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Medieval Inscription Found in Teutonic Knights’ Castle of Cēsis

Medieval Inscription Found in Teutonic Knights’ Castle of Cēsis


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The famous Cēsis Castle in central Latvia has given up an ancient secret carved within its bloodstained stone walls.

sis Castle is one of the most iconic medieval castles in Latvia. Founded in 1213 or 1214 AD by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, it prospered from 1237 AD during its time as one of the key administrative and economic centers of the Teutonic Order . At this time the original fortifications were replaced by a monumental square castellum with various service buildings and outer baileys resulting in what Stephen Turnbull’s 2011 book, Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights, describes as “one of the largest and most powerful castles of the Teutonic Order.”

Ivan the Terrible damaged the castle in 1577 AD during a siege in the Livonian War and Cēsis Castle fell after the Great Northern War of 1700–1721 AD when the Tsardom of Russia contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. Today, this magnificent castle is the most visited heritage site in Cēsis, and one of the best preserved archaeological sites in the Baltic states.

Carved Whispers from A Violent Past

During a recent inspection of a previously hidden spiral staircase located in the South Tower of Cēsis Castle that had been inaccessible for centuries, a stone was discovered bearing a unique inscription from the second half of the 16th century. According to a report on LSM.LV the carving is written in Latin and German and represents “the oldest, culturally and historically most significant inscription in stone to have survived at Cēsis Castle,” and parts of it has already been deciphered.

The discovery came after Gundars Kalniņš, head of the Medieval Castle Department at sis Museum , noticed light illuminating the previously unknown engraved coat of arms with the initials “WKVA” carved around it, and again in the middle of the ancient design with what is known as a house mark. Next to the carved shield some German text has now faded, but the angled Latin inscription on the right of the stone reads Si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos” i.e. “If God is for us, who can be against us”: the question asked by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans .

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  • Teutonic Knights’ Castle Turned into Nazi Cult Site?

Inscription found at Cēsis Castle. Credit: Cēsis Castle

Reverse Engineering the Carving

According to Kalniņš, the ancient carving is only visible under particular lighting conditions and similarly to the rest of the tower ’s inner walls the engraved stone was once coated in limewash, but fortunately the archaeologist was able to find enough contrast between the white coating and the engraving to read the text, and after close examination it was determined that the design had been executed with a “pointed iron tool,” which he says would have blunted during the job.

Kalniņš also says the content of the writing suggests that the inscription may have been made during the siege of Cēsis Castle in 1577 AD, and he says this episode of the Livonian War has gone down in history as one of the most tragic events in 16th century Europe. The archaeologists said that for five days the Russian heavy artillery battered the castle walls until they besieged the garrison. Many ordinary townsfolk who “blew themselves up” unwilling to succumb to Tsar Ivan the Terrible, and many hundreds of Livonians died in this tragedy.

Cēsis Castle in Latvia ( CC by SA 4.0 )

Trapped in Shadows For 500 Years

So far as what this symbolic inscription might have represented to its maker, Kalniņš says that in the Middle Ages Latvia town dwellers adopted “rune-like symbols as a kind of coat of arms,” used by owners of property to identify their most valuable possessions. Known as a personal “house mark,” the carved symbol is a form of signature, stamp and seal, and while the specific carver will never be known, this specific decorative shield is characteristically from the second half of the 16th century.

And the reason this timeworn motif has gone unnoticed for 500 years is because it was only last year that archaeologists gained access the South Tower of Cēsis Castle to restore the tower ’s ceilings and winding stairs, which are referred to at the castle as “Tall Hermann,” matching the name of the tower in the famous medieval tower of the Toompea Castle, on Toompea hill in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, both of which Kalniņš says are excellent examples of medieval military architecture in Latvia, and the example at Cēsis Castle with the ancient inscription is soon to be opened to the public.

Reference: Turnbull, S. (2011). Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (2): The stone castles of Latvia and Estonia 1185–1560 . Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 28.

By Ashley Cowie


While his exact place of birth is unknown, Conrad's family came from the area of the Żuławy Gdańskie, from the village of Letzkau (then Leszkowy [4] ) (hence his surname). In 1387 Letzkau came to Danzig and soon received the city's citizenship and corresponding privileges. He engaged himself in the city's commerce, amassed substantial wealth and in 1393 was made a councilman of the city (although official documents list him as such only later). Because of his diplomatic skills and his judicial independence he was elected a mayor of Danzig in 1405. [4]

This marked a part of a broader movement for city's autonomy from the control of the Teutonic Knights previously councilmen and mayors could not be appointed without the order's approval. The growing independence caused the city to come into conflict with the newly elected Grand Master of the Order Ulrich von Jungingen who tried to interfere into the commercial activities of the city. Letzkau, along with Arnold Hecht and Peter Vorrath, was one of the initiators of a letter to the Grand Master, signed by Prussian nobility and representatives of major cities in Teutonic Prussia, complaining about the Order's tax collectors and administrators who interfered with the trade in grain and other goods in the region. Von Jungingen's policies led the leaders of Danzig to believe that the city was never going to be able to achieve the kind of independence enjoyed by other Hanseatic towns, such as the Free City of Lübeck, as long as it remained under the control of the Teutonic Order. As a result, the councilmen and the local citizens began to support the claims of the Kingdom of Poland to the region. Letzkau in particular, often traveled to conventions and meetings of the representatives of Hansa towns which allowed him to compare the favorable conditions abroad with those he found in his own city under the control of the Knights. [4]

Previously however, Letzkau took an active part in the Order's politics. In 1398 he led a united Teutonic-Hanseatic flotilla against Baltic Sea pirates, the Victual Brothers, attacked and took the island of Gotland. In 1404, while on an expedition against Danish corsairs he was captured and imprisoned for two years in Varberg. In 1408 he served as a diplomat to the Danish Queen Margaret, in an embassy which sold the conquered island of Gotland to Denmark. [4]

The funds obtained from the sale of Gotland were used by the Knights to arm themselves in the war against Poland-Lithuania which soon broke out. A 300-person regiment from Danzig, including Conrad, took part in the Battle of Grunwald, fighting on the side of the Knights. The komtur leading the regiment, Johann von Schönfeld escaped from the battle field while most of the three hundred regular soldiers, composed mostly of Danzig's burghers and ordinary citizens were taken captive by the Poles and Lithuanians. However, the Polish king, Jogaila, aware that the Danzigers had already been dissatisfied with the Order's rule, set all of them free, hoping to win goodwill among them for the future. [4]

The defeat of the Order, combined with previous anger at the Knights' economic policies resulted in a gradual but definitive shift among the city council to a pro-Polish stance. The growing conflict between the Order and the city was acerbated when some of the wounded knights, returning from the war, were quartered in Danzig and other cities and soon were accused of robbing and abusing the citizens. Under Letzkau's orders, the city council took control of the town castle and garrisoned it with its own trusted men. The news that Thorn (Toruń) went over to the Polish side accepting the suzerainty of the King of Poland and in return received extensive civic privileges caused the city council to open negations with the Polish King to do the same for Danzig. The intermediary between the king and the council was the Bishop of Włocławek, Jan Kropidło. On 4 August, Letzkau along with Kropidło participated in a conference with the Polish king after which the city swore an oath to the Polish King [1] Jagiello who was declared "Protector of the City of Danzig", and on the next day Jagiello bestowed the city with civic privileges similar to those previously granted to Thorn. On the 7th of the same month the town welcomed Janusz from Tuliszkow as the king's representative and the first Starosta of Danzig. [4]

However, as the Polish siege of Marienburg prolonged, the interim leader of the order Heinrich von Plauen the Elder realized that the Polish-Lithuanian king did not have the means to enforce his de jure suzerainty over the rebellious towns. As a result, the Knights besieged the main part of the city of Danzig. After the Polish army abandoned the siege of Marienburg, the Danzigers and the knights negotiated a cease fire and began negotiations for a surrender of the town. The city council sent desperate letters to Jagiello who was however unable to help. After a stormy session the city council finally decided to swear an oath allegiance to von Plauen, who had now been made a Master of the order. [4]

Despite this fact, the citizens of the city continued to resent the Order's rule which manifested itself mostly through the refusal to pay taxes or otherwise support the Knights' military efforts in the war with Poland. The city refused to provide further recruits for the Order, justifying its refusal by the fact that it had also sworn a loyalty oath to the Polish king and had not yet been released from it. However, in 1411, the first Peace of Thorn was concluded, which placed Danzig under Teutonic control and Jagiello released the city from its oath. [4]

Soon after a conference was held between the Grand Master von Plauen and representatives of the city, including Letzkau, Peter Vorrath and Herman Kleinemeister. The mayors demanded that the Order stop competing with the city's merchants, allow greater autonomy to the city, stop fortifying its positions within the city, and let the council appoint its own members. Plauen agreed but in return demanded that a new tax be created, proceeds from which were to be used in arming the Knights for future war with Poland which everyone expected to begin again. In turn, Letzkau and others made the payment of the tax conditional on the Order respecting all the privileges and rights that were granted to the city by the Polish king Jagiello. [4]

The situation became confrontational when von Plauen issued an independent appeal to the citizens of Danzig to support the Order's military, over the head of the council. In response, Letzkau and others replied by suspending the payment of the agreed upon tax, because the town had already paid for previous military adventures, and even demanded that the costs of the naval support of Marienburg that the town provided during the siege be paid back to the city by the knights. In a preliminary conference with the Grand Master, the city councilmen were abused and thrown out. Von Plauen closed down the Danzig harbor with a great iron chain and ordered that all trade from then on was to be carried out through the port of Elbing which the Knights held in direct control. In response the city sailed two warships out into the Baltic to intercept the Knights' trade ships, the city gates were raised and fortified, and local militias patrolled the surrounding country side engaging the Order's forces in skirmishes. [4]

The two sides soon agreed to negotiations. On 5 April 1411 a truce was arranged. Von Plauen removed the iron chain blocking the harbor and the citizens removed fortifications from the city gate. On Palm Sunday, 6 April, the son of the Grand Master, Heinrich von Plauen the Younger, invited the mayors of the city of Danzig (Gdańsk), Letzkau and Arnold Hecht, [1] and two councilmen, Bartholomäus Gross (son in law of Letzkau) and Tiedemann Huxer to a friendly meeting at the Knight's Castle. As the Danzigers crossed the drawbridge into the castle one of them, Huxer, claimed that he had forgotten something and excused himself, promising to return. A few moments later the three others were grabbed, imprisoned and thrown into the castle's dungeons where they were subsequently tortured and interrogated. All three were then beheaded and their bodies thrown into the castle's moat. [4]

The fact of the murder of Letzkau and others was kept secret by the younger von Plauen for as long as possible. However, after two days, Letzkau's daughter (and wife of Gross) Anna Gross, became worried and started going to the castle's gate to inquire about their fate. The guards told her that the mayors had gotten drunk, insulted the Master and then committed suicide out of shame which Anna took as a cruel joke. On 11 April the rest of the city council decided to send a delegation to the Grand Master, von Plauen the Elder. The delegation was initially imprisoned but after a few days the Grand Master ordered their release and gave them a letter promising the release of the seized mayors. At that point, von Plauen the Younger realized he could not keep their deaths a secret anymore. He ordered the bodies of the murdered men fished out of the moat and placed in a field where it was proclaimed that they were legally executed for treason. The rest of the council was terrorized and became paralyzed with fear. Von Plauen successfully revoked all previously granted privileges, and instituted his tax. He also forced his own men onto the council who had previously opposed Conrad Letzkau in the council meetings. Tiedemann Huxer, the man who turned away at the last minute, was made a Mayor of the city which has led to speculations that he was part of the conspiracy to murder the independent minded councilmen. [4]

According to legend, when the news of the murder was revealed, Anna Gross Letzkau cursed the knights and their castle saying "Let not a stone remain upon stone of this castle!". This came to pass almost half a century later, when the destruction of the Knights' castle by angry Danzigers in 1454 marked the start of the Thirteen Years' War [5] between the Prussian Confederation and Kingdom of Poland against the Teutonic Knights. The conclusion of the war with the Second Peace of Thorn made Danzig, along with Royal Prussia part of the Polish kingdom, forty three years after Conrad Letzkau first swore an oath of loyalty to the Polish king. [6]

Currently a tablet in the St. Mary's Church in Gdańsk, in front of the chapel of St. Jadwiga of Poland commemorates Letzkau's and Hecht's death with an inscription in Latin which reads:

"Here rest the honorable men Konrad Letzkau and Arnold Hecht, proconsuls of the city of Gdańsk, who departed this world the Monday after Palm Sunday in the year of our Lord 1411" [1]

A street in Wrzeszcz district (New Scotland neighbourhood) is named after him.

