The Northern Crusades or Baltic Crusades were crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden, the German Livonian and Teutonic military orders, and their allies against the pagan peoples of Northern Europe around the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Swedish and German Catholic campaigns against Russian Eastern Orthodox Christians are also sometimes considered part of the Northern Crusades. Some of these wars were called crusades during the Middle Ages, but others, including most of the Swedish ones, were first dubbed crusades by 19th century romantic nationalist historians. The east Baltic world was transformed by military conquest: first the Livs, Latgallians and Estonians, then the Semigallians, Curonians, Prussians and the Finns underwent defeat, baptism, military occupation and sometimes extermination by groups of Danes, Germans and Swedes.
|Contents [hide]*1 Background
The realms of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Livonian Order after the Northern CrusadesThe official starting point for the Northern Crusades was Pope Celestine III's call in 1193; but the already Christian kingdoms of Scandinavia and the Holy Roman Empire had started to move to subjugate their pagan neighbors even earlier. The non-Christian people who were objects of the campaigns at various dates included:
- the Polabian Wends, Sorbs, and Obotrites between the Elbe and Oder rivers (by the Saxons, Danes, and Poles, beginning with the Wendish Crusade)
- the peoples of (present-day) Finland in 1154 (Finland Proper; disputed), 1249? (Tavastia) and 1293 (Karelia) (Swedish Crusades, although Christianization had started earlier),
- Livonians, Latgallians, Selonians, and Estonians (by the Germans and Danes, 1193–1227),
- Semigallians and Curonians (1219-1290),
- Old Prussians,
- Lithuanians and Samogitians (by the Germans, unsuccessfully, 1236-1316).
Armed conflict between the Baltic Finns, Balts and Slavs who dwelt by the Baltic shores and their Saxon and Danish neighbors to the north and south had been common for several centuries prior to the crusade. The previous battles had largely been caused by attempts to destroy castles and sea trade routes and gain economic advantage in the region, and the crusade basically continued this pattern of conflict, albeit now inspired and prescribed by the Pope and undertaken by Papal knights and armed monks.
Main article: Wendish CrusadeThe campaigns started with the 1147 Wendish Crusade against the Polabian Slavs (or "Wends") of what is now northern and eastern Germany. The crusade occurred parallel to the Second Crusade to the Holy Land, and continued irregularly until the 16th century.
Main article: Livonian CrusadeBy the 12th century, the peoples inhabiting the lands now known as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed a pagan wedge between increasingly powerful Christian states – Orthodox to their east and Roman Catholic to their west. The difference in creeds was one of the reasons they had not yet been effectively converted. During a period of more than 150 years leading up to the arrival of German crusaders in the region, Estonia was attacked 13 times by Russian principalities, and by Denmark and Sweden as well. Estonians for their part made raids upon Denmark and Sweden. There were peaceful attempts by the Western Christians to convert the Estonians, starting with missions dispatched by Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen in 1045-1072. However, these peaceful efforts seem to have had very limited success.
Campaign against Livonians (1198-1212)Edit
Moving in the wake of German merchants who were now following the old trading routes of the Vikings, a monk named Meinhard landed at the mouth of the Daugava river in present-day Latvia in 1180 and was made bishop in 1186. Pope Celestine III proclaimed a crusade against the Baltic heathens in 1193 and a crusading expedition led by Meinhard's successor, Bishop Berthold of Hanover, landed in Livonia (part of present-day Latvia, surrounding the Gulf of Riga) in 1198. Although the crusaders won their first battle, Bishop Berthold was mortally wounded and the crusaders were repulsed.
In 1199, Albert of Buxhoeveden was appointed by the Archbishop Hartwig II of Bremen to Christianise the Baltic countries. By the time Albert died 30 years later, the conquest and formal Christianisation of present-day Estonia and northern Latvia was complete. Albert began his task by touring the Empire, preaching a Crusade against the Baltic countries, and was assisted in this by a Papal Bull, which declared that fighting against the Baltic heathens was of the same rank as participating in a crusade to the Holy Land. Though he landed in the mouth of the Daugava in 1200 with only 23 ships and 500 soldiers, the bishop's efforts ensured that a constant flow of recruits followed. The first crusaders usually arrived to fight during the spring and returned to their homes in the autumn. To ensure a permanent military presence, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword were founded in 1202. The founding by Bishop Albert of the market at Riga in 1201 attracted citizens from the Empire and economic prosperity ensued. At Albert's request, Pope Innocent III dedicated the Baltic countries to the Virgin Mary to popularise recruitment to his army and the name "Mary's Land" has survived up to modern times. Ruins of the castle in Sigulda.In 1206 the crusaders subdued the Livonian stronghold in Turaida on the right bank of Gauja river, the ancient trading route to the Northwestern Rus. In order to gain control over the left bank of Gauja, the stone castle was built in Sigulda before 1210. By 1211 the Livonian province of Metsepole (now - Limbaži district) and mixed Livonian-Latgallian inhabited county of Idumea (now -Straupe) was converted to Roman Catholic faith. The last battle against the Livonians was the siege of Satezele hillfort near to Sigulda in 1212. The Livonians, who had been paying tribute to the East Slavic Principality of Polotsk, at first considered the Germans as useful allies. The first prominent Livonian to be christened was their leader Caupo of Turaida. As the German grip tightened, the Livonians rebelled against the crusaders and the christened chief but the uprising was put down. Caupo of Turaida remained an ally of the crusaders until his death in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day in 1217.
