"Studya heraldyczne" Antoniego Małeckiego a polskie badania nad heraldyką rycerską
Studya Heraldyczne (Heraldic Studies), a book published in 1890 by the scholar from Lvov Antoni Małecki may be the most important work in the accomplishments of the study into heraldry of the Polish lands. Obviously, not all his establishments and theses were proved by later research, yet the book offered a new and different look at the adaptation of heraldry in Poland. At the same time, it cleared the research area by successfully questioning the validity of a theory about runic genesis of Polish coat of arms in consequence of an invasion by the Scandinavians who established the Polish state and imposed its ruling class (the nobility). Małecki correctly separated proprietary marks, with their different functions, of Polish noblemen found on their seals to the turn of the fourteenth century from their later coats of arms. Małecki’s Studya Heraldyczne provoked an animated discussion on the origins of heraldry in Poland and the function of coat of arms. The present article emphasizes its most important elements and theses, touching also upon some social questions, especially the beginnings of kinship organization of the medieval Polish nobility. The discussion, bringing about many valuable observations, did not, however, lead to any decisive conclusions. An explanation of the emergence of coats of arms and names was given by the research of Janusz Bieniak in the last quarter of the twentieth century, who starting from a synthetic image drawn by A. Małecki, demonstrated a process of development of family coats of arms and names at the turn of the fourteenth century.