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WAB FORUM ARMIES

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
GENERAL
Polabian Slavs is a collective term applied to a
number of largely extinct West Slavic tribes who
lived along the Elbe, between the Baltic Sea to
the north, the Saale and Limes Saxonicus to the
west, the Sudetes and Franconia to the south, and
Poland to the east. They have also been known
as the Elbe Slavs and as Wends.
The Polabian Slavs started settling in the
territory of modern Germany in the second half
of the first millennium. They were largely
conquered by Saxons and Danes during the 12th
century and subsequently included within the
Holy Roman Empire.

Kyzziner) along the lower Warnow and Rostock;


the Circipani (Zirzipanen) between the Recknitz,
Trebel, and Peene Rivers; the Tollenser east and
south of the Peene along the Tollense River; and
the Redarier south and east of the Tollensesee on
the upper Havel. The Redarier were the most
important of the Veleti tribes.
The Rani of Rgen, not to be confused with the
older Germanic Rugians, are sometimes
considered to be part of the Veleti. South of the
Rani were the Ucri (Ukranen) along the Ucker
and the Morici (Morizani, Mritzer) along the
Mritz; the former gave their name to the
Uckermark. Smaller tribes included the Doane
along the Dosse, the Zamzizi in the Ruppin
Land, and the Recanen on the upper Havel.
Along the lower Havel and near the confluence
of the Elbe and the Havel lived the Neletici, the
Liezizi,
the
Zemzizi,
the
Smeldingi
(Smeldinger), and the Bethenici.
The middle Havel region and the Havelland were
settled by the Hevelli, a tribe loosely connected
to the Veleti. East of the Hevelli lived the
Sprevane of the lower Dahme and Spree. Small
tribes on the middle Elbe included the Moriciani,
the Zerwisti, the Serimunt, and the Nicici.

TRIBES
Polabian Slavs are split in three main tribes, the
Obotrites, the Veleti, and the Lusatian Sorbs.
The main tribes of the Obotritic confederation
were the Obotrites proper (Wismar Bay to the
Schweriner See); the Wagrians (eastern
Holstein); the Warnabi (Warnower) (the upper
Warnow and Mildenitz); and the Polabians
proper (between the Trave and the Elbe). Other
tribes associated with the confederation include
the Linones (Linonen) near Lenzen, the
Travnjane near the Trave, and the Drevani in the
Hanoverian Wendland and the northern Altmark.
The Veleti, also known as the Liutizians or
Wilzians, included the Kissini (Kissener,

South of the Hevelli lived the ancestors of the


modern Sorbs, the Lusici of Lower Lusatia and
the Milceni of Upper Lusatia. Near these tribes
were the Selpoli and the Besunzanen.. The
Colodici, Siusler, and Glomaci (Daleminzier)
lived along the upper Elbe, while the Chutici,
Nisanen, Plisni, Gera, Puonzowa, Tucharin,
Weta, and groups of Neletici lived near the
Saale. On the middle Oder lived the Leubuzzi,
who were associated with medieval Poland.
Small groups of West Slavs also lived on the
Main and the Regnitz near Bamberg and in
northeastern Bavaria.
PRINCES
A Polabian prince was known as a knes. His
power was relatively greater in Slavic society
than those of Danish or Swedish kings in their
kingdoms, although it was not absolute. He was
the general leader of his tribe and was foremost
among its nobles, holding much of the forested

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hinterland and expecting reverence from his
warriors. However, his authority largely
extended only to the territory controlled by his
governor, or voivot. Each voivot governed small
territories based around fortifications.
Princely power often differed between tribes.
The Obotrite prince Henry was able to maintain
a sizable army ca. 1100 at the expense of the
towns, and the importance of knes within the
Obotrites only increased after his death. The
prince of the Rani, on the other hand, was
limited by the local senate, which was led by the
high priest at Cape Arkona; the Rani knes was
essentially first among the tribe's landowners.

