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4: The Heritage of the Tenth Century

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Almost all European states which formed the Christian community of the Middle Ages ca be traced back to the tenth century. That is true for both Western and Eastern Christendom, which were not yet divided by any final schism. The only difference is that in the East the Byzantine Empire had a much older tradition without, however, any possibilities of political expansion, while in the West the empire, “transferred” in 962 to the German kings, was as a matter of fact a new creation serving the purposes of German imperialism.

    These purposes included the domination of Italy and an eastern expansion that was chiefly directed against the Western Slavs. After the fall of the Moravian State, Germany s immediate neighbors north of the Magyars were the Czechs of Bohemia and the Slavic tribes between the Elbe-Saale and the Oder-Neisse lines. The conquest of the latter, who persisted in their paganism and failed to achieve any political unity, caused the German marches that were created on their territory to advance to the boundaries of Poland, which also was still pagan but already united under the Piast dynasty.

    When Poles and Germans clashed for the first time, probably in the year following the imperial coronation of Otto I, the Premyslid dukes who had united the Czechs had already accepted both Catholicism and German overlordship. Decisive in that respect proved the reign of St. Václav, whose murder in 929 was largely the result of an anti-German movement but did not really change the situation. On the one hand, the crown of St. Václav remained a symbol of Bohemia’s national sovereignty, but on the other hand, his brother and successor Boleslav I also had to recognize the feudal supremacy of the King of Germany, so that after 962 his state naturally became part of the Holy Roman Empire. The degree of that dependence remained, however, a controversial problem that was frequently connected with the position of Poland and the projects of cooperation between the two West Slavic powers.

    From the beginning Poland decided to stay outside the Empire, and in order to avoid German pressure, Duke Mieszko I in 966 voluntarily Christianized his country, after marrying the daughter of the Duke of Bohemia the preceding year. Poland’s first Christian ruler tried to limit the political influence of the Empire to a tribute which he agreed to pay from part of his territory. He also wanted the first Polish bishopric, founded in 968 in Poznan, to be directly under the Holy See, while the separate bishopric, which was established in Prague in 973, remained for almost four hundred years under the German Archbishop of Mainz.

    Together with Boleslav II of Bohemia, who succeeded his father in 967, Mieszko I of Poland even interfered with the internal situation in Germany after the death of the first two emperors, Otto I and Otto II. He entered into relations with some of the neighboring German margraves and married the daughter of one of them after the death of his Czech wife. But neither Poland nor Bohemia was able to support the other West Slavic tribes in their desperate resistance against German conquest, and the joint action of both countries suffered from insufficient coordination and from territorial controversies. It is uncertain which region Mieszko I took from Bohemia in the later part of his reign. Most probably it was Cracow, together with the part of Little (Southern) Poland which the Czechs had temporarily occupied. In 981, however, he lost the region east of it (what now is called Eastern Galicia), to Vladimir of Kiev. His own interest was primarily in the opposite direction. From Great Poland, the original center of the state in the region of Gniezno and Poznan, he reached the Baltic coast, uniting the closely related tribe of the Pomeranians with the Poles and making contact with the Scandinavian world.

    Toward the end of his life he placed his whole realm, at the time of his conversion already described as the largest and best organized Slavic state, under the immediate authority of the papacy. That donation of Poland, from the mouth of the Oder to the borders of Baltic Prussia and Kievan Russia, was to be the best guaranty of her independence which Mieszko I probably wanted to confirm by gaining the royal crown.

    His achievements were completed by his son Boleslaw Chrobry (the Brave), whose brilliant reign started in 992 with a strengthening  of Poland s unity and which had as its main objective the securing of a fully independent and even leading position in East Central Europe.

    Boleslaw first hoped to realize his plans in friendly cooperation with the young Emperor Otto III who had a truly universal, supranational conception of the Roman Empire, uniting on equal terms Italy, Gaul, Germany and Sclavinia. In the latter—the Slavic world—the Emperor was prepared to recognize Boleslaw as his vicar (patricius), whose friendly collaboration would promote the missionary activities in which they were both deeply interested. Their common friend, Adalbert, the former Bishop of Prague, having been killed in 997 on a mission in Prussia, was soon afterwards canonized by Pope Sylvester II. At Easter of the year 1000, Otto III made a pilgrimage to Poland’s capital, Gniezno, where Boleslaw had buried the redeemed body of the martyr. At a solemn convention attended by a papal legate, Poland received a fully independent ecclesiastical organization with an archbishop in Gniezno and new bishops in Cracow, Wroclaw (Breslau in Silesia), and Kolobrzeg (Kolberg in Pomerania).

