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Water, Towns and People

Polish Lands against a European Background until the Mid-16th Century


Urszula Sowina

The book describes the functions of water in Polish towns from the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the Early-Modern Era against a wide European background. It presents the issue of water supply in the context of the town as a complex social and economic organism, taking into account social relations, administration and power as well as living and working conditions. Describing water supply devices, the author reconstructs the ways in which the techniques were transferred to the Polish lands. She analyses municipal court books and documents concerning towns of various sizes in the Polish lands from the 14 th to the 16 th century, with particular emphasis on Kraków. In addition, she also considers archaeological and iconographical sources. Her findings provide a new insight into the alimentary and hygienic uses of water, its importance for production and crafts, and its use as a source of energy, transport and communication. This is the first broad comparative presentation of the subject in Polish and European literature.
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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

On the cover: "Der Regensburger Hostienfrevel" (fragment), after 1476. Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, Inv.-Nr. GM 1806, photograph: M. Runge.

The Publication is funded by the Minis try of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland as a part of the National Programme for the Development of the Humanities in the years 2012-2015.

This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Ministry can not be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

ISSN 2191-3293 ISBN 978-3-631-64064-7 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-02541-5 (E-Book) DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-02541-5

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