The last decade of the thirteenth century saw a fundamental reordering of political forces in Livonia. While much remained unaffected, and the memory of established traditions was not dimmed, there was a discrepancy between expectation and reality that called out for change. The preceding hundred years, 1190-1290, had been distinguished by a crusading effort in which the bishops, their vassals, the merchants, the Livonian Knights, and many visiting crusaders had worked together to defeat the native pagan tribes, drive away Orthodox Christian and pagan competitors, and create a large superficially Roman Christian state with reasonably defensible borders. In this process the cooperation of the natives of Liv and Lettish ancestry was very important, because they feared their neighbors to the north and south, the Estonians and Lithuanians, more than they resented the feudal German domination. In 1290 this century of conquest ended with the subjection of the Semgallians, whose lands lay between Livonia (as the lands of the Livs and Letts north of the Daugava [Düna, Dvina] came to be known), Kurland (Courland, which extended along the seacoast south to the Prussian province of Samland), and Samogitia (ðemaitija). Further expansion was unlikely. The remaining enemies were Rus’ians and Lithuanians, both powerful peoples inhabiting lands too vast for the crusaders to occupy. Moreover, the past century had seen much more cooperation between Roman and Orthodox Christians in the north than conflict. Only the Samogitians, perhaps, lay within the grasp of the crusaders, but Samogitia was not easy to attack from Livonia.

     The Samogitians dwelt north of the Nemunas (Memel) River, among its many tributaries. Once Semgallia and Kurland seemed to be natural bases for attacking Samogitia from the north, but extensive depopulation of the entire border region had reduced the numbers of allied warriors available for duty there and reforestation made the frontier wilderness ever more difficult to cross; this meant that crusaders from Prussia, using boats to carry men and supplies, could reach the Samogitian settlements more easily than could armies from Livonia. Moreover, once the expansive crusade had run its course in Livonia, the unity dictated by necessity was weakened and the German rulers began to quarrel among themselves. As cooperation once obtained freely through the universal fear of pagan attack and native rebellion faded away, the Livonian master sought to replace it with a more organized feudal state. This effort to make the prelates and cities follow his leadership was to be the history of the next two and a half centuries.

     The crusade to northeastern Europe had never been a simple or homogeneous movement. It was organized by bishops, financed by merchant contributions and pious donations by parishes in Germany, supported by north German crusaders and Danish kings, and protected by the presence of military orders.

The first military-religious order was the Swordbrothers, then the Hospital of Saint Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem, better known as the Teutonic Knights. Eventually they came to personify the crusade. Through the thirteenth century, this enterprise, with its combination of pious and crass motives, attracted support from all the Latin Christian states along the shores of the Baltic sea; hence, it is proper to call it the Baltic Crusade.1 Most crusaders were from northern Germany, many from Saxony.

As a result of the complex manner in which the crusade developed and in which the crusaders conquered the country, the states that were created in Livonia and Estonia formed a colorful and diverse medieval pattern. The archbishop of Riga, the bishop of Dorpat (Tartu), and the bishop of Oesel-Wiek (Saare-Lääne) were independent prelates; the bishop of Kurland was subject to the Livonian Knights; and the bishop of Reval (Tallinn) was dependent on the Danish king. The canons of each of these churches and the monasteries at Dünamünde (at the mouth of the Düna, the German name for the Daugava), Falkenau, and Padis were minor states in themselves; the friars were much less important, but had establishments in the major population centers. The major vassals—the Üxkülls, Thisenhusens, Ropes, and Rosens—were descended from early crusaders related to the first bishop, Albrecht (Albert) von Buxhoevden; the minor vassals and gentry were often of bourgeois origin; here and there were memories of first-generation marriages to native women and native nobles who had assimilated; the Estonian vassals were subject to the Danish crown, but in practice were self-governing; their Low German language betrayed their ancestral roots, though many of them had Estonian forebears, too.2 The larger cities (Riga, Reval, Dorpat) were semi-independent and allied with the Hanseatic League that was in the process of forming at this time; the other towns were often no more than trading posts, half inside and half outside important castles.3 The crusaders ran their own affairs through an elected official, their advocate;4 visiting merchants had their own social life and association.5 This multiplicity of interests impeded the Livonian Knights in their prosecution of the crusade. When crusaders no longer arrived in large numbers, and when the popes and emperors ceased to give help (or even encouragement) to the northern crusades, the crusaders in Livonia began to think primarily in terms of defense, and even more narrowly, in terms of their own defense, not of regional defense. As interests grew more local and the world horizon more limited, only the Livonian Knights continued to remember the crusade. Even for the Livonian Knights this particular crusading task was largely defensive after 1300 (with the exception of supporting Prussian operations in Samogitia and Lithuania). Therefore, it is proper to call it the Livonian Crusade.

