Order's first campaign to Saaremaa, execution of Vesse, an Estonian elder

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February 1344

In February of 1344, after the sea had finally frozen, the Order launched its assault on Saaremaa. Oeselians had fortified themselves in a fort that is thought to have been near the modern village of Pamma, on Kooljamäed Hills. ("Hills of the dead" in Estonian). Both the Order and the Oeselians suffered heavy losses in the battle, but the Order was victorious. According to the chronicle of Wigand of Mauburg, the leader of the Oeselians, Vesse, was hanged by his feet. It is unclear how this was done, but historian Ain Mäesalu has surmised, that he might have been hanged to a siege weapon.

The loss in 1344 did not break the spirit of the Oeselians: as soon as Order's army had left in spring, new revolt erupted.

Source: Sulev Vahtre. Jüriöö: [1343. aasta ülestõus]. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1980.

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