom (shame), dishonour done to the Liudin end, rather than his reprehensible actions as such.

Conclusions In considering the Novgorodian notions of brotherhood and fraternal solidarity, it is impossible to overlook their pivotal role in constructing the imagined community of the city’s ‘people’, that is, the townsmen who enjoyed full rights. On the one hand, it was egalitarian, as it emphasized the basic equality among different strata of ‘the people’, comprising both aristocrats and free craftsmen. On the other hand, it by no means denied the existing social hierarchy. Moreover, it helped to place it within a stable framework. In its purest form, the Novgorodian fraternal community was represented politically at the city assembly, the veche. Manifested in a variety of ways – through religious and political ceremonies, collective oaths and feasts, appeals to shared sacred values – the brotherhood of the ‘full members’ of Novgorod’s community proved to be an effective means of keeping the society integral, both at the macro and micro levels and despite the inevitable difficulties coming from the lack of system administrative power in medieval Novgorod. It seems that this fundamental unity contributed significantly to the retention of Novgorod’s independence for several centuries. Particularly important were the symbols, or the Andersonian ‘regalia’, which represented the unity of the Novgorodians, such as St. Sophia Cathedral, the palladium of Novgorodian independence, and the figure of the archbishop of Novgorod, who in a sense was a personification of the unity of Novgorodians. 82 Zaliznyak, Yanin, ‘Berestyanye gramoty’, pp. 3-7: ‘Посоpомилъ коньць въхъ Людинь’; ‘Цему пошибаеши свиньѣ чюжѣ’.


Pavel V. Lukin

The history of Novgorod’s imagined community coincides with the history of Novgorodian independence (or autonomy). Nevertheless, some of its elements can be traced even later. Having arrived in Novgorod in 1478, Moscow Grand Prince Ivan III symbolically completed the annexation of the city with feasts. He arranged them for the conquered people of Novgorod (among them were not only the archbishop and ‘many Novgorod boyars,’ but also zhit’i).83 In the time of Novgorod’s independence, traditional forms of rituals, however, mirrored the political reality – the particular situation in which specific ideological, ritual, and emotional procedures were needed to ensure the unity of Novgorodians and to reaffirm their shared identity in the absence of an authoritarian power. Under the Muscovite rule, the surviving ritual forms became devoid of their former meaning and, for instance, the same feasts started now to serve as a way of strengthening the autocracy. New wine was then put into old wineskins.

Bibliography Primary sources The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom: liturgy_hchc (accessed 2015-03-03). Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova [Гpамоты Великого Новгоpода и Пскова], ed. by Sigizmund N. Valk (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1949). Hanserecesse von 1431-1476, vol. 1, ed. by Goswin Freiherr von der Ropp (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1876). HUB = Hansisches Urkundenbuch: HUB, vol. 5, ed. by Karl Kunze (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1899). LECUB = Liv-, Est- und Curländisches Urkundenbuch: LECUB, vol. 6, ed. by Friedrich-Georg von Bunge (Riga: Nikolai Kymmel, 1873). LECUB, vol. 9, ed. by Hermann Hildebrand (Riga: Verlag von J. Deubner, 1889). Œuvres de Ghillebert de Lannoy voyageur, diplomate et moraliste, receuillies et publiées par Ch. Potvin avec des notes géographiques et une carte, ed. by Charles Potvin, Jean-Charles Houzeau (Louvain: Impremerie de P. et J. Lefever, 1878). Pamyatniki russkogo prava [Памятники pусского пpава], vol. 2, ed. by Aleksandr A. Zimin (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo iuridicheskoj literatury, 1953). PSRL = Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [Полное собpание pусских летописей]: PSRL, vol. 1, Lavrentyevskaya letopis’ [Лавpентьевская летопись] (Moscow: Yazyki russkoj kul’tury, 1997). PSRL, vol. 2, Ipatyevskaya letopis’ [Ипатьевская летопись] (Moscow: Yazyki russkoj kul’tury, 1998).

83 PSRL, vol. 25, pp. 322-323.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


PSRL, vol. 3, Novgorodskaya pervaya letopis’ starshego i mladshego izvodov [Новгоpодская пеpвая летопись стаpшего и младшего изводов] (Moscow: Yazyki russkoj kul’tury, 2000). PSRL, vol. 4, 1, Novgorodskaya chetvyortaya letopis’ [Новгоpодская четвёpтая летопись] (Moscow: Yazyki russkoj kul’tury, 2000). PSRL, vol. 16, Letopis’ Avraamki [Летопись Авpаамки] (Moscow: Yazyki russkoj kul’tury, 2000). PSRL, vol. 25, Moskovskij letopisnyj svod kontsa XV veka [Московский летописный свод конца XV века] (Moscow: Yazyki slavyanskoj kul’tury, 2004). PSRL, vol. 35, Letopisi belorussko-litovskie [Летописи белоpусско-литовские] (Moscow: Nauka, 1980).

Secondary literature Gerd Althoff, Family, Friends and Followers. Political and Religious Bonds in Medieval Europe, trans. by Christopher Carroll (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 1996). Norbert Angermann, ‘Nowgorod. Das Kontor im Osten’, in Die Hanse. Lebenswirklichkeit und Mythos, ed. by Jörgen Bracker and others (Hamburg: Schmidt-Romhild, 1998; 2nd improved edn), pp. 234-241. Artemy V. Artsikhovsky, ‘Gorodskie kontsy v Drevnej Rusi’ [Аpтемий В. Аpциховский, ‘Гоpодские концы в Дpевней Pуси’], Istoricheskie zapiski [Истоpические записки], 16 (1945), 3-13. Henrik Birnbaum, Lord Novgorod the Great: Essays in the History and Culture of a Medieval City-State. Part One: The Historical Background (Columbus, OH: Slavica, 1981). Antony Black, Guilds and Civil Society in European Political Thought from the Twelfth Century to the Present (London: Methuen & Co., 1984). Antony Black, ‘Communal Democracy and its History’, in his Church, State and Community: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003) (Variorum Collected Studies Series), Chapter XIV. Mikhail M. Bogoslovskij, Zemskoe samoupravlenie na Russkom Severe v XVII v. T. II. Deyatel’nost’ zemskogo mira. Zemstvo i gosudarstvo [Михаил М. Богословский. Земское самоуправление на Русском Севере в XVII в. Т. II. Деятельность земского мира. Земство и государство] (Moscow: Sinodal’naya tipografiya, 1912). Wilhelm Ebel, Der Bürgereid als Geltungsgrund und Gestaltungsprinzip des deutschen mittelalterlichen Stadtrechts (Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1958). Etimologicheskij Slovar’ Slavianskikh Yazykov. Praslavyanskij leksicheskij fond [Этимологический словаpь славянских языков. Пpаславянский лексический фонд], ed. Oleg N. Trubachyov. John Fennell, The Crisis of Medieval Russia 1200-1304 (London: Longman, 1983). Boris N. Florya, ‘Istoricheskaya traditsiya ob obschestvennom stroe srednevekovogo Polotska’ [Боpис Н. Флоpя, ‘Истоpическая тpадиция об общественном стpое сpедневекового Полоцка’], Otechestvennaya istoriya [Отечественная истоpия], 5 (1995), 110-116. Boris N. Florya, Issledovaniya po istorii Tserkvi. Drevnerusskoe i slavyanskoe Srednevekov’e [Боpис Н. Флоpя, Исследования по истоpии Цеpкви. Дpевнеpусское и славянское Сpедневековье] (Moscow: Pravoslavnaya Entsiklopediya, 2007). Simon Franklin, Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950-1300 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).


Pavel V. Lukin

Igor’ Ya. Froyanov, Drevnyaya Rus’. Opyt issledovaniya istorii sotsial’noi i politicheskoi bor’by [Игоpь Я. Фpоянов, Дpевняя Pусь. Опыт исследования истоpии социальной и политической боpьбы] (Moscow: Zlatoust, 1995). Timofey V. Guimon, ‘Christian Identity in the Early Novgorodian Annalistic Writing’, in Historical Narratives and Christian Identity on a European Periphery. Early History Writing in Northern, East-Central and Eastern Europe (c. 1070-1200), ed. by Ildar H. Garipzanov (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), pp. 255-263. Aleksej A. Gippius, ‘K istorii slozheniya teksta Novgorodskoj pervoj letopisi’ [Алексей А. Гиппиус, ‘К истоpии сложения текста Новгоpодской пеpвой летописи’], Novgorodskij istoricheskij sbornik [Новгоpодский истоpический сбоpник], 6 (1997), 3-72. Aleksej A. Gippius, ‘Novgorodskaya vladychnaya letopis XII-XIV vv. i eyo avtory (Istoriya i struktura teksta v lingvisticheskom osveschenii)’ [Алексей А. Гиппиус, ‘Новгоpодская владычная летопись XII-XIV вв. и её автоpы’], in Lingvisticheskoe istochnikovedenie i istoriya russkogo yazyka 2004-2005 [Лингвистическое источниковедение и истоpия pусского языка 2004-2005], ed. by Aleksandr M. Moldovan, Aleksandra A. Pletnyova (Moscow: Drevlekhranilische, 2006), pp. 114-251. Aleksej A. Gippius, ‘Arkhiepiskop Antonij, novgorodskoe letopisanie i kul’t svyatoj Sof ii’ [Алексей А. Гиппиус, ‘Аpхиепископ Антоний, новгоpодское летописание и культ святой Софии’], in Khoroshie dni. Pamyati A. S. Khorosheva [Хоpошие дни. Памяти А.С. Хоpошева], ed. by Aleksandr E. Musin (Veliky Novgorod: LeopArt, 2009), pp. 181-198. Aleksej A. Gippius, ‘Do i posle Nachal’nogo svoda: ran’nyaya letopisnaya istoriya Rusi kak ob’’ekt tekstologocheskoj rekonstruktsii’ [Алексей А. Гиппиус, ‘До и после Начального свода: pанняя летописная истоpия Pуси как объект текстологической pеконстpукции’], in by Rus’ v IX-X vekakh: arkheologicheskaya panorama [Pусь в IX-X веках: аpхеологическая паноpама], ed. Nikolaj A. Makarov (Moscow/Vologda: Drevnosti Severa, 2012), pp. 37-63. Aleksej A. Gippius, ‘Birchbark Literacy and the Rise of Written Communication in Early Rus’, in Epigraphic Literacy and Christian Identity: Modes of Written Discourse in the Newly Christian European North, ed. by K. Zilmer, J. Jesch, Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 4 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012), pp. 225-251. Carsten Goehrke, ‘Die Sozialstruktur des mittelalterlichen Novgorod’, in Untersuchungen zur gesellschaftlichen Struktur der mittelalterlichen Städte in Europa. Reichenau-Vorträge. 19631964, Vorträge und Forschungen, XI (Sigmаringen: Thorbecke, 1974), pp. 357-378. Karl Hauck, ‘Rituelle Speisegemeinschaft im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert’, Studium generale, 3:2 (1950), 611-621. Håkon Haugland, ‘Guilds as Political Playground. Ritual of gildedrikk in High and Late Medieval Scandinavia’, in Performative Power: Ritual and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350, ed. by Lars Hermanson, Wojtek Jezierski, Hans-Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 321-357. Lars Hermanson, ‘Introduction’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans-Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 1-40. Wojtek Jezierski, ‘Convivium in terra horroris. Helmold of Bosau’s Rituals of Hostipitality’, in Rituals, Performatives, and Political Order in Northern Europe c. 650-1350, ed. by Wojtek Jezierski, Lars Hermanson, Hans-Jacob Orning, Thomas Småberg (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015), pp. 139-173. Philip Jones, The Italian City-State. From Commune to Signoria (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997). Igor’ E. Kleinenberg, ‘Izvestiya o novgorodskom veche pervoj chetverti XV veka v ganzeiskikh istochnikakh’ [Игоpь Э. Клейненбеpг, ‘Известия о новгоpодском вече пеpвой четвеpти XV века в ганзейских источниках’], Istoriya SSSR [Истоpия СССP], 6 (1978), 170-175.

Urban Communit y and Consensus


Pavel V. Lukin, ‘Sobytiya 1015 g. v Novgorode. K otsenke dostovernosti letopisnykh soobschenij’ [Павел В. Лукин, ‘События 1015 г. в Новгоpоде. К оценке достовеpности летописных сообщений’]’, Otechestvennaya istoriya [Отечественная истоpия], 4 (2007), 3-20. Pavel V. Lukin, ‘Novgorodskoe veche v XIII-XV vv. Istoriograf icheskie postroeniya i dannye ganzeiskikh dokumentov’ [Павел В. Лукин, ‘Новгоpодское вече в XIII-XV вв. Истоpиогpафические постpоения и данные ганзейских документов’], in: Spory o novgorodskom veche: Mezhdistsiplinarnyj dialog [Споpы о новгоpодском вече: Междисциплинаpный диалог], ed. by Mikhail M. Krom (Saint Petersburg: Evropeiskij universitet v Sankt-Peterburge, 2012) (ResPublica, 6), pp. 10-60. Pavel V. Lukin, Novgorodskoe veche [Павел В. Лукин, Новгоpодское вече] (Moscow: Indrik, 2014). Pavel V. Lukin, ‘Ganzejskie istochniki i sotsial’no-politicheskaya istoriya srednevekovogo Novgoroda’ [Павел В. Лукин, ‘Ганзейские источники и социально-политическая истоpия сpедневекового Новгоpода’], Vestnik Rossijskogo gumanitarnogo nauchnogo fonda [Вестник Российского гуманитаpного научного фонда], 4 (77) (2014), pp. 22-30. Jakov S. Luria, ‘Lavrent’evskaya letopis’ – svod nachala XIV v.’ [Яков С. Луpье, ‘Лавpентьевская летопись – свод начала XIV в.’], Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoj literatury [Тpуды Отдела дpевнеpусской литеpатуpы], 29 (1974), 50-67. Pierre Michaud-Quantin, Universitas. Expressions du mouvement communautaire dans le MoyenAge latin, L’Église et l’État au Moyen Age, 13 (Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 1970). Mittelniederdeutsches Handwörterbuch, vol. 2, 1, ed. by Dieter Möhn (Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2004). Eduard Mühle, Die städtischen Handelszentren der nordwestlichen Ruś. Anfänge und frühe Entwicklung altrussischer Städte (bis gegen Ende des 12 Jahrhunderts) (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1991). Aleksandr E. Musin, Tserkov’ i gorozhane srednevekovogo Pskova. Istoriko-arkheologicheskoe issledovanie [Александp Е. Мусин, Цеpковь и гоpожане сpедневекового Пскова. Истоpикоаpхеологическое исследование] (Saint Petersburg: Fakul’tet Filologii i iskusstv SPbGU, 2010). Arseny N. Nasonov, Russkaya zemlya i obrazovanie territorii Drevnerusskogo gosudarstva. Istoriko-geograficheskoe issledovanie [Аpсений Н. Насонов, Pусская земля и обpазование теppитоpии Дpевнеpусского госудаpства. Истоpико-геогpафическое исследование] (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR, 1951). Aleksandr I. Nikitsky, ‘Ocherk vnutrennej istorii Tserkvi v Velikom Novgorode’ [Александp И. Никитский, ‘Очеpк внутpенней истоpии Цеpкви в Великом Новгоpоде’], Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosvescheniya, 202 (1879), 1-66. Aleksandr A. Papkov, Drevne-russkij prikhod. Kratkij ocherk tserkovno-prikhodskoj zhizni v vostochnoj Rossii do XVIII veka i v zapadnoj Rossii – do XVII veka [Александp А. Папков, Дpевне-pусский пpиход. Кpаткий очеpк цеpковно-пpиходской жизни в восточной Pоссии до XVIII века и в западной Pоссии – до XVII века] (Sergiev Posad: 2-ya tipograf iya A.I. Snegiryovoj, 1897). Michael C. Paul, ‘Episcopal Election in Novgorod, Russia 1156-1478’, Church History. Studies in Christianity and Culture, 72:2 (2003), 251-275. Paolo Prodi, Il sacramento del potere. Il giuramento politico nella storia costituzionale dell’Occidente (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1992). Joel Raba, ‘Church and Foreign Policy in the Fifteenth-Century Novgorodian State’, CanadianAmerican Slavic Studies, 13:1-2 (1979), 52-58. Stefan Rohdewald, ‘Vom Polocker Venedig’. Kollektives Handeln sozialer Gruppen einer Stadt zwischen Ost- und Mitteleuropa (Mittelalter, frühe Neuzeit, 19 Jh. Bis 1914) (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2005).


Pavel V. Lukin

Boris A. Rybakov, Kievskaya Rus’ i russkie knyazhestva XII-XIII v. [Боpис А. Pыбаков, Киевская Pусь и pусские княжества XII-XIII в.] (Moscow: Nauka, 1982). Elena A. Rybina, Inozemnye dvory v Novgorode XII-XVII vv. [Елена А. Pыбина, Иноземные двоpы в Новгоpоде XII-XVII вв.] (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Moskovskogo Universiteta, 1986). Aleksej A. Shakhmatov, Obozrenie russkikh letopisnykh svodov XIV-XVI vv. [Алексей А. Шахматов, Обозpение pусских летописных сводов XIV-XVI вв.] (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii Nauk USSR, 1938). Pyotr Sokolov, Agapy ili vecheri liubvi v drevnekhristianskom mire [Пётp Соколов, Агапы или вечеpи любви в дpевнехpистианском миpе] (Sergiev Posad: Tipografiya Sv.-Tr. Sergievoj Lavry, 1906). Mikhail N. Tikhomirov, Krest’yanskie i gorodskie vosstaniya na Rusi XI-XIII v. [Михаил Н. Тихомиpов, Кpестьянские и гоpодские восстания на Pуси XI-XIII в.] (Moscow: Gospoilitizdat, 1955). Max Weber, Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, trans. by E. Fischoff and others (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978). I. Yakubovskij, ‘Zemskie privilei Velikogo knyazhestva Litovskogo, chast’ II’ [И. Якубовский, Земские пpивилеи Великого княжества Литовского, часть II], Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniya, 347 (1903), 245-303. Valentin L. Yanin, Novgorodkaya feodal’naya votchina [Валентин Л. Янин, Новгоpодская феодальная вотчина] (Moscow: Nauka, 1981). Valentin L. Yanin, Novgorodskie posadniki [Валентин Л. Янин, Новгоpодские посадники] (Moscow: Yazyki slavyanskoj kul’tury, 2003, 2nd edn, revised and supplemented). Valentin L. Yanin, Mark Kh. Aleshkovsky, ‘Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda (k postanovke problemy)’ [Валентин Л. Янин, Маpк Х. Алешковский, ‘Пpоисхождение Новгоpода (к постановке пpоблемы)’], Istoriya SSSR [Истоpия СССP], 2 (1971), 32-61. Andrej A. Zaliznyak, Valentin L. Yanin, ‘Berestyanye gramoty iz novgorodskikh raskopok 2005 g.’ [Андpей А. Зализняк, Валентин Л. Янин, ‘Беpестяные гpамоты из новгоpодских pаскопок 2005 г.’], Voprosy yazykoznaniya [Вопpосы языкознания], 3 (2006), 3-13. M.S. Zheltov, V.V. Vasilik, ‘Agapa’ [М.С. Желтов, В.В. Василик, ‘Агапа’], in Pravoslavnaya entsiklopediya [Пpавославная энциклопедия], 1 (Moscow: Pravoslavnaya entsiklopediya, 2000), pp. 214-219.

