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04-Osprey-Campaign-046 - Lake Peipus-The Battle of Ice

04-Osprey-Campaign-046 - Lake Peipus-The Battle of Ice

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Published by: balannflorin on Feb 08, 2012
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10/18/2013

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BY:
ITOR:DAVIDG.CHANDLER
Mr.Scanbot2000
1UPUS
1242
GNSERIES
III
BATTLEOFTHEICE
DAVIDNICOLLEPhD
 
EASTERNEUROPE-c.1223-1242
ORIGINSOFTHECAMPAIGN
"
THEEASTERNBALTIC
KingdomofDenmarkBaltlcCn.lSilOer
States
RussianStates
MongolEmpire
....MongolEarnpaiqns122S-1242
-+-
NorthernCrusade
CampaignS:
1199-1240
GEH-MANEMPI'RE
~~-.'-r~~--~~,
Vienna.......
/
(
y
thelate12thcenturytheeasternBaltic,fromPrussiatoFinland,wasthelastmajorbastionofEuropeanpaganism.This
"'<IS
seenasanaffront
by
theChurch,buttheBaitsandFinnsoftheareawerenotbarbarians.Theirhomeland'swinterswerecold,thoughnotasferociousasthoseofneighbouringRussia.Nevertheless,itwasaregionofforests,lakes,marshesandrivers,withlittleroomforagriculture.Aborderlinebetweennorthernconiferousandsoutherndeciduousforestsrant.hroughwhatisnowEstonia,wherethesilverbirchfeaturedmostprominentlyinfolklore.Intheeastableakregionofs,,"ampandmarshwiththousandsoftinystreamsandseveralgreatrivers,at!ofwhichfrozeinwinter,separatedtheBalticpeoplesfromRussia.TheindigenouspeoplespokeBalticlanguagesinthesouth,Finnishtonguesinthenorth.InthewesttheprosperousPrussianswerecon-quered
by
GermanCrusadersinthe13thcenrury,andtheirlanguagediedoutinthe17thcentury.SomeofthefiercerLithuaniansintheeastremainedpaganuntil1386;theynotonlyretainedtheirindependencebut
by
the15thcenturytheyhadcarvedouttheirownvastempirefromtheBattic
to
theBlackSea.
Tothe
northweretheLivsandLeusofwhatisnowLatvia,andtheEstofEstonia.Anearly20thcenturyhistorianwroteofthelatter:
"At
(I
muchlowerlevelthanthePrussiansstoodtheLettsandthesombreFinnish
Estonianstohoformed
nothing
better
than
peU~
states
willi
ver),littlecommunitylife,dwellinginthemonotonouswastesoftheir
j)rafri,s,
bogsandpine-forests,
unacquainted.
with
theluxuries
of
oaks
Or
theliveliness
of
TOJal
deer-hunts."
Nevertheless,theEstonians,whospokeaFinnishratherthanBalticdialect,werethemostlikelyofaLi
to
rebelagainstCrusaderdomination.AcrosstheGulfofFinlandwerethelargelyagriculturalSuomiand,furtherinland,theTavasiianor
Emi
huntingtribesofFinland.Finallytherewere[henomadicSaamiorLapps,whorangedtheArcticcoastfromtheWhiteseatocentralNorway.Thepaganismofthesenorthernpeopleswasasophisticatedformof
shamanismand,
not
surprisingly,
asourceoffeartomedievalChristendom.Inthe11tbcentnryAdamofBremenwroteoftheeasternBaltic:
"Its
t}(lt:>/Jie,
too,amutterlyignorantoftheGod
of
the
Cillistians.
ThC)'
worshipserpenuand
birds
andalsosacrificetothemlivemenwhomtheybuyfrom
merdumts.Themen
G.re
carefullyinspected
all
over/0
seethat
they
are
withant
bodilydefect
on
accou.nt
of
which,
they
say,the
serpents
would
Tejed
them."
Theanonymousauthorofthe
Livonia"RflymedChronicle
knewbetter,butstillfoundBalticpaganismdaunting:
"TheEstonians,"
hewrote,
"are
paga'nsalso,andtherearemany
motliers
sonsofthem.Thatisbecausetheirlandissobroadandsosjnend
0,,11/;111/
cannoldescribeit.
1'h'0'
havesomany7
 