TOWNS
The power of the prince and his governors was
often restricted by the river towns, known to
chroniclers as civitates, especially within the
territory of the Veleti. Polabian towns were
centered on small earthworks arranged in circles
or ovals. The gord was situated at the highest
altitude of the town and held a barracks, citadel,
and princely residence. It was often protected by
a moat, walls, and wooden towers. Below the
gord, but still within the town walls, was the urbs
or suburbium, which held the residences for the
nobility and merchants. The towns often held
wooden temples for Slavic gods within the urbs.
Outside of the walls were homes for the
peasantry. With the exception of Arkona on
Rgen, few Polabian towns were situated on the
Baltic coast, out of concern for pirates and
raiders. While not highly populated compared to
Flanders or Italy, the Polabian towns were

relatively large for the Baltic region, such as in


comparison to those of Scandinavia.
PEASANTRY
The majority of Polabian Slavs were peasants in
small villages who engaged in agriculture (rich
in grains, flax) and animal husbandry (poultry,
cattle). Some villagers were fishermen,
beekeepers, or trappers. Farmland was divided
into a unit called a kuritz (Latin: uncus), for
which peasants paid grain taxes to the voivot.
MILITARY
Polabian society developed during the 9th and
10th centuries under pressure from the Holy
Roman Empire and the Vikings of Scandinavia.
They were often forced to pay tribute to the
kings of Denmark, Catholic bishops, and
imperial margraves. Polabian society became
militarized and its leaders began organizing
armed forces and defenses. Many Polabian
magnates lived in forest fortresses, while towns
were inhabited by warriors and burghers.
The magnates often raided Germanic territories
or engaged in piracy. In times of large-scale war,
the knes took overall command. The prince's
voivot ensured military service from the warriors
and taxes from the peasantry. While the
countryside provided land forces, the towns were
known for their longships, which were lighter
and lower than those used by the Danes and
Swedes.
From a distance, Polabian fleets resembled those
of the Scandinavians, although targets would
recognize the Slavs' closely cropped hair and
shrieking battle cries when they grew close.
Polabian cavalry used small horses which were
effective in quick raiding campaigns, but less
effective against the Saxon and Danish heavy
cavalry.
RELIGION
Religion was an important aspect of Polabian
society. Much of their territory was dotted with
holy places in nature to which the Slavs could
pray and make offerings to Slavic gods. The
priesthood was an important class which
developed images and objects of worship.

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Polabian towns often included elaborate temples
often visited for offerings and pilgrimages. In
contrast, priests in the countryside often lived
meagerly.
HISTORY
The Polabian Slavs replaced Germanic tribes
who emigrated from the 1st to 6th centuries
during the Migration Period. Their settlement
area was largely stable by the 8th century.
Charlemagne enlisted the Obotrites as allies in
his campaign against the rebellious Saxons of
Holstein. Many of the Slavic tribes became
dependencies of the Carolingian Empire and the
Franks created the Sorbian March to defend
against the Sorbs.
German campaigns against the Slavs began in
earnest during the Ottonian dynasty. Henry the
Fowler attacked the Slavs in several campaigns
with his cavalry. During the reigns of Henry and
his son Otto I, several marches were established
to guard the eastern acquisitions, such as the
Billung March to the north and the Marca
Geronis to the south. After Gero's death in 965,
the Marca Geronis was divided into the Northern
March, the March of Lusatia, and the Thuringian
March, the latter being divided into the marches
of Zeitz, Merseburg, and Meissen. Bishoprics
such as Magdeburg, Brandenburg, and
Havelberg were founded to support the
conversion of the Slavs to Christianity.
After the defeat of Otto II in at the Battle of Stilo
in 982, the pagan Slavs rebelled against the
Germans the following year; the Hevelli and
Liutizi destroyed the Bishoprics of Havelberg
and Brandenburg. Some Slavs advanced across
the Elbe into Saxon territory, but retreated when
the Christian Duke of the Polans, Mieszko I,
attacked them from the east. The Holy Roman
Empire retained only nominal control over the
Slavic territories between the Elbe and the Oder.
Despite the efforts of Christian missionaries,
most Polabian Slavs saw Jesus as a "German
god" and remained pagan.
The Obotrite prince Udo and his son Gottschalk
expanded their realm by unifying the Obotrite
tribes and conquering some Liutizi tribes in the

11th
century.
They
encouraged
the
establishments of bishoprics to support Christian
missionary activity. However, a revolt in 1066
led to the murder of Gottschalk and his
replacement by the pagan Kruto of Wagria.
Gottschalk's son Henry eventually killed Kruto
in 1093.