The German crusaders enlisted newly baptised Livonian warriors to participate in their campaigns against Latgallians and Selonians (1208-1209), Estonians (1208-1227) and never against Semigallians, Samogitians and Curonians (1219-1290).
Campaign against Latgallians and Selonians (1208-1224)Edit
After subjugation of Livonians the crusaders turned their attention to the Latgallian principalities to the east along the Gauja and Daugava rivers. The military alliance in 1208 and later conversion from the Greek Orthodoxy to Roman Catholic faith of the Principality of Tālava was the only peaceful subjugation of the Baltic tribes during the Nordic crusades. The ruler of Tālava Tālivaldis (Talibaldus de Tolowa) became the most loyal ally of German crusaders against the Estonians, and he died as a martyr and a Catholic in 1215. The war against the Latgallian and Selonian countries along the Daugava waterway started in 1208 by occupation of the Orthodox Principality of Koknese and the Selonian hillfort of Sēlpils. The campaign continued in 1209 by attack on the Orthodox Principality of Jersika (known as Lettia), accused by crusaders to be the ally of Lithuanian pagans. After defeat the king of Jersika Visvaldis became the vassal of the Bishop of Livonia and received part of his country (Southern Latgale) as a fiefdom. Selonian stronghold Sēlpils was briefly the seat of a Selonian diocese (1218-1226), and then came under the rule of the Livonian Order. Only in 1224, with the division of Tālava and Adzele counties between the Bishop of Rīga and the Order of the Swordbearers, Latgallian countries finally became the possession of German conquerors. The territory of the former Principality of Jersika was divided by the Bishop of Rīga and the Livonian Order in 1239.
Campaign against Estonians (1208-1227)Edit
By 1208, the Germans were strong enough to begin operations against the Estonians, who were at that time divided into eight major and several smaller counties led by elders with limited co-operation between counties. In 1208-27, war parties of the different sides rampaged through Livonian, Northern Latgallian and Estonian counties, with Livonians and Latgallians normally as allies of the Crusaders and Principalities of Polotsk and Pskov appearing as allies of different sides at different times. Hill forts, which were the key centres of Estonian counties, were besieged and captured a number of times. A truce between the war-weary sides was established for three years (1213-1215) and it proved generally more favourable to the Germans, who consolidated their political position, while the Estonians were unable to develop their system of loose alliances into a centralised state. The Livonian leader Kaupo was killed in battle near Viljandi (Fellin) on 21 September 1217, but the battle was a crushing defeat for the Estonians, whose leader Lembitu was also killed. Since 1211, his name had come to the attention of the German chroniclers as a notable Estonian elder and he became the central figure of the Estonian resistance.
The Christian kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden were also greedy for conquests on the Eastern shores of the Baltic. While the Swedes made only one failed foray into western Estonia in 1220, The Danish Fleet headed by King Valdemar II of Denmark had landed at the Estonian town of Lindanisse (present-day Tallinn) in 1219. After the Battle of Lyndanisse the Danes established a fortress, which was besieged by Estonians in 1220 and 1223, but held out. Eventually, the whole of northern Estonia was in Danish hands.
The last Estonian county to hold out against the invaders was the island county of Saaremaa, whose war fleets had raided Denmark and Sweden during the years of fighting against the German crusaders. A 20,000 strong army under Papal legate William of Modena crossed the frozen sea while the Saaremaa fleet was icebound, in January 1227. Following the defeat of the Estonians, the crusade moved against the Curonians and the Semigallians, Baltic tribes living to the south and west of the river Daugava.
