Prof. Dr. Werner Paravicini – “Verlust und Dauer” (4th Part)

Prof. Dr. Werner Paravicini rescues this piece of medieval history from oblivion with his work on the Prussian travels of the European nobility.

For almost a century – roughly from 1328 to 1413 – the European nobility took part in the Nordic Crusades in the battles of the Teutonic Order against the pagan Lithuanians. Prussia, and especially Königsberg, thus became the centre of European knighthood. The first part (1989) and the second part (1995) deal with the organization and direction of the trip and its financing. Attention is paid to the course of the journey, the hardships and disabilities to which the travelers were exposed. The travel costs, raising the money before and after the trip, the travel fund along the way and the issue of the loans in Prussia and their repayment are amply covered. The third part (2020) discusses the rich literary sources, chivalric poetry, honorary speeches and armorials in more detail. An autonomous aristocratic culture emerged, which bowed to the demands of the church only on its terms. Personal histories and reconstructed individual lives show how literary models and current lifestyles correspond.

The fourth and final part is now available. This book describes how the Prussian voyages came to an end. When the pagan Grand Duke of Lithuania became the Catholic King of Poland in 1386/87, the Teutonic Knights decided to continue the fight against Lithuania and above all Lower Lithuania (Samaites), which remained pagan for thirty years. Initially, the European knighthood followed him, but then they turned against the new, real enemy, the Ottomans.

The book is based on intensive research, which also includes recent publications. An overall conclusion of the four parts is given.

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