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History

THE CONCISE HISTORY OF THE CONQUEST

PURUSAH in sanscrit means PEOPLE, and in this manner the Prus peoples called each other for recognition when wandering through undergrowth or looking for help at night. It can not be excluded that during hunt for animals Pursurah was also shouted. This word, often heard by foreigners with unknown meaning and connotation, led to the being called Prusai.
They did not pose an ethnic homogenuity, but the richness of the nature surroundings in which they lived, where nobody went without, in peace comfort and harmony with nature for many centuries, and divided between themselves this Baltic land without the need for any aggression. Although they lived alongside each other for so many years they nevertheless were different from one another.There were the Yatviagans in the east, an Ugro-Finnish of hunters and farmers. In the west were the Pomezans-Goths, Gepedoios, a pre-Celtic indoeuropeans people who came there at the turn of our era. The central part belonged to the Sambians and the bordering tribes, mostly pre indoeuropean. In total in this part of Europe there lived the oldest Europeans, who were in this areas as far back as VI-th century before our era.
They were characterised by good economics and ability to utilise the riches of the surrounding nature, whilst they did not fearce the commerce, particularly with amber with the whole contemporary Europe.
The Prusai became the richest entity in the basin of the Baltic sea. This was noted by their neighbours who did not refrain from looting expeditions against them. Apart from a few Amber trails across European continent leading to Greece and Rome, the Prusians also had two ports, Truso in Pomesania and Wiskiauten in Sambia, where lively trade took place with Baltic basin. There is also a strong possibility of the existence of a third port, whose discovery would be a world sensation, this will be a seperate subject in Archeology.



Less commercial peoples, as is in usually the case, met their needs through trade, but more frequently by plundering their neighbours, and this was a great problem for the Prusai.
This started in the East, where the Russ slavonic people attacks plundered the farm produce of the Yatviagans, and according to the Russ scribes in the X century these looting expeditions even reached the Sambian peninsula. And not only the Russians, as from the IX century Scandinavian and Viking raids are noted on Sambia, as well as inhabitants of Gdansk, who also frequently organised raids on the Prus ports, and whose actions are thought to be behind the decline of the port Truso before the X century.
The rulers of Denmark and other Baltic states did not act differently and their frequent attacks on Sambia depended on plunder, kidnapping women and attempts at setting up armed forts to extract tributes from the Sambians. Such expeditions were organised by Canut the Great in 1014-1035 and Canut IV in 1080-1086. They usally ended in the seizure of all movable chattels. In time, the Prusai began to succesfully defend themselves, and because they were excellent sailors, launched counter attacks. However, no invader achieved their target of forcing the Prusai to accept their laws, administration or immigrants. This was the situation from the Baltic itself and from the East.
At the end of the X century a new power was established on the current territory of Poland by the Piast dynasty who formed a state based on Christianity and unification of Slav tribes.
From the South and West the Poles, starting in the V century of our era formed a ring around the Prusai encircling them in their own territories, and in time isolating Prusai from the rest of their contemporary world.
The Polish ruler Boleslaus the Great, a noted strategist when unifying the Poles saw the necessity of strenghtening the Kingdom by greater access to the Baltic and including the Prus in the territories of his rule.
The attempt at giving the Prusai the new religion Christianity through the mission of St. Adalbert, was destined to be unsuccesful, and in colloquial terms could be described as religious adventurism. Totally unprepared, without any long term strategy, and with missionary being of tempestous character was not right person in the right place for the task in hand.
The death of St. Adalbert strenghtened Poland as Boleslaus the Brave in his person gained the first patron saint of Poland and built the cathedral in Gniezno to become the first crowned king, greatly strenghtening the position and image of Poland in Europe.
In turn the Prusai were seen by European opinion as aggressive and characterised as unworthy to be talked about as human beings.
From the earliest contacts on the borderlands of Poland and Prus land there were armed conflicts. The reason was the predatory aims of the Poles, who also noted the wealth of their neighbour. In time the calm Prusai lost their patience and in their defence the borderlands became a war zone, and it transpired that in valour the Prusai had no equal.
Boleslaus the Brave, from his majestic position as the ruler of Poland, started well organised regular expeditions to Prus land not with the aim of plunder but of conquest.
Although these expeditions sometimes reached deep into Prus territory, the Polish ruler never achieved his aims. The Prusai did not have any regular armed forces and thus avoided fighting in the open. They adopted the defensive tactic of attacking the foe from hidden positions, and the landscape of Prusai was ideal for this kind of warfare. The inability to conquer Prusai provoked angry frustration from Polish chronical writers were very critical of and denigrated the Prusai.
They used the motto: if you can not win, you can always slander or ridicule your opponent. Thus the strong ruler Boleslaus the Brave did not achieve success in conquering Prusai and in fact degraded neigbourly relations. For the next two centuries the political aim of the Polish Kings was, at all costs, the subjugation of this small Prus country.
The XI-th century was the beginning of the Polish fight to access to Baltic and specifically to conquer Pomerenia and Prusai. This policy was continued by Boleslaus the Wrymouth. The tactics chosen by the invaders of Prusai was to strike in winter, when the marsh and lakes were frozen. The Prusai had their information outposts, had warning and retreated into unreachable areas, leaving their houses, and those who failed to escape in time were usually taken into captivity. The first such expedition against Prusai was organised by Boleslaus the Wrymouth. This did not bring him any success, but he did not resign from the conquest of Prus land partly because the Prusai helped the Pomerenians against him and therefore made it more difficult to absorb Pomerania into the borders of Polish Kingdom.
At the turn of 1110-1111, using the same route as before, the Polish King, according to records, in winter again invaded Prusai, and his only success was the capture of a large number of captives, and what could not be seized was set on fire. And this, apart from plunder, he did not manage to achieve any political successes, and as a result of these expeditions, the Prusai, in armed revenge began to invade Polish lands, doing exactly the same things which the Poles did to them in their expeditions.
The next ruler of the Poles, Boleslaus the Curlyhaired, continued the policy of the conquest of Prusai, which was ever more ruinous to the Prus economy, and destroyed Prus prosperity. As a result in revenge Prusai used the same methods to plunder Polish lands.
In so far as part of Sasinia and Galindia paid tributes to the Polish rulers, it can be thought likely that they believed them to be subjugated. The peoples of Sasinia and Galindia suffered badly not only from the Poles but also from the ethnicly different Yatviagans. The routes of their invasions on Masovia led through Galindia.
The frequently taken into captivity Prus people were resetlled far from their land and to day far off areas in Poland we find places with ethnic names signifying that they originate from the presence of Prusai.
In 1193 Casimir the Curlyhaired carefully prepared an invasion of Yatviagans using Prus guides. Polish chronicle writers blame them that because of their treachery the expedition ended in the complete defeat of Casimit fighters and he himself barely escaped with his life.
Although the constant raids on Prusai were declared to be to bring Christianity to the region they only had a political character and as long as the Prusai paid tributes, their return to their religion was fully tolerated. In any case there were no attempts to “ Christianise” them and among the Poles semi-paganism reigned. The fact that the Princes turned to Christianity did not mean that their people did not practise pagan rites.
It has to be mentioned that the Christian faith started spreading among the Prusai, proof of which could be that the capital of the Pomesanian Diocese of Resia, finished in 1280, to-day called Prabuty, as writes von Henneberg “ on the Prabuty walls there is a stone with the words (extructum)-founded in 1159....., this information is clearly visible”. I do not assume that the Pomezans were poliglots but the inscription indicates that formerly a Christian church existed there.
All these described events can to a large extent be taken as the European norm, as it is by conquest that the contemporary political map of Europe was formed. However the Prusai managed to defend their freedom and identity.
The Mazovians or rather Polish Princes, who brought war to the Prus-Polish border lands, could not find diplomatic means to bring the war to the end and the troubles on the borders continued as the more aggressive Princes kept trying to subjugate or plunder the Prusai and vice versa.
To these belonged the Gdansk prince Swietopelek whose military attempt at subjugating Prus never met fruition. The Plock prince Conrad of Mazovia, was ambitious but not noted for intelligence. To-days Poles would preferto forget about him or else wish he had never been born. This type of local ruler, of limited talents but ambitious for power ( to day we also have such examples) not only brought catastrophe on the Prusai, but also many centuries of misery for their own country.