    The political decisions of the congress of Gniezno made Boleslaw —like his father a former tributarius of the Empire—a real dominus, that is, an independent ruler to whom most probably the royal dignity was promised. Some obscure intrigues at the Roman curia delayed the planned coronation, however, and in 1002 the death of Otto III altogether changed the situation. Fully aware of the danger of German imperialism which reappeared under the new emperor, Henry II, the Polish duke decided to oppose his policy by uniting all Western Slavs in some kind of federation under Poland’s leadership.

    That project included two different problems. Boleslaw wanted first of all to save from German domination and to include in his realm as much as possible of the Slavic territory between Germany and Poland. Therefore in 1002 he occupied Lusatia and Misnia (Meissen), where a residuum of the Slavic population was to survive until our day. Even more important was the idea of replacing German influence in Bohemia by Polish authority.

    Interfering with internal rivalries among the members of the Premyslid dynasty, in the following year Boleslaw entered Prague and the creation of a common Polish-Czech state seemed nearer than in any later period of history.

    But Henry II reacted by declaring a war which, twice interrupted by truces, lasted sixteen years. The final peace was concluded in 1018 in Budziszyn (Bautzen), the capital of Lusatia, which definitely remained under Boleslaw’s full sovereignty. He did not, however, succeed in gaining any other Slavic lands between the Oder and Elbe rivers, where the strongest tribe, the Lutitians, even cooperated with the German invaders, thus preparing their final doom. There was also a German party in Bohemia which the Poles had to evacuate in 1004. Boleslaw kept only Moravia, so that the state of the Premyslids was temporarily divided between the Empire and Poland.

    In 1013, in the midst of the German war, Poland was for the first time threatened by a joint action of her western and eastern neighbors, the Emperor having resumed earlier German relations with the Kievan State. That was probably one of the reasons why Boleslaw, immediately after the Treaty of Budziszyn, decided to interfere with the internal struggle among the sons of Vladimir of Kiev, supporting the one who had married his daughter. When he occupied Kiev in that same year of 1018 and there established the rule of his son-in-law, Sviatopolk, it seemed that even the Eastern Slavs would be included in Boleslaw s federal system. The message which he sent from Kiev to both emperors, Henry II of Germany and Basil II of Byzantium, was a clear expression of his aim to keep the whole of East Central Europe free from any imperial authority.

    Boleslaw’s influence reached as far as the Lithuanian border, where another missionary whom he supported, his German admirer St. Bruno, was killed in 1009, and also into Hungary, although it is doubtful whether he ever united any Slovak territories with Poland. His coronation as first King of Poland which with papal approval took place shortly before his death in 1025, finally confirmed Poland’s position as an independent member of the European community.

    The royal tradition of Boleslaw Chrobry remained alive throughout the whole course of Polish history, although already under his son and  successor, Mieszko II (1025—1034), crowned immediately after his father s death, Poland lost her leading position and entered a serious  internal crisis that opened the door to German intervention. Lost were also the first king s territorial acquisitions, Lusatia and Moravia, the former coming definitely under German control and the latter returning to Bohemia. In spite of a fierce but unorganized resistance, the Slavic tribes west of Poland were absorbed by the Empire, which also continued to include the state of the Premyslids.

    The balance of power between Bohemia and Poland was, however, entirely changed during and after Mieszko II s ill-fated reign. His  contemporary, Bietislav I, not only conquered the Polish province of Silesia, which was to remain an object of endless controversies between the  two neighboring countries, but he also tried to unite them both, this time under Czech leadership. In spite of an invasion of Poland in 1038, his plan had even less chance of success than Chrobry’s political conceptions, and the first period of Western Slavic history resulted in the final establishment of two states, separated by frequent rivalries, contrary to their common interest in opposing the German pressure. They both remained, however, centers of a Slavic culture which rapidly developed in close contact with Western Christendom, including the distant Romance countries. German influence was naturally much stronger in Bohemia, where German colonization also started much earlier, while Poland, never included in the Empire, regained her freedom of action after each attempt at interference by her neighbors.

