Wolter von Plettenberg

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Gold coin depicting Wolter von Plettenberg (1525), National Museum in Warsaw

Wolter (or Walter) von Plettenberg (c. 1450 – February 28, 1535) was the Master (Landmeister) of the Livonian Order from 1494 to 1535 and one of the greatest leaders of the Teutonic knights. He was an important early Baltic German.
Plettenberg was born in Welver (in Meyerich Castle), Westphalia. He went to the fort of Narva at the age of ten. He joined the Order when he was about fifteen. In 1489 he was elected to marshal of the Order (Landmarschall), in 1491 he fought successfully against the city of Riga and was elected master in 1494. That same year Moscow closed down the Hanseatic office in Novgorod and imprisoned Hanseatic merchants (most of them were Livonians) there. Livonia was drifting into war with Muscovite Russia. After negotiations in 1498 failed, Plettenberg chose to prepare for pre-emptive attack against Pskov, which was then still a formally independent state, but under heavy influence from Moscow.
In 1500 Plettenberg made an alliance with Grand Duke of Lithuania, Alexander Jagiellon (the Treaty of Wenden), who had been at war with Russia since 1499. He also tried to convince Pope Alexander VI to issue a crusading bull against the Russians in order to acquire funding from the sale of indulgences, but his efforts were in vain. In the war with Russia (1501-1503), Plettenberg showed himself to be a talented and skilled commander. His strength lay in his skillful use of heavy cavalry and artillery fire. With such tactics von Plettenberg won the Battle of the Siritsa River (August 1501), where an army of Livonian Confederation of 8,000 foot a