The Scandinavian Baltic Crusades 1100-1500

Overview

Wielding their swords in the name of their faith, the crusaders originally set out to reclaim Jerusalem and its surrounding territory in the Middle East. Increasingly, however, Eastern Europe and the last remaining bastions of pagan Europe became the targets of their religious zeal.

The era officially began in 1147, when the Saxons, Danes, and Poles, responding to Pope Eugene III's call, initiated a crusade against the Wends of the Southern Baltic. This was followed by crusades ...

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Overview

Wielding their swords in the name of their faith, the crusaders originally set out to reclaim Jerusalem and its surrounding territory in the Middle East. Increasingly, however, Eastern Europe and the last remaining bastions of pagan Europe became the targets of their religious zeal.

The era officially began in 1147, when the Saxons, Danes, and Poles, responding to Pope Eugene III's call, initiated a crusade against the Wends of the Southern Baltic. This was followed by crusades against the Livonians, Estonians, Finns, Prussians, and Lithuanians. By the 13th century much of the responsibility for sustaining these crusades fell to the Teutonic Knights, a military order formed in the Holy Land in 1190. They were aided by the constant support of the Roman pontiff and by a steady flow of mercenaries from throughout Christendom.

The subsequent Scandinavian campaigns laid the foundations of modern Baltic society by destroying pagan rural farming settlements, and establishing fortified Christian towns and major castles. As with the majority of crusades, the prospective acquisition of land and power was the one of the key driving forces behind these bloody military expeditions.

This book reveals the colorful history of these Crusades when the soldiers of the Pope fought their way across Eastern Europe and inexorably changed the future of the continent.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781841769882
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Series: Men-at-Arms Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 596,300
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lindholm MA, was born in 1970. He was educated at the University of Lund in Sweden where he studied medieval archaeology, history and ethnology. He is also a specialist of medieval weaponry and warfare.

David Nicolle was born in 1944 and worked in the BBC Arabic service for a number of years, before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written many books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     3
Definitions of a crusade
Participants in the Baltic Crusades
The Baltic at the time of the Crusades
Chronology     7
The Armies     9
Equipment of the Scandinavian Crusaders     11
The difficulties of interpreting sources
1100-1300: shields - swords - helmets - mail armour - the gambeson - the importance of the bow and crossbow - close combat weapons
1300-1400: additional plate reinforcements - the coat-of-plates - helmets: the bascinet, the 'Order helmet' and the 'kettle-hat' - mutual copying of some infantry and cavalry items - shields and bucklers. Weapons: hand-held guns - crossbows - swords - daggers - pole-arms
1400-1500: plate armour - halberds and poleaxes - longswords - crossbows
Military Equipment in the Baltic Lands & Novgorod     21
1100-1300: Armour - shields - weapons
1300-1500
Strategy & Tactics     33
Strongpoints and raiding
Climate and terrain - winter warfare
Boats and ships
Fortifications
Siege warfare
Aftermath of the Crusades     40
Further Reading     42
Plate Commentaries     43
Index     48
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