From 1140-43 Holsatian nobles advanced into


Wagria to permanently settle in the lands of the
pagan Wagri. Count Adolf II of Holstein and
Henry of Badewide took control of Polabian
settlements at Liubice and Racisburg. Impressed
with the success of the First Crusade, Saxons
began calling for a crusade against their Slav
neighbors. The Wendish Crusade of 1147,
concurrent to the Second Crusade, was largely
unsuccessful, resulting in devastation to the
Liutizi lands and forced baptisms. The campaign
did secure Saxon control of Wagria and Polabia,
however. The Abotrites were largely at peace
with the Saxons during the following decade,
although Slavic pirates raided Denmark.
Beginning in the late 1150s, King Valdemar the
Great of Denmark enlisted the aid of Duke
Henry the Lion of Saxony against the Slavs;
their cooperation led to the death of the Obotrite
prince, Niklot, in 1160. The two Christian lords
distributed much of the conquered territory
among their vassals. When Niklot's exiled son,
Pribislav, engineered an Obotrite rebellion, the
pair retaliated by occupying Demmin and
warding off Pribislav's Liutizian allies.
After conquering Wagria and Polabia during the
1140s, Saxon nobles attempted to expel the

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native Slavs and replace them with Saxon and
Flemish settlers. The 1164 Obotrite revolt led by
Niklot's son Pribislav convinced Henry the Lion
that keeping the Slavs as allies would be less
troublesome. The duke returned the Christian
Pribislav to power as Prince of Mecklenburg,
Kessin, and Rostock, and a vassal of the Saxons.
Tactics and weaponry were decisive in
Denmark's campaigns against the eastern
Polabian Slavs. The Danes utilized quick coastal
and river raids, tactics similar to those of the
Vikings. Although they lacked siege experience,
the Danes were able to cripple Slavic regions by
burning crops and unwalled suburbs. Slav
counterattacks were repulsed by crossbows and
Norwegian longbows. The Danes occupied
Rugia in 1168, conquering the Rani stronghold
of Arkona. Similar to Henry's reinstatement of
Pribislav as a Saxon vassal, Valdemar allowed
the Rani prince Jaromar to rule as a Christian
Danish vassal. After Valdemar refused to share
Rugia with Henry, the Saxon duke enlisted the
aid of the Obotrite confederacy and the Liutizi
against the Danes; Valdemar ended the conflict
by paying Henry in 1171.

Alarmed at the expansion of Henry the Lion's


power, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa deposed
the Saxon duke and redistributed his lands in
1180/81. The withdrawal of Saxon support left
the Liutizi and their Pomeranian supporters
vulnerable to the Danish fleet. A Slavic fleet
attempting to reclaim Rugia was crushed at the
Bay of Greifswald on 19 May 1184. Danish
monks engaged in missionary activity in
Pomeranian abbeys, and Prince Bogislav I of
Pomerania surrendered to King Canute VI in
1185 to become the Danish king's vassal.