The strategies and tactics of local warfare reflected the restrictions of the climate, the relatively sparse population (and hence the meager tax base) gathered into villages which were often widely separated from neighbors, the greater availability of wood compared to building with stone and bricks, and both tribal and feudal traditions of local government. In other words, neither the crusaders nor their enemies had as wide a range of options as they would have wished.

The Native Peoples

     The Baltic Crusade had been started to protect converts and commerce. Those lofty ideals, of course, gave way considerably to practical concerns. Protection of merchants and villages could not be accomplished from afar, and in time more efficient methods were introduced. These were not always the most just, but neither were they in every case tyrannical.6

Protection of the converts came to mean more than defending them from outside attack. It also meant continuing their laws and customs as much as was compatible with Christian values. Thus, clan government through elders, the maintenance of the tribal boundaries, and tribal military units were continued, while polygamy and pagan worship were not. This was agreeable to all parties, to the extent that agreement can be reached in any human society. The Germans were aware that the ancient system of government had made it difficult for the natives to unify in resisting the crusader armies in the thirteenth century and would keep the natives divided in the future; it limited the opportunities for talented and energetic leaders to rise to prominence, while encouraging the truly ambitious native warriors to cross the ethnic-linguistic line and become part of the German community. Therefore, they had reasons to permit the natives considerable autonomy; that kept them divided and made governance easier.7

German administration—whether at the level of the bishops or the Livonian Order, or at that of the knight/advocate who was responsible for smaller districts—retained the ancient tribal territorial organization. Clan leaders (“kings” in some areas, “elders” in others), were involved in the administration of justice and military defense—under the supervision of German knights.

The old earthen fortresses remained as the central element of regional defense; these large enclosures on hills or along steep stream banks, with deep wells, provided security for large numbers of people and their animals. As in olden days, most settlements were nearby, so that the people could flee quickly when the alarm was sounded.8

Although paganism had been formally abolished, it survived in secret. Women, in particular, were conservative in their views. They continued to bring the sacrifices to the dead and to practice the many humble superstitions that rural folk everywhere had followed time out of mind. Some men practiced polygamy without going through a formal marriage with the junior wives, and there was the occasional sacrifice. Since the native peoples lived apart from the Germans, they could safely continue their practices as long as they did so cautiously and quietly.9



There were too few Catholic priests to serve the rural communities, and few of those who could be recruited to serve in the Baltic were masters of the local languages. The Germans had learned early on that the early practice of recruiting local boys (often the sons of pagan priests) had two disadvantages. First, locally reared priests were tempted to explain theological points in ways that their parishioners could understand all too well. The result was an amalgam of Christian and pagan thought which came too close to heresy for comfort. Secondly, these priests were potential revolutionaries. Their knowledge of Christian ideals, western practices, and local customs gave them the perfect background to challenge the Germans for authority. Moreover, while the immediate fear was an armed uprising, it would be only a matter of time before these suspect priests rose into the Church hierarchy to a point where they could challenge the Germans’ hegemony.