    Only the Pomeranian territory along the Baltic shores, carefully controlled by Mieszko I and his son, was not yet completely united with the other Polish lands. It could not be reached by German expansion, however, so long as the closely related Slavic tribes between the Oder and Elbe were struggling for their freedom, not without temporary successes.


The recorded history of the Kievan State in which all Eastern Slavs were united under a dynasty of Norman origin, had started well before the consolidation of Bohemia and Poland, thanks chiefly to early contacts with the Byzantine Empire. But conversion to the Christian faith—a prerequisite condition for the inclusion of any country in the European community—was delayed here much longer. Even Prince Vladimir, the son of Sviatoslav, whom he succeeded after a few years of internal trouble, started as a pagan ruler who was similar to his predecessors. It was only in 988 that he decided to be baptized together with his people. Later he became a saint of the Eastern church.

    He finally converted the Russians, both his Scandinavian vikings and the East Slavic tribes known under the name of Rus, when Christendom was not yet split by any final Eastern schism. Nevertheless Vladimir’s decision to accept the Christian faith, not from Rome but from Constantinople—a decision dramatically described in the Primary Russian Chronicle and easy to explain were it only because of geographical reasons—proved of far-reaching importance. At the beginning, the influence of Byzantium, then superior to any Western center of culture, greatly contributed to the rise of Kiev but gradually deepened the division between Eastern and Western Slavs. There was no danger of any inclusion of the new Christian state in the Empire with which Russia was to be culturally associated. Far from becoming a vassal state of Byzantium, she at once received her own ecclesiastical organization, although many details regarding the origin of the metropolitan see of Kiev and its relationship with the Patriarchate of Constantinople are subject to controversial interpretation.

    But notwithstanding occasional relations with Rome and the Western Empire which appear in Vladimir’s policy even after his turn toward Byzantium, that policy was now dominated by the necessity of settling the various problems raised by his cooperation with Basil II, the powerful Greek emperor whose sister he received in marriage a year after being baptized in Kiev. The agreement was completed in Kherson, an old Greek colony in the Crimea which Vladimir besieged and conquered in 989. When the pressure which he thus exercised upon the emperor proved successful and the wedding with Princess Anna had taken place, Vladimir returned the city to Basil II and the Kievan State never secured any permanent stronghold on the shores of the Black Sea. It seems, however, that on that occasion Vladimir united with his realm the city of Tmutorokan, across the strait of Kerch, which had probably been an earlier political and ecclesiastical center of Russian settlers and which was to play an important role in the history of the Kievan State during the following century.

    Until Vladimir’s death in 1015, the early years of that century were utilized by Russia s first Christian ruler in order to strengthen the Church and to protect the southeastern frontier of the country against the invasions of the Pechenegs, who then controlled the steppes north of the Black Sea. The defense of these border regions remained a permanent problem, with one wave of Asiatic invaders replacing the other. With all other neighbors Vladimir now lived in peace, and the various parts of the Kievan State, including the colonial northeastern territory in the Volga Basin with Rostov as its oldest center, were governed by his numerous sons.

    The difficulty of maintaining the unity of the Kievan State in spite of feuds among the members of the dynasty, which besides the Church was the only link between the many East Slavic tribes, appeared immediately after Vladimir’s death. After the elimination and death of Sviatopolk, supported by his Polish father-in-law, the main rivals were Yaroslav, who in his father s time had ruled over Novgorod, and Mstislav of Tmutorokan. In 1024 the two brothers decided to divide Russia with the Dnieper River as frontier a first recognition of the difference between the original territory of the state founded by Rurik’s dynasty, from Novgorod in the north to Kiev in the south, and the practically unlimited area of eastern expansion. The territory of Polotsk, the center of what was to be White Russia, remained outside that arrangement under a separate branch of the dynasty.

    The unity of the whole realm was temporarily restored after Mstislav’s death in 1036, when Yaroslav became the sole ruler. Only a little later the ecclesiastical relations with Byzantium were definitely fixed. An uninterrupted series of metropolitan ordained by the Patriarch of Constantinople now appeared in Kiev, a city which, thanks to Yaroslav, called “The Wise,” rapidly developed on the model of the imperial capital. Nevertheless his reign ended in a twofold crisis in Russo-Byzantine relations. In 1043, after a conflict in the trade relations between the two countries, Yaroslav directed a last Russian attack against the Greek Empire, which reached Constantinople but which ended in failure. And in 1051 an attempt was made to secure not only political but also ecclesiastical independence from Byzantium, when the bishops of the Kievan State elected as metropolitan a native Russian who was not recognized by the patriarch.