Urban Community and Social Unrest Semantics of Conflict in Fourteenth-Century Lübeck Cordelia Heß*

In 1385 two Lübeck city councillors were dissatisfied with the historiographic situation in the town. The existing town chronicle (now lost) had not been updated for the past 36 years, that is, ever since the grote dode (the Black Death) hit Lübeck. In general, the councillors found the chronicle a bit brekhaftich, deficient. They ordered the Franciscan monk Detmar to write a new chronicle for the use of the town council. Detmar, a teacher in the monastery of St. Catherine in Lübeck,1 worked on the chronicle for the following ten years; after that his work was continued by unknown scribes until the year 1482. The result was two volumes of Lübeck and world history, later called the Detmar chronicle or Lübecker Ratschronik, a copy of which was jealously kept in the Wettestube of the town hall.2 The author gives two reasons for the writing of the chronicle: the wish of the two councillors to resume chronicle writing after the disruption of the Black Death years, and the ‘grote jammer der vorretnisse binnen lubek’ (‘great misery of the occurrences in Lübeck’), which happened in 1385 and * Cordelia Heß is Docent and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, and a research fellow for the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm. She was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Medieval Studies at Stockholm University and has also been a fellow at Tel Aviv University, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, and Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, Berlin. Her work centres on questions of religion, language, and culture in the Baltic Sea region. Her publications include Heilige machen im spätmittelalterlichen Ostseeraum (Berlin: Akademie, 2008) and Social Imagery in Middle Low German (2013). With Jonathan Adams she has also co-edited Fear and Loathing in the North: Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015). She is currently working on a study on the Teutonic Order’s policy for the treatment of Jews in medieval Prussia, as well as on a series of studies of urban rebellions in the Middle Low German region. 1 Putzo, ‘Detmar von Lübeck’, p. 519, with further references and the signatures of the three known surviving manuscripts. 2 Some other chroniclers were allowed insight into the volumes and used them faithfully: the so-called Rufus, Hermann Korner, Reimar Kock. The ascription to Detmar is of later origin: the text mentions only a lesemester in Sunte Franciscus orden, who wishes to remain unnamed. Until the year 1400, a second author seems to have continued the chronicle, then a break in the keeping of the chronicle is visible, then a later hand continued for the years until 1482. See the introduction to the printed edition: Grauthoff, ‘Vorbericht’, p. xvii.



gave the initial reason for historiographic assurance. This jammer (‘misery’ or ‘heartache’) was the so-called butcher’s uprising (Knochenhaueraufstand).3 A contemporary crisis should be mended by looking at the past, learning from it and making sense out of it, and both the crisis and parts of the past are described in highly emotional terms. Moments of crisis form innerurban communities or make them visible; in this case, the Knochenhauer and the city council. The standard interpretation for this kind of chronicle is a narrative of identification and identity, a reassurance for the city council that it has always been and is doing well. The two council members who gave the initial order for writing were those who had been responsible for interrogations and execution of the rebels in 1385, and it is assumed that they needed a kind of consolidation in the narratives of conflicts of the past – an imagined community of authorities who are also do-gooders in harmony with their subjects. Lately Sascha Möbius has analyzed the entire late medieval and early modern historiography of Lübeck under these aspects. Möbius offers a traditional reading of the intentions of the authors as entirely in accordance with the wishes of the patrons. In this reading, Lübeck is supposed to have been presented as a model for wise urban politics, and the demarcation against outer and inner enemies was a crucial and reassuring feature invoked in history. 4 The assumption of a bias of the chroniclers in favour of the city council is a recurring feature in these lines of interpretation, well acknowledged among scholars of urban history. This line of interpretation reproduces, however, the classical idea of Eintracht as the leitmotif of urban historiography, a clear distinction into friends and enemies, the construction of community by establishing inner and outer boundaries, as well as the assumption of a strong independent author who offers his vision of history and eschatology to his patrons in order to give them a form of identity.5 History-writing is understood as a commissioned work. In this chapter I would like to offer a different reading of the Detmar chronicle, with a starting point in a different approach towards consensus and conflict. While unity undoubtedly was a central concept in late medieval urban historiography and – as shown in Pavel V. Lukin’s chapter – probably also in urban life itself, this idea of unity was not unambiguous. 3 A complete list of the sources available for this event is found in: Brandt, ‘Die Lübecker Knochenhaueraufstände’, pp. 129-208. 4 Möbius, Gedächtnis, passim. 5 The identity aspect is, for example, also elaborated upon in Stein, ‘Selbstverständnis oder Identität’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


Furthermore, the moment a conflict became visible, the different communities evolving as conflicting parties also came into the light. An urban rebellion was not merely the disturbance of unity and peace, but also a moment in which the political, social, and symbolic potential of communities was contested and reassured. This reading, however, also calls for a critical approach to the concept of imagined communities. Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities as the core of modern nationalism has been criticized by scholars of the late medieval period, especially regarding his assumptions about the role of Latin versus the vernaculars, a change he places around the Reformation period, but which actually in some areas took place as early as the third century,6 and for the German lands in the high Middle Ages, which was not at all as sudden as Anderson poses. From a different perspective, there have also been attempts to read Anderson’s conception of communities as a definition of medieval towns: as imagined, sovereign, and limited communities. But rather than making this definition fruitful for the analysis of medieval urban communities, this argument has been brought forward in order to point at a significant lack in Anderson’s definition of nations; namely, how his definition is specific for modern nations as imagined communities. Despite his emphasis on the importance of the specific style in which a community is imagined, he has failed to define this fundamental difference. Nevertheless, there is an aspect in the idea of imagined communities that Anderson himself has drawn from Walter Benjamin’s idea of a ‘messianic power’ contained in all societies7 and that has been further developed, for example, in Homi Bhabha’s work on nationalism, containing a critical appraisal of Anderson.8 It is the question of reading and re-writing a community’s past, which in Anderson’s terms needs to be consensual, but which both Benjamin and Bhabha use as basis for their claim for a different reading of historiographic accounts. Bhabha emphasizes an aspect already outlined in Walter Benjamin’s work on the writing of history. When reflecting on how to write the history of nations in a period of nationalism, Benjamin advocates going beyond the horizontal critical gaze of the interpreter, dispersing homogeneity, and acknowledging the perspectives of both master and slave in the texts. Benjamin thus subsumes several aspects of the interpretation of a community’s contested past by reading the remaining sources as ‘writing 6 Bouchard, ‘A Critical Reappraisal’, pp. 3-24. 7 Anderson, Imagined Communities, passim; he mentions specifically the ideas of messianic power and ‘brushing history against its grain’ as inspiration to his work. 8 Bhabha, The location of culture, pp. 139-170.



history in a moment of danger’. Both Bhabha and Benjamin are concerned with the detection of divergent, potentially explosive voices or their echoes in the historiography of past times, and the texts’ claims to the contemporary reader and interpreter to reveal their potential. While Anderson evokes an image of the nation’s imaginary as a consensual projection with immense powers, Benjamin and Bhabha emphasize the ambiguity and fragility of these projections. Regarding the reading of late medieval urban chronicles, this conception of ambiguity helps to point out an aspect crucial for the understanding of these societies: conflict and struggle were central aspects to everyday urban life. In Detmar’s case, the creative potential of conflict was to become apparent as the double crisis of the Plague and the butchers’ uprising triggered his writing. Piroska Nagy has shown that emotional communities do not always have to resemble stable existing social communities, but that they could emerge spontaneously and their members could, after a specific political situation triggering emotions and requiring collective action came to an end, go back to ‘normal life’.9 Urban conflicts had a key role in Detmar’s chroniclewriting: they followed a distinct narrative pattern and made inner-urban communities visible. But for him, there was no return to ‘normal life’. He wrote his chronicle in order to master a current crisis, and the communities emerging for him in the urban conflicts returned over and over again – in his hometown Lübeck, in Stralsund, Cologne, and even in far-away Prussia. Detmar’s history was a sequence of conflicts, the urban communities he described consisted of short-lived groups struggling against each other: the city council, the rebels, the butchers, the townspeople in general, the mayors, all of these were temporary protagonists in the narrative. The idea of history written in a moment of danger is familiar from German-Jewish structuralist philosophers from the pre-war period: Ernst Cassirer, Walter Benjamin,10 and others, whose work is largely forgotten and unused amongst historians due to their expulsion from their chairs, forced exile and, in Benjamin’s case, early death. They all offered interpretations 9 Nagy, ‘Comment faire une communauté émotionnelle?’; Thanks to Professor Nagy for providing me with a manuscript of this lecture, as well as generally drawing my attention to the topic of emotions. 10 Benjamin, Sprache und Geschichte, p. 144: ‘Vergangenes historisch artikulieren heißt nicht, es erkennen ‘wie es denn eigentlich gewesen ist’. Es heißt, sich einer Erinnerung bemächtigen, wie sie im Augenblick einer Gefahr aufblitzt. Dem historischen Materialismus geht es darum, ein Bild der Vergangenheit festzuhalten, wie es sich im Augenblick der Gefahr dem historischen Subjekt unversehens einstellt. Die Gefahr droht sowohl dem Bestand der Tradition wie ihren Empfängern’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


for the emergence of communities and the historian’s approach to these. For Cassirer, ‘history is the history of passions’.11 Detmar in Cassirer’s terms was a true historian: he posed a contemporary question and answered it attempting to decode the symbolic forms of the past. This decoding happened according to the structures prevalent in his own community: people did not think as individuals, but according to a certain style of thinking learned within their group. This eventually coincided with Anderson’s idea of communities being imagined according to a certain style. Cassirer’s conception of historiography, in particular, makes visible the idea of a material historical reality discovered behind the semantics of cultural tradition, which seems outdated in the postmodern period. Generally, the critical thinking developed by German Jewish scholars in the wake of fascism might seem anachronistic, their criticism toothless, and their moments of danger tragic, but long bygone. But they point at a crucial aspect in the reading of medieval texts lacking in Anderson’s idea of specific consensual styles of representation for communities: the importance and dynamics of conflict. Detmar, as a member of the Franciscan Order, had a strong group-specific mind-set regarding language, the understanding of history, and his own surroundings, which was necessarily different from that of the lay members of the town community. He saw conflicts from the perspective of a bystander rather than of an authority. A key to the process of making sense of these conflicts was how Detmar understood inner-urban communities by assigning feelings to them and the importance of urban conflict in general. We can read these accounts of conflicts either as a disturbance of unity, which consequently calls for a therapeutic text in order to restore the homogeneity of the community’s narrative (following Anderson), or as an assignment of agency to different social groups, notwithstanding the outcome of their rebellions (following Cassirer, Benjamin, and Bhabha).

Chronicle-writing as a Therapeutic Process The Detmar chronicle was written in direct connection to urban conflict or, more precisely, its reconciliation. Writing in general plays an important role in the staging of the conflict and this will illustrate the therapeutic

11 Cassirer elaborates his (late) view on history and historiography primarily in chapter X of Cassirer, An Essay on Man, p. 191.



effect historiography was assigned in the process.12 In order to understand the communities which became visible in urban conflicts requires not only the analysis of the political and economic circumstances of the conflicts, but also of the psychological and emotional constitution of the participants. One of the aspects Benedict Anderson emphasizes as distinctive is the potential of nations to mobilize people, to become ‘something to kill for and something to die for’,13 and Detmar, by clearly assigning urban communities feelings in the course of their actions, furnished this aspect also for medieval urban communities’ reasoning and motives. In the Detmar chronicle, emotional language is more prevalent in the parts written during the author’s lifetime, as is the assignment of these emotions to collectives instead of individuals such as kings and lords. Detmar himself mentions the sources for his work regarding the years 1100-1300: Helmold of Bosau, Speculum historiale by Vincenz of Beauvais, The Chronicle of the Tatars by Haythonus Armenius, a Chronicle of the Holy Land (author unidentified), and the records of the earliest town administration of Lübeck itself. For the following fifty years, the now lost older town chronicle seems to have been the main source, and from the year 1350 on Detmar used the town administration’s records and his own memory. From 1385 on, both Detmar (who probably died in 1395) and his unknown successor seem not to have relied on other historiographic sources. The Detmar chronicle is in its first part a world chronicle, compiled from various sources, while its local focus narrows for the later periods. Regarding Detmar’s own time, it drew especially upon the Toruń Anonymous’ Annales. Detmar also worked like many of urban chroniclers, often town scribes with access to the town’s archives, who collected, copied, and inserted diplomata and letters into their chronicles, and often reported on the riots from a conservative point of view.14 The connection between the emergence of urban historiography and the reconciliation of conflicts is also not unique for Lübeck. In the Hanseatic towns, either internal struggles or struggles with the landlord for indepen­ dence seemed to have functioned as historiographical triggers. During the 12 There is also an anonymous independent report entirely about the Knochenhauer rebellion that circulated in two different versions: ‘Bericht über den Knochenhauer-Aufstand’. This account is handed down as it was copied in the seventeenth-century collections. 13 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 7. 14 The so-called Rufuschronik is a text likely dating c. 1400-1430. It is by an anonymous author who used a no longer extant Latin version of the Lübeck Dominican Hermann Korner’s chronicle, the Chronicon Lubecense and the Detmar chronicle. It covers the years 1105-1430 in two sections. ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik erster Teil bis zum Jahre 1395’; ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik zweiter Teil’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


fourteenth century, many Hanseatic towns lost part of their privileges due to the landlords’ attempts to re-gain control over the largely independent towns, as was the case in Braunschweig and Rostock. In Prussia – a focus area of Detmar’s interest – the fourteenth-century historiography was still entirely dominated by the Teutonic Order and its crusading efforts in the Baltic, while the fifteenth century saw an emerging of urban historiography in the wake of the conflict the (Hanseatic) Prussian towns developed in demarcation to their landlord.15 The jammer that triggered Detmar’s production was a negotiation about the codification of rights and privileges of the guilds. Detmar’s attempts to understand the events circle not so much around the legitimacy of these privileges themselves, but around the access to them in written form.16 As we know, the copy of Detmar’s chronicle was kept in the town hall and was not open for public use, but remained a precious treasure of knowledge owned by the ruling elite. The butchers’ rebellion in 1384 was preceded by two other conflicts in which the conflicting parties were combined: the ämter (the totality of guilds and thus the organized craftsmen), who often were in opposition to the rad (the town council, dominated by rentiers and merchants), and often supported by the menheyt (‘the common man’). The first outbreak of violence happened in 1380, when the butchers’ guild and parts of the bakers’ guild claimed more freedom from the council, which had the right to designate personnel for the butchers’ and bakers’ stalls on the market. Detmar criticizes their negotiations as evil and disturbing due to their violence: This [their claim for more independence on the market] was well acknowledged, but they pursued this with wickedness and with great turmoil, which they proved in the negotiations, and in front of the court and the council […] Then they wanted to have letters on the outcome of the negotiations and all their will, not only them, but the community of all the guilds wanted to have similar letters, that they were allowed to remain in their rights. These did the council not want to issue, because

15 On the relationship between the Annales Torunenses and Detmar, as well as regarding other chronicles relying on the Annales Torunenses, see Boockmann, ‘Geschichtsschreibung des Deutschen Ordens’, pp. 86-87. 16 A similar approach to the chronicler’s work and the role of written records in a conflict is exercised for England in Justice, Writing and Rebellion.



it was not the custom, but they wanted to let their rights and privileges inscribe into the town book.17

This was obviously read as the refusal to treat the guilds as equal partners and to give them equal control over their privileges – the town books were kept secretly in the town hall as well as the chronicles, and could thus only be used in conflicts by the council. Detmar understands the symbolic claim for letters as irrational even if the general claim for privileges seems quite justified for him. Nevertheless, within the competing groups, he identifies a group of rioters who disqualify their own claims by enforcing them too much. A codification of the guilds’ privileges seemed reasonable, while the issuing of letters would have meant assigning them a status equal to the authorities – which was denied. After this, an escalation of the conflict seemed inevitable, but when it comes to the actual fight, the chronicle is surprisingly silent. We only know that the guilds lost the battle and were forced to do public penance, while issuing of the privileges was out of the question. Four years later, a conflict between the same groups was kindled again. Detmar’s version of the events is a striking account of emotional mobilization, and it differs considerably from the description of the first conflict about the letters. In the same year during summer there was a poisoned group of people in Lübeck, amongst the guilds, they were enemies of the cross of Christ and of all salvation, they had a big congregation in a house at the Klingenberg above the Marlesgrube, and in other houses, and also connections with noble people, named the Godendorper,18 that they wanted to kill the honoured council, rich merchants and those who were rich in goods; they wanted to kill their wives and children, and disrupt and blaspheme the mass, order and honour. They were of various guilds, but mostly from the butchers. They planned this in the most evil spirit …19 17 Detmar I, pp. 315-316: ‘Dit were en wol beschen, mer se esscheden dat mit wrevele unde mit groten ungevoge, also se wol bewiseden in degedinghen, ok vor richte unde rade. [...] Do wolden se hebben breve uppe de beslutinge der degedinghe unde al eres willen, se nicht alleyne, mer de menheyt van allen ampten wolden hebben breve des gelikes, dat men se scholde laten bi ere upsate. Der en wolde een de raad nicht gerne geven, wente dat nyn wise was, mer se wolden ere rechticheit unde vryheit schriven laten in des stades bok’. 18 The family Godendorp was a noble family with holdings in Holstein, a Detlev Godendorp was amongst those decapitated for the conspiracy. Deecke, Die Hochverräther zu Lübeck. 19 Detmar I, p. 326: ‘In demesulven iare [1384] des somers do was en vorgiftich volk binnen lubeke, alse de van den ampten, de weren viande des cruces cristi unde aller salicheit; se hadden groten raad van binnende an eme huse up deme klingenberge boven der marlevesgroven unde

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


This description is extraordinary in the context of the Detmarian conflict scenarios. First, the rioters are described as ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’ and thereby equal to Tatars, heretics, and Saracens, for whom this epithet is reserved in other parts of the chronicle. In other words, the Christian people from Lübeck are equated with external enemies, which is to justify their exclusion from the urban community. Second, their whereabouts are meticulously determined and placed within the town, so that future generations could still visit the place and remember the evil being done there – a museum of history. The reason Detmar needs to imagine this community of evildoers as so much different from the other occasional rioters and guilds he describes in his chronicle is probably just the fact that they were suspected of being an actually ‘imagined’ group already during the trial. Nothing had really happened and many in the town obviously doubted the comprehensiveness of the conspiracy and accused the authorities of fabricating more rebels than actually existed. The presumed traitors were subjected to a trial of unprecedented scale: eighteen men were executed, 28 more verfested, that is, they had already fled the town and all their belongings were confiscated by the council. As a result, their families were forced to leave, too. The council filled a now lost book, called the liber de traditoribus, with the names of the presumed conspirators. The guilds had to pledge an oath of obedience. But all of these measures could not silence the criticism in the community about the council’s attempt to re-gain control. Detmar leaves us alone in all this; it is the later chronicles that speak in the context of the next uprising in 1408 of the community’s dissatisfaction. The exact reasons are not clear – some may have doubted the existence of such a large-scale conspiracy entirely, since nothing actually had happened. Others may have been critical towards the amount of executions and bans, especially since the butchers’ original claims had been shared by the other guilds but were never satisfied. The detection of the conspiracy happened again in written form: letters were sent to the council by unknown people who did the will of God and informed the council of the evil plans. As we will see later, the invocation of God and the devil was an extreme measure taken by Detmar only in this case of utter distress. He carefully described the legal steps taken against the conspirators and their families, and did not fail to mention the two in anderen husen, unde ok van butene mit hoveluden, de heten de godendorper, wu se wolden slan den erbaren raad, rike koplude unde de rike van gude weren; se wolden morden wif unde kindere, unde underbreken unde vorkrenken godesdenst, tucht unde ere. Se weren van allerleye ampten, doch alder mest van den knokenhoweren. Se nemen dit bosliken vore [...]’.



council members who later became his commissioners and their role in the process: ‘they both had much work both regarding the juridical process and because they had to fear for their own goods’.20 This is the only hint towards the fact that the harsh punishment failed to establish a unity in the town and that the executioners were threatened.

