Baptism of Mieszko I, 1997, hammered copper with gold
Baptistery, St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, NY

In 1996 Poland celebrated its millenium as a state, its recorded history commencing in 966 when Mieszko I, Poland's ruler accepted Christianity and with it the literate Latin civilization of which the Church was the guardian. Mieszko was a member of the ruling Piast family that had bagun organizing a Polish state a couple of hundred years earlier, but since the nation was illiterate and no written records were kept, that period belongs to Poland's prehistory.