A new Carillon was built in Gdańsk (second one in the city) at the Main Town Hall in 1999 and each of its 37 bells, in addition to being engraved with the coat of arms of the city and Poland, was given a historical patron. Conrad Letzkau was made the patron of bell #33. [7]


Battle of Grunwald

      • Kraków
      • SandomierzŁęczyca
      • Lublin
      • Poznań
      • KaliszBrześć Kujawski and InowrocławSieradz
      • Wieluń Land
      • Lwów Land
      • Chełm Land
      • Halych Land
      • Przemyśl Land
      • Podolia
      Grand Duchy
      of Lithuania
      • regions and towns:
        • Trakai
        • Vilnius
        • Grodno
        • Kaunas
        • Lida
        • Medininkai
        • Smolensk-Orsha
        • Smolensk-Mstsislaw
        • Polotsk
        • Vitebsk
        • Kiev
        • Pinsk
        • Drohiczyn
        • Mielnik
        • Navahrudak
        • Brest
        • Vawkavysk
        • Kremenets
        • Starodub
        • Duchy of Warsaw [1]
        • Duchy of Belz
        • Duchy of Płock
        • Pomerania-Stolp
        • Pomerania-Stargard
        • Principality of Moldavia[2]
        • Principality of Smolensk
        • Lipka Tatars from Golden Horde[3]
          • Bohemian[4] and Moravian mercenaries
          • Moravian volunteers [4][5]
          Teutonic Order
          • (State of the Teutonic Order)
              :
              • Althausen
              • Elbing
              • Danzig
              • Ragnit
              • Schönsee
              • Strasburg
              • Werder der Weichsel
              • Culmerland
              • Allenstein
              • Bartenstein
              • Balga
              • Brandenburg
              • Braunsberg
              • Bratyan and Neumarkt
              • Elbing
              • Engelsburg
              • Danzig
              • Dirschau
              • Graudenz
              • Heiligenbeil
              • Kulm
              • Königsberg
              • Königsberg-Old town
              • Lessen
              • Mewe
              • Nessau
              • Osterode
              • Ortelsburg
              • Ragnit
              • Roggenhausen
              • Schlochau
              • Schwetz
              • Stuhm
              • Thorn
              • Tuchel
              guest crusaders
              from Germany and Livonia
                • German knights
                • Westphalian knights
                • Brunswicker knights
                • Meissen knights
                • knights of Inflants and Rhineland
                • Swiss knights
                • Pomerania-Stettin
                • Duchy of Oels
                • Prince-Bishopric of Warmia
                • Bishopric of Pomesania
                • Bishopric of Culm
                • Bishopric of Sambia
                • King Władysław II Jagiełło (supreme commander [4] )
                • Grand Duke Vytautas (battlefield commander)
                • Duke Sigismund Korybut
                • Duke Janusz
                • Duke Siemowit VI
                • Duke Siemowit V
                • Prince Lengvenis
                • Duke Bogislav VIII
                • Prince Alexander
                • Khan Jalal ad-Din
                • Naiman-Beg
                • Jan Sokol of Lamberk (mercenary commanders)
                • Jan of Jičín (commander of Moravian volunteers)
                • Grandmaster Ulrich von Jungingen
                • Grand Marshal Friedrich von Wallenrode
                • Grand Komtur Kuno von Lichtenstein
                • Grand Treasurer Thomas von Merheim
                • Nicholas von
                  Renys
                • Duke Casimir V
                • Duke Konrad VII
                • Christian von Gersdorf

                Very heavy: 8,000 Teutonic Knights killed, 14,000 taken prisoner,

                The Battle of Grunwald, Battle of Žalgiris or First Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410 during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Władysław II Jagiełło (Jogaila) and Grand Duke Vytautas, decisively defeated the German–Prussian Teutonic Knights, led by Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen. Most of the Teutonic Knights' leadership were killed or taken prisoner. Although defeated, the Teutonic Knights withstood the siege of their fortress in Marienburg (Malbork) and suffered minimal territorial losses at the Peace of Thorn (1411) (Toruń), with other territorial disputes continuing until the Peace of Melno in 1422. The knights, however, would never recover their former power, and the financial burden of war reparations caused internal conflicts and an economic downturn in the lands under their control. The battle shifted the balance of power in Central and Eastern Europe and marked the rise of the Polish–Lithuanian union as the dominant political and military force in the region. [8]

                The battle was one of the largest in medieval Europe and is regarded as one of the most important victories in the histories of Poland and Lithuania and is also widely celebrated in Belarus. [9] It has been used as a source of romantic legends and national pride, becoming a larger symbol of struggle against foreign invaders. [10] During the 20th century, the battle was used in Nazi German and Soviet propaganda campaigns. Only in recent decades have historians moved towards a dispassionate, scholarly assessment of the battle, reconciling the previous narratives, which differed widely by nation. [ citation needed ]

                Names and sources

                Names

                The battle was fought in the territory of the monastic state of the Teutonic Order, on the plains between three villages: Grünfelde (Grunwald) to the west, Tannenberg (Stębark) to the northeast and Ludwigsdorf (Łodwigowo, Ludwikowice) to the south. Władysław II Jagiełło referred to the site in Latin as in loco conflictus nostri, quem cum Cruciferis de Prusia habuimus, dicto Grunenvelt. [8] Later, Polish chroniclers interpreted the word Grunenvelt as Grünwald, meaning "green forest" in German. The Lithuanians followed suit and translated the name as Žalgiris. [12] The Germans named the battle after Tannenberg ("fir hill" or "pine hill" in German). [13] Thus, there are three commonly used names for the battle: German: Schlacht bei Tannenberg, Polish: bitwa pod Grunwaldem, Lithuanian: Žalgirio mūšis. Its names in the languages of other involved peoples include Belarusian: Бітва пад Грунвальдам , Ukrainian: Грюнвальдська битва , Russian: Грюнвальдская битва , Czech: Bitva u Grunvaldu, Romanian: Bătălia de la Grünwald.

                Sources

                There are few contemporary, reliable sources about the battle, and most were produced by Polish sources. The most important and trustworthy source is Cronica conflictus Wladislai regis Poloniae cum Cruciferis anno Christi 1410, which was written within a year of the battle by an eyewitness. [11] Its authorship is uncertain, but several candidates have been proposed: Polish deputy chancellor Mikołaj Trąba and Władysław II Jagiełło's secretary Zbigniew Oleśnicki. [14] While the original Cronica conflictus did not survive, a short summary from the 16th century has been preserved. Another important source is Historiae Polonicae by Polish historian Jan Długosz (1415–1480). [14] It is a comprehensive and detailed account written several decades after the battle. The reliability of this source suffers not only from the long gap between the events and the chronicle, but also Długosz's alleged biases against the Lithuanians. [15] Banderia Prutenorum is a mid-15th-century manuscript with images and Latin descriptions of the Teutonic battle flags captured during the battle and displayed in Wawel Cathedral and Vilnius Cathedral. Other Polish sources include two letters written by Władysław II Jagiełło to his wife Anne of Cilli and Bishop of Poznań Wojciech Jastrzębiec and letters sent by Jastrzębiec to Poles in the Holy See. [15] German sources include a concise account in the chronicle of Johann von Posilge. A recently discovered anonymous letter, written between 1411 and 1413, provided important details on Lithuanian maneuvers. [16] [17]

                Historical background

                Lithuanian Crusade and Polish–Lithuanian union

                In 1230, the Teutonic Knights, a crusading military order, moved to Chełmno Land (Kulmerland) and launched the Prussian Crusade against the pagan Prussian clans. With support from the pope and Holy Roman Emperor, the Teutons conquered and converted the Prussians by the 1280s and shifted their attention to the pagan Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For about 100 years the Knights raided Lithuanian lands, particularly Samogitia, as it separated the Knights in Prussia from their branch in Livonia. While the border regions became an uninhabited wilderness, the Knights gained very little territory. The Lithuanians first gave up Samogitia during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–84) in the Treaty of Dubysa. The territory was used as a bargaining chip to ensure Teutonic support for one of the sides in the internal power struggle.

                In 1385, Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania agreed to marry Queen Jadwiga of Poland in the Union of Kreva. Jogaila converted to Christianity and was crowned King of Poland (Władysław II Jagiełło), thus creating a personal union between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The official Lithuanian conversion to Christianity removed the religious rationale for the order's activities in the area. [18] Its grand master, Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein , supported by Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg, responded by publicly contesting the sincerity of Jogaila's conversion, bringing the charge to a papal court. [18] The territorial disputes continued over Samogitia, which had been in Teutonic hands since the Peace of Raciąż in 1404. Poland also had territorial claims against the Knights in Dobrzyń Land and Gdańsk (Danzig), but the two states had been largely at peace since the Treaty of Kalisz (1343). [19] The conflict was also motivated by trade considerations: The knights controlled the lower reaches of the three largest rivers (the Neman, Vistula and Daugava) in Poland and Lithuania. [20]

                War, truce and preparations

                In May 1409, an uprising in Teutonic-held Samogitia started. Lithuania supported it and the knights threatened to invade. Poland announced its support for the Lithuanian cause and threatened to invade Prussia in return. As Prussian troops evacuated Samogitia, Teutonic Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen declared war on the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on 6 August 1409. [21] The Knights hoped to defeat Poland and Lithuania separately, and began by invading Greater Poland and Kuyavia, catching the Poles by surprise. [22] The Knights burned the castle at Dobrin (Dobrzyń nad Wisłą), captured Bobrowniki after a 14-day siege, conquered Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and sacked several towns. [23] The Poles organized counterattacks and recaptured Bydgoszcz. [24] The Samogitians attacked Memel (Klaipėda). [22] However, neither side was ready for a full-scale war.

                Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, agreed to mediate the dispute. A truce was signed on 8 October 1409 and was set to expire on 24 June 1410. [25] Both sides used this time to prepare for war, gathering troops and engaging in diplomatic maneuvering. Both sides sent letters and envoys accusing each other of various wrongdoings and threats to Christendom. Wenceslaus, who received a gift of 60,000 florins from the knights, declared that Samogitia rightfully belonged to the knights and only Dobrzyń Land should be returned to Poland. [26] The knights also paid 300,000 ducats to Sigismund of Hungary, who had ambitions regarding the Principality of Moldavia, for mutual military assistance. [26] Sigismund attempted to break the Polish–Lithuanian alliance by offering Vytautas a king's crown Vytautas' acceptance would have violated the terms of the Ostrów Agreement and created Polish-Lithuanian discord. [27] At the same time, Vytautas managed to obtain a truce from the Livonian Order. [28]

                By December 1409, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas had agreed on a common strategy: their armies would unite into a single massive force and march together towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital of the Teutonic Knights. [29] The Knights, who took a defensive position, did not expect a joint attack and were preparing for a dual invasion—by the Poles along the Vistula River towards Danzig (Gdańsk) and the Lithuanians along the Neman River towards Ragnit (Neman). [1] To counter this perceived threat, Ulrich von Jungingen concentrated his forces in Schwetz (Świecie), a central location from where troops could respond to an invasion from any direction rather quickly. [30] Sizable garrisons were left in the eastern castles of Ragnit, Rhein (Ryn) near Lötzen (Giżycko) and Memel (Klaipėda). [1] To keep their plans secret and mislead the knights, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas organized several raids into border territories, thus forcing the knights to keep their troops in place. [29]

                Opposing forces

                Various estimates of opposing forces [6]
                Historian Polish Lithuanian Teutonic
                Karl Heveker and
                Hans Delbrück [31]
                10,500 6,000 11,000
                Eugene Razin [32] 16,000–17,000 11,000
                Max Oehler 23,000 15,000
                Jerzy Ochmański 22,000–27,000 12,000
                Sven Ekdahl [31] 20,000–25,000 12,000–15,000
                Andrzej Nadolski 20,000 10,000 15,000
                Jan Dąbrowski 15,000–18,000 8,000–11,000 19,000
                Zigmantas Kiaupa [33] 18,000 11,000 15,000–21,000
                Marian Biskup 19,000–20,000 10,000–11,000 21,000
                Daniel Stone [18] 27,000 11,000 21,000
                Stefan Kuczyński 39,000 27,000
                James Westfall Thompson and
                Edgar Nathaniel Johnson [34]
                100,000 35,000
                Alfred Nicolas Rambaud [35] 163,000 86,000

                The precise number of soldiers involved has proven difficult to establish. [36] None of the contemporary sources provided reliable troop counts. Jan Długosz provided the number of banners, the principal unit of each cavalry: 51 for the knights, 50 for the Poles and 40 for the Lithuanians. [37] However, it is unclear how many men were under each banner. The structure and number of infantry units (pikemen, archers, crossbowmen) and artillery units is unknown. Estimates, often biased by political and nationalistic considerations, were produced by various historians. [36] German historians tend to present lower numbers, while Polish historians tend to use higher estimates. [6] The high-end estimates by Polish historian Stefan Kuczyński of 39,000 Polish–Lithuanian and 27,000 Teutonic men [37] have been cited in Western literature as "commonly accepted". [5] [10] [36]

                While outnumbered, the Teutonic army had advantages in discipline, military training and equipment. [32] They were particularly noted for their heavy cavalry, although only a small percentage of the Order's army at Grunwald were heavily armoured knights. [38] The Teutonic army was also equipped with bombards that could shoot lead and stone projectiles. [32]

                Both armies were composed of troops from several states and lands, including numerous mercenaries, primarily from Silesia and Bohemia. Bohemian mercenaries fought on both sides. [38] The Silesian mercenaries were led in battle by Duke Konrad VII the White, of Oels, who was supported by knights from the Silesian nobility including Dietrich von Kottulin and Hans von Motschelnitz . [39]

                Soldiers from twenty-two different states and regions, mostly Germanic, joined the Order's army. [40] Teutonic recruits known as guest crusaders included soldiers from Westphalia, Frisia, Austria, Swabia, Bavaria, [38] and Stettin (Szczecin). [41] Two Hungarian nobles, Nicholas II Garay and Stibor of Stiboricz, brought 200 men for the Order, [42] but support from Sigismund of Hungary was disappointing. [28]

                Poland brought mercenaries from Moravia and Bohemia. The Czechs produced two full banners, under the command of Jan Sokol z Lamberka [cs] . [4] Serving among the Czechs was possibly Jan Žižka, future commander of the Hussite forces. [43] Alexander the Good, ruler of Moldavia, commanded an expeditionary corps, the Moldavian king was so brave that the Polish troops and their king honoured him with a royal sword, the Szczerbiec. [2] Vytautas gathered troops from Lithuanian, Ruthenian (modern Belarus and Ukraine) lands. The three Ruthenian banners from Smolensk were under the command of Władysław II Jagiełło's brother Lengvenis, while the contingent of Tatars of the Golden Horde was under the command of the future Khan Jalal ad-Din. [3] The overall commander of the joint Polish–Lithuanian force was King Władysław II Jagiełło however, he did not directly participate in the battle. The Lithuanian units were commanded directly by Grand Duke Vytautas, who was second in command, and helped design the grand strategy of the campaign. Vytautas actively participated in the battle, managing both Lithuanian and Polish units. [44] Jan Długosz stated that the low-ranking sword bearer of the Crown, Zyndram of Maszkowice, commanded the Polish army, but that is highly doubtful. [45] More likely, marshal of the Crown Zbigniew of Brzezie commanded the Polish troops in the field.

                Course of the battle

                March into Prussia

                The first stage of the Grunwald campaign was the gathering of all Polish–Lithuanian troops at Czerwinsk, a designated meeting point about 80 km (50 mi) from the Prussian border, where the joint army crossed the Vistula over a pontoon bridge. [46] This maneuver, which required precision and intense coordination among multi-ethnic forces, was accomplished in about a week, from 24 to 30 June. [1] Polish soldiers from Greater Poland gathered in Poznań, and those from Lesser Poland, in Wolbórz. On 24 June, Władysław II Jagiełło and Czech mercenaries arrived in Wolbórz. [1] Three days later the Polish army was already at the meeting place. The Lithuanian army marched out from Vilnius on 3 June and joined the Ruthenian regiments in Hrodna. [1] They arrived in Czerwinsk on the same day the Poles crossed the river. After the crossing, Masovian troops under Siemowit IV and Janusz I joined the Polish–Lithuanian army. [1] The massive force began its march north towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital of Prussia, on 3 July. The Prussian border was crossed on 9 July. [46]

                The river crossing remained secret until Hungarian envoys, who were attempting to negotiate a peace, informed the Grand Master. [47] As soon as Ulrich von Jungingen grasped the Polish–Lithuanian intentions, he left 3,000 men at Schwetz (Świecie) under Heinrich von Plauen [48] and marched the main force to organize a line of defense on the Drewenz River (Drwęca) near Kauernik (Kurzętnik). [49] The river crossing was fortified with stockades. [50] On 11 July, after meeting with his eight-member war council, [45] Władysław II Jagiełło decided against crossing the river at such a strong, defensible position. The army would instead bypass the river crossing by turning east, towards its sources, where no other major rivers separated his army from Marienburg. [49] The march continued east towards Soldau (Działdowo), although no attempt was made to capture the town. [51] The Teutonic army followed the Drewenz River north, crossed it near Löbau (Lubawa) and then moved east in parallel with the Polish–Lithuanian army. According to the Order propaganda the latter ravaged the village of Gilgenburg (Dąbrówno). [52] Later, in the self-serving testimonies of the survivors before the Pope the Order claimed that Von Jungingen was so enraged by the alleged atrocities that he swore to defeat the invaders in battle. [53]

                Battle preparations

                In the early morning of 15 July, both armies met in an area covering approximately 4 km 2 (1.5 sq mi) between the villages of Grunwald, Tannenberg (Stębark) and Ludwigsdorf (Łodwigowo). [54] The armies formed opposing lines along a northeast–southwest axis. The Polish–Lithuanian army was positioned in front and east of Ludwigsdorf and Tannenberg. [55] Polish heavy cavalry formed the left flank, Lithuanian light cavalry the right flank and various mercenary troops made up the center. Their men were organized in three lines of wedge-shaped formations about 20 men deep. [55] The Teutonic forces concentrated their elite heavy cavalry, commanded by Grand Marshal Frederic von Wallenrode , against the Lithuanians. [54] The Knights, who were the first to organize their army for the battle, hoped to provoke the Poles or Lithuanians into attacking first. Their troops, wearing heavy armor, had to stand in the scorching sun for several hours waiting for an attack. [56] One chronicle suggested that they had dug pits that an attacking army would fall into. [57] They also attempted to use field artillery, but a light rain dampened their powder and only two cannon shots were fired. [56] As Władysław II Jagiełło delayed, the Grand Master sent messengers with two swords to "assist Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas in battle". The swords were meant as an insult and a provocation. [58] Known as the "Grunwald Swords", they became one of the national symbols of Poland.

                Battle begins: Lithuanian attack and retreat manoeuvre

                Vytautas, supported by the Polish banners, started an assault on the left flank of the Teutonic forces. [56] After more than an hour of heavy fighting, the Lithuanian light cavalry began a full retreat. Jan Długosz described this development as a complete annihilation of the entire Lithuanian army. According to Długosz, the Knights assumed that victory was theirs, broke their formation for a disorganized pursuit of the retreating Lithuanians, and gathered much loot before returning to the battlefield to face the Polish troops. [59] He made no mention of the Lithuanians, who later returned to the battlefield. Thus, Długosz portrayed the battle as a single-handed Polish victory. [59] This view contradicted Cronica conflictus and has been challenged by modern historians.