Wars against Curonians and Semigallians (1201-1290)Edit
Already in 1201 Curonians started to battle against the crusaders repeatedly attacking Riga in 1201 and 1210, however the Bishop Albert was considering Courland to be tributary of Valdemar II of Denmark and didn't start the large scale campaign. Only after his death the crusaders concluded a treaty of peaceful submission of Vanemane in 1230, a county with mixed Livonian, Oselian and Curonian population in the norteastern part of Courland. In the same year the papal vice-legat Baldouin of Alnea annulled this agreement and concluded an agreement with the ruler of Bandava in the central Courland Lamekins (Lammechinus rex), delivering his kingdom in the hands of papacy, with Baldouin becaming the popes's delegate in Courland and bishop of Semigallia. However, the Germans complained about him to the Roman Curia, and in 1234 Pope Gregory IX remowed Baldouin as his delegate. After the fatal defeat in the Battle of Saule by Samogitians and Semigallians the remnants of Swordbrothers were reorganised in 1237 as a subdivision of the Teutonic Order and became known as the Livonian Order. In 1242 under the leadership of the master of Livonian Order Andrew of Groningen the crusaders had begun the military conquest of Courland. They defeated the Couronians as far south as Embūte near the contemporary border with Lithuania and founded the main fortress in Kuldīga. Pope Innocent IV alloted in 1245 the Livonian Order two thirds of conquested Courland and one third to the Bishopric of Courland. In the Battle of Durbe the forces of Samogitians and Curonians overpowered the united forces of Livonian and Teutonic Orders in 1260. Crusaders finally subjugated the Curonians in 1267, and concluded the peace treaty stipulating the obligations and the rights of the defeated rivals. The unconquered southern parts of their territories (Ceklis and Megava) were united under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The conquest of Semigallian counties started in 1219 when crusaders from Rīga occupied Mežotne, the major port on the Lielupe waterway, and founded the Bishopric of Semigallia. After several unsuccessful campaigns against the pagan Semigallian duke Viestards and his kinsfolk Samogitians the Roman Curia decided to abolish the Bishopric of Semigallia in 1251 and divide its territories between the Bishopric of Rīga and the Order of Livonia. In 1265 the stone castle on river of Lielupe was built in Jelgava, which became the main military basis for the crusades against Semigallians. In 1271 the capital hillfort in Tērvete was conquered, but Semigallians under the Duke Nameisis rebelled in 1279, when Lithuanians defeated the Livonian Order forces in the Battle of Aizkraukle. Semigallian forces under the Duke Nameisis unsuccessfully attacked Rīga in 1280, in response to that around 14,000 crusaders besieged Turaida castle in 1281. To conquer the remaining Semigallian hillforts the Order's master Villekin of Endorpe built a castle called Heiligenberg right next to the Tērvete castle in 1287. In 1287 the Semigallians made another attempt to conquer Rīga, but failed to take it again. On their return home Livonian knights attacked them, but were defeated in the Battle of Garoza where the Orders' master Villekin and at least 35 knights lost their lives. The new master of the Order Cuno of Haciginstein organised the last campaign against the Semigallians in 1289 and 1290, when the hillforts of Dobele, Rakte and Sidarbe were conquered and most of the Semigallian warriors joined the Samogitian and Lithuanian forces.
Prussia and LithuaniaEdit
Main article: Prussian Crusade===Campaigns of Konrad of Masovia=== Konrad I, the Polish Duke of Masovia, unsuccessfully attempted to conquer pagan Prussia in crusades in 1219 and 1222. Taking the advice of the first Bishop of Prussia, Christian of Oliva, Konrad founded the crusading Order of Dobrzyń (or Dobrin) in 1220. However, this order was largely ineffective, and Konrad's campaigns against the Old Prussians were answered by incursions into his territory of Culmerland (Chełmno Land). Subjected to constant Prussian counter-raids, Konrad wanted to stabilize the north of the Duchy of Masovia in this fight over border area of Chełmno Land. Masovia had only been conquered in the 10th century and native Prussians, Yotvingians, and Lithuanians were still living in the territory, where no settled borders existed. His military weakness led Konrad to invite the Teutonic Knights to Prussia.
Main article: Monastic state of the Teutonic KnightsThe Teutonic knights in Pskov in 1240. Screenshot from Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky.The Northern Crusades provided a rationale for the growth and expansion of the Teutonic Order of German crusading knights which had been founded in Palestine at the end of the 12th century. Due to Muslim successes in the Holy Land, the Order sought new missions in Europe. Duke Konrad I of Masovia in west-central Poland appealed to the Knights to defend his borders and subdue the pagan Baltic Prussians in 1226. After the subjugation of the Prussians, the Teutonic Knights fought against Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
When the Livonian knights were crushed by Samogitians and Semigallians in the Battle of Saule in 1236, coinciding with a series of revolts in Estonia, the Livonian Order was inherited by the Teutonic Order, allowing the Teutonic Knights to exercise political control over large territories in the Baltic region. The Teutonic Knights failed to subdue pagan Lithuania, which officially converted to (Catholic) Christianity in 1386 on the marriage of Grand Duke Jogaila to the 11-year-old Queen Jadwiga of Poland.
The Teutonic Order's attempts to conquer Orthodox Russia (particularly the Republics of Pskov and Novgorod), an enterprise endorsed by Pope Gregory IX, can also be considered as a part of the Northern Crusades. One of the major blows for the idea of the conquest of Russia was the Battle of the Ice in 1242. With or without the Pope's blessing, Sweden also undertook several crusades against Orthodox Novgorod.
