Battle of Riade

The Battle of Riade was fought between the East Franks and the Magyars at an unidentified location in northern Thuringia along the river Unstrut on 15 March 933. The battle was precipitated by the decision of the Synod of Erfurt to stop paying an annual tribute to the Magyras in 932. The battle was a morale-boosting victory for the East Franks.

In 924, a Magyar army defeated King Henry I in the field, but a captured prince allowed Henry to negotiate for terms; a truce of nine years, during which annual tribute was required of the Germans, was declared in 926. [Reuter, 143.] During the truce, Henry reorganised the defences of the Duchy of Saxony. At an assembly (926), Henry secured the construction of new castles and the authorisation of a new form of garrison duty: the soldiery were organised into groups of nine "agrarii milites" (farmer-soldiers), one of which was doing guard duty at any given time while the other eight worked the fields. [Ibid.] In time of invasion, all nine could man the castles. After he believed the necessary reforms had been made, Henry secured the support of the church in reneging on tribute payments in 932.

In preparation for the campaign, Henry levied mounted contingents from every region and duchy of Germany, though only Flodoard of Reims records the Bavarian presence. [Reuter, 142. Bernhardt, 16.] According to Widukind of Corvey, the Magyar forces readily fled at the coming of Henry's cavalry and the victorious German troops declared Henry emperor on the battlefield. [Reuter, 142.]


*Reuter, Timothy. "Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056". New York: Longman, 1991.
*Bernhardt, John W. "Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c. 936–1075". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.


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