                Starting with an article by Vaclaw Lastowski in 1909, they proposed that the retreat had been a planned maneuver borrowed from the Golden Horde. [60] A feigned retreat had been used in the Battle of the Vorskla River (1399), when the Lithuanian army had been dealt a crushing defeat and Vytautas himself had barely escaped alive. [61] This theory gained wider acceptance after the discovery and publication, in 1963 by Swedish historian Sven Ekdahl, of a German letter. [62] [63] Written a few years after the battle, it cautioned the new Grand Master to look out for feigned retreats of the kind that had been used in the Great Battle. [17] Stephen Turnbull asserts that the Lithuanian tactical retreat did not quite fit the formula of a feigned retreat such a retreat was usually staged by one or two units (as opposed to almost an entire army) and was swiftly followed by a counterattack (whereas the Lithuanians had returned late in the battle). [64]

                Battle continues: Polish–Teutonic fight

                While the Lithuanians were retreating, heavy fighting broke out between Polish and Teutonic forces. Commanded by Grand Komtur Kuno von Lichtenstein , the Teutonic forces concentrated on the Polish right flank. Six of von Walenrode's banners did not pursue the retreating Lithuanians, instead joining the attack on the right flank. [33] A particularly valuable target was the royal banner of Kraków. It seemed that the Knights were gaining the upper hand, and at one point the royal standard-bearer, Marcin of Wrocimowice, lost the Kraków banner. [65] However, it was soon recaptured and fighting continued. Władysław II Jagiełło deployed his reserves—the second line of his army. [33] Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen then personally led 16 banners, almost a third of the original Teutonic strength, to the right Polish flank, [66] and Władysław II Jagiełło deployed his last reserves, the third line of his army. [33] The melee reached the Polish command and one Knight, identified as Lupold or Diepold of Kökeritz, charged directly against King Władysław II Jagiełło. [67] Władysław's secretary, Zbigniew Oleśnicki, saved the king's life, gaining royal favor and becoming one of the most influential people in Poland. [18]

                Battle ends: Teutonic Knights defeated

                At that time the reorganized Lithuanians returned to the battle, attacking von Jungingen from the rear. [68] The Teutonic forces were by then becoming outnumbered by the mass of Polish knights and advancing Lithuanian cavalry. As von Jungingen attempted to break through the Lithuanian lines, he was killed. [68] According to Cronica conflictus, Dobiesław of Oleśnica thrust a lance through the Grand Master's neck, [68] while Długosz presented Mszczuj of Skrzynno as the killer. Surrounded and leaderless, the Teutonic Knights began to retreat. Part of the routed units retreated towards their camp. This move backfired when the camp followers turned against their masters and joined the manhunt. [69] The knights attempted to build a wagon fort: the camp was surrounded by wagons serving as an improvised fortification. [69] However, the defense was soon broken and the camp was ravaged. According to Cronica conflictus, more Knights died there than on the battlefield. [69] The battle lasted for about ten hours. [33]

                The Teutonic Knights attributed the defeat to treason on the part of Nikolaus von Renys (Mikołaj of Ryńsk), commander of the Culm (Chełmno) banner, and he was beheaded without a trial. [70] He was the founder and leader of the Lizard Union, a group of Knights sympathetic to Poland. According to the Knights, von Renys lowered his banner, which was taken as a signal of surrender and led to the panicked retreat. [71] The legend that the Knights were "stabbed in the back" was echoed in the post-World War I stab-in-the-back legend and preoccupied German historiography of the battle until 1945. [70]

                Aftermath

                Casualties and captives

                A note sent in August by envoys of King Sigismund of Hungary, Nicholas II Garai and Stibor of Stiboricz, put total casualties at 8,000 dead "on both sides". [72] However, the wording is vague and it is unclear whether it meant a total of 8,000 or 16,000 dead. [73] A papal bull from 1412 mentioned 18,000 dead Christians. [72] In two letters written immediately after the battle, Władysław II Jagiełło mentioned that Polish casualties were small (paucis valde and modico) and Jan Długosz listed only 12 Polish knights who had been killed. [72] A letter by a Teutonic official from Tapiau (Gvardeysk) mentioned that only half of the Lithuanians returned, but it is unclear how many of those casualties are attributable to the battle and how many to the later siege of Marienburg. [72]

                The defeat of the Teutonic Knights was resounding. According to Teutonic payroll records, only 1,427 men reported back to Marienburg to claim their pay. [74] Of 1,200 men sent from Danzig, only 300 returned. [41] Between 203 and 211 brothers of the Order were killed, out of 270 that participated in battle, [7] including much of the Teutonic leadership—Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen, Grand Marshal Friedrich von Wallenrode , Grand Komtur Kuno von Lichtenstein , Grand Treasurer Thomas von Merheim, Marshal of Supply Forces Albrecht von Schwartzburg, and ten of the komturs. [75] Markward von Salzbach, Komtur of Brandenburg (Ushakovo) and Heinrich Schaumburg, voigt of Sambia, were executed by order of Vytautas after the battle. [74] The bodies of von Jungingen and other high-ranking officials were transported to Marienburg Castle for burial on 19 July. [76] The bodies of lower-ranking Teutonic officials and 12 Polish knights were buried at the church in Tannenberg. [76] The rest of the dead were buried in several mass graves. The highest-ranking Teutonic official to escape the battle was Werner von Tettinger, Komtur of Elbing (Elbląg). [74]

                Polish and Lithuanian forces took several thousand captives. Among these were Dukes Konrad VII of Oels (Oleśnica) and Casimir V of Pomerania. [77] Most of the commoners and mercenaries were released shortly after the battle on condition that they report to Kraków on 11 November 1410. [78] Only those who were expected to pay ransom were kept. Considerable ransoms were recorded for example, the mercenary Holbracht von Loym had to pay 150 kopas of Prague groschen, amounting to more than 30 kg (66 lb) of silver. [79]

                Further campaign and peace

                After the battle, the Polish and Lithuanian forces delayed their attack on the Teutonic capital in Marienburg (Malbork), remaining on the battlefield for three days and then marching an average of only about 15 km (9.3 mi) per day. [80] The main forces did not reach heavily fortified Marienburg until 26 July. This delay gave Heinrich von Plauen enough time to organize a defense. Władysław II Jagiełło also sent his troops to other Teutonic fortresses, which often surrendered without resistance, [81] including the major cities of Danzig (Gdańsk), Thorn (Toruń), and Elbing (Elbląg). [82] Only eight castles remained in Teutonic hands. [83] The besiegers of Marienburg expected a speedy capitulation and were not prepared for a long siege, suffering from lack of ammunition, low morale and an epidemic of dysentery. [84] The Knights appealed to their allies for help, and Sigismund of Hungary, Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, and the Livonian Order promised financial aid and reinforcements. [85]

                The siege of Marienburg was lifted on 19 September. The Polish–Lithuanian forces left garrisons in the fortresses they had taken and returned home. However, the Knights quickly recaptured most of the castles. By the end of October only four Teutonic castles along the border remained in Polish hands. [86] Władysław II Jagiełło raised a fresh army and dealt another defeat to the Knights in the Battle of Koronowo on 10 October 1410. Following other brief engagements, both sides agreed to negotiate.

                The Peace of Thorn was signed in February 1411. Under its terms, the Knights ceded the Dobrin Land (Dobrzyń Land) to Poland and agreed to resign their claims to Samogitia during the lifetimes of Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas, [87] although another two wars—the Hunger War of 1414 and the Gollub War of 1422—would be waged before the Treaty of Melno permanently resolved the territorial disputes. [88] The Poles and Lithuanians were unable to translate the military victory into territorial or diplomatic gains. However, the Peace of Thorn imposed a heavy financial burden on the Knights from which they never recovered. They had to pay an indemnity in silver in four annual installments. [87] To meet these payments, the Knights borrowed heavily, confiscated gold and silver from churches and increased taxes. Two major Prussian cities, Danzig (Gdańsk) and Thorn (Toruń), revolted against the tax increases. [89] The defeat at Grunwald left the Teutonic Knights with few forces to defend their remaining territories. Since Samogitia became officially christened, as both Poland and Lithuania were for a long time, the Knights had difficulties recruiting new volunteer crusaders. [90] The Grand Masters then needed to rely on mercenary troops, which proved an expensive drain on their already depleted budget. The internal conflicts, economic decline, and tax increases led to unrest and the foundation of the Prussian Confederation, or Alliance against Lordship, in 1441. This in turn led to a series of conflicts that culminated in the Thirteen Years' War (1454). [91]

                Legacy

                Poland and Lithuania

                The Battle of Grunwald is regarded as one of the most important in the histories of Poland and Lithuania. [10] In the history of Ukraine, the battle is better associated with Vytautas the Great, who stood as the leader of Eastern Orthodox Christianity at that time. [92] In Lithuania, the victory is synonymous with the Grand Duchy's political and military peak. It was a source of national pride during the age of Romantic nationalism and inspired resistance to the Germanization and Russification policies of the German and Russian Empires. The Knights were portrayed as bloodthirsty invaders and Grunwald as a just victory achieved by a small, oppressed nation. [10]

                In 1910, to mark the 500th anniversary of the battle, a monument by Antoni Wiwulski was unveiled in Kraków during a three-day celebration attended by some 150,000 people. [93] About 60 other towns and villages in Galicia also erected Grunwald monuments for the anniversary. [94] The Battle of Grunwald is commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, with the inscription "GRUNWALD 15 VII 1410".

                About the same time, Nobel Prize-winner Henryk Sienkiewicz wrote the novel The Knights of the Cross (Polish: Krzyżacy), prominently featuring the battle in one of the chapters. In 1960, Polish filmmaker Aleksander Ford used the book as the basis for his film, Knights of the Teutonic Order. A museum, monuments and memorials were constructed at the battlefield in 1960. [95] The battle site is one of Poland's official, national Historic Monuments, as designated on 4 October 2010, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland. The battle has lent its name to military decorations (Cross of Grunwald), sports teams (BC Žalgiris, FK Žalgiris), and various organizations.

                An annual battle re-enactment takes place on 15 July. In 2010, a pageant reenacting the event and commemorating the battle's 600th anniversary was held. It attracted 200,000 spectators who watched 2,200 participants playing the role of knights in a re-enactment of the battle. An additional 3,800 participants played peasants and camp followers. The pageant's organisers believe that the event has become the largest re-enactment of medieval combat in Europe. [96]

                In 2010, the National Bank of Ukraine released a jubilee coin of 20 hryvnia commemorated to the 600 anniversary of the battle. At least three cities in Ukraine (Lviv, Drohobych, and Ivano-Frankivsk) have a street named after the battle. [97] [98]

                Germany and Russia

                Germans generally saw the Knights as heroic and noble men who brought Christianity and civilization to the east, although many came to the region with more material motives. [10] In August 1914, during World War I, Germany won a battle against Russia near the site. When the Germans realized its propaganda potential, they named the battle the Battle of Tannenberg, [99] despite it having actually taken place much closer to Allenstein (Olsztyn), and framed it as revenge for the Polish–Lithuanian victory 504 years earlier. Nazi Germany later exploited the sentiment by portraying their Lebensraum policies as a continuation of the Knights' historical mission. [100]

                SS Chief Heinrich Himmler told Nazi Germany's leader Adolf Hitler on the first day of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944: "After five, six weeks we shall leave. But by then Warsaw, the capital, the head, the intelligence of this former 16–17 million Polish people will be extinguished, this Volk that has blocked our way to the east for 700 years and has stood in our way ever since the First Battle of Tannenberg." [101] [102]

                Due to the participation of the three Smolensk regiments, Russians saw the battle as a victory of a Polish–Lithuanian–Russian coalition against invading Germans. Chronicler Jan Długosz praised the Smolensk banners, who fought bravely and, according to him, were the only banners from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania not to retreat. In Soviet historiography, the Battle of Grunwald was styled as an ethnic struggle between Slavs and Germanics. [103] The Teutonic Knights were portrayed as the medieval forerunners of Hitler's armies, while the battle itself was seen as the medieval counterpart to the Battle of Stalingrad. [10] [103]

                In William Urban's summary, almost all accounts of the battle made before the 1960s were more influenced by romantic legends and nationalistic propaganda than by fact. [70] Historians have since made progress towards dispassionate scholarship and reconciliation of the various national accounts of the battle. [100]

                In 2014, the Russian Military Historical Society stated that Russian troops and their allies defeated the German knights in the Battle of Grunwald, [104] though evidence that the Grand Duchy of Moscow was involved with this battle is lacking. In July 2017, billboards appeared on the streets of Russian cities with statements that seemed to attribute the victory in the battle of Grunwald to Russia. [105]


                Contents

                Names Edit

                The battle was fought in the territory of the monastic state of the Teutonic Order, on the plains between three villages: Grünfelde (Grunwald) to the west, Tannenberg (Stębark) to the northeast and Ludwigsdorf (Łodwigowo, Ludwikowice) to the south. Władysław II Jagiełło referred to the site in Latin as in loco conflictus nostri, quem cum Cruciferis de Prusia habuimus, dicto Grunenvelt. [8] Later, Polish chroniclers interpreted the word Grunenvelt as Grünwald, meaning "green forest" in German. The Lithuanians followed suit and translated the name as Žalgiris. [12] The Germans named the battle after Tannenberg ("fir hill" or "pine hill" in German). [13] Thus, there are three commonly used names for the battle: German: Schlacht bei Tannenberg, Polish: bitwa pod Grunwaldem, Lithuanian: Žalgirio mūšis. Its names in the languages of other involved peoples include Belarusian: Бітва пад Грунвальдам , Ukrainian: Грюнвальдська битва , Russian: Грюнвальдская битва , Czech: Bitva u Grunvaldu, Romanian: Bătălia de la Grünwald.

