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Between radicalism and tolerance: Characterising the rule of a militarised Christian theocracy in the medieval Baltic

Author(s): Aleksander Pluskowski

Year: 2016

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Summary

The Teutonic Order, the last of the major military orders founded in the Holy Land in the twelfth century, developed a strong, centralised hierarchy once it redirected its efforts to crusading in the Baltic. After the initial period of crusading was over, its fortified monasteries were built with consistent regularity, and the Order adopted a top-down, corporate approach to controlling the conquered territories, under the leadership of the Grand Master. However, despite this centralisation, degrees of autonomy within its ranks are evident across its lands, which can be linked to the variable ecological and cultural contexts encountered by its commanders and lesser officials. The Order was able to overcome ‘discrepancies’ between its own castles though its supra-national network, which connected the smallest frontier outpost with regional convents and the central headquarters at Marienburg. In this respect as a colonising corporation it adapted extremely well to the environment of the eastern Baltic. However, its relationships with the indigenous population and Christian colonists were more adhoc, and resulted in the persistence of pre-Christian religion alongside the introduced Christian infrastructure. This paper considers the evidence for this tension between regulation and toleration within a society dominated by a militarised Christian theocracy.


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Between radicalism and tolerance: Characterising the rule of a militarised Christian theocracy in the medieval Baltic. Aleksander Pluskowski. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404425)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America