Post-classical history

Ermes, Battle of (1560)

The last pitched battle fought by the Teutonic Order in Livonia.

In 1558 Livonia had been attacked by Ivan IV, tsar of Muscovy, whose forces quickly conquered the eastern part of the country. The Livonian attempts to organize a counteraction remained unsuccessful. In the summer of 1560 the Livonian forces were situated at Trikaten (mod. Trikāta, Latvia) under the command of Marshal Philipp Schall von Bell. While moving north on 1 August, they encountered a group of Russian cavalry and decided to attack, unaware that this was a patrol of the Russian army on its way from Dor- pat (mod. Tartu, Estonia) to Fellin (mod. Viljandi, Estonia).

Near Ermes (mod. Ēr'geme, Latvia), about 20 kilometers (121/2 mi.) west of Walk (mod. Valga, Estonia), the Livonians were surrounded and defeated by the Russians under the command of Prince Vassilii Barboshin. According to contemporary sources, there were 300-500 Livonian cavalrymen and 400-500 infantrymen against 12,000 Russians. The Livonians lost 261 men. Most of the order’s leaders were killed or captured, including Schall von Bell, who was executed in Moscow on 28 October. The part of the Livonian army that had stayed in camp managed to escape. The Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order had now lost the main part of its leadership and most of its small military strength. Fellin surrendered to Russian forces on 21 August.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!