Was there an ice battle?
Was there an ice battle?

The medieval battle is not a subject for fortune telling on a chamomile, especially when it comes to an event that still causes controversy among historians to this day.

In April 1242, a large army of the Livonian Order and its allies on the ice of Lake Peipsi met in a bloody battle with the Novgorod squads under the command of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich, called Nevsky. As a result of a hard battle, the Novgorodians won a convincing victory and chased the fleeing enemy for 7 miles on the spring ice, which began to break under heavily armed invaders.

School textbooks have invariably been told about this since the deep Soviet times, talentedly supported by an undoubted masterpiece - a film by Sergei Eisenstein. The great music of Sergei Prokofiev, the amazing acting skills of Nikolai Cherkasov, the genius of the director - all this much more successfully than excerpts from the chronicles convinces us that this is exactly what happened. Again, it fits well into the traditional patriotic discourse: "Whoever comes to us with a sword will die by the sword."

Cherkasov as Alexander Nevsky

The most detailed description we find in the Novgorod first chronicle of the older edition: here is the place of the battle "/>

The scale of the battle, traditionally exaggerated by chroniclers "/>

Even what we more or less reliably know about the events of that time in the Novgorod lands and the Baltic states makes us assume that there was no "decisive" victory that "stopped the aggression of German feudal lords" - there was an important, memorable, but private success that surpassed in the memory of the people others for reasons far from their real meaning.

The fact is that the battle at Lake Peipsi became "the greatest victory of Russian weapons" in hindsight, and acquired different colors at different historical stages. It was mythologized, turning into "the triumph of Orthodoxy over Catholicism", then into "a just national liberation struggle of the peoples of our country", then into Blok's "they held a shield between two hostile races", then - after the release of Eisenstein's film - into a "formidable warning to the German aggressors ". Now the Day of Military Glory has been established in his honor. And this is the most harmless thing that can be done with it.

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