Pribislav, a Christian prince of the Hevelli,


bequeathed his lands to the Saxon Albert the
Bear upon his death, thereby leading to the
establishment
of
the
Margraviate
of
Brandenburg.
The Lusatian Sorbs remained independent to a
large extent. They were temporarily subdued by
Charlemagne, but upon his death the links with
the Franks were broken. In a series of bloody
wars between 929 and 963 their lands were
conquered by King Henry the Fowler and his son
Otto the Great and were incorporated into the
Kingdom of Germany.
PIRACY
The robbery committed by Slavic tribes on the
Baltic Sea and its coast during the Middle Ages
was initially a part of the Viking movement. We
know about Slavic warriors in the 10th century
from Scandinavian poetry. This time, the center
of the Slavic warriors was Wolin known later as
Jomsborg. It was finally destroyed by the King
Magnus the Good in 1042. It was possibly the
origin of the legend of the city of Vineta.
In the 12th century, there was intensification of
Slavic piracy. It was connected with German and
Polish expansion which pushed the Slavic tribes
to the Baltic Sea. The pirates devastated mostly
Danish islands. In 1135, the Norwegian city
Kungahlla was captured and burned by the
Prince Ratibor I of Pomerania. In 1153, the
capital city of Denmark, Roskilde, was attacked
by pirates. The main bases of the robbers were
Starigard, Wolgast, Szczecin and Rgen Island.
The Slavic piracy ended with the Danish
conquest of Rgen and Pomerania in the end of
the 12th century, German conquest of the
Obotrites around the same time, and the German
eastward expansion. The information about the
Slavic pirates is contained in Helmold's Cronic,
Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson, Deeds of
Bishops of the Hamburg Church by Adam of
Bremen, and Gesta Danorum by Saxo
Grammaticus.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polabians

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ARMY COMPOSITION

javelin (+3). Only if on foot he may have heavy armour


(+2), a double handed axe (+3) or dane axe (+2).

Units may have a Leader (+5 pts), Musician (+5pts) and/or


Standard (+5pts).

If no knes is present one voivot may lead the army as


general (+25).

CHARACTERS: Up to 25%
CAVALRY: Up to 25%
INFANTRY: At least 50%
DGS OF WAR: Up to 25%

CHIEFTAIN

Special Rule: The western slav tribe player can field an


extra terrain of d3 pieces at pitched battles. Each piece
have a maximum of 4x4 and count as difficult terrain.

CHARACTERS

M
5

M
5

WS
4

BS
4

S
3

T
3

W
2

I
4

A
2

Ld
7

WS
5

BS
5

S
3

T
4

W
3

I
5

A
3

Ld
9

Pts
150

Equipment: Hand weapon, light armour, javelin, shield


May have horse (+3, increase M to 8) or Warhorse (+8,
increase M to 8), heavy armour (+2), throwing (+1) and
bow instead of javelin (+3). Only if on foot he may have
heavy armour (+2), a double handed axe (+3) or dane axe
(+2).
Special Rules: Army General
In 955 Nako and Stoignew were defeated at the Battle of
Recknitz by Otto I of Germany. While Stoignew was
beheaded, Nako probably accepted Christianity, because
there followed roughly thirty years of peace, during which,
according to Adam of Bremen, the Slavs were Christian.
Nako and his successors, the Nakonids, resided in a
"ringwall" of fortresses: Mecklenburg, Starigard, Liubice,
and Lenzen (Lunkini). When the Sephardic geographer
Abraham ben Jacob travelled through the territory, he
referred to Mecklenburg, Nako's principal palace, as
"Nako's castle."

Equipment: Hand weapon, light Armour, javelin, shield


May have horse (+3, increase M to 8), heavy armour (+2),
throwing spear (+1) and bow instead of javelin (+3). Only
if on foot he may have heavy armour (+2), a double
handed axe (+3) or dane axe (+2).

0-1 PAGAN PRIEST


Priest

M
5

WS
3

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
2

I
3

A
1

Ld
6

Special Rules: The priest carries a portable altar with an


idol onto the battlefield. He cannot join units and within 6
of the idol all polabian units may reroll failed panic and
rally tests. If deployed, the idol and the priest remain
stationary for the rest of the game. The priest is also
immune to panic. If the priest is dead or fleeing the idol
will be removed .
If taken, no stipendarii or serjeants unit can be chosen.

VOIVOT
M
5

WS
5

BS
4

S
3

T
4

W
2

I
4

A
3

Ld
8

Pts
100

Equipment: Hand weapon, light armour, javelin, shield


May have horse (+3, increase M to 8) or Warhorse (+8,
increase M to 8), throwing spear (+1) and bow instead of
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Pts
80

Equipment: Hand weapon, portable altar

He was succeeded by his sons Mstivoj and Mstidrag, but


they abandoned Christianity and revolted against the
Germans again.