THE GERMAN CONQUEST 1234 - 1249


The future fate of the Prusai are linked with the German Teutonic Order of Knights, commonly called the Knights of the Cross, who, together with other majestic Orders returned from the crusades in Palestine, where they failed to win against the world of Islam and were forced to retreat to Europe.
Brought to Poland by Conrad of Mazovia, the Teutonic Order set up their first base on the ruins of the Prusian stronghold of Kwidzyn and at once showed their true colours. They captured the Prus chief Pipin, who in spite of his noble birth was tortured with great cruelty, tied to horses tail, dragged to Torun and hanged. First he was disembowelled, nailed to a tree and forced to run around it. His stronghold was totally destroyed, the garrison murdered, as was the case with the castle of his uncle, Rogow (to-day part of Torun). This was the first visiting card of the German Knights under the protection of Papacy: if it were not for this protection, what happened next in Prusai would not have taken place. The Papacy, a European power, with the help of Teutonic cruelty and West European support is responsible for the liquidation and extermination of the Prus peoples then numbering about 170 000, to-day this would be about 4 million.
In 1233 the Pomezans tried to retake Kwidzyn, but without success. This attempt however served as an alarm bell for the Order as well as the Polish princes that there was a danger of losing this strategic base. In 1234 they met and decided on a joint military expedition to Pomezania.
In February 1235 the Knights, heavily reinforced by recruits from Germany and in the company of forces of knights from the Polish princes, Henry the Bearded, Conrad of Mazovia, Casimir of Cuiavia and Swietopelek of Gdansk with his brother Sambor, invaded the land of Resia. It is difficult to estimate their strenght, but bearing in mind their preparetions before the expedition they numbered at least several thousands. Their route was marked by rape, plunder, fire and great bloodshed, as is frankly noted by the Orders scribe.
The Pomezanians gathered in numbers not greater than a thousand under the command of the Prince of Resia by the river Dzierzgon in the Holy Wood. They were well informed about the passage of the knights and how the Christianity brought to them functioned. Their numbers were limited, even from the fact the forest could not accomodate more for effective defence, whilst meeting the invaders in open battle was tantamount to suicide. From chroniclers we know that the battle lasted all day until night fall and its course did not indicate victory for the invaders. Fear gripped them because of the coming darkness which they feared when fighting the Prusai on their own turf. For both sides the battle was very fierce and the Pomesanians showed great fighting spirit and bravery against such overwhelming odds. To-day we know that they were the descendants of the great warriors Goths- Gepedoios, but this attribute was not sufficient.
Swiatopelk, who never managed to win in his many ecounters with the Prusai, decided on a strategy by which he encircled the Holy Wood and with very strong forces attacked the Pomezans from the side, at the same time with a frontal attack. This was too strong for the forces of the Pomezans and they succumbed, their leader the Prince of Resia among them. The wounded and entrapped Prusai were finised and murdered, nobody was spared and few probably managed to escape from the field of battle. The Teutonic Order’s scribe writes “that there was great bloodshed amongst Prus people, as on that day over 5 000 were killed.” Although numbers given by medieval scribes are always exagerated, this shows that that the defeated Prusai were not spared.
This battle secured the Order’s presence in Kwidzyn and the defeat of the Pomezans enabled the further conquest of Prusai: it can be said that the battle was decisive in the conquest.
In the first phase, both Polish and Germans knights stood against the Prusai: after the declaration of the crusade against the Prusai two thousand Germans voluntered. The Papal crusade carried the same importance as the crusades to the Holy Land to fight Islam. The aim of Papacy was to establish a church state, and German policy, particularly backed by their port cities wanted to rule the Baltic basin. They were not interested in the Scandinavian coast, not because of the Danes and Vikings there, but because the Baltic was a natural barrier to expansion.
As was to be seen, both partners, the Papacy and the Teutonic Order, were equally determined in this enterprise and had no equals about intriques and cruelty.
The Pomesanian part of Resia continued to suffer from many further invasions. The Order’s forces and supporting armed from Germany, aided by west European knights, destroyed it “with pillage, fire and great blood letting” as noted by the Order’s chronicler Dusburg.
In the Dzierzgon conflict the Teutonic knights killed all the Prusai and moreover “their carrieges and wagons (with food and arms) were taken to their castles”. In 1236 the Margrave of Meissen with a unit of 500 knights helped the Order to devastate Pomesania as best he could and this cost many lives.



