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  • #342201

    Anonymous

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    The Wends (a.k.a. Lusatians or Sorbs) were a western Slavic people who occupied the southern Baltic region bounded at various periods by the Elbe and Saale Rivers in the west and the Oder and Neisse Rivers in the East. They were famous for their hospitality and for their staunch resistance to Christianity. They are treated here as a northern subset of the Slavic peoples, although many historians argue that the term "Wend" originally applied to all Slavic people throughout Europe. Characteristic is the Roman Latin name for the Baltic Sea–Wendile Mare (or Wendish Sea).

    Although the list starts in 580 AD, the first mention of the Wends or Sorbs as a distinct Slavic people was by the Frankish monk Fredegar in 631 AD. The next significant record is from the period of Charlesmagne's campaigns in Eastern Saxony and Thuringia circa 804 AD, and his establishment of the so-called Saxon March. During his campaign to subdue the Saxons, which was largely completed by 810 AD, Charlesmagne's armies pushed the Wends east beyond the River Elbe. Thereafter, the Wends faced steady pressure throughout the 10-12th centuries from Saxon, Thuringian, Frankish, and Flemish raiders, who seized the pastoral Wendish as slaves, and by colonists, who moved east to carve out new settlements in Wendish territory.

    The next major milestone in Wendish history can be traced to 965 AD, when the Viking Harald Gormsson (a.k.a. Bluetooth) married a Wendish princess and built a stronghold at Jomsborg on the Baltic Coast near the Wendish trading center of Wollin. Here a famous brotherhood of Vikings (i.e., the Joms-Vikings) founded by Harald's son, Svein Forkbeard, is supposed to have collected, fighting with the Wends against foreign invaders on land and sea. The Joms-Vikings were essentially a warrior cult (a sort of Pagan Knights Templar) who lived in barracks under harsh discipline and trained constantly in hopes that they would die in battle so as to join Woden in Valhalla.

    Later, after Harald was forced from his Scandanavian kingdom by Jarl Hakon in 985 AD, he again took refuge among the Wends. It is said that Harald Bluetooth taught the Wends to be sea raiders in order to annoy his foes, and if so, he was certainly effective, since they took to Baltic piracy with a vengeance. In 983 AD, King Mistivoj of Wendland invaded Brandenburg and Holstein, burning Hamburg, while the Frankish emperor Otto was distracted by a crusade against Saracens in Italy. The period of 1020-1040 AD then saw heavy Wendish raids by land and over sea into Denmark and Skane (southern Sweden).

    In 1043 AD, the Scandanavian Magnus the Good sought to end the Wendish threat to his new kingdom and descended with his army on Jomsburg, destroying the Joms-Viking garrison and burning the Wendish city of Wollin. Meanwhile, a large Wendish army had raided its way deep into Denmark. Magnus (the son of St. Olaf) landed a Danish and Norwegian army at Hedeby in the rear of the Wendish force in order to link up with Saxon allies under Orduff. Fighting on Michaelmas day, the Christian allies joined battle with the Wends on the flat plain of Lyrskov Hede (near modern Schlesig). Despite being heavily outnumbered, and bolstered by the righteousness of their cause, they cut down the pagan Wends in waves according to Adam of Bremen, leaving 15,000 of them dead on the field. The battle of Hedeby marked the end of serious Wendish raiding in Denmark and the beginning of a Danish campaign to seize the Baltic coast from Rugia to Estonia, which denied the Wends access to the sea and effectively ended their piratical expeditions.

    In 1147 AD, St. Bernard preached a crusade among the Saxons and Danes, who preferred to attack their pagan Slavonic neighbors rather than setting out to save the Holy Land as Bernard intended. Bowing to necessity, Bernard obtained a Papal Bull blessing the endeavor and a crusading army led by Henry the Lion of Saxony and Albert the Bear of Brandenburg set forth to convert the Wends by sword, but were stopped cold that same year. Set against the backdrop of the "Northern Crusades," the Wendic Crusade continued for nearly 30 years. Waldimar I of Denmark joined forces with Henry and Albert against the Wends. Eventually, persistent pressure by the Christian Saxons, Danes and the expansionistic Poles broke down Wendish resistance. Pagan idols were destroyed and Catholicism was introduced throughout Lusatia. After1185 AD, the Wends fell almost entirely under the sway of Poland.

