Book Review-‘Schifffahrt, Hanse und Europa im Mittelalterby’ R. Paulsen

By Lars U. Schill, published November 2020


he Roman historian Tacitus wrote in the preface to his Annales that historians should write sine ira et studio (without anger or zeal). This maxim should be taken seriously even in the twenty-first century. This is what we teach our students in the first term at university. The author of the book under review obviously thinks that his aggressiveness towards researchers who worked before him will strengthen his arguments. Paulsen’s work was accepted as a doctoral thesis by the University of Hamburg. Instead of producing a book that reaches almost 1,100 pages, it would have been better if the practice usually followed in the UK and America had been applied, that is, making some editorial changes to turn the thesis into book form before publication; it could then have been about a third as long as it is. This is a weakness in Germany where it is obligatory to publish the thesis in the way it was presented. In this case a much more thorough revision before publication would have helped. As it is, the prestigious series Quellen und Darstellungen has not really added the best research work to its impressive series…

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Filed under: Late Middle Ages | High Middle Ages
Subjects include: Strategy & Diplomacy

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