Alexander Nevsky Defends Novgorod from Swedish Invaders (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Alexander Nevsky defends Novgorod from Swedish invaders, checking the Swedish advance into Russian territory and allowing Novgorod’s merchants to have continued access to the Gulf of Finland via the Neva River.
Summary of Event
Alexander’s leadership in the defense of Novgorod and the other Russian lands from incursions of Swedes and Germans are well known. Metropolitan Kirill’s Life of Alexander portrayed his hero as the savior of Orthodoxy. Twice Alexander was engaged in defense against Swedes, one of which took place along the Neva River on July 15, 1240, and explains the sobriquet “Nevsky.” Alexander’s mounted brigade surprised the encamped Swedes while infantry attacked Swedish ships in dock to prevent arrival of reinforcements. These battles (or skirmishes, as one authority avers) were part of the continuing struggle between Russians and Scandinavians for control of the Finnish and Karelian lands. Other sources, however, argue that such battles were designed by Grand Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich to stop the territorial and religious plans of Germans, Danes, and Swedes who hoped to absorb Novgorod at a time when it was weakened by Tatar rule. Yaroslav’s action may have been designed to enhance Novgorod’s military dependence upon the “downstream” princes of Vladimir upon whom it was already dependent for food.
Yaroslav, father of Alexander, sent him to...
(The entire section is 1473 words.)
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