Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The people of Northern Germany known as the Wends were not one homogenous people but rather organized themselves in a tribal structure. The tribes from the Saxon border west were the Wagrians, Polabians, Abotrites, Rugians, Liutizians, and Pomeranians.Â These tribes were loosely organized under local princes and there was no overall king or authority figure. The Wends were polytheistic nature worshipers who had many shrines and temples throughout their lands. The priestly class was the most influential next to the secular lords and the Wends were deeply superstitious even going so far as to avoid battle if the auguries were unfavorable.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Wendish Crusades were Crusades in name only, the Danes and Saxons used the Crusading name to mask a naked grab of the territory of the pagan Wends. The Danes and Saxons had been encroaching on Wendish territory prior to the start of the Wendish crusades in 1147, but their gains had only been short-lived and limited to forcing some of the Wendish nobility to pay tribute.Â The Danes and Saxons who had only come to Christianity in the eighth and ninth centuries took wholeheartedly to the message preached by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) to fight the pagans “until such a time as, by Godâ€™s help, they be either converted or deleted.â€