The Livonian Crusade refers to the German and Danish conquest and colonization of medieval Livonia, the territory constituting modern Latvia and Estonia, during the Northern Crusades. The lands on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea were the last corners of Europe to be Christianized.
On 2 February 1207  in the territories conquered an ecclesiastical state called Terra Mariana was establish as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire and proclaimed by pope Innocent III in 1215 as a subject to the Holy See.
After the success of the crusade, the German- and Danish-occupied territory was divided into six feudal principalities by William of Modena.
|Contents [hide]*1 History of war
History of warEdit
War against Livs and Latgalians (1198–1209)Edit
Baltic Tribes, ca 1200.Christianity had come to Latvia with the Swedes in the 9th century and Danes in the 11th. By the time German traders began to arrive in the second half of the 12th century to trade along the ancient Daugava-Dnieper route to Byzantium, many Latvians had already been baptized. Meinhard of Segeberg arrived in Livland, as it was named in German, in 1184 with the mission to convert the pagan Livonians, Meinhard being consecrated as bishop in 1186.
The indigenous Livonians (Livs), who had been paying tribute to the East Slavic Principality of Polotsk and were often under attack by southern neighbours Semigallians at first considered the Low Germans (Saxons) as useful allies. The first prominent Livonian to be converted was their leader Caupo of Turaida, baptized around 1189.
Pope Celestine III called for a crusade against pagans in Northern Europe in 1193. When peaceful means of conversion failed to produce results, the impatient Meinhard plotted to convert the Livonians forcibly but was thwarted. He died in 1196, having failed his mission. Two years later, his appointed replacement, bishop Berthold of Hanover, arrived with a large contingent of crusaders in 1198. Shortly after his arrival, Berthold rode ahead of his troops in battle, was surrounded and killed, his forces defeated.
Pope Innocent III issued a bull declaring a crusade against the Livonians to avenge Berthold's defeat. Albrecht von Buxthoeven was consecrated as bishop in 1199 and arrived with a large force in 1200, establishing Riga as the seat of his bishopric in 1201. Bishop Albert established the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1202 to aid in the conversion of the pagans to Christianity and, more importantly, protect German trade and secure German control over commerce.
As the German grip tightened, the Livonians and their christened chief rebelled against the crusaders. Caupo's forces were defeated at Turaida in 1206, and the Livonians declared to be converted. Caupo subsequently remained an ally of the crusaders until his death in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day in 1217.
By 1208 important Daugava trade posts of Salaspils (Holme), Koknese (Kokenhusen) and Sēlpils (Selburg) had been taken over as a result of campaigns led by Albert. In the same year rulers of Latgalian counties Tālava, Satekle and Autine established military alliance with the Order. The Order started the construction of Cēsis (Wenden) castle. Albert ordered the construction of a stone castle in Koknese where the Daugava and Pērse rivers meet to replace the wooden castle of the Latgalians. In 1209 Albert, leading the forces of the Order, captured capital of Latgalian principality Jersika and took the ruler's Visvaldis wife captive. Visvaldis was forced to submit his kingdom to Albert as a grant to the Archbishopric of Riga, and received back only a portion of it as a fief. Tālava was weakened in wars with Estonians and Russians. In 1214 it became vassal state of Archbishopric of Riga and in 1224 was finally divided between Archbishopric and the Order.
War against Estonians (1208–1227)Edit
Counties of Ancient EstoniaAt the same time the Crusaders were strong enough to begin operations against the Estonians, who were at that time divided into eight major and seven smaller Counties, which were led by elders with limited co-operation between each other. With the help of the newly converted local tribes of Livs and Latgalians in 1208, the crusaders initiated raids into Sakala and Ugaunia in Southern Estonia. The Estonian tribes fiercely resisted the attacks from Riga and occasionally sacked territories controlled by the crusaders. In 1208–27, war parties of the different sides rampaged through Livonia, Latgalia, and different Estonian counties, with the Livs, Latgalians and Russians from the Republic of Novgorod as varying allies of the crusaders and Estonians. Hill forts, which were the key centers of Estonian counties, were besieged and captured a number of times. A truce between the war-weary sides was established for three years (1213–1215). It proved generally more favourable to the Germans, who consolidated their political position, while the Estonians were unable to develop their system of loose alliances into a centralised state. They were led by Lembitu of Lehola, the elder of Sackalia, whose name had come to the attention of German chroniclers as a notable Estonian elder and the central figure of the Estonian resistance by 1211. The Livonian leader Caupo was killed in the Battle of St. Matthew's Day near Viljandi (Fellin) on September 21, 1217, but the battle was a crushing defeat for the Estonians, whose leader Lembitu was also killed.
