Banderia Prutenorum

Biblioteka Jagiellońska (Cracow, Poland)

Alternate Titles:

Blazons of the Prussians

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Blazons of the Prussians

Type
Extent / Format

188 pages / 30.3 x 19.5 cm

Origin
Date
1448
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Stanislaw Durink
Jan Długosz

Illustrations

51 banners

Former owners

library of the University of Cracow
Library of the Cracow Chapter
Hans Frank
City of Malbork

Short description

The "Banderia Prutenorum" is an illuminated manuscript that was made by the Polish intellectuals Jan Długosz and Stanisław Durink in the year 1448. It is probably the most important historical source on the 1410 Battle of Grunwald and documents one of the most important events in the history of Europe.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Banderia Prutenorum

In the year 1448, the Polish scholar Jan Długosz created an illuminated manuscript, which plays an important role in the national history of Poland. His Banderia Prutenorum is one of the most important contemporary sources for the Battle of Grunwald in the year 1410, and depicted the banners of the Teutonic Order captured there in what is also called the Battle of Tannenberg. The military action, in which the host of the Teutonic Order was decisively defeated by the host of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, is considered today to be the largest battle of the Middle Ages. In the Banderia Prutenorum, 51 banners of the Teutonic Order are portrayed, which were captured in battle by Polish forces. The manuscript was made in order to forever preserve the memory of this historic victory for the citizens of the Polish nation.

The Battle of Grunwald

On July 15th, 1410, the Battle of Grunwald was fought in the Prussian lands of the Order not far from the localities of Tannenberg and Grünfeld. This battle was a highpoint of the military conflict between the Teutonic Order of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, who fought over the premier position of power in central Europe for centuries. The decisive defeat of the armed forces of the Teutonic Order marked the beginning of the decline of the Order’s dominion in Prussia as well as the rise of Poland-Lithuania as a great European power. The confrontation is considered to be one of the greatest battles between medieval knightly hosts and has been part of the national legend of Poland and Lithuania since the 19th century. The Banderia Prutenorum is also important for the history of Germany. 180 years before the battle, the Knights Teuton conquered the territory of the Prussians, a Baltic tribe, which the geographical designation of Prussia stems from. In the Banderia Prutenorum, the knights themselves were identified as Prussians. The manuscript documents the history of the realm of Prussia and the period predating what we know as Germany.

A Historic Document

The unique manuscript of the Banderia Prutenorum originated from an excellent collaboration between the Polish intellectuals Jan Długosz and Stanisław Durink. The diplomat, geographer, and historian Długosz composed the text of the work, while the illuminator Durink took charge of the illustration for the historic manuscript. The manuscript originated in three working steps. In the first step, the true to original portrayals of the captured banners were drawn and furnished with commentaries, which indicated the great men who once owned them. In the second step, the author Długosz composed short descriptions of the illustrations, which is due to the historian’s incredibly exact research. In the third step, the manuscript was finalized, expanded, corrected, and finally received its name. The scholarly and historical work that underlies this work makes it required reading for the historically interested.

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