Edited By Florin Nicolae Ardelean, Christopher Nicholson and Johannes Preiser-Kapeller
The Bohemian Diet in the Jagiellonian Period(1471–1526). Towards a Comparative Perspective. Christopher Nicholson (London)
The Bohemian Diet in the Jagiellonian Period (1471–1526) Towards a Comparative Perspective Christopher Nicholson (London) Introduction Research on the history of parliamentary institutions in Europe has often been undertaken using comparative approaches1. Our starting point for this essay is that, broadly speaking, comparative history is a good way of doing historical research into parliamentary institutions and, indeed, many other historical phenomena. Chris Wickham observed two strong reasons why one should do comparative history. First, comparison allows us to see beyond our own narrow borders, and it stops us from viewing one particular form of historical development as “normal, normative”. In short, it prevents the his- torian from falling into a state of “cultural solipsism”2. Second, in Wickham’s view, comparative history is the closest that we can get, in a Popperian way, to testing and falsification, much as is done in the sciences. It is Wickham’s contention that comparative history is a way that a historian might prove or disprove a particular hypothesis3. With comparative history being so useful, it should be no surprise that doing this form of institutional history continues to be popular, although authors do not always state explicitly that they are presenting a piece of comparative history. Indeed, occasionally, such works suggest that they aim to place a specific case in a particular context4. Bohemia tends not to figure amongst the territories and parliaments compared and contrasted. One suspects that there is something of a lan- 1 For example, A. MARONGIU, Medieval Parliaments. London 1968;...
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