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Slaughter at the bridge: Discussion on a colossal Bronze Age battle

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Republication from  www.sciencemag.org

 

How warriors were equipped for battle.

About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.

Struggling to find solid footing on the banks of the Tollense River, a narrow ribbon of water that flows through the marshes of northern Germany toward the Baltic Sea, the armies fought hand-to-hand, maiming and killing with war clubs, spears, swords, and knives. Bronze- and flint-tipped arrows were loosed at close range, piercing skulls and lodging deep into the bones of young men. Horses belonging to high-ranking warriors crumpled into the muck, fatally speared. Not everyone stood their ground in the melee: Some warriors broke and ran, and were struck down from behind.

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The origins of modern France and Germany: partition of the Frankish Kingdom (843)

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Partitions of the initial Frankish kingdom.
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Some interesting maps on the partition of the Frankish Kingdom by the treaties of Verdun (843) and Mersen (870). By the former treaty, the initial Frankish empire was divided into a West Frankish kingdom (ancestor state of modern France), an East Frankish kingdom (ancestor state of modern Germany) and Lotharingia in the middle. By the treaty of Mersen, the Kingdom of Lothair was limited in modern North Italy and Burgundy.

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Crusades

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Some interesting maps on the crusades and the states of the cruaders in Syria c.1100 AD.

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Stanford researchers find clues to the Baltic Crusades in animal bones, horses and the extinct aurochs

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Source: Stanford University

Marienburg MalborkCastle built by Teutonic knightsThe Teutonic Order’s Marienburg Castle, Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, now Malbork, Poland

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By Melissa Pandika

 

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

Stanford researchers have discovered that pagan villages plundered by medieval knights during the little-known Baltic Crusades had some problems in common with the modern-day global village.

Among them: deforestation, asymmetric warfare and species extinction.

According to a research paper published in Science, a project investigating the Baltic Crusades’ profound environmental legacy could yield valuable insight into colonialism, cultural changes and ecological exploitation – relevant issues not only throughout history, but especially in today’s increasingly globalized society.

The researchers, including professors at Stanford and in Europe, are drawing from disciplines as disparate as history and chemistry to analyze their findings, which they’ve already begun synthesizing into a database of unprecedented depth and scope.

Their study spans the years from the 12th century to the 16th century, when the Teutonic Order, a Germanic brotherhood of Christian knights, waged war against the last indigenous pagan societies in Europe in a region that includes modern-day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and parts of Sweden and Russia.

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SPOILS FROM THE SULTAN (part II): Arms and armour captured from the Turks in 1529-1683, in the Military History Museum of Vienna

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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Ottoman horsetail-standards (credit: Erich Lessing archive)
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SPOILS FROM THE SULTAN (part I): Arms and armour captured from the Turks in 1529-1683, in the Military History Museum of Vienna

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The chichak type helmet of the Ottoman Grand Visier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha who as a military commander confronted the army of the Habsburgs in 1566, between the two sieges of Vienna (credit: http://www.tforum.info).
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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The two sieges of Vienna by the Ottomans in 1529 and 1683 and the intermediate wars between the Ottoman Empire on the one side and the Habsburg dominions and the Poles on the other, had been remarkably decisive conflicts for the History of Europe. In both sieges of Vienna and the subsequent battles, the Ottomans were finally defeated leaving behind many dead, prisoners and valuable arms and armourand other military items, while the victorious European side paid a heavy toll in casualties as well. Today the most important spoils captured from the Turks are exhibited in the Military History Museum of Vienna. In these posts I present some images of Ottoman arms and armour in this exceptional museum.

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