Western Balts in the 10/11th – first half of the 13th centuries: After the Vikings and just before the Crusades

Roman Shiroukhov

The questions of trans-regional contacts in the area of South-Eastern Baltic, comparative analysis of the statistical data of the Western Balts ornaments, arms, horse harness, ceramics, different tools and imported goods with some general features of burial rite, cemeteries based on social structure, contact zones and trade routes are described in the study.

Inventing Livonia: The Name and Fame of a New Christian Colony on the Medieval Baltic Frontier


The thirteenth century witnessed the emergence of a new region – Livonia – on the mental map of Latin Christendom.

Which Baltic God/Goddess Are You?

Olaus Magnus - On the Heathen Lithuanians Idolatrous  (1555)

Have you ever wondered who were/are the last pagans in Europe? Baltic Gods were never forgotten. Lithuanians have so many however who from the main ones do you resemble the most – Perkūnas, Žemyna, Vėlinas, Ragutis, Milda or Laima?

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

The Sword Brothers at War: Observations on the Military Activity of the Knighthood of Christ in the Conquest of Livonia and Estonia (1203–1227)

Livonian Sword Brothers - 19th century image

The Knighthood of Christ of Livonia (Militia Christi de Livonia) was the first of the medieval military religious orders to be founded for service outside the Holy Land and Iberia, and thus the first one to be actively involved in warfare anywhere in northern Europe.

The Baltic Frontier: Why were there no Norwegian crusades in the Baltic?

Early Modern Scandinavia

In this paper I will focus on some of the reasons why Norwegian interests in the 12th and 13th century differed from that of the other Scandinavian and German ambitions in the Baltic region.

England’s First Attempt to Break the Commercial Monopoly of the Hanseatic League, 1377-1380

Hanseatic Cities

During the second half of the fourteenth century English traders first seriously threatened the Hanseatic League’s commercial monopoly in the Baltic. The League, attempting to defendits monopoly, treated the English unjustly,where upon in 1377 the English Parliament rescinded the charter that granted the League important concessions and privileges in its English trade.

Navegación y embarcaciones en la época vikinga: diferentes fuentes para su estudio (Shipping and navigation in the Viking Age: different sources for study)

Viking ship from the HISTORy channel programme, "Vikings"

This article (in Spanish) is about Viking shipping and navigation.

Estonian small towns in the Middle Ages: archaeology and the history of urban defense

Map of Livonia from the 16th century

The purpose of the current article is to summarize the material gathered from the excavations of the medieval town walls from the Estonian towns of Viljandi, Haapsalu, and Narva, to discuss when they were erected, and to analyze what their place was in Old Livonian and Baltic contexts.

Island Words, Island Worlds: The Origins and Meanings of Words for ‘Islands’ in North-West Europe

Iceland by Gerhard Mercator

This paper proposes the notion that words mirror ideas, perspectives and world- views. Etymologies and meanings of general words for ‘islands’ in a number of languages in North and West Europe are then discussed.

Gesta Danorum and the Wendish Crusade

wendish crusade map

The Wendish Crusade from 1147 marks the beginning of ‘Holy Wars’ fought against the Balto-Slavic and Finno-Ugric populations from the Baltic See.

Why did Medieval Slave Traders go to Finland?


The demand for blonde girls and boys was so lucrative that slave traders would hunt for these people as far away as northern Finland, a recent study finds.

Bjarmaland and interaction in the North of Europe from the Viking Age until the Early Middle Ages


This article intends to look at interaction in the very north of early medi- eval Europe with Bjarmaland as a starting point. After a short introduction to sources and historiography about Bjarmaland, the main content of the sources will be shortly discussed in order to establish what kind of informa- tion the written sources have to offer.

A Comparative Analysis Of Early Medieval North-West Slavonic And West Baltic Sacred Landscapes

Gross Raden, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Reconstruction of a 9th century Slavic temple

The major aim of our paper is to present a comparative analysis of early medieval north-west Slavonic and Prussian objects and places which are interpreted in a sacral context.

The politico-religious landscape of medieval Karelia

Karelia - Finnish

In historical sources the Karelians appear in the 12th century although archaeological excavations suggest that the amalgamation of groups of Baltic Finns, centered on the Karelian Isthmus, that came together from east and west respectively to form them originated in the late Iron Age and early Viking Age.

How to justify a crusade? The conquest of Livonia and new crusade rhetoric in the early thirteenth century

Map of Europe, drawing of c. 1570

This article examines an apparently simple question: how to justify a crusade that did not aim at recovering the Holy Land.

Riga Castle in Latvia damaged by fire

riga castle fire

Last week’s fire at Riga Castle has left the Latvian landmark with heavy damage, including the destruction of the roof and several rooms.

Novgorod the Great in Baltic Trade before 1300

Medieval Novogrod

The information on trade contacts between Novgorod and Scandinavian countries preserved in the works of Old Norse

Querimonia desolacionis terre sancte – The fall of Acre and the Holy Land in 1291 as an emotional element in the Teutonic Order tradition

Teutonic Order - Coat of Arms

Those Military Orders − the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, along with other Military Orders, had shed their blood across the Latin Kingdom and suffered many casualties in the final siege which took place in Acre between March and May 1291.

Fishing with Monks – Padise Abbey and the River Vantaanjoki from 1351 to 1429

medieval fishing

How did the Cistercian Abbey of Padise in Estonia first come into possession of fishing rights for salmon in the River Vantaanjoki in Finland?

Environmental impact of the Baltic Crusades: deforestation, animal extinction, dogs no longer on the menu

Stanford Assistant Professor Krish Seetah and Reading University student Rose Calis analyze animal bones in the basement of Riga Castle, Latvia. (Photo: Aleks Pluskowski)

A multidisciplinary project seeks to understand the environmental impact of the Baltic Crusades. Horses, for example, aided the Christians in battle, while the castles the Crusaders built decimated forests.

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