8
Estonian.daggerl.blades!dec-
oratedleathersheathsandironaxesofthe1Qth..12thcenturtes.
(MuseumofEst'onianHiStoryjTamnn,Estollfa)
Estonianspearhead,cererno-nially'sacrificed'sword,stirrupsandbridle,ofthe10th-12thcen-tunes.(MIJ,seutt!
Oof
E:slohian
HistQry,Tl=dltnn,estilrlia)
I
poweIfidmmandso
"'1m}
Im)Vinre5fullofthemtholIdonotwan!
10
talkmoreabout
them.
II
Sadly,themysteriesofancientBalticpaganismwouldlaterappealtothepaganismof20thcenturyNazis;asoneGermanhistorianwrote:
"A
semi-secret/nipslfwod,
WIIOS(!
mem.b"I'Swae
m'm!_,
seen
Iry
i""i'rco-nationalsandnever
bj'
strangers,fosteredconsecratedserpentsinshrinesmadeofoak-brandies,while
ke(1)':""galighl
onstone
altars
theodoriferous
a11lbr:r~fi'·".'
kindledinlumourofthegodso/'a[aitli
iiiat
burr
few
traces
0/
theusualchoroctmsticsoj'
[mmiiiu«
,digions."
Infact,bythe14thcenturytheLithuanianscouldbedescribedas'pagansagainsttheirwill',theirreli.gionhavingbecome
a
culturaldefenceagainstaggressiveChristianneighbours,
By
the12thcentury,however,manj-LettsandEstonianshadbeenpeacefullyconvertedbythe
ian
OrthodoxChurch,andtheEstonianprovincesalongtheemsideofLakePeipuswereprobablylargelyOrthodoxb)'I09S.TheFinnish-speakingpeoples,includingtheEst,hadaloosersocialmganisationthantheBalts,buteverywherethebasicunitwasthendedfamily.Thesefamiliesformedpart
of
largerclanswhichcould!l:Zmseh'esjointoformtribesintimeofwar.Theforemostmaleofeach
-ly
was.itssenioror'elder',
,,,,110
wouldjoinothereldersinaclanorcouncil.Sometime,asuccessfu]elderwouldberecognisedasaorwar-leader,thoughthiswasrare.PowerfulfamiliesprovidedaDI'riorclass,oftenofhorsemen,wholived
hy
C"u]nil.l.gndcattleraising.atthebottomofthesocialscalewereslavescapturedin
W;1I"
llilitar\'pre~surefromthenorthernCrusadesled
to
adistinctmili--nonofBalticsocietyduringthe12thand13thcenturies.Thoughwerenoindigenousslates,therewerefortihcnrionsandlittlewns.InEsioniaeach
kihelhond,
ordistrict,hadorieortwoearthand
bel'
fortswhich,govern(~d
by
elders,servedasplacesofrefilgeforsur--.odingvillages,LikethefornficationsofneighbollringSlavlands,internalbuildingsclusteredagainsttheouterwall,leavingacentralopen,saveJorawell.
By
theearl)'
:I
3thCEnturyseveralofthesesses
had
already
formed
thenucleioftowns,whichhadgrownup
3
result:
oftrade
with
theoutside
world.EstoniaandFinland,for"QJ]]ple,hadbeenunderstrongScandinavianinfluencesincetheearlydieAgesbut,likeLatvia,LithuaniaandPrussiatothesouth,EstoniaalsointradingcontractwithByzantium,theMuslimworldand
CIlITaI
AsiaviaRU.lSi;LWhilecontactwithScandinaviawas
by
sea,tact
withRussia
was
by
river.ThedegreeofearlymedievalRussiancontroloverwhatarenowthe
AIhic
Statesisobscured
by
nationalisticpassions.VladimirtheGreat,theChristianrule]ofRussia,mayhavebrieflydominatedmuchofthe
'feI
atthestartofthellthcentury,whiletheeastEstoniantownofTartu
mO\1
asDorpatinGermanandYurevinRussian)wasfoundedbyoslavtheWiseofRussianNovgorodin10<)0.TheeasternBalticwasnotaparticularlypeacefularea,evenbeforeCrusadersarrived.Strongertribesraidedtheweaker
tor
slaves,whilemostpowerfulevenplunderedtbeirScandinavian
and
Russian
GermanswordsandcaltbrepausedbyE:stoniantribalwarriQrsinthe13th-14thcenturies.
(MuseumG,Estof'!ianHistory~Tallinn,.Estonia)
9

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