Monday, April 05, 2010

Pop History Moment: The Battle of the Ice

During the Battle of the Ice - which took place on this day in 1242 on Russia's Lake Peipus - Alexander Nevsky rebuffed an invasion attempt by the Livonian Order, a branch of the Teutonic Knights commanded by Hermann of Dorpat; Nevsky's victory was a significant setback for Roman Catholic forces during the Northern Crusades and probably saved the Russian Orthodox Church from destruction.

In the 1939 film Alexander Nevsky by Sergei Eisenstein (with a thrilling score by Sergei Prokofiev) two medieval armies meet and attempt to do battle for nothing less than men's souls; while thrilling, the film's timely overtones - coming, as they did, on the eve of World War II - somewhat distorted the historical record.
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