                Sources Edit

                There are few contemporary, reliable sources about the battle, and most were produced by Polish sources. The most important and trustworthy source is Cronica conflictus Wladislai regis Poloniae cum Cruciferis anno Christi 1410, which was written within a year of the battle by an eyewitness. [11] Its authorship is uncertain, but several candidates have been proposed: Polish deputy chancellor Mikołaj Trąba and Władysław II Jagiełło's secretary Zbigniew Oleśnicki. [14] While the original Cronica conflictus did not survive, a short summary from the 16th century has been preserved. Another important source is Historiae Polonicae by Polish historian Jan Długosz (1415–1480). [14] It is a comprehensive and detailed account written several decades after the battle. The reliability of this source suffers not only from the long gap between the events and the chronicle, but also Długosz's alleged biases against the Lithuanians. [15] Banderia Prutenorum is a mid-15th-century manuscript with images and Latin descriptions of the Teutonic battle flags captured during the battle and displayed in Wawel Cathedral and Vilnius Cathedral. Other Polish sources include two letters written by Władysław II Jagiełło to his wife Anne of Cilli and Bishop of Poznań Wojciech Jastrzębiec and letters sent by Jastrzębiec to Poles in the Holy See. [15] German sources include a concise account in the chronicle of Johann von Posilge. A recently discovered anonymous letter, written between 1411 and 1413, provided important details on Lithuanian maneuvers. [16] [17]

                Lithuanian Crusade and Polish–Lithuanian union Edit

                In 1230, the Teutonic Knights, a crusading military order, moved to Chełmno Land (Kulmerland) and launched the Prussian Crusade against the pagan Prussian clans. With support from the pope and Holy Roman Emperor, the Teutons conquered and converted the Prussians by the 1280s and shifted their attention to the pagan Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For about 100 years the Knights raided Lithuanian lands, particularly Samogitia, as it separated the Knights in Prussia from their branch in Livonia. While the border regions became an uninhabited wilderness, the Knights gained very little territory. The Lithuanians first gave up Samogitia during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–84) in the Treaty of Dubysa. The territory was used as a bargaining chip to ensure Teutonic support for one of the sides in the internal power struggle.

                In 1385, Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania agreed to marry Queen Jadwiga of Poland in the Union of Kreva. Jogaila converted to Christianity and was crowned King of Poland (Władysław II Jagiełło), thus creating a personal union between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The official Lithuanian conversion to Christianity removed the religious rationale for the order's activities in the area. [18] Its grand master, Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein, supported by Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg, responded by publicly contesting the sincerity of Jogaila's conversion, bringing the charge to a papal court. [18] The territorial disputes continued over Samogitia, which had been in Teutonic hands since the Peace of Raciąż in 1404. Poland also had territorial claims against the Knights in Dobrzyń Land and Gdańsk (Danzig), but the two states had been largely at peace since the Treaty of Kalisz (1343). [19] The conflict was also motivated by trade considerations: The knights controlled the lower reaches of the three largest rivers (the Neman, Vistula and Daugava) in Poland and Lithuania. [20]

                War, truce and preparations Edit

                In May 1409, an uprising in Teutonic-held Samogitia started. Lithuania supported it and the knights threatened to invade. Poland announced its support for the Lithuanian cause and threatened to invade Prussia in return. As Prussian troops evacuated Samogitia, Teutonic Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen declared war on the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on 6 August 1409. [21] The Knights hoped to defeat Poland and Lithuania separately, and began by invading Greater Poland and Kuyavia, catching the Poles by surprise. [22] The Knights burned the castle at Dobrin (Dobrzyń nad Wisłą), captured Bobrowniki after a 14-day siege, conquered Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and sacked several towns. [23] The Poles organized counterattacks and recaptured Bydgoszcz. [24] The Samogitians attacked Memel (Klaipėda). [22] However, neither side was ready for a full-scale war.

                Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, agreed to mediate the dispute. A truce was signed on 8 October 1409 and was set to expire on 24 June 1410. [25] Both sides used this time to prepare for war, gathering troops and engaging in diplomatic maneuvering. Both sides sent letters and envoys accusing each other of various wrongdoings and threats to Christendom. Wenceslaus, who received a gift of 60,000 florins from the knights, declared that Samogitia rightfully belonged to the knights and only Dobrzyń Land should be returned to Poland. [26] The knights also paid 300,000 ducats to Sigismund of Hungary, who had ambitions regarding the Principality of Moldavia, for mutual military assistance. [26] Sigismund attempted to break the Polish–Lithuanian alliance by offering Vytautas a king's crown Vytautas' acceptance would have violated the terms of the Ostrów Agreement and created Polish-Lithuanian discord. [27] At the same time, Vytautas managed to obtain a truce from the Livonian Order. [28]

                By December 1409, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas had agreed on a common strategy: their armies would unite into a single massive force and march together towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital of the Teutonic Knights. [29] The Knights, who took a defensive position, did not expect a joint attack and were preparing for a dual invasion—by the Poles along the Vistula River towards Danzig (Gdańsk) and the Lithuanians along the Neman River towards Ragnit (Neman). [1] To counter this perceived threat, Ulrich von Jungingen concentrated his forces in Schwetz (Świecie), a central location from where troops could respond to an invasion from any direction rather quickly. [30] Sizable garrisons were left in the eastern castles of Ragnit, Rhein (Ryn) near Lötzen (Giżycko) and Memel (Klaipėda). [1] To keep their plans secret and mislead the knights, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas organized several raids into border territories, thus forcing the knights to keep their troops in place. [29]

                Various estimates of opposing forces [6]
                Historian Polish Lithuanian Teutonic
                Karl Heveker and
                Hans Delbrück [31]
                10,500 6,000 11,000
                Eugene Razin [32] 16,000–17,000 11,000
                Max Oehler 23,000 15,000
                Jerzy Ochmański 22,000–27,000 12,000
                Sven Ekdahl [31] 20,000–25,000 12,000–15,000
                Andrzej Nadolski 20,000 10,000 15,000
                Jan Dąbrowski 15,000–18,000 8,000–11,000 19,000
                Zigmantas Kiaupa [33] 18,000 11,000 15,000–21,000
                Marian Biskup 19,000–20,000 10,000–11,000 21,000
                Daniel Stone [18] 27,000 11,000 21,000
                Stefan Kuczyński 39,000 27,000
                James Westfall Thompson and
                Edgar Nathaniel Johnson [34]
                100,000 35,000
                Alfred Nicolas Rambaud [35] 163,000 86,000

                The precise number of soldiers involved has proven difficult to establish. [36] None of the contemporary sources provided reliable troop counts. Jan Długosz provided the number of banners, the principal unit of each cavalry: 51 for the knights, 50 for the Poles and 40 for the Lithuanians. [37] However, it is unclear how many men were under each banner. The structure and number of infantry units (pikemen, archers, crossbowmen) and artillery units is unknown. Estimates, often biased by political and nationalistic considerations, were produced by various historians. [36] German historians tend to present lower numbers, while Polish historians tend to use higher estimates. [6] The high-end estimates by Polish historian Stefan Kuczyński of 39,000 Polish–Lithuanian and 27,000 Teutonic men [37] have been cited in Western literature as "commonly accepted". [5] [10] [36]

                While outnumbered, the Teutonic army had advantages in discipline, military training and equipment. [32] They were particularly noted for their heavy cavalry, although only a small percentage of the Order's army at Grunwald were heavily armoured knights. [38] The Teutonic army was also equipped with bombards that could shoot lead and stone projectiles. [32]

                Both armies were composed of troops from several states and lands, including numerous mercenaries, primarily from Silesia and Bohemia. Bohemian mercenaries fought on both sides. [38] The Silesian mercenaries were led in battle by Duke Konrad VII the White, of Oels, who was supported by knights from the Silesian nobility including Dietrich von Kottulin and Hans von Motschelnitz. [39]

                Soldiers from twenty-two different states and regions, mostly Germanic, joined the Order's army. [40] Teutonic recruits known as guest crusaders included soldiers from Westphalia, Frisia, Austria, Swabia, Bavaria, [38] and Stettin (Szczecin). [41] Two Hungarian nobles, Nicholas II Garay and Stibor of Stiboricz, brought 200 men for the Order, [42] but support from Sigismund of Hungary was disappointing. [28]

                Poland brought mercenaries from Moravia and Bohemia. The Czechs produced two full banners, under the command of Jan Sokol z Lamberka [cs] . [4] Serving among the Czechs was possibly Jan Žižka, future commander of the Hussite forces. [43] Alexander the Good, ruler of Moldavia, commanded an expeditionary corps, the Moldavian king was so brave that the Polish troops and their king honoured him with a royal sword, the Szczerbiec. [2] Vytautas gathered troops from Lithuanian, Ruthenian (modern Belarus and Ukraine) lands. The three Ruthenian banners from Smolensk were under the command of Władysław II Jagiełło's brother Lengvenis, while the contingent of Tatars of the Golden Horde was under the command of the future Khan Jalal ad-Din. [3] The overall commander of the joint Polish–Lithuanian force was King Władysław II Jagiełło however, he did not directly participate in the battle. The Lithuanian units were commanded directly by Grand Duke Vytautas, who was second in command, and helped design the grand strategy of the campaign. Vytautas actively participated in the battle, managing both Lithuanian and Polish units. [44] Jan Długosz stated that the low-ranking sword bearer of the Crown, Zyndram of Maszkowice, commanded the Polish army, but that is highly doubtful. [45] More likely, marshal of the Crown Zbigniew of Brzezie commanded the Polish troops in the field.

