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Teutonic Knights

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  30 reviews
The Teutonic knights were powerful and ferocious advocates of holy war. Their history is suffused with crusading, campaigning and struggle. Feared by their enemies but respected by medieval Christendom, the knights and their Order maintained a firm hold over the Baltic and northern Germany and established a formidable regime which flourished across central Europe for 300 y ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 2nd 2006 by Greenhill Books
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Tim Robinson
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
If the Crusading Orders in the Holy Land were armed pilgrims, the Teutonic Knights in the Baltic were armed missionaries. As such, their mission was to bring Christianity and civilisation (the same thing, naturally) to the barbarous pagan Prussians and Lithuanians. And this was no mere posturing to justify conquest: many a time the Knights called off an offensive because their enemies promised to accept baptism (a promise that was almost never carried out). Defeated enemies were more often calle ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Not as engaging or interesting as some of the histories of the Knights Templer or Knights Hospitaller. The focus more on the military aspect makes sense, as unlike the other orders the Teutonic Knights were in near continuous warfare on crusades against pagans in Eastern Europe. In a sense, it became a 'safe' crusade, offering the noble pursuit of chivalry, a code of behavior taken to ever more romanticized and unrealistic heights. Despite it being a book on the Knights, the situation's complexi ...more
Blake Tourville
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Urban does his best to portrays both sides as having faults and committing hideous deeds, but he does strongly slant his support to the Teutonic Knights which leads to quite a few contradictions when comparing the two sides, and comparing the values of the people in medieval ages to today. However, this really is one of the few books over the northern crusades that is in English, and it is very informative even if the author isn't completely unbiased. ...more
Ryan Yoder
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A good historical overview.

The book is the first I've read on this topic. It does well at informing. The names and dates can get laborious but the first read through gives excellent highlights and historical connections that gives one a picture of the Teutonic Knights place in history.
多余人-Lishnye Lyudi
William  Shep
Apr 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Urban, an expert in Baltic and east european history, has given us a comprehensive account of the rise and fall of a great military order. Most importantly, he has convincingly demostrated that the Teutonic Knights, or more accurately the German Order, was a Roman Catholic organization, like many others, dedicated to helping the sick and advancing Christianity via the crusade and not some kind of twisted forerunner of Nazi Germany. He takes generations of historians and political leaders to task ...more
John Nellis
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very informative book on the history of the military order of the Tuetonic Knights. This book explains the origins of the order and its role in Crusading warfare. Mainly in the Northern crusades bringing christianity by force to the pagan peoples in the Baltic regions. It eventually becomes caught up with obtaining and ruling land and forgetting its crusading ideals. There are not many books about the Tuetonic Knights, and its campaigns in English. This is a very thourough book on the subject.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storici
Buon lavoro...

Questo libro è un buon saggio sull'Ordine dei Cavalieri Teutonici, ne consiglio la lettura a chiunque abbia un interesse per la storia medioevale, per le regioni dell'area del baltico o per gli ultimi pagani d'Europa.
Una nota importante per il possibile lettore è che tutto quanto è scritto in maniera piacevole e scorrevole
Peter C Lyon
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2
Huge Kudos to Urban for tremendous research and bringing this subject to life in the English language. The history of the Teutonic Knights is fascinating, from the Crusades, to the Conquest of Prussia and large parts of the Baltics, wars with medieval pagans deep in Lithuanian forests, and even their decline at the hands of Poles, Ivan the Terrible -- and even the teachings of Martin Luther.

However, it seems that better edits would have improved the book markedly. Chapter upon chapter appear to
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
The Teutonic Knights (2006) by William Urban is a heavy going but interesting book that looks at the remarkable order that changed North Eastern Europe.

The Teutonic Knights were a remarkable order that started out in Crusades in the Holy Lands around 1200 before returning to Europe and setting up in and around Prussia, there they fought and converted The Prussians and the Livonians. After hundreds of years of fighting North Eastern Pagans they then fought and lost to the Poles and the lands that
Fred Dameron
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very readable history of a topic that some historians have treated very dryly. Urban has taken a very tough topic and made it interesting. After reading this work one can see how Hitler was able to use the ancient stories of the Teutons to his advantage to seduce a nation. you can also see how the world the Teutons left has effected the world from 1500 until today. Many of the problems that Northern Europe has dealt with are left over from the Teutons and there interactions with the Ru ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This was surprisingly the only book that I could find on the topic after a cursory search - with that said it covers the material rather exhaustively, if sometimes with a touch more romance than is appropriate for what is an otherwise scholarly work. This book sheds a lot of light on the origin and development of regional tensions between Germany, the Baltic states, the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the various entities of the emerging Russian states during the medieval period. I'd recomme ...more
Paul E.
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, germany
There are many books/documentaries about the Crusades in the Middle East. However, there's not much about the Baltic Crusades by the Teutonic Knights. This serves as good start, going from how the Teutonic Knights began to how they ended.

I am not an expert on the topic so cannot comment on how historically accurate his portrayal of the different parties involved are.

