These last few episodes you may have wondered how all this hangs together. This week we will try to resolve this question. What we will talk about is how the great stem duchy of Saxony fell apart. And there are two stories about that. One is the story of Henry the Lion and his fall in 1180. That story has been repeated over and over again and put into a context of rivalry between the Welf and the Hohenstaufen, between Guelfs and Ghibellines. It makes for a great story of betrayal and revenge. But it is also partly wrong and more importantly, not the whole story. The whole story is one about princely opposition against centralising tendencies, about an antagonism between the south and the north and about a broad trend of fragmentation of power that engulfed not just the empire but also Italy, Poland, Denmark and others.

It is the resulting environment of warring mid-sized principalities that allowed alternative structures like the Hanseatic League and the Teutonic Knights to emerge. So let’s get straight into it.

Hello and welcome to the History of the Germans: Episode 108 – From Saxony to Saxonies

These last few episodes you may have wondered how all this hangs together. This week we will try to resolve this question. What we will talk about is how the great stem duchy of Saxony fell apart. And there are two stories about that. One is the story of Henry the Lion and his fall in 1180. That story has been repeated over and over again and put into a context of rivalry between the Welf and the Hohenstaufen, between Guelfs and Ghibellines. It makes for a great story of betrayal and revenge. But it is also partly wrong and more importantly, not the whole story. The whole story is one about princely opposition against centralising tendencies, about an antagonism between the south and the north and about a broad trend of fragmentation of power that engulfed not just the empire but also Italy, Poland, Denmark and others.

It is the resulting environment of warring mid-sized principalities that allowed alternative structures like the Hanseatic League and the Teutonic Knights to emerge. So let’s get straight into it.

But before we start let me tell you that the History of the Germans Podcast is advertising free thanks to the generous support from patrons. And you can become a patron too and enjoy exclusive bonus episodes and other privileges from the price of a latte per month. All you have to do is sign up at or on my website You find all the links in the show notes. And thanks a lot to Tej. Egefjord, Alex P., Bernhard B. and Jerry C.Z. who have already signed up.

For today’s narrative we have to – for one last time – go back to the reign of Lothar of Supplinburg. It is with him that the process of territorialisation of the principalities begins. He may not have invented the concept – that honour must go to emperor Henry IV – but he was the one who decided who amongst the magnates of the North would become the great territorial princes. He gave some minor Westphalian noblemen the county of Holstein, he gave Albrecht the Bear the Mark that became the Mark Brandenburg, and he installed the house of Wettin in Meissen and Lusatia.

But the biggest territorial decision was the great election bribe to Henry the Black, duke of Bavaria. If you remember way back in episode 43 there were two men contesting the election as king of the Romans. One was Frederick of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia, nephew and heir of the last Salian emperor Henry V. The other had been Lothar of Supplinburg. The electors were split right down the middle, and all depended on the Bavarians. Their duke, Henry the Black was married to Frederick’s sister and the Hohenstaufen party was confident the vote would go in their favour. But ii did not. Henry the Black switched over to Lothar, making him king and later emperor Lothar III.

The price he had to pay for that was that Lothar gave his only child, Gertrud, in marriage to Henry’s son, Henry the Proud. Since Lothar died without heirs, all of the enormous wealth he had acquired during his long and successful life came to the House of Welf. Henry the Proud became duke of Saxony on top of his title as duke of Bavaria.

What Henry the Proud did not become was king and emperor. The German princes could no longer tolerate an emperor with such an enormous personal powerbase. Hence the elected Frederick’s brother, Konrad III. Konrad turned out to be exactly as advertised, a weak king caught in a constant struggle with his largest vassal.

What saved Konrad III’s reign was the sudden death of Henry the Proud, who left behind a small boy, also imaginatively called Henry, Henry the Lion.

Henry’s grandmother, the dowager empress Richeza managed to preserve the enormous property of the House of Welf for young Henry. The only bit he had lost was the duchy of Bavaria that Konrad had given to his half-brother, the Babenberger count of Austria.

In 1152 Frederick Barbarossa becomes king and in 1155 emperor. His proposition to the princes, including to Henry the Lion who is by now 23 years old, is that he will rule as a first amongst equals. He promises to involve them in his decision making and share whatever gains they would make from rebuilding imperial power in Italy.