The Narrative Structure of Conflicts The Detmar chronicle and many other Hanseatic urban chronicles alike portrayed urban conflicts following a strict protocol, which does not mean that all of these situations actually happened according to this protocol. Rather, they read the events in the way it suited the lines of thinking to which they were accustomed. Thus common narrative structures for the description of conflicts are not only visible in the Detmar chronicle, but also in other contemporary chronicles from the Hanseatic towns. A key for the presentation of reasons for the conflict was the chronicler’s understanding of existing conflict groups in the towns. He presented reasons grounded in the dynamics between the conflicting groups, which were portrayed as similar in all these towns. Riots usually occurred for a reason, which could be presented as legitimate or not, but the aspect of irrationality which has been analysed, for example, in the authorities’ perception of peasants’ revolts was not predominant here.21 This may be a hint towards the differences between Detmar’s and the city council’s understanding of the conflict. The violence arose most often between rad and menheyt – in the framework of urban politics this means those with institutionalized political power and those without. The menheyt was often treated as interchangeable with the rioters, and this probably led Detmar, and in consequence many scholars, to assume that the rioters were mainly members of the lower classes. We do not usually have contemporary testimonies addressing this issue, but some inferences about the social composition of the rioters are 20 Detmar I, p. 327: ‘In den dagen weren voghede der stad twe erbare lude, her thomas murkerke unde her herman langhe, de do grot arbeit hadden beide in rechtes wise unde in bekummernisse eres gudes’. 21 Paul Freedman, who primarily relied on literary sources, has concluded that rebellious peasants were in most cases portrayed as irrational, wild animals, and that their anger – quite in contrast to the anger of nobles or saints – was used to dehumanize them, even though clerical writers could occasionally sympathize with the reasons for the rebellion and its goals. More often, however, peasants’ anger was depicted in a way that served to delegitimize their demands: Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger in the Late Middle Ages’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


possible in the few cases where individual rioters were identified. In these cases, we most commonly find members of the different guilds being punished for having incited the crowd against the city council. The assumption that rioters always belonged to the lower classes can in most cases be traced back to a given chronicler’s bias and imagination. In Lübeck in 1384, it was the Knochenhauer after whom the entire uprising was named, but the supposed leader of the conspiracy who was eventually punished was the impoverished merchant Hinrik Paternostermaker. In a similar case in Hamburg, the chronicler attempted to portray the rioters as composed entirely of the lower classes, but the only individual rioter he substantiates, incidentally a female, Catharina Arends, was in fact a daughter, wife, and sister of members of the city council.22 Also, the first sequel of the Detmar chronicle describes the 1396 riots in Cologne, which occurred following a quarrel between the ‘narrow’ and the ‘broad’ chambers of city council (‘den enghen rade unde den widen radhe’) about the dismissal of a councillor in the course of which the enge rad captured and incarcerated the wide rad. It was a deed the community clearly viewed as scandalous and which could not go unpunished, since ‘des wart de menheyt gereyset yeghen beide rade’ (‘thus the common man was antagonized against both councils’).23 The same chronicle writes about a conflict (‘twedracht’) in Stralsund in 1391: ‘The reason was: The mayors of Stralsund were in the habit of having all the taxes that the people had paid brought into their houses …’24 The structure of these reports is crucial: it was first stated that there was a conflict and then the reasons for the conflict were provided, here primarily the mayors’ habit of removing tax money from public oversight and control. As such, they were presented as not necessarily responsible for the conflict, but implicitly as its initial source. These descriptions were far from presenting urban rebellion simply as the action of incomprehensible masses. The contemporary chronicles, even if biased, did not depict the anger of the masses as flat out irrational. They identified either economic or political reasons and they cautiously described a somewhat typical course of events. Even though they later served as propaganda used both to justify the 22 For a similar conflict in Hamburg in the fifteenth century, this mechanism is analyzed in Heß, ‘Skirts and Politics’. 23 Detmar II, p. 81. 24 Detmar II, nr. 944, p. 41: ‘Grot twedracht to deme sunde tusschen deme raade unde der menheit. De sake was: de borgermestere van deme sunde hadden ene wonheit, dat se al dat schot, dat de borger schoteden, leten dregen in ere hus. Umme der twidracht willen hadden se grote var in beiden siden, also dat twe borgermestere togen ute der stad, de ere here, hertoge Wertzlaf, vordegedingede’.



authorities’ harsh punishment of the rebels and to defend the post-rebellion status quo, the rioting masses were not ascribed an incomprehensibly rebellious nature. The riots arose out of stable communities that had developed a righteous anger against the authorities because their councils killed each other, because the council’s policies led to economic misery, or because a certain group demanded more political influence. All of these reasons were presented in neutral terms, which is not very surprising after all. Given the frequency of urban riots, it seems unlikely they were perceived as extraordinary events. One characteristic of the Detmar chronicle is that it attempts to present both sides of a conflict. In addition, there is a discernible general bias in favour of the independence of towns. A 1390 conflict in Göttingen is said to have occurred ‘because of the arrogance of Duke Otto of Braunschweig’, and thus the rebellion of the townspeople seems justified, and even their underhanded artifices of war appear as ‘a wise deed’.25 And Detmar’s attempt to understand the nature of conflicts does not only comprise Christian conflicting parties. He reports many events from Prussia and Livonia where the Sword Brethren and later the Teutonic Order struggled with the Baltic indigenous people and uprisings still occurred in the fourteenth century. After that, on the day of St. George, the Estonians in the king’s land at Reval threw themselves out of the Christian faith, because of the heavy burden they were subjected to, and killed knights and servants, women and children, all that was German. They broke the rules, and did great harm with this, and even greater damage was done to them after this. 26

The uprising of the Estonians against the German ruling class in Reval in 1343 – today in Estonian historiography understood as an attempt to free the town from Danish rule and the Germans as the Danes’ vassals – is portrayed as equally understandable as the urban uprisings in the Wendish Hanseatic towns – and so is their harsh punishment. 25 ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik erster Teil’, no. 938, p. 39: ‘In deme sulven jare wart hertoge Otto van Brunswik vyant der statt Gotinghen umme homodes willen. He buewede ene kerken, de was vast unde naa belegen bi der stat. Do he se buwet hadde, des togen de borgere ute der stad vor dat slot unde wunnen dat unde vengen dar 30 gewapent uppe. Do se segen, dat sich de krich vorherdede, do deden se ene klokheit…’. 26 Detmar I, p. 256: ‘Darna in sunte georgius daghe do worpen sic van deme cristendome de etone in des koninghes lande bi revele, umme den swaren dwang, den se hadden, unde sloghen dot riddere unde knechte, vrowen unde kindere, alles dat dudesch was. In broke se leghen, daruth se deden schaden grot, ok wart en schade noch grotere weder ghedan’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


Riots were preceded by an atmosphere of anticipation: the people could sense what was coming and they were afraid. The so-called Rufus chronicle, a text contemporary to the Detmar chronicle, which drew much information from the latter, also mentions the first butchers’ rebellion of 1380 adding an emotional aspect to the day before the actual riot: Even though they were singing the hymn gaudete (‘rejoice’) during mass on that day, there was no joy in town, but only misery and sadness, since both, the merchants and the common man, prepared for murder and fighting.27

At this point in the narrative, the formation of the conflicting parties is so firm that even random quarrels are interpreted in the framework of the conflicting communities. On the day the public penance of the rioters and reunification of the communities was planned, a merchant and a butcher got into a fight with each other, and this led to the assumption that the war had already broken out: people were lamenting and screaming all over the town and telling each other that the council had been killed. All houses in Lübeck were sealed off and the people waited in anxiety for the things to come – which never happened, since all of this was just a lie, as Detmar concludes.28 Emotional terminology was an integral component of the descriptions of urban conflict, regardless of which of the conflicting parties the chronicler sided with. The consistency in the reasons presented for rioting, and the equally consistent delegitimizing of the rioting itself, point to the significance of the masses’ emotions in medieval chronicles – and thereby, to some extent, possibly even in medieval political thinking. Quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbari debet was, after all, not merely an abstract principle from Canon law, but a widely accepted guideline for urban policy and thus for public opinion, which was a factor duly considered by both urban and noble authorities.29 The emotions pinpointed in the descriptions of mass actions did not influence whether riots were perceived as justified or not. 27 ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik erster Teil’, p. 257: ‘Allene dat me in deme daghe sank to der myssen ‚gaudete‘, so was in der stad nen vroude, men alle jammer unde bedrofnisse, wente beyde deele van den kopluden unde der menheyt redden sik to morde unde to stride’. 28 Detmar I, pp. 316-317: ‘An deme negesten dage, also de sone scholde vultoghen werden, do kiveden twe bi deme raathuse, een van den koopluden unde een van den knokenhoweren, van deme kive quam en blerre over al de stad, dat de raat were dot geslagen; darumme wurden alle huse to gheslagen unde de lude vruchteden nye ungelucke. Dit was logene’. 29 See for example: Günther, ‘Gleichheitsvorstellungen’.



They were simply an integral part of urban political life and frequently appear in the sources.

The Anger of the Masses As a historian, Detmar was interested in causality and in the connection between the universal and the particular. Following Cassirer’s guidelines for historians, he saw history as the history of passions, but he restricted his own feelings: ‘The historian must not exhibit the affections, the furies and frenzies which he describes. His sympathy is intellectual and imaginative…’30 Detmar’s descriptions of the rioters’ anger and anxiety were not connected to his judgement about the righteousness of their causes. His sympathies were not so much with a specific social group but with the general concept of righteousness and legal compliance. If, in an Andersonian manner, medieval urban communities imagined themselves around a common abstract entity, then rechticheit must have been an important part of it: a bundle of group-bound specific rights and duties as well as the principle of adherence to a common juridical framework in general. Rechticheit was a central term in Middle Low German as well as in Detmar’s chronicle, which invokes the protection of the common good and rechticheit already in the first sentence of the prologue.31 The term’s meaning was broad, from ‘justice’, through ‘righteousness’, to ‘privileges’. In Detmar’s text, it seems to be mainly the last meaning that was used. In the description of an especially violent and incomprehensible uprising in Braunschweig in 1374, the devil had triggered the common man against the council, making them kill several mayors and council members and staging an orgy of violence. The masses ran through the town as if they were headless, opened the wine cellars, and destroyed the wine barrels so that the wine was running on the floor. They burned one mayor’s house, led him in a humiliating procession through the town, and decapitated 30 Cassirer, Essay on Man, p. 191. 31 Detmar I, p. 3: ‘De milde cristus ihesus zi en vrede unde trost al denghenen, de an eme hopende zint, sunderliken der erbaren stad to lubek, de an sime love unde ere, unde to be­ schermende en mene gud unde alle rechticheit, is begrepen unde vullenbracht. God si ghelovet… wente lubech an wendescher tuncghen heet en vrolich aller lude.’ [The gracious Christ gives his peace and consolation to all those who put their hope in him, especially the honorary town of Lübeck, who is created and accomplished to his praise and honour, and in order to protect its common good and all privileges. God be praised… since Lübeck means in the Wendish language a joy to all people’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


him. But the worst thing of all, says Detmar, was that they sent letters to the guilds in many other towns, in which they claimed that the council had violated their rechticheit and motivated their uprising. And these letters triggered uprisings of the common man in many other towns, which was hard to bear.32 The context of the rechticheit in this instance points towards the exis­ tence of competing ideas of rechticheit within the community, which Detmar was aware of, but which he nevertheless condemned as unacceptable. The difference between this rioting mass and others portrayed as less irrational – the devil was invoked only in this case and in the Lübeck Knochenhauer rebellion – seems to be their ability to communicate with others and argue for their cause. Not only did they argue and justify their violence, they also succeeded in overthrowing their city council and establishing a new set of rechticheit for their own group. The success of the uprising, the questioning of the existing system of legal privileges, and the rebels’ ability to affect other towns as well made Detmar leave his stoic narrative pattern and focus on the overbearing destructive violence of the menheyt. Anger – both rationally understood anger, for example, regarding tax policies – and the seemingly irrational rage of rioting masses obviously had the power to unify and create groups, to trigger rituals and threats of violence, and lead to acknowledging these groups as historical subjects. Detmar himself seems to have drawn a clear boundary between anger as it appeared within ritualized collective violence and the same emotional energy used for more planned political actions. The moment he saw the anger of the masses becoming a resource that was put to other political forms and purposes, he turned his back on the rebels. Anger and anxiety in the middle of the stormy events in the towns were understandable, but once these emotions led to rationally controlled actions and, in the long run, to the establishment of a new set of political rules, they were doomed. Pouring wine on the floor was a bit stupid, though it might have happened in the heat of the fight, but writing letters to other towns crossed the line. 32 Detmar I, p. 299: ‘Se lepen alse hovetlose lude in de winkeller, se slogen de vate entwe unde leten den wyn lopen up de erden. Se vurden den borghermester tilen van deme damme mit smaheit dor de stad; se lepen an sin hus unde nemen war se vunden: darmede stickeden se dat an unde brendent to grunde, unde darna houwen se em den kop af. Mit al desser unstur unde misdat setten se enen nygen raad van allen ammeten, also id en behagede. Dat boven alle dink swarest was: se senden breve in alle stede to velen ammeten, das se wolden maken openbare ere rechticheit unde clageden, dat se to grot weren dwungen unde bescattet, des en kunden se nicht wol dregen. Mit dessen sendebreven reytzeden se de menheit in anderen steden wedder eren raad, dat swar was to lidende’.



This line marked Detmar’s efforts to control his own narrative. As soon as the rioters took form not only in Detmar’s imagination, but as a political body performing legal actions and transactions, his solidarity with his own creatures came to an end. The struggle about different conceptions of the rechticheit, that is, about different legal norms supporting different social groups, left the symbolic level and spilled over into violence. Worse yet, it spread the struggle to other towns, hence claiming another form of legitimacy for the social and legal order proposed by the rebels. Still, it would be too easy to interpret Detmar’s condemnation of these rioters as general support for the ruling authorities and the status quo. His text merged more than one perspective regarding the question of authority within the community.

Conclusions – Horizontal Communities, Homogenous Imaginations? David Nirenberg has recently argued against the traditional idea that twedracht was the main explosive factor in medieval communities.33 By redefining the relation between majority and minority, in his case between Christians and Jews under the Crown of Aragon, and by following the agency of individuals in rituals and outbreaks of violence and aggression, he argued that collective violence was not merely a disturbance of an urban entity, but also an important factor for association and group-formation.34 Detmar’s descriptions of urban conflicts seem to support this interpretation: every town consisted of different groups which potentially quarrelled with each other every once in a while, and they became visible only as groups in the moments of rioting. Since Detmar understood all of the conflicts he described from the point of view of the re-established order in the towns – in the absolute majority of the uprisings of the fourteenth century, the rebels were defeated – he presented history as a chronic eruption of violence recurrently pacified. Still, the importance he assigned to the conflicts points towards a specific function of these almost annual rituals: we riot, thus we exist. In some cases which he found particularly outrageous, Detmar described the presumed conspirators in the same terms as he describes Saracens, Tatars, and heretics in earlier parts of his chronicle: enemies of the Cross of 33 Nirenberg, Communities of Violence. 34 For Braunschweig, Arlinghaus made a similar point: Arlinghaus, ‘The Myth of Urban Unity’.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


Christ. This adds to the notion of rebels being a timeless and recurring evil. Even though the short-lived rebellious groups in the towns were each time detected and punished, they were an embodiment of the same old enemy who ravaged Heavenly Jerusalem over centuries. Crossing certain lines from the sides of the rebels meant an active rejection of their belonging to the Christian community. But not all rioters were devilishly inspired. Some simply claimed their basic rights, which ultimately contradicts the idea of Detmar writing entirely for the self-identification of the city council. Rather, his differentiations of rioters and rebellions served to describe particular communities within and outside of the universal Christian community. In this reading, the Detmar chronicle – together with other late medieval urban chronicles with a similar focus on urban unrest – contradicts the Andersonian idea of Christian communities unified through sacred languages in the Middle Ages. It also denies his idea of imagined communities being a product of a consensual projection of symbolic forms. Instead, the urban community of fourteenth-century Lübeck is a mirror – as Bhabha has pointed out in Anderson’s words – of an all but homogenous and horizontal society. It is a society in perpetual moments of danger, some common, some different for different groups, which need to be taken into consideration by the contemporary interpreter. The late fourteenth century was indeed a moment of danger for the Lübeck city council. They needed to defend their punishment of the presumed conspirators and to deal with the demographic and economic backlash after the Plague. Additionally, the Hanseatic towns were heavily threatened by an extraordinarily successful and stable group of pirates known as the Vitalians, who also figure prominently in the Detmar chronicle. In several other Hanseatic towns, such as Braunschweig, the noble landlord was attempting to regain control over the town after a period of relative freedom and independence. In this situation, the commission for a world chronicle seemed both practical and dangerous. Practical since the council members expected the Franciscan scribe to be on their side. It was practical also because another book containing the history of the town and the world in the possession of the council added to its symbolic power. The therapeutic aspect of the work of a man of sciences was the investigation of sources, their compilation, and combining to prove the righteousness of the status quo. But this commission was dangerous nonetheless, since the result of the therapeutic process was not obvious at all. The investigation of history did not necessarily teach that the rebels were irrational and unrighteous, nor that the status quo was the best of all worlds imaginable. Perhaps the city council’s impulse to commission a world chronicle in a



moment of danger was also an attempt to regain agency. Having history conserved in a codex and locked away in the town hall may have given the council men a sense of control, of having history fixed and stored, giving them the space to move on. But the control over the physical book did not automatically mean control over the community’s memory. It thus seems too easy to read Detmar’s concept of history as an easily consumable offer for identity-building for his commissioners, even though it is hard to deny that Detmar – and most of his contemporaries – wrote history according to a kind of eschatological determinism. The question is whether this determinism resembles an idealistic and speculative philosophy of history, aiming at self-understanding and ultimately liberation of the subject or, in its pre-modern version, of the ruling elites. Against such determinism speaks Detmar’s description of rioting masses as historical subjects, spontaneous, sometimes irrational, clearly defined communities – he did not take sides with them, but he did admit their agency.35 The question of what kind of determinism should be read into Detmar’s text is utterly relevant regarding Anderson’s idea of imagining communities created through horizontal, monolithic narratives of history. Anderson might very well read Detmar as a protagonist of a simple top-down kind of production of ideology, while Benjamin and Bhabha guide us towards the importance of finding ruptures in the monolithic narratives of disturbed unity and restored order. In Detmar’s case, the key to these ruptures was, on the one hand, his descriptions of rebels and riots, on the other hand, his own Mendicant identity. The medieval clergy can at first sight be seen as a homogenous group of intellectuals, writing history in constant dialogue only with each other and thereby representing the imagination of a monolithic collective; Anderson’s concept of the importance of Latin as a sacred language also bears the imprint of this thought. Relatively far away from the conflicts and problems of everyday life, a monastic writer’s attempt to explain history derived rather from a general wish to systematize a hermeneutic world than from managing and dominating a material world – a feature elucidated to some extent in Lars Hermanson’s chapter. The same was true for Detmar, but still, medieval clergy was neither a monolithic group in itself nor was it incapable 35 These two different understandings of Detmar’s chronicle writing – the deterministic, speculative offer for identity-building to the ruling elites, and the spontaneous, inexplicable agency of the rioting masses – resemble Ernst Cassirer’s late analysis of historical sciences, the former associated with Hegel, the latter with Cassirer’s own criticism of culture: Cassirer, ‘The Philosophy of History’, pp. 121-141.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


of detecting different social groups and structures of power. Detmar’s text stemmed from the collective knowledge of an intellectual order unwilling to adjust to social and political changes, because it was disconnected from them and constantly reassured of its own monopoly. But if Detmar would have written a chronicle for the city council to identify itself with – a therapeutic process for its members – this would have meant that he had transferred the claim for domination and authority from his own collective to another collective, namely, the political body of the city council. But the loyalties of the historiographer were more complicated than that. Detmar, as a member of a Mendicant order, had never been himself subject to secular law and its forms of persecution – thus his understanding of the punishment of rebels must have been that of an outsider. For a person situated in one of the largest towns in Northern Europe the conflicts between the secular authorities and representatives of the Church were not foreign, but it was usually the canons of the cathedral churches who quarrelled with the city councils. The Franciscans in Lübeck kept close relations with the urban authorities: they had even supported them by ignoring an interdict against them during the years 1299-1310. Not even the catastrophe of the Black Death had hit the Franciscans in the same way as the rest of the town: they had profited so greatly from the foundations they had received during the plague years that they were able to extend their church considerably in the years following the epidemic. Detmar was thus, because of his community belonging, rather a bystander in all the crises that hit Lübeck at the end of the fourteenth century. His attempts at decoding what happened in the lower echelons of the town resembled the work of an anthropologist who approached a foreign tribe. Their anger was not his anger and the city council’s danger was not his danger. Reading his chronicle solely as a commissioned work underestimates the groupspecific differentiations regarding bias, understanding, and decoding of social rituals. Benedict Anderson concluded his study of nations as imagined communities with the chapter entitled ‘The Angel of History’, calling historians to face both past catastrophes and those to come by alluding to Benjamin’s interpretation of Klee’s Angelus novus: ‘Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet’.36 The nineteenth and twentieth centuries showed us the immense destructive power of imagined communities and the emotions they can mobilize. Also in Detmar’s 36 Benjamin, Sprache und Geschichte, IX, p. 146; Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 155-162.



imagination, rebellious urban communities had found something to kill for and something to die for, and his conception of history as a perpetual condition of danger might very well have been a historian’s view both into the past and into the future. But reading his imagination of urban communities as a narrative of a homogenous society further strengthened by overcoming occasional disruptions means neglecting the creative forces embodied by the short-lived communities of violence and their influence on the social order.

Bibliography Primary sources Detmar I and II: Chronik des Franciscaner Lesemeisters Detmar, nach der Urschrift und mit Ergänzungen aus anderen Chroniken, 2 vols., ed. by Ferdinand Grauthoff (Hamburg: Perthes, 1829-1830). ‘Bericht über den Knochenhauer-Aufstand’, ed. by Karl Koppmann, in Die Chroniken der niedersächsischen Städte: Lübeck; vol. 2. Die Chroniken der deutschen Städte vom 14. bis ins 16. Jahrhundert, vol. 26 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967 [1899]), pp. 337-354. ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik erster Teil bis zum Jahre 1395’, ed. by Karl Koppmann, in Die Chroniken der niedersächsischen Städte: Lübeck; vol. 2. Die Chroniken der deutschen Städte vom 14. bis ins 16. Jahrhundert, vol. 26 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967 [1899]), pp. 177-278. ‘Der sogenannten Rufus-Chronik zweiter Teil’, ed. by Karl Koppmann, in Die Chroniken der niedersächsischen Städte: Lübeck; vol. 3. Die Chroniken der deutschen Städte vom 14. bis ins 16. Jahrhundert, vol. 28 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968 [1902]), pp. 1-342.