It seems the events that happened during this time shaped the region for many years to come and even up to the current day.
Ellis Knox
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Excellent history written by an excellent historian. Between Christensen and Urban, we have a depth of understanding of the eastern crusades far greater than enjoyed by earlier generations.

Urban's prose is easy and engaging. The subject matter, of course, is riveting. This is indispensable reading for anyone studying the Knights, the eastern crusades, or Eastern Europe in the later Middle Ages generally.
Geoff Boxell
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best book I have come across on the topic, it is an easy read with plenty of clear maps to help you follow where and what is happening. Much is made of the Teutonic Knights, but not much has been written about them in English.
The rise and fall of the Teutonic Knights make for an interesting read.
A recommended read.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baltic Crusade

A military history of the Teutonic Knights, mainly centred on the political interplay of Poland, Lithuania, and Moscovy around the Baltic lands held by the Teutonic Knights.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I applaud the author's knowledge of this period. His comments on the period in general and the Battle of Tannenberg in particular are interesting and insightful, however, like many military history books, a good deal of "The Teutonic Knights" defaults to an endless list of names, places and dates that become incomprehensible after a time. The style of writing is straight forward, and while the author tries to fill out the personalities with background information, it ultimately fails because of ...more
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an exploration of a fascinating perod of history, whereby mainly German crusaders brought christianity to the eastern fringes of Europe. The impact of these events have echoed down the centuries and strands of the teutonic knights story are still relevant today (and were even more so prior to the forced resettlements after WW2)

I liked this book, though I must say that the style is less fluent that I would have wished. Sometimes it just seemed to be a recitation of dates, people and
Andrew Davis
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Very well balanced. Presents Teutonic Knights within wider perspective of their goals and historical surroundings in the Eastern Europe. Covers a lot of material within a small volume. It does require additional references to follow up the discussion.
The closing sentence best represents the tenor of the book. "Above all, we should remember that historians who simplify the complexity of the past too much do a disservice to future generations who must live with the impressions their work makes on
Martin Mulcahey
Great in terms of information and conclusions drawn from writers unquestionable expertise. Did find myself bogged down a bit in cast of characters, but to be expected in book that covers such large space of time. However, none of the figures stood out since writing was a bit monotone and academic IMO. Would get a current map of Europe to get a better feel of where tribes and nation principalities described were located to get a better feel for topographical forces at work. Overall, good book and ...more
Eric Pecile
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A chronologically expansive narrative history of the Teutonic Order; a great introduction to the subject. Stylistically it is a bit dry making certain parts rather dull but offers enough insight to really get one thinking on the complex structure and culture of monastic military organizations.
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A Good read over a little covered part of history (in the USA) it helps make sence of the Baltic region and why the USSR thought the region was theirs. Also why there are so many german names in countries you would think were Slavic
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
A good workmanlike study of the most fascinating military organization this side of the French Foreign Legion or perhaps the United States Marine Corps.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed examination

A good, thorough, if dry history of the order. Recommended if you are interested in the Crusader Orders. Otherwise, only for amateur historians.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
'tis not an objective historical account Urban ...more
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memory
Solid, but the non-linear timeline was annoying.
Hilde Helseth
'37. An educational read' ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-medieval
Probably the most authoritative book (in English) on the Order. Not as easy to read as the Northern Crusades.
rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2016
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“Brothers, beseech our Lord God, that he comfort Holy Christianity with His Grace, and His Peace, and protect it from all evil. Pray to Our God for our spiritual father, the Pope, and for the Empire and for all our leaders and prelates of Christianity, lay and ecclesiastical, that God use them in His service. And also for all spiritual and lay judges, that they may give Holy Christianity peace and such good justice that God’s Judgement will not come over them. Pray for our Order in which God has assembled us, that the Lord will give us Grace, Purity, a Spiritual Life, and that he take away all that is found in us or other Orders that is unworthy of praise and opposed to His Commandments. Pray for our Grand Master and all the regional commanders, who govern our lands and people, and for all the brothers who exercise office in our Order, that they act in their office of the Order in such a way as not to depart from God. Pray for the brothers who hold no office, that they may use their time purposefully and zealously in worship, so that those who hold office and they themselves may be useful and pious. Pray for those who are fallen in deadly sin, that God may help them back into his Grace and that they may escape eternal punishment. Pray for the lands that lie near the pagans, that God may come to their aid with his Counsel and Power, that belief in God and Love can be spread there, so that they can withstand all their enemies. Pray for those who are friends and associates of the Order, and also for those who do good actions or who seek to do them, that God may reward them. Pray for all those who have left us inheritances or gifts that neither in life nor in death does God allow them to depart from Him. Especially pray for Duke Friedrich of Swabia and King Heinrich his brother, who was Emperor, and for the honourable burghers of Lübeck and Bremen, who founded our Order. Remember also Duke Leopold of Austria, Duke Conrad of Masovia, and Duke Sambor of Pomerellia . . . Remember also our dead brothers and sisters . . . Let each remember the soul of his father, his mother, his brothers and sisters. Pray for all believers, that God may give them eternal peace. May they rest in peace. Amen.” 0 likes
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