The Baltic Crusades were a series of military campaigns commencing in 1147 and ending in 1505, targeting the pagans living in the Baltic region.
Join me as we take a look at one of the lesser-known series of crusades...
Meet the Balts
The Wendish Crusade I - Henry the Lion
Here is a statue which is thought to represent the Duke of Saxony - Henry the Lion. Located in Braunschweig Cathedral in Germany.
The Wendish Crusade II - Wrong bird!
The Wendish Crusade III - In the shadow of the Crusade
This bleak painting is by 19th century German artist Caspar David Friedrich. He was raised on the shores of the Baltic Sea and I think it nicely depicts the difficulty of establishing churches in pagan lands prior to the Baltic Crusades
The Teutonic Knights
Here is a picture of a man wearing the habit of the Teutonic Order (from the Codex Manesse)
The Christianisation of Poland.
Here is a nice portrait of Mieszko I of Poland - unfortunately it may not be terribly accurate as it was painted (by Jan Matejko) around 900 years after his death.
The Livonian Crusade I - Latin-Christian expansion.
Here is an aerial view of the old town of Lübeck, established prior to the Livonian Crusade.
The Livonian Crusade II - An unpromising start.
The Livonian Crusade III - Bishop Albert
Here's a statue of Bishop Albert on the facade of the Cathedral in Riga, Latvia.
The Livonian Crusade IV - The Swordbrothers
Here is a picture of a Teutonic Knight and a Swordbrother. The Swordbrother is on the right, striking a superhero pose.
The Livonian Crusade V - The Christian Pageant
The Livonian Crusade VI - Polotsk
The Livonian Crusade VII - Livonian uprising
Here is a picture of the town of Polotsk (capital city of the Russian Principality of Polotsk) during the 16th century.
The Livonian Crusade VIII - External threats
Here is coin minted during the reign of the all-conquering King Valdemar II of Denmark - featuring a picture of the man himself.
The Livonian Crusade IX - 'Life is not fair. Praise God'
The Livonian Crusade X - Headaches for Bishop Albert
The Livonian Crusade XI - Attacking the neighbours.
Here is a picture of Otto IV of Saxony, shaking hands with Pope Innocent III. Otto is the child-like figure in the middle of the picture.
The Livonian Crusade XII - Livonia under attack
The Livonian Crusade XIII - The Estonian problem
The Livonian Crusade XIV - 1212-1215
The Livonian Crusade XV - The Fourth Lateran Council
The Fourth Lateran Council was held at the Lateran Palace in Rome in November 1215. Here is a depiction of how the palace would have appeared in 1215.
The Livonian Crusade XVI - Two Alberts
The Livonian Crusade XVII - The Danish Checkmate
The Livonian Crusade XVIII - The Danish conquest of Estonia
When King Waldemar II of Denmark attacked the fort at Reval, Estonia in 1219, he built a Danish castle on the site. Today, Reval is called Tallinn and is the capital of Estonia. Toompea Castle now occupies the site where the original fort once stood.
The Livonian Crusade IXX - Danish ascendancy
The Livonian Crusade XX - 1221-1222
The Livonian Crusade XXI - The Estonian uprisings
The Livonian Crusade XXII - Changing fortunes
The Livonian Crusade XXIII - William of Modena
The Livonian Crusade XXIV - 1227: A finishing point
The Prussian Crusade I - Pre-Christian Prussia
Carved boulders depicting both male and female figures were created by the pagan Prussians. Unfortunately, little is known about why they were made, or their function.
The Prussian Crusade II - Poland
The Prussian Crusade III - Bishop Christian
Here is a plaque dedicated to Bishop Christian, in Poland.
The Prussian Crusade IV - 1221-1226
The Prussian Crusade V - The Teutonic Knights
The Prussian Crusade VI - The Golden Bull of Rimini
Here is a photo of the document featured in this episode - the Golden Bull of Rimini. Image from the photograph archives of the University of Marburg
The Prussian Crusade VII - Vogelsang
The Prussian Crusade VIII - Legalities
The Prussian Crusade IX - The Charter of Kulm
The Livonian Crusade XXV - Baldwin of Alna
The Livonian Crusade XXVI - Overreach
The Livonian Crusade XXVII - Trouble for the Swordbrothers
The Livonian Crusade XXVIII - The end of the Swordbrothers
The Crusade to Novgorod
Here is a depiction of the famous Battle on the Ice fought during the Crusade to Novgorod (taken from a 16th century manuscript entitled 'The Life of Alexander Nevsky')
The Prussian Crusade X - Bishop Christian
Here is a memorial to Bishop Christian which you can currently find in northern Poland.
The Prussian Crusade XI - The Four Bishoprics
Here is a map of 13th century Prussia which doesn't show the four Bishoprics but does show the location of the main settlements established by the Teutonic Order and the areas occupied by the different Prussian groupsl
The Mongol Invasions
Following the defeat of the Polish forces at the battle of Liegnitz, the Mongols decapitated Duke Henryk II of Silesia and placed his head on a spear at the front of the Mongol army. Here is an illustration of that event from a manuscript which forms part of the collection at the Warsaw University Library.