|History of Latvia|
This article is part of a series----
|Corded Ware culture|
|Amber Road and Aesti|
|Baltic Finns: Livonians, Vends|
|Latgalians, Curonians, Selonians, Semigallians|
|Principality of Jersika, Principality of Koknese|
|Livonian Crusade, Livonian Brothers of the Sword, Livonian Order|
|Archbishopric of Riga, Bishopric of Courland|
|Early modern period|
|Kingdom of Livonia|
|Duchy of Livonia, Duchy of Courland and Semigallia|
|Polish–Swedish war (1600-1629), Second Northern War|
|Swedish Livonia, Inflanty Voivodeship|
|Great Northern War|
|Governorate of Livonia, Courland Governorate|
|Latvian National Awakening, New Current|
|German occupation, Latvian Riflemen, United Baltic Duchy, Latvian Socialist Soviet Republic|
|War of Independence|
|Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, Occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany, Occupation of Latvia by Soviet Union 1944–1945|
|Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic|
|Popular Front of Latvia|
|Restoration of Independence|
|Republic of Latvia|
Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lyndanisse, 1219.The Christian kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden were also eager for expansion on the eastern shores of the Baltic. In 1218 Albert asked King Valdemar II of Denmark for assistance, but Valdemar instead arranged a deal with the Order. The king was victorious in the Battle of Lyndanisse in Revelia in 1219, in which the origin of the Dannebrog is attributed. He subsequently founded the fortress Castrum Danorum, which was unsuccessfully besieged by the Estonians in 1220 and 1223. King John I of Sweden tried to establish a Swedish presence in the province of Wiek, but the Swedish troops were defeated by the Oeselians in the Battle of Lihula in 1220. Revelia, Harrien, and Vironia, the whole of northern Estonia, fell to Danish control.
In 1223, the Novgorod Republic enfeoffed Vyachko with Tharbata stating this as a Russian town (Yuryev) since Yaroslav's conquest in 1030. He assumed the stronghold and launched several raids in Estonia. Early in 1224 Emperor Frederick II announced at Catania that Livonia, Prussia with Sambia and a number of neighboring provinces were reichsfrei, that is, subordinate directly to the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire only, as opposed to being under the jurisdiction of local rulers. In response, Albert of Riga besieged Tharbata in 1224 with a large force and offered a peace settlement. Vyachko refused to surrender, however, choosing to die with all of his supporters when the Livonian Order stormed the fortress. At the end of 1224 Pope Honorius III announced to all Christendom the appointment of Bishop William of Modena as papal legate for Livonia, Prussia, and other countries.
In 1224 the Livonian Brothers of the Sword established their headquarters at Fellin (Viljandi) in Sackalia, where the walls of the Master's castle are still standing. Other strongholds included Wenden (Cēsis), Segewold (Sigulda), and Ascheraden (Aizkraukle). The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, one of the greatest medieval narratives, was written probably as a report for William of Modena, giving him the history of the Church in Livonia up to his time. It relates how in 1226, in the stronghold Tarwanpe, William of Modena successfully mediated a peace between the Germans, the Danes and the Vironians.
Conquest of SaaremaaEdit
Further information: OeseliansThe 1241 Treaty between Livonian Order, Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek and Oeselians at National Archives of SwedenThe last Estonian county to hold out against the invaders was the island country of Saaremaa (Ösel), whose war fleets had raided Denmark and Sweden during the years of fighting against the German crusaders.
In 1206, the Danish army led by king Valdemar II and Andreas, the Bishop of Lund landed on Saaremaa and attempted to establish a stronghold without success. In 1216 the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and the bishop Theodorich joined forces and invaded Saaremaa over the frozen sea. In return the Osilians raided the territories in Latvia that were under German rule the following spring. In 1220, the Swedish army led by king John I of Sweden and the bishop Karl of Linköping conquered Lihula in Rotalia in Western Estonia. Osellians attacked the Swedish stronghold the same year, conquered it and killed the entire Swedish garrison including the Bishop of Linköping.
In 1222, the Danish king Valdemar II attempted the second conquest of Saaremaa, this time establishing a stone fortress housing a strong garrison. The Danish stronghold was besieged and surrendered within five days, the Danish garrison returned to Revel, leaving bishop Albert of Riga's brother Theodoric, and few others, behind as hostages for peace. The castle was leveled to the ground by Oeselians.
In 1227, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, the town of Riga and the Bishop of Riga organized combined attack against Saaremaa. After the surrender of 2 major Oeselian strongholds, Muhu and Valjala, the Oeselians formally accepted Christianity.
In 1236, after the defeat of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the Battle of Saule, military action on Saaremaa broke out again.
Oeselians accepted Christianity again by signing treaties with the Livonian Order's Master Andreas de Velven and the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek in 1241. The next treaty was signed in 1255 by the Master of the Order, Anno Sangerhausenn, and, on behalf of the Oeselians, by elders whose "names" (or declaration?) had been phonetically transcribed by Latin scribes as Ylle, Culle, Enu, Muntelene, Tappete, Yalde, Melete, and Cake  The treaty granted several additional rights to the Osilians. The 1255 treaty included clauses concerning the ownership and inheritance of land, the social system and religious rules.