 The Livonian Order

 The Livonian Order (as it is easiest to call this semi-autonomous branch of the Teutonic Order) was the most important political and military force in Livonia. The warrior-monks (whose daily lives resembled friars, since they were not confined to their monasteries) numbered about two hundred knights at any one time and could put two or three thousand cavalry into the field. The knights wore the famous white mantle with the black cross and their lower-born sergeants were clad in gray—although from the military point of view there was often little difference in their equipment and skill. They were stationed in convents, permanent monastic garrisons, at strategic points along the frontier and in the interior at castles which had been border strongholds when the Christian territories had been much smaller. They led a life divided between religious and secular duties. As monks they were expected to attend the worship services conducted by their priests and to observe the fasts and feasts of the church calendar. Few were priests, so their religious observations were mostly passive—chastity, poverty and obedience were inactive virtues; their secular responsibilities, on the other hand, were very active. As border guards and governors of vast territories, they were expected to ride out on patrols, train militia, practice their individual and unit skills, collect taxes, supervise justice, and see that the castle had sufficient food, weapons, horses and garrison troops for an emergency. These responsibilities required knowledgeable, skilled knights who knew the world and the men who inhabited it. A castellan10 who could not understand the needs and abilities of those who served under him, or did not appreciate the customs and habits of those who fought against him, was a useless and dangerous man. This contrast of religious and secular duties, this combination of cloistered and worldly life, created a tension that troubled the Livonian Order throughout its existence; but the many advantages outweighed the disadvantages. Livonia could not have been defended without the military order.11

The average castle-convent had about a dozen knights and four or five dozen sergeants (also called a serving brother or gray-mantle; alternatively, a man-at-arms). Early records are scanty, but the inventory left by the powerful castellan of Goldingen12 in April of 1341 may be typical for the larger convents of that era. He had on hand eighteen plowhorses, thirty-nine oxen, and five cows in the stables, and a like number of animals in use in the fields worked by the peasants directly subject to him. A native half-brother (a provisional membership awarded to bailiffs, scouts, and some warriors which may have been only for a set period of time) kept forty-nine cattle and three hundred sheep; another kept three horses. At the estate at Alswangen he had seventy cattle and thirty-seven cavalry horses with twenty-one foals. In his own stables he kept thirty warhorses. All told, this was not an impressive number of animals for the convent most responsible for defending all Kurland. The supplies on hand were kept at scattered locations: 75 tons of rye in Goldingen, 39 tons in Alswangen, 27 tons in Hasenpoth, 15 tons in Neuhaven, 43 tons in Lyndal, and 2 tons with the bishop of Kurland; 35 tons of wheat in Goldingen, 114 tons in Windau, 122 tons in Oesel, 100 tons in Pernau, and 92 tons in Gotland. There were 308 cows dispersed among the natives. A load of preserved fish had just arrived from Memel to add to the large stocks already in existence. A ton of hops was ageing and over two tons were ready for brewing beer; a half-ton of honey was to be used for mead. The treasurer had over 300 Marks cash on hand for purchases in Gotland and he was awaiting the money from the recent sale of four tons of beef; he also had 43 Marks worth of amber stored away. There were two ships in Windau, one of 200 tons and one of 30 tons, to transport bulk cargo and avoid exorbitant shipping rates.13

These stores represented the taxes paid by the natives and the produce of the few estates farmed directly by the order, and they were kept in scattered warehouses for sale rather than for the use of the garrisons. Few details are known about the manorial farms, but it is certain that they were neither large nor numerous. Presumably some prisoners-of-war and resettled rebels were employed on them, but the relative ease of escape made it more likely that the males of the warrior class were ransomed or exchanged, or sold away into slavery, rather than made into serfs. Serfdom was not common in Livonia at this early date, though it did exist and was probably growing slowly from using prisoners as laborers on the larger estates, exchanging some but keeping more permanently. Even less is known about early estate management. It is not even certain that these were run on the three-field system, although that seems a logical method for such progressive landlords as the Livonian Knights, who everywhere introduced the most modern methods, including wind-and watermills, diking and draining; but, although the three-field system is documented later, no date can be given for its introduction (and it may even have predated the German arrival). Generally the Livonian Knights were conservative in their approach to the free natives, not requiring them to make any changes in their traditional habits or economic practices. Hard experience had taught them that innovations cannot be imposed on local nobles or even primitive farmers without provoking an armed revolt—and the farmers, as part of the militia, were still armed. The natives paid their rent in produce, about three bushels per household or double that if their ancestors had rebelled, and they paid a tax of one Mark per year which they raised by selling grain to the merchants (the technical name for which is Grundherrschaft). They also worked four days a year, two in the summer and two in winter, apparently for harvest and plowing (Gutsherrschaft, referring to the Gut or manor). Given the apparently meager labor exactions, the order’s managers could hardly have made the estates very profitable; this sounds more like hay mowing than grain production. Records do not yet provide what economic historians would like to know, but it is clear that the knights fed themselves from the taxes in kind that the natives paid, then sold the surplus abroad to pay for the imports they needed. Therefore, the officers and brothers of the order took a great interest in the tax structure. They gave a somewhat lesser importance to estate management, though that was offset to a large degree by the fact that they could do something personally about the estates—especially about the raising and training of horses, the repair of equipment, and the training of the knights and militia for war.

