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Stratum plus. 2021. No5

S. A. Salmin, E. V. Salmina (Pskov, Russian Federation)

“…To Postpone the Campaign until Winter”: the impact of natural factors on military actions of the 14th—15th centuries on the Pskov borderlands

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Pages:  85-98

The Pskov state, limited to its natural borders, seems to be a good object for the research of the influence of natural and geographical factors on military and political history. Thus, the military actions of 1323—1480 are explored to consider the influence that these factors had on the causes, course and results of the wars waged by Pskov.
The inequality in natural resources in the border areas and the struggle for their redistribution determined the main directions of military expansion, forms of invasions and their seasonal dating. The rugged landscape characteristic for the western part of Pskov land and the dependence of the state of the Pskov-Peipus reservoir complicated the choice of the season for military operations. The incursions of small detachments, timed to the periods of economic activity (May-June, August) which were more diversionary than predatory in character, customarily prevailed. The February-March incursions into the fishing zones were usually carried out by larger forces and were aimed at capturing the product of fishery.
The military clashes between Pskov and Veliky Novgorod and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as well as the full-scale wars with Livonia, were mainly political, which was reflected in the active actions of the parties against the fortified settlements. In these cases, the necessity of large military contingents and siege equipment moving determined the choice of a season with the most predictable weather conditions.

Keywords: Pskov, Livonia, foreign policy, climate, transport communications, seasonal preferences, competition for resources

Information about authors:

Sergey Salmin
(Pskov, Russian Federation). Archaeological Centre of Pskov. Gertzen St., 1/1, Pskov, 180019, Russian Federation.
E-mail: [email protected]
Elena Salmina
(Pskov, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Pskov State University. Leon Pozemsky St., 6, Pskov, 180760, Russian Federation; Archaeological Centre of Pskov. Gertzen St., 1/1, Pskov, 180019, Russian Federation.

E-mail: [email protected]

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