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The Conversion and Destruction of the Wends
By E.L. Skip Knox


"Charles, travelling through Saxony, came to the Elbe River. Invading the land of the Slavs who are called Wilzi, he conquered them in great battles and subjugated them to his law."1 Thus do the Wends first appear in the sources. Political and military mastery over the Wends was from the very first the main problem confronting the Franks along their Elbe River frontier, as it was for their German successors. The Wends were formidable opponents in battle, for only the most skilled of war leaders--such as Charlemagne (768-814), Henry the Fowler (919-936), or Otto I (936-973)--achieved notable victories over them. When the Christians were ruled by lesser leaders, the Wends were able to regain their independence. The great kings and emperors just mentioned shared another trait: they all took an active interest in securing their eastern frontier. They not only led military campaigns, they also set up permanent frontier defenses in the form of strongholds and marches, putting first-rate warriors in command there. Those who neglected the eastern borders tended to lose control of the Wends. The result was three centuries of alternating advances and retreats that left the frontier of the Empire in 1100 almost exactly where it had been in 800: on the Elbe-Saale River line. Charlemagne's advances were followed by a slow retreat under Louis the Pious (814-840) and his successors. The retreat was not halted until the reign of Henry the Fowler. Under Otto I, all the Wendish tribes except the Pomeranians were imperial tributaries. In 983 a major revolt wiped out nearly all traces of Christianity and the Empire beyond the Elbe. Some progress was made under Otto III (983-1002), but in 1018 another revolt won the entire trans-Elbean region back to paganism and independence. There followed tentative advances under Conrad II (1024-1039) and Henry III (1039-1056), which were again undone by a revolt in 1066. An imperial army did not enter Slavia again until 1124.

The reason for the repeated reversals of fortune is that the Germans were unable to maintain constant pressure on the Wends. An imperial army could usually defeat a Wendish army, but the Wends avoided pitched battles. In any case, imperial armies could not always be mobilized to meet a Wendish threat. It was the Saxon levy that more often faced the bands of Wendish warriors that struck at German outposts or invaded Saxony itself. Campaigning in the forests and fens of Slavia was difficult, and only very able leaders could expect success. Moreover, the Saxons were mostly free men. The Saxon duke could command them in the event of an invasion, but for a war of aggression into Slavia there cannot have been much enthusiasm. The almost total absence of feudalism in the first phase of the Drive to the East (that is, before about 1075) had another effect. Once the Wends had been defeated in battle, virtually the only political course open to the victors was to make tributaries of the Wends. This was a status resented by the pagans, and one from which they sought to escape at every opportunity. The very limited manpower and governmental capacities available to the Saxon dukes, or even to the Emperor, made the prevention of revolt all ill

The Drive to the East in the first phase, therefore, was scarcely a drive at all. Military expeditions were largely defensive or punitive. The extension of political control was aimed primarily at creating a frontier secure from raids. protection of churches and clergy was sometimes also a factor, especially in the reign of Otto I. In either case, the aim was essentially defensive. When the twelfth century opened, a new phase was beginning in the Drive to the East. Military expeditions were becoming aggressive campaigns of occupation, and political control was being extended in to exploit the resources of the conquered territory. Before discussion of the factors behind the first phase and the causes of the second, let us turn to the Wends themselves.

We know very little about Wendish society. The sources we possess sometimes disdain to speak of matters relating to pagans, but more often they are simply and frustratingly silent.2 Nearly all the physical traces of the Wends have disappeared, so that there is no prospect of ever reconstructing the whole of their social and economic edifice. On only a few points do the sources speak; on just those aspects that most affected their own Christian world. For the purposes of this analysis, more information is certainly desirable, but is not necessary. There is enough, slim though it is, for historians to discuss the reasons for the many Wendish revolts, the methods of warfare employed by the Wends, something of their political structure, and the importance of piracy and hospitality to these matters.

The Wends were famous for their liberality.3 Gift-giving is, of course, a characteristic of most societies at a certain stage in their history, but it is more prominent among some than others. In twelfth century Germany, where most of our sources were written, gift-giving played a very important social and economic role. When a writer from that culture admires the hospitality of the Wends, we can conclude that the Wends were exceptionally generous even by the standards of the Germans. In fact, what evidence we do possess indicates that liberality was shown by all toward all, implying a less structured society than that of the Germans. A Wendish family had to be prepared to feed anyone, even strangers. Anyone caught denying bread to a stranger was liable to have his home and property burned.4 The Wends were agreed that "he who does not fear to deny a stranger bread is shameful, vile, and to be abominated by all."5 So ingrained was the ethic of hospitality that Wends would even welcome enemies into their own home, as in the case of Thessemar, an "influential man" in Wagria. Thessemar feasted the bishop of Oldenburg and his party with great ceremony and generosity, even while he held and tortured other priests whom he had captured.6

Liberality was a fundamental part of the structure of Wendish society, serving two functions. First, it redistributed wealth in a society where the mechanisms for redistribution were few. there were rich families, of course, but they could not hoard all their wealth without risking the censure and retaliation mentioned above. It also provided what amounted to poor relief, and allowed households to serve as inns for travelers, needs filled by the monasteries in Christian society. Landed property meant very little to the Wends, as befits a pastoral people, who saw wealth only in moveable property.7 Giving away goods, therefore, was virtually the only way, outside of purchasing wives or slaves, to circulate wealth (in the economic sense) in their society. The second function of liberality was as a source of status. The Wends, in common with other tribal cultures, considered "the one who is most liberal as the most manfu1."8 Hospitality was a source of fame and status that was almost a necessity. The only latitude was in the extent of one's generosity. The more one gave away, the more prestige one would acquire. The ethic of hospitality was a characteristic of German culture, too, but in the central Middle Ages this ethic in Germany was undergoing a significant change. on the one hand, the ethic itself was becoming more formalized and structured as society became more structured.9 On the other hand, Germanic society was becoming wealthier and was developing surer sources of income. Though individuals were sometimes impoverished in trying to bear the burden of hospitality, German society as a whole was able to meet the demand from its own resources. The Wends, in contrast, had to seek outside their own society for a steady supply of surplus wealth.