Whatever freedom the peasants had from direct supervision of their time in the production of grain, the managers took part of it back in unpaid labor services for the common good. The bailiffs could summon the laborers at any time to build fortifications, churches, roads, and bridges. That was what made it possible for the officers to erect fine castles, sturdy bridges, and other buildings necessary to the government and defense of the country. These taxes and labor duties were a heavy exaction, given the primitive agricultural practices of the natives and the climate (the 13th century had been warmer than the 20th, but soon it would be colder), but they hardly sufficed to make the Livonian Knights rich—as the inventories prove time and again. The financial officers had to recalculate constantly their resources, balancing what the natives could provide with that which was needed for governing and defending them; and there was not always a surplus.14

Text Box: Kuuresaa. Photo by Brian Ramsey-Chabowski.The officers and brethren took little note of native life other than assuring that they paid taxes and rendered military service. This was not surprising, considering that knights and simple monks were not allowed to interfere in religious education. Spiritual life they left to the handful of priests the bishops had available to serve the rural parishes. The officers and brethren similarly left local government to the native chiefs, supervising the system of justice and the military training through the advocates, who generally lived among their charges. Archeological evidence suggests a declining standard of living, despite the advantages of having eliminated local warfare and encouraged commerce.15

Text Box: Tolsburg (Toolse) castle. Photo by Brian Ramsey-Chabowski.In 1300 the Livonian Order had just begun what could be called its “classical” building period, during which they constructed castles of brick and stone according to a general plan rather than adhering to the earlier practice of allowing the lay of the land to determine the contour of the walls. The new castles contained a strongly-built keep, an inner court where the buildings lined the square walls, an outer court of considerable area where refugees could gather with their belongings and animals, and suburbs where the natives and merchants lived and the stables and other outbuildings were located. Each castle had commodious rooms for dormitories and the storage of supplies, and a chapel for religious services. The walls were tall and stoutly built so that a small garrison could defend them until help arrived; failing that, the knights could retreat into the keep, pull up the staircase and drawbridge into the tiny, lofty door, and use their crossbows against those figures far below who tried to hack through or dig under the thick stone wall to penetrate into the structure or topple it. Such a castle was very expensive, both in terms of native labor and in hiring specialists who cut stone, baked brick, and laid the materials properly to create strong walls and stately buildings. Raw workmen could lug and carry, but architects and artisans were indispensable. Finding skilled building masters who would serve in the Baltic was not easy, so their pay must have been high, for the work they had to do was considerable. There were about one hundred and forty castles of varying sizes in Livonia, perhaps two dozen with large garrisons (a dozen or more knights).16