The capstone of his policy is the reconciliation between the Hohenstaufen and the Welf. Part of that reconciliation is the return of the title of duke of Bavaria, title the family lost under Konrad III. That is achieved by splitting the duchy into two parts, one going to Henry the Lion, the other going to the Babenbergers who are elevated to dukes of Austria. But Bavaria was only a status symbol. Henry the Lion never really cares about Bavaria and barely visits. The main plank of the deal is that Barbarossa supports any policy Henry the Lion wants to implement in Saxony.

And that policy is to turn the duchy of Saxony into a territorial principality. Henry the Lion tries to to do the same thing Konrad of Wettin did in the margraviate of Meissen and what Albrecht the Baer did in Brandenburg.

That means he builds castles across his lands in Saxony and staffs them with his Ministeriales who are to keep the peace and dispense justice. And he extends his allodial, i.e., private lands. He is already the heir to some of the richest and most powerful families in the duchy, the Brunones of Brunswick, the Northeims and the Billungs. But that is not enough.

His first target is the county of Stade. You may remember from the episode about Albrecht the Baer that the counts of Stade were an ancient dynasty that controlled the lands between Hamburg and Bremen and were margraves of the Northern March. You may also remember that the last margrave of the Northern March was killed by Dithmarscher peasants and his sole heir was disposed of by Albrecht the Baer.

That left two. One was Hartwich who had joined the church and was a member of the cathedral chapter of the archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen. Hartwich was the heir to the family lands since the only other surviving family member was his sister. Hartwich did a deal with the archbishop of Bremen. He would make the archbishopric the heir to most his vast fortune, if the collegiate would make him archbishop once the current incumbent is dead. The archbishop was delighted by this plan.

As we know from the episode about Gottschalk and Adalbert, the archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen had been squeezed by both the Billung dukes of Saxony and the Danish kings. Though they still harboured the ambition to become the religious centre for all of Scandinavia, their lack of resources and the creation of an archbishopric in the then Danish city of Lund meant this had been a pipe dream. Having Stade would finally provide the resources to become the head of the Christian faith on the wonder he was excited.

Who was not excited about the idea was Henry the Lion. He immediately declares a claim on the lands of the counts of Stade. He claims ownership of the county primarily because he is the duke and Hartwig – being a churchman – cannot perform the duties of a count, namely fighting in battle and performing executions. He also claims that his family are the closest relatives of the counts of Stade, based on some 10th century ancestor. Both arguments are extraordinary flimsy. Henry will show a similarly flexible approach to legality throughout his career.

In 1145 the Saxon nobles get together to adjudicate the dispute between Henry the Lion and the Archbishop. As henry sees that things are not going his way, he unsheathes his sword, has his men holding back the judges and apprehends the archbishop and Hartwich of Stade. Legally, schmeagely.

The next inheritance is that of Hermann II of Winzenburg. He is another of the Saxon noblemen who amassed a fortune after the duchy had moved outside of imperial control. He created an almost completely coherent territory from Hannover to Northern Hesse.

He was a brutal man, even by the standards of the time. He had angered and enraged many, but the ones who really hated him were the bishops of Hildesheim and his Ministeriales. Two of them decided to put an end to all of this and broke into the count’s bedchamber, murdered him and his wife. This wife was – yes you may remember – Liutgard, the sister of Hartwich.

And again, who would claim the inheritance? Henry the Lion of course. His great-grandmother was the sister of Herman’s great grandfather. So a much closer relation that count Herman’s two daughters. Or Albrecht the Baer, who also lodged a claim. But by now the decider is Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick and Henry have a deal. The possessions of the count of Winzenburg are added to the already massive fortune of Henry the Lion.

So far so normal. This is the bit where Henry the Lion emulates Konrad of Wettin and his descendants, adding territory bit by bit and deepening his hold on them.

Where he is the equivalent of Albrecht the Bear is in the March of the Billungs, the land of the Abodrites. You may remember that we talked about Henry the Lion’s campaigns in the episode about the Foundation of Lübeck. He first tries in 1147 during the Wendish crusade and then again in 1160, in the latter case with a lot more success. During the 1160 campaign he establishes his own centrally controlled march centred around Schwerin. He invites settlers to come and wrestles Lübeck out of the hands of Adolph II of Schauenburg.