This supply was assured in the main by the prevalence of piracy among the Wends. The two activities were, in fact, intimately bound together. Helmhold stated the connection explicitly:

 The longing for this display [of liberality] impels many of them to theft and robbery. In any case these vices are venial with them; for they are covered by the cloak of hospitality.10

Elsewhere he repeats this ideas: "They are sedulous in their regard for hospitality. For to steal and to be liberal is a boast...."11

The desire for piracy was as strong among the Wends as was their "longing for display," and for similar reasons.12 As already stated, plunder was a most important source of surplus wealth in a society that tended to neglect agriculture. To maintain their hospitality the Wends, especially the great families, had to resort to raids for plunder. As with hospitality also, this form of behavior was encouraged by the society: "He, indeed, who does not know how to make away with plunder is stupid and inglorious."13 Skill in piracy, like liberality, was a necessary attribute of a man.14 The very definition of a leader was one who plundered. This is the reason for the "sorrowful countenances" of the Wilzi when they learned of Duke Henry the Lion's prohibition against raiding the Danes.15 Not only were they being denied loot, they were being denied one more field in which they could behave as men were supposed to behave. This accounts, too, for the persistence of piracy even in the face of retribution and subjugation.16 When the Obodrite Pribislav (ca. 1142), who took the German name Heinrich, took over Cruto's Obodrite realm around 1093 he chose not to promote Christianity even though he was himself a Christian. Realizing the importance of piracy to his people, and desiring to live in peace with the Germans, he promoted farming among the Obodrites and discouraged raiding, albeit with little effect.17 The result of this need for plunder was that it made the Wends wretched neighbors. Saxo complained loud and long of the depredations wrought in Denmark by the Wendish pirates. To the Danes, a truly effective king was one who could deal successfully with the Wendish raids.18 It was this incessant raiding that was the main source of tension between the Wends and their Germanic neighbors.

As the Germans became more and more settled and agricultural, moreover, piratical raids became increasingly intolerable. In a similar process, as Germanic society became more thoroughly Christian, Wendish depredations likewise appeared more intolerable.

In their political structure the Wends were at a more primitive level of development than the Germans, and again, the difference between the two only increased with time. Leaders among the Wends were not chosen solely on the basis of family. The tribal structure was too loose for any strict principle of hereditability to apply. Among the Wilzi, there was no chief office at all (sinus specialiter non presidet ullus).19 This is not to say that there were no leaders, but only that there was no regular position or office continuously occupied, except for religious offices. The lack of political office is underscored by the frequency with which the Wendish leaders bore no title, but were called "elders" or some such term, illustrating how foreign Wendish government appeared to the chroniclers and also how informal the government really was. Chieftains governed only in council with the tribe, and most decisions were made at a meeting of the folk. It is difficult to say exactly who met at these gatherings. Among the Obodrites it appears to have been all the tribe, including women and children, indicating that participation was probably at the level of family or clan rather than of the individual. The councils probably met only to decide questions of war and peace, all other "political. business being in the hands of the clan or the flamen (the pagan priest). It is clear at least that power was not in the hands of a single leader except in unusual cases, like that of Cruto or Pribislav (Heinrich). This made it difficult for foreign princes to deal with the Wends; and agreements made by the tribal leader were not binding. Even if the Wendish chieftains had understood "peace" in the same terms as the Christian princes, he had no way of preventing his people from following their own course. An instance of this is the rebellion of 1160, where the Obodrites continued to raid Denmark despite their leaders' agreement to stop.20

The weakness of central control at the tribal level is one likely reason why the Wends were never able to unite to resist the invasions from the West effectively. There is no doubt that the tribe was the strongest political unit of the Wends, inhibiting the formation of hereditary kingship that characterized the political history of other Slav peoples.21 The priests (flamines) led the tribe as much as the chieftain did, but neither could dominate sufficiently to go against the will of the tribe.22 Their failure to unite, or to meld into a single state, made general, sustained resistance a rare occurrence. The lack of central control also affected the Wends' neighbors. Because no one man or family ruled the Wends, they were free to do as they chose. This meant that piracy could never be checked by the Wends themselves, and Pribislav's failure in this regard is proof of this. In contrast, in other Slav regions, such as Poland, internal changes were often initiated and sustained by native dynasties with sufficient power to overcome traditional opposition.23 The ability of these dynasties to effect change among their people, often by imitating things German, was a major factor in the political survival of Slavic tribes outside of northeast Germany. Interestingly, though, this lack of centralization had another effect, which might be called positive, in Wendish terms. When invaded, the Wends did not, in fact could not, fight openly, with large armies in pitched battles. This kind of decentralized waging of war made it possible to resist indefinitely any invader.

The most common offensive operation by the Wends was the raid for plunder. Sometimes this operation could be quite large, especially if sea-borne, and sometimes it was as small as a cattle raid.24 In addition to cattle, plunder would include precious objects, such as weapons or precious metals and stones, and also slaves. Slaves were used extensively by the Wends, who not only used them in their households and on their farms, but also sold many at local and foreign markets.25 Another type of operation was invasion, one goal of which was general destruction. When Niclot essayed an attack on Wagria prior to the Wendish Crusade in 1147, his aims were to seize Lübeck (which failed) and to lay waste to the countryside. This latter he did, then withdrew before the advancing army.26 A very similar foray occurred in the mid-1130's under Pribislav (Heinrich).27 The devastation reported consisted in large part of burning the fields and buildings, and of the theft of whatever was valuable and movable, making a piratical raid and an invasion appear very similar in their result. These were in a sense terrorist attacks that stopped at the very point at which they threatened to turn into regular military engagements. The wreaking of vengeance could be extremely bloody. In the revolt of 1018 the priests of Oldenburg were tortured to death by the Wends, and equally gruesome tortures were performed on the bishop of Mecklenburg and his priests during the rebellion of 1066.29 Nor were priests the only target. In the 1164 rebellion, the male Flemings living in Mecklenburg were all slaughtered and their families enslaved.30

The Wends also waged wars of conquest. The goal of war was not the acquisition of territory but rather of booty and tribute. The methods used were similar to the raids of Niclot and Pribislav: the main goal was the capturing of a stronghold. The Wends realized that castles and other fortified points represented the most serious threat to their own freedom.31 We possess almost nothing about the methods of campaigning, but the fact that the Circipani and Kicini could, in 1057, sustain three defeats in a single summer and still have sufficient reserves to call in foreign armies and eventually triumph is evidence that Wends had as hard a time subduing other Wends with their armies as the Germans often did, possibly because they employed similar offensive tactics.

Defensively, the Wends used the tactics of guerilla warfare. When they were attacked, they hid their valuables, crops as well as precious objects, in trenches; their families they hid in the forests or in strongholds; their huts they left to the enemy, for they did not mind the loss of these.32 The warriors then would harry the enemy, avoiding set battles, using surprise attacks if forced to engage, attacking in superior numbers wherever possible, and employing ambushes liberally.33 The evidence for these tactics is abundant, most of it found in Helmhold and Saxo. Helmhold says that they "used surprise as a tactic even at sea, and were "exceedingly skilled in making clandestine attacks."34 They learned from their mistakes. Around 1111 the Rugiani suffered a severe defeat when they were attacked by surprise while besieging Lübeck.35 When they attacked the city again around 1128, they made sure the town was "devoid of ships, and they demolished the town with its fortress."36 Ambuscades are reported in numerous sources, usually only very tersely, but Helmhold in two places gives more detail as to what was involved.37 There is other evidence of guerilla methods. The Wends relied on the aid of fellow Slavs in the enemy camp to keep them informed of the enemy's plans.38 Not surprisingly, the Germans feared to trust Wends who were supposedly loyal.39 Once engaged, moreover, the Wends used unusual tactics, such as riding around the enemy on horseback, darting in and out hurling spears.40 These methods were regarded by the Germans as methods only thieves would use.41

The keys to Wendish warfare were mobility and surprise, which were given them by their ships and their horses. It appears that cavalry was used only as an auxiliary force. The Carolingians forbade the selling of horses and arms to the Slavs, but the main force was normally on foot.42 Like their German counterparts, the Wendish warriors may well have used horses to reach the battlefield, dismounting in order to fight.

