Skip to content

The House of Hemp and Butter: A History of Old Riga

in stock, ready to be shipped
Original price $29.95 - Original price $29.95
Original price $29.95
$43.99 - $43.99
Current price $43.99
Founded as an ecclesiastical center, trading hub, and intended capital of a feudal state, Riga was Old Livonia's greatest city and its indispensable port. Because the city was situated in what was initially remote and inhospitable territory, surrounded by pagans and coveted by regional powers like Poland, Sweden, and Muscovy, it was also a fortress encased by a wall.

The House of Hemp and Butter begins in the twelfth century with the arrival to the eastern Baltic of German priests, traders, and knights, who conquered and converted the indigenous tribes and assumed mastery over their lands. It ends in 1710 with an account of the greatest war Livonia had ever seen, one that was accompanied by mass starvation, a terrible epidemic, and a flood of nearly Biblical proportions that devastated the city and left its survivors in misery.

Readers will learn about Riga's people—merchants and clerics, craftsmen and builders, porters and day laborers—about its structures and spaces, its internal conflicts and its unrelenting struggle to maintain its independence against outside threats. The House of Hemp and Butter is an indispensable guide to a quintessentially European city located in one of the continent's more remote corners.

ISBN-13: 9781501772429

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Publication Date: 10-15-2023

Pages: 342

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Age Range: 18 Years

Series: NIU Series in SlavicEast Europeanand Eurasian Studies

Kevin C. O'Connor is Professor of History at Gonzaga University. He is author of a number of books, including, The History of the Baltic States, Culture and Customs of the Baltic States, and Intellectuals and Apparatchiks.

What People are Saying About This

Andrejs Plakans

O'Connor has an attractive and highly readable writing style and his account has no 'national' axe to grind and thus strikes a fair balance between the relative significance of the various nationalities that populated the city in the 500-year period he surveys. For tourists planning to visit the city, he explains how contemporary physical features—location, suburbs, churches, street names in the medieval part of the city—are in part linked to the events of these early centuries.