Secondary literature Benedict Anderson, Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (London-New York: Verso, 2006). Franz-Josef Arlinghaus, ‘The Myth of Urban Unity: Religion and Social Performance in Late Medieval Braunschweig’, in Cities, Texts and Social Networks, 400-1500: Experiences and Perceptions of Medieval Urban Space, ed. by Caroline Goodson, Anne E. Lester, Carol Symes (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 215-232. Walter Benjamin, Sprache und Geschichte: Philosophische Essays, ed. by Rolf Tiedemann (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1992). Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London/New York: Routledge, 1994). Hartmut Boockmann, ‘Geschichtsschreibung des Deutschen Ordens im Mittelalter und Geschichtsschreibung im mittelalterlichen Preußen. Entstehungsbedingungen und Funktion’, in Literatur und Laienbildung im Spätmittelalter und in der Reformationszeit: Symposion Wolfenbüttel 1981, ed. by Ludger Grenzmann, Karl Stackmann (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1984), pp. 80-93.

Urban Communit y and Social Unrest


Michel Bouchard, ‘A critical reappraisal of the concept of the ‘Imagined Community’ and the presumed sacred languages of the medieval period’, National Identities, 6 (2004), 3-24. Ahasver von Brandt, ‘Die Lübecker Knochenhaueraufstände von 1380/84 und ihre Voraussetzungen: Studien zur Sozialgeschichte Lübecks in der zweiten Hälfte des 14. Jahrhunderts’, in Lübeck, Hanse, Nordeuropa:Gedächtnisschrift für Ahasver von Brandt, ed. by Klaus Friedland, Rolf Sprandel (Cologne: Böhlau, 1979), pp. 129-208. Ernst Cassirer, An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972 [1944]). Ernst Cassirer, ‘The Philosophy of History’, in Symbol, Myth, and Culture: Essays and Lectures of Ernst Cassirer, 1935-1945, ed. by Donald P. Verene (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), pp. 121-141. Ernst Deecke, Die Hochverräther zu Lübeck im Jahre 1384 (Lübeck: Aschenfeldt, 1858). Paul Freedman, ‘Peasant Anger in the Late Middle Ages’, in Anger’s Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages, ed. by Barbara H. Rosenwein (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 171-188. Ferdinand Grauthoff, ‘Vorbericht’, in Detmar I, pp. v-xl. Kai-Henrik Günther, ‘Gleichheitsvorstellungen als Beweggrund aufständischen Handelns in mitteleuropäischen Städten des Spätmittelalters. Braunschweig, Brügge, Ypern, Zürich’, Pariser Historische Studien, 87 (2007), 185-203. Cordelia Heß, ‘Skirts and Politics: The Cistercian Monastery of Harvestehude and the Hamburg City Council’, Medieval Feminist Forum, 47:2 (2011), 57-92. Steven Justice, Writing and Rebellion: England in 1381 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996 [1994]). Sascha Möbius, Das Gedächtnis der Reichsstadt: Unruhen und Kriege in der lübeckischen Chronistik und Erinnerungskultur des späten Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit (Göttingen: V&R Unipress, 2011). Piroska Nagy, ‘Comment faire une communauté émotionnelle? Réflexions autour d’un concept’, Communication au colloque ‘Émotions françaises’ à Haïfa, Israël (Novembre 2013), unpublished. David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1996). Christine Putzo, ‘Detmar von Lübeck’, in The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle, ed. by R.G. Dunphy (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2010), p. 519. Robert Stein, ‘Selbstverständnis oder Identität? Städtische Geschichtsschreibung als Quelle für die Identitätsforschung’, in Memoria, communitas, civitas: Mémoire et conscience urbaines en Occident à la fin du Moyen Age, ed. by Hanno Brand, Pierre Monnet, Martial Staub (Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2003), pp. 181-202.

The Baltic Rim: A View From Afar

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod Scandinavian Perceptions of the Russians, Late Twelfth – Early Fourteenth Centuries Bjørn Bandlien*

The purpose of this chapter is to discuss various perceptions of the Russians among the Norwegian and Swedish elite in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. During this period the so-called ‘Russian-Scandinavian cultural symbiosis’ prevalent since the establishment of Rus’ as a political entity in the ninth century was overshadowed by rivalry and hostility in the wake of the Baltic crusades.1 Until the thirteenth century, the Russians were conventionally seen by the Scandinavians – and indeed understood themselves – as a part of the unified gens Christianorum. However, after the expansion of the Swedes, Danes, and Germans in Finland, Estonia, Livonia, and Prussia, encounters between Scandinavians and Russians became more hostile. Western crusaders found the Russians not only resistant to their missioning efforts and territorial expansion, but even protective of their heathen allies. Russians themselves were thus re-defined by the Westerners as ‘others’, becoming legitimate targets for their crusading efforts. In that period, Swedish and Norwegian kings acted interchangeably as rivals and allies in Scandinavian politics and were involved in the Baltic crusades in different ways. Swedes were active in Finland at least from the late twelfth century, and in the thirteenth century they came into direct conflict with the Principality of Novgorod. The Norwegian kingdom, on the other hand, in the thirteenth century was more oriented to the North Sea region and its involvement in the Baltic crusades became much smaller. However, Norwegian kings had ambitions in the Arctic area of Scandinavia and claimed their right to collect taxes and to trade with the Sámi. During the thirteenth century, Norwegian control over taxation and * Bjørn Bandlien is Professor at the University College of Southeast Norway. He has published numerous studies on gender, culture, and crusades in medieval Scandinavia, including Strategies of Passion: Love and Marriage in Medieval Norway and Iceland (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005). With Sif Rikhardsdottir and Stefka Georgieva Eriksen, he edited Arthur of the North: Histories, Emotions and Imaginations, a special issue of the journal Scandinavian Studies (1/2015). He is currently working on the relations between medieval Scandinavia and the Mediterranean world. 1

Lind, ‘Scandinavian Nemtsy’, p. 481.


Bjørn Bandlien

trade in this district was challenged by the Principality of Novgorod, which sent Karelians to collect tribute from the Sámi. For the Norwegian elite, the realms north of Norway, usually known as Finnmark, and the border with the Russians seemed to lie beyond or outside the Baltic Rim. It was a different world there, compared to the Baltic Rim. The differences were not only found in the Arctic climate and landscape, but also the encounter with a society dominated by hunters rather than farmers, and a pagan population that had a long-lasting relationship to the Norse population both before and after Christianization. This offers an opportunity to compare different perceptions of the Russians within Scandinavia, in the Baltic Rim, and in northern Fennoscandia. Constructions of otherness have in much recent scholarship been seen in connection to the formation of identities within social groups, peoples, the Catholic world-system, and even proto-nationalism. Scholars learned to see changes in a community’s perception of difference and otherness as linked to transformations inside the ‘in-group’, its sense of shared identity that makes it different from others. In English historiography, for instance, the development of the idea of ‘Englishness’ and the notion of the English ‘nation’, has been set in relation partly to the encounters with the Irish or Welsh in the twelfth century, and partly in the rivalry to the French kingdom. But the image of the Saracens, partly adapted from Old French epic and romances, though used and conceived in another context, has also been linked to the development of a more distinctive English identity in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries.2 In studies of early medieval Europe, there has been an increased interest in the process of collective conceptions of identity based partly on a sense of shared characteristics and collective conception of a common culture and/or common origins. This kind of consciousness of self-identif ication and sense of dissimilarity from others develops in relation to encounters between different groups. Such ethnogenesis is based on peoples having contact with one another and the organization and type of such contact.3

2 Calkin, Saracens; Turville-Petre, England the Nation; Heng, Empire of Magic. Volker Scior has argued that in the northern German chronicles from the tenth to twelfth centuries, the image of the Slavic Other functions primarily as a tool for constructing the identity of the Saxon ecclesiastical and secular rulers, see Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde. 3 The classic essay on this theme is Barth, ‘Introduction’. In a medieval context, this perspective has been developed in, for example, Pohl, ‘Telling the Difference’; Pohl, ‘Comparing Communities’; Geary, ‘Power and Ethnicity’.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


In a Scandinavian context, the perception of Russians as a part of ‘us’ or ‘others’ should not only be analyzed as one view’s transformation from one standpoint to another but as several coexisting discourses of community and otherness: as earlier Scandinavian images of the Other, as the European influences after Christianization, and as developments in the wake of the continent’s frontiers expanding both in the Holy Land and on the Baltic Rim. This allows for a more relational and complex understanding of otherness in the Scandinavian societies, with several discourses working within different social fields and levels resulting in various notions and identities. There can be several such fields in a society, related to social groups competing internally or between each other for the economic and cultural resources. As Barbara H. Rosenwein put it in her study of emotional communities in early medieval Europe: Imagine … a large circle within which are smaller circles, none entirely concentric but rather distributed unevenly within the given space. The large circle is the overarching emotional community, tied together by fundamental assumptions, values, goals, feeling rules, and accepted modes of expression. The smaller circles represent subordinate emotional communities, partaking the larger one and revealing its possibilities and its limitations. They too may be subdivided. At the same time, other large circles may exist, either entirely isolated from or intersecting with the first at one or more points. 4

It might be relevant for our purposes to distinguish the discourses of otherness produced by the learned communities from the communities of warriors, the merchants or the aristocrats – but also to ask whether different discourses could be applied for the same groups in various contexts, for example, in relation to the crusades in the Baltic Rim. It is therefore relevant to see the perception of Russians in relation to Scandinavian images of otherness more generally. For heuristic purposes we can contrast this view with the perceptions of the Sámi, as a group of pagans on the border of the Norwegian kingdom in the north, as well as to the Saracens as presented in the court literature of the thirteenth century.


Rosenwein, Emotional Communities, p. 25.


Bjørn Bandlien

Russian Allies and Images of Heathens in the Late Twelfth Century In the Viking Age, relations by trade, politics, and cultural exchange across the Baltic Sea were extensive. Early Rus’ and Byzantine sources mention Varangians, mostly of Scandinavian origins, travelling to Byzantium via the Baltic Sea and the waterways leading to the Dniepr River and the Black Sea. This is corroborated by numerous Swedish runic stones, many of them from the eleventh century, raised in memory of people travelling this route.5 After the conversion of Scandinavia and the schism between the Eastern Orthodox and the Western Churches, the close relationship continued. Exiled royals, such as Olaf Haraldsson of Norway (r. 1016-1030) and his nephew Harald Hardruler (r. 1046-1066), would find refuge there and, as Grzegorz Pac’s chapter shows, dynastic alliances through intermarriage continued into the twelfth century.6 Several recent studies have shown that Russian liturgy and the cult of saints had more impact in early Christian Scandinavia than previously believed.7 In the Scandinavian context, Thomas Foerster’s studies have shown that a learned vision of otherness was appropriated after Christianization, in that a past was constructed in which the kingdom and the Scandinavian peoples acquired a history in parallel to or in likeness to other nations in Europe. Beginning in the late twelfth century, the categories of otherness that the Scandinavians themselves had been included in during the early Middle Ages were adapted to heathens as the newly converted pagan neighbours.8 On the other hand, Sverrir Jakobsson has argued that in Icelandic discourse on Russia and Byzantium as expressed in the Old Norse sagas, the peoples of the Orthodox Church hardly ever were depicted as heathen or schismatic. Instead, the Russians and the Greeks were seen as powerful Christian princes even in the age of the Baltic crusades.9 This is also the case in the short chronicle Historia Norwegie, probably composed at the Archbishopric of Nidaros in the third quarter of the twelfth century. The chronicle, which in its present form ends with the accession of Saint Olaf Haraldsson to the Norwegian throne in 1016, describes how the saintly king’s predecessor, Olaf Tryggvason, had to flee from Norway 5 On the Varangian route, see especially Sigfús Blöndal, Benedikz, The Varangians; Zilmer, He drowned, pp. 144-163. 6 Lind, ‘De russiske ægteskaber’. 7 Melnikova, ‘Varangians’; Garipzanov, ‘Wandering Clerics’; Antonsson, ‘The Cult of St. Ólafr’. 8 Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. 9 Sverrir Jakobsson, ‘The Schism That Never Was’.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


with his foster-father while he was a child. His foster-father wanted to bring the child to safety in Russia, but went off course to the island Ösel. Olaf was taken by the pirates and sold as a slave to the Estonians, while his foster-father was slain. Later, Olaf was ransomed by one of his kinsmen, who had been sent as an ambassador by the Russian king to the Estonians in order to collect taxes there. Olaf was brought to Novgorod, where he later got the opportunity to avenge his foster-father’s death. The Russian king was impressed by the valour of the young man and adopted Olaf as his own son. Later on, the young Olaf raided ‘along the Baltic coasts and inflicted terror to all the heathens who inhabited those regions’.10 Also Olaf Haraldsson, who was to become the royal saint of Norway, stayed in Holmgard (Old Norse for Novgorod) in his youth and, according to the author of the Historia Norwegie, he spread terror to the heathens in the Baltic Sea, both plundering and collecting tribute from them as long as he stayed in Russia.11 In these episodes, the future kings of Norway are presented as guarded and helped by the Novgorodian king. The depiction of collecting of taxes on behalf of the Russian king and tributes from the heathens on the Baltic Rim reflects the chronicle’s presentation of the collecting of animal furs and skins as tributes from the Finns by the Norwegian kings.12 The only tension between the Norwegian kings and the Russians occurs when the sister of the Swedish king, who had originally been betrothed to the future Olaf Haraldsson, was married to the Russian king Jaroslav instead.13 However, this is a potential conflict between peers, or between ‘tres illos nobilissimos principes’ as the chronicle calls them, within a social field, not between ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’. The Historia Norwegie does not mention the later stay of Olaf Haraldsson in Russia, when the king had been exiled from Norway in 1028 before he became a martyr trying to recover the Norwegian kingdom in 1030. Archbishop Eysteinn of Nidaros (r. 1161-1188), however, wrote a short vita of the king, probably in the 1180s. Here, the archbishop emphasized and praised the Norwegian king’s exemplary conduct in his dealings with the Russians of Novgorod, for which he was highly praised by the great ruler of this realm:

10 Historia Norwegie, pp. 90-92: ‘Factus adolescens piraticam excercens Baltica littora perlustrando, cunctis gentilibus id locorum formidabilis existendo’. 11 Historia Norwegie, p. 100. 12 Historia Norwegie, p. 60. 13 Historia Norwegie, p. 104.


Bjørn Bandlien

Therefore the glorious martyr of Christ went to Russia where he was nobly received by Jaroslav, the magnificent king of that realm, and held in the highest esteem as long as he chose to remain. He stayed there for some time, and left the inhabitants with a model of upright life and a famous recollection of his piety, charity, kindness and patience.14

In the late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century sources the absolute otherness vis-à-vis this obvious cultural compatibility was represented by the heathen Finns of Finnmark. The traditional sense of otherness in Old Norse literature from this period – the sagas of the Icelanders and the Norwegian kings’ sagas written primarily in Iceland – relied on spatial categories and social institutions connected to a farmer society, rather than on religious doctrine. Similarly, in the early western Scandinavian law codes, individuals were identified through their position in a household (see Thomas Lindkvist’s chapter).15 In the society outlined in these laws, the free householder appropriated social obligations and rights that effectively made him an ‘able man’. Also within households there was a hierarchy of relations that marked the difference between free and slave, autonomous and honourable versus the dependent. On the margins of this ordered household society, we find the vagrants, the outlaws, and those who do not have farms and live permanently as hunters. On those outskirts we also find the sorcerers performing negative sorcery by which they threatened the householders’ control over the dependents and property, often associated with the beastly and the monstrous. It was thus in the periphery that the transformations of identity took place. A person expelled into the wilderness was seen as a wild animal or, at best, as itinerant, someone between households and hence marginalized by the community. The lawmakers belonged to the little pool of free men who had access to the thing assembly. For them, the thing assembly was an important centre for making visible to every góðr maðr (good man) who among them respected the laws and norms, those with whom you could make alliances through friendship and marriages. Those belonging to the sphere of the beasts and monsters should instead be shunned. The Finns lived outside the household society and were often connected to 14 A History of Norway, pp. 29-30; Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi, pp. 71-72: ‘Clarissimus igitur Christi martir ingressus russiam, a iarzellauo, ciusdem prounicie rege magnif ico, gloriose susceptus, et in honore amplissimo, quamdiu ibi morari uoluit, habitus est. Ubi non paruo tempore demoratus, honestam uite formam, et sue religionis, caritatis, benignitatis, et patiencie celebre monimentum incolis reliquit’. 15 See especially Clunies Ross, Prolonged Echoes.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


this dangerous space. Still, the sorcerers of the Finns were occasionally depicted as helpers of the Norse population through their cunning and magical skills.16 However, contemporary European images of otherness seem to have invaded the Historia Norwegie and can be detected in the depictions of the Finns in the north, making them in certain contexts the heathen and demonic other. The chronicler emphasized above all the Finns’ difference in religious terms and said that ‘a person will scarcely believe their unendurable impiety and the extent to which they practice heathen devilry in their magic arts’.17 To explain this, he told a story of how two specialists in magic arts attempt to restore a woman to life by using gand, meaning the ‘demonic spirit’ of the sorcerer able to travel long distances, for instance, in the shape of a whale. The first of these two sorcerers died while performing the chanting incantations, falling to the ground ‘black as a negro’ (‘nigro ut ethiops’).18 This expression would be familiar to the learned audience of the text. The meaning of the blackness of the Ethiopian had been discussed since Antiquity. In early Christianity the distinction of whiteness and darkness was often interpreted in relation to sin; demons, as an extension of this line of thought, would occasionally be described as Ethiopians. The perception of the Russians in the kingdom of Norway as potential allies, not being defined as a religious other, seems to have continued well into the thirteenth century. During this period, the Norwegian kings were expanding their sphere of interest in northern Fennoscandia, while the Novgorodian princes increasingly challenged their control over the area. In the winter of 1250-1251, the prime enemy of the Swedes and the Teutonic order in the mid-thirteenth century, Prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod (r. 1252-1263), sent an embassy to King Haakon Haakonsson of Norway (r. 1217-1263). The background for the negotiations was the conflicts between the tax collectors from Novgorod and the Norwegian realm in the region of the ‘Finns’ in present-day Finnmark and the Kola peninsula. Alexander suggested that a marriage between his son and King Haakon’s daughter would seal the alliance between them. King Haakon expressed his interest in such an agreement, and sent his own envoys to Novgorod to negotiate. However, after this visit the offer of a marriage alliance was called off. 16 On the perception of the Finns, see Mundal, ‘The Perception of the Saamis’, and on the geography of Finnmark as depicted in Historia Norwegie, see Hansen, ‘Om synet på “de andre”’. 17 Historia Norwegie, pp. 60-61: ‘Horum itaque intollerabilis perfidia uix cuiquam credibilis uidebitur, quantumue diabolice supersticionis in magica arte excerceant’. 18 Historia Norwegie, pp. 62-63.


Bjørn Bandlien

This was not because of any fears that the Russians were schismatic or heathen. Rather, as suggested by the Icelandic chieftain Sturla Þórðarson, who chronicled the reign of King Haakon in Hákonar saga, the Russian offer of a marital alliance was declined because Novgorod was considered to be a dependency of the Mongols, something that would have complicated the relations to the Russian princes.19 However, in the episode mentioning Russians in the Hákonar saga, Sturla Þórðarson did not depict them as the absolute other, but rather emphasized that King Haakon was a powerful ruler respected in Russia.

