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Emotions and their display in the works of Jan Długosz

The main goal of the project is to establish the role of emotions and their expression in the works of Jan Długosz (1415–1480). He was the most prominent historian of the Polish Middle Ages and left a significant legacy, including the most famous and extremely extensive “Annals, or chronicles of the famous Polish Kingdom”. This extraordinary work in its modern edition has about five thousand pages. Długosz described the history of Poland from its legendary beginnings to his contemporary times. However, he was not only a historian, but also a Krakow canon, notary of the Krakow Archbishop Zbigniew Oleśnicki, a diplomat, and finally a teacher of the sons of King Kazimierz Jagiellończyk. Despite his many activities, apart from the Annals, he also wrote other works, including catalogs of Polish bishops, the lives of St. Stanislaus and St. Kinga or the so-called Jewels.
Despite the fact that research on Długosz’s work has been conducted for a very long time, very little is known about the depiction of emotions in his works. This topic is taken up only in single articles, which treat this issue generally quite superficially, possibly on the margin of research devoted to other issues. While emotions may seem universal and unchanging, many modern research proves that they are not. Emotions, ways of perceiving, naming, and displaying them are largely culturally shaped. Historians over the past twenty years have therefore increasingly recognized the need to examine the perception of emotions in past cultures. Meanwhile, despite dynamically developing foreign research, in the historiography devoted to the history of Poland (and even Central Europe in general), the topic of emotions remains marginal. The works of Jan Długosz, including, in particular, the Annals, are among the key sources for researching the late medieval history of Poland and Lithuania. While preparing my master’s thesis on crying and tears in the Annals, I had the opportunity to see that they are full of emotional descriptions, and emotions in Długosz’s vision play a significant role not only in interpersonal relations, but also affect politics and history in general. According to Długosz, tears were used, for example, by subjects in order to influence the emotions of the king so that he would be more favorable to their requests. Sometimes the king himself cried out of agitation or sympathy. Długosz also describes the crying of royal advisers when making important decisions about the Polish-Teutonic war, stressing that it was under the influence of crying that the king granted their requests. Therefore, it should be noted that, according to Długosz, emotions and various forms of showing them had a significant impact on making important political decisions. In further research, I will determine how Długosz presented and evaluated other emotions as well.