The thirteenth-century Crusade to Livonia, an event described by The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle is best understood within the context of two powerful movements of the era--the Christian crusades and the German Drang nach Osten. The opening decades of the century had witnessed the high point of the crusades: the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople, the Fifth Crusade to Egypt, the Albigensian Crusade in France, the Spanish Crusades in Valencia, as well as the fighting within the Holy Land itself. During that same period there had been a large German eastward migration. The early movement of German peasants and petty nobles was mostly peaceful, in part even a result of the invitation of Slavic nobles. However, German conquest of eastern areas was not unknown, as for example the case of the Wends. These two movements--the Crusades and the German expansion eastward--coincided in creating the Livonian and Prussian Crusades.

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