The following map show the Order’s strategy of conquering Prusai, very different from from the tactics of the Polish princes. After the conqest of Pomesania the knights did not dare to penetrate further deep into Prus territories.
They were certainly not courageous, as their armed were composed of illiterates and robbers. To join the Order it was enough to remember the Ten Commandments and the Pope would give them dispousation. The Order moved along the Vistula, building fortresses, either new ones or on the ruins of former Prus fortifications, from which they could penetrate Prus territories. This situation seriously worried the Gdansk prince Swietopelk, who had his own ambitions in Prusa Land and was angry at the sucesses of the Order. The coming of a large host of knights in 1239 under Otto of Brunswick was used by the Order to organize an expedition along the Vistula hinterland, and it was not until they met resistance in the fortifications of the Warmians people in the stronghold of Honeda. They first “raided local villages, destroying them with fire and plunder.” Next they captured the castle, later named Balga, “taking part of inhabitants into captivity, killing others without pity”.
In the whole territory, after capturing the fort of Honeda, German mercenaries killed off the Prusai “until their complete elimination, so that not even one amongst them survived who could carry news of this event to their successors”.
Shortly after this they captured the Prus fort of Partegal, which they “burnt to ashes: the whole garrison was taken and put to death”. Here it should be noted that on this land there already existed a Catholic mission headed by bishop Christian.

THE FIRST PRUS UPRISING 1239 - 1249


The success of the Order in conquering Prusai, and also concerns about his own position, caused Swietopelk to engage on an armed conflict with the Order and in 1240 he moved militairly capturing part of the coast seized by Teutonic Order.
The Pomezans, together with the conquered coast lands, utilised the conflict to start an armed uprising against the Order. They destroyed the Order’s forts, but already being previously decimated, carried on their struggle by partisans warfare, gaining successes. It is untrue however, that they burnt churches, as the Order simply did not build them. What they did burn were missionary posts, which in any case were unwelcome by the German invaders, as this was not an issue of propagating Christianity.
The Pomezan uprising lasted till 1249 and there were no victors, but the Prus population suffered as the Order took their revenge by slaughtering whole Prus settlements and if this were to carry on only the insurgents would be left, who, because of constantly replenished reinforcements.
The behaviour of Swetopelk can be described as variable, during the uprising he agreed the armistice with the Order, but when the Pomezans achieved substantial successes he restarted the war with the knights.
When the Prusai in 1243 achieved a notable strategic victory at Rzadz near Grudziadz, Swiatopelk again started the war achieving important victories. In another case when they were both to attack Dzierzgon he did not arrive at the place of siege which resulted in the defeat of the Prusai.
This cost Swiatopelk dearly, pursuing the fleeing his force the knights put them to death or took them captive.
The uprising halted the expansion of the conquest of Prusai, the activity of the Order was paralysed and they resorted to sitting in castles and strenthening them, as well as raids on the unarmed population remaining in their settlements. The Order’s forces, when attacking the defenceless in Old Dzierzgon “captured all the inhabitants and murdered them”, including prisoners, women and children. The losses fo civilian population, as a result of the knights murders, forced the Pomezans in 1249 to agree to a peace treaty also called the Dzierzgon peace. To day it is difficult to understand that in spite of such a massive extermination of the Pomezans there were still reserves to fight the Order. The thoughts come to mind that their families must have hidden in their forests which were unreachable to the invaders and only come out to look after their land and fight the knights.
At the time of the insurrection Pogezania also suffered great destruction, once the Order’s forces raided “destroying it from end to end with plunder and fire. The men were killed and the women and children taken into captivity”. They captured one of the most important strongholds of Lidzbark “and all the people were captured and subsenquently murdured”. In the peace treaty the Prusai gained several rights, which after signing the treaty stopped being respected and the Pomezans lands were pacified. Families which formed the social structure were resettled far from their communities. Such was the case with the desendants of the Prince of Resia, the families Klec, Tessima, Tulkoyte, Gonte, Bogesla and Monthemil.
Later re-settlements (of the whole communities) become the rule, if they were not previously murdered.
The population of Pomezania shrunk to such number that they did not play any futher significant role in the conquest of Prusai. It should also be noted that large numbers of Pomezans sought refuge by escaping, mostly to Pomerania.