Like the inherent instability of their political system, and their constant need to raid, the guerilla tactics of the Wends only heightened tensions between them and their German neighbors. These tactics were used by the Wends because they understood and respected no other. To the Germans, however, the tactics were incomprehensible and worthy of no respect. The adjectives "cruel" (crudelissimus) and "treacherous" (infidelis) appear with great regularity in connection with Wendish armies in the sources. The plundering, the taking of slaves, the attacks on villages and farms, the ambushes and surprise attacks, the flight in the face of the enemy, the torturing of captives, all these were abhorrent to a Christian, agrarian society. In the end, they helped justify the harsh treatment accorded the Wends by the Germans; it was, after all, nor more than the Germans had endured at the hands of the Wends. A typical statement comes from Thietmar: the Wilzi, "unfaithful and mutable themselves, required constancy and great fidelity from others."43 Thietmar, like most of his fellow Christians, could not understand why the Wends behaved the way they did, and so were reduced to the conclusion that the Wends were an evil people. This is especially clear with the major revolts, where some simply could not understand why the Wends would exchange "the gentle yoke of Christ for the onerous one of Satan," and expressed great bitterness over their apostasy.44 Others plainly blamed the oppression of the Wends by the various Saxon lords, particularly by the dukes.45 The repeated rebellions were the most serious problem of all, for as reversions to paganism they made the Wends apostates, and so exempt from every consideration of mercy.46 The catalyst for some rebellions was personal, as in the case of Gottschalk in the 1030's when he led a revolt to avenge the murder of his father by a Saxon.47 Another example is the rebellion in 983 when Mistue (980-989?) led the revolt after suffering an insult from the Saxon duke.48 There surely were deeper reasons for these revolts, but they show that random events could set off a rebellion. In 1147 Niclot became a rebel against his will, breaking his alliance with Count Adolf of Holstein, because he was facing imminent invasion by crusaders and hoped to forestall them.49 In 1160 Pribislav rebelled rather than face judgement in the ducal court for raiding the Danes.50 There is also evidence that famine may have touched off rebellion.51

A more widespread reason for rebellion was resistance to Christianity. The 1018 revolt was at least perceived to be a pagan reaction, and was certainly anti-Christian in its course.52 The revolt of 1066 was likewise directed against the Christian clergy in Slavia, though there were also political and military targets.53 The main targets in the twelfth century appear presence sorely troubled There is some evidence that the Wends rebelled whenever the man who had conquered them died, or was distracted by internal matters. This seems to have been the case, for instance, in 983, since it followed the defeat and death of Otto II in Calabria.55 Similarly, the revolt of 1066 followed severe warfare in Saxony that threatened to ruin the duchy.56 The reign of Cruto (1066-1093) also prospered in part because of the strife that racked the Empire during those years.57

The reason given most often, and we should remember that in many cases no reason was given at all, was that the Wends were being oppressed by the Saxons and that they rebelled to gain their freedom. Certainly this idea is what has struck modern historians most forcefully.58 This is understandable, for on first glance there appear to be many cases of oppression and avarice. The following statement is typical, taken from Adam of Bremen: "Duke Bernhard . . . cruelly oppressed by his avarice the Winuli nation and drove it, as a last resort, to paganism."59 The same source contains other examples: the oppressed Slavs, "at length threw off the yoke of their servitude and had to take up arms in defense of their freedom."60 Helmhold, too, "liberty," even having the Wends themselves say that their liberty was the reason for their rebellion.61 We must resist being overwhelmed by Adam and Helmhold. The three lives of Otto of Bamberg do not contain such references, nor does the chronicle of Saxo Grammaticus. The same is true of Widukind and Thietmar. This is not to say that other sources make no mention of oppression or avarice; they do.62 The point is that these references are brief and few. In fact, only in Adam and Helmhold do we find lengthy condemnations of Saxon avarice and frequent references to Wendish love of liberty.63 This is significant because only Adam and Helmhold were in places and times which were directly affected by the ambitions and policies of the Saxon dukes. Moreover, Helmhold borrowed heavily from Adam, and he did so in some cases when giving the cause of a rebellion, so the evidence is not so plentiful as it might first seem.64 Examination of these references further reveals that they center on two Saxon dukes: Bernhard II (1011-1059) and Magnus (1071-1106). Henry the Lion also came in for some criticisms by Helmhold.65 This fact places the problem of Saxon avarice in its proper perspective. The avariciousness of these dukes is being reported by clerics who belong to the very dioceses that suffered, sometimes greatly, at their hands, whereas in authors from outside the region references to avarice are few. Adam and Helmhold were critical of these men not so much because the dukes behaved unjustly toward the Wends, but because they hindered the progress of the Church. Careful reading of the sources, then, shows that "Saxon avarice" was not a characteristic of the Saxons as a whole, nor even of the Saxon lords.66 Rather, we have to do here with a handful of dukes for whom we have undeniable evidence of avarice (avaritia) and oppression (oppressio, iniuria). It remains to be asked what these terms meant in these cases.

One trait often associated with the Saxons by modern historians when speaking of avarice is "land hunger." Thompson speaks of "the covetous land-grabbing aspiration of the great" nobles, and of their "lust for land."67 Dvornik uses the actual phrase, also calling it a "greed for new possessions."68 These examples could easily be multiplied. The obvious weakness of these pronouncements is that they lack specificity. They make no reference to time nor to class. Moreover, they do not explain what the words mean. Was it in fact "greed" or were the nobles driven by economic conditions to seek more land? For the first phase of the Drive to the East everything indicates that the motive of land hunger was not a significant factor. Duke Bernhard II, whom Adam castigates more strongly than any other layman, conspicuously failed to acquire or even seek new land in Slavia. On the contrary, he was content to exact tribute from the Wends.69 Otto I conquered nearly all the deeds, yet apart from bishoprics and monasteries, he gave no land and he took none for himself. In fact, it is not until the twelfth century that we can begin to see large-scale appropriation of Wendish territory by German lords beginning with Count Adolf of Holstein's famous expropriations in 1143.70 Was he driven by land hunger? No. The wars on the Wagiri in which he participated but did not lead had left Wagria "without inhabitants." He took the land because it was empty, not because he needed or coveted it. It is possible that Henry the Lion took Wendish land out of greed, but it is difficult to believe that he needed the land, given his vast holdings in Saxony and Bavaria.

