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The '''Battle of Riade''' or '''Battle of Merseburg''' was fought between [[East Francia]] and the [[Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages|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 Magyars in 932. The battle was a morale-boosting victory for the East Franks.
The Magyars, who had originally served as mercenaries under [[Arnulf of Carinthia]], after his death in 899 began to campaign in the [[Kingdom of Italy (medieval)|Kingdom of Italy]] and East Francia. In 906 they broke up [[Great Moravia]] and one year later destroyed a [[History of Bavaria|Bavarian]] army under [[Luitpold, Margrave of Bavaria|Margrave Luitpold]] at the [[Battle of Brezalauspurc]].
In 924 a Magyar army invading the [[Duchy of Saxony]] defeated [[Henry the Fowler|King Henry I]] in the field, but an [[Árpád dynasty|Árpád]] prince captured near [[Werlaburgdorf|Pfalz Werla]] allowed Henry to negotiate for terms. A truce of nine years, during which annual tribute was required of the Germans, was declared in 926. During the truce, Henry reorganised the defences of the Saxonian duchy. At an 926 assembly, 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 milities'' (farmer-soldiers), one of which was doing guard duty at any given time while the other eight worked the fields. 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. Allegedly he had a dead dog thrown down in front of the Magyar negotiators, which amounted to a declaration of war.
In preparation for the campaign, Henry levied mounted contingents from every region and duchy of the [[Kingdom of Germany|German kingdom]], though only French chronicler [[Flodoard of Reims]] records the [[Duchy of Bavaria|Bavarian]] presence. The Magyars had besieged an unknown town but attempted to withdraw in the night because Henry and his army had camped in the neighborhood at Riade. Henry sent forward a small contingent of footsoldiers with a few cavalrymen as a screen for his main army. The king had learned what to expect from the preceding struggles, where the rapidity of the Magyar light cavalry and archers had brought them success. He confronted their onset with light armoured combatants at first, followed by a massed heavy cavalry attack. According to [[Widukind of Corvey]], the Magyar forces readily fled at the coming of Henry's horsemen and the victorious German troops declared Henry emperor on the battlefield. In his lifetime the Magyars did not dare to make a further raid on East Francia.
The exact location of the battle is unknown and several municipalities in [[Central Germany (geography)|Central Germany]] claim to be the site of the combat, among them [[Kalbsrieth]] and [[Riethgen]]. However the place of ''Riade'' rendered by Widukind denotes an army camp of King Henry, probably not identical with the battlefield.
*Bernhardt, John W. ''Itinerant Kingship and Royal Monasteries in Early Medieval Germany, c. 936–1075''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
*[[Timothy Reuter|Reuter, Timothy]]. ''Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056''. New York, NY: Longman, 1991.
*[[Antonio Santosuosso|Santosuosso, Antonio]]. ''Barbarians, Marauders, and Infidels: The Ways of Medieval Warfare''. New York, NY: MJF Books, 2004.