Governor

Pts
50

One Zupan may be upgraded to army standard bearer


(+15)

0-1 KNES
Prince

Zupan

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the behaviour of a white horse identified with Svantevit
and casting dice (horse oracles have a long history in this
region, being already attested in the writings of Tacitus).
The temple also contained the treasury of the tribe and
was defended by a group of 300 mounted warriors which
formed the core of the tribal armed forces.

CAVALRY
DRUZHINA
Druzynnik

M
8

WS
3

BS
4

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
4

A
1

Ld
7

Pts
20

WARRIORS
M
5
5

WS
3
3

BS
3
3

S
3
3

T
3
3

W
1
1

I
3
3

A
1
1

Ld
6
5

Pts
7
5

Equipment: Hand weapon, javelin, light armour, buckler,


horse
May have shield instead of buckler (+1), throwing spear
(+2).

Guard
Warrior

Special Rules: Light Cavalry, Feigned Flight

Equipment: Hand weapon, javelin, shield


May have throwing spears (+1); bow instead of javelins
(+1); Guards may have light armor (+2), dane axes (+2) or
double handed weapons (+3). Guards are 0-2

RETINUES
Mounted

M
8

Special Rules: Light Infantry, Warband, Stealth

WS
3

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
3

A
1

Ld
6

Pts
15

Equipment: Hand weapon, javelin, buckler, horse


May have Shield instead of Buckler (+1), throwing spear
(+2) and bow instead of javelins (for free).

Elite

S
3

T
3

W
1

WS
2

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
3

A
1

Ld
6

I
4

A
1

Ld
6

Pts
12

Equipment: Hand weapon, light armour, buckler


May have thrusting or throwing spear (+2), javelins (+2)
and shield instead of buckler (+1), may have Riding
Horses (+1)
If taken, no stipendarii or serjeants can be chosen.
Characters are not allowed to join this unit.

Levy

M
4

WS
2

BS
2

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
3

A
1

Ld
4

Pts
3

Ld
6

Pts
6

Equipment: Improvised weapons


May have javelins (+1), slings (+1) and shield (+1)
Special Rules: Light Infantry, Levies

BALTIC SEA RAIDER

Special Rules: Light Infantry, Warband, Hatred

Pirate

The main temple of Svantevit was located in Arkona on


Rugia Island in the Baltic Sea (today Rgen, in Germany).
According to various chronicles, the temple contained a
giant wooden statue of Svantevit depicting him with four
heads (or one head with four faces) and a horn of
abundance. Each year the horn was filled with fresh mead.

M
5

WS
3

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
3

A
1

Equipment: Hand weapon, javelins, shield


May have throwing spears (+1)
Special Rules: Light Infantry, Feigned Flight, Special
Deployment

The temple was also the seat of an oracle in which the


chief priest predicted the future of his tribe by observing
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Pts
4

PEASANTS

0-1 CULT OF SVANTEVIT


BS
3

M
4

Special Rules: Light Infantry

INFANTRY

WS
4

Citizen

Equipment: Hand weapon, javelins, shield


May have thrusting spears (+1) and light armor (+2)

Special Rules: Light Cavalry, Feigned Flight

M
5

BURGHERS

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DOGS OF WAR
STIPENDARII

VIKINGS
Pirate

M
4

WS
4

BS
3

S
3

T
4

W
1

I
4

A
1

Ld
8

Pts
10

Equipment: Hand weapon


May have javelins (+1), throwing spear (+2), double
handed axe (+2), additional hand weapon (+3) and light
armor (+3), shield (+2)

Dismtd
Mounted

M
4
8

WS
4
4

BS
3
3

S
3
3

T
3
3

W
1
1

I
4
3

A
1
1

Ld
8
5

Pts
13
27

Equipment: Hand weapon, light armour, shield, throwing


or thrusting spear. Mounted stipendarii have warhorses.
May have javelins (+1) and upgrade light armour to heavy
armour (+1).