    It is true that in the following year relations again improved in connection with another marriage between members of the two dynasties. But Yaroslav was at least equally anxious to maintain contacts with western dynasties through matrimonial ties. The marriage of his daughter Anna, who went to France in 1050 to marry King Henry I, is particularly significant in that respect. And after interfering with the internal troubles of Poland Yaroslav was in friendly relations with that West Slavic neighbor, in spite of the persistent territorial dispute over the Halich region which changed its master several times in the course of the century.

    These close contacts between Kievan Russia and Western Christendom continued in the midst of the growing tension between Rome and Constantinople which in 1054, the year of Yaroslav’s death, resulted in a lasting schism. Russia was not immediately affected by that fateful break. It was not before the twelfth century that Byzantine influence also proved strong enough to raise in the metropolis of Kiev a growing distrust and sometimes even hostility against the Latins. If 1054 is a turning point in Russian history, it is rather because of the implications of Yaroslav’s order of succession.

    In his testament he left the throne of Kiev to his eldest son, Iziaslav, but each of the other four received his own principality, it being understood that after the death of the eldest they would move from one principality to the other in the order of seniority. That system, in itself involved, was further complicated by the fact that the line ruling in Polotsk remained outside that rotation; that the descendants of a son of Yaroslav who had died before his father, created a separate, hereditary principality in Halich; and that important regions distant from the Kievan center—autonomous Novgorod, declining Tmutorokan, and, above all, the area of colonial expansion in the Volga Basin—had their own increasingly different development.

    Under such conditions Iziaslav could hardly maintain his leading position, and even his cooperation with two of his younger brothers did not last longer than 1073. When he lost Kiev for the second time, and did not receive, as in 1069, the help of Poland, he tried to save his position by turning to the leading powers of Western Christendom. Having no success with Emperor Henry IV, he particularly turned to Pope Gregory VII. His son went to Rome and placed the Regnum Russiae under the protection of the Holy See. In his bull of 1075, the Pope accepted that donation, which would have completely changed the destinies of Kievan Russia and would have created another Catholic kingdom in East Central Europe, next to Poland. Eastern and Western Slavs would have been united in a similar policy and in their ecclesiastical allegiance. Gregory VII could not, however, give to Iziaslav any efficient support, and the whole project, having hardly any backing in Russia, left no traces in her tradition. Iziaslav himself gave it up when, thanks to the death of his main opponent, he could return to Kiev for the last two years of his life. When he fell in a battle against his nephews, the internal struggles among the numerous members of the dynasty continued without much respect for the rule of genealogical seniority.

    The Kievan State, the largest in Europe, situated in a crucial position at the limits of the European community and of Christendom, therefore had no real unity which could have made one nation out of  the many East Slavic tribes. Connected with the rest of Europe through two conflicting influences, occasional ties with the neighboring Catholic West and the penetration of Byzantine Orthodoxy, this earliest Russia was at the same time exposed to a permanent threat of Asiatic invasions from the South East, but rapidly enlarged her sphere of influences through a comparatively easy expansion in the Finnish territories of the North East.

    That intermediary position between Europe and Asia was to remain a permanent problem for the Eastern Slavs—for Russia as a whole in the sense of the old Rus. And it was gradually leading to a division into various very different Russias, facilitated by the dynastic divisions into principalities which, contrary to Yaroslav’s will, practically became hereditary in various lines of Rurik’s descendants. Without strictly corresponding to the original tribal areas, these principalities had, in many cases, however, a different ethnic background and, in addition to it, different political interests, dependent on their geographical situation.

    Already in that earliest period of their history it became evident that the Eastern Slavs, unable to control the shores of the Black Sea, would not be able to reach the Baltic either. Both Vladimir and Yaroslav made expeditions against the Lithuanian and Finnish tribes which separated the Kievan State from the sea whence the Normans had come to Russia. But even the conquests of Yaroslav did not reach farther than Yuriev, the city which he founded on the site of the later Dorpat (Tartu). It was Novgorod and Polotsk, however, which remained the permanent Slavic outposts in that direction, and the frontier between Slavic and Baltic populations remained practically unchanged.