In 1261, warfare continued as the Oeselians had again renounced Christianity and killed all the Germans on the island. A peace treaty was signed after the united forces of the Livonian Order, the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek, the forces of Danish Estonia including mainland Estonians and Latvians defeated the Osilians by conquering the Kaarma stronghold. Soon thereafter, the Livonian Order established a stone fort at Pöide.
On July 24, 1343, the Oeselians killed all the Germans on the island, drowned all the clerics and started to besiege the Livonian Order's castle at Pöide. After the surrender the Osilians levelled the castle and killed all the defenders. In February 1344, Burchard von Dreileben led a campaign over the frozen sea to Saaremaa. The Osilians' stronghold was conquered and their leader Vesse was hanged. In the early spring of 1345, the next campaign of the Livonian Order took place that ended with a treaty mentioned in the Chronicle of Hermann von Wartberge and the Novgorod First Chronicle. Saaremaa remained the vassal of the master of the Livonian Order, and the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek until 1559.
Wars against Curonians and Semigallians (1219–1290)Edit
Medieval Livonia, ca. 1260.Following the defeat of the Estonians, the crusade moved against the Curonians (1242–1267) and Semigallians (1219–1290), Baltic tribes living to the south and west of the Daugava river and closely allied with the Samogitians.
After the defeat in the Battle of Saule by Samogitians and Semigallians the remnants of Livonian Brothers of the Sword were reorganised in 1237 as a subdivision of the Teutonic Order and became known as the Livonian Order. The Battle of Durbe was another victory of Samogitians and allied Curonians over the united forces of Livonian and Teutonic Orders in 1260. Crusaders finally overpowered the Curonians in 1267, and despite of severe defeat in the Battle of Garoza in 1287, subsequently the Semigallians in 1290. The unconquered southern parts of their territories (Sidrabe, Rakte, Ceklis, Megava etc.) were united under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
After the conquest, all remaining local pagans were ostensibly Christianized although no Christian literature or church services became available in native languages until the Protestant Reformation period in the 16th century. The land was divided into six feodal principalities by Papal Legate William of Modena: Archbishopric of Riga, Bishopric of Courland, Bishopric of Dorpat, Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek, the lands ruled by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and Dominum directum of King of Denmark, the Duchy of Estonia In 1227 the Livonian Brothers of the Sword conquered all Danish territories in Northern Estonia. After the Battle of Saule the surviving members of the Brothers of the Sword merged into the Teutonic Order of Prussia in 1237 and became known as Livonian Order. On June 7, 1238 by the Treaty of Stensby the Teutonic knights returned the Duchy of Estonia to Valdemar II, until in 1346, after St. George's Night Uprising, the lands were sold back to the order and became part of the Ordenstaat.
The Wendish Crusade (German: Wendenkreuzzug) was an 1147 campaign, one of the Northern Crusades and also a part of the Second Crusade, led primarily by the Kingdom of Germany inside the Holy Roman Empire and directed against the Polabian Slavs (or "Wends").
By the early 12th century, the German archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg sought the conversion of neighboring pagan West Slavs to Christianity through peaceful means. During the preparation of the Second Crusade to the Holy Land, however, a papal bull was issued which supported a crusade against these Slavs.
The Slavic leader Niklot preemptively invaded Wagria in June, 1147, leading to the march of the crusaders in late summer, 1147. They achieved an ostensible baptism of Slavs at Dobin and were repulsed from Demmin. Another crusading army marched on the already Christian city Szczecin, whereupon the crusaders dispersed upon arrival.
The Christian army, composed primarily of Saxons and Danes, forced tribute from the pagan Slavs and affirmed German control of Wagria and Polabia, but failed to convert the bulk of the population immediately.
|Contents [hide]*1 Background
The Ottonian dynasty supported eastward expansion of the Holy Roman Empire towards Wendish (West Slavic) lands during the 10th century. The campaigns of King Henry the Fowler and Emperor Otto the Great led to the introduction of burgwards to protect German conquests in the lands of the Sorbs. Otto's lieutenants, Margraves Gero and Hermann Billung, advanced eastward and northward respectively to claim tribute from conquered Slavs. Bishoprics were established at Meissen, Brandenburg, Havelberg, and Oldenburg to administer the territory. A great Slavic rebellion in 983 reversed the initial German gains, however. While the burgwards allowed the Saxons to retain control of Meissen, they lost Brandenburg and Havelberg. The Elbe River thus became the eastern limit of German-Roman control.