    1218 AD marks the end of the DBA Slav list and has been applied to the Wend list for convenience, although the significance of that date for the Wends is not clear. The Polish domination of the Wends after 1185 AD is another appropriate ending date. Another possible date is the final annexation of Lusatia by Germany and formation of margravates circa 1360 AD, although by that time there was no organized Wendish resistance. As a historical aside, although christianized and long subjected to German rule, the Wends have been able to maintain a distinct identity and language as Sorbs to the present day. There are approximately 150,000 Wends still gathered in Lusatia, in the upper Spree valley which lies within eastern Germany and southwestern Poland. Groups of Wends have also migrated to Texas, Australia and other locations over the past century to escape "germanization."

    image

    http://www.fanaticus.org/DBA/armies/III1a.html

    #363860

    Anonymous

    Interesting find on this essay.

    Quote:
    Groups of Wends have also migrated to Texas, Australia and other locations over the past century to escape "germanization."

    What gets me is that many Germans, and in particular Germanic nationalists, claim to this day that Germania was benevolent to Slavs and never forced them to abandon their heritage, and yet still allowed them to make full use of good German things, such as good universities and such. They seem to forget that Kulturkampf, which in reality, started a lot earlier than under Otto von Bismarck.

    #363861

    Anonymous

    Jedem das seine, as Germans would say. ;) I understand their perspective on their benevolence towards Slavs historcially, but fact is that Sorbs live on their native terrain and should not be threatened to assimilate into another culture. Today, their culture is threatened in sense that Sorbian children do not speak Sorbian, but German, and there is no effort by authorities to stop this.

    #363862

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Today, their culture is threatened in sense that Sorbian children do not speak Sorbian, but German, and there is no effort by authorities to stop this.

    It would not be in the interest of the Germans, from a nationalist view point, to encourage a sudden well-spring of Slavic culture in their country, especially in a region that borders to other Slavic nations.

    #363863

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    It would not be in the interest of the Germans, from a nationalist view point, to encourage a sudden well-spring of Slavic culture in their country, especially in a region that borders to other Slavic nations.

    So then, why do they want to claim lands in East where live other native Slavic populations (Silesians and Pommeranians)?
    How do they plan to keep order with so many Slavs under their control with that lack of respect for anything other than German in their country (I am talking of course about their nationalists)?
    They took already massive hiding from Slavs last time they came with fire to our lands, why can't they see their imperialism can seriously hurt them above all?

    #363864

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    So then, why do they want to claim lands in East where live other native Slavic populations (Silesians and Pommeranians)?

    "Magna Germania" – to them this is "ancient German land" OR "Deutschlands Europa Sendung" – only we Germans can make Europe great and thus it is our duty to do so. But basically, Germanic chauvinism.

    Quote:
    How do they plan to keep order with so many Slavs under their control with that lack of respect for anything other than German in their country (I am talking of course about their nationalists)?

    They might try a modern version of the Kulturkampf.

    Quote:
    They took already massive hiding from Slavs last time they came with fire to our lands, why can't they see their imperialism can seriously hurt them above all?

    The situation leading to both WW1 and WW2 was a power keg of sort and thus war was, in a way, inevitable. But notice that it is the Germans that fired the first shot each time. Many German soldiers who fought in WW1 (like Hitler) were ready and willing to go to war again in the 1930s though they fully well knew the massive losses that the war brought and not just to Germany but all of Europe. Today's German nationalist, like the NPD, lack even this perspective. To them, war is Call of Duty on XboX.

    Good thing that the current German government is not pushing for such irredentist measures, though they do not care much for the Slavs under their administration. Poland, on the other hand, has made a special exception for the German minority and granted a seat to their political party in the Sejm as a means to get some representation. Germans are 0.4% of Poland's population and a political party needs at least 5% nationwide support (in at least one national election) to be considered "official" so this is a pretty good exception that was made for them, since they are a distinct group.

    Lastly, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Delusions of "Magna Germania" are this, pure and simple.

    #363865

    Anonymous

    Harald Bluetooth was baptized few (2-3) years before Mieszko I of Poland.
    Harald's son Swein Forkbeard was for some time married to Svietoslawa, who was a daughter of Mieszko.
    I wonder, if any of you here know, how and where Harald and Mieszko met?
    I presume the marriage was part of an alliance.

    #363866

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Harald Bluetooth was baptized few (2-3) years before Mieszko I of Poland.
    Harald's son Swein Forkbeard was for some time married to Svietoslawa, who was a daughter of Mieszko.
    I wonder, if any of you here know, how and where Harald and Mieszko met?
    I presume the marriage was part of an alliance.

    I'm afraid there is too little infortmation on the matter.  According to Heimskringla (yeah not the most reliable source, I know) Swein was captured by a Wendish king (named Burislav) and as part of the negotiations he got to marry his daughter (named here Gunhild), while Burislav married Swein's sister Tyri.

    This is confirmed by Adam of Bremen, who says Sweyn married a Polish princess who gave birth to Cnut the Great and Harold of Denmark. He also confirms the double marriage.

    It is disputed by some hystorians that Burislav is Mieszko I.

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