Even in the cases where some evidence of land hunger can be produced, it is far from conclusive. True land hunger, the imperative need to acquire land in order to maintain one's position or the simple greed of the peasant to hoard against the inevitable bad times, this hunger was more often found among the lower nobility, among the knights, who were nearly indistinguishable from wealthy peasants.71 This class, however, could not win land. Only the great lords could gain legal possession. "Land hunger," therefore, was a negligible factor in the Drive to the East before the very late twelfth century, except in the very different case of colonization. With colonization, the shortage of land among the peasantry was a major factor in creating a surplus population able to emigrate. We shall take up that question, however, in a later chapter.

how the avaritia of the chronicles must often be understood in terms of avarice toward the Church. In regard to the Wends what appears is more arrogance or callousness than greed. The complaint was leveled that the Saxons levied taxes on the Wends from the very beginning in full force, causing unnecessary hardship.72 The Church was seen as the main culprit here, more often than the laymen. We have no evidence that taxes, tribute, or tithes were levied more heavily on the Wends than upon others, so we cannot properly speak of unfair treatment of them. What this does show is that the German conquerors behaved like conquerors, with little compassion for those who had lost. Some churchmen, our chroniclers at the very least, saw the cruelty and folly of such a course. Our chroniclers, however, were exceptional men in northern Germany in that they belonged to the reform party within the Church. To many, the imposition of tithes and taxes was merely expedient and just. In doing so, the Germans made the subjugation of Slavia more difficult for themselves and so caused unnecessary death and suffering. We need not excuse such tactics, but neither do we need to call them "cruel" or "avaricious." By the standards of their day, the German lords were simply normal.

That the exploitation of the deeds was normal did not mean that the Wends had to like it. With the question of avarice properly understood, we can now place "oppression" in its proper perspective. We possess several instances of the Wends rebelling in order to protect their "liberty" (libertas). Liberty certainly did not carry the connotations that it does today. It is probable that liberty was not understood as an abstract concept at all, and that "liberties" better evokes the Wendish sentiment. This is the way the German chroniclers understood the term; as describing a positive possession of "subjective rights," which the Wends understood as the customs and rights of the tribe, clan and individual: the right to they did, to worship their own gods, and to live as they saw fit, including practicing piracy.73 The Wends feared, rightly as it turned out, the destruction of their tribal customs, their libertates. Any foreign rule was regarded as too heavy, for it represented restraint, the very opposite of freedom. Wendish tribes revolted against rule by other tribes as well as against German rule. Subjugation by other Wends, however, meant little interference with their rights, while subjugation by the Germans meant at the very least payment of tribute and usually the presence of Christian priests putting pressure on the tribe to abandon its traditional ways.

Whenever the Germans sought to do more than simply collect tribute, the Wends resisted. "Pagan" rebellions were as much sociological as they were religious, for custom and religion were intimately bound together. The Pomeranians more than once voiced their opposition to Christianity in these terms, saying that it was a new religion, while theirs was an old and proven one.74 Whenever German rule was strong, and churches began to be built, tribal customs were seriously threatened and the revolts were correspondingly vicious. As the twelfth century progressed, and German rule became more direct and thorough-going, the Wendish rebellions became increasingly frequent and desperate. m e oppression, which figures so largely as a cause of revolts, was not malicious, but was really the result of two cultures coming into conflict with each other. The two were incompatible. When the Germans became conquerors, therefore, they also became oppressors.

The centuries of war between the Germans and Wends were the result primarily of Wendish piracy. This activity was a permanent fixture of Wendish society, and created the need for the Germans to defend the Saxon frontier. It was the desire to stop the raids that led the Germans to attack and subjugate the Wends. The subject status represented by the tribute payment, plus the threat to tribal customs posed by Christianity, caused the Wends to revolt whenever possible, leading to German retaliation, and so on. The other reason why the tale of woe in Slavia is so long is the political limitations of German government before the twelfth century. It is to the German side of "invasion and subjugation" that we now turn.

It is on the German side that the two phases of the Drive to the East can be seen most plainly. Militarily, the first phase was marked by a stalemate, while in the second the Germans achieved clear tactical and strategic superiority. Politically, in the first phase the Germans sought mainly to make tributaries of the Wends. such as Otto I, also sought to make Christians of them, but there is no indication that he intended to bring them within the Empire. He probably desired only to have them acknowledge dependency in some way, as Henry II did with the Poles. In time the goal became the direct possession of Slavia. The German lords of the twelfth century wanted rent, not tribute, desiring to rule personally. In the first period, the Wends were governed by their own laws; in the second, by German laws. It was the change in goals and in capabilities together that made the Germans successful in the twelfth century.

Saxony was not a feudal state until the levies fighting on foot, with very few warriors on horseback (and these normally dismounted before fighting).76 Only the emperor could raise a mounted contingent of any size, with the result that imperial armies were usually successful against the Wends. The levy, however, was all but useless against Wendish raids. Saxony and Denmark, which latter was normally attacked by ship, were easy prey to Wendish pirates, in much the same way and for the same reasons that the Franks were easy prey to the Vikings.

Once mobilized, a German army could achieve only limited success. m e western notion of victory was to drive the enemy from the field of battle or to force a surrender. An army did not usually pursue the vanquished, except as individuals might decide to capture a hostage for ransom. The other basic strategy was the attacking of strongholds. This was unreliable, since German siege techniques were extremely primitive until the middle of the twelfth century. The Slav oppidum of Brunabor (later Brandenburg) was captured thirteen times between 928 and 1157, but it was taken by storm only three of those times.77 Treachery or starvation and disease were the best siege weapons the Germans had. This was why the oppida of the Wends were frequent targets on these expeditions: the tribe could retreat inside the walls and wait for the invaders to go home, which was usually not long. The Wends could not long be cowed by these methods. Retreat was not a disgrace but a tactic with them. Strongholds were sometimes burned before the invaders ever reached them. A great defeat usually made the tribes submit, but their ability and desire to resist was not broken.