By the early 12th century, the Archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg sought the conversion of the pagan Slavs to Christianity through peaceful means: notable missionaries included Vicelin, Norbert of Xanten, and Otto of Bamberg. Lacking support from the Salian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire, secular Saxon princes seeking Slavic territory found themselves in a military stalemate with their adversaries. Christians, especially Saxons from Holstein, and pagans raided each other across the Limes Saxonicus, usually for tribute.
From 1140-43 Holsatian nobles advanced into Wagria to permanently settle in the lands of the pagan Wagri. Count Adolf II of Holstein and Henry of Badewide took control of Polabian settlements which would later become Lübeck and Ratzeburg; Vicelin was subsequently installed as bishop at Oldenburg. Adolf sought peace with the chief of the Obodrite confederacy, Niklot, and encouraged German colonization and missionary activity in Wagria.
The fall of Edessa in 1144 shocked Christendom, causing Pope Eugenius III and St. Bernard of Clairvaux to preach a Second Crusade to reinforce Outremer. While many south Germans volunteered to crusade in the Middle East, the north German Saxons were reluctant. They told Bernard of their desire to campaign against the Slavs at a Reichstag meeting in Frankfurt on 13 March 1147. Approving of the Saxons' plan, pope Eugenius issued a papal bull known as the Divina dispensatione on 13 April; there was to be no difference between the spiritual rewards of the different crusaders. Those who volunteered to crusade against the Slavs were primarily Danes, Saxons, and Poles, although there were also some Bohemians. The German monarchy took no part in the crusade, which was led by Saxon families such as the Ascanians, Wettin, and Schauenburgers. Papal legate Anselm of Havelberg was placed in overall command.
Upset at Adolf's participation in the crusade, Niklot preemptively invaded Wagria in June 1147, leading to the march of the crusaders in late summer 1147. After expelling the Obodrites from his territory, Adolf signed a peace treaty with Niklot. The remaining Christian crusaders targeted the Obodrite fort Dobin and the Liutizian fort Demmin.
The forces attacking Dobin included those of the Danes Canute V and Sweyn III, Archbishop Adalbert II of Bremen, and Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony. Avoiding pitched battles, Niklot ably defended the marshland of Dobin. One army of Danes was defeated by Slavs from Dobin, while another had to defend the Danish fleet from Niklot's allies, the Rani of Rügen. Henry and Adalbert maintained the siege of Dobin after the retreat of the Danes. When some crusaders advocated ravaging the countryside, others objected by asking, "Is not the land we are devastating our land, and the people we are fighting our people?" The Saxon army under Henry the Lion withdrew after Niklot agreed to have Dobin's garrison undergo baptism.
The Saxon army directed against Demmin was led by several bishops, including those of Mainz, Halberstadt, Münster, Merseburg, Brandenburg, Olmütz, and Bishop Anselm of Havelberg. While their stated goal was to achieve the conversion of the pagans, most also sought additional territory and tithe for their dioceses; Abbot Wibald of Corvey went in the hopes of acquiring the island of Rügen. The Demmin campaign also included the secular margraves Conrad I and Albert the Bear, who hoped to expand their marches. A Royal Polish contingent wanted to add to the Bishopric of Lebus. Marching from Magdeburg, Albert the Bear recovered Havelberg, lost since the 983 Slavic rebellion. The crusaders then destroyed a pagan temple and castle at Malchow. After an unsuccessful siege of Demmin, a contingent of crusaders was diverted by the margraves to attack central Pomerania instead. They reached the already Christian city Szczecin, whereupon the crusaders dispersed after meeting with Bishop Adalbert of Pomerania and Christian duke Ratibor I of Pomerania.
The Wendish Crusade achieved mixed results. While the Saxons affirmed their possession of Wagria and Polabia, Niklot retained control of the Obodrite land east of Lübeck. The Saxons also received tribute from Niklot, enabled the colonization of the Bishopric of Havelberg, and freed some Danish prisoners. However, the disparate Christian leaders regarded their counterparts with suspicion and accused each other of sabotaging the campaign.
According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the goal of the crusade was to battle the pagan Slavs "until such a time as, by God's help, they shall either be converted or deleted". However, the crusade failed to achieve the conversion of most of the Wends. The Saxons achieved largely token conversions at Dobin, as the Slavs returned to their pagan beliefs once the Christian armies dispersed; Albert of Pomerania explained, "If they had come to strengthen the Christian faith ... they should have done so by preaching, not by arms".
The countryside of Mecklenburg and central Pomerania was plundered and depopulated with much bloodshed, especially by the troops of Henry the Lion. Of Henry's campaigns, Helmold of Bosau wrote that "there was no mention of Christianity, but only of money". The Slavic inhabitants also lost much of their methods of production, limiting their resistance in the future.
The Crusaders is a coalition army of numerous monastic/military Christian knights who have declared war and set out on a Crusade to the Holy Land, aiming to forcefully reclaim it from the Muslim Saracens in the name of Christianity. Their leader is the King of England, Richard the Lionheart. They appear in the city of Acre, Kingdom, and Arsuf. The coalition is composed of Crusader Knightly Orders such as: Richard's Crusaders, Knights Templar, Knights Hospitalier, and Knights Teutonic.