CONTINUATION OF THE GERMAN CONQEST 1249 - 1260


In November 1249 the Order’s garissons of Elbing and Balga, under the command of Henry Botel, raided the Natangia peoples sowing death and destruction. “When they killed a great many, flushed with victory they decided to return to their castles. However the Prusai who remained alive, hidden in places the expedition did not reach, ambushed the route of the knights and surrounded them, making return impossible. The whole force, including 54 brothers of the Order and a large force of other armed were captured by the Pagans. The brothers of the Order in every case were put to death, and the other fighters with their arms were taken captive”.
The event could have had a completely different ending. The Prusai demanded of the encircled that they hand over their leader and three brothers of the Order as hostages, the rest were to save their lives but not their liberty. The debate lasted too long and the knights lost their lives, and this took place near the settlement of Krucken.
It is worth mentioning that the behaviour of the Order towards the Christian missions appearing regularly was so hostile that they were removed by force from Prus land. Such examples were the nominated archbishop of Prusai Albert Suerbeer and the dominican Henry-the knights removed them from Prusai by force.
The inactivity of the Order during the first Prus insurrection was only superficial, as at all costs they kept their conquest and fortifications along the coast, and at same time made further inroads along the coast. At the same time they paid great attention to the building of strategic ports, which in case on problems on land were to guarantee them safe escape and obtaining reinforcement by sea. Such ports were Elbing and Konigsberg and they become, at the time of conquest, the main fortresses which saved the Order. All the time the Prusai were subject to brutal agression of the Order, as slaves they were forced to build castles and fortifications, and Prus women were seized to the near castles public houses. The Prusai were subject to unbelievable wickedness, so in Europe to-day hardly anyone wishes to remember this. Having such a history, one can not wonder that Europeans would prefer to bury their heads in the sand.
Around 1253 within reach of the Order’s conquest was the richest Prus people, the Sambians, and one of the episodes in the chronicle state that “firstly the area in the later castle of Lochstadt was destroyed, and this was burnt to the ground, many people being killed or taken into captivity”.
Shortly later in 1254, the Czech king Przemyslav Ottokar arrives with a great many knights (he could be described as an exceptional barbarian) and together with the Order “burnt everything that the fire would take, took captives and killed many people”. The Teutonic Order’s chronicler says that together with Margrave of Brandenburg, Otto and the Grand Master of the Order Poppo von Ostermo as well the Bishop of Culm and Elbing led the army of 60 000 strong through Balga for the coquest of Sambia.
Futher that “ such a masacre was carried out on the nation of Sambia that the elders gave the king hostages.......... so that he would not destroy the whole people. Shortly later the Prus Gedune from the Kandemin family made an agreement with the invaders in return for a sign which was to save his settlement. However Gedune was late with his return and found his land and the possessions of his relatives burnt, and his servants, relatives and brother known as Ringel, as well as all linked with him by blood ties, murdered”.
The next target of the Order’s conquest were the Wohnsdorf lands, which were defended by the fort Kapostete. It was turned to ashes, and the area was destroyed with “pillage and fire”. The Prus commander Goduke was killed “together with two sons and many others, whilst his wife and all the servants with women and children and other chattels were taken away.
A brave Samb named Nalub long resisted the knights. In the end he was forced to flee while they killed all the servants of his household and destroyed all his possessions”.
The campaign to recruit European knighthood went on without spite, as did the support of the Papacy for the Crusade on the Prus lands. All the time, and through the whole of Europe, the Order carried on very lively diplomacy. Full of perfidy, carried on with all possible means of falsehood, intriques, crimes, brutality, constant signing of agreements and alliances but not respecting them.
In 1250 the Order sealed on alliance with the Ruthene princes against the ruler of Lithuania, Mendog, and specifically Daniel Halicki, who together with Mendog held claims against Jatviagan territory. The wily Mendog took baptism from the Papacy, removing the ace from German hands, with them he soon formed an alliance against the Prusai.
The German contingent of knights brought in the years 1250-1251 by the Brandenburg Margrave Otto, the Bishop of Mersaburg and count Henry of Schwartzberg was immediately used for armed raids against Galindia, Bartia, Natangia and Sambia. However on 18th November 1252 the Papacy, unhappy at the Order’s progress in the conquest of Prusai, in the person of Innocent IV gives a bull against this small nation to king Haakon IV in an expedition on Sambia.
In the same year that the Polish king needed help against the Tartar invasion the Pope forbade the Order to help and ordered the conqest of Prusai.
To-day it is difficult to decide which of the European states, under the leadership of the Germans, did not try their luck in the conqest of Prusai, but everything which took place on their lands was certainly under the patronage of the Holy see.
Dusburg chronicles indicate that in the course of a year Sambian territories were subjugated by the Order, but with such large force at their disposal this was surprising it took them so long.
The Teutonic Order’s diplomatic manuvouers ensured them safety between the Prusai archbishop, the ruler of Lithuania Mendog, the king of Denmark, while from Poland and Pomerania there was also no danger. There remained the other inhabitants, the Nadroves, Skalvas and Jatviags to be dealt with.
But this was not to be so yet.
The common people continued to be called for a crusade in Prusai, they were promissed and awarded with land seized from the Prusai and offered the forgivness of their sins as long as they take part in the killing of Prusai. It is not true that to-day this becomes hard to believe. But in the same manner, after the end of World War II, the German Final Solution was hard to believe.

