Category Archives: Primary Sources

Descriptions of warfare in The Rhyme Chronicle of Livonia

The Rhyme Chronicle of Livonia (Liulandische Reimchronik) is an account of the activities of the Teutonic Order . It was written around the end of the thirteenth century, and consists of 12017 lines of rhyming couplets written in Middle High German. It is the only major source of Baltic history for the years 1225 to 1290, since the only other chronicle, the one by Henry of Livonia, covers the period 1143 to 1225. Continue reading

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The Battle of Stillfried, 1278, from the Gesta Hungarorum

The Gesta Hungarorum, or The Deeds of the Hungarians, was written by Simon of Keza around 1280-2. Simon was a court cleric to King Ladislas IV of Hungary, and his work is highly laudatory of his king. In the following section, the writer describes the battle of Stillfield, in which the forces of Ladislas and Rudolf of Habsburg, the German king, defeated King Otakar of Bohemia. The battle was fought on August 26, 1278. Continue reading

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Military Organisation in the Guta Saga

The Guta Saga is a short chronicle, written sometime between 1220 and 1275, which details the history of Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. One of the last sections in this saga describes the arrangements made regarding what obligations did Gotlanders have in providing ships and men for the military campaigns of the Swedish kings. Continue reading

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Warfare in Thirteenth Century Iceland

The collapse of Iceland as a self-governing country in the mid-thirteenth century is highlighted by several conflicts between various powerful chieftains. The various sagas and histories that make up the Sturlunga Sagas were written soon after the events they record, and their descriptions of some of the battles that took place on the island are among the most interesting medieval accounts of warfare. Continue reading

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The surrender of Gaston Castle (1268), according The Catalan Rule of the Templars

The following is clause 180 of this text, which describes the surrender of a Templar castle after the fall of Antioch in 1268. It was against the Order’s rule for members to abandon their castles without permission, with a punishment of expulsion from the Templars to those who transgressed. Continue reading

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A Plan to regain the Holy Land from the Master of the Hospitallers (c.1305)

Following the expulsion of the Crusaders from their last outpost of Acre in 1291, several attempts and plans were made to bring back Christian rule to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In the following memorandum, Fulk of Villaret, master of the Hospitallers, proposes this invasion plan. Continue reading

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