Teutonic Order in the Diocese of Tartu, 1237–1561

General Information: 

Original Release: Scheduled for Q4, 2024 (Estonian).

English Translation: Scheduled for 2025.

By Inna Jürjo, Juhan Kreem, Madis Maasing, Mihkel Mäesalu, Vallo Reimaa, Liene Rokpelne, Merli Sild, Heiki Valk, Mariina Viia, Aldur Vunk.

Illustrated by Rocío Espín Piñar and Julia Lillo García.


Format: Paperback


Length: TBD.

The Heart of Livonia.

According to the custom of the Order, the old Master Furstenberg had chosen to take up retirement and residence for the remainder of his life at the castle and city of Viljandi. He thus reigned over that city and the other castles and manors of the district, the finest and most advantageously situated in the entire country.

The power of the Teutonic Order was felt throughout Livonia. Many important centers of the Order, including Cēsis, were located in the diocese of Riga, but one of the mightiest castles of the order, Viljandi, was in the diocese of Tartu. The Order’s territory in this area was defended by another eight larger castles and two fortified cities, Viljandi and Uus-Pärnu, which were both counted as a part of the Hansaeatic League. Four of the castles – Viljandi, Uus-Pärnu, Rūjiena, and Kursi – were centers of commanderies at one time or another; the area was also home for four vogteis: Karksi, Põltsamaa, Sakala, and Vaiga.

Viljandi was the center of the Livonian branch of the Order for two short periods in the 15th and 16th centuries; the commander of Viljandi one of the most important higher officials in Livonia, who would, when necessary, command the Order’s field troops, including against the Bishops of Saare-Lääne and Tartu. The diocesan towns of the Order held no special privileges, particularly when compared with its neighbouring territories, and yet they — especially Uus-Pärnu — were successful merchant cities.

In addition to the region’s castles of the Order and its vassals, the title looks into historical events which took place in the center of Livonia, including the fatal defeats in 1560 at Ērģeme and Viljandi. The history of the Cistercian monastery of Valkena or Kärkna, which held large lands throughout the diocese, is also investigated.


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