Moreover, the strategic goals of invasion were very limited. As already mentioned, the main goal was defensive. Saxo recorded a number of instances where the Danish king led an army to Rügen or Wollin (Jumne) in the hopes of wiping out the pirates there.78 The Poles attacked the Pomeranians for the same reason.79 The defensive nature of the invasions is seen best in the actions of the German emperors. When Charlemagne defeated the Wilzi in 789 he was content to make them foederati.80 When he defeated the Wends again in 80O he made their land into a march, but he left them their own laws and leaders under the rule of a margrave.81 Henry the Fowler defeated one of the largest Wendish armies ever fielded in 929, yet he made no attempt to exploit his victory other than to build a couple of castles.82 Other invasions were similarly limited in their objectives. Punitive expeditions were common.83 The raid of Bishop Burchard of Halberstadt is an interesting example of what one might call a "religious" raid. In the winter of 1067-68, just one year after the greatest Wendish rebellion of all, the bishop led a foray into the land of the Wilzi, attacked and burned the temple of Redigast at Rethra, one of the most holy shrines in all the Wendenland, and rode its sacred horse back to Halberstadt in triumph.84 Finally, there were expeditions that were largely for gain. Booty, of course, was the natural profit of any army, so gain was always a motive, but in some cases it was paramount. Such a one occurred in 1056 when two tribes of the Wilzi made a bid to subjugate the other two tribes. The Circipani and Kicini lost three campaigns in a row to the Tholenzi and Redarii, then called on the Saxons, Danes and Obodrites for help. This coalition soon destroyed the Redarii and Tholenzi. The westerners received a large indemnity and returned home. The goal, Adam bitterly noted, was simply profit.85

Once an enemy acknowledged military defeat, the traditional peace settlement nearly always took the form of tribute payments. A typical record of this transaction is in Arnold of Lübeck's chronicle. In 1177 Henry the Lion laid siege to Demmin, and the inhabitants "bought peace by paying tribute."86 To "buy peace by paying tribute" meant to preclude invasion by rendering up a fixed sum. Tribute was in part "the collection of booty made orderly and normal.87 It was usually paid in precious metals, but payment in horses is also recorded by Saxo.88 Like booty, tribute was normally distributed among the followers of the war leader, though the German rulers may have found other uses for it as well.89 Tribute was more than regularized booty, however; it was a sign of submission. In this political sense tribute was symbolic, and the act was more important than the payment itself. As long as the tribute was paid each year, there was no need to invade.

Another means of asserting control over a subjugated tribe was the taking of hostages. This, like the exaction of tribute, was a very ancient practice. The usual course was to hold a close relative of the enemy leader, on the assumption that the enemy would prefer submission to the death of a loved one. When Cnut Laward ruled Schleswig he took over Wagria and took the two Slav leaders captive "until, ransomed with money and hostages, they should know what is demanded of subjects."90

A similar logic lay behind the building of burgs. This tactic was first used by Henry the Fowler on a limited basis in 929, but was used by all who followed him. Besides taking hostages, once of Cnut Laward's first acts as the new King of the Obodrites was to plan construction of a castle at a strategic spot in Wagria.91 No one attempted to use castles actively to rule Slavia in the way the Salians tried to do in Saxony, but equally no one neglected to build at least some in newly won territory.92 As a fortified strong point with a garrison living in or about the walls, the burg was to serve as a point of retaliation. Its presence would hopefully cow the natives into peace, but in realistic terms the advantage was only that it was a secure place should a rebellion occur.

These were clumsy ways to rule, but the Germans scarcely knew how to do better. Political control in Germany was itself not very sophisticated, and the methods of rule outlined above for Slavia were also used in the stem duchies. The Germans assumed that insurrections would occur, and tried to design measures to minimize their effects. Because piracy was such an integral part of Wendish society, these methods generally failed even in their own modest goal of prevention. Pre-feudal society, especially areas that had not known the Carolingian system, could not expand territorially except in very awkward ways. The only governmental units that Otto I, the greatest conqueror in the first phase, created in Slavia were ecclesiastical ones. The imperial and ducal courts simply did not command the manpower to allow them to add large geographic areas to their control.

There was, besides, no legal mechanism for expansion. As long as the Wends lived according to their tribal customs there would always be a "border problem" for the Germans, but the Germans did not as yet possess the resources to change those the Church could not tame the Wends unaided is attested by the regular slaughter of priests who ventured beyond the Elbe River. Finally, the strategic and tactical limitations on a non-feudal military system placed the invaders at close to the same level as the invaded for a long time. These limitations were in the very nature of non-feudal society it self, and it would require a fundamental change in that society before new methods became available.

In the twelfth century both the methods and the goals of conquest changed for the Germans. The methods of waging war greatly improved from the late eleventh century on, receiving impetus from the First Crusade and from wars in Italy and Spain. The feudalization of Saxon society as a result of the Investiture Struggle gave to the Saxon dukes and counts the manpower they needed to rule Slavia directly. More importantly, the goal of conquest changed. Slavia became not a nest of robbers to be defended against, but a land of much potential wealth, a source of power, whose people were obdurate pagans to be converted at all costs. Slavia became an objective for a generation of bishops, monks and laymen. All the old motives remained, but even defense of the borders was conceived of in new ways as more to realize that a purely defensive policy could never succeed. It was the change in mental attitudes that subjugation of Slavia.

In the 1120's the military balance shifted decisively in favor of the Germans. Boleslav III in Poland successfully subdued the Pomeranians in that decade, who had been fierce antagonists of the Danes. The Danes themselves, though still troubled by succession disputes, began to produce strong war leaders like Eric Ejagod (1095-1103), Cnut Laward, and Waldemar I (1157-1182). The pressures exerted on the Wends by the Danes and Poles helped the Saxons greatly when they began their final offensive. Equally important was the improvement in the military capabilities of the Saxons themselves.

The presence of mounted troops, made possible by the feudalization of Saxony that had begun in the 1070's, raised the Saxon levy to the status of the imperial levy; whereas an imperial army could expect to win in battle against the Wends, now the Saxons could also expect victory. A feudal levy was not only more effective in the field, it was more reliable. Since the number of troops owed was part of the feudal obligation of every vassal, the Saxon lords knew how many troops they had available, for what duration, and their general fighting quality.

Until the middle of the century, only one objective eluded Saxon arms: the oppidum. The Wendish stronghold, although little more than a town surrounded by a wooden palisade sitting atop a cleared and flattened hill, was proof against most sieges.93 These fortresses were doomed, however, once Henry the Lion had learned the latest in siege methods while campaigning with Frederick Barbarossa (1152-1190) against the Lombard cities.94 Methods of sapping and blockade learned at Milan he turned upon the oppida of the Wends. In 1160 Henry took Werla, and it fell to him again in 1163.95 In 1164 and again in 1177 he took Demmin.96 These are only a few that fell; there were many other oppida that the Wends themselves fired in order to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. What had been only an unreliable military superiority at the beginning of the twelfth century, particularly if unsupported by imperial troops, had become by the 1170's an overwhelming tactical and strategic superiority.