THE SITUATION BEFORE THE SECOND PRUS UPRISING


Against the neighbours of the Prusai, the Zmudzins (part of Lithuanians), with whom the Order could not cope on the lands of the Curlandia, the monk knights, under the leadership of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order of the Sword, Burhardt von Hornhausen, the knight of the Cross under Henry Botel jointly went north and were aided by strong reinforcements from Germany as well Danes and Estonians, in total a great army.
On the fields of Durbe, near the lake, on 13th July 1260 took place a battle in which a total disaster hit the Teutonic Order’s forces. All their leaders were killed and few escaped with their lives. The defeat is explained that in the critical moment the allies of the Order, when forced to fight, turned against them and attacked the knights. As a result an alliance was formed between the Zmudzins and Curlands, and the Order was forced to leave this part of the Baltic coast.
Prusai continued to be swept by an invasion of Germans and Europeans knights assembled on their territories, and the Prusai were continued to be subject to bestial extermination. The people of Prusai, helpless against the penetration of their land from the Order’s coastal fortifications, had nobody to turn to for help to stop the brutal methods of bringing them Christianity.
The leaders of all the Prus peoples apart from the Pomezans and the Jatviagans met in a Council, where and when is not known, where it was decided to set up a very tough defence before the the constant extermination of their people.
The leader became Herkus Monte, a descendant of the Montemids and Natangs. Earlier, the elders of the family, to save themselves and their relatives adhered to the Order’s demand for hostages and the young son, Hercus Monte.
In his poweful frame the Germans thought they could educate him as a Teutonic knight who would fight and conquer Prusai on their behalf. They took him to Magdeburg, where he was publicaly christened, to show how generous the monk knights could be.

His ten-year stay in the Magdeburg let him a full-time education with fluency in German and Latin. It was noticed his great physical conditions and with great care were granted to him the teachings of knighthood craftsmanship. Soon, much to the satisfaction of the Order’s masters in the Magdeburg nursery, he had no equals. The time arrived for him to return but in a white coat with a black cross.
Homesick for his family, with the first opportunity visits loved ones, finds them in the conditions of terrible humiliation by Order brothers. It was too much for Herkus. Meeting with the leaders of other nations, unites them all against the Knights but not to the Christian faith. Prusai began their gathering and preparation for an armed uprising, but before that it was decided to send a letter to Pope Urban IV.
The Crusaders had a network of spies, not only suspected but also received denunciations that the Prusai are mobilizing for an uprising. In such situations, as usually, have used all the methods, deception, intrigue and all with the greatest cruelty.
The Order’s Brother Wolrad, Natangia Mayor when he found out about the preparations invited the many great Prusai nobles to the Lemptenburg castle in the Vistula Lagoon area to the peace agenda and the feast, "and when they got drunk .... left out, closed the door and said gentry and castle burned to ashes." Guests were burnt alive, suffering just punishment - says their chronicler - for conspiring against the Order.
"Since the letter arrived (quote Lucy Okulicz-Kozaryn) to Rome and preserved among other documents in the papal office, its content is known. The Prusai asserted the Pope that the uprising is directed solely against the Order of the Teutonic Knights and the methods used by their management against the conquered people. They argued that the majority of the population of Prus land were already baptized and adopted the faith of the Pope, so they do not want to go back to their ancestral faith, superstition and pagan customs.
The Prusai wrote that their desire to spread the faith of the Pope among his countrymen. They asked in the letter the Bishop of Rome, would support their struggle with the Order and promised that none of the faithful or priests will not be subjected to any detriment, there also be not destruction of the churches. Prusai wrote that Order’s brothers who trample all human and divine law, do not keep their commitments, allow killing children, women and old men, and men made slaves without rights to land and property, must resign from the Prusai lands. At the end - gave himself and his land in the care of the Pope.
The Pope Urban IV, the addressee of the letter and a great friend of the Teutonic Order, did not believe, nor the messengers, nor the written letter. In accordance with the wishes of the monks decided that the rebellion against the Order shall be deemed as departure from the Christian faith, and announced to the world apostasy of Prus land. He also called all the faithful knights and bishops of the Church to provide assistance to the Order, which was in the great need. What's more, said the Knights, received many new powers over the Prusai. He allowed them to detain or take hostages from the neophytes who do not wish to participate in organized by the Order the military actions or deny its participation in the construction of fortresses. He also informed the bishop of Warmia, that appointed Bohemia, Moravia, Poland and Pomerania to assist in the defense of the Teutonic Knights of Prusai and Livonia. He also ordered to provide the Crusaders, offering their services to the Order of notifying the same indulgences, which was available to those traveling to the Holy Land. "