Special Rules: Light Infantry, Fearsome, Warband (rule 2


only)

Special Rules: Unreliable, Up to +1 rank bonus if


mounted

SERJEANTS
Footman

M
4

WS
3

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
4

A
1

Ld
7

Pts
5

Equipment: Hand weapons


May have shield (+1), light armour (+2), javelin (+1),
throwing or thrusting spear (+1), double handed axes (+2),
bows (+2).
Special Rules: Unreliable, May be designated as Light
Infantry

HORSE ARCHER
Horseman

M
8

WS
3

BS
3

S
3

T
3

W
1

I
3

A
1

Ld
6

Equipment: Hand weapons, bow


May have throwing spear (+1) and buckler (+1)

0-1 JOMSVIKINGS
Warrior

M
4

WS
4

BS
4

S
3

T
4

W
1

I
4

A
1

Ld
9

Pts
16

Special Rules: Skirmisher, Expert Horseman, Feigned


Flight, Parthian Shot

Equipment: Hand weapon, light armour


May have javelins (+2), throwing spear (+2), double
handed axe (+2), additional hand weapon (+2). May have
shield (+2). May exchange light armour for heavy armour
(+1)
Special Rules: Light Infantry, Fearsome, Stubborn. Each
turn roll a dice. On a 1 the Jomsvikings have accepted a
bribe from the enemy and may not move that turn.

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change from overlordship, which the Slavs were
willing to accept, to lordship, which the Slavs
protested.

BATTLES
Battle of Recknitz (955)
The Battle of Recknitz was fought on 16 October
955 between the forces of Otto I of Germany on
one side and the Obodrites under Nakon and
Stoinegin and their allied and tributary Slav
neighbours in the region of Mecklenburg on the
other. The battlefield was probably near Pantlitz
in Ribnitz-Damgarten. The German victory over
the Slavs followed up on the August victory at
the Lechfeld over the Magyars and marked the
high point of Otto's reign. A thirty-year peace
followed, only ending with the Slavic revolt after
the Battle of Stilo in 983.

Battle
The army of the day was drawn from every
regnum (duchy) of the German kingdom, even
Bohemia. Otto's German army included
approximately 7,000 Saxon cavalry and 1,000
Frisian infantry. Stoinegin's Slavic force had
8,000 infantry and 1,000 light cavalry. During
the battle, Stoinegin was chased into a wood, run
down and killed by a soldier named Hosed, who
was handsomely rewarded after presenting Otto
with the Slav's severed head.
Approximately 1,100 Saxons lay dead and 2,000
wounded on the field. The Slav side lost 4,500
dead and 2,000 wounded. After the battle,
Stoinegin's head was raised on a pole and
hundreds of captured Slavs were executed before
sundown. Stoinegin's counsellors also had their
tongues cut out.

Battle of Schmilau (1093)

Background
While Otto was distracted by his campaigns
against the Magyars, his contemptuous vassals
Wichmann the Younger and Egbert the OneEyed instigated a Slav revolt. The Obodrites
invaded his kingdom and sacked Cocarescemier,
killing the men of arms-bearing age and carrying
off the women and children into slavery.
According to Widukind of Corvey, in the
aftermath of the Lechfeld, Otto pressed hard into
Slav territory, where Wichmann and Egbert had
sought refuge. Otto razed the Slav population
centres and soon had encircled them; he offered
to spare his enemies if they would surrender. A
Slav embassy came to an assembly Otto held in
Saxony and offered to pay annual tribute in
return for being allowed self-government;
"otherwise," they said, they would "fight for
their liberty." Reuter argues that this is indicative
of a change in German governing practice: a

The Battle of Schmilau was a battle between a


coalition of Christian forces and pagan Polabian
Slavs in 1093.
Henry, a Christian Obotrite prince raised in
Denmark after the murder of his father
Gottschalk, avenged his father's death by killing
the pagan Obotrite chief Kruto in 1093. The
pagan Slavs rose up in rebellion against Henry's
attempt to seize power.
Henry was supported by Duke Magnus of
Saxony and a Danish contingent, while the
pagans were led by Rochel, a Wagrian prince
and pirate from the vicinity of Oldenburg. Henry
was victorious in the battle at Schmilau, near
Ratzeburg in eastern Holstein. The victory
allowed Henry to consolidate the Obotrite realm
and establish Liubice as his capital.