The final cornerstone of his power structure and where he goes well beyond the other two is in his handling of the church. Henry the Lion intended to bring the major bishops in his duchy under his direct control. As for the archbishoprics, this had to be done by force. Hartwig of Stade, the man Henry had expropriated had become archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and was unsurprisingly an implacable enemy. Henry used military force to keep the archbishop down and even used his mate Frederick Barbarossa who expropriated further bits of the Bremen church in 1155. As for Magdeburg, the other archbishopric in Saxony, that was held by bishop Wichmann. Wichmann was a close confidant of Barbarossa and his former chancellor. That gave him a stronger position and duke and archbishop were constantly facing off against each other at the castle of Haldensleben.

Whilst the archbishops were under pressure, the bishops were properly subjected. The bishop of Halberstadt, Ulrich was stripped of his fiefs by Barbarossa in 1155 for failure to take part in the Italian campaign and then expelled in 1159 when he sided with pope Alexander III during the schism. Henry the Lion then placed a docile man of his choosing on the episcopal throne who handed over fiefs of the Halberstadt church to the duke. In Hildesheim the bishop fund himself entirely surrounded by Henry the Lion’s lands. The bishop’s Ministeriales and vassals shifted allegiance to the duke putting an end to ambitions to grow episcopal territory. The same happened in Verden and Minden.

Where Henry the Lion had even more influence was on the bishoprics in his march. In 1154 Barbarossa granted Henry the Lion the royal rights of investiture over Ratzeburg, Oldenburg and Mecklenburg. That is an unprecedented grant that elevates Henry the Lion’s position to a vice-regal if not quasi-regal position.

These regal ambitions of Henry the Lion manifested themselves in his enormous palace of Dankwarderode, today part of Brunswick. This construction easily rivalled any of the imperial palaces like Hagenau and Gelnhausen.

Another elevation of his status came when he married Matilda, the daughter of Henry II of England and sister of Richard the Lionheart. This marriage was again the result of the close relationship between Henry the Lion and Barbarossa. Barbarossa had intended to forge a closer link with Henry II as both rulers were in conflict with pope Alexander III. The agreement was to be sealed by a marriage alliance. One of the English princesses was to marry the eldest son of Barbarossa and the other should marry Henry the Lion. The marriage to Barbarossa’s son did not take place in the end, but in 1168 the wedding took place in the cathedral of Minden.

By that time Henry the Lion was at the zenith of his power. He had expanded the already vast territory he had inherited and his plans to turn all this into a territorial principality were proceeding at pace.

But what about the Saxon nobles? All these freedom-loving, hard-edged warriors, who had raised their arms at the slightest indication of imperial overreach. Where are they?

Well, many of their families, like the Northeims, the Stades and the Winzenburgs have simply died out and their land has gone to, well to Henry the Lion himself. The counts of Holstein who had risen to prominence owed their elevation to Lothar III and were hence loyal vassals of Henry the Lion.

But there are powerful men who saw the rise of Henry the Lion as a major threat to their position. One was Albrecht the Baer who had tried to take over the duchy of Saxony in the days of Konrad III and had ever since hankered at replacing Henry the Lion. Then there are the counts palatinate of Saxony who had been tricked out of various inheritances by Henry the Lion. And then there are the churchmen, Wichmann of Magdeburg and Hartwig of Bremen I already mentioned but other bishops, like the deposed Ulrich of Halberstadt and the encircled bishops of Hildesheim and Verden were equally opposed to Henry the Lion. In 1163 these men got in touch with other imperial princes, including the landgraves of Thuringia, the duke of Austria and the king of Bohemia to go after Henry the Lion.

It is again Barbarossa who comes to the Lion’s rescue and convinces the major princes to abandon their plan. In 1164 Albrecht the Aber and the count palatinate of Saxony try again but get defeated. It seems that as long as Barbarossa was on the Lion’s side, he was untouchable.

But in 1166 Barbarossa sets off on his fourth and largest Italian campaign. The oppressive imperial rule in Italy had exhausted the patience of even Barbarossa’s closest allies like Cremona, Pavia and Lodi. He went down to Italy with one of the largest forces ever mustered by a medieval emperor.

With the emperor out of the country, the conspirators decided to strike. Their ranks had been swelled by the sons of Konrad of Wettin who had intermarried with Albrecht the Baer’s family. They attacked the castle of Haldensleben, one of Henry the Lion’s key fortresses. Their side got an enormous boost when the archbishop of Cologne joined their side.