Military conquest, even when it was very efficient, could not solve the Wendish problem. Force of arms drove the Wagiri out of Wagria around 1140, but they simply fled to the Polabi. No matter how effective their armies were, the Germans could not prevent the ,d ends from raiding Saxony or Denmark. On the contrary, the dislocation caused by the increasingly effective invasions of Slavia actually drove the Wends all the more certainly to piracy.97 What was required was the Germanization of Slavia. This meant the conversion of the pagans to Christianity, the conversion of their economy to a more settled agricultural form, and the conversion of their society to a German form, adopting German laws and overlords. Victory on the battlefield was a necessary prerequisite to all this, for there was too much hostility for Germanization to proceed peacefully. The military innovations of the twelfth century made conquest surer, but more importantly they meant that conquest could be carried out using only local resources--from Denmark or Saxony, from Brandenburg or Holstein. As the Empire became less interested in Slavia after the death of Lothar II in 1137 this fact assumed increasing importance.98

In the political sphere, the most significant change in method was the gradual abandonment of tribute as a means of rule in favor of occupying the land and ruling it directly. m e first instance of this actually being done was in Wagria in 1143, when Count Adolf of Holstein annexed Wagria to his own county. He made no attempt to give the land to a lieutenant or to find a native ruler, but rather he took the land as his own, called in settlers, and began administering the land himself.99 The direct exploitation of Slavia reached a fully-developed form under Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Margrave Albert the Bear of Brandenburg (1106?-1170). Two examples from the work of the Lion will illustrate the thoroughness of this new way of ruling the Wends. Henry began his reign fairly conservatively, being content to support missions in Slavia and to receive tribute from subject tribes. Perhaps the examples of Adolf in Wagria and Albert in Brandenburg caused Henry to become more aggressive. Perhaps he had planned expansion all along and was only able to begin in the late 1150's. The first indication that he was intending to expand eastward came in 1159 when he received from Emperor Frederick the right (potestas) to constitute and invest bishops "for the purpose of spreading Christianity in Slavia."100 The next year he conquered most of Mecklenburg on the pretext of a rebellion.101 The same year, 1160, Henry invested the three bishops of Oldenburg, Ratzeburg, and Mecklenburg. Once in possession of the land, Henry constituted lay as well as ecclesiastical rulers. He placed one of his ministeriales, Guncelin, in charge of a garrison at Schwerin, later making him a count there. He also set up Henry of Scathen as the prefect of Mecklenburg, and two more of his ministeriales, both named Ludolph, he made prefects at Malchow and Ilow.102 By 1162 large numbers of settlers were being brought in from the West. Henry also contrived to profit from lands that others conquered. In the 1160's, probably after the 1160 or 1164 revolt, King Waldemar I agreed to pay to Henry half of whatever tribute the king gained from victories in Salvia if any of Henry's vassals aided in the effort. When Waldemar conquered Rügen in 1169 he naturally refused to pay, even though Pribislav of Mecklenburg accompanied the expedition. Henry unleashed the Wendish pirates on Denmark, and Waldemar soon agreed to accede to Henry's demand, provided that Henry call off his Wends.103

The most important change, the change in mental attitudes. To a that made a change in methods of rule possible also made them conceivable. That is to say, the improved armies, the larger and better trained staffs of ministers and clerks, and the orderly delegation of power made possible by the feudal system, made possible also a more intensive and rationalized use of political power. The same process that was behind the increasing subjugation of the peasantry in the twelfth century was also behind the increasing subjugation of the Wendenland.104

A second important change came in the understanding of what was being ruled. Even into the twelfth century the Germans saw their rule in very traditional terms, as rule over a people rather than a territory. This was still the case in 1128 when Cnut Laward became King of the Obodrites (not of Wagria).105 Here again Adolf of Holstein's annexation of Wagria stands out as a turning point. There were no Wagiri left in Wagria, so it Has easier for Adolf to usurp the land. In the 1150's Albert the Bear inherited rule of Brandenburg.106 Here was a land still inhabited by Wendish tribes, but one in which the tribal leaders had died. Rather than take over the ancient tribal titles, Albert became Margrave of the new administrative unit of Brandenburg. The change is most clearly seen in the establishment of Mecklenburg in 1170.107 When Duke Henry allowed Pribislav to return to the rule of his own people, after being an exile and renegade deposed by that selfsame duke, he made Pribislav Prince of Mecklenburg. Pribislav did not become Prince of the Obodrites, which was the traditional title. Lordship in Henry's terms was seen as lordship over a land and its inhabitants, whereas the older notion of lordship was over a people and their lands. This change in thinking is what made the division of Slavia into territories a reality, and the division of Slavia in turn helped destroy the tribal identity of the Wends and thus their power to resist.

The single most important event in causing a change in the way in which the governing of Slavia was conceived was the First Crusade. The First crusade had Christian knights making war on the heathen in the name of God.108 The sight of Christian knights winning land back from the heathen that properly belonged in Christian hands fired the imagination of many throughout Christendom. Because the Holy Land was too valuable and vulnerable to be left under local rulers after the Crusaders triumphed, they stayed on to rule the lands they had won. The model was easily transferable to Slavia, for it too had once been in Christian hands, under the Ottos, and no; there was an ideology to support its liberation. In 1108 there was issued by a number of Saxon lords a call for a crusade into Slavia.109 Directly inspired by the example of the First Crusade, the letter was official in character, taking the form of a plan that supposedly had the support of Emperor Henry himself. What makes this call significant for the idea of conquest is its offering of lands as yet unconquered to western magnates. It specifically called upon them to convert the pagans by force, take possession of the land, occupy it, and exploit it for the benefit of the conquerors.110 This was quite a new proposal in Germany, and one which provided a pious rationale for seizing land that belonged by custom to another people.

The third factor that made the exploitation of Slavia conceivable was the increasingly numerous examples of the great profits that were to be won by colonization efforts. By the time the first victories were being won by Boleslav III in Pomerania there was developing a regular system for reclamation and colonization, pioneered largely by the bishops. By the 1140's, when the Saxons began their final push across the Elbe, there was a whole generation in the Low Countries and Saxony that had experience in colonization, and a whole range of legal precedents on which the eastern princes could model their own efforts. There were laws and privileges and modifications of institutions that had grown out of the "inner colonization" that had begun well before the twelfth century, that helped make colonizing in Slavia not only conceivable but very attractive.

Finally, it should be pointed out that the Church led the way in establishing the direct rule over Slavia and that laymen tended to follow the clergy into the Wendenland. m e first real settlers in Slavia were monks and clerics, and it was they who were the first to use grants of land and privileges to attract settlers in order to reclaim land. In the twelfth century, the Cistercians and Premonstratensians established numerous monasteries in the "desert" of Slavia, and both brought in many settlers to work monastic lands. Bishops and abbots were the lords of these lands and their inhabitants, and they sought to impose church law upon them.111 The Church in Slavia provided a close network of control, not because of ideas of conquest, but because of profoundly felt convictions about right order and the proper governance of the Church. The effect, nevertheless, was to provide one firm pillar on which the edifice of German control was built.