The Livonian Knights were able to build these castles and provide warriors to garrison them only because their men were volunteers bound to vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. It was far cheaper to house a company of men in communal barracks, feed them cabbage, bread, and fish, and clothe them in simple garments than to maintain a similar number of knightly vassals who had to provide for wives and families, and, moreover, maintain a certain level of comfort, luxury, and display; this was true even when a significant number of knights was too aged or infirm for active service. The origin of these warrior-monks was diverse. The knights of noble birth, the elite of the military order, were often second and third sons of minor nobility; they were trained as knights (as a form of family insurance, should anything happen to the eldest son), but did not share in the inheritance; unless they were inclined to the clergy (and becoming a bishop or abbot was not cheap), the only honorable life they could imagine was the profession they were trained in: warfare. They could see that knights who followed a mercenary career lived a hand-to-mouth existence, were usually unemployed, and drifted from one place to another; mercenaries would chase the dream of winning enough booty to buy a small estate; they would fear the injury or illness that could send them into disgraceful poverty; and they were an embarrassment to their families. They saw that knights who joined the retinue of a great noble seldom advanced their fortunes far. Other careers hardly existed, partly because they had not been educated for a profession or business, but more because their pride did not allow them to consider such demeaning livelihoods. In contrast, the major military orders offered security, honor, and opportunity for advancement; more than one man made his family wealthy and influential through his exercise of high office in a military order. Life there wasn’t all poverty, chastity and obedience; there were banquets, hunting, festivals, public acclaim and politics of such importance and complexity that stay-at-home brothers and cousins must have envied them; it was common for younger brothers and nephews to enlist once a family member had risen in the ranks of the military order.17

Other recruits came from the mercantile class that served as knights in city militias. These men saw the possibility of quick advancement in the administrative posts of the order, where the ability to read, keep books, and conduct the business of the convents was highly appreciated.18

The Livonian Knights relied on the recruit who was openly ambitious and perhaps even devout, because the knights were usually officers rather than simple warriors: the more intelligent were given command of units, the less gifted ones only a following of a few men-at-arms and minor responsibilities. This influx of young knights allowed the order to take in a few older men who saw joining a monastic order as a way of earning salvation, and to take in a few former criminals who first professed repentance and then volunteered for the crusades as an alternative to death or other brutal and degrading punishments. There were always those who complained about the order’s practice of accepting social outcasts as recruits, but the practice was a reasonable solution to many a criminal process in that it removed the culprit from the area of his crime and gave him a life-long useful employment. Moreover, it was difficult to find men who would abandon their pleasant life in Germany and travel to the distant Baltic, with its fierce winters, to live in poverty and chastity, and to be subject to a constant and sometimes harsh discipline. The recruiters were glad to take whatever men they could find, and officers were confident that they could impose discipline on even the hardest cases. Religious enthusiasm was still important in bringing recruits into the Livonian Order, but it probably did not compare to the reasons just given; it was rather a secondary motivation that worked with the others to persuade a young knight to dedicate his life to the cross, living as a monk and fighting as a knight; a few mature knights saw membership as a way out of unhappy marriages (with the wife’s consent) or the stress of secular life.

Originally the knights were mostly of Saxon origin, but since Saxony did not supply sufficient recruits to maintain the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order at full strength, they were heavily reinforced by knights from Westphalia and the Rhineland until these latter groups became the majority. All these knights spoke Low German—as did the secular vassals and burghers who had settled in Livonia and Estonia—and observed a simpler, less sophisticated social and cultural life than did the knights from Thuringia, the Rhineland, Bavaria, Austria, and the Tyrol, whose recruits went to Prussia. Consequently, elaborate chivalric practices were less important in Livonia than in the more southerly territory; there were fewer lavish banquets, large assemblies, parades, visitors from abroad and (alas!) also fewer chroniclers, poets, and historians.

Although the Livonian Order was semi-autonomous, it was also part of a great international organization. The pope and emperor were patrons and, in theory, joint rulers over them. The grandmaster exercised supervisory powers; at first he was unimportant, because he lived so far away (until the fall of Acre in 1290 he resided in the Holy Land, then in Venice, and not until 1309 did he move to Marienburg castle in Prussia); even later he did not limit local autonomy much, because he rarely deigned to visit Livonia or even send ambassadors for oversight and review. Nevertheless, the grandmaster’s powers were extensive, his advice was long considered equal to a command, and his orders were obeyed without question.

The grandmaster governed Prussia through an inner council. He legislated for the entire order through decrees issued with the consent of his council of advisors and laws passed in the grand chapter meeting.19 The grandmaster also conducted diplomacy and maintained experienced and skillful procurators (lawyers) at the papal and imperial courts to defend the interests of the Teutonic Order in Prussia and its German and Livonian branches against their many enemies. Since the grandmaster had a large army and many crusaders at his disposal in Prussia, he became the director of the war against the Lithuanian pagans, and planned the joint operations against that dangerous and undiscouraged enemy.