By 1167 Henry the Lion is so distressed he reconciles with Pribislav, the prince of the Abodrites who he had fought for five years in an attempt to gain control of the March of the Billungs. In this agreement Henry concedes him Mecklenburg and opens up the way for a Slavic ruler to become duke of Mecklenburg and an imperial prince.

Throughout 1167 and 1168 the situation became more and more difficult for Henry the Lion. His enemies were ravaging his lands and he was losing supporters. But in 1168 the greatest of Henry’s supporters was back. The emperor Frederick Barbarossa stepped in. He demanded an end to the war that he blamed on the defeat in his Italian campaign. Had only the soldiers engaged in this civil war come to the aid of the emperor, the war against the Lombard League and the pope could have been won. Whether Barbarossa believed that is doubtful given his huge army was defeated, not by a human enemy, but by infection.

Still, Henry the Lion prevailed, and he could even leave his duchies in 1172 to go on a crusade to the Holy Land. If you want to hear more about that journey, there is a bonus episode in the Patreon feed about it.

I guess you have now clocked the pattern. Whenever Henry’s expansionist ambitions run into obstacles, the emperor Barbarossa appears like a genie in a bottle and sorts everything out. Which begs the question, why would he do that?

On obvious reason is that Henry supported Barbarossa with men and weapons during his Italian campaigns. He played an important role in the first and second siege of Milan where he brought in as many as a 1000 armoured knights with equipment etc.

The other reason was that Barbarossa had seen his uncle Konrad III fight an endless war against the Welf that rendered his predecessor unable to pursue any kind of long-term strategy. His main value proposition to the empire had been that he would be the capstone that reconciled the two families.

We, having followed Saxon history since 800 in this series, we know this is not just a family conflict. Saxony had moved into a semi-autonomous relationship with the empire ever since the latter years of Henry IV’s reign. All an emperor could hope for was to have some nominal overlordship over Saxony mediated by whoever the Saxons chose to be their interlocutor. The concept was that Saxony remained part of the empire but would organise its internal affairs without imperial interference. The emperor would interact with the Saxons via an intermediary. These intermediaries were initially Hartwig of Magdeburg and Henry the Fat for emperor Henry IV. Henry V hoped Lothar of Supplinburg would be that link but found that relationship hard to manage. When Lothar ascended the throne Saxony was temporarily folded back into the imperial power structure. That may have been the reason that Konrad III thought he could operate more forcefully in the North, an attempt that ultimately failed.

Barbarossa’s policy versus Henry the Lion was hence a return to the approach taken by Henry IV and Henry V. Henry the Lion’s job was to keep Saxony on an even keel, appear at court and act as a faithful vassal, even though both sides knew he was largely independent and, if possible, support the imperial policy with military resources.

A third reason why Barbarossa was less concerned about the expansionary policies of his most powerful vassal was that he himself had not tried to build his own power-base, his Hausmacht before 1167. Barbarossa’s policy North of the Alps had been to stay above the squabbles for land and local power his magnates engaged in so forcefully. His strategy was to re-establish the imperial regalia in Northern Italy which would give him the resources to pursue his policies on the European stage. Given how much richer Northern Italy was compared to Germany, this would have made him infinitely more powerful than even Henry the Lion.

All these reasons fell away in the decade after 1167.

After the catastrophic loss of his army before Rome in 1167, Barbarossa’s Italian strategy was broken. The dream to build a pan-European empire funded with the riches of Northern Italy had become unrealistic. Barbarossa needed another source of funds. Hence he did what his magnates were doing. He picked up the inheritances of the men who had died in his service during the 1167 campaign, built castles manned with Ministeriales to expand control vertically and even engaged in some light colonisation in the Pleissenland and the Egerland.

That not only brought him into conflict with many of his magnates, including his Saxon magnates, it also eroded his political standing as an emperor who floats above the grubby spats over land.

As for Henry the Lion’s ability to keep Saxony on an even keel, the war of 1167/68 had shown quite clearly that Henry did not command the respect of his Saxon peers. In fact he was the source of the unrest.