The beginning of the direct rule and exploitation of Slavia provoked the most extensive and extended violence in the history of the Drive up to that time. The tributary status that normally accompanied defeat in the first phase was something to be resisted, but it was at least understandable; it was the same methods of conquest used by the Wends themselves. It might bring with it the repugnant necessity of conversion, but the Christian faith could easily be shed in a revolt, for there was no way to eradicate pagan practices without an extensive parish system. In the twelfth century all this changed. Their German overlords no longer lived far away in Saxony, but close by, where they could police the Wends.112 Churches were going up everywhere, making it more and more difficult to keep pagan practices alive in secret. Most seriously, the presence of German communities among them, protected by armies, threatened by very existence of the tribe by threatening its economic base. By the 1160's most of the Wendish tribes had suffered one or more major invasions. In these invasions the wends burned their strongholds, fled into the forests, and in general followed their traditional methods of waging war. This time, though, the German armies did not leave. They stayed in Slavia, garrisoning the Wendish oppida, and continued to pursue the rebels who were still in the field.

Under these circumstances, the Wends could do little. They could not resist occupation, but neither could they accept it. Raiding brought down upon them the armies of Henry the Lion or Albert the Bear, yet not to raid meant abandoning all hope of recovering from the losses incurred during the invasions, as well as all hope of maintaining tribal customs. since acquiescence meant the death of the tribe, it is small wonder that the Wends resisted long and harl. In the end, however, conquest, even when carefully planned, could not alone subdue the Wends. Final victory came only after the destruction of Wendish society and the conversion of the Wendish people to Christianity.


1. "Karolus per Saxones iter venit ad . . . Slavorum qui vocantur Wilsi terram domuit ac dicione suae subiugavit." Einhard, sive chronicon, an. 789, ed. Frederick Kurze, MGH, Scriptores (Hannover: 1891 ~ p. 11.

2. Vlasto, p. 352, n. 81.

3. Helmhold, I, 83(82), p. 158.

4. Helmhold, I, 83(82), p. 159.

5. Helmhold, I, 83(82), p. 159.

6. Helmhold, I, 84(83), p. 160.

7. Helmhold, II, 109(13), p. 216; and Tschan, trans., Helmhold, p. 218, n. 5.

8. Helmhold, I, 83(82), p. 159.

9. Georges Duby, Guerriers et payeans, VII-XII siecle (Paris: 1973), trans. Howard B. Clarke, The Early Growth of the European Economy. Warriors and Peasants from the Seventh to the Twelfth Century (Ithaca, N.Y.: 197 ), pp. 25 59.

10. Helmhold, I, 83 (82), p. 159.

11. I, 47, p. 92.

12. I use "piracy" to designate raiding, on land or sea, because it has warlike yet romantic connotations that evoke best its social as well as its economic role.

13. Helmhold, I, 47, p. 92.

14. Duby, Early Growth, p. 49.

15. "vultus Slavorum subtristes." Helmhold, II, 110(14), p. 217.

16. I, 68, p. 129 and 84(83), p. 165.

17. Helmhold, I, 34, pp. 68-69.

18. Saxo Grammaticus, Ex Saxonis Gestis Danorum, ed. George Waitz, MGH, SS 29 (Hannover: 1892), 661-62. For Saxo only I am using the pagination in the margins, because this will facilitate reference.

19. Thietmar, VI, 25, p. 148.

20. Helmhold, I, 87(86), p. 170.

21. F. Seibt, "The Religious Problem," Eastern and Western Europe in the Middle Ages, ed. Geoffrey Barraclough.

22. Vlasto, p. 145.

23. Vlasto, pp. 117, 131-32.

24. For example, see the attack on Roskilde by the Pomeranians(?) in 1153(?): Saxo, XIV, 704-06. See also Helmhold, I, 35, p. 69.

25. There is abundant evidence for the importance of slavery in the Wendenland. What is striking is how long this practice persisted. As late as 1170 the Obodrites were selling captured Danes as slaves in the market of Mecklenburg (Helmhold, II, 109 ~1 ~, p. 215). For other examples see Adam, IV, 17(18), p. 245 and Helmhold, I, 21 and 63, pp. 43 and 120.

26. Helmhold, I, 63, pp. 119-20.

27. Helmhold, I, 55, p. 107.

28. For example, Ann. Palid., an. 1164, p. 93.

29. Adam, II, 43(41), pp. 103-04 and III, 51(50), pp. 193-94.

30. Helmhold, II, 98(2), p. 192.

31. Helmhold, I, 53, p. 104.

32. Helmhold, II, 109(13), p. 216.

33. Helmhold, II, 98(2), p. 192.

34. "Slav) enim clandestinis incursibus maxime valent." Helmhold, II, 109(13), p. 216.

35. Helmhold, I, 36, pp. 71-72.

36. ". . . et ecce Rugiani urbem vacuam navibus offendentes oppidum cum castro demoliti sunt." Helmhold, I, 48, p. 95; Tschan, trans., Helmhold, p. 153, n. 7.

37. For example: "Conrad of Ploceke his march, were killed in an ambush (insidiis) by Slavs." Ann. Palid., an. 1155, p. 89. See also, p.86. An example of how ambush was used to quash pursuit can be found in Helmhold, I, 35, p. 70. An instance of it being used strategically to combat an invading army is in Helmhold, I, 88(87), p. 172.

38. Helmhold, II, 100(4), p. 196. This chapter also recounts a surprise the Wends on the Saxon army.

39. Helmhold, II, 98(2), pp. 192-y: .

40. Saxo, XIII, 619.

41. ". . . quasi insidiarum latroniciis." Saxo, XIII, 619.

42. Vlasto, p. 362, n . 208.

43. "Infideles ipsi et mutabiles ipsi immutabilem ac magnam exigunt ab aliis fidem." Thietmar, VI, 25(18), p. 148.

44. Thietmar, VIII, 5(4), pp. 241-42.

45. Adam, II, 42(40), p. 102.

46. Frederick H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages (New York: 1975), pp. 103-05, 120-22, and 199-201. Various writers in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries expressed the view that apostates, heretics and schismatics deserved no mercy.