                March into Prussia Edit

                The first stage of the Grunwald campaign was the gathering of all Polish–Lithuanian troops at Czerwinsk, a designated meeting point about 80 km (50 mi) from the Prussian border, where the joint army crossed the Vistula over a pontoon bridge. [46] This maneuver, which required precision and intense coordination among multi-ethnic forces, was accomplished in about a week, from 24 to 30 June. [1] Polish soldiers from Greater Poland gathered in Poznań, and those from Lesser Poland, in Wolbórz. On 24 June, Władysław II Jagiełło and Czech mercenaries arrived in Wolbórz. [1] Three days later the Polish army was already at the meeting place. The Lithuanian army marched out from Vilnius on 3 June and joined the Ruthenian regiments in Hrodna. [1] They arrived in Czerwinsk on the same day the Poles crossed the river. After the crossing, Masovian troops under Siemowit IV and Janusz I joined the Polish–Lithuanian army. [1] The massive force began its march north towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital of Prussia, on 3 July. The Prussian border was crossed on 9 July. [46]

                The river crossing remained secret until Hungarian envoys, who were attempting to negotiate a peace, informed the Grand Master. [47] As soon as Ulrich von Jungingen grasped the Polish–Lithuanian intentions, he left 3,000 men at Schwetz (Świecie) under Heinrich von Plauen [48] and marched the main force to organize a line of defense on the Drewenz River (Drwęca) near Kauernik (Kurzętnik). [49] The river crossing was fortified with stockades. [50] On 11 July, after meeting with his eight-member war council, [45] Władysław II Jagiełło decided against crossing the river at such a strong, defensible position. The army would instead bypass the river crossing by turning east, towards its sources, where no other major rivers separated his army from Marienburg. [49] The march continued east towards Soldau (Działdowo), although no attempt was made to capture the town. [51] The Teutonic army followed the Drewenz River north, crossed it near Löbau (Lubawa) and then moved east in parallel with the Polish–Lithuanian army. According to the Order propaganda the latter ravaged the village of Gilgenburg (Dąbrówno). [52] Later, in the self-serving testimonies of the survivors before the Pope the Order claimed that Von Jungingen was so enraged by the alleged atrocities that he swore to defeat the invaders in battle. [53]

                Battle preparations Edit

                In the early morning of 15 July, both armies met in an area covering approximately 4 km 2 (1.5 sq mi) between the villages of Grunwald, Tannenberg (Stębark) and Ludwigsdorf (Łodwigowo). [54] The armies formed opposing lines along a northeast–southwest axis. The Polish–Lithuanian army was positioned in front and east of Ludwigsdorf and Tannenberg. [55] Polish heavy cavalry formed the left flank, Lithuanian light cavalry the right flank and various mercenary troops made up the center. Their men were organized in three lines of wedge-shaped formations about 20 men deep. [55] The Teutonic forces concentrated their elite heavy cavalry, commanded by Grand Marshal Frederic von Wallenrode, against the Lithuanians. [54] The Knights, who were the first to organize their army for the battle, hoped to provoke the Poles or Lithuanians into attacking first. Their troops, wearing heavy armor, had to stand in the scorching sun for several hours waiting for an attack. [56] One chronicle suggested that they had dug pits that an attacking army would fall into. [57] They also attempted to use field artillery, but a light rain dampened their powder and only two cannon shots were fired. [56] As Władysław II Jagiełło delayed, the Grand Master sent messengers with two swords to "assist Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas in battle". The swords were meant as an insult and a provocation. [58] Known as the "Grunwald Swords", they became one of the national symbols of Poland.


                We found at least 10 Websites Listing below when search with founder of the teutonic knights on Search Engine

                The Teutonic Knights – Templar History

                • Mary’s Hospital of Jerusalem was one of the three great religious and military orders produced by the Crusades
                • It was founded during the third Crusade, and was the last one formed
                • Its hospital was founded by Germans.

                The Teutonic Knights – History Moments

                • The Teutonic Knights continued their care of the sick soldiers till Acre was taken in July, 1191, by the united forces of Philip Augustus, King of France, and Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England
                • After the capture of Acre by the Christian army, Henry de Walpot purchased a site within the city, and built a church and hospital for his order

                The Early Teutonic Knights During the Crusades – History

                • The Teutonic Knights received considerable possessions, and a preceptory was founded in Achaia
                • Some time afterward another was established in Armenia, where also the order had obtained property and territory in return for service rendered in the field.

                Teutonic Order religious order Britannica

                Britannica.com DA: 18 PA: 21 MOZ Rank: 42

                Teutonic Order, also called Teutonic Knights, formally House of the Hospitalers of Saint Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem, German Deutscher Orden, or Deutscher Ritter-Orden, or Haus der Ritter des Hospitals Sankt Marien der Deutschen zu Jerusalem, Latin Domus Sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum in Jerusalem, religious order that played a major role in eastern Europe in the late Middle Ages and that


                Back with the Knights

                However, as the Polish siege of Marienburg prolonged, the interim leader of the order Heinrich von Plauen the Elder realized that the Polish-Lithuanian king did not have the means to enforce his de jure suzerainty over the rebellious towns. As a result the Knights besieged the main part of the city of Danzig. After the Polish army abandoned the siege of Marienburg, the Danzigers and the knights negotiated a cease fire and began negotiations for a surrender of the town. The city council sent desperate letters to Jagiello who was however unable to help. After a stormy session the city council finally decided to swear an oath allegiance to von Plauen, who had now been made a Master of the order. [ 4 ]

                Despite this fact, the citizens of the city continued to resent the Order's rule which manifested itself mostly through the refusal to pay taxes or otherwise support the Knights' military efforts in the war with Poland. The city refused to provide further recruits for the Order, justifying its refusal by the fact that it had also sworn a loyalty oath to the Polish king and had not yet been released from it. However, in 1411, the first Peace of Thorn was concluded, which placed Danzig under Teutonic control and Jagiello released the city from its oath. [ 4 ]

                Soon after a conference was held between the Grand Master von Plauen and representatives of the city, including Letzkau, Peter Vorrath and Herman Kleinemeister. The mayors demanded that the Order stop competing with the city's merchants, allow greater autonomy to the city, stop fortifying its positions within the city, and let the council appoint its own members. Plauen agreed but in return demanded that a new tax be created, proceeds from which were to be used in arming the Knights for future war with Poland which everyone expected to begin again. In turn, Letzkau and others made the payment of the tax conditional on the Order respecting all the privileges and rights that were granted to the city by the Polish king Jagiello. [ 4 ]


                Background

                Lithuanian Crusade and Polish-Lithuanian Union

                In 1230, the Teutonic Knights, a crusading military order, moved to Chełmno Land and launched the Prussian Crusade against the pagan Prussian clans. With support from the pope and Holy Roman Emperor, the Teutons conquered and converted the Prussians by the 1280s and shifted their attention to the pagan Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For about 100 years the Knights raided Lithuanian lands, particularly Samogitia, as it separated the Knights in Prussia from their branch in Livonia. While the border regions became an uninhabited wilderness, the Knights gained very little territory. The Lithuanians first gave up Samogitia during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381-1384) in the Treaty of Dubysa. The territory was used as a bargaining chip to ensure Teutonic support for one of the sides in the internal power struggle.

                In 1385, Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania agreed to marry Queen Jadwiga of Poland in the Union of Kreva. Jogaila converted to Christianity and was crowned King of Poland (Władysław II Jagiełło), thus creating a personal union between the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The official Lithuanian conversion to Christianity removed the religious rationale for the order’s activities in the area. Its grand master, Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein, supported by Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg, responded by publicly contesting the sincerity of Jogaila’s conversion, bringing the charge to a papal court. The territorial disputes continued over Samogitia, which had been in Teutonic hands since the Peace of Raciąż in 1404. Poland also had territorial claims against the Knights in Dobrzyń Land and Gdańsk (Danzig), but the two states had been largely at peace since the Treaty of Kalisz (1343). The conflict was also motivated by trade considerations: The knights controlled the lower reaches of the three largest rivers (the Neman, Vistula and Daugava) in Poland and Lithuania.

                War, Truce, and Preparations

                In May 1409, an uprising in Teutonic-held Samogitia started. Lithuania supported it and the knights threatened to invade. Poland announced its support for the Lithuanian cause and threatened to invade Prussia in return. As Prussian troops evacuated Samogitia, Teutonic Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen declared war on the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on 06 August 1409. The Knights hoped to defeat Poland and Lithuania separately, and began by invading Greater Poland and Kuyavia, catching the Poles by surprise. The Knights burned the castle at Dobrin (Dobrzyń nad Wisłą), captured Bobrowniki after a 14-day siege, conquered Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and sacked several towns. The Poles organized counterattacks and recaptured Bydgoszcz. The Samogitians attacked Memel (Klaipėda). However, neither side was ready for a full-scale war.

                Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, agreed to mediate the dispute. A truce was signed on 08 October 1409 and was set to expire on 24 June 1410. Both sides used this time to prepare for war, gathering troops and engaging in diplomatic manoeuvring. Both sides sent letters and envoys accusing each other of various wrongdoings and threats to Christendom. Wenceslaus, who received a gift of 60,000 florins from the knights, declared that Samogitia rightfully belonged to the knights and only Dobrzyń Land should be returned to Poland. The knights also paid 300,000 ducats to Sigismund of Hungary, who had ambitions regarding the Principality of Moldavia, for mutual military assistance. Sigismund attempted to break the Polish-Lithuanian alliance by offering Vytautas a king’s crown Vytautas’ acceptance would have violated the terms of the Ostrów Agreement and created Polish-Lithuanian discord. At the same time, Vytautas managed to obtain a truce from the Livonian Order.

                By December 1409, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas had agreed on a common strategy: their armies would unite into a single massive force and march together towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital of the Teutonic Knights. The Knights, who took a defensive position, did not expect a joint attack and were preparing for a dual invasion – by the Poles along the Vistula River towards Danzig (Gdańsk) and the Lithuanians along the Neman River towards Ragnit (Neman). To counter this perceived threat, Ulrich von Jungingen concentrated his forces in Schwetz (Świecie), a central location from where troops could respond to an invasion from any direction rather quickly. Sizable garrisons were left in the eastern castles of Ragnit, Rhein (Ryn) near Lötzen (Giżycko) and Memel (Klaipėda). To keep their plans secret and mislead the knights, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas organised several raids into border territories, thus forcing the knights to keep their troops in place.