The tradition of the tenth and early eleventh centuries, so important for Bohemia, Poland, and Russia, is perhaps even more significant for the two nations formed by Asiatic invaders in the Danubian and Balkan regions. For the Bulgarians, Slavized and Christianized at the end of the preceding century, it was the period of their greatest, truly imperial expansion which remained an unforgettable inspiration, although it ended in a catastrophe with lasting consequences. For the Hungarians, never assimilated by their Slavic neighbors and not converted before the end of the tenth century, their rapid integration with the Western world immediately became the starting point of a brilliant development which was to last until the end of the Middle Ages.

    Boris, Bulgaria’s first Christian ruler, left to his son Simeon (893—927) a well-established kingdom, with the Slavic language introduced into the life of State and Church, both of which were practically independent of Byzantium. But his successor, educated in Constantinople, had even more ambitious aims. He wanted to conquer Byzantium and to replace the Greek Empire by a Bulgarian one. Besieging Constantinople several times, he came very near to his goal, and even after concluding a treaty with Emperor Romanus Lecapenus in 924, who agreed to pay tribute to the dangerous neighbor but who stopped his invasions at a clearly determined frontier, Simeon called himself Emperor of the Romans and the Bulgarians. He also conquered the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, particularly the Serbs who had not yet achieved any definite political organization.

    However, Simeon’s death in 927 left Bulgaria exhausted. It became obvious that the idea of replacing the Eastern Empire as master of the Christian Orthodox world and of the whole Balkan region was an illusion, far beyond the possibilities of a young nation which had to face serious internal problems. One of them was the heretical movement started under Simeon’s son and successor, Peter, by a monk named Bogomil. Based upon the conception of earlier Eastern sects as to a permanent struggle between the forces of good and evil, Bogomilism spread from Bulgaria far toward the West and its influence is even evident in the French heretical trends of the later Middle Ages. But such a movement could hardly strengthen Bulgaria s resistance against the Greek revenge which already, during the reign of Peter, dealt a first serious blow to the new power.

    After invasions by Magyars and Pechenegs, the main eastern part of the country, with its brilliant capital at Preslav, became a battlefield between the Greeks and the Russian Varangians whom Byzantium under Emperor Nicephorus Phocas used against the Bulgarians, only to defeat them in 972 under John I Tsimisces. The result was the occupation of Eastern Bulgaria by the Greeks. A new leader, King Samuel, however, appeared in the western part of the country. He resumed Simeon’s struggle against the empire and opposed it for more than thirty years.

    That long Greek-Bulgarian war is one of the decisive events in the history of the Balkan Peninsula. It might even be interpreted as the beginning of the disintegration of Eastern Christian society, and it indeed proved the impossibility of reconciling the imperial idea with the free development of the various nations which had settled south of the Danube. In its first phase it was a defensive war of Byzantium against Samuel’s invasions which reached the Adriatic and the Aegean seas. But Bulgaria paid a heavy price for these renewed imperial ambitions. Emperor Basil II, called the “killer of the Bulgarians,” in 1014 finally inflicted upon them a crushing defeat, and Samuel himself died when thousands of captives were sent back to him with their eyes gouged. Such cruelty of course exasperated the Bulgarians, who continued to resist in the Balkan Mountains for four more years. But by 1018 their whole country was conquered and again made a mere province of the Greek Empire.

    Byzantium was wise enough to grant the Bulgarians a fairly large degree of regional autonomy, and although they ceased to have their own patriarch, their religious life continued to develop separately under the archbishops of Okhrida. Therefore throughout the remaining part of the eleventh and most of the twelfth century, Bulgaria seemed completely controlled by the empire, and not before the fall of the Comneni dynasty in 1185 did a revolt start again, leading to what is sometimes called a second Bulgarian Empire. There remained, however, a permanent tension between Greeks and Bulgarians, with neither side able to satisfy its imperial ambitions, and always ready to cooperate against the other with any new forces which might appear in the Balkan Peninsula.

    One of these forces was to be Slavic Serbia, which neither Greeks nor Bulgarians could ever completely conquer. But here, too, a strong political movement did not start before the end of the twelfth century, although already in 1077 one of the Serb chieftains, Michael, in the Zeta region later called Montenegro received the royal title from Pope Gregory VII. Though without lasting consequences, that fact is highly significant because it indicates that even among the Serbs the influence of the Catholic West appeared time and again throughout the Middle Ages. That influence remained predominant among their closest kin, the Croats, where, long before Gregory VII had granted a royal crown to Zvonimir (1076—1089), a Catholic kingdom had been established in 924 by Tomislav.

