The Discovery of the Baltic: The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (Ad 1075-1225)

The Discovery of the Baltic: The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (Ad 1075-1225)

The Discovery of the Baltic: The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (Ad 1075-1225)

The Discovery of the Baltic: The Reception of a Catholic World-System in the European North (Ad 1075-1225)

Synopsis

Nils Blomkvist discusses how the Baltic Rim was initially Europeanized between 1075 and 1225 AD. He compares the indigenous civilisations to the prevailing western European one. After the expansive Viking period, European penetration became a process of discovery. The importance of the Catholic Reform movement and its unintentional ties to the formation of an endurable commodity market are outlined. Clashes and compromises are investigated in case studies of the Kalmarsund region, Gotland and the Daugava valley. Dissimilar cases of state formation are compared: those of Sweden and Livonia. Many classical scholarly problems are revisited. A new approach to the periods narrative sources brings to life Scandinavian, German, Russian, Finno-Ugrian and Baltic attitudes and day-to-day concern in the midst of a change of epic dimensions.

Excerpt

The idea of studying the great and seemingly all-embracing processes of change that swept over the Baltic World during the 11th–13th centuries from a discovery perspective emerged in the early 1990s. It was indeed a time of widening horizons. I was involved in making contact with (until then) little-known colleagues from other countries bordering the Sea. in due course these interesting encounters developed into the research project Culture Clash or Compromise (CCC), within which the present study has been finally written. the ccc project was generously financed by The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation during the years 1998–2001. in addition, particular aspects of my work on the present book have been subsidised by Sällskapet DBW:s stiftelse, Wilhelmina von Hallwyls Gotlandsfond and Gotland University. For all this generous support I express my profound gratitude.

To write a book of this size and character is never a one-man-job. My thanks for services rendered and for good advice are due in many directions. All participants in the ccc project have been compelled to comment on it. Some more than others, though: Muntis Auns, Riga; Marika Mägi, Tallinn; Heiki Valk, Tartu; Romas Jarockis, Vilnius, and Detlef Kattinger, Greifswald, must all be specially mentioned. Sverre Bagge, Bergen; Lars Ersgård, Visby; Lars Hermanson, Uppsala; Ingemar Jansson, Stockholm; Sven Lilja, Södertörn; Robert Sandberg, Södertörn; Enn Tarvel, Tallinn, have all read a preliminary draft; as have Bengt Ankarloo, Lund, and Eva Österberg, Lund, in a strenuous evaluation containing much constructive criticism. More recently Thomas Lindkvist, Gothenburg, read a version that I considered more or less ready, which he however convinced me to arrange in a better order.

I have had the advantage of discussing various aspects of the investigation in many scholarly environments: at the five ccc conferences in Nida 1999, Greifswald 2000, Lund 2000, Tartu 2001, and Visby 2001; at the conference Scandinavians and Europe 800–1350 at the University of Hull in 1999; in a so-called Ringvorlesung at the University of Kiel in 2000; at the conference Inventing the Pasts in . . .

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