                Medieval Inscription Found in Teutonic Knights’ Castle of Cēsis - History

                DESCRIPTION: Here is a very special Ahnenerbe piece. We will not go into the history, development and cultural heritage that attaches to the Ahnenerbe or Ancestral heritage foundation, as the person who will be interested in this item will already know those facts. This is for the advanced researcher and collector. Also there is much on the internet about this academic study group. Its meaning is profound and they go deep into the Teutonic and National Socialist mythos and ancient archeology. The brass canister is inscribed with these words &ldquoEwige ist der Toten Tatenruhm&rdquo (Eternal are the deeds of the dead). This refers to the fallen of the world war and the martyrs of the early struggle of the National Socialist party but also honors the heroes of the Teutonic past. The lid is hand engraved with an eternal wheel with hooked design all joined. This puts one in mind of the swastika mobile mode. There are swastikas in Sonnenrad form that are found at the beginning and the end of the wording around the surface of the canister. At the center top is a piece of Bernstein (amber) that not only represents the eternal flame but by the choice of this fiery mineral the artists conveys another meaningful message. Bernstein is the national stone or gem of Germany from ages gone by. It has the significance of being the Heilegestein (holy stone) of the Teutonic German Volk (the ancients). No diamond, no ruby, no emerald can compete with its deep meaning to the Teutons or their descendants. Today&rsquos Germans, of course, have lost practically all interest in the glories of the past and to some extent like to self flagellate themselves when dealing with their past. They accept, it seems, the former enemies' tales of horror to be the truth regardless of any proofs that exist to the contrary. However they should look to the utter depravity and abject cruelty that attended such other nation's history, for instance the role of the U.S. Federal North in the American Civil war that unleashed horrors against their brothers in the South in the post war period for no reason other than revenge! Revisionist history today accurately records the horrible terror that they unleashed after the &lsquoWar of Northern Aggression.&rdquo Some of us do however give much thought to it and some of us are in awe of a historically important and spiritually valuable treasure such as this memento of the Teutonic mythos.

                Book: Heinrich Himmler&rsquos Camelot
                The Wewelsburg Ideological Center of the SS 1934-45
                by Steven Cook and Stewart Russell
                (Item AHN 4-8 & HH 4-9 & ENGBOOKS 1-2 & CASTLE 1-5)

                DESCRIPTION: This is a sensational book that should be a must for any serious SS collector. We felt that it was imperative that we handle it. It is the saga and history of the WewelsburgCastle (also known as &ldquoHimmler&rsquos Castle&rdquo) from ancient times to the present day, and the roles of the SS, the Ahnenerbe, Heinrich Himmler, Karl Weistor and other personalities. It further explains the surrounding geographic area of Westphalia and its strategic importance to the National Socialist philosophy. Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler spearheaded a quest for Germany&rsquos forgotten ancestral heritage and documents of its natural pagan culture. Heinrich Himmler&rsquos Camelot also gives a rare insight as a high quality pictorial of the people, the architectural plans and castle rooms, including the north towers &lsquoValhalla&rsquo and &ldquoHall of Pillars&rdquo with the &ldquoBlack Sun&rdquo as well as the nearby Externsteine (rocks of the sun) and Hermann's monument (The Battle of Teutons vs. Roman Legions) plus much, much more material to thrill the hearts of true Germanophiles.

                * Over 200 B & W photos, plus numerous illustrations and documents all available for the first time in an English language publication.
                * Plus a 16 page color section with 31 photographs, including a rare never before seen, full page of Heinrich Himmler&rsquos death mask.
                * Contains a fold-out showing a unique design of the twelve Knights of the Round Table.
                * A complete story of the Castle's history, architecture, renovation and décor, administration wartime fate, secrets, and the extraordinary fascination that appeals to thousands of visitors every year.
                * Behold! The coming of a National Socialist Arthurian Court, the Sword Excalibur, Sir Lancelot and Merlin including an index, glossary, reference notes and informative appendices about the structure of the SS.
                * 256 pages, hardbound with beautiful artistic dust jacket and an 8 ½" x 11" format.
                * Read the facts about what really occurred at the Wewelsburg based on 20+ years of research by Stuart Russell, historian, author, filmmaker, and contributor to numerous topic related books. Now, with a deeper analysis in English with Stephen Cook, artist, historian, author and publisher. Learn of Germany&rsquos cultural re-awakening, Weltaschauung, the role of the Christian Church, academic studies, scientific evidence, and the personalities involved.
                * A &lsquomust have&rsquo for military historians, collectors, philosophers, theologians, artists and Germanophiles!

                Second hand copies of this hard to find book are sometimes avaiable on the internet for prices of around $120.00 to $195.00 USD. Having been at this castle several times I can say it is a real experience and should not be missed by serious historians. Germania International has a special arrangement with Stephen Cook the author, so the book is available from Germania International, LLC for $108.50 and this price includes postage and insurance in the United States.

                PRICE: $108.50 (includes postage and insurance when mailed in the U.S.)

                PRICE: SOLD OUT

                Official Ring of the Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage Foundation) (Item AHN 4-9 & SS 34-11)

                DESCRIPTION: This was the finger ring of the Ancestral Heritage Foundation. For a background of this academic study group see AHN 1-1 in this section. This ring like the one mentioned at AHN 1-1 was designed by Dr.Wolfram Sievers who was Reichsgeschaafsfuhrer or General Secretary of the Ahnenerbe from 1935 to 1945. Dr. Sievers was an SS Standartenfuhrer who in 1943 became director of the Wehrwessenshafliche Institute for Military Scientific Research, a separate department of the SS Ahnenerbe, thus receiving his doctorate. The organization was a many faceted entity. The main function was to promote the science of ancient intellectual history. There was a genealogy section, a archeological office, an ancient arts department, a meteorological section, a musicology department whose aim was to determine the &ldquoessence of Germanic music", and well known is the expedition department that sent study groups to places like Tibet, the German Island of Rugen, and Backa Sweden. A Middle East trek was launched to study an internal power struggle of the Roman Empire which was fought between the Nordic and Semitic peoples. An entire vast department was devoted to the study of pagan cultures even to the point of studying sorcerers and witches, however it should be pointed out that any connection of the organization or for that matter the Third Reich with occult practices was limited to academic study and in no way did the N.S Government nor the Ahnenerbe research teams indulge in these practices -- that is just pure Hokum! Especially ludicrous is the book by Trevor Ravenscroft &ldquoThe Spear of Destiny, The Powers of the Holy Lance.&rdquo The lance which was the spear of Longinus was actually associated with Christianity not the occult. It was a symbol of faith and fulfillment not an evil entity as Ravenscroft indicates. He also describes Wolfram Sievers as some sort of an evil &lsquoWarlock.&rsquo Nothing could be further from the truth. The professors of the heritage Foundation were hard working dedicated and brilliant academics who have left positive and great studies to the world. There were at least 50 separate departments of this organization all headquartered in Berlin. The symbol of the Ahnenerbe is a Teutonic sword, whose form also represents a crucifix. the symbol of Christianity. Twisted around it is the &lsquoWotan Knot&rsquo signifying the ancient roots of pre-Christian Nordic anthropological beginnings that gave way to the following of Jesus the Nazarene. (&ldquoMy Savior&rdquo !) Around this the words are written in runic shaped letters spelling out- - - - &lsquoDeutsches Ahnenerbe&rsquo which stands for the actual organizational name which was Forschungs und Lehrgemeinshaft Das Ahnenerbe E.V. (Research and Teaching Community for Ancestral Heritage). This was adopted as the title in 1937. The main mission was to experiment and launch voyages with the interest of proving that prehistoric and mythological Nordic populations once ruled the world! Movies and TV series have spread much misinformation about this intensely significant establishment. When the various items of jewelry were purchased by us at Stuttgart there were a few of these official Ahnenerbe rings as well as others that had been produced. An original order was also found for these pieces and a total of 30 of them were to be produced. However, we found only five. So, it is assumed that either the other 25 were not produced as of that time in 1943 or that twenty five were delivered to the organization I guess we will never know for sure

                The rings are what I might call a masterpiece of jewelry design with the sword and knot emblem and Ahnenerbe spelled out. The sides have an image of the sacred Saxon idol (The Irminsul) see page 2 of this section at AHN 2-5 for a brief explanation of the Irminsul that is contained within a description of another ring that we suspect was produced for the SS Ahnenerbe. The rings are constructed in pure 835 silver and are so stamped inside. The enameling was hand applied in Niello style and the original design was by SS Standartenfuhrer Dr.Sievers according to various notes and papers found among shop orders. The work is exemplary and the ring is very handsome in its presentation. But more important is the great academic accomplishments of this meaningful and distinguished group of scientists and professors. The ring is the only symbol of this organization made for everyday wear and reminds us of the outstanding accomplishments in the field of archeology and genealogy forwarded by this Ahnenerbe group.

                PRICE: SOLD


                Upper Left: Young WWI pilot, Hans Baur
                Below: The famed Condor aircraft converted for Hitler and flown by Baur

                Signed Gift Book from Heinrich Himmler
                to SS Oberfuhrer Hans Bauer, Hitler's Pilot
                (Item AHN 4-11 & HH 4-11)

                DESCRIPTION: This is wonderful! An SS Ahnenerbe book presented to the Fuhrer's personal pilot on Julfest 1939. The presentation wording is written in fine calligraphy probably by an Ahnenerbe artist and hand signed by the Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler himself. This is a virtual treasure to the SS collector and the collector of Deutsches Ahnenerbe material. The inscription is SS Oberfuhrer Hans Baur zum Julfest 1937 Mit Den Besten Wünchen 22 12 1937 and the signature of the Reichsfuhrer SS to SS Oberfuhrer Hans Baur on Julfest (Christmas Week) 22nd Dec. 1937. An SS Oberfuhrer is equivalent to the Wehrmacht Oberstor (Lt. Colonel). Later, he was promoted to SS Standartenfuhrer (Full Colonel) and in 1944 he was elevated to SS Gruppenfuhrer (Major General). He was Adolf Hitler&rsquos personal pilot and an author, plus SS Police official. He was a highly decorated WWI flyer and leading commercial aviator during the pioneer fledgling days of Lufthansa Airlines in the late twenties. Hitler became the first head of state to use air travel extensively. He personally selected Hans Baur to be the official pilot. &ldquoLuftwaffe One&rdquo was a reliable four engine condor aircraft which was plushed up and called &ldquoImmelmann II&rdquo after Max Immelmann a famous WWI pilot who was the creator of the famous dog fighting maneuver used during early combat between planes. Hitler increasingly relied on Baur for advice about air war policy and technical developments. At war&rsquos end, he was trapped in the bunker with his beloved Fuhrer. Prior to being captured by the Russians, he was shot and his injuries were so severe that one of his legs had to be amputated. The Russians were deeply interested in Hans Baur, thinking he had flown Hitler to safety before the fall of Berlin. He endured ten years of tortuous questioning at the hands of Russian agents who finally released him in 1955. He returned to Germany to write his memoirs entitled &ldquoHitler at My Side.&rdquo He died in Munich of strictly old age ailments and was interred in the family plot in the Westfridhof in Munich. He was a loyal SS man and even under horrid interrogations by the Reds, he never apologized for his faith and admiration of the Fuhrer. I met him in 1990 and while talking with him I held his little dachshund, Waldi, in my lap. To hear his exploits and look through his albums is a memory I will always cherish. He was a Teutonic Nobleman of the type we have not seen since or is it likely we will ever see again. Now he belongs to the ages!