II - nd PRUSAI UPRISING 1260 - 1274


    For such a decision, Herku Monte dumps the habit with a cross, and together with other leaders returned to their ancestral beliefs, proclaiming a holy war with the Teutonic Knights and Rome and had no other choice.
Herku Monte apart a Prusai-led uprising, led Natangia, in Warmia chief Glappo, Pogezania chief Auctume, Bartia chief Divanus Klekine and Samba Glande. The Prusai weapons were not much different compared to the heavily armed Germans. The Prusai horsemen for greater mobility, had their weapons lighter, does not mean that were more primitive.
    To begin with, it should be noted as totally not true, that on the news of the uprising Prusai people willingly hid themeselves within the Teutonic castles. There was no place for them and no food. It is true that there were a lot of Prusai hostages during the uprising which, if not used to work on strengthening the castles were kept for the demonstrative judgments and executions. The Prusai preferred to suffer the death, than to be an ally of the Teutons. Order knowing about the forthcoming uprising, waited and with a great care were preparing.
    The 21 January 1261 Herku Monte achieves spectacular victory over the Germans. The Teutonic army in full with supplies came out from Königsberg to conquer Natangia well equipped with food and weapons, in the middle of the road near the Prusai Pokarvis they established base leaving it with a group of armed. Main army marched further into Natangia. The rebels easily captured the camp of the Teutonic Knights, remained inside in the position of patiently waiting the return of main army. The Order returning not only with booty, food as well with slaves was quite surprised at the camp. Most of them were killed, few of them managed to escape, but even so this news came to Konigsberg.
    Next, the newly arrived geusts to the Order, that ravaged the area inhabited by Prusai, failed under the command of the knight Walther von Barbyc. When attacked, failed utterly, and again only a few escaped alive from the battlefield.
    In January 1261r. began arriving by sea to Konigsberg new crusaders from Westphalia, Magdeburg, generally Germans. Without hesitation joined the havoc in the Sambian villages, avoiding the insurgents, taking all the able Prusai to work, in order to strengthen coastal castles and building new ones.
In the year 1263 Herku Monte organizes brilliant action to the Culmland, where the Knights suffered very heavy losses. When he was in the retreat, in pursuit the elite of Order knights, a big national champion Helmerich has set himself. Herku Monte has not given him to be surprised and at the LUBAWA, with his warriors faced the grand master. Crusaders confident of victory by surprise, quickly attacked Nantangs.
The battle ended in a total disaster for the Order, the master himself died in it, and all of his team, there were no survivors.
Herku Monte became a terror to the Teutons, the knowledge of his close presence caused their mortal fear. He introduced all the measures to get them into an ambush and cut off the Order bands wherever he had the knowledge they had appeared.
In many cases he trapped them in the guise of a Teuton dress, and with it all he cared about, that none of them managed to escape, and thus his methods of dealing with them were not known to other brothers. Fear of the Teutonic Knights was so great that it was considered by them, that they are fighting with a spirit.

In 1273, treating his wounds and cornered in his lair, captured and immediately hanged, Teutons fearful and to be sure, with sword pierced his heart. The heaviest fighting took place in Sambia, where part of the population were forced to flee, some were captured as slaves, and some were exterminated. And so, as the chronicler of the Teutonic Knights boasted "the whole ... Samba army annihilated with the sword, and seized women and children. Houses ... and the neighborings burned to ashes. "
Samba warriors systematically sought to master all the Order small fortresses's bold attacks always referred to victory. This tactic did not allow the Order to strengthen them and take more invadors who were still arriving.
The Warmian chief Glappo with the help of Pogezans led by Auctume in 1261 regains the city, taken from them by the Teutons in the year 1240 the heavily fortified Lidzbark.
After this success Glappo goes to the castle in Braniewo. The ambush cleared the crew of forty knights, the rest without waiting for further developments run in a hurry leaving Braniewo. Glappo not having enough warriors to fill Braniewo, destroys the fortress of the Teutonic Knights and safely withdraws.
With the help for the Crusaders in 1266, come numerous reinforcement to Prus land from Europe, especially from Brandenburg, led by their rulers Otto III and John I.
On the border of the land Warmia and Natangia and between castle Königsberg and Balga they build fort Brandenburg, today Uszakowo (Kaliningrad region). Using the usual enslaved Prusai in the workforce. Glappo takes advantage of the moment of leaving the main forces of Brandenburg crew against Prusai people, hits and and gets the control of the castle. The Teutonic forces returning from the expedition had been nothing to return to, the castle was destroyed.
After a year Otto III returns and rebuilds the Brandenburg, which in the year 1273 Glappo with Warmian again attacked and began its siege. The crusaders were prepared for such a Warmian’s maneuver. From the not too distant Königsberg organizeda very quick relief.
Glappo was taken between two fires by excess force was no longer not even had a chance to retreat. They captured brave Glappo, first tortured him and then executed on the hill edge of Konigsberg. Place the Germans called Glappenberg, the Glappo hill.
Tireless Prusai, they combined the forces of trying to get the Königsberg castle, erected on the Prusai fortress Tuvangste. The Prusai troops came to the siege of Konigsberg with battering-ram, and blocked all its access roads.
Sambian chief Glande destroyed the Teutonic flotilla, trying to take Konigsberg by siege and starvation.
In the siege also participated a great leader of Nantangs, Herku Monte, was wounded during the fighting.
Help from outside, from the sea, unlocked the Konigsberg, it was the reason for the cancellation of the Prusai siege.
Despite the withdrawal of the Prusai siege, the Order had no desire and courage to meet with them on an open battlefield.