And finally there is the famous meeting in Chiavenna. In 1177 Barbarossa had made one last attempt at bringing Northern Italy under his control. That failed already before Alessandria, the city of Straw we talked about in episode 59. But he kept ploughing on and demanded for more troops to be brought down from Germany. Some magnates, including the archbishop of Cologne, complied. Chroniclers who wrote about events decades later report that Barbarossa had asked Henry the Lion to meet in Chiavenna, on the Italian side of the Splugen and Septimer passes. There Barbarossa first demanded and then begged Henry to supply him with additional troops. Barbarossa may or may not have knelt before Henry the Lion as a last resort to sway his mind. Kneeling or even prostrating themselves is something emperors and other powerful men used in the Middle Ages as a last resort sway someone’s opinion. Henry II did it and even Konrad II, the mightiest of German warrior rulers had done it. Henry the Lion still refused, making it an unforgivable affront.

That was compounded by the fact that Barbarossa suffered his final defeat at Legnano where his relatively small contingent of soldiers was defeated by a Milanese army. This defeat brought an end to Barbarossa’s campaigns in Italy and forced him to reconcile with pope Alexander III and the Lombard League.

German historians have been debating whether the footfall of Chiavenna had really happened or not for centuries. Many, in particular in the 19th century built an entire narrative around this snub and its devastating consequences. This was the reason, so they argue, that the alliance between Barbarossa and Henry the Lion broke letting the fight between Welf and Hohenstaufen, between Guelfs and Ghibellines re-emerge.

Modern historians are less certain it happened, though the most recent biography of Henry the Lion by Joachim Ehlers argues quite forcefully for a prostration.

In the end we do not need the whole drama of an imperial footfall to explain why Barbarossa dropped the support for Henry the Lion.

The Lion had stopped being useful. He no longer kept peace in Saxony, he did not act as the emperor’s intermediary, and he could no longer provide military support given his precarious situation. And he wasn’t even a threat anymore. During the previous conflict between Welf and Hohenstaufen, the Welf could count on the support of many of their fellow Saxon nobles. By 1178, that was no longer the case. They almost all hated Henry the Lion.

That is why the conflict between Henry the Lion and the Saxon nobles resumed in 1178. There were various campaigns that I will not bore you with. The main protagonists were the archbishops Philipp of Cologne and Wichmann of Magdeburg as well as the children of Albrecht the Baer and Konrad of Meissen. Henry’s position deteriorated rapidly, many of his castles capitulated without a fight and when Barbarossa joined the campaign in person in 1180 it was over quite quickly.

Henry was stripped of both his ducal titles, the one of Saxony and the one of Bavaria. He lost vast tracts of his lands as his enemies took advantage of his defeat. The archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen even got Stade after all. Henry the Lion had to go into exile to his father-in-law, king Henry II of England.

The great stem duchy of Saxony was split up. The western part became the duchy of Westpahalia and was given the archbishop of Cologne. The eastern part went to Bernhard of Anhalt, the youngest son of Albrecht the Bear. But mostly what happened is that the ducal institutions disappeared. Westphalia became a territorial principality owned by Cologne and the now shrunk duchy of Saxony became an empty title. The counts of Holstein, the Margraves of Brandenburg, the margraves of Meissen, the dukes of Mecklenburg and the Landgraves of Thuringia became medium sized powers. Not large enough to challenge the emperor but string enough to resist any attempts by the central authority to take them over as we have seen last episode.

Henry the Lion returned in 1185 and rebuild some of his personal possessions. It was still a major agglomeration of power and his son, Otto IV, will rise to become king and even be crowned emperor. If you want to hear this story, go to episode 73 to 75. But that involved a civil war against Barbarossa’s son Philip of Swabia, a war that cemented the power of the territorial princes. When Frederick II becomes king and emperor, there is not much he can do to re-establish central power. The empire has become a mixed monarchy where the emperor just coordinates the other princes rather than rules them.

And that is even more true in the North than elsewhere. Imperial power had already been weak since the 11th century but is now virtually non-existent. Nor is there a ducal co-ordination mechanism for the vast territory north of the Main and east of the Rhine. Power is fragmented.

And that situation is mirrored in the two other centres of power in the Baltic, Denmark and Poland. Denmark’s constant wars over the succession are endemic. Though there is a period between 1154 and 1241 under Waldemar I and II when Denmark is united and expansionist, it fell into civil war and what the Danes call “the Decay” right afterwards.

Poland as well had suffered many a civil war as different pretenders for the crown fought each other. Boleslaw III, called wrymouth, managed to unite the country again in 1106 but upon his death in 1138 Poland was divided into 5 separate duchies, Silesia, Masovia, Greater Poland, Sandomierz plus the duchy of Pomerania. Theoretically one of the dukes was the princeps or head of the clan, but de facto, each pursued their own policies.  