Adaptation of the Crusading Discourse of the Other: Saracens and Russians The Baltic crusades from the late twelfth century onwards put the Swedes, Danes, and Germans on a crash course with the Russians. Interestingly, Russians initially saw the crusading movement rather favourably and considered themselves to be members of an undivided gens Christiana. Friendship and alliances were sought with the early crusaders in Riga early in the thirteenth century. In 1209, Bishop Albert of Riga (r. 1201-1229) called the Russians ‘fellow Christians’ (conchristiani). In 1225, Papal Legate William of Modena met the Russian delegation in Riga, and seems to have believed that they were inclined to submit to the Roman church. Two years later Pope Honorius III (r. 1216-1227) expressed his joy in a letter issued to ‘all the kings of Russia’, praising them for wanting to leave their errors and be instructed in the true doctrine. Also in the late 1240s, Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod seems to have exchanged letters with the pope and negotiated his submission to the Catholic Church.20 However, the situation became more complex during the 1220s and 1230s, because of the internal tensions between Pskov and Novgorod, the pending Mongol invasion, and the territorial rivalry.21 For the Western crusaders, it seems to have posed an unexpected problem in that the Russians were allied with and protected the territories of the pagan Livs, Lettgallians, Lithuanians, Karelians, and Estonians.22 From being regarded as an allied partner, Russians were increasingly perceived as not only rivals and military 19 20 21 22

Hákonar saga, II, pp. 154-155. Lind, ‘Mobilisation of the European Periphery’. Bysted et al., Jerusalem in the North, pp. 185-193. Selart, Livland, pp. 176-180.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


opponents, but as outright enemies of the crusaders and the papacy. In the early thirteenth century, Swedes supported a mission in Finland, and in 1240 they fought and lost against the Russian forces at Neva. Two years later, Alexander Nevsky won a battle against the Germans on the frozen Lake Peipus. Henry of Livonia, the chronicler of the early Baltic crusades, promoted the view that the Russians were schismatic and could not be trusted. They were indeed the enemy of God, a claim that legitimized the call for papal support for the crusades. In the 1220s Henry complained that the Russian rulers ‘never subject the people they defeat to the Christian faith, but rather force them to pay tribute and money to themselves’.23 According to Henry, the Russians were not interested in mission and conversion and hence opposed the idea of the crusade and papacy.24 The papal legate Baldwin of Alna (d. 1243) strongly opposed any alliances with the Russians and depicted them as heretics who cooperated with pagans and were a threat to the mission.25 The images of otherness in Scandinavian sources have traditionally been related to the Icelandic narrative tradition of saga literature, where the social relations were dominated by conflicts, revenge, and negotiations. However, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries a large group of continental romances and chansons de geste were translated at the Norwegian court into the vernacular and soon became more popular than sagas. In this new vogue the vision of otherness was delivered through the figures of Saracens as the opponents of the Christian community. In one of the key texts of the Christian image of Muslims, the Norse adaptation of parts of the Charlemagne cycle, Karlamagnús saga, depicts the Saracens in a similar manner as the missionary kings in Norway depicted the heathens who at the time would stubbornly refuse to be converted to Christendom. In the chivalric sagas, translated from Old French, idols, carved images, temples, and heathen shrines of the Saracens are destroyed, and it is claimed that the heathens’ prayers to the idols of their gods, most often named as Maúmet, Terrogant, and Apollin, were really worshipping of the devil.26 A main point 23 Henry of Livonia, trans. Brundage, c. XVI.2, p. 122; Heinrich, Chronicon, ed. Bauer, c. XVI.2, pp. 150-153: ‘Est enim consuetudo Ruthenorum, ut quamcunque gentem expugnaverint, non fidei chistiane subicere, sed ad solvendum sibi tributum et pecuniam subiugare’. 24 Nielsen, ‘Sterile Monsters?’. 25 Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes, pp. 222-224. 26 Karlamagnús saga, p.  131; see also Sverrir Jakobsson, Við og veröldin, pp.  143-144 and Bandlien, ‘Trading with Saracens and Sámi’. This is quite similar to the stories of St. Olaf, the conversion king of Norway, when he cleansed Norway from idol worship, see Lassen, ‘Oðinn in Old Norse Texts’. Hauksbók, written early in the fourteenth century, explicitly compares the belief in Óðinn to the worship of the heathen gods by the Greeks and Romans, see Hauksbók, pp. 158-159, 193-197.


Bjørn Bandlien

in Karlamagnús saga is to align the Christian story of Charlemagne with the Norwegian kingdom. Analogically, as Charlemagne had succeeded in rooting out idol worship in Iberia against kings of Africa, magical monsters, and enormous amounts of dark-skinned warriors with demonic traits (blámenn), so had the Norwegian kings also managed to free the northern world from demonic powers.27 And as the crusaders mirrored Charlemagne’s successful battles against Saracens (or vice versa), so should Norwegian kings defend the kingdom from heathens and demons in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The potential identification of Saracens with irrational heathen berserkers seems strong. It is not unthinkable that it was applied to the Muslims by Norwegians and Icelanders during crusading or pilgrimage. The coupling of the image of the berserk and blámenn seems to have been more than simply an alliterative pun. Berserks and sorcerers using evil magic in warfare against a Christian ruler was an image that we find often both in the sagas of missionary bishops and the kings from the conversion period. This alignment between the Norse category of berserk and the European image of Saracens may have contributed to the perception of the defense against the heathens and heretics on the borders of Norway as part of the crusades, with opponents as dangerous as those encountered in the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. And the effect was to some extent successful. Norway was presented as a bolster against heathendom, defending Christianity against the demonic and dangerous wilderness in the north.28 In this context, the analogies between the Scandinavian and the European other were useful. Norway, after all, was a part of the crusading movement, struggling with demons of its own. Translations of romances and chansons de geste offered a discourse that opened for comparisons between Saracens and Russians, as well as on the theological importance of borderlands between the Christians and heathens.29 Such a view of the Russians seems to have been adopted by 27 For a recent treatment of Charlemagne as a crusader in the chansons de geste, see Stuckey, ‘Charlemagne as Crusader?’. 28 Skånland, ‘Calor f idei’; Kraggerud, ‘Olavssekvensene’; Foerster, Vergleich und Identität. As pointed out by David Fraesdorff, images of the Norsemen as Others in the ninth and tenth centuries were applied to the heathens in the Baltic area; atrocities by the Curonians and the Prussians were depicted very similarly to the atrocities committed by the heathen Scandinavians or Slavs in the early Middle Ages, Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden, pp. 256-272. 29 Murray, ‘Saracens on the Baltic’; and on the sacralization of Livonia, see Selch Jensen, ‘How to Convert a Landscape’; Jensen, ‘Sacralization of the Landscape’; Nielsen, ‘The Making of New Cultural Landscapes’; Tamm, ‘How to Justify a Crusade?’

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


the Swedes. While romances and chansons de geste were translated at the Norwegian court during the thirteenth century, such narratives were translated into Swedish in the early fourteenth century. Three such texts are known collectively as the Eufemiavisor, allegedly translated on the initiative of Queen Eufemia (Euphemia) of Norway (r. 1299-1312). Later in the fourteenth century stories about Charlemagne were also translated into Swedish. Such narratives influenced the first Swedish rhyme chronicle, The Erik’s Chronicle (Erikskrönikan), usually dated to the 1320s. The Erikskrönikan depicted the Russians encountered by the Swedes in the thirteenth century primarily as heathens. In the early 1290s, a Swedish army led by Marshal Torgils Knutsson (d. 1308) went to Karelia and built a fortress at Vyborg in 1293. A few years later, King Birger Magnusson of Sweden (r. 1290-1318), dedicated the fortress to God and the Virgin Mary, bringing safe passage to the Christians. The Swedes’ legitimation of a new expedition is clearly stated in Erikskrönikan, where Torgils Knutsson is depicted as one of its heroes in the fight against the infidels. Consider the presentation of the expedition in 1293: Then to the heathen lands they went to end the damage and great torment – too close to them the heathen were – that was their main task over there, and built a castle at that end to which the Christian lands extend and heathen lands in turn begin. Firm peace does now hold sway therein, with greater calm and more relief and more who have in God belief.30

Also in the stories of the Swedish defeat the heathen Russians are depicted as formidable opponents overwhelming the defenders, as in the episode when the Russians conquered the fortress Landskrona in 1301:

30 The Chronicle of Duke Erik, pp. 92-93/ Erikskrönikan, vv. 1324-1333: ‘sidhan foro the til hedna landa/ ok lösto skadha ok mykin wanda/ The hedne men gingo them alt affnär/ thz war thera mesta ärende ther/ Ok bygdo eth hwss a then ända/ ther cristin land ather wända/ Ok hedhin land taka widher/ ther er nw swa goder frider/ mere liise ok mere roo/ ok flere the ther a gud troo’.


Bjørn Bandlien

The Christians were few, the fort was large. The heathen groups by turns did charge; … Then fire through the fort spread wide and the Russians entered side by side. The Christians then from the walls descended and in a cellar themselves defended.31

Such depictions of the Russians were more in line with notions of otherness in crusader discourse elsewhere in Europe. Erikskrönikan was influenced by European chivalric literature and adapted the stories for a courtly audience. Thomas Lindkvist, for instance, has argued that in the Erikskrönikan, the words ‘pagan’ and ‘enemy’ are used more or less synonymously. The use of the category pagani to denote both Karelians and Orthodox Russians legitimized the warfare on the Eastern frontier. This was at the same time as the cult of the Swedish royal saint, St. Eric, became more popular and connected to the crusade movement.32 For the audience at the Swedish court, the depiction of the Russians as religious others and as daunting opponents to its heroic warriors must have been difficult not to associate with the Saracens.

Trade, Treatises, and Crusades – Contextual Uses of Different Discourses in the Early Fourteenth century During the thirteenth century, the Norwegian elite also started thinking of the north in relation to crusade and mission, at the same time as the Principality of Novgorod became more interested in the valuables of these northern realms, and contested the authority of the Norwegian kingdom there. At the same time, the European markets demanded more furs, pelts, and not least more fish. Norwegians brought fish southwards from Finnmark to Bergen, where the Hansa was increasingly taking over the foreign trade. Based on the rhetoric used against the Russians in the Baltic Rim, Norwegians could choose to see the new Russian incursions in the 31 The Chronicle of Duke Erik, p. 111/ Erikskrönikan, vv. 1750-1751, 1760-1763: ‘The crisno waro faa ok husit war wiit./ the hedno skipto opta ok tiit,/…/ Tha kom eld i husit ok bran/ ok rytzane gingo in man wid man/ Tha rymdo the crisno aff then wära/ ok innan en kellare ok wardho sik thäre’. 32 Lindkvist, ‘Crusading’, pp. 123-124.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


north through the lenses of the European crusading discourse, or in line with the traditional ‘cultural symbiosis’, as economic and political rivals rather than a religious other. In Norway, crusading depictions of the Russians as heathens are much more sporadic than in the Swedish sources, although the Norwegian elite would have been familiar with the Swedish campaigns against the Russians. However, the crusading discourse also became increasingly linked to Finnmark. King Haakon had taken the cross already in the 1220s, but although strongly encouraged by Louis IX to accompany him to the Holy Land in the late 1240s, the king did not join the French expedition. From the 1240s onwards, however, there was more activity in the north, signaling an interest in making these borderlands Christian. King Haakon had, before his exchanges with Louis IX, sent a letter to the pope seeking support for a crusade against his heathen neighbours. In 1241, Pope Gregory IX granted crusading indulgence to the king and other Norwegians that would fight the heathens at the borders of the kingdom, presumably in the north.33 New chapels were built north of the traditional Norwegian settlement. At Tromsø in the middle of the thirteenth century, a church was erected around the time the envoys of Alexander Nevsky arrived in Norway. In 1252 Pope Innocent IV stated that the people who are called ‘sambitae’ (sometimes interpreted as Samogitians, but more likely referring to the Sámi) would be recognized as the subjects of King Haakon if he converted them.34 This has been interpreted as attempts to manifest the king’s power in the area, as a missionary attempt, and of subjecting the heathen Sámi under Christian domination.35 However, there is little evidence of mission and attempts of conversion of the Sámi in this area, besides giving some economic privileges to those who converted to Christianity of their own accord.36 In fact, the strategies of the Norwegians for the Sámi were similar to what Henry of Livonia accused the Russian of doing – not being interested in the conversion of heathens so much as in collecting tributes from them.37 Churches and chapels were raised in the north, but the background was the rivalry with Novgorod 33 Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. I, no. 24. Later, King Haakon promised to support King Louis IX, but this came to nothing. In 1323, Pope John XXII gave the same absolution to those fighting against the heathen Finns as those who went to the Holy Land, Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. VI, no. 106. 34 Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. I, no. 46. 35 Hansen & Olsen, Hunters in Transition, pp. 157-158. 36 Mundal, ‘Kong Håkon Magnussons rettarbot’. 37 See also Bandlien, ‘Trading with Saracens’.


Bjørn Bandlien

concerning the control over Finnmark: the chapels were as important as military presence to claim the landscape as part of Christianity and excluding the authority of those not attending mass at these chapels. In the summer of 1326, however, the tension between the different images of the Russians came to the fore. This summer, a Norwegian envoy to Novgorod made a treaty on behalf of King Magnus Eriksson (r. 1319-1364). In 1319, three-year-old Magnus Eriksson had been elected king both of Norway and Sweden, but during his minority both kingdoms continued to be ruled by a royal council under the leadership of a governor. In Norway this governor was called dróttsete, and it must have been him that had sent the said envoy to Novgorod. The treaty concerned primarily the spheres of interests in northern Scandinavia based on the traditional borders, the taxation in the area between the Kola Peninsula and northern Norway, but also allowed Norwegians to trade in the areas north and east of Novgorod. The embassy came to Norway to acknowledge the borders, but it was to be the Norwegian king’s role to determine where these borders had been in the past. The treaty was confirmed by a ritual not common in Norway, the kissing of the cross. Those who broke the treaty confirmed by the kissing would be judged and punished by God (see also Pavel V. Lukin’s chapter).38 The treaty presumed that the Norwegians participated in the Russian ritual of kissing the cross. Such participation in the rituals of the other party was necessary for the conclusion of a treaty, whether those involved respected the act or not. Still, such ritual practices created a temporary shared religious community between the Norwegians and Russians. In the early fourteenth century, such a communion was not evident. In 1323, Bjarkøy, just south of Finnmark, had been sacked and burned by Karelians, who were associated with the Russians. Bjarkøy was one of the richest and most important farms in northern Norway and had been the seat of a chieftaincy since the Viking Age. This farm was at the time owned by Erling Vidkunsson (1293-1355), who was then the dróttsete, or governor, of Norway. Erling and the Norwegian council had in fact every reason to take revenge for the harm the Russians had caused in the north. Instead he made a peace treaty with Novgorod, where wrongs in the past should not be retaliated. Parallel to the negotiations between the Norwegians and Novgorodians, however, Erling Vidkunsson prepared for a crusade against the Russians, the Finns (Sámi), and the Karelians, in the north. The church had already 38 Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. VIII, no. 80: ‘Item quicunque infregerit istam osculationem crucis vindicet ac judicet eum deus’.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


collected crusades tithes for an expedition to the Holy Land, and the archbishop of Nidaros had sent a large sum to the papacy in 1324. In 1325 the archbishop of Nidaros supported Erling Vidkunsson and his idea to finance an army heading to the border areas in the north, fighting the ‘enemies of God’ as the Russians, along with the Finns and Karelians, were called in the text.39 In August of 1326, just two months after the Russian-Norwegian treaty was made, Pope John XXII (r. 1316-1334) confirmed that King Magnus Eriksson was to have half or a third of the crusading tithes collected in Norway and Sweden in order to finance this expedition against the infidels in the north.40 Although there is no record of a full-fledged crusade launched by Erling Vidkunsson, these tithes might have been used by him to build the fortress Vardøhus in the easternmost part of the modern region Finnmark, a military outpost for centuries for the Norwegian kingdom in the north. 41 The treaty of 1326 was created to promote trade between the Norwegians in Novgorod and even further east in Russia, in addition to determining a border area in which both Russians and Norwegians could be active by both trading and collecting tributes. 42 Indeed, despite the Baltic crusades, German and Scandinavian merchants continued to trade with the Russians, especially in Novgorod. The growing perception of the Russians as others, rather than as a part of their own Christian community among westerners, did not stop political and economic relations. Trade across the Baltic Sea continued, as seen for instance in the privileges offered to merchants from Lübeck, Hamburg, and Visby by the Prince of Smolensk in 1229 and the establishment of the Hansa in Novgorod. 43 Since trade between groups that in other contexts could find themselves in conflict with each other would be problematic in view of the rhetoric of crusade, the groups needed to construct a space, symbolical as well as physical, where a temporary community could be established. As Emile Durkheim pointed out a century ago, trade may be a fragile peace: ‘Interests never unite men but for a few moments, contracts are mere truces in a 39 Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. VIII, no. 79: ‘guðs ovinum’. 40 Diplomatarium Norvegicum, vol. VI, no. 113: ‘infideles pagani Carelli uidelicet et Rutheni’. 41 On the influence of crusading ideology in Scandinavia in the early fourteenth century, see Møller Jensen, ‘Politics and Crusade’. Erling Vidkunsson was probably familiar with and interested in the translated romances and chansons de geste at the time; see Þorláksson, ‘Aristocrats between Kings’. 42 Hansen, ‘Fredstraktaten’; Hansen, Olsen, Hunters in Transition, pp. 146-156; cf. Gallén, Lind, Nöteborgsfreden. 43 For a recent assessment of the role of merchants in the Baltic crusades, see: Munzinger, ‘The Profits of the Cross’.


Bjørn Bandlien

continuing antagonism. Nothing is less constant than interest. Today it unites me to you; tomorrow, it will make me your enemy’.44 David Nirenberg in his study on the relations between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and lepers in France and under the Crown of Aragon argued that the function and effects of stereotypes of the other ‘are closely dependent on social context and conflict, and therefore differ greatly from time to time and place to place’. 45 Nirenberg shows that violence had at least two functions, both meant as much to reinforce the social order of this multireligious community as to shatter it … the violent definition and demarcation of difference reinforced the unity of various groups within the society at the same time that it maintained that society’s potential for heterogeneity. 46

In the Kingdom of Aragon, differences between Christians and other groups were emphasized through occasional ritualized violence, but not in everyday interaction. Persecution of and violence against minorities was short-lived and a result of how the perpetrators of violence received and manipulated discourse about the other. Episodes of violence against minorities, rather than having a destructive effect on society, could function as an integrative and stabilizing force, making the ethnic, religious, and social boundaries and identities more manifest. In the context of Finnmark, this kind of space opening for trading relations may be reflected in the sites known as multi-room houses. Archaeological excavations have shown that these buildings, found along the coast along modern Finnmark, were used by Norwegians, Sámi, and people associated with the Russians. Made of turf, stone and wood, such houses could have had several functions in a multi-ethnic environment. They might have provided a space of communication, a place where people could meet and trade. 47 However, in order to avoid blurring the differences between the groups, building churches, saying prayers and masses, as well as occasional, ritualized warfare gained in importance. Such spaces for trading existing parallel to the military activities and crusading rhetoric were not unique in relations between Scandinavians and Russians in the fourteenth century. The Norwegian-Novgorodian treaty 44 Durkheim, Division of Labour, pp. 203-204. 45 Nirenberg, Communities of Violence, p. 124. 46 Nirenberg, Communities of Violence, p. 245. 47 Aalto, Categorizing Otherness, pp. 173-179 emphasizes the establishment of kaupfriðr, ‘trading peace’, for trading between Christians and heathens.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


followed a similar one concluded by the Swedes and Novgorodians in 1323. During the thirteenth century, the Swedes succeeded in securing their control in western Finland and from the 1290s on made further incursions towards the border areas in Karelia that challenged the control of Novgorod. After decades of bitter enmity, a treaty was signed at the castle of Nöteborg at the mouth of the river Neva in 1323. This treaty defines a border between Sweden and Novgorod in the south, but leaves the north open to both Swedes and Novgorodians.48 The Danes and Novgorod made a treaty already in 1302, most of all to safeguard the trade from the east and to weaken the power of the Teutonic order. 49 They saw the greedy knights’ attacks on Novogord as a bigger problem that clearly outweighed the possible virtues of their crusade. In a letter the Danish King Eric Menved (r. 1286-1319) sent to the inhabitants of Riga in the late 1290s, he lamented the ‘monstrous persecutions’ experienced by its citizens and used the discourse of mission and crusading against the Teutonic order: As we wish quickly and effectively to support the new plantation of the Christian faith in these parts which has been put in great danger by the incredible excesses of the brothers of the order.50

Following this letter the Danish embassy came to Novgorod to negotiate the treaty on the protection of merchants trading in the east. In Finnmark, Norwegians were not fighting to defend or recover a Holy Land against a group who refused to acknowledge Christianity. In the context of economic and political relations in the Arctic north, conflict and violence usually were not triggered by religious or ethnic differences, but rather concerned control over tribute and trade.51 However, the landscape itself was in the process of sacralization, making distinctions between the land of Christians and the realms of the heathens. This made it easier for integrating the different groups with close economic relations into a theological framework that emphasized the boundaries between them.

48 Gallén, Lind, Nöteborgsfreden. 49 Lind, ‘Den dansk-russiske traktat 1302’; Bysted and others, Jerusalem in the North, pp. 308-311. 50 Diplomatarium Danicum, 2 ser., vol. IV, no. 321: ‘et plantationi nouellæ fidei christianæ in ipsis partibus ob excessus ipsorum fratrum superstitiosos, in sui nimio periculo constitutæ cupientes succerrere celerius cum effectu.’ English translation from: Bysted and others, Jerusalem in the North, p. 307. 51 Hansen, Olsen, Hunters in Transition, pp. 141-227.


