Studi Slavistici IX • 2012

The Notion of <em>Antemurale Christianitatis</em> in Connection with the City of Lemberg/Lwów/L ́viv

Published 2013-02-13

How to Cite

Woldan, A. (2013). The Notion of <em>Antemurale Christianitatis</em> in Connection with the City of Lemberg/Lwów/L ́viv. Studi Slavistici, 9(1), 53–69.


Antemurale christianitatis” (“Bastion of Christianity”) is a notion frequently associated with the city of L’viv / Lwów/ Lemberg / Leopolis , especially within the context of World War I and the following years. This notion occurs in texts of different genres written in different languages from different national points of view. This concept is thus an essential element of the text of the city of L’viv. The concept of “antemurale” is based on a spatial model consisting of a few elementary components – a dichotomous space divided into two parts, West and East, a strict border between them, and the bastion itself as a kind of fortress situated to the West of that border . In the given texts, all these components are displayed by different historic actors, political powers which are to fulfil either the role of the West or that of the East. When the actors in this concept change, the connotations connected with certain roles do not change – the West is always civilized and cultured, the East always chaotic and barbaric, while the bastion has to defend pure Western values. Here we can find stereotypes which do not correspond to real facts, but show the imaginative force of the concept. Discussing the notion of “antemurale” leads to a discourse that shows the influence of political power executed by linguistic expressions: the concept of “antemurale” is mainly a Polish invention, but it is taken over by the weaker opponent, the Ukrainian side in Galicia, which takes over this model to display it in another, controversial way. There is only a very small number of voices, Austrian and German writers, who try to weaken the rigid border line between the two antagonistic spaces and in this way reveal the notion of Antemurale as an ideological concept.


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