    No longer threatened by the Germans as in Carolingian times, and only for a very short time under Byzantium, Croatia was, however, placed between two rising powers, one of which, the Republic of Venice, wanted to occupy her Adriatic coast in Dalmatia, while the other, Hungary, was separated from Croatia only by the Drava River. Taking advantage of Zyonimir’s death and of ties of marriage with the Croat dynasty, the kings of Hungary, after a first occupation of Croatia in 1091, succeeded in establishing a permanent union of the two kingdoms under the Hungarian crown in 1102. Croatia included both Dalmatia and Slavonia, the territory between the lower Drava and Sava rivers, to which Syrmia, down to the Danube, was also added later. That whole Slavic realm, however, always remained a junior partner in the union which was to last until 1918, with Dalmatia an object of Venetian claims, while the northwestern neighbors of the Croats, the Slovenes, all came under Austrian domination.

    Hungary’s great success with regard to Croatia, which made her not only a Danubian but also an Adriatic power, can only be explained by her rapid rise from a pagan state which raided all neighbor countries, to a Catholic and “apostolic” kingdom, a title which in 1001 was granted by Pope Sylvester II to the son and successor of the recently converted Géza, Stephen, the future saint. His reign, which lasted until 1038, resulted in the consolidation of Hungary within natural boundaries which reached the ranges of the Carpathian Mountains. The crown of St. Stephen was to remain a symbol of Hungary’s tradition and unity up to the present.

    That unity included peoples of different origin, particularly the Slovaks in the northern part of the country and the largely Rumanian population of Transylvania. Stephen himself encouraged the establishment of German settlers, according to his frequently quoted statement that a country would be weak if limited to peoples of one tongue. But according to his policy, which was continued by practically all his successors, he was at the same time eager to maintain Hungary s complete independence of both Empires. Though both were her neighbors, only the Western seriously threatened that independence on various occasions. Furthermore, stressing her national unity, Hungary more and more based her political conceptions on the idea of Magyar supremacy. Identifying themselves with the nation at large, but not without absorbing many foreign elements also, the Magyars, though keeping through the ages their isolated language, were culturally Latinized very rapidly and soon considered themselves the defenders of Western culture along the Balkan border.

    After St. Stephen, whose son Emeric (also canonized a few years later) died before the father, Hungary went through a serious crisis. Pagan reaction opposed a king of Venetian origin who temporarily occupied the throne, thanks to his designation by his uncle, St. Stephen. But another branch of the national Árpád dynasty soon returned to power, and even amidst these internal troubles neither Polish interference nor that of imperial Germany, which was much more dangerous, had any lasting consequences. On the contrary, at the end of the eleventh century Hungarian power had already been restored under another king who was also recognized as a saint, Ladislas I (1077—1095), and the following century was again a particularly brilliant period in the history of the country.

    Among the kings of that period, Béla III (1172—1196), whose achievements have been described by a first, anonymous national chronicler, deserves special attention. He too opposed the encroachments of both German and Greek emperors successfully, and himself exercised a noteworthy influence in Balkan affairs. Under him and his successors, particularly Andrew II (1205—1235), that Hungarian influence also penetrated beyond the Carpathians into the Ruthenian principality of Halich, whose Latinized name first appeared in 1189 in a new title of the kings of Hungary: rex Galiciae. It was in that region that Hungarian and Polish interests clashed with each other, although the usually friendly relations between both countries were even in this controversial issue leading to attempts at cooperation toward the turn of the century.

    Thus it was precisely during the elimination of Bulgarian power under Byzantine rule that Hungary succeeded in organizing the Danubian region north of the Balkans as a unified kingdom which extended the sphere of Western influence without giving up its own individuality. Such an element of stability in East Central Europe was particularly important in a period when the other countries of that part of the continent, after having made equally promising beginnings, were meeting with more and more difficulty, either through internal disintegration or under the growing pressure of the German Empire which proved so dangerous to the two West Slavic kingdoms, Bohemia and Poland. Such a situation was to last well into the thirteenth century.

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