Department of Medieval History
The Department of Medieval History was established in 1969 following a transformation of the Department of the History of the World in the Middle Ages and the Department of History of Poland until the 18th century. It was headed by Prof. Marian Małowist (1969-1979), Prof. Benedykt Zientara (1979-1983), Prof. Henryk Samsonowicz (1983-2000) and Prof. Karol Modzelewski (2000-2005). Since 2005 the Department has been headed by Prof. Roman Michałowski.
Topics dealt with at the Department of Medieval History include, first of all, studies into the history of Poland between the 9th and 15th centuries, especially the ideological foundations of the Piast monarchy, political culture, ecclesiastical structures and Christianization processes, the social system in the Piast state, settlement and material living conditions, ethnic and religious structure, as well as late medieval social elites. But its scholars also study the history of the world, namely the history of culture and social structures of barbarian countries and the Byzantine Empire in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages; social history of the Lombards; history of the Franks in the Carolingian period; history of English historiography in the Anglo-Saxon period; social system and ideological foundations of the Bohemian monarchy in the Přemyslid period; as well as the history of the Teutonic Knights, Western Africa and Arab Spain in the 10th-16th centuries. In addition, the Department scholars analyse the ideological foundations of the Empire in the 10th-11th centuries and the French monarchy in the 12th-13th centuries. An important role is played by comparative studies aimed at showing the phenomena and processes taking place in Poland against a broad European background; here we should name, first of all, history of the Church in the early Middle Ages, history of historiography, literary topoi and mentality, as well as history of the economy, trade and cities in the late Middle Ages. More recent threads tackled by the Department staff include studies into the family and marriage, sexuality and the position of women in medieval society.