Which gets us to the last question, which is why we end up with so many Saxonies in Germany. There is Niedersachsen, Sachsen and Sachsen Anhalt today, but there were lots and lots of duchies of Sachsen-suchandsuch in German history.

Let’s start with Niedersachsen or Lower Saxony in English. This Bundesland came into existence in 1945. That being said, the name goes back to the 14th century and the empire had put together several principalities, mainly that of the Welf duchy of Brunswick and Lueneburg as the Kreis of Lower Saxony. Though Niedersachsen comprised a large part of the old stem duchy of Saxony the territorial princes that formed its Kreis did not have any ducal Saxon title.

The title of duke of Saxony went a you may remember to Bernhard of Anhalt. He then passed it on to his descendants until in 1252 the possessions of Bernhard were divided into three lines. One retained the title of duke of Saxony, the other called themselves princes of Anhalt. Each of them then divided into even more lines, each multiplying the title by adding another placename to it, like Sachsen-Lauenburg and Sachsen-Wittenberg. The one that mattered most here was Sachsen-Wittenberg because with it came the rank of elector. So when the dukes of Sachsen-Wittenberg died out in 1422 the title was reassigned and came to Frederick, margrave of Meissen. His family from then onwards used the title duke or elector of Saxony. The Wettiner then split into two lines in 1485, one who held on to the margraviate of Meissen and the other to the landgraviate of Thuringia. The ones in Thuringia. Both sides used the title duke of Saxony plus location, except of the one who held the electoral position. That moved initially to Thuringia and then to Meissen.

And that explains it all, right? Maybe not. Maybe the simplest way to explain it is that there was no real power or territory associated with the title duke of Saxony, so emperors and other princes tolerated it that the title was granted to all surviving sons of a family, leading to this proliferation of dukes of Saxony. Hence Saxony could gradually wonder off towards the east. And even more bewildering, when Sachsen-Anhalt was created in 1945, the constituent states were the Prussian province of Saxony and the lands of the princes of Anhalt, but no dukedom with Saxony in it. On the other hand, the Bundesland of Thuringen contained no less than four duchies of Saxony, Sachsen-Weimar, Sachsen-Meiningen, Sachsen-Altenburg and Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. The lands of the Wettiner electors then became simple Saxony. It is a mess. Maybe it is easier to forget about all these tiny Saxonies. All that matters is that the old stem duchy of Saxony was once a hugely powerful political entity in the empire and was now fragmented into a thousand pieces, some more powerful than others, but none truly powerful.

It is this world of fragmented power that allows for the rise of the Hanseatic League and the Teutonic Knights in Prussia. We will get into their story in two weeks’ time as I need to prepare a bit more for this next season. I hope you will join us again.

There are two items of housekeeping that I want to address.

The first is from listener and most generous patron Sherrylyn. She asked for a bibliography at the end of each episode so that she can read up in more detail. I will add book titles at the bottom of the transcripts that you find on my website “ For this episode I relied heavily on Joachim Ehler’s biography of Henry the Lion, on John B. Freed’s biography of Barbarossa and Adam Zamoyski’s Poland.

And further as our story is moving east and north, we are likely to run into geographically contested territory. The way I want to handle this and hopefully get it broadly right is as follows:

When I am talking about the political entities at the time, say the margraviate of Brandenburg or the free city of Gdansk, I will use the English name. where such a name does not exist and the place lies outside modern day Germany I will use either the currently used name or both German and the currently used name. So for instance, I would use the Duke of Silesia, The mayor of Visby and the city of Koenigsberg/Kaliningrad.

When I am talking about geographic locations rather than political entities, I want to use current borders. So, when I speak about Russia in the context of Hanseatic trade routes, I mean the current country of Russia. When I want to talk about the political entities it may be the principality of Nowgrord or of Moskva.

I know that I will make mistakes in that respect, so please correct me if you feel I am getting this wrong.

And now, before I finally go, let me thank all of you who are supporting the show, in particular the Patrons who have kindly signed up on It is thanks to you this show does not have to do advertising for products you do not want to hear about. If Patreon isn’t for you, another way to help the show is sharing the podcast directly or boosting its recognition on social media. If you share, comment or retweet a post from the History of the Germans it is more likely to be seen by others, hence bringing in more listeners. My most active places are Twitter @germanshistory and my Facebook page History of the Germans Podcast. As always, all the links are in the show notes.