Most people have heard of the Knights of St John and the Templars – far fewer are aware of the existence of the Teutonic Knights. Their battles were far less glamorous and less well known. Their activities were concentrated in the Baltic rather than the Middle East; and have received little attention.
Thankfully, William Urban has set out to remedy this situation. His book is a very readable account of the Teutonic Knights – their establishment, military campaigns and eventual decline as nation states became established throughout the Baltic.
It makes a fascinating account showing how even coinage and poetry were put to good account. The Teutonic Knights were fighting to convert pagans to Christianity, as well as helping keep trade routes safe.
At times, it was an incredibly violent business as they came into contact with the Mongol hordes. As he points out, tourists can now easily visit towns and castles built by the Teutonic knights – their impact was considerable, and long lasting.
An interesting and unusual book which will be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the history of eastern Europe, the Baltic and the medieval period.