The castles Wielawa, Waistotepile, Wisenburgu on the Barts province, Krzyzbork Prusai besieged with a great success. Crusaders forced by hunger, unable to wait for help, suffering great losses, secretly at night left the fortress seeking salvation in the port castles.
The same happened with the castle in Brunsberdze (Braniewo) and Reszel before they escaped set fire and under the cover of darkness fled.
As always more and more reinforcements were arriving from Europe, the strategy chosen by the Prusai consisted of continuous destruction of their smaller fortresses.
In the year 1263 in the bloody battle of Bartoszyce died about 1300 Prusai ("few who escaped death") most of them were unarmed.
One of many episodes, it happened during the siege of Bartoszyce, "on the gallows erected in front of the castle gate hung 30 hostages Prusai, who were held as prisoners."
Fighting moved out from the territory of Prusai, in the year 1263, at Culm the insurgents gain castle in Radzyn. Jatviagans, Pogezans, Warmiansi and Barts, ravaged the area around Elbing winning fortifications that defended the access to Elbing.
Helplessness and rage of the Knights reached the zenith of their cruelty, when the same fate befell on the castle in Lidzbark, decimated arrived into Elbing, Prusai children detained there, hostages, there were twelve of them, gouged out of eyes and were sent to their parents.
A brief alliance with the Duke of Danzig Msciwoj II, made it possible to lock the port of Elbing, thus preventing the Teutonic Knights to receive supply of food stocks because at the same time were blocked from the mainland. This alliance did not last long. Combined forces in 1266 destroyed the Teutonic flotilla transporting the food to the besieged crew of Elbing, Balga and Konigsberg.
During the unsuccessful siege of Elbing, Auctume Pogezan’s leader was killed. Replaced with Linka, rapidly begin actions against the Order. Together with Barts campaigning outside Prusai at Culmland in a battle near Pagustin which defeats the Teutonic Knights, all of them killed 12 knights with 500 other German invaders.
After this victory, making rapid recovery and starts to bounce Dzierzgon castle equipped with a large, well-armed crew, and if not for help from a nearby Elbing the Teutonic fortress could be gained.
Linka with Barts mobilizing their forces using Teutonic tactics, again in 1273 take the battle to win the Elbing.
The port, built on the site of the Prusai port Truso was the biggest threat to Pogezans. Through this port constantly coming German reinforcements for the Order.
Surprisingly, Linka managed to get the German garrison in the ambush and treated them with very heavy losses, which for a short time until the next reinforcements from Germany arrived, did not allow the Teutonic Knights with their bands to enter the Pogezania.
Barts, maybe the least numerous Prusai people did not conduct individual expeditions against the Order, while involved were in all of them. Year 1266 was tragic for them, in a very fierce battle near Kowalewo Divan Klekine their leader is killed in the line of duty in combat with German barbarians.
The arrival in 1265 of Prince Albrecht of Brunschweig and Duke Albrecht of Thuringia, with many knights, helped crusaders to plan and crack down on insurgents.
In 1267 the King of Czech with a very large army is re-coming to Konigsberg. It's his coming with such a big forces, caused, that the tide began to tilt to the German sided. Immediately were directed to crack down with Natangs.
Natangia during the uprising was destroyed several times, including by Theodoric Margrave of Meissen, who "for three days and nights ... Natangia paced, ravaging her with fire and pillage. " In the second half of the 60-ties had been destroyed by "fire and looting" land of Solidow as boasted Peter of Duisburg killed and taken into captivity "many people". Natangians with Herku Monte are increasingly cornered and with so many reinforcement still increasingly arriving from Europe was for them difficult to fight and win. To make matters worse, all the insurgents were mostly farmers and had families, there was a shortage of food.
Teutonic method of armed struggle led expeditions planned for the Prusai estate , not only consisted of the murder, or eliminating the locals who were backing the insurgents, but also what they could not grab utterly burned with dwellings.
In the year 1274, the Order reinforced by knighthood from Germany and western Europe, with all the fury and vengeance attacks Pogezan’s Lidzbark. The castle is captured, the defenders escape and those who did not manage to "captured and murdered". We do not know the Linka fate the Pogezan’s chief.
On Sambia district called Rinow Prusai were resisting the longest time. Only collapsed when the Knights killed all the men, abducted women and children and all their goods. "
At the end of the uprising at the Battle of Bezledy, Teutons forces "killed more than two thousand Jatviags". The question remained how long Prusai could oppose the whole Europe and with such the methods in struggle.
Conquered Prusai were still trying to pick up the freedom fight. One of the last Pogezan’s uprising was started in 1277. Again, winners were the Crusaders, "who invaded the land Pogezania, murdered countless men, ravaged the land with fire and robbery, kidnap women and children who were abducted with them."

Year 1274 the uprising was crushed and remained only three Prusai provinces to conquer: Nadrowia, Skalowia and Jatviagian province.




THE PRUSAI CONQUEST CONTINUES 1274 -1283


During cruel pogroms of Prusai people, during the Knights punitive expeditions (hardly a war in which people are exterminated) Prusai survivors flee to the lands that have not yet been conquered or to the lands of friendly neighbors.




Such Prusai lands that were not conquered Nadrowia, Skalowia and Jatviagans land. These provinces together with good neighbors Pomerania, and Lithuania, where the refugees created a whole villages, rarely returning to their native land of confluent with blood of their cousins ​and kinsmen.
Prusai had no one to call for help and mercy, for them was not. The magnitude of the crimes committed against the people, 700 years ago, it may appear to be an incredible, if not for the crimes committed by the Germans in the Second World War.
Conquest was not yet the end, the Knights rallied very large armed forces and full political support from the Europe.
Duisburg the Teutonic chronicler tells us that the conquest of other regions by the Teutonic Knights had problems because of the very numerous influx of Prusai people and warriors from conquered Prusai provinces.
The strategy of the Teutonic Knights, nothing has changed, in addition to taking revenge on them, the Prusai still being murdered, kidnapped into slavery and their territories were reconditioned into the desert, setting fire to homes, pillaging and destroying the harvest if not stolen.
In the life of St. Stanislaw it says "when many Crusaders pulled to fight enemies of the Cross of Christ, and to subject them to the yoke of Christ, they achieved victory and inflicted a great defeat on enemies. Christians their houses and fields burned and looted their goods. "
Prusai, regardless the loss of a large part their country, still bravely defended themselves "to master Reitawa land cost Christian knights a lot of trouble and also incurred significant casualties. More difficult, however, were fought battle with the defenders of the Katav land. The only way guarded to it, Otholichiae to reach the fortress, and the crew for a long time successfully resisted the attacks of Teutons, then they killed men, enslaved the women and children, and the castle itself utterly burned ".
No less time, victims and effort costing to get Cemeiniswike fortress. Her defenders successfully repelled further attacks of Christian troops, finally tired, gave up, and retreated to Lithuania and the rest of the defense was Otholichiae's fate.
Another land destroyed "pillage and fire" by the Teutonic Knights was Lethowis in Nadrowi. After its capture "killed or enslaved many people, and ... castles and their surrounding placed under the fire burned. They got so much loot in the form of horses, cattle, and other things that could barely carry it with them. "
Overcoming Nadrowians, took nearly two years, resulting in total depopulation of this Prusai region and only few have decided to be baptized and accept the German rule.
The conquest was interrupted because Warmians, Natangs, Samba, and joined them by Barts and also Pogezans caused a rebellion against the Teutonic Knights. Outraged Germans ruthlessly and brutally crack down on the people, an example of applications terrible torture and like the Christ Way of the Cross, hanging Prusai on the branches of trees, crushed another Prusai uprising for freedom.

