The Chronicle of Prussia by Nicolaus von Jeroschin A History of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, 1190–1331
This is the first English translation of the 'Chronicle of Prussia', which was written by Nicolaus von Jeroschin, in middle German verse, during the period from 1330 to 1341. It is a history of the Teutonic Knights, encompassing the period between the foundation of the order, in 1190, and 1331. The translator's introduction sets the work in its historical and cultural context. The text was written at the instigation of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, to make an account of the ethos and history of the order's conquest of Prussia available 'to all German people'. Its purpose was to remind the order's knight brothers and its supporters of its origins and past achievements, but above all it was intended to establish the legitimacy of Prussia as a locus for crusades, setting the scene for the order's 'golden age' in the second half of the fourteenth century. The chronicle's content is divided into three sections: it opens with a description of the founding of the order in Acre. There follows a discourse on the nature of spiritual and earthly warfare, which echoes the ideology of crusading warfare first articulated by Bernhard of Clairvaux in his treatise De laude novae militiae. The final, longest, section recounts the wars of the Teutonic Knights against the Prussians and Lithuanians from 1230 until the narrative breaks off abruptly in 1331. The chronicle is the main historical source document for the period it covers and was widely disseminated during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It is also an engaging and lively account of warfare and colonisation on the eastern frontier of Latin Christianity.
'Recommended.' Choice '... scholars and teachers alike will be grateful for Mary Fischer's new translation of Nicholaus's chronicle in Ashgate's Crusade Texts in Translation, which makes available for the first time in English the complete work of this important, if little-known, historiographer.' Medieval Review '... it should play a useful role in bringing this part of medieval European history to the attention of the English-speaking scholarly world.' Medium Aevum 'Mary Fischer’s translation itself is easy to read, and her footnotes provide guidance on personal and geographical names and crucial terminology and dates... the book will be essential for anyone teaching or studying the history of the Teutonic order and the Baltic lands in the middle ages, at undergraduate or graduate level. English Historical Review '... [a] welcome addition to Ashgate’s Crusade Texts in Translation series ... [the] translation is both fluent and clear ...' War in History '... sets out to approach Jeroschin’s chronicle primarily in terms of its historical interest, which it conveys very well indeed ...' Modern Language Review