Second siege of Viljandi

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01. August 1223

In July 1223, Germans called Latgalians and Livonians to war. Big army was formed and it started moving towards Saccalia.

From August 1-15, Viljandi fort was sieged with siege weapons, and the attackers succeeded in setting the fort on fire twice, despite the fierce bombing by the defenders. Diseases started to spread among the defenders, they also lacked water, and thus had to surrender.

Estonians agreed to accept Christianity again and they were left alive. The fort was looted. All did not go as well for the Russians, who were hung, to frighten other Russian garrisons in Estonia. Thrown off balance by the events in Viljandi, the Estonians, who had seek refuge in Leole fort, surrendered. Thus, all of Saccalia was in the hands of the crusaders.

Campaign of Novgorod and Pihkva could not change the situation. Russians, who had joined the Ugaunians and were on their way to Riga, met Oeselians in Puide. Latter suggested the army to attack the Danes in Tallinn. Russian prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich agreed and started to advance towards Tallinn.

In Saccalia, the prince heard about what had happened to the Russians, and he took it out on the locals. While advancing, people from Varbola, Järvamaa and Saaremaa joined the Russians. This joint force attacked Tallinn, but without success, for four weeks. Russians decided to leave, pillaging and looting the county of Revalia first.

In Viljandi, however, Germans started to build powerful Order Castle already in the next year (1224).

Source: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                   

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