The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier

Routledge
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The conversion of the lands on the southern and eastern shores of the Baltic Sea by Germans, Danes and Swedes in the period from 1150 to 1400 represented the last great struggle between Christianity and paganism on the European continent, but for the indigenous peoples of Finland, Livonia, Prussia, Lithuania and Pomerania, it was also a period of wider cultural conflict and transformation. Along with the Christian faith came a new and foreign culture: the German and Scandinavian languages of the crusaders and the Latin of their priests, new names for places, superior military technology, and churches and fortifications built of stone. For newly baptized populations, the acceptance of Christianity encompassed major changes in the organization and practice of political, religious and social life, entailing the acceptance of government by alien elites, of new cultic practices, and of new obligations such as taxes, tithes and military service in the armies of the Christian rulers. At the same time, as the Western conquerors carried their campaigns beyond pagan territory into the principalities of north-western Russia, the Baltic Crusades also developed into a struggle between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. This collection of sixteen essays by both established and younger scholars explores the theme of clash of cultures from a variety of perspectives, discussing the nature and ideology of crusading in the medieval Baltic region, the struggle between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and the cultural confrontation that accompanied the process of conversion, in subjects as diverse as religious observation, political structures, the practice of warfare, art and music, and perceptions of the landscape.
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About the author

Alan V. Murray is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds, UK.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Dec 5, 2016
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Pages
394
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ISBN
9781351892605
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
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The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia, written by a missionary priest in the early thirteenth century to record the history of the crusades to Livonia and Estonia around 1186-1227, offers one of the most vivid examples of the early thirteenth century crusading ideology in practice. Step by step, it has become one of the most widely read and acknowledged frontier crusading and missionary chronicles. Henry's chronicle offers many opportunities to test and broaden the new approaches and key concepts brought along by recent developments in medieval studies, including the new pluralist definition of crusading and the relationship between the peripheries and core areas of Europe.

While recent years have produced a significant amount of new research into Henry of Livonia, much of it has been limited to particular historical traditions and languages. A key objective of this book, therefore, is to synthesise the current state of research for the international scholarly audience. The volume provides a multi-sided and multi-disciplinary companion to the chronicle, and is divided into three parts. The first part, 'Representations,' brings into focus the imaginary sphere of the chronicle - the various images brought into existence by the amalgamation of crusading and missionary ideology and the frontier experience. This is followed by studies on 'Practices,' which examines the chronicle's reflections of the diplomatic, religious, and military practices of the christianisation and colonisation processes in medieval Livonia. The volume concludes with a section on the 'Appropriations,' which maps the reception history of the chronicle: the dynamics of the medieval, early modern and modern national uses and abuses of the text.

The Crusades to the Holy Land were one of the most important religious and social movements to emerge over the course of the Middle Ages. The warfare of the Crusades affected nearly all of Western Europe and involved members of social groups from kings and knights down to serfs and paupers. The memory of this epic long-ago conflict affects relations between the Western and Islamic worlds in the present day. The Crusades to the Holy Land: The Essential Reference Guide provides almost 90 A–Z entries that detail the history of the Crusades launched from Western Europe for the liberation or defense of the Holy Land, covering the inception of the movement by Pope Urban II in 1095 up to the early 14th century.

This concise single-volume work provides accessible articles and perspective essays on the main Crusade expeditions as well as the important crusaders, countries, places, and institutions involved. Each entry is accompanied by references for further reading. Readers will follow the career of Saladin from humble beginnings to becoming ruler of Syria and Egypt and reconquering almost all of the Holy Land from its Christian rulers; learn about the main sites and characteristics of the castles that were crucial to the Christian domination of the Holy Land; and understand the key aspects of crusading, from motivation and recruitment to practicalities of finance and transport. The reference guide also includes survey articles that provide readers with an overview of the original source materials written in Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, and Syriac.

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