The Livonian Crusade XXIX - The Southern Push Part 1
The Livonian Crusade XXX - The Southern Push Part 2
The Livonian Crusade XXXI - The Southern Push Part 3
The Livonian Crusade XXXII - Samogitian defiance
The Livonian Crusade XXXIII - Albert Suerbeer
The Prussian Crusade XII - The First Prussian Insurrection
The Livonian Crusade XXXIV - The Battle of Durben
The Livonian Crusade XXXV - Crisis
Here is a useful map (courtesy of wikipedia) setting out the situation in the Baltic region in the year 1260
The Prussian Crusade XIII - The Second Prussian Insurrection
The Prussian Crusade XIV - The siege of Königsberg
The Livonian Crusade XXXVI - The Order fights back
The Prussian Crusade XV - Pagan victories
The Prussian Crusade XVI - Samland surrenders
The Prussian Crusade XVII - The end of the Second Insurrection
The Livonian Crusade XXXVII - The early 1270s
The Livonian Crusade XXXVIII - The late 1270s
The Prussian Crusade XVIII - The Third Prussian Insurrection
The Prussian Crusade XIX - So many Master Conrads
The Prussian Crusade XX - A fuzzy end
The Prussian Crusade XXI - A less fuzzy end
In this episode, we discuss the Fifth Prussian Insurrection and the end of the Prussian Crusade. One of the victims of the Insurrection was Martin von Golin. Here is a photo of a column which may have been erected in Martin's honour at the site of his death in a forest near Königsberg.
The Livonian Crusade XXXIX - The merchants of Riga
The Livonian Crusade XL - Civil war
The Livonian Crusade XLI - Archbishop Isarnus of Riga
The Livonian Crusade XLII - Archbishop Friedrich of Riga
The Samogitian Crusade I - Setting the scene
The Samogitian Crusade II - Vytenis v Heinrich von Plötzke
The Samogitian Crusade III - Grandmaster Karl von Trier
The Livonian Crusade XLIII - Papal investigations
The Samogitian Crusade IV - Samogitian focus
The Livonian Crusade XLIV - The civil war rolls on
The Livonian Crusade XLV - The letters of Gediminas
The Livonian Crusade XLVI - Lithuania rising
The Samogitian Crusade V - 1328-1330
The Livonian Crusade XLVII - The end of the civil war
The Samogitian Crusade VI - The battle of Płowce
The Samogitian Crusade VII - King Casimir of Poland
The Livonian Crusade XLVIII - The Great Estonian Insurrection Part 1
The Livonian Crusade XLIX - The Great Estonian Insurrection Part 2
The Livonian Crusade L - The Great Estonian insurrection Part 3
The Samogitian Crusade VIII - Grand Duke Algirdas of Lithuania
The Samogitian Crusade IX - The battle on the Strebe
The Samogitian Crusade X - Grandmaster Winrich von Kniprode
The Samogitian Crusade XI - Dobrin
The Samogitian Crusade XII - A failed conversion
The Samogitian Crusade XIII - The siege of Kaunas 1362
The Livonian Crusade LI - Border raids
The Samogitian Crusade XIV - The Battle of Rudau
The Samogitian Crusade XV - Jogaila
The Samogitian Crusade XVI - The Supreme Prince of Lithuania
The Samogitian Crusade XVII - Jogaila v Vytautas
The Samogitian Crusade XVIII - Poland and Lithuania
The Samogitian Crusade XIX - Samogitian defiance
The Samogitian Crusade XX - Vytautus strikes back
The Samogitian Crusade XXI - The crusade of Henry Bolingbroke
The Samogitian Crusade XXII - Grandmaster Conrad von Wallenrode
The Samogitian Crusade XXIII - Vytautus victorious
The Samogitian Crusade XXIV - The second siege of Vilnius
The Samogitian Crusade XXV - The end of the Samogitian Crusade
The Samogitian Crusade XXVI - Samogitian revolt
Should you wish to pick up a novel set from this time onwards until the end of the Baltic Crusades - I recommend The Teutonic Knights by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It's considered a masterpiece of Polish literature and is well worth tracking down.
The Livonian Crusade LII - Internal strife
The Lithuanian Conflict I - The Gotland War
The Lithuanian Conflict II - Rebellion and war
The Lithuanian Conflict III - Trying times
The Lithuanian Conflict IV - Tensions rise
The Lithuanian Conflict V - Samogitia erupts
The Lithuanian Conflict VI - A troubled peace
The Lithuanian Conflict VII - The Battle of Tannenberg Part 1
The Lithuanian Conflict VIII - The Battle of Tannenberg Part 2
The Lithuanian Conflict IX - The Battle of Tannenberg Part 3
This painting by Jan Matejko (1878) depicts the Battle of Tannenberg. You can see Grand Duke Vytautus in red raising his sword while Grandmaster Ulrich von Jungingen is cut down nearby. The painting is currently on display at the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland.
The Lithuanian Conflict X - To Marienburg
The Lithuanian Conflict XI - The siege of Marienburg
Marienburg Castle is now called Malbork Castle and is in Poland. It was extensively damaged during World War II but has been restored to its former glory. It's an absolutely enormous structure and is the largest brick building in Europe.
The Lithuanian Conflict XII - The First Peace of Thorn