Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Northern Crusades Against the Last Pagans of Europe

Northern Crusades Against the Last Pagans of Europe - Background information on the 13th century crusades against the Baltic Pagans. Part of a site promoting novels set in the period.

From the site:

By the beginning of the XIII-th century the pagan past of Europe belonged already to legends. Everywhere Christianity had triumphed and become not only the prevailing religion, but also a mainstay of feudalism . Everywhere, except along the eastern coast of the Baltic sea. There the Baltic peoples continued to adhere to the ancient way of life. Christian Europe had been busy with the Crusades to the Holly Land, but there the tide had turned. The remnants of the crusading armies were besieged in a few coastal enclaves and it was evident that their time was running out. Supply and reinforcement across a distant sea harassed by Muslim fleets had proven untenable. By this time Christian Europe was hardened by religion driven wars which had lasted a century. Society had changed in response to the demands of war, and the hierarchy of the Church had not escaped its corroding influence . Thus now there were even monastic orders whose purpose of existence was not to pray or perform good deeds, but to wield the sword in the name of Christ. No matter that the Prince of Peace had said that those who - "Raise the sword shall perish by it!". Mans capacity for self justification and sophistry is boundless. The sword was unsheathed, justifications were added as an afterthought, and the newly unemployed knights looked for other heathen lands to conquer. It was then that the stubborn Baltic tribes were remembered and the Northern Crusades began.


colt68 said...

I am looking for information on a city-state that was attacked by the Northern Crusades. It could have been the capital of Saaremaa but I'm not sure.

The city was described as the Venice of the North because of its size, wealth and canals. The city allowed all religions to practice and this along with the obvious wealth was more than their "Christian" neighbors could stand.

I have Googled myself crazy over this and have come up with very little. Any suggestions on where to search would be great. Thanks

Anonymous said...

This city or city-state is mentioned in "Chronica Slavorum" by Helmold of Bosau.