This article summarizes new research on the custom of distributing the spoils of war amongst active military participants in the Holy Land. A letter of guarantee records an agreement between John of Brienne, king of Jerusalem, and the Teutonic Knights right after the capture of Damietta (1219) during the Fifth Crusade. This document is compared with contemporary sources reporting on military actions of the Teutonic Order. The article argues that the strength of a military order and power relations between parties participating in military campaigns can be studied through their sharing of the spoils of war.
Louis of Hungary recognized the danger of the Ottomans and actively participated in the preparation of a crusade devoted to erasing the enemies of Christ from the Balkans. To achieve this he, along with Pope Urban v, the emperor Charles iv, and Charles v, designed a plan to send the most feared soldiers of their time, the “Magna Socieatas,” against the “Saracens,” the “proud disciples of Lucifer.” Under the leadership of the Arnauld de Cervole, “the Archpriest,” the routiers crossed the border of the Holy Roman Empire and intended to move towards the valley of the Danube to Hungary and later on to the Balkans.
In my paper, I will analyze how the local authorities and people reacted to the migrating soldiers during their hundreds of kilometer long journey. I will describe what measures were taken by the towns and the magnates of the lands they traversed (Barrois, Lorraine, Alsace, Burgundy), what reactions we can read in the contemporary letters, and other different sources such as the chronicles and annals from Basel, Strasbourg, Lorraine, Metz. The sources used in my paper originate from the archives of Colmar, Kaysersberg, Selestat, and Strasbourg, as well as Dijon, Metz, and Barr-le-Duc.
After the Teutonic Knights successfully broke through Gdańsk’s defenses on 12/13 November 1308, they set about massacring not only those knights who supported the rule of the margraves and Brandenburg, but also Gdańsk’s burghers. In 1310, Pope Clement v set up a special commission to investigate whether it was true that the Teutonic Knights had killed more than ten thousand people in Gdańsk. The Teutonic procurator, in response to allegations of slaughter, argued that Gdańsk was harboring thieves who were causing great damage to the Order. After the massacre, it was claimed that the burghers who survived were asked several times to expel the lawbreakers, and were threatened with the destruction of the town if they failed to do so. Fearing for their lives, the burghers handed over fifteen criminals to the Teutonic Knights, and left the town to go and live elsewhere, their abandoned houses falling into ruin. Though it is unknown what happened to the exiled burghers who survived the massacre in Gdańsk, it is likely that they took refuge in other German cities, possibly Lübeck. For over ten years historical records make no mention of life in Gdańsk or of its burghers, until 1327, when it is noted once again as a thriving city. There is little doubt that its favorable location—on the Baltic coast—ensured its revival. The resurrected city was founded next to the one destroyed in 1308.