Knoll (2017 Congress)

Paul W. Knoll
(Professor of History, Emeritus
University of Southern California

“Royal Exercise of Political, Cultural, and Legal Leadership
in Fourteenth-Century East Central Europe”

Abstract of Paper
To be Presented at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies
(Kalamazoo, 2017)

Session on “Rulership in Medieval Central Europe
(Bohemia, Hungary, and Poland):
Ideal and Practice”

Co-sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and
the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Florida
Organized by Mildred Budny and Florin Curta
2017 Congress Program

Abstract of Paper

[Published on 7 March 2017]

In 1364 the King of Poland, Casimir III the Great, hosted an impressive meeting of regional rulers in his capital city of Cracow. They included, among others, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (also King of Bohemia) and Louis of Anjou, King of Hungary. These three and several others—some present at Cracow, others not—are regarded in their respective national traditions as their greatest medieval ruler. (This group, not treated in this paper, included Waldemar Atterdag, King of Denmark, Grand Master of the Knights of the Teutonic Order Winrich von Kniprode (1352–1382), Tsar Stephan Dušan of Serbia, Duke Rudolf IV of Austria, der Stifter, and the Gedyminid Grand Princes of Lithuania.)

This paper seeks to re-examine the so-called Congress of Cracow as a way of analyzing the rule of Casimir, Charles, and Louis in a comparative way. In some respects their successful reigns were characterized by a series of common approaches and achievements. Not the least of these rest in matters of foreign policy, internal social and economic achievements, educational program (all three founded universities in their lands), and in one way or another important legal reforms. This comparative approach aims to place these three rulers in their larger regional context.