Black Soldier – Patron Saint: St Maurice and the Livonian Merchants

  • Anu Mänd Institute of History, Tallinn University, Estonia


This article discusses the cult and visual representation of St Maurice in late medieval Livonia (i.e. present day Estonia and Latvia), set in the broader context of the Baltic Sea region. The main, but not the only, promoters of his cult were the confraternities of the Black Heads – associations of journeyman merchants, existing in the three largest Livonian Hanse towns from the early fifteenth century onwards. The aim of the article is to offer explanations about why these associations chose warrior saints as their identity markers and why St Maurice figured so prominently among them.
How to Cite
MÄND, Anu. Black Soldier – Patron Saint: St Maurice and the Livonian Merchants. ICO Iconographisk Post. Nordisk tidskrift för bildtolkning – Nordic Review of Iconography, [S.l.], n. 1, p. 56-75, apr. 2014. ISSN 2323-5586. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 oct. 2021.


St Maurice, cult of saints, mediaeval Livonia, Brotherhood of the Black Heads, Great Guilds, merchants’ associations, Hanseatic region