Battle of the Sun

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The Battle of Šiauliai or Battle of the Sun (Lithuanian: Saules Musis) took place on September 22,1236 near the town of Šiauliai, which today lies in the region of Joniškis, Lithuania. The Chronicum Livonae by Herman de Wartberge says the battle was fought in terram Sauleorum, but it has not been proven that terram Sauleorum is Šiauliai.

The knights of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, led by Master Volquin, were in desperate straits by the 1230s with strained financial resources and decreasing manpower. In 1236 Volquin led a war party with the assistance of the prince of Pskov southward into pagan Samogitia. Accompanied by headstrong seasonal crusaders from Holstein, the knights raided some settlements of the Zemaiciai, or Samogitians, who had fled beforehand. On the knights' return trek to the north, however, they encountered a determined group of Samogitians at a river crossing. Unwilling to risk losing their horses in the swampland, the Holsteiners refused to fight on foot, forcing the knights to camp for the night. The next morning a pagan force composed of Samogitians led by Duke Vykintas and Lithuanians led by Duke Mindaugas struck at the western army. Lightly-armed native forces under the command of the Brothers fled from the battle, while the burdened knights and crusaders, including Volquin, were slain.

After this battle the remnants of the Livonian Brethren accepted incorporation into the Teutonic Order in 1237.

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