Urban, William Lawrence Books
About the authors: William Urban received his PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. He is Lee L. Morgan Professor of History and International Studies at Monmouth College. The author of many books and articles, including The Baltic Crusade (Northern Illinois University Press) and The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (University of Indiana Publications) he also published his well-received monograph Dithmarschen, A Medieval Peasant Republic with Mellen in 1991.
Jerry C. Smith received his PD from Cornell University. He is currently Associate Professor of German at the College of William and Mary. In addition to articles and conference papers, he is the co-author of The Livonian Rhymed Chronicle (University of Indiana Publications) with William Urban.1991 0-7734-9783-8
Examines the existence of the Dithmarschen Republic (1227-1559), ruled by commoners who developed their own institutions, had their own written constitution, and successfully defended their political independence against the forces of Holstein, the combined powers of Schleswig and Holstein, and the united kingdom of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Argues that the unique characteristics of Dithmarschen are not unique, and that many medieval peasant communities shared these characteristics - the clan system, a militia, and the desire to govern themselves - but had lacked the advantageous geographic and political situation enjoyed by Dithmarschen. Concludes that the small size of the Republic finally prevented its survival due to a reluctance to dilute its sovereignty by associating more closely with neighboring states.1997 0-7734-8691-7
This translation of Renner's 16th century Baltic chronicle is an important source for early modern Russian history, dealing with the rise of Ivan the Terrible. Renner was a secretary to one of the important officers and observed the political process first-hand and he had access to documents and correspondence. The text is extensively footnoted and includes maps to assist the reader in following the complexities of the opening years of the Great Livonian War 1558-1583.