Estonians gather to Saccalia (Sakala)

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01. September 1217

In the middle of August 1217, the elder of Leole (Lõhavere) fort, Lembitu, sent messengers to all the Estonian counties, inviting the tribes to unite against the Germans.

It was a favorable moment to gather an army: all the grain had been stored but the autumn rains were yet to begin. Horses could find food outdoors, and nights were not very cold yet.

Consequently, it was much easier to supply, "house" and move an army around.
First troops began arriving to Navesti River (Paala River in Henrik's chronicle) during the first weeks of September (see image).



Men came from all the bigger counties, except Ugaunia and Oesel (Saaremaa). Some explain the absence of the Oeselians by claiming that that in order to support the infantry, Estonians planned to have an Oeselian "navy" to sail up Väina River and attack Riga.

Ugaunians had taken the heaviest blow in the current conflict; also, they were forced to act as German allies in the siege of Otepää.

According to Henrik, around 6000 Estonians came together: this was roughly the largest amount of people that all the counties could supply.


Sources: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990

Evald Tõnisson, Jüri Selirand ja Artur Vassar. Kui Lembitu kutsus... Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968

Image sources:

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