By Shlomo Lotan
Revista Internacional d’Humanitats, Vol. 16:28 (2013)
Abstract: This article will analyze the context offered by Peter of Dusburg, a brethren of the Teutonic Order, who wrote in 1326 in Prussia one of the most important descriptions of the history of the Teutonic Order – ‘Chronicon Terrae Prussiae‘. This Chronicle described the activities of the Teutonic Order first in the Holy Land, while also examining a number of events and persons who were active while the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem still existed. This article will deal with the establishment of the German institution in Acre in 1190 and until the fall of Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291, when the kingdom was conquered by the Muslim (Saracens) warriors after the fall of all the Crusader strongholds in the Latin East, particularly Acre, to which Peter of Dusburg’s chronicles, dedicated a special chapter. These topics will allow an insight into the world of Peter of Dusburg, who had been active long time after the fall of the Latin Kingdom and who did not know what exactly happened there. He had presented, in his chronicle, the history of the Teutonic Order in a unique way, linking its activities in the Baltic region with its historical role in the Holy Land. That was far away from the military and political scene of Prussia and the Baltic region, long before the Teutonic Order had began its activities in the northern part of Europe.
Introduction: Peter of Dusburg, a monk and brethren of the Teutonic Order had been one of the greatest Chronicles writers of the Military Order. He had written his book ‘Chronicon Terrae Prussiae‘ in Latin in 1326, during the tenure of the Teutonic Grand Master Werner von Orseln. At that time, the Teutonic Order had been at the highest point of its political power and military capabilities, spreading throughout Prussia and Livonia in north Eastern Europe.
Peter of Dusburg had described in his book the History of the Teutonic Order from its beginning when it was established in the Holy Land in the era of Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. The book had ended in the period after the Order had established and based itself in Prussia. Peter of Dusburg’s goal was to present to the members of the Order and to the Teutonic leadership the tradition of the Military Order from its foundation in the Holy Land, in order to glorify the military activities of the members and to celebrate their success in the places where they had fought, settled and set up their headquarters. Another purpose was to advertise the Order so as to help recruiting new members to the Teutonic Order.