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Transelbian Attacks

Here we offer a chronologically ordered list of military encounters between Germans and Slavs across the Elbe from the age of Charlemagne to the start of Second Crusade in 1147.  We present this as raw data, as a starting point for more comprehensive analysis.  

Each entry offers an English translation of the Latin primary source that reports a relevant event, beginning with the date it provides. If the source text does not indicate a specific date, an estimate appears in square brackets.  Unless indicated otherwise in the footnote, all translations are ours.

Lengthy descriptions, especially those published in English translation, are often not reproduced verbatim in their entirety, but summarized in brackets.

The source for each account is indicated in the accompanying note. Where that text appears verbatim in another source, it will also be listed. "Cf." indicates that a comparable account appears in another text but with modified language or different information. If significantly different, the alternative version will usually be provided in the footnote as well.

At this stage, we make no claim to have analyzed the relationship or discrepancies between various sources, nor to have assigned definitive dates to these events.

A list of the source texts canvassed to date is available from the menu at left. It also serves as a guide to the abbreviations employed in the footnotes.

The Chronology blends together the reports of many source texts. However, from the Component column on the left, one can disaggregate the entries from any one source.

There one can also excerpt accounts of attacks in a particular direction (eastward against Slavs or westward against Germans), involving particular peoples (Saxons, Danes, Liutizi, Poles, etc.), or naming specific rulers or locations.

At present, the Chronology does not include diplomatic crossings of the Elbe (e.g., for the exchange of gifts, payment of tribute, making peace, and the like); only military incursions are listed.

It also does not include attacks perpetrated by one groups of Slavs against another (e.g., fighting between the dukes of the Czechs and Poles, Polish incursions into Slavia, and the like). 

Likewise, it does not list instances when, as a result of political conflicts internal to Germany, German nobles fled into exile beyond the Elbe.