After defeating Nadrowia next came the Skalowia. As in previous cases, the local men were murdered, women and children are generally abducted into slavery (and sometimes murdered, as is apparent from the wording of "part" were captured and killed the other, their belongings looted, burned castles and settlements ( Ragneta example, Ramige and Labiau). Little is known about the conquest of the Skalowia land. The fact that the conquest took many years, can only prove their determination to defend their human rights in their own land.
They were not passive defenders, can be proved by the fact that in 1278, "at sunrise, the Teutonic castle Labiawa, prompted in all of a sudden, 400 Prusai in boats. Surprised the crew, captured and burned the castle. Armed knights were killed in their beds, while the women and children, along with a great trophy have taken with them. "
The acquired Prusai castles after previous reinforcements with Teutons crew, not only for control of the captured territory but also to continue their trips to Lithuania.
Location and fortification of Skalowians castles were so well thought out, that despite the powerful forces of the Teutonic Knights and their experience, it was only after several years of siege and the after burning and defenders escape became their prey. For several years they could only feed on fish catches in a lake or river.
The only geographically known Skalowians habitat Sassa fell prey to the Crusaders and conquered Skalowia was announced.
Duisburg says "lacking in the people and farms, and all because the blind hatred of the faith of Christ, preferring to die rather than give up their superstitions and paganism."

What a monstrous hypocrisy and falsehood - Knights did not carry the cross in front of them, and only their sword. The fact that their white coats were painted with cross, meant nothing. Germany still has the same cross and painted today on tanks and aircrafts, in which the German pilots during World War II carelessly pulling the triggers and shooting, killing the civilian population working in the field. The same did the Knights who were the natives of Germany. Anything has changed?
The final stage of the bloody conquest of Prusai was to defeat Jatviagans. You have to use a very high insight when reading the chronicles of Duisburg - Jatviagans leaders Kantegerda and Jedete, have voluntarily adopted faith, while the Crusaders utterly destroyed all the farms.
Scurdo, Kimenow land commander, did not want to embrace the faith of the Teutonic Knights, with all the military left to Lithuania and did not return. On his land Order did "many killed .. abducted thousand people who took prisoner. "
Then Meruniske district was destroyed, killed eight hundred "masters the highly respected", six hundred "people of both sexes" were captured, the remaining residents were struck, and the whole district was destroyed with fire and looted.
It is noteworthy that in contrast to the Skalowia, Nadrowia men sometimes were spared. This time, it was prudent to preserve the Teutonic Knights needed labor.
The Teutonic Jatviagans’ conquest were supported by volunteer units of knights-robbers, who have made a predatory raids, and so for example, a man named Martin of Golina raided a Jatviagans village "and its inhabitants caught and killed" ( all the women and children), took only spoils. Another time, however, attacked the village "killed ten men in the bath ..., abducted with them horses, cattle and other achievements along with the women and children".
Soon the Crusaders destroyed with "fire and looting" and conquered remaining Jatviagan’s lands - Pokimia, Krasima, Silia, and Kirsnowia everywhere making killings, robbing and taking people into slavery.
The conquest of Prusai ended in 1283. Most of the population fled wherever they could. At their neighbors they had asylum. Ending ironically, the German knights, had no more people to murder.
Prusai after all this and for some time were fighting for their rights but were already enslaved. The proof is revolt in 1286 in Samba province, or uprising in 1295 in Natangia expanded even over on the Sambia. All were very brutally suppressed with the cost of many lives.
German historian von Kotzebue, described the Order "a giant without faith, without shame," their power was built "on the ruins of battered humanity".

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

How many Grunwald battles were fought on the Prusai land?

How many glorified Europe’s knights, would be able to stand up between the ranks of the Prusai knights?

Prusai, what kind of a nation they were, to fight for their freedom with such dedication?

What is a humanity, to carry out the other people extermination?

On what basis was raised the European Christian culture?

Should appear the historical truth, despite the political consequences?


At the end the quotation of Lucy Okulicz Kozaryn:

"With the Order’s possessiveness and lawlessness fought greatgrandfather, continued to fight grandfather and father, tried to protest the grandson and only the greatgrandson came to the conclusion that it is hopeless."

Yes, it became hopeless, but for different reasons, first - social structures were deliberately exterminated, and secondly - numerically Prusai people by 50% deliberately were murdered, the women were raped, children were forced to work to keep up the Order, so everyone able to fight was murdered.

Finally, just to summarize, the knowledge about Prusai was falsified and kept away from public knowledge for more than 700.

Slawomir Klec Pilewski
September 2010

MAIL: PRUS@PRUSOWIE.PL


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