Livonian Brothers of the Sword

(redirected from Brethren of the Sword)

Livonian Brothers of the Sword

or

Livonian Knights

(lĭvō`nēən), German military and religious order, founded in 1202 by Bishop Albert of Livonia for the purpose of conquest and Christianization in the Baltic lands. The knights were organized similarly to the older Teutonic KnightsTeutonic Knights
or Teutonic Order
, German military religious order founded (1190–91) during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade. It was originally known as the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Their habit was a white robe with a red cross and sword. They subdued the Livs, Ests, and Letts, whose territories, subsequently known as LivoniaLivonia
, region and former Russian province, comprising present Estonia and parts of Latvia (Vidzeme and Latgale). It borders on the Baltic Sea and its arms, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland, in the west and the north and extends E to Lake Peipus (Chudskoye) and the
..... Click the link for more information.
 and CourlandCourland
or Kurland
, Latvian Kurzeme, historic region and former duchy, in Latvia, between the Baltic Sea and the Western Dvina River. It is an agricultural and wooded lowland. Jelgava (Ger. Mitau), the historic capital, and Liepaja (Ger.
..... Click the link for more information.
, became the domain of the order. In 1236 the knights were severely defeated by the Lithuanians at Siauliai; as a result they merged (1237) with the Teutonic Order, but they continued to form a separate state. Their defeat (1242) by Alexander NevskyAlexander Nevsky
[Rus.,=of the Neva], 1220–1263, Russian hero, grand duke of Vladimir-Suzdal. As prince of Novgorod (1236–52) he earned his surname by his victory (1240) over the Swedes on the Neva River.
..... Click the link for more information.
 at Lake Peipus checked their eastward expansion. After the secularization (1525) of the Teutonic Order, they resumed independence. In 1558, Czar Ivan IV of Russia invaded their territories, which were eventually partitioned between Russia, Poland, and Sweden. In 1561 the knights were disbanded; their grand master became the first duke of Courland under Polish suzerainty. However, the knights retained their vast estates in the Baltics.