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Wends 900 1200
1200
Wendish Crusade (1147)

Battle of Verchen (1164)

The Wendish Crusade was an 1147 campaign,


one of the Northern Crusades and also a part of
the Second Crusade, led primarily by the
Kingdom of Germany inside the Holy Roman
Empire and directed against the Polabian Slavs
(or "Wends").

The Battle of Verchen was a battle between


Saxons and West Slavic Obotrites on 6 July
1164.
The Obotrites were attacked by Saxons and
Danes in 1160, resulting in the death of the
Obotrite prince, Niklot, and the partition of the
Obotrite lands. Niklot's son Pribislav rose in
revolt in 1163, capturing the castles of Malchow
and Quetzin.
The army of Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony
was concentrated at Verchen near Demmin and
consisted of troops from Saxony, Holstein,
Dithmarschen, and Frisia. The Christian army
was also assisted by a fleet from King Valdemar
the Great of Denmark. They were opposed by a
force of Slavs led by Pribislav and the
Pomeranian dukes Bogislaw I and Casimir I.

By the early 12th century, the German


archbishoprics of Bremen and Magdeburg
sought the conversion of neighboring pagan
West Slavs to Christianity through peaceful
means. During the preparation of the Second
Crusade to the Holy Land, however, a papal bull
was issued which supported a crusade against
these Slavs.

The outcome of the resulting bloody battle with


the Slavs was in doubt, although the Christian
lords were eventually victorious. Slavic
casualties amounted to 2,500, while the Saxon
Count of Holstein, Adolf II, fell in battle.
The land of the Obotrites was ravaged by the
campaign and many inhabitants, including
Pribislav, fled to Pomerania.

The Slavic leader Niklot preemptively invaded


Wagria in June, 1147, leading to the march of
the crusaders in late summer, 1147. They
achieved an ostensible baptism of Slavs at Dobin
and were repulsed from Demmin. Another
crusading army marched on the already Christian
city Stettin, whereupon the crusaders dispersed
upon arrival.
The Christian army, composed primarily of
Saxons and Danes, forced tribute from the pagan
Slavs and affirmed German control of Wagria
and Polabia, but failed to convert the bulk of the
population immediately.
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Wends 900 1200
1200
NAKONID DYNASTY
The Nakonids were the leading noble family of
the Slavic peoples of the Elbe River from ca. 960
until 1129. They were themselves of Abodrite
origin and engineered the formation of a Slavic
principality in the region. They went extinct in
the male line in the early 12th century. Their
capital was Mecklenburg Castle.
The Nakonids derive their name - a modern
invention - from the earliest attestable ruler of
the dynasty, Nako, who fought the expansionist
tendencies of the German kingdom in the mid
and late 10th century before being defeated and
converted to Christianity. The Nakonid leaders
alternated between being lapsed Christians (mali
christiani) and ardent missionaries of the Slavs
who were the prime movers of the
Germanisation and Christianisation of the
Polabian Slavs.

The German historian Heinz Stoob, in his


retranslation of the chronicle of Helmold,
derived the first genealogy of the Nakonids.
Besides Helmold, Adam of Bremen, Thietmar of
Merseburg, and Saxo Grammaticus are
important sources for Nakonid history. Despite
these sources, uncertainty exists concerning the
nature of the Nakonid rule over their people.
Historiographers
sometimes
call
them
Samtherrscher or Oberherrscher, meaning
"overlords". The primary sources, in Latin, use
the various titles regulus (subking), dux (duke),
and tyrannus (tyrant or usurper) to describe
them. When Canute Lavard was granted lordship
over the Abodrites in 1128 by Emperor Lothair
II, he took the Slavic title knes.

