First siege on Viljandi fort

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March 1211

In 1211, Germans started to prepare for a larger campaign to Saccalia; it was initiated by the crusaders in Riga and the Brotherhood of the Sword, and a number of Livonians and Latgalians were threatened into joining the army. To ease the siege process, specific weapons were brought along: crossbows and a small size siege weapon.

This well equipped army reached the Viljandi fort in the beginning of March. The area was looted, and the prisoners taken from the villages were executed at the moats, to intimidate the defenders.

Attacks lasted for five days and nights, until defenders, suffering from great losses and lack of water, were forced to open negotiations. Estonian elders left the fort and made a truce, deal was backed by with hostages. Priests were allowed to enter the fort, they sprinkled holy water on the fort, buildings and people. The basic knowledge about Christianity was taught to some extent, but large scale baptizing was postponed due to "a great bloodshed". Germans, who also had suffered great losses, returned victoriously.

Source: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                     

Image source: http://tank.offline.ee/masin/esi.jpg    


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