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Chapter Summary

The Chronicle is filled with descriptions, in more or less detail, of various rituals; it suffices to mention the descriptions of Zbigniew's entrance, or of Boleslaw's penance, on which we have dwelled at length. While he sketches out the lively panorama of the stormy circumstances in Poland at the turn of the 11th and 12th centuries, Gallus notes ceremonies of oath-taking, by which the conflicted Piast dukes confirmed peace treaties among one another. The ritual-specific" mode of reading Gallus' account leads one to several conclusions. The place occupied by ritual in Gallus' account unequivocally demonstrates the significance of ritual activities in the political life of earlier-medieval Piast monarchy. To sum up, Gallus' story proves that ritual's role as a political tool was principally determined less by the completion of a specified set of ritual gestures, then by the meaning ascribed to those gestures by the participants and observers.

Keywords: Boleslaw's penance; Chronicle; Gallus; medieval Poland; Piast duke; political ritual; Zbigniew



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