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Barbarian Europe

Karol Modzelewski

European culture has been greatly influenced by the Christian Church and Greek and Roman culture. However, the peoples of Europe’s remote past, whom the Greeks, Romans, and their medieval heirs called the «barbarians», also left their mark. Closely examining ancient and medieval narratives and the codifications of laws, this thoughtfully conducted comparative study sheds light on the illiterate societies of the early Germanic and Slavic peoples. The picture that emerges is one of communities built on kinship, neighborly, and tribal relations, where decision making, judgement, and punishment were carried out collectively, and the distinction between the sacred and profane was unknown.
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About the author(s)/editor(s)


Karol Modzelewski is a medieval historian and member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Italian L’Accademia dei Lincei. Now retired, he was a professor at the University of Warsaw. One of Poland’s most prominent dissidents of the communist era, he is credited with giving the trade union “Solidarity” its name. He served in the Senate after Poland’s first free elections in 1989 before returning to academia.

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