The Livonian master looked so much toward Prussia for leadership and assistance that it is easy to forget that the Teutonic Knights also had many possessions and troops in the Holy Roman Empire.20 The German master governed there in a manner similar to that of the Livonian master, but since he faced no external foe, he concerned himself with imperial and church business. He supervised the scattered convents, visited the many churches and manors, chaired the annual chapter meeting, and recruited knights, crusaders, and mercenary soldiers. In short, he provided the men and money that made the crusades to Prussia and Livonia possible.

This ability to gather troops and treasure in Germany, Bohemia and Italy gave the Teutonic Knights a reputation of having fantastic wealth. This was due more to careful management of resources and the inexpensive nature of the army than to an inexhaustible supply of gold and silver coins; in truth, money was never as plentiful as imagined and it was not always available. Much depended on conditions in the Holy Roman Empire and in the Church. Germany was relatively rich, and Germans contributed heavily in times of need. Prussia and Livonia, in contrast, contained more wilderness and swamp than arable land; long, cold winters followed the short growing seasons; nevertheless, these relatively poor lands had to provide the bulk of the master’s income. Consequently, the master gave great attention to financial administration; he was also very concerned with the horse farms, each of which required producing hay and oats.

The Livonian Knights encouraged enterprises that would pay taxes. Grain raising and fishing were prominent, but their subjects also harvested lumber, beeswax and amber. In Prussia this had been so successful that the agricultural and mercantile communities were able to provide dependable and profitable exports; this led to the rise of rich communities at Danzig, Culm, Elbing, and Thorn. Likewise, the Livonian Knights sold grain and other products abroad or to merchants in Riga; thus, grain and forest products not only provided for their daily maintenance, but also supplied hard cash. Whatever additional monies could be gathered from pious donors in Germany could be put directly into capital improvements.

Thanks to the ready money which bought brick, building stone, mortar, and the services of skilled workmen—and to the required labor services of the native peasantry—over the years powerful, well-designed brick fortresses rose on the foundations of the wood and earth castles of the previous century. Spacious gothic churches outfitted with organs and precious art replaced rude chapels, and a variety of utilitarian structures made life easier and more pleasant. The brick castles in Prussia, in particular, impressed their impecunious neighbors and even the rich and powerful crusaders who visited them. Most medieval nobles were so short of cash that anyone who had ready money was assumed to possess fabulous wealth; the average ruler could hardly count upon his vassals’ unconditional obedience, and therefore believed that anyone who could issue an order and not doubt that it would be carried out was immensely powerful. The grandmaster, thanks to his money and the discipline of his warrior-monks, could do both; therefore, his prestige was formidable. He lived like a prince, in striking contrast to the simple abstinence of the brethren.21

Like the grandmaster in Prussia, the master in Livonia was elected by his brother knights for a lifetime term. He was responsible for foreign relations, for maintaining contact with the other branches of the Teutonic Order, and for supervising all subordinate officers. His was an important office, much resembling an elective kingship. Unfortunately, we know little about the men who held it: the master was customarily of middle-level noble birth, rarely very well born and never very low born; he entered the military order as a young man and served obscurely in the minor offices until he reached middle age, when important responsibilities were assumed; he was elected to highest office only toward the end of his career, occasionally when he was sixty or even seventy years of age; his appearance, his habits, his personality can be only guessed at, because the chroniclers took notice only of deeds and left only the barest report of those. He usually lived at Wenden, but he often traveled about the country, visiting Fellin in southern Estonia, St. George’s in Riga, and the castles along the Daugava River. Much less often he visited the outposts in Semgallia and Kurland. He did not rule alone. His most important subordinate was the marshal, who usually lived in Riga and, being younger than the master, customarily led the army in battle; often there was a vice-master when the master was ill, aged, or out of the country. Then there were a treasurer, a quartermaster general, a chancellor, and a few trusted advisors who formed his council. This council usually consisted of seven men who were joined in deliberations by any experienced knight who happened to be present. There was also an annual chapter meeting in which the castellans and advocates participated; all important business was debated there and the policies that this assembly adopted were carried out faithfully by the master and his officers.