                The book would be rare unto itself being one of the scarce books of the &ldquoAhnenerbe&rdquo (the Foundation for the study of the Germanic past). You can read more about it in other Ahnenerbe entries on our pages. The book is named &ldquoBauernbrauch Im Jahreslauf&rdquo (Customs of the Farmers over the Course of the Past). It is a 207 page text style book on this the occupation considered not only most worthy but particularly sacred by the NSDAP and especially the SS. In this monumental work by a researcher in the Ahnenerbe, Herr Hans Strobel, you will see the customs, and the traditions practiced down through the ages by the farmers covered in depth. Customs that seem strange to us today are shown and explained. Interesting ceremonies are detailed all having to do with pagan beliefs and ceremonies that would hopefully beget necessary good crops and animal harvest. Many of the reenactments seen in photographs were performed by SS Ahnenerbe functionaries. The typical houses in the book demonstrate writing and designs both Christian and Pagan. There are agriculturally inspired songs and poems and writings as well as explanations of the local customs of Bauern in all the German land &ndash colorful maypoles, the flaming wheels, and the cultural importance of the pretzel and of oak trees is explained. Ancient talismans are studied the Christmas and Yuletide legends are delved into in detail. Many ancient, important wood and stone carvings are illustrated in drawings. The Ahnenerbe researcher left no stone unturned while creating such a handbook dedicated to German agriculture and its honorable history. This aspect of the studies of the ancestry institute was the passion of Heinrich Himmler, SS Reichsfuhrer, and he personally indulged himself in it to a great degree. It seems quite natural in our estimation that he would choose copies of this book. For his personal choice of Julfest gifts to his closest friends and certainly Hans Baur would definitely be one of his very closest. The SS motto that was &ldquoMeine Ehre Heist Treue&rdquo (My Honor is Loyalty) was ever present in the mind of General der Luftwaffe and pilot extraordinaire, Hans Baur. The book measures 6 ½" x 9" and is a little over 1 inch thick. It has the original colorful dust cover and bears the personal stamp inside from Hans Baur Flugkapitan and Colonel of Police in Stefeld Oberbayern. On the forward leaf is a statement from Himmler that roughly translates to &ldquoA people will live so long in happiness in the present and in the future if they are conscious and aware of their past.&rdquo Very appropriate for this important volume I&rsquod say! So, here we have a virtual 3rd Reich treasure and it&rsquos not a field pack, nor a steel helmet, it is not a hand grenade or even a Knights Cross. No, it is my personal belief that this little book surpasses all the above in importance but perhaps I am prejudiced or just maybe historically knowledgeable and motivated in the way that I think. To me, this may be one of the most historically great relics we at Germania have ever offered.

                PRICE: SOLD

                DESCRIPTION: Here is a very framable print of a Third Reich depiction of the sacred Irminsul -- the meaning in ancient Saxon language is probably Great mighty pillar or Arising Pillar. It played a prodigiously important role in Germanic paganism. The oldest chronicle describing an Irminsul refers to it as a tree trunk erected in the open air. The purpose of the Irminsul&rsquos and the implications thereof have been the subject of considerable scholarly discourse and speculation for hundreds of years. The Germanic God Irmin inferred by the name Irminsul and the tribal name &ldquoIrminones&rdquo is sometimes presumed to have been the National God of the Saxons. It has often conjectured that the Irminsul was a &ldquoWorld Tree&rdquo the equivalent of Yggdrasil among the Saxon tribes of Germany, likewise it is unknown whether the venerated piece was made of wood or stone or whether there was one or several? Meanwhile the "T" shape Irminsul representation seen today is rather conjectural. The SS Ahnenerbe or office of ancestral heritage envisioned it in that particular depiction, a tree like column stretching its arms outward toward the world of Nordic, Aryan, peoples and their racial kin. According to history and legend the Irminsul was situated at or near the Externsteine the famous rock formation near Detmold, Germany. A Christian relief on the Externsteine depicts what is described as a bent Irminsul design under the feet of Nicodemus who lifts Christ from the Cross. This art work variously dated to the early ninth to early 12th century AD is believed to represent the bent or fallen Irminsul beneath triumphant Christianity! In the 1929 interpretation of archaeologist Prof. Wilhelm Teudt the researcher connected the theories of Goethe who discussed the relief carving in detail and his own studies. Teudt was a member of the SS Ahnenerbe and this academic organization of the SS undertook in 1934 and 1935 extensive fieldwork in uncovering material evidence that the Externsteine was a place of Germanic pagan worship. Note in our pictures that the feet of Nicodemus are missing as they would be in the depiction of the crucifixion are missing. Could it be that centuries ago some Saxon faithful to his religion came and hacked the offending limbs off the depiction of Nicodemis due to what he saw as blatant irreverence for this sacred symbol of his faith?

                The NSDAP in general and especially the SS considered these stone formations sacred as this in their considered estimation was truly the site of the sacred Irminsul venerated by the Saxons in 772. At the beginning of his bloody campaign against the Saxons it is known that Charlemagne (Karl Der Grosse) destroyed the gigantic pillar that stood at the top of the high natural and living stone column. This was the tallest rock in the Teutoberg Forest where Hermann the Cherusci leader led his Germans in a brilliantly staged attack that destroyed three of Rome&rsquos best legions in 9 CE. This Irminsul was of course the symbol of the Saxon people and the great murderer knew this would be the destruction of the soul of the Saxons. The Externsteine stood as the beacon of the heathen world, the most Holy stead, certainly of the Northern tradition, yesterday and even to some of the faithful even today. The National Socialists thought it represented a resurgence of Germanic tradition and intense pride of ancestry. Many ceremonies presented by this scholarly group were held at this spiritual place. It was also a place of reverence. For the memory of almost 5,000 Saxon chieftains who Charlemagne murdered by the most foul of means thereby finally subjecting the survivors to baptism and Christianity. An Indian woman who was known to the Germanophile world as Savitri Devi Mukherjii in her prodigiously interesting book (Pilgrimage) had much to say about her visit soon after the War to this sacred area she says much about the Externstiene and the Irminsul .On page 347 she observes &ldquoWithin an hour or so&rdquo thought I &ldquoI shall be greeting the rising sun from the ancient high place over which the Golden Irminsul used to glitter in far gone times over which the swastika flag still used to flutter. I shall be greeting the rising sun&hellip and sealing my life&rsquos dream with the seal of eternity!&rdquo

                The print or poster that we offer is a copy done on heavy cardboard stock of the first order. It is done expertly in the same sepia tones as the original that is in my own collection. The depiction here is the Sacred Life Tree rising like the Phoenix with symbols of the Odel rune meaning home or homestead, inherited characteristics family bond. Then just above the Irminsul&rsquos middle top is the Hagel rune which means &ldquoI destroy or I protect&rdquo (preservation of the race in both instances). To the right as you view it is the &ldquoSonnenrad&rdquo or Sun Wheel. This runic symbol represents Eternity and continuation as the rays of the life giving sun turns in endless time. All of the above are then personified with the human figures as necessary agriculture is depicted by the noble looking Aryan man with the plow who stands ready to labor with his soul mate and wife as she is depicted in true Nordic beauty with the &ldquowheat of life&rdquo in her arms. The central theme is the depiction of the birth mother as she fulfills the duty of motherhood and she nurtures the babe the future of our race. Below all of the above is the somber figure of a prophet of old who holds the destiny of the world in his hands. Below this figure are the words that translate to:

                Blood and Soil
                Blood and Honor
                Blood and Belief
                Unquestionably one and German

                The poster measures 15 ½ x 13 with a white border left to facilitate farming. The picture we show is compromised with black lines through it -- why? Because many unscrupulous persons, some with anti-bewegung and liberal notions have copied pictures from our site without authorization in the past and we don&rsquot like it! Many of the items we offer are for the enjoyment and edification of fellow Germanophiles and often in the end we do not even make money at it. When all is considered we feel that bringing this wonderful copy of an important Third Reich photo document such as this is really a labor of love.

                Believe me we could frame these and sell them at three times the price we ask in several auctions but we want to see a wide distribution of this &ldquoKulturstuck&rdquo and thus we ask only:

                PRICE: $45.00 each or two for $75.00.


                Legacy

                Poland and Lithuania

                The Battle of Grunwald is regarded as one of the most important in the histories of Poland and Lithuania. [11] In the history of Ukraine, the battle is better associated with Vytautas the Great, who stood as the leader of Eastern Orthodox Christianity at that time. [90] In Lithuania the victory is synonymous with the Grand Duchy's political and military peak. It was a source of national pride during the age of Romantic nationalism and inspired resistance to the Germanization and Russification policies of the German and Russian Empires. The Knights were portrayed as bloodthirsty invaders and Grunwald as a just victory achieved by a small, oppressed nation. [11]

                In 1910, to mark the 500th anniversary of the battle, a monument by Antoni Wiwulski was unveiled in Kraków during a three-day celebration attended by some 150,000 people. [91] About 60 other towns and villages in Galicia also erected Grunwald monuments for the anniversary. [92]

                About the same time Nobel Prize-winner Henryk Sienkiewicz wrote the novel The Knights of the Cross (Polish: Krzyżacy), prominently featuring the battle in one of the chapters. In 1960 Polish filmmaker Aleksander Ford used the book as the basis for his film, Knights of the Teutonic Order. A museum, monuments and memorials were constructed at the battlefield in 1960. [93] The battle site is one of Poland's official, national Historic Monuments, as designated October 4, 2010, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland. The battle has lent its name to military decorations (Cross of Grunwald), sports teams (BC Žalgiris, FK Žalgiris), and various organizations.

                An annual battle reenactment takes place on 15 July. In 2010 a pageant reenacting the event and commemorating the battle's 600th anniversary was held. It attracted 200,000 spectators who watched 2,200 participants playing the role of knights in a reenactment of the battle. An additional 3,800 participants played peasants and camp followers. The pageant's organizers believe that the event has become the largest reenactment of medieval combat in Europe. [94]

                The Battle of Grunwald is commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, with the inscription "GRUNWALD 15 VII 1410".

                Germany and Russia

                The Germans generally saw the Knights as heroic and noble men who brought Christianity and civilization to the east. [11] In August 1914, during World War I, Germany won a battle against Russia near the site. When the Germans realized its propaganda potential, they named the battle the Battle of Tannenberg, [95] despite it having actually taken place much closer to Allenstein (Olsztyn), and framed it as revenge for the Polish–Lithuanian victory 504 years earlier. Nazi Germany later exploited the sentiment by portraying their Lebensraum policies as a continuation of the Knights' historical mission. [96]

                Due to the participation of the three Smolensk regiments, Russians saw the battle as a victory of a Polish–Lithuanian–Russian coalition against invading Germans. Chronicler Jan Długosz praised the Smolensk banners, who fought bravely and were the only banners from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania not to retreat. In Soviet historiography, the Battle of Grunwald was styled as a racial struggle between Slavs and Germanics. [97] The Teutonic Knights were portrayed as the medieval forerunners of Hitler's armies, while the battle itself was seen as the medieval counterpart to the Battle of Stalingrad. [11] [97]

                In William Urban's summary, almost all accounts of the battle made before the 1960s were more influenced by romantic legends and nationalistic propaganda than by fact. [69] Historians have since made progress towards dispassionate scholarship and reconciliation of the various national accounts of the battle. [96]


                Watch the video: Geschichte 6 - Die Burg im Mittelalter (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. J?n

    How curious .. :)

  2. Akinole

    Quite, all can be

  3. Midal

    Wonderful, this precious sentence

  4. Febei

    I am not worried.



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