Bjørn Bandlien

Conclusions There were at least two different imaginings or perceptions of Russians influencing the rhetoric and political strategies of the leading circles in Scandinavia in the early fourteenth century. On the one hand, Russians were imagined as potential allies and trading partners in a ‘we’-group, on the other they were potentially religious others and targets of crusade. The first seems to have been hegemonic in Western Scandinavia, particularly Norway, while the other was dominant in Sweden. While the Swedes launched several crusades against the Russians with papal authority, the perception of the Russians as a religious other seems to have become important to Norwegians only during the planning of a crusade in the early 1320s. Images of heathens and heretics, as found in European theological writings and crusading ideology as well as in courtly and chivalric literature, were by the thirteenth century well known in Scandinavia. How such ideas and images were activated seems to have depended heavily on the context. While the violence against the heathens is a reminder of the distinction between ‘us’ and the ‘other’ found in Sweden against the Russians, the Norwegians used these images more often towards the Sámi. In the episodes regarding Finnmark merchants and priests confronting the Sámi, the former found that the Sámi would accept baptism and attend mass in a way that blurred distinctions. The dominant discourse about the Finns (Sámi) in Norway was their attachment to sorcery, control of the weather, and shape shifting. Clerical authors invoked such images to transform hitherto peaceful encounters between Norwegians and Sámi into a religious battle between Christianity and heathendom. In the context of trade, such perceptions were used to highlight the difference between these groups while they shared the same space and were involved in the same activities. However, merchants could also fall back on images and narratives that legitimized their relations with both the Muslims and the Sámi, making it possible to find common ground in certain areas. The peace treaty of 1326 facilitated trade with the Russians and helped define an area where both groups could tax and trade with the Sámi. Although in the same year a crusade was launched against the Russians as the ‘enemies of God’, it was the Sámi and not the Russians who were targeted as the actual opponents of the Christian faith. For this purpose the Norwegians could activate the images of the other found in the western Scandinavian tradition, rather than those known from continental Europe. The situation in 1326 was exceptional in that several discourses of otherness were activated and

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


finally expressed together in connection to one person, Erling Vidkunsson, the regent of Norway at that time. Erling had his ancestral lands in Bjarkøy in Northern Norway, raided by the Russians in 1323, the same year as the start of his regency on behalf of the young King Magnus Eriksson of Norway and Sweden. In the situation, the tensions and interplay between notions of sameness and difference, the community of Christians making peace on the one hand, and the power politics of economic control over resources in the north on the other hand, became visible.

Bibliography Primary sources The Chronicle of Duke Erik, trans. by Erik Carlquist, Peter C. Hogg (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2012). Diplomatarium Norvegicum, 23 vols. (Christiania/Oslo, 1847-2011). Erikskrönikan, enligt Cod. Holm. D2 (Uppsala: Svenska fornskriftssällskapet, 1921, rev. ed. 1963). Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar, ed. by Sverrir Jakobsson, Þorleifur Hauksson, Tor Ulset, 2 vols. Íslenzk fornrit 31-32 (Reykjavík: Hið íslenzka fornritafélag, 2013). Hauksbók, ed. by Finnur Jónsson, Eírikur Jónsson (Copenhagen: Selsk., 1892-1896). Henricus de Lettis, The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, trans. by James A. Brundage (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002; new edn). Heinrich von Lettland, Chronicon Livoniae/Livländische Chronik, ed and trans. by Albert Bauer, FSGA, 24 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1959). Historia Norwegie, ed. by Inger Ekrem, Lars Boje Mortensen, trans. by Peter Fisher (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2003). A History of Norway and the Passion and Miracles of the Blessed Óláfr, trans. by Devra Kunin, ed. with an introduction and notes by Carl Phelpstead (London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2001). Karlamagnús saga, ed. by C.R. Unger (Christiania: H.J. Jensen, 1860). Passio et Miracula Beati Olavi, ed. by Frederick Metcalfe (Oxford: Clarendon, 1881).

Secondary literature Sirpa Aalto, Categorizing Otherness in the Kings’ Sagas (Joensuu: Itä-Suomen yliopisto, 2010). Bjørn Bandlien, ‘Trading with Muslims and the Sámi in Medieval Norway’, in Fear and Loathing in the North: Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region, ed. by Cordelia Heß, Jonathan Adams, (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), pp. 31-48. Fredrik Barth, ‘Introduction’, in Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Cultural Difference, ed. by Fredrik Barth (Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1969), pp. 9-38. Ane L. Bysted, Carsten Selch Jensen, Kurt Villads Jensen, John H. Lind, Jerusalem in the North: Denmark and the Baltic Crusades, 1100-1522 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). Siobhain Bly Calkin, Saracens and the Making of English Identity: The Auchinleck Manuscript (London: Routledge, 2005).


Bjørn Bandlien

Margaret Clunies Ross, Prolonged Echoes: Old Norse Myths in Medieval Northern Society, 2 vols. (Odense: Odense University Press, 1994-1998). Thomas Foerster, Vergleich und Identität: Selbst- und Fremddeutung im Norden des hochmittelalterlichen Europa (Berlin: Akademie, 2009). Iben Fonnesberg-Schmidt, The Popes and the Baltic Crusades, 1147-1254 (Leiden: Brill, 2007). David Fraesdorff, Der barbarische Norden: Vorstellungen und Fremdheitskategorien bei Rimert, Thietmar von Merseburg, Adam von Bremen und Helmold von Bosau (Berlin: Akademie, 2005). Jarl Gallén, John Lind, Nöteborgsfreden och Finlands medeltida östgräns, 3 vols. (Helsinki: Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 1968-1991). Ildar H. Garipzanov, ‘Wandering Clerics and Mixed Rituals in the Early Christian North, c. 1000c. 1150’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 63 (2012), 1-17. Patrick Geary, ‘Power and Ethnicity History and Anthropology’, History and Anthropology, 25 (2014), 1-14. Haki Antonsson, ‘The Cult of St. Óláfr in the Eleventh Century and the Kievian Rus’’, Middelalderforum, n.s., 3 (2003), 143-160. Lars Ivar Hansen, ‘Om synet på “de andre” – ute og hjemme: Geografi og folkeslag på Nordkalotten i følge Historia Norwegiae’, in Olavslegenden og den latinske historieskrivning i 1100-tallets Norge, ed. by Inger Ekrem, Lars Boje Mortensen, Karen Skovgaard-Petersen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2000), pp. 54-87. Lars Ivar Hansen, ‘Fredstraktaten mellom Norge og Novgorod av 1326’, Middelalderforum, n.s., 3 (2003), 6-28. Lars Ivar Hansen, Bjørnar Olsen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History (Leiden: Brill, 2014). Helgi Þorláksson, ‘Aristocrats between Kings and Tax-Paying Farmers: Iceland c. 1280 to c. 1450, Political Culture, the Political Actors and the Evidence of Sagas’, in Rex Insularum: The King of Norway and his “Skattlands” as a Political System, c. 1260-c. 1450, ed. by Steinar Imsen (Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2014), pp. 265-303. Geraldine Heng, Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003). Kurt Villads Jensen, ‘Sacralization of the Landscape: Converting Trees and Measuring Land in the Danish Crusades against the Wends’, in Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 141-150. Egil Kraggerud, ‘Olavssekvensene – den kjente og de glemte’, Middelalderforum n.s., 2:1 (2002), 103-118. Annette Lassen, ‘Ódinn in Old Norse Texts other than The Elder Edda, Snorra Edda, and Ynglinga saga’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 1 (2005), 91-108. John H. Lind, ‘De russiske ægteskaber: Dynasti- og alliancepolitik i 1130’ernes danske borgerkrig’, Historisk Tidsskrift (D), 92:1 (1992), 225-263. John H. Lind, ‘Den dansk-russiske traktat 1302: Erik Menveds østpolitik og omvæltningen i de nordiske alliancer’, Historisk Tidsskrift (D), 96:1 (1996), 1-31. John H. Lind, ‘Scandinavian Nemtsy and Repaganized Russians: The Expansion of the Latin West during the Baltic Crusades and its Confessional Repercussions’, in The Crusades and the Military Orders: Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Christianity, ed. by Zsolt Hunyadi, József Laszlovszky (Budapest: Central European University, 2001), pp. 481-497. John H. Lind, ‘Mobilisation of the European Periphery against the Mongols: Innocent IV’s All-European Policy in its Baltic Context – A Recantation’, in The Reception of Medieval Europe in the Baltic Sea Region: Papers of the XIIth Visby Symposium, ed. by Jörn Staecker (Visby: Gotland University Press, 2009), pp. 75-90.

Norway, Sweden, and Novgorod


Thomas Lindkvist, ‘Crusades and Crusading Ideology in the Political History of Sweden’, in Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier, 1150-1500, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001), pp. 119-130. Elena Melnikova, ‘Varangians and the advance of Christianity to Rus in the ninth and tenth centuries’, in Från Bysans till Norden, ed. by Henrik Janson (Skellefteå: Artos, 2005), pp. 97-138. Else Mundal, ‘The Perception of the Saamis and their Religion in Old Norse Sources’, in Shamanism and Northern Ecology, ed. by Juha Pentikäinen (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1996), pp. 97-116. Else Mundal, ‘Kong Håkon Magnussons rettarbot for Hålogaland av 1313 og andre kjelder til kristninga av samane i mellomalderen’, in Sápmi Y1K – Livet i samernas bosättningsområde för ett tusen år sedan, ed. by Andrea Amft, Mikael Svonni (Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2006), pp. 97-114. Mark R. Munzinger, ‘The Prof its of the Cross: Merchant Involvement in the Baltic Crusade (c. 1180-1230)’, Journal of Medieval History, 32 (2006), 163-185. Alan V. Murray, ‘Saracens of the Baltic: Pagan and Christian Lithuanians in the Perception of English and French Crusaders to Late Medieval Prussia’, Journal of Baltic Studies, 41 (2010), 413-429. Janus Møller Jensen, ‘Politics and Crusade: Scandinavia, the Avignon Papacy and the Crusade in the XIVth Century’, in La Papauté et les croisades, ed. by Michel Balard (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 269-285. Torben K. Nielsen, ‘Sterile Monsters? Russians and the Orthodox Church in the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia’, in The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 227-252. Torben K. Nielsen, ‘The Making of a New Cultural Landscapes in the Medieval Baltic’, in Medieval Christianity in the North: New Studies, ed. by Kirsi Salonen, Kurt Villads Jensen, Torstein Jørgensen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 121-153. David Nirenberg, Communities of Violence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). Walter Pohl, ‘Telling the Difference – Signs of Ethnic Identity’, in Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, ed. by Walter Pohl, Helmut Reimitz (Leiden: Brill, 1998), pp. 17-69. Walter Pohl, ‘Comparing Communities – the Limits of Typology’, History and Anthropology, 25 (2014), 1-18. Volker Scior, Das Eigene und das Fremde: Identität und Fremdheit in den Chroniken Adams von Bremen, Helmolds von Bosau und Arnolds von Lübeck (Berlin: Akademie, 2002). Anti Selart, Livland und die Rus’ im 13. Jahrhundert (Cologne: Böhlau, 2007). Carsten Selch Jensen, ‘How to Convert a Landscape: Henry of Livonia and the Chronicon Livoniae’, in Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier, ed. by Alan V. Murray (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 151-168. Sigfús Blöndal, Benedikt S. Benedikz, The Varangians of Byzantium (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978). Vegard Skånland, ‘Calor Fidei’, Symbolae Osloenses, 32 (1956), 86-104. Jace Stuckey, ‘Charlemagne as Crusader? Memory, Propaganda and the Many Uses of Charlemagne’s Legendary Expedition to Spain’, in The Legend of Charlemagne in the Middle Ages: Power, Faith and Crusade, ed. by Matthew Gabriele, Jace Stuckey (New York: Palgrave, 2008), pp. 137-152. Sverrir Jakobsson, Við og veröldin: Heimsmynd Íslendinga 1100-1400 (Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan, 2005).


Bjørn Bandlien

Sverrir Jakobsson, ‘The Schism that never was: Old Norse views on Byzantium and Russia’, Byzantoslavica, 1-2 (2008), 173-188. Marek Tamm, ‘How to Justify a Crusade? The Conquest of Livonia and new Crusade Rhetoric in the Early Thirteenth Century’, Journal of Medieval History, 39 (2013), 431-455. Thorlac Turville-Petre, England the Nation: Language, Literature, and National Identity, 1290-1340 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). Kristel Zilmer, ‘He drowned in Holmr’s Sea – his cargo-ship driftet to the sea-bottom, only three came out alive’: Records and Representations of Baltic Traffic in the Viking Age and the early Middle Ages in Early Nordic Sources (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2005).

Transient Borders The Baltic Viewed from Northern Iceland in the MidFifteenth Century Hans Jacob Orning*

‘In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined’.1 This important insight of Benedict Anderson has usually been embraced in studies of modern nations, but it applies equally well to other forms of communities, such as premodern ones (see also Wojtek Jezierski’s introduction).2 Such communities are imagined in being limited, sovereign, and communal.3 Whereas the concept of sovereignty is a post-medieval one, it directs attention to the theme of order, which, as with the principle of communal interests, is as relevant to a medieval as to a modern setting. The limits of communities point to the problem of border and the decisive presence of the other from which a community needs to separate itself. In this chapter, I shall discuss the role of the Baltic in the late medieval Icelandic manuscript AM 343a 4to, which was written at the large estate Möðruvellir fram in Eyjafjörður in northern Iceland around 1450. The Baltic, as a border zone to an imagined Nordic community, plays a surprisingly large * Hans Jacob Orning is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oslo. He has published Unpredictability and Presence: Norwegian Kingship in the High Middle Ages (Leiden: Brill, 2008), and is co-editor and contributor of Disputing Strategies in Medieval Scandinavia (Leiden: Brill, 2013) and Rituals, Performatives and Political Order in Northern Europe c 650-1350 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). He has written extensively on high medieval kingship in Norway and late medieval Icelandic saga manuscripts. He is currently working on medieval civil wars. The author would like to thank Wojtek Jezierski and Auður Magnúsdóttir for their valuable comments. 1 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6. 2 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 6: Anderson discusses the character of many premodern societies as being universal (mostly in religious terms) and dynastic, but this forms no obstacle for studying such communities as ‘imagined’, because they primarily deviate from modern ones in: 1. Not being conscious about the plurality of several communities, and 2. The dynastic element only underlines the precarious nature of such communities. Notwithstanding, medieval communities could be envisaged along other lines than the religious/universalist one, and as being united by more than dynastic bonds. 3 Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 7.

354 Hans Jacob Orning

role in this manuscript. After having placed the manuscript in its literary and historical setting, I shall explore how the scribe tried to construct a Nordic community vis-à-vis others. The Baltic Rim is particularly interesting in this respect, since it was a place that belonged to the centre and simultaneously had close contact with the periphery. I shall argue that the need to draw firm boundaries reflected a vulnerable centre which was dependent on the periphery in a variety of ways. The imagined Nordic community of AM 343a 4to could be socially defined as an elite community, with an edge towards peasants as well as kings. In the final section, I will relate this textual community at Möðruvellir fram to the historical context in which the manuscript was written in order to elucidate how Icelandic nobles in the mid-fifteenth century viewed the Baltic as part of a Nordic community.

The Literary and Historical Context AM 343a 4to is the largest manuscript produced in Iceland in the late Middle Ages. It contains fifteen sagas: nine fornaldarsögur, five fornsögur suðrlanda, and one ævintýri (moral fable). 4 Fornaldarsögur and fornsögur suðrlanda can be classified as legendary or adventurous sagas. They typically tell stories about heroes set in a mythological past who venture into dangerous places in order to obtain a bride or other precious items and always succeed. For many scholars these sagas are so purely fictional in their content and so stereotypical in form that they can hardly yield information on historical issues.5 However, acknowledging that a motif may be part of a common repertoire does not preclude that it can constitute an interesting historical topic too. Adventurous stories can be used as sources to the conditions in which they were produced, where information is not scrutinized for its factuality, but as a reflection of contemporary attitudes.6 In this respect, the 4 The sagas in AM 343a 4to are the following: Þorsteins þáttr bæjarmagns, Samsons saga fagra, Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana, Flóress saga konungs ok sona hans, Vilhjalms saga sjóðs, Yngvars saga víðförla, Ketils saga hængs, Gríms saga loðinkinna, Örvar-Odds saga, Áns saga bogsveigis, Sáluss saga ok Nikadórs, Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, Herrauds saga ok Bósa, Vilmundar saga víðutan, and Perus saga Meistara. The latter stands out as an ævintýri, a moral fable strongly influenced by clerical ideals. 5 Olrik, Principles for Oral Narrative Research, esp. pp. 41-61; Kalinke, Bridal-quest romance; McKinnell, Meeting the Other; and Driscoll, ‘The Oral’, go far in disclaiming this genre’s potential historical value in their emphasis on its highly stereotyped epic structures. 6 This has become a more widespread and acknowledged method following ‘the narrative turn’ within the humanistic disciplines. Spiegel, The Past as Text, cf. Bagge, Society and Politics for use of this method on sagas.

Tr ansient Borders


mythical character of adventurous sagas can actually provide an advantage compared to the more ‘realistic’, factual way of presenting events of king’s sagas and Icelandic sagas, since their distant theme and temporal scope allowed them to address complicated contemporary issues in an indirect way without being restrained by strategic concerns.7 However, if the mythical idiom of these sagas provides an advantage by camouflaging contemporary issues, it leaves us, by the same token, with a massive interpretative burden: How are we to interpret the stories in these sagas? Obviously, we cannot pursue a literal interpretation of the plots, as these are adventurous and obviously unhistorical. Yet this does not imply that the universe of the adventurous sagas bore no imprint of contemporary issues whatsoever. As Margaret Clunies Ross put it: ‘The reality of the world of the gods partakes in the same metaphysical reality as that of the humans represented in non-mythical genres’.8 So what was the ‘non-mythical’ reality of AM 343a 4to? With AM 343a 4to, we are lucky to know a fair amount about its historical context, thanks to palaeographic investigations. Such evidence indicates that the manuscript was produced between 1450 and 1475 at the large estate Möðruvellir fram in Eyjaf jörður in northern Iceland.9 Several scholars have pointed out the paleographic similarities between AM 343a 4to and Holm perg 7 fol, containing three riddarasögur and eight fornsögur suðrlanda; AM 81a fol with the king’s sagas Sverris saga, Böglunga sögur, and Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar; AM 243a fol with Konungs skuggsiá; AM 132 4to with Jónsbók; AM 445c II 4to with Svarfdæla saga, and AM 162 Aη fol with fragments of Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar.10 Hence, Möðruvellir fram was an active literary environment, in which European culture (riddarasögur and fornsögur suðrlanda), the Norwegian monarchy (king’s sagas and mirrors), as well as Icelandic traditions (laws and Icelandic sagas), were considered to be of central value. The owner of the estate in this period and hence probable commissioner of the manuscript was Margrét Vigfúsdóttir. She was daughter of Vigfús 7 Mundal, ‘Fornaldersogene’, p. 32; Sverrir Jakobsson, ‘Den eksotiske fortid’, pp. 221-232; Tulinius, The Matter, p. 186. 8 Clunies Ross, Prolonged Echoes, p. 24. 9 Stefán Karlsson, ‘The localization’, pp. 141-142, 152-154; Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’, pp. 44-52. Cf. also Jónas Kristjánsson, Viktors saga, pp. xiii-xiv. 10 Holm-Olsen, Det Arnamagnæanske håndskrift 81a fol.; Stefán Karlsson, ‘The localization’; Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’. Even more manuscripts were written in this environment, cf. Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’, pp. 41-44.

