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September 22, 1236

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Antonenko, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. Martin Antonenko A Fixture

    The end of the Brothers of the Sword...

    In 1202, Theodoric of Treyden...


    ... on the initiative of Bishop Albert I of Riga...


    ... founded the so-called "Brothers of the Sword" (Latin: Fratres miliciae Christi de Livonia, in English "Brothers of the Knighthood of Christ of Livonia") as a spiritual knightly order for the missionary work in Livonia (Lithuania).

    The Order was committed to the Younger Templar Rule; its members had to live under spartan conditions, practice chastity and were obliged to obey the master of the order. The Order divided its members into three classes, namely Knights, Priests and Serving Brothers.

    The knights wore a white cloak over a white tunic with the sign of the order, a red cross of swords...


    ... which is also where the term "Brothers of the Sword" comes from.

    Priestly brothers wore a white robe, serving brothers black or brown clothing, each also with the sign of the order...:


    The members of the order were supposed to "convert" the pagan Slavs who lived there to Christianity (rather less) through the word, but (predominantly) with fire and sword...:


    Here coat of arms and costume of the Brothers of the Sword...:



    Unfortunately, the Slavic tribes showed little inclination to accept the new faith! These different tribes...


    ... felt quite comfortable with their old gods and myths and would not be dissuaded from killing missionaries sent to them by the bishop and resisting "punitive actions" by the armed arm of his eminence, precisely those Brothers in the Sword.

    Sounds a bit like Varus in Germania, doesn't it...?

    That's right - and that's how it ends!

    On September 22, 1236, only 34 years after its founding, the troops of the "Order of the Brothers of the Sword of Christ of Livonia" under their "Herrenmeister" (Grand Master) Volkwin von Naumburg become Winterstätten...


    ... on this field...


    ...devastatingly defeated by the warriors of an army of the Lithuanian tribe of the Žemaites in the Battle of Saule (or Schaulen)...:


    The heavily armored knights and crusaders were completely outnumbered by the lightly armed native warriors in the swampy terrain and were almost entirely destroyed. Herrenmeister Volkwin also died in combat.




    A few knights managed to escape from the battlefield and tried to make their way to safety in Riga.

    A neighboring tribe of the victorious Žemaites, the Zemgales, happily seized the opportunity presented to them and completely slaughtered the fugitives...:

    The Order of the Brothers of the Sword was nearly wiped out!

    The few survivors of the brotherhood were then absorbed into the "Teutonic Order".
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Never knew about this order so again interesting to learn about

    Martin Antonenko likes this.

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