The Nakonids were originally the rulers of the


Abodrites, but under Nako they obtained
dominance over the neighbouring Slavs: the
Wagrii with their capital at Starigard, the
Polabians with their chief cities of Liubice and
Ratzeburg, the Linones with their capital at
Lenzen, and the Warnabi. This Nakonid
principality, the Abodrite Confederation as it is
sometimes called, was composed of these and
other smaller tribes each under its own chieftain,
but with all recognising the overlordship of the
Abodrite chief, perhaps because they served as a
buffer (Limes Saxoniae) between the more
powerful Saxons and the more easterly Slavs,
and they also had older relations with the Franks
to the west. The Abodrites had made a pact with
Charlemagne as early as the Battle of the
Sventanafeld in 798.
The Nakonids contested supremacy of the Slavs
of the Elbe and Baltic coast with the Veleti to the
east and the Polani to the south. The Polans
under the Piasts drew many Slavs to their banner
by offering a Christian alternative to Germany.
The Nakonids probably turned to Christian
Denmark to avoid the pressures of Saxon
missionary work and the tithes and other taxes
imposed by the Saxon Church. However, the
other tribes each had their own favoured
divinites (Prove in Wagria, Radegast in
Mecklenburg, Swantewit in Rugia) and clung to
them strongly when Christianity was foisted
upon them. The opposing influences of Slavic
paganism and Saxon Christianity is seen in that
several Nakonids had both a Slavic name and a
Saxon, Christian name.
Nako turned to Christianity after his defeat in the
Battle of Recknitz in 955. He established his seat
at Mecklenburg. His sons Mstivoj and Mstidrag
and grandsons Mstislaw and Udo are mostly
associated with the Slavic uprising of 983. All of
them either abandoned Christianity or were "bad
Christians" (at least for a time). Udo's successor,
Gottschalk, is perhaps the most famous member
of the family. He was educated by the Church,
but initially made war on the Saxons in revenge
for his father's death (1028). He was captured
and his lands and position given to Ratibor.

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Wends 900 1200
1200
After a sojourn in Scandinavia and England, he
returned to the Elbe region with a renewed sense
of Christian purpose. He subdued the Veleti and
the Diocese of Bremen is said to have "feared
him as king." Had he not died in a pagan
uprising, "he would have brought all pagans to
the Christian faith." His son Henry subdued the
Rani and encouraged the missionary work of
Vicelinus. Henry had four sons, but two
predeceased him and the two who survived
fought over the inheritance, dying in 1128 and
1129.

JOMSBORG
JOMSBORG

REFERENCE WORKS

INTERNET LINKS

Jomsborg was a legendary Viking settlement in


territory at the Baltic Sea later referred to as
Pomerania. According to the Jomsvikinga Saga,
it was inhabited by a guild of Danish
mercenaries known as the Jomsvikings. It is
generally disputed whether such a settlement
existed at all, all mentions coming from later
sagas composed in distant Iceland.
Contemporary sources mention a city known as
Julin, Jumne (or Wolin), Vineta which
supposedly was a home of Slavic-speaking
pirates, but where Danes and other
Scandinavians could also easily find refuge.
Vineta was supposed to have been a most
glorious city, which vanished. However no
traces have ever been found.
The actual territory (surrounding Jomsborg) was
conquered by the disinherited Swedish prince
Styrbjrn Starke who later gave it to the Danish
king Harold Bluetooth (910-985/86), who had to
take refuge from his son there. In 1040 the
territory along the Baltic Sea is first time
recorded as Pomerania, when a duke (Dux
Bomerania) took part in an imperial meeting.

WAB Forum
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Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wends
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polabian_Slavs
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendish_Crusade
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jomsborg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakonids
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetovid

MANUFACTURER
Polabian Slavs
Taken from the slav, saxon and viking ranges
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SPECIAL THANKS
Many thanks to WAB Forum members for
providing the template and their great support.

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