356 Hans Jacob Orning

Ívarsson, who was the highest officer in Iceland (hirðstjóri) from 1389 to 1413,11 and his wife Guðrið, who came from a noble family from southwestern Norway.12 In 1436 Margrét married Þorvarðr, son of Loftr Guttormsson, the wealthiest man in Iceland, and hirðstjóri from 1427 to his death in 1432, in addition to being sheriff (sýslumaðr) for a longer period.13 The marriage united two of Iceland’s most powerful lineages. The couple settled at Möðruvellir fram, the homestead of Loftr. However, after only ten years of marriage, Þorvarðr died. For the following 40 years, Margrét lived as widow at Möðruvellir fram.14 Margrét was also a powerful person in Eyjafjörðr despite becoming a widow. In 1463 she married off her three daughters in a memorable triple wedding feast.15 In addition, she probably fostered the children of her deceased brother Ívar (who was killed in 1436), Bjarni and Guðmundr. Bjarni was an illuminator, who may have been the scribe of some of the manuscripts from the estate.16 As a member of the uppermost echelon of the Icelandic aristocracy, Margrét can thus provide a good example of how the Icelandic elite envisioned the community they were living in.17

Constructing a Community It might come as a surprise that the Baltic, and even the Nordic region, was perceived as part of an imagined community viewed from Iceland in the late Middle Ages. This period has traditionally been viewed as a period of decay in Icelandic history, since the island lost its political independence in 1262/1264, and subsequently became part of the Kalmar Union. After c. 1300, no Icelandic family sagas were composed anymore, giving way 11 Storm, Islandske Annaler, p. 284. Vigfús was also appointed nuntius – collector of funds raised in order to support the crusaders in The Holy Land (DI III, 563). 12 In 1366, Margrét’s grandmother Holmfriðr married Ingimunðr from Talgje in southwestern Norway (DN I, 877; DN IV, 979). There has been much discussion about this family after Asgaut Steinnes proposed that it could be traced back to King Hákon Hákonarsonar, cf. Løberg, ‘Glem Torstein mita!’; Margrét had a sister who married in Norway, DI 5, 697; DN I, 877. 13 Einar Bjarnason, ‘Ætt Ívars Hólms’, pp. 75-82. 14 Einar Bjarnason, ‘Ætt Ívars Hólms’, pp. 98-107; Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’, p. 47. 15 DI V, 331. 16 Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’, pp. 47-48; Jónas Kristjánsson, ‘Bókmenntasaga’, pp. 342-344. 17 Most unusual in this respect is Margrét’s gender, as most leading magnates of her day were men. Nevertheless, considering the rights of widows to govern their own and familial matters, this forms no serious obstacle (Cf. Ricketts, High-ranking Widows). Neither was Margrét alone in acting as a powerful female participator in the political struggles of her day. Einar Bjarnason draws parallels between women’s roles in this period and in the Saga Age (Einar Bjarnason, ‘Ætt Ívars Hólms’).

Tr ansient Borders


to genres such as riddarasögur, fornaldarsögur, and fornsögur suðrlanda, considered as signs of exaggerated foreign influence and a decaying literary taste.18 However, if we clear our lens from its modern filter of political sovereignty and literary realism, Iceland in the late Middle Ages appears in a different light, as this was the real golden age of literary production.19 Moreover, we see few signs of Icelanders’ lamenting the country’s political entry into a larger Nordic sphere. Icelandic family sagas, usually considered the hallmark of an independent Icelandic spirit, continued to be copied and edited throughout the late Middle Ages, but interspersed with other genres such as king’s sagas and fornaldarsögur, evidently without their scribes seeing any contradiction in assembling such a varied corpus of sagas.20 Recent scholarship has underlined that the political and literary development in Iceland in the late Middle Ages led to a broadening of its sense of identity. Jón Viðar Sigurðsson interprets the writing of fornaldarsögur as expression of a Nordic identity,21 and Sverrir Jakobsson argues that Icelanders considered themselves as part of a Christian, European community in the Middle Ages, not – as the story usually goes – as being exclusively different in having no king.22 Yet the notion of community presupposed that there were others who were perceived as different from it, and Christian Europe could not fulfil this function because it mainly constituted an ideal with which Icelanders sought to identify. A community also needed enemies against whom it could define its own (perceived) superiority. This role was played by giants and monsters living in the uttermost periphery – the Utgard in the myths. Gardarike played an important role in the imagined Nordic community, as it was situated near the margins of this community, at the border to the periphery. Gardarike, alternatively Russia, were the most common 18 Typical is the verdict passed by Finnur Jónsson, who hardly commented on fornsögur suðrlanda in his literary history, because they attested to the backwardness of the Icelanders (Finnur Jónsson, Den oldnorske og oldislandske litteraturs historie). This view can also be found in more recent research, cf. Pálsson, Gautrek’s saga, p. 14. 19 An indicator of their success is the number of manuscripts. Half of the legendary sagas are preserved in more than 50 manuscripts; only a handful of Icelandic sagas can claim the same. Driscoll, ‘Fornaldarsögur norðurlanda’, p. 258. 20 Late medieval Icelandic manuscripts can be called composite manuscripts, since most of them consist of several sagas belonging to different genres. Carlqvist, Handskriften som historikt vittne. The concept of genre is problematic as it is a modern classificatory system, and its utility has been thoroughly debated by literary historians. Nevertheless, we are left with few other options if we want to classify sagas based on style and content. 21 Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, ‘Historical writing’. 22 Sverrir Jakobsson, Við og veröldin.

358 Hans Jacob Orning

terms used for the area around the Baltic in Old Norse sources, although it was a political entity normally stretching wider than the Baltic coast.23 In Yngvars saga víðförla, it went as far east as to the end of the world. In the south, Gardarike was a kind of buffer state between the civilized and Christian Europe in the west, and Asia, sometimes populated by giants, in the east. Most importantly, Gardarike was close to the most distant and foreign periphery in the sagas: the northern region variably termed Jotunheimen, Bjarmeland, Finnmark, or Risaland, which was populated by giants, monsters, Bjarmar, and the Finns.24 The crucial importance of Gardarike as a zone for communication between the center and periphery is revealed in how this area functioned as a junction where the dual role of the periphery emerged. On the one hand, there existed the potential for making alliances with it; on the other, there was the periphery’s threatening character. A short summary of saga plots where Gardarike played a central role should illustrate this. Gardarike is mentioned in eight out of the fifteen sagas in AM 343a 4to and plays an important role in five of these. In Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana (The Story of Egil OneHand and Asmund Berserkers-Slayer), King Tryggvi of Russia’s two daughters have been abducted by terrible monsters. The main protagonists Egill and Åsmund agree on the task of recovering the princesses, which brings them to Jotunheimen. Here they meet with the troll woman Arinnefja, sister of the kings of Jotunheimen, who reveals that her brothers have abducted the princesses. Together they manage to kill the brothers and rescue the princesses, who are subsequently brought back to their father and married to the foster brothers. Yngvars saga víðförla tells about the Swedish magnate Yngvarr who, frustrated by his king, decides to travel eastwards. He first stays for several years with the king in Gardarike, before venturing further east into foreign and dangerous lands. Here he meets with supernatural beings, and finally dies of plague in the realm of the heathen woman Queen Silkisif. Yngvar’s son Sveinnn continues in his father’s trail, and marries Silkisif after she has converted to Christianity. Nevertheless, he ends up going back to Sweden. Örvar-Odds saga starts with Örvar-Oddr harrying Bjarmeland. This triggers Ögmundr Eyþjófsbani to take revenge on Oddr, and the struggle between them fills up most of the saga. In the course of the saga Ögmundr 23 The area sometimes also goes under the name Holmgard or Aldeigjuborg (Staraja Ladoga) after some of its most important towns. 24 This is the case in Egils saga einhenda, Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, and Örvar-Odds saga.

Tr ansient Borders


manages to become the king of Holmgard (Gardarike), and uses the region as a stronghold to conquer much of the eastern world, as well as for attacks on Oddr. In Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, Halfdan’s father, King Eysteinn of Norway, kills King Hergeirr of Aldeigjuborg (Gardarike) and forces his widow Ísgerðr to marry him. Later Eysteinn himself is killed under mysterious circumstances, and Halfdan now has to fight his own magnate Úlfkell, who demands Gardarike. Halfdan is decisively aided by Skúli, former earl of Gardarike, who turns out to be his father’s murderer. Halfdan nevertheless decides to forgive Skúli, and together they manage to clear both Norway and Gardarike of the threats coming from Úlfkell and his northern companions. King Visivaldr of Gardarike in Vilmundar saga víðutan has one son, Hjarrandi, and two daughters, Gullbrá and Soley. Hjarrandi puts Gullbrá in a tower and decides that her future spouse must conquer him in a duel. Hjarrandi moreover encounters serious problems with Kolr, a former slave who seduces his sister Soley. Vilmundr now comes in from nowhere and helps Hjarrandi in keeping wooers at bay, and in killing Kolr, the ex-slave. Finally a worthy wooer from Galicia arrives, who is given Gullbrá as a spouse. Hjarrandi marries his sister, and Vilmundr marries Soley, who it turns out is still a virgin since she had changed identity with her servant girl prior to Kolr’s seduction. What can these adventurous stories tell us about a Nordic community, and about Gardarike’s place in it? In most sagas in which Gardarike appears in AM 343a 4to, it is presented as a realm situated very close to chaotic forces. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Yngvars saga víðförla, which presents Yngvarr, a Swedish nobleman who feels badly treated by the king and seeks relief in Gardarike. After having spent some time with the king there, Yngvarr travels eastwards with his companions, meeting a troll, several serpents, and a dragon, before encountering some pagan humans. Further east they meet with another troll, Vikings, one more dragon, the figure Sóti, and the devil himself, before turning back again. These figures appear in no clear order or structure. Every time Yngvarr and his men go ashore from their ship, anything can happen. The same applies to Yngvarr’s son Sveinn, who takes up his father’s quest. He encounters heathens, Cyclops, traders, pigs, another flock of heathens, and a dragon, before arriving in Silkisif’s realm, which provides a fairly safe haven (apart from being populated by heathens).25 25 Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar and Örvar-Odds saga also go far in describing this area as ripe with unpredictable creatures. In Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar Halfdan traverses a forest on his

360 Hans Jacob Orning

In addition to being chaotic and ridden by internal conflicts, the area surrounding the Nordic community is different in terms of ethnicity, the most radical differences related to race. The periphery is populated with giants and monsters, with whom no interchange is possible. Moreover, the periphery emerges as inferior to the centre in a variety of ways. It is normally (but not always) the weaker part in the interaction, and geographically it is situated far away in a hostile and alien environment. The journeys between the areas are long and hazardous, and in most instances it is only the saga hero who is able to undertake the extraordinary journey. A defining characteristic of the Nordic centre in the sagas of AM 343a 4to lies precisely in its capacity of being more powerful and attractive than the periphery, demonstrated by its heroes’ successful journeys.

The Other Strikes Back So far, the ascendancy of the centre, the imagined Nordic community, has been presented as undisputed. AM 343a 4to seems to tell the story of a ‘civilizing process’, whereby the periphery becomes integrated in the civilized world, but also subordinated to the Nordic centre. Nevertheless, there are reasons for being sceptical of this line of interpretation, because it tends to reproduce the ideological hegemony of the centre over the periphery. Several features indicate that the contacts between centre and periphery might have been far more reciprocal and continuous than the stories of heroic achievements suggest. Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar shares with Yngvars saga víðförla the geographical location in the Baltic and the areas further east, but here both the hero and his opponents travel quite widely, and their journeys are not described as particularly dangerous or unusual.26 No effort is made to camouflage the contacts between centre and periphery, probably because it served no ideological purpose to do so in this saga. Egils saga einhenda provides an interesting example that the contacts between centre and periphery might have been far tighter than stated way to assist Grímr in Kirjalabotn, where he encounters a slave, a man with a dangerous pig, and a giant with a mad dog. In Örvar-Odds saga, Oddr meets with strange beings in Antioch, with Ögmundr in different disguises, as well as with vultures and giants in unnamed territories. 26 The distances are no doubt great in Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, as when Halfdan travels from the Baltic to Kirjalabotn, and from Norway to Bjarmeland along the northern coast of Norway. His enemy Úlfkell makes equally impressive voyages between Norway, Gardarike, Bjarmeland, and Kirjalabotn. Yet the main impression from this saga is that travelling is widespread, and that the enormous northern area is being crisscrossed by the agents.

Tr ansient Borders


explicitly. The saga is utterly eager to underline the huge distance between the centre and periphery to begin with. It’s set in the kingdom of Russia, where two princesses are brutally abducted by giants. The huge distance between the areas is emphasized by the monstrosity of the giant abductors, as well as by the main protagonists’ drawn-out chase to Jotunheimen in order to find the abducted princesses. Yet there is considerably more contact between Russia and Jotunheimen than implied so far. First, it turns out that the abduction project rendered here is no unique case, but only one of several plundering expeditions that the giants regularly launch against Russia. Second, Arinnefja, sister of the giant abductors, is no stranger to the centre, as she has earlier proposed to Egill’s father, King Ringr, in Småland in Sweden. The proposal was turned down by King Ringr, but the sheer fact that she made the attempt indicates that the difference between giants and humans is not as radical as implied in the monstrosity of her brothers.27 The physical distance separating centre and periphery is also manageable, as Egill is actually able to swim from his home area in Sweden to the land of giants. Jotunheimen is presented as a periphery not fully integrated into the Nordic community, but far from being totally unknown to the centre.28 As stated above, the task of this investigation is not to evaluate the historical accuracy of the sagas, which is obviously very dubious. Nevertheless, the issue of historicity is relevant insofar that it can throw light on how the saga events can be interpreted. In this respect Yngvars saga víðförla is exceptional, as it has been put under close historical scrutiny, due to the fact that Yngvarr’s travels are mentioned on Swedish runic stones. It has been also suggested that the saga describes Viking routes along the rivers in the east Baltic.29 In light of this, the saga’s predilection for describing singular, heroic exploits can be interpreted as a literary transformation of contacts stemming from trade, Christianization, and power politics. Thus, to conclude, connections between centre and periphery in the sagas collected in AM 343a 4to are not as weak and sparse as most of the sagas imply at the outset. The theme of the isolated periphery rather forms part of 27 Arinnefja has even encountered Egill once before, when fighting with her brother in the vicinity of Egill, who loses his hand in the battle (p. 45). When in the east, Egill meets with giants from Jotunheimen (jotnar), who are quarreling about a ring (p. 10). 28 In particular, Sweden serves as a link between the world of men and the world of giants, as attested in Egill’s and Arinnefja’s voyages between the two areas. The theme of a centre being threatened by external aggressors is duplicated twice in the saga: when Jotunheimen is raided in the last part of the saga, and in Ásmundr’s account of Tartaria, where King Róðíán is killed by Vikings from Blokumannaland (p. 33) and the area later faces further challengers. 29 Larsson, Ett ödesdigert vikingatåg.

362 Hans Jacob Orning

the genre requirement, whereby it serves to highlight the hero’s contribution in bringing areas into contact. Not only is the periphery closer to the Nordic centre than stated explicitly, it is also stronger than admitted. It must be emphasized that this is nowhere stated directly. The threat from the periphery can only be inferred from the arduous efforts to rally forces in the centre.30 In the course of Egils saga einhenda, the threat of the periphery gradually diminishes, as Egill and Ásmundr manage to make an alliance with Arinnefja, securing them influence in Jotunheimen. In the final settlement Jotunheimen becomes integrated albeit as a subordinate part since Arinnefja is not considered a worthy marriage partner. This makes it all the more surprising that in the final stage, after all parties are already united in an agreement, a large central alliance is formed between Russia and many other realms, including Tartaria, Gautland, and Hålogaland. Why should all these kingdoms suddenly need such a comprehensive alliance, if it were not as a countermeasure to some threat? The giants are pacified for the moment, but they still have the potential to create more troubles. Here it is sufficient to recall that Arinnefja is much stronger than the two protagonists, who have been totally dependent on her assistance for their success. The reason why this is veiled must be that it would be utterly problematic for the saga writer to admit openly that the protagonists representing the center were so heavily dependent on the periphery.31 It occurs also that alliances are formed in the periphery for the same strategic reasons, although one difference is that in such cases the motif of countering a threat is far more overtly spelled out, which is hardly surprising considering the centre bias of the manuscript as a whole. A common tendency is that the giants in Jotunheimen unite when they realize that external protagonists are trying to expand into their realm.32 These al30 This reluctance to explain why alliances are formed in the centre is most salient in the fornsaga Vilhjalms saga sjóðs. 31 The same is true in Yngvars saga víðförla, where Yngvarr and his son Sveinn make journeys eastwards which are extremely dangerous. The saga offers no reason for Yngvarr’s venture eastwards, but the alliance between Sweden and Gardarike indicates that its goal was to counter threats from the east, even if this is never expressed. 32 In Egils saga einhenda, the two giant brothers in Jotunheimen terminate their haggling over the throne exactly at the same time as their sister Arinnefja plans for their extermination – though they are allegedly unaware of her plans. In Yngvars saga víðförla, Jólfr and his brother in the far East decide to rally forces against the foreigner Yngvarr, whereas in Örvar-Odds saga, Oddr’s exploits in Bjarmeland make the Bjarmar and Finns join forces in order to avenge the insult brought on them. The king of the Bjarmar leads a similar alliance against Halfdan in Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar.

Tr ansient Borders


liances in the periphery can occasionally be very efficient. In Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, the rebel Úlfkell manages to unite with the king of Bjarmeland, almost annihilating the whole Nordic centre.33 Vilmundar saga víðutan demonstrates what happens if the periphery does not manage to unite. Here the failed effort of the peripheral princes to overthrow the arrogant king in the centre of Gardarike makes them subject to unilateral and degrading conditions. It happens though, that the sagas describe more offensive strategic moves undertaken by central agents in establishing alliances with discontent factions in new territories in order to expand their influence. Sleeping with the enemy is most prevalent in Herrauds saga ok Bósa, where Bósi enjoys a row of sexual adventures up in the North. More important is the frustration of the giantess Arinnefja with her brothers in Egils saga einhenda, which makes her share interest with Egill and Ásmundr in overturning her unfair brothers from power.34 Nevertheless, forming alliances with discontented factions in the periphery is a risky venture which can easily fail. In Yngvars saga víðförla, Yngvarr manages to win Silkisif for his case, but he experiences more trouble in his dealings with King Jólfr in Heliopolim. When Yngvarr agrees to help Jólfr against his brother, Jólfr uses this as an opportunity to turn against Yngvarr, an encounter from which Yngvarr barely survives.35 The strength of the periphery makes it imperative for members of the centre to stick together in order not to be overwhelmed by the periphery. The saga which most directly addresses the vulnerability of the Nordic centre is Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar, which circles around the implications of King Eysteinn of Norway’s homicide of the king of Gardarike and subsequent appropriation of his realm. The deed is not denounced directly, since Eysteinn is part of the heroic centre. However, a major problem with Eysteinn’s aggressive act is that it leaves the Nordic kingdoms vulnerable to external perpetrators. Immediately after the conquest of Gardarike, an internal tension flares up and soon develops into open hostility when King Eysteinn is followed by his young son Halfdan. Eysteinn’s former retainer 33 In Örvar-Odds saga, King Kvillanus of Holmgard is able to overthrow most countries surrounding him, threatening the centre as well. 34 The formation of alliances with oppositional elements in the periphery is a salient feature in the brief Ketils saga hængs, where the protagonist sleeps with a giantess, producing off-spring as well as a valuable ally in conflicts to come. 35 Such efforts at establishing a foothold in the periphery misfire in other sagas as well. In Yngvars saga víðförla, Vilmundar saga víðutan and Örvar-Odds saga, protagonists play on internal tensions in the very centre (the royal family) in order to accomplish their endeavours, but with rather limited success.

364 Hans Jacob Orning

Úlfkell leads a rebellion, which has a wide fund of resources to draw on: he has a power base in Norway, a rightfully obtained earldom in Gardarike, and with the help of his brother he is able to convince the king of Bjarmeland that he should aim for seizing more territories. The seriousness of this threat is emphasized in that Norway and Gardarike now join forces. This is no small endeavour, because it presupposes that Halfdan has to forgive his father’s murderer and abstain from vengeance. The united dynasty of Norway and Gardarike finally regains control over the central Nordic realm, but it is faced with a protracted resistance.36 The sustained determination and strength of the opposition shows that the central hegemony is indeed disputed. Many of the sagas in AM 43a 4to describe a system of interconnected states resembling the ‘state system’ which gradually developed in Europe in this period.37 This tendency is even more distinct in the fornsögur sudrlanda, where rivalry occurs between states in a fairly tight European political system. For all their rivalry, these states seem to share a lot of values and assumptions. These shared norms are foremost revealed in case of an external threat, which is prone to bring the former rivals together in a defensive alliance.38 Hálfdanar saga Eysteinssonar is interesting in this respect, because King Eysteinn’s conquest of Gardarike represents a violation of the implicit ‘rules of the game’, demonstrated in its unleashing a series of clashes in the region which threatens to overturn this incipient ‘state system’.39 The saga sends a strong message that Nordic kingdoms should respect one another, and that a power balance between the kingdoms in the 36 Not even the defeat of Úlfkell, the king of Bjarmeland, and their allies puts an end to resistance. Sigmundr marries the royal daughter of Bjarmeland upon the death of its king, but other relatives bring the grievances further. Agnarr is king of Gestrekaland in the northeast, and by marriage to King Hárekr’s sister he claims the royal dignity in Bjarmeland (p. 283). His son Valr has killed Sviði in Kirjalabotn, as well as the giant Svaða north of Dumshafi. Svaða is son of the heathen god Ása-þórr, so here the peripheral elements in terms of a gradual transition between gods and men are very distinct (p. 283). However, Halfdan and Sigmundr conquer Agnarr and his sons in a battle in Gandvik (pp. 283-85). Agnarr flees to Halogaland, where he builds himself a mound into which he enters (p. 285). Thus, the heathen and peripheral elements are even part of the relatively more central areas of Norway. 37 Mann, The Sources of Social Power. 38 The most distinct saga in this respect is Vilhjalms saga sjóðs, which is found in AM 343a 4to. 39 A similar system is described in Egils saga einhenda, where Russia is situated between Hunaland and Tartaria in the south, Gardarike bordering on the Scandinavian areas, and Denmark towards the south. Such webs of interconnections are particularly detailed, described in the eastern part of the world in Örvar-Odds saga, and are also found in Vilmundar saga víðutan and Yngvars saga víðförla. A ‘state system’ is even more distinct in the fornsögur sudrlanda, where rivalry occurs between central agents in a fairly tight political system.