47. Adam, II, 66(64), p. 126.

48. Adam, schol. 27(30), p. 102.

49. Helmhold, I, 62, p. 118.

50. Helmhold, I, 87(86), p. 171.

51. Thietmar, IV, 19(12), p. 75.

52. Thietmar, VIII, 5(4), pp. 241-42; Adam, II, 43(41), p. 103.

53. Adam, III, 50(49)-51(50), pp. 193-95.

54. Helmhold, I, 63, p. 120 and II, 98(2), pp. 191-92.

55. Thietmar, III, 10-19, pp. 53-60; Thompson, Feudal Germany, p. 490.

56. Adam, III, 43(42)-49(48), pp. 185-93.

57. Kahl, "Wendentum," pp. 84-85.

58. Vlasto, pp. 148, 150; Dvornik, Slavs, p. 299; Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 417, 445; Geoffrey Barraclough, The origins of Modern Germany (New York: 1979), p. 40.

59. "Bernardus enim dux . . . per avariciam gentem Winulorum crudeliter opprimens ad necessitatem paganism) coagit." Adam, II,

60. ". . . tandem ingo servitutis libertatem suam armis defendere coacti sunt." Adam, II, 42(40), p. 102.

61. Helmhold, I, 16 and 25, pp. 33-34 and 47.

62. For example: Widukind, I, 9, p. 14. Notice, however, that pro terra adquirenda certantibus is but one of several reasons for fighting, and that these are general reasons, not ones directed specifically toward the deeds.

63. Adam,II, 40(38), p. 100 and schol. 27(30), p. 102; Helmhold, I, 16 and 25, pp. 33 and 47; II, 98(2), p. 193.

64. The passage in Helmhold, I, 16, pp. 33-34 (above), for instance, was lifted directly from Adam, II, 42(40), p. 102.

65. See Adam, II, 48(46) and 71(69), pp. 109 and 133; and Helmhold, 1 I, 19, 21 and 25, pp. 40, 44, and 47.

66. Vlasto, pp. 152, 154; Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 396, 405. These are only blatant examples of what appears in milder form in many other works.

67. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 506 and Dvornik, Slavs, p. 294.

69. Helmhold, I, 21, p. 44.

70. Helmhold, I, 57, p. 111. !

71. Duby, Early Growth, p. 177.

72. Helmhold, I, 18, p. 39; Tschan, trans., Helmhold, p. 13; Thompson, Feudal Germany, p. 407.

73. Gerd Tellenbach, Libertas, Kirche und Weltordnung im Zeitalter der Investiturstreites (Leipzig: 1936), trans. R. F. Bennett, Church, State and Christian society at the Time of the Investiture Contest (New York: l9IOJ, pp. 15-21 gives a good brief account of the medieval understanding of libertas. His remarks are directed wholly toward Christendom, but they would if anything apply even more to the Wends inasmuch as the iends were not influenced at all by Roman legal ideas.

74. Herbord, II, 22, 24, 25, III, 4, pp. 74-75, 78, 80, and 112-13.

75. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 181-82 and 313-15.

76. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp. 179-80.

77. Hans-Dietrich Kahl, Slawen und Deutsche in der brandenburgischen Geschichte des 12. Jahrhunderts, Mitteldeutsche Forschungen, 30 (Köln-Graz: 1964), p. 1 T. Also, see below, p. 44.

78. Saxo, XIV, 661-62, 665, 666, 670 are examples.

79. Herbord, II, 8, pp. 58-59.

80. Einhard, Annales, an. 789, p. 11.

81. Einhard, Annales, an. 810, pp. 17-18.

82. Adam, I, 56(58), p. 56.

83. This was the case in 810, in 991 when Otto III was finally able to respond to the 983 rebellion, in the late 1060's in response to the 1066 revolt, and so on.

84. Thompson, Feudal Germany, p. 417.

85. "Nostri cum triumpho redierunt, de christianitate nullus sermo, victores tantum predae intent." Adam, III, 22(21), p. 166.

86. ". . . et deinceps tribute cum pace persolvant." Arnold, II, 4, p. 40.

87. Duby, Early Growth, p. 49.

88. Saxo, II, 76.

89. Duby, Early Growth, p. 50.

90. Helmhold, I, 49, p. 97; Tschan, trans., Helmhold, p. 153, n. 7.

91. Helmhold, I, 49, p. 97.

92. The rebuilding of Segeberg was one of Adolf of Holstein's first acts in Wagria as part of his take-over of it in 1143. See Helmhold, I, 53, p. 104.

93. The siege of Demmin in 1147 is a good example. See Helmhold, I, 65, p. 123. The island of Rügen also was able to withstand a number of attacks, like the one in 1124. See Vlasto, p. 152.

94. Helmhold, I, 93(92), p. 183.

95. Helmhold, I, 88(87), and 93(92), pp. 173 and 182-83; Ann. Magd., an. 1163, p. 192.

96. Arnold, II, 4, p. 40; Ann. Yalid., an. 1177, p. 94.

97. Helmhold, I, 84(83), p. 161.


99. Helmhold, I, 57, p. 111.

100. Ann. Palid., an. 1159, pp. 90-91; Ann. Magd., an. 1159, p. 191. This extraordinary action met with resistance, but the basis of the resistance shows no trace of the terms worked out by the Concordat of Worms. When Duke Henry insisted to Vicelin, who was the most reluctant to be invested by the duke, that he accept investiture, the priest at first refused. Helmhold summarizes Vicelin's reaction: "This proposition seemed hard to the bishop because it was contrary to custom. For the investiture of bishops belonged alone to imperial majesty." Helmhold, I, 69, p. 131.

101. The reason given by Helmhold, that the deeds had refused to come Henry's court when summoned because they knew they had violated the agreement not to raid Denmark, was only an excuse. The raiding had been going on for years without Henry taking action. The Duke was ready to attack the Obodrites and he used this as an excuse to do so. See Helmhold, I, 87(86), p. 171.

102. Helmhold, I, 88(87), p. 173; Tschan, trans., Helmhold, p. 233, notes 4-7.

103. Helmhold, II, 108(12) and 110(14), pp. 212 and 215.

104. Georges Duby, L'économie Rurale et la Vie des Campagnes dans l'Occident Medieval (Paris: 1 ), trans. Cynthia Postan, Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West (n.p., 1968), pp. 191-92 and 196.

105. Helmhold, I, 49, p. 97.

106. Helmhold, I, 89(88), pp. 174-75.

107. Helmhold, II, 110(14), p. 218.

108. Margaret Bunding-Naujoks, "Des Imperium Christianum und die deutschen Ostkriege vom zehnten bis zum zwolften Jahrhundert," Heidenmission und Kreuzzugsgedanke in der deutschen Ostpolitik des Mittelalters, ed. Helmut Beumann, Wege der Forschung, 7 (l:a~nstadt: 1973), pp. 65-120; p. 90 and n. 10.

109. This letter can be found in complete form in Helbig and Weinrich, No. 19, pp. 98~102.

110. Weinrich, No. 19, p. 102.

111. See, for instance, as 1062: '1)utch and p. 171.

112. See Guncelin's order to his men to kill any Slav found on the for no 110(14), p. 218.




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