The Battle on the Ice

THE BATTLE ON THE ICE. In the year 6750, Grand Prince Aleksandr Iaroslavich, with his brother Andrey, went to the land of the Germans in great strength, leading Novgorodians and men from the Lower Lands; that the Germans should not brag, saying, "We shall make the Slavic nation bow down before us." For the city of Pskov had already been taken, and their governors set to rule the town.

And Grand Prince Aleksandr seized all the roads around Pskov, and stormed the city, and captured the Germans, and Chud, and the governors appointed by the Germans.

And having put them in chains, sent them to Novgorod. And delivered the city of Pskov from captivity.

And went and laid waste and burned the land of the Germans, and killed many, and some took captive.

But the Germans, in their arrogance, and having by that time again gathered a host, conspired among themselves, saying: "Let us go and overcome Prince Aleksandr, and seize him with our hands."

And they set out with their troops. And as Aleksandr's patrol observed them, they were smitten with a great fear

to see such a numerous host, and reported to Prince Aleksandr Iaroslavich. And on hearing of this, he was aggrieved, and went to the Church of the Holy Trinity, and prayed, weeping and shedding tears.

And set out towards the land of the Germans. And it was then winter. And as he entered their land, he broke up his force into companies, and sent them off on detached service.

And as they were so employed, the Germans killed commander Damash, the posadnik's brother, and Kerbet, men of great strength and valor; and with them many others; and some they took captive.

But several men escaped to Grand Prince Aleksandr Iaroslavich. And he began to get ready for battle.

And the Master, having heard of this, came forth against them with all his bishops, and all the multitudinous host of men of their nation, and those under their power, that happened to be on the near coast, and the auxiliaries sent by the king. And they reached a lake called Chudskoe.

And Grand Prince Aleksandr Iaroslavich saw them and turned and went back to the lake. And the Germans and Chud went after him. And the Grand Prince drew up his troops upon Chudskoe Lake, in a narrow strait at Crow's Crag.

And having strengthened himself by the power of the cross, and ordered his men, he marched against the enemy. And they joined battle upon Chudskoe Lake. Now, there fought, on either side, great multitudes: for his father, Grand Prince Iaroslav Vsevolodovich, had sent to his assistance his younger brother, Prince Andrei, in command of many warriors of his own troop. And so Grand Prince Aleksandr had multitudes of mighty and experienced warriors, like King David of old -- and as strong and staunch. And like them, the warriors of Grand Prince Aleksandr were filled with a martial spirit; for their hearts were like lions' hearts. And they said, "O our Prince, esteemed and well-beloved, the time has now come: we will lay down our lives for your sake." And Grand Prince Aleksandr, lifting up his arms towards heaven, spoke thus: "O God, judge Thou and give sentence in my quarrel. Help me, 0 Lord, against this boastful nation, as Thou didst help Moses against Amalek in the days of old; and my great-grandfather, Prince Iaroslav against Svyatopolk the Accursed."

And it was then Saturday; and at sunrise the two armies drew together. And the Germans and Chud, advancing in "hog" formation, fought their way through our ranks, and there was a great and cruel slaughter of the Germans and Chud, and a loud noise from spears breaking, and from swords clashing. It seemed as if the lake's frozen surface would give way; and the ice could not be seen for the blood that covered it all.

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