1st Edition

Pre-modern Towns at the Times of Catastrophes East Central Europe in a Comparative Perspective

    216 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Covering areas in today’s Ukraine, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Slovakia, this book studies the impact of both natural and human-inflicted disasters on pre-modern towns.

    Various kinds of catastrophes, starting with major natural disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and epidemics caused high population mortality. Others, such as protracted war conflicts, were caused by human activity and could be just as, if not more, destructive for cities, their populations and the urban economy. Crises affected not only the population as a whole, but also townsmen and women in their individual lives. Case studies of renewal and resilience in the volume illustrate that, in many cases, successfully overcoming disaster brought positive changes for urban people. The collection presents analytical research anchored in the contemporary historiographical discourse on studying social and cultural relations in urban environments in the Middle Ages and early modern period, and it incorporates interdisciplinary approaches in the forms of geography, archaeology, and literary theory.

    This volume is an engaging resource for students and researchers of pre-modern history, social history, and disaster studies.


    Michaela Antonín Malaníková, Beata Możejko, Martin Nodl

    1. The destruction of the city in the interpretation of the 13th-century East Slavic letopises

    Jitka Komendová

    2. On the beneficial effects of storms: Examples from Hanseatic towns

    Piotr Oliński

    3. The Prague plague of 1380: Catastrophe and normality

    Martin Nodl

    4. The novel findings about the Hussite’s warfares in the Gdansk/Danzig surrounding in the late summer of 1433

    Piotr Samól

    5. Jakub Holub and his relatives: On the life and economic strategies of the burghers of the Brno urban region in the first half of the 15th century

    Jiří Doležel

    6. The 1442 fire of the Crane in the Main Town of Gdańsk: Legal and financial issues connected with maintaining fortifications in the great Prussian city in the late Middle Ages

    Marcin Grulkowski

    7. Did epidemics affect lives? The case of late medieval Gdańsk (Danzig)

    Beata Możejko

    8. Death, fire and debt: Impact on the society and economy of late medieval Warsaw

    Piotr Łozowski

    9. A time of catastrophes and humiliations: Lower Silesian Głogów at the end of the Middle Ages

    Petr Kozák

    10. Catastrophe as opportunity: Fire of Banská Bystrica (Neusohl) on 10 April 1500

    Milan Georgievski

    11. Prague in flames: Fire and conflagrations in the Prague conurbation from the Middle Ages to the threshold of the Modern Era

    Martin Musílek

    12. Natural disasters and crises in Silesian medieval chronicles

    Hana Komárková

    13. The fire of Lviv in 1527: A great loss or a great Renaissance?

    Bogdana Petryszak

    14. Bankruptcy as a family disaster? Business practices of Christian and Jewish merchants in Early Modern Prague

    Marie Buňatová


    Michaela Antonín Malaníková is an assistant professor of medieval history at Palacký University Olomouc. She teaches and publishes on urban history, gender history, and family history and has authored many articles and several book chapters, including in the Oxford Handbook of Medieval Central Europe 2022.

    Beata Możejko is a professor at the Faculty of History at the University of Gdańsk and specialises in medieval history and the auxiliary sciences of history. She is the author of over 130 papers and articles and six monographs, including Peter von Danzig. The Story of Great Caravel 1462–1475 (2020).

    Martin Nodl is part of the Centre for Medieval Studies, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Research Associate Professors (doc.). He is the author of over 150 articles and five monographs, including Das Kuttenberger Dekret von 1409: Von der Eintracht zum Konflikt der Prager Universitätsnationen (2017), Średniowiecze w nas (2020), and Na vlnách dějin: minulost, přítomnost a budoucnost českého dějepisectví (2020).