Bishopric of Saare-Lääne, 1227–1573

General Information:

Scheduled for release Q2, 2024.

By Inna Jürjo, Villu Kadakas, Madis Maasing, Mati Mandel, Ain Mäesalu, Anton Pärn, Garel Püüa, Heiki Valk, Aldur Vunk.

Illustrated by Rocío Espín Piñar and Julia Lillo García.


Format: Paperback


Length: TBD

The Most Prosperous Territory.

… Livonia is a polar region; in a cold and wet weather with a thick air, but you were nourished and brought up in a temperate clime, only exposed to those dangers and sicknesses. Likewise, Osilian [Saare] food is different from the food of your country and worse than what you have been accustomed to from your youth, in food and drink. This would have inconvenienced you when you were young, but especially so when you are already of weak constitution, fragile, and easily debilitated by age. …

Heinrich von Langenstein used these reasons to refuse the bishop’s chair of Saare-Lääne in 1381. Yet, the bishopric that the Parisian scholar called cold and dreary was, in the treatment of chronicler Christian Kelch, the most prosperous territory in Livonia.

This book covers the history of the bishopric from its founding in 1227, when Gottfried the Cistercian was named as the first bishop, until 1573, when the citizens and nobles of Saaremaa swore fealty to the King of Denmark. Bishops, the leaders of this principality which lasted for three and half centuries, had to be successful in both war and peace, as a Medieval prince was not only endangered by foreign enemies but also by internal feuds, including liegemen who were keen to defend and strengthen their own privileges.

The development of the local centers of power is also brought out: the story of the bishop’s towns in Vana-Pärnu and Haapsalu, the bishop’s castles in Lihula, Kuressaare and Koluvere, and the German Order’s strongholds in Pöide and Maasi is told along with up-to-date ground plans and reconstructions along with supplementary information on other sites in the bishopric. 


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