Tr ansient Borders


realm is appropriate. Even if this or that king has the power to exterminate his rivals, he is not necessarily entitled to do so, because it can make the centre vulnerable to external attacks.

The Quest for Magic So far, the closer connections between centre and periphery and the relatively stronger position of the latter area have been acknowledged. However, we still need to ask the more fundamental question: why it is so crucial for the centre to get in touch with the periphery. Why not simply let it go? A probable reason must be that the periphery is the place where magical powers reside. This magic is admittedly depicted as evil in most instances, and in the end it falls short of bringing fortune to its agents in the periphery. However, this does not explain why heroes from the centre are so eager to partake in the magic that they are willing to risk almost anything in order to get hold of it. 40 This sustained eagerness of the heroes to acquire magic shows us three things. First, magic is primarily located in the periphery, the main reason the area is so strong. In Egils saga einhenda, the main protagonists from Russia face an almost impossible task in rescuing the abducted Russian princesses from captivity among the giants, and it is only thanks to a combination of cooperation with a giantess in possession of magical powers, clever measures, and a good portion of luck that they are able to succeed in their undertaking. Similar obstacles caused by the dominance of magical powers in the periphery is a stock theme in almost all sagas in AM 343a 4to. Second, magic is not exclusively evil. Surely villains are most often in charge of it, and not surprisingly they use it in an evil way. However, heroes struggle hard to get hold of magical powers and items, and the reason is that they can use it for their own purposes. 41 This illustrates the nature of 40 Samsons saga fagra, Egils saga einhenda, and Herrauds saga ok Bósa are structured around quests for magical objects in the periphery. In other sagas, it is inversely people in the periphery who struggle to obtain magical objects (ie. rings) from the centre, which they have lost (Egils saga einhenda) or which they need in order to survive (Vilhjalms saga sjóðs). 41 The Hrafnista sagas demonstrate why magical objects are so sought after. Ketill, Grímr, and Oddr have magical weapons acquired in the periphery– the arrows from Gúsi, the king of Finns – which bring them victories in battle. Other sagas are less explicit on why the magical items are so attractive that the protagonists are willing to risk their lives for them (Kvintalin in Samsons saga fagra must collect a cloak, Bósi in Herrauds saga ok Bósa an egg with golden inscriptions, and Arinnefja in Egils saga einhenda three precious objects from the underworld). However, the instant urge to acquire them testifies to the importance attached to magic.

366 Hans Jacob Orning

magic as a morally neutral property that can be used for either good or evil purposes. Third, even if the northern periphery is where magic is mostly located, this must not lead us to conclude that the Nordic centre is free of magic. The ambivalence of magic makes it an attractive property to attain for everyone, not least for the people living in the centre. Interestingly, the magical efficiency of the centre most often comes to naught if directly confronted with the magic of the periphery, but still it is highly valuable, for two reasons. First, such magic can be highly effective in the centre.42 Second, even if the giants of the periphery are normally stronger and more magically endowed than ordinary human beings, magic is seldom the only decisive factor in battle, as it operates in combination with wisdom, which can benefit the heroes from the centre.43 The key position of Gardarike in AM 343a 4to is thus very much a result of the strong position of the periphery, which is far stronger than the sagas are explicitly willing to admit, and which is only revealed through the saga action. As part of the Nordic community, but located at its outskirts, Gardarike appears to be the gatekeeper of the imagined Nordic community, which has to do the painful job of handling the periphery, either by negotiation or through combat.

A Noble Community So far the geographical layout of the imagined community of AM 343a 4to has been discussed, with a particular focus on Gardarike as a border zone. Following Benedict Anderson’s statement that what distinguishes imagined communities is ‘the style in which they are imagined’, 44 the next question is whether this vision of community encompassed all people living in the territory or if it excluded some groups or classes. At first sight, the Nordic realm looks like an open community in the sense that it contains no formal social barriers. The main protagonists in most of the sagas in AM 343a 4to are members of a warrior elite, but this does not exclude other groups. Kings are normally present in most sagas and even though minor 42 The Hrafnista men use their magical weapons in numerous duels where the dividing line does not go between those who practice magic and those who abstain, but between differing degrees of magical efficiency. 43 The protagonists in the Hrafnista sagas, Þorsteins þáttr bæjarmagns, Samsons saga fagra and Egils saga einhenda are able to overthrow peripheral agents, often kings of Jotunheimen, through a combination of magic and superior wisdom, where the latter quality often proves to be the most important. 44 Andersson, Imagined Communities, p. 6.

Tr ansient Borders


skirmishes between kings and retainers on topics of internal discipline is sometimes referenced, usually the interests of kings and retinue do not diverge radically, and it seems to be taken for granted that the retinue is prepared to follow the king. 45 Also peasants have their place in this world, as formulated in the famous ‘Viking laws’ in Örvar-Odds saga, stating that peasants, merchants, and women shall never be plundered. The group most conspicuously absent in AM 343a 4to are the prelates, but this might stem from the setting in a pre-Christian, mythological past rather than reflecting an anti-clerical attitude. 46 However, even if the imagined community of AM 343a 4to does not operate with formal criteria for those who belong to it, the openness of this world is only superficial. The manuscript’s provenance within the highest echelon of the Icelandic elite reverberates in its description of the contempt showed to common people by noblemen harnessed as warriors. The acclamation of pacifist ideals in Örvar-Odds saga’s so-called Viking laws is only a play for the gallery, which gets broken as soon as it suits the warriors. These laws must definitely be considered as part of some invented tradition of the fifteenth century, since their foremost ideal echoes the rex iustus-ideal of kingship. 47 The material foundation of the warrior community rests on taking forced contributions from peasants. Even if this material aspect is usually obscured in the saga, the two main warrior activities – plunder in external territories and service as mercenaries for kings – furnish them with material resources, directly as rewards, indirectly by safeguarding that the danger of being plundered is imminent. Hence, opposing bands are mutually dependent upon one another for keeping the threat of disorder at a certain level. 48

45 Typically, in Egils saga einhenda conflicts arise about guardianship of Russia in which Egill suggests that he and Ásmundr should join forces and kill the king, but they soon come to terms with the king and later become kings themselves. Loyal service is preferable, as it can lead to promotion (in exceptional cases also to royalty), without taking the risky detour through rebellion. 46 The manuscript ends with Meistara Perus saga, though, an ævintýri with a clear moral message in the clerical vein. 47 On the rex iustus-ideal, cf. Canning, A History of Medieval Political Thought, pp. 39-43. This ideal was formulated in the high Middle Ages, but it continued to play an important role in the late Middle Ages. At Möðruvellir fram, this can be seen very clearly in that Konungs skuggsiá and Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar figure among the manuscripts written contemporaneously with AM 343a 4to. 48 The alleged reason for Oddr to settle with Hjálmar and Þórðr after their initial fighting is that they realize the stupidity of fighting so long only for honour, with no material gains involved.

368 Hans Jacob Orning

The relationship to the king is more complex. For sure, kings are present in most of the sagas in AM 343a 4to. However, a main point is that kings cannot act solely according to their own inclinations. The first part of Yngvars saga víðförla, following four generations of the mightiest magnate family in Sweden in their dealings with the king, can be read as an exemplum on the relationship between kings and magnates. The conflict is triggered when magnate Áki proposes to King Eiríkr’s daughter. The king refuses on account of Áki’s not being of royal descent, and instead marries his daughter to the king of Gardarike. Áki is unwilling to accept the answer and abducts the princess after having killed her Russian husband. This leads to a protracted conflict between Áki and King Eiríkr’s descendants, where Áki and his successors prove that they can do very well without the king. The message is that a king has to be willing to share his power with magnates both when it comes to blood ties and titles, and that he will run into difficulties if he tries to subdue them. 49 The historian Sigriður Beck has claimed that the production of fornaldarsögur can be viewed as part of the formation of a noble community, whereby the Icelandic aristocracy sought to distinguish itself from ordinary peasants by highlighting its own horizontal friendships and common group identity. Community members achieved status through their position as royal retainers, but their group identity was strengthened by the fact that the king was far away and fairly unpredictable.50 If we follow this line of reasoning, the fact that most sagas in AM 343a 4to deal with rivalry within this elite might appear as somewhat paradoxical. The struggle between men eager to attain honour is nowhere more pronounced than in Örvar-Odds saga’s descriptions of rival Viking bands. However, this saga also illustrates that there is no contradiction between competition about honour and a warrior culture of shared values, as demonstrated in Angantýr’s disappointment after he and his berserks have killed all the companions of Örvar-Oddr, not knowing that the two leaders are absent: Never has our father Arngrímr lied more to us than when he said that these men were brave Vikings that no shield could stand up against, as here we have seen that they have acted cowardly and fought little. Now 49 The conflict in Yngvars saga víðförla is certainly not typical, as the magnate family is of very high standing, and the sympathy and narrative perspective decidedly lies with the magnates. Nevertheless, the signal that a king should share power with leading magnates shines through in many sagas in AM 343a 4to, in particular in Vilmundar saga víðutan and Örvar-Odds saga. 50 Sigriður Beck, I kungens frånvaro, pp. 135-189. Cf. also Bagerius, Mandom och mödom.

Tr ansient Borders


we shall go home and kill our father, the coward, so as to make redress for his lie.51

Angantýr’s disappointment in meeting cowards is a telling expression of how the various warrior bands constituted a normative community at the time. As such, his reaction illustrates Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of doxa: It tends to be forgotten that a fight presupposes agreement between the antagonists about what it is that is worth fighting about; those points of agreement are held at the level of what ‘goes without saying’, they are left in the state of doxa, in other words everything that makes the field itself, the game, the stakes, all the presuppositions that one tacitly and even unwittingly accepts by the mere fact of playing, of entering the game.52

In other words, the rivalry between different bands in the sagas is fierce, but they all strive to achieve honour, and in that respect brave fighting serves them all well. Without great deeds no one would be remembered. By the same token, nothing prevents the opposing parties from joining forces as soon as a proper battle has been fought, because a brave opponent can surely turn into a brave companion upon receiving mercy. Hence, the most important outcome in this game is not necessarily to be triumphant, although victory is an important signal of prowess. The decisive factor is to live up to the norms of honourable conduct by fighting relentlessly as long as battle rages, and to be merciful after reconciliation has been effectuated. There is no deep-rooted antagonism that, given the right circumstances, would hinder them from regrouping. Thus, the hostility between groups is contextual, and on a higher level of abstraction the different groups constitute a normative community, a highly exclusive Nordic community.

Conclusions: An Imagined Historical Community? We can be fairly certain that the people living at Möðruvellir fram knew the stories in the manuscripts located at this estate. The way they got to know 51 Örvar-Odds saga, c. 13: ‘Eigi hefir Arngrímr, faðir vor, í annat sinn logit meir at oss, enn þá hann sagði oss þessa menn harða ok mikla víkinga, svá at ekki reisti rönd við, en vér höfum hér svá komit, at allir hafa verst atborit sik, ok sízt dugat; ok förum heim ok drepum skítkarlinn, föður vorn, ok hafi hann þat fyri lýgi sína’. 52 Bourdieu, ‘Some Properties of Fields’, pp. 73-74.

370 Hans Jacob Orning

them was through listening to them at kveldsvaka (the evening wake), when people gathered around the fireplace to talk and listen to the stories.53 Up to modern times, this was the primary channel for transmitting stories in Iceland. By having a written manuscript as their point of departure, the core of these stories might have been retained more unaltered than in a purely oral story-telling culture, where the content tended to constantly change. Margrét’s keen interest in literature was shared by her father-in-law, Loftr, who according to later traditions, composed love poems to a concubine, which have been compared to the story of Tristram and Ísönd.54 Moreover, her son-in-law, Bjarni Ívarsson, wrote several manuscripts.55 The corpus of texts produced at Möðruvellir fram can be viewed as a ‘canon’, and since people knew these stories, we can label it a textual community in Brian Stock’s sense.56 The people living at this estate internalized these stories and were in turn influenced by them in their thinking, acting, and perception of the surrounding world. Hence, these texts could ‘act as an intermediary between group interests and their ideological expression’.57 In this final section, I shall try to draw connections between the textual universe of AM 343a 4to and the mental horizon of the people living at Möðruvellir fram in this period. In what way did the imagined Nordic elite community postulated by AM 343a 4to, which we have analyzed so far, fit with the historical context in which this manuscript was produced? I shall first look briefly at the social aspect of this universe, before turning to its geographical layout with a particular focus on the Baltic Rim. In the previous analysis, we saw that the literary universe of AM 343a 4to contained a distinct elite bias, directed partly against peasants, partly against kings, albeit in a more ambiguous manner. This elitist bias emerges as no surprise when we look at the historical context of the manuscript, since its probable patron, Margrét Vigfúsdóttir, was a leading figure in the area of southern Eyjafjörðr. We do not know anything about local feuds in this area in the fifteenth century. This may be due to lack of sources, as there were no sagas to tell about such petty conflicts anymore. However, there are also reasons to believe that the relationship between magnates and local

53 Driscoll, The Unwashed Children of Eve. 54 Jónas Kristjánsson, ‘Bókmenntasaga’, pp. 276-277; The saga of Tristram and Ísönd was rewritten in Iceland in the same period, and is preserved in the manuscript AM 489 4to. 55 Sanders, ‘Tales of Knights’, p. 47. This includes the very interesting Teiknibókinn (see Fett, En islandsk tegnebog). 56 Stock, The Implications of Literacy, pp. 88-92. 57 Stock, The Implications of Literacy, p. 526.

Tr ansient Borders


farmers had become more hierarchical since the Free State period.58 After Iceland became part of Norway in 1262/1264, authority came from above, not from below. Leaders were now appointed by the king and no longer had to struggle in order to secure their own local position.59 This also implied that there was no way around the king for a man who wanted to rise to the elite stratum of society. The office of hirðstjóri (leader of the retinue) was the highest ranking in Iceland, followed by four sýslumenn (sheriffs for the four quarters of Iceland) and two lagmenn (judges in each half).60 The establishment of a new political system from above, however, did not imply or result in an end to the rivalry among magnates. Fifteenth-century politics in Iceland was dominated by two families, who alternated in the office of hirðstjóri and were closely interrelated. One faction emanated from Margrét’s father-in-law, Loftr Guttormsson from Skarð in Breiðafjörður, another from Þorleifr Arnason and Kristin Björnsdóttir in Vatnsfjörðr.61 Strikingly, no less than five weddings were arranged between the offspring of Loftr and Þorleifr. These alliances created solidarity between the families, but were not sufficient to keep their strategic interests in check. In fact, their rivalry was almost endemic throughout the fifteenth century.62 Hence, it may not be correct to interpret the stories in the legendary sagas solely as a defensive, utopian reaction of a noble class yearning for a bygone era of independent warrior values, as scholars have asserted.63 It seems rather that the elite rivalry attained new forms after kingdoms had been firmly established. Instead of struggling for power in a stateless society, competition now focused on obtaining royal and clerical offices, and blood feuds (if they existed) were supplanted by milder forms of violence.64 The struggle 58 This process had been going on more or less through the entire Free State period, resulting in a concentration of power in the Sturlung Age. Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Chieftains and Power. 59 Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, ‘De vennlige islendingene’. 60 Wærdahl, Norges konges rike, pp. 171-172. 61 Arnór Sigurjónsson, Vestfirðinga saga, pp. 51-59. 62 Arnór Sigurjónsson, Vestfirðinga saga depicts this in detail. See Orning, ‘Feuds and Conflict Resolution’ for an analysis of these conflicts along similar lines as proposed in this article. Interestingly, the women marrying into the ‘rival’ families sometimes sided with their new family when conflict arose, other times with their biological family. 63 Mitchell, Heroic Sagas, pp. 114-132. 64 Helgi Þorláksson has shown how the institution of heimreið (home riding) became a common form for venting rivalries in the fifteenth century. In contrast to blood feuds, home riding did not necessarily involve overt violence, since it was primarily a threat. As such it represented no legal infringement. Still it carried a similar message of power display, and these threats were no empty gestures. A target who did not catch the message of the perpetrator could easily find himself mutilated or dead. Helgi Þorláksson, ‘Historical background’, pp. 136-154; Helgi Þorláksson, ‘Vald og ofurvald’.

372 Hans Jacob Orning

within the elites persisted nevertheless, although it was partly reoriented towards new aims (offices as additional prestigious assets) and means (milder violence which still preserved the essence of the physical threat intact). What about the Icelandic elite’s geographical outlook in the fifteenth century, and more specifically, what about its view of the Baltic Rim? It has been claimed that the Icelandic aristocracy became more isolated and insular in the course of the late Middle Ages.65 This is true insofar that they no longer became prominent members of the royal retinue or of the Council of the Realm, in particular after the political centre moved out of Norway with the establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 between the kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (the latter comprising Iceland since 1262/1264).66 However, leading nobles such as Margrét Vigfúsdóttir and her family had a wide geographical horizon, encompassing the Nordic realm and beyond. Her father was married into the Norwegian nobility and both he and her father-in-law served as hirðstjóri for long intervals. Moreover, Iceland in this period became the epicentre of criss-crossing commercial interests, as English merchants and fishermen started sailing to Iceland on a grand scale from 1402 on, signalling the start of the enska öldin (the English period).67 For Icelandic magnates, the English presence implied an opportunity to enrich themselves, as demand and prices for dried cod rose to unprecedented levels, in particular in the northwestern part of Iceland. However, the English presence also created problems, because the newcomers evaded the Hanseatic trade monopoly within the Kalmar Union and deprived the kings of valuable toll income from the trade. Several ‘Cod Wars’ were fought in the fifteenth century between the union kings and England without any decisive outcome or impact on the flourishing trade.68 This tense political atmosphere put great strain on Icelandic leaders. Margrét’s father Vigfús had to withdraw as hirðstjóri in 1413, and it has been speculated that the reason was his favouring of English merchants, because he sailed away to England that same year carrying a substantial

65 Wærdahl, Norges konges rike; Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, ‘Historical writing’. 66 Denmark and Norway had shared king since 1380, and in 1389 Erik became King of Norway, eight years before he was made king of the union. 67 This has been considered the start of the English overseas expansion, and only came to an end when the English fishermen found large quantities of cod on North American fishing banks. Björn Þorsteinsson, Enska öldin; Björn Þorsteinsson, Island, pp. 117-143; Karlsson, Iceland’s 1100 Years, pp. 118-122. 68 Björn Þorsteinsson, Guðrún Ása Grímsdóttir, ‘Enska öldin’, pp. 13-32, 101-117.

Tr ansient Borders


amount of stockfish, and his properties were confiscated, returned only after a law-suit.69 Occupying such high-ranking positions brought the high nobility in Iceland in close contact with union politics encompassing most of northern Europe. Can we see reflections of the literary Baltic frontier in this political situation, as it was experienced by leading Icelandic nobles? The Baltic had been part of a Nordic sphere of influence since the Viking raids in the ninth and tenth centuries and, as Thomas Foerster argues in his chapter, it has been suggested that the area constituted a centre in the mental map of Viking Scandinavia.70 This image was of course anachronistic by the fifteenth century, when the Baltic had been drawn into the orbit of Christendom through a combination of crusades, commercial expansion, and state formation.71 The process was parallel to the one in Scandinavia, with the significant difference that the Baltic Rim had become heavily influenced by the Germans both in politics (The Order State) and economy (Hanseatic merchants). In the fifteenth century this was about to change. The Hanseatic League was under pressure from the Scandinavian union kings, in particular on control of The Sound – the entrance to The Baltic 72 – and Dutch merchants challenged the Hanseatic trade hegemony everywhere. The kingdom of Poland-Lithuania had drive