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Niklot

Niklot

German prince
The basics
About
Gender male
Birth 1100
Death January 1, 1160
Family
Children: Pribislav of MecklenburgWertislaw of Mecklenburg
Authority VIAF id
The details
Biography

Niklot or Nyklot (1090 – August 1160) was a pagan chief or prince of the Slavic Obotrites and an ancestor of the House of Mecklenburg. He became chief of the Obotrite confederacy, including the Kissini and the Circipani, between the years 1130 and 1131. He remained in this position until his death in 1160. At the same time he was Lord of (Herr zu) Schwerin, Quetzin and Malchow. For nearly 30 years he resisted Saxon princes, especially Henry the Lion during the Wendish Crusade. He fought the conversion of the pagan Polabian Slavs to Christianity.

Pagan

After the death of Obodrite Prince Henry, a Christian, Niklot renounced Christianity in favor of traditional pagan beliefs.

Niklot began his open resistance when the German King (later Emperor) Lothar III granted the Obotrite realm to his Danish vassal Canute Lavard. Together with Pribislaw, the son of Henry of Alt-Lübeck, Niklot fought Lothar and Canute. After the murder of Canute in 1131, Niklot and Pribislav partitioned the Obotrite territory, with Niklot receiving the eastern lands. In order to weaken Pribislav in the following years, Niklot allied with Saxon lords, especially Count Adolf II of Holstein, allowing Slavic pirates to attack the Danes.

Wendish Crusade

The prince's Saxon allies turned against him during the 1147 Wendish Crusade. Although Niklot resisted the siege of his fortress at Dobin, he was forced to pay tribute to the Christian crusaders. He subsequently arranged peaceful terms with Adolf of Holstein, Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Henry of Ratzeburg.

Death

By 1158, King Valdemar the Great of Denmark began to pay Henry the Lion for assistance, leading Niklot to retaliate. The Danish king and the Saxon duke then allied in 1160. While the Danes harried the coast and distracted the Rani, the Saxons killed Niklot at his stronghold of Burg Werle; the Obotrite territory was largely partitioned by the Christians. Niklot's death ended Slavic control in Mecklenburg up to the Peene River. His son Pribislav recovered his inheritance as Prince of Mecklenburg in 1167 as a Saxon vassal.

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