The parts of Livonia ruled by the Livonian Knights were eventually divided into twenty-two regions, each governed by a castellan (Komtur) or an advocate (Vogt), the difference being that a castellan was a officer who headed a convent (which was always an important castle), and an advocate was responsible for governing native tribes with the help of a council of elders. The advocate lived in the heart of his district, often with only a small garrison, far from the other convents and the areas given to German-speaking knights and gentry. Because Livonia was a large land, with great distances between settlements, it was not easy for the master to direct his subordinates in emergencies. Decisions often had to be made quickly. Therefore, castellans and advocates had great autonomy; each region was a tiny state unto itself, and the practice of continuing officers in the same post year after year emphasized this.

This is approximately half of chapter one.

1 William Urban, “The Military Occupation of Semgallia in the Thirteenth Century,” Baltic History (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1974), 21-34; Baltic Crusade, 321-336; also, Jerry C. Smith and William Urban, The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (2nd edition. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 2001).

2 The Making of Europe, 51-59, 73-76, 99-101, describes well the kind of aggressive noble who made his home on the frontier. This occurred on every periphery of Europe, but was most successful in Spain and Livonia. Many were Saxon, but the word Saks came to mean only “lord”.

3 Northern Europe, 3-6; Northern Crusades, 141-143; Lithuania Ascending, 9-14; Ilgvars Misãnas, “Die späten Anfänge städischer Zusammenarbeit in Alt-Livland,” Zwischen Lübeck und Novgorod, 89-98, for the reasons why the Livonian cities failed to cooperate in the thirteenth century; Andreas Kolbergs, The Story of Riga: History of Riga Old Town (Riga, 1998) has good walking tours which describe the changing face of the city over the ages.

4 An advocate was a legal representative or spokesman. For corporations such as that of the visiting crusaders, this was an elective post. For the Livonian Knights it was an appointment similar to that of castellan, but without a full convent of knights, priests and sergeants. The advocates in Livonia supervised the native tribes, advising and conferring with them on military and legal matters, collecting taxes, tithes and tribute, and training their forces for war. He was a very important officer.

5 The Making of Europe, 194-196.

6 Baltic Crusade, 45-52; Northern Crusades, 89-91; Anti Selart, Eesti Idapiir Keskajal (Tartu: Kirjastus, 1998),              with a German summary, 134-138, describes the fluid eastern frontier of Estonia, with the developing trade connections along waterways and roads, and new military fortifications that eventually created a boundary between peoples who were once much alike. Also Tiina Kala, “The Incorporation of the Northern Baltic Lands into the Western Christian World”, in Crusade and Conversion, 3-20.

7 Walter Clemens calls the native societies “military oligarchies” in which the aristocracies made decisions that the tenant farmers carried out; he asserts that local loyalties (village and clan) were far more important than larger attachments such as language or nation. “Self-organization versus autocracy in Baltic life, A.D. 1000-2000,” Lituanus, 46/1 (2000), 16-17; Studia, 107-142.

8 Marija Gimbutas, The Balts (New York: Praeger, 1963), 168-172; also publications by Evalds Mugurevics:; Getreidehandel, 11-19.

9 Gimbutas, The Balts, 179-204; Mastnak, Crusading Peace, 124-127, declared that holy wars were inherently genocidal. Reality was more complex, and he never mentions the Baltic crusades.

10 The commander or preceptor (Komtur) of a castle/convent and the surrounding lands. He was always an outstanding knight in terms of leadership, vigor and birth. Military Orders, I, 152-153; Sven Ekdahl, “The Strategic Organization of the Commanderies of the Teutonic Order in Prussia and Livonia”, La Commanderie, 219-242.

11 Military Orders, I, 2-3, 49-50, 67, 188-192; there were 1200-1400 knights in Livonia between 1237 and 1309. We can identify only six to seven percent of these individuals, and most of those were officers. Some came from southern Germany, more from the north, but the number from Thuringia and surrounding lands was very high. Klaus Militzer, “The Recruitment of Brethren for the Teutonic Order in Livonia, 1237-1562,” Military Orders, I, 272; Ritterbrüder, 11-16.

