The Cult of the Hero in Ancient Poland in the perception of the staff of the magazine “Kwartalnik Historyczny” (1887–1939)

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Lidiia Lazurko


Introduction. In the last quarter of the XIX century, the first Towarzystwo Historyczne was specialized in history, established in Lviv, the main publishing project of which was Kwartalnik Historyczny. Due to its high scientific level and versatility, the journal has taken a leading position in the field of history professionals. For a long time, this publication remained a tribune of Polish historiography, so its materials are a reflection of all the processes that took place in historical scholarship at the time.

The purpose of the article is to trace the dynamics of changes in the interpretation in the Polish historiography of the problem of the cult of the hero of ancient times, which is related to the evolution of the methodological paradigm of historical science of the late XIX - the first half of the XX century (positivism - neo-romanticism - historical pluralism), and with the changes in the socio-political life of Poland at that time. We will illustrate this problem with the materials of the magazine Kwartalnik Historyczny, which published reviews and studies on legendary figures of ancient history.

Research results. At the end of XIX - beginning of XX century a series of critical reviews and studies on national heroes of Poland's most ancient era have appeared on the pages of the magazine. In the magazine as a universal publication, these issues have been the subject of research not only by historians but also by philologists and ethnographers. During the first period of existence (1887–1918), researchers focused more on the origin of the legendary Piast, the founder of the first Polish dynasty and his descendants. In the interwar period, there has been some shift in research emphasis, related to socio-political and historiographical changes. As a result, first of all, the problems of state-building activity of such leaders of the ancient Polish state as Mieshko I and Boleslaw I the Brave, and their contribution to the process of development and strengthening of the region, come to the fore.

Conclusion. Studies of magazine materials show how Polish historiography interpreted the activities of the heroes of the most ancient era. During the first phase of the journal's activities from 1887 to 1918, researchers raised questions about the origin of the first princely dynasty and focused on exploring the problem of its founder's historicity.  In the interwar period, we observe the discussion of the activities of ancient heroes, with particular emphasis on their contribution to the state building not only served a purely scientific purpose, but also responded to public inquiries - to promote the development of national consciousness, to affirm the opinion that the Polish people are capable of restoring the sovereignty of their own state.

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