[hide]*1 Crusader knights
Crusader knights EditEdit
Added by SilverSummonerRichard's Crusaders can be found throughout the Kingdom, and chain district of Acre, (where they are always Informed and very easily provoked due to the war) and are only loyal to King Richard.
Richard's English knights are commonly mistaken for Templar knights, due to the similar coloration of their uniforms. Richard's knights, however, can be distinguished from Templar knights by their crests. Templars are marked with a red cross, whereas English knights have a prancing lion.
King Richard EditEdit
- Main article: Richard I of England
Richard I of England, commonly known as Richard the Lionheart, is the leader of the Crusaders. He makes only two appearances in the game, one in the city of Acre, having a conversation with William of Montferrat just before he rides off to battle and another in Arsuf before and after the battle with Robert de Sable.
In Battle EditEdit
Low-Ranking Soldier EditEdit
The lowest ranking soldiers are the most common Crusaders, having no complicated armor. They are dressed in red and white, and speak English. The low-ranking Crusaders cannot grab, counter, or dodge Altaïr (only blocking with their sword), cannot break grabs, and are dispatched easily. These soldiers can be killed by just one sword/short blade counter, in which Altaïr will end up impaling the soldier, instead of just throwing him away from himself. Of course, like most guards in the game, these soldiers can be killed with just one Hidden Blade counter. Low-ranking soldiers are also known to be frightened the most during battle, especially when Altaïr pulls off intense moves. Because of this, they will usually either run away after their comrades are slain, or get on their knees and beg for mercy. The quickest way of doing this is killing their higher ranked compatriots.
Middle-Ranking Soldier EditEdit
The middle-ranking soldiers are the second most common types of Crusaders. They speak French or German. These soldiers have some armor worn (heavy chain mail with plate armor, vambraces and shoulder badges), unlike their lower counterparts and seem to have a degree of combat experience. Because of this, they are harder to kill, and may take a few more hits, unless the player is using the Hidden Blade to counter. These soldiers can grab Altaïr by his robe and throw him, making them a much more deadly adversary than low ranking soldiers. If Altaïr continuously slashes at these foes, they will either counter or dodge him, and can either follow up the dodge by rushing back with a sword slash, or just staying back. These soldiers can also tolerate one sword or short blade counter, though a second one (or a single hidden blade counter) should prove successful. Altaïr can try to grab these soldiers, but there is a chance they will break his grab, and Altaïr will end up on the floor. These soldiers can still run away if frightened, but are less likely to than the lower class soldiers.
High-Ranking Soldier EditEdit
These high-ranking soldiers are the least common types of Crusaders (excluding the Templars). These soldiers also wear red and white, but the prancing lion on their chest is gold instead of white and red. Also, their uniform is longer than the low and middle ranking soldiers and they have additional armor (such as chain mail), and a knight's helm. Like the middle-ranker, they speak French or German. They are easily the strongest soldiers, excluding the Templar Knights. They are usually found leading a small troop of lesser soldiers on patrol. These soldiers can take two counters before dying or a single Hidden Blade counter. Skilled in counterattacks, there is a very high chance for Altaïr's slashes to be countered, usually ending up with the Assassin being struck across the face and knocked to the ground. These soldiers also have a large chance of breaking grabs, and dodging attacks. These soldiers rarely flee from battle, usually fighting to the death.
Templar Knight EditEdit
This section of the article deals specifically with the enemy type found in Assassin's Creed. For information on the Knights Templar as a faction, see Templars. A Templar battles with Altaïr.Added by MasterAssassin217The toughest non-boss unit that is found in game. The Templar Knight's armor is similar to the high-ranking Crusader soldier (see above) except that they possess plate mail greaves, wear a Templar tunic, and most of the time sport bloodstains on their helms and swords. Templars speaks all three Crusader dialects (English, French, and German) and a few have even been caught speaking Arabic. There are sixty Templar Knights lurking in secluded spots throughout the entirety of Outremer (besides Masyaf), and are even spotted in and around Saracen cities (a possible foreshadowing to their true goals). They are very hostile and will attack on sight. While usually found alone, the fight can easily attract extra guards, which can possibly ruin a mission. The Templar Knight is not much more durable than a high ranking soldier, but is more aggressive and will counter most grabs and attacks. Three counters are needed to finish a fight, but if the Templar ends up on the floor, the Hidden Blade can finish him with a single strike. A Hidden Blade can oftentimes also be used right at the beginning of the battle if you're quick, as the first thing the Templar Knight will do when he sees you is taunt you, presenting a small window of opportunity for an instant kill straightaway. When confronted by a Templar, other guards can possibly give room for the duel, though the Templar will never flee.