Knights of the Sword

Knights of the Sword:

see Livonian Brothers of the SwordLivonian Brothers of the Sword
or Livonian Knights
, German military and religious order, founded in 1202 by Bishop Albert of Livonia for the purpose of conquest and Christianization in the Baltic lands.
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Knights of the Sword


the Order of Knights of the Sword, a German Catholic religious and military order, founded in 1202 with the aid of Bishop Albert of Riga and Pope Innocent III in order to capture the eastern Baltic region.

The traditional name of the order comes from the white cloaks worn by its members, which depicted a red sword with a cross. The charter of the Templars was used as a basis for the order’s charter. The Knights of the Sword were under the direct supervision of the bishop of Riga. In the early 13th century they under-took crusades against the Livonians, Estonians, Zemgalians, and other Baltic peoples. They occupied many lands in the eastern Baltic; with the pope’s sanction (1207), a third of these lands became the property of the order. Soon the knights intruded across the boundaries of the principality of Polotsk and began to threaten Novgorod and Pskov. In 1234, Prince laroslav Vsevolodovich of Novgorod seriously defeated the knights near Dorpat (now Tartu), and in 1236 a combined force of Lithuanians and Zemgalians routed the knights near Saule (now Siauliai, in Lithuania). In 1237 the remainder of the order merged with the Teutonic Order to form the Livonian Order in the eastern Baltic region.

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