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Battle of Steppes
DateOctober 13, 1213
LocationMontenaken, Belgium
Result Brabant defeat
Belligerents
Bishopric of Liège
County of Loon
Duchy of Brabant
Commanders and leaders
Bishop Hugh Pierrepont
Louis II, Count of Loon
Henry I, Duke of Brabant
Strength
unknown 4,000
Casualties and losses
27 knights and an unknown number of infantry killed 2,500 killed and an unknown number taken prisoner

The Battle of Steppes was fought in Belgium on October 13, 1213 between Hugh Pierrepont, Bishop of Liège, and Henry I, Duke of Brabant.

Cause

In 1212, Albert II Count of Dagsburg, the last ruler of the County of Moha died without a son.
Both Henry I, Duke of Brabant and Louis II, Count of Loon were related to Albert and claimed the county. The Duke of Brabant, was also allied with the King of France, who threatened to invaded Flanders, the traditional ally of the Bishopric of Liège. This gave Henry I the chance to invade the Bishopric, and to besiege Liège. Badly prepared, the Duke of Brabant retreated, plundering and looting the Bishopric, setting fire to Tongeren. Bishop Hugh Pierrepont rallied his allies Louis II, Count of Loon, the Count of Rochefort and the citizens of Huy, to pursue the Brabantines.

the Battle

The two parties agreed to deliver battle in the plain of Steppes. Henry I aligned his army on the higher ground with the sun in their backs. He also gave his armour to one of his knights, to avoid being targeted during the battle. Hugh put Louis II, Count of Loon on the right wing, the Count of Rochefort on the left wing and occupied himself the center with the militia from Liège and Huy.

The Count of Loon attacked first, drawing Brabantine reenforcements to the right wing. Then the rest of the Liège army fiercely attacked the weakened left and center. When the knight in the armour of Henry I was killed, panic broke out and the Brabantine cavalry began to flee the battlefield. The Liège militia army, eager on revenge for the destruction in their lands, butchered the Brabantine infantry. They pursued the fleeing army for several kilometers, killing everyone they could. The wounded were savagely mutilated and no quarter was given.

Consequences

The Battle of Steppes is one of the first battles where a professional army was beaten by a civilian army.
Moha was annexed to Liège.

The battle gave birth to the local legend of the intervention by the Virgin Mary, when a statue of her reflected the sun, blinding and causing panic amidst the Brabantines.
This miracle is still celebrated every year in May.

References

John France, Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000–1300 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999), 166.

External links

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