12 Hermann Gutacker, Ritterbrüder, 281-282. This knight seems to stem from a very minor noble family living near Dortmund, but he made a very good career in Livonia: castellan of Goldingen 1337-1341, advocate of Jerwen in Estonia 1345-1346, and then castellan of Pernau 1347-1357; Von der Grafschaft Mark, 77; see Military Orders, I, 68-70, 150-151; Northern Crusades, 210-12.

13 LUB, II, #803; Getreidehandel, 184-198; for more background, William Urban, “The Organization of the Defense of the Livonian Frontier in the Thirteenth Century.” Speculum, 48(July 1973), 525-532; Marian Tumler, Der Deutsche Orden in Werden, Wachsen, und Wirken bis 1400 (Wien: Panorama, 1955), 358-445; Erich Maschke, Domus Hospitalis Theutonicorum (Bonn-Bad Godesberg: Wissenschaftliches Archiv, 1970) contains articles including, Bohm, “Die Besetzung der livländischen Bistümer,” 329-330. Best of all is Friedrich Benninghoven, Der Order der Schwertbrüder (Köln-Graz, Böhlau, 1965), which does not have a narrative past 1242 but which still describes the problems and potentialities of the entire era accurately.

14 Juhan Kakh and Enn Tarvel, An Economic History of the Baltic Countries, 32-33, for the manorial economy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Livonia and Estonia; also Northern Crusades, 200-206; The Making of Europe, 148-156.

15 Gimbutas, The Balts, for a look at the prehistoric (before 1200) archeological record.

16 valds Mugurvičs, Archeologija, 93-104, with descriptions of the castles at Wenden, Dünaburg, and Doblen. In Latvian, but easy to follow. See also Gerhard Eimer and Ernst Gierlich, Echte Wehrhaftigkeit oder martialische Wirkung: Zur praktischen Funktion und zum Symbolcharakter von Wehrelementen profaner und sakraler Bauten im Deutschordensland Preußen und im Ostseeraum (Köln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 2000).

17 Ritterbrüder, 60-70, and Von der Grafschaft Mark, 46-53, for policies underlying recruiting and typical career paths; also Military Orders, I, 132-147, for the qualifications, career advantages and the difficulties of recruiting suitable members; Northern Crusades, 81-86; Dieter Weiss, “Spiritual Life in the Teutonic Order: a Comparison between the Commanderies of Franconia and Prussia”, La Commanderie, 159-173.

18 Most German knights had not been considered nobles until the thirteenth century, and even now were a second-class nobility. Originally nobility had been limited to a small number of families which employed free farmers and serfs as warriors and administrators. Rich merchants who could equip themselves as knights were also accepted into this ministeriale class.

19 The inner council, the important castellans and advocates, representatives from the convents, including priests and sergeants, and the masters of Germany and Livonia were to gather in the grand chapter annually to discuss all business—the election of officers, making of war and peace, and ongoing reform of convent and military affairs. The grandmaster presided when it was practical, an acting-grandmaster on those occasions when it was necessary to elect the grandmaster’s successor.

20 The master had few possessions outside Livonia to provide him an income. In contrast, the grandmaster had important estates in Germany. The Swordbrothers had left an estate at Lyndell in Denmark, a village in Holstein that was quickly sold, and a hostel in Lübeck for the use of official travelers to and from Livonia. There were also some scattered properties in Mecklenburg that were exchanged for a property in Wismar that was sold in 1356. A property in Bremen was eventually placed under the care of the Livonian Order. Klaus Militzer, Die Entstehung der Deutschordensballeien im Deutschen Reich (2nd edition. Marburg: Elwert, 1981) [Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens, 16], 164-165.

21 See Images of the Military Orders, 3. One awkwardly phrased sentence could be read as saying that the native population of Prussia had been exterminated. Such was not the case, of course. What was meant, it seems, was that opposition to Christianity had been exterminated.