Oh Hi There!
I’m Elise, And All That…

I’m Elise Loehnen, the editor-in-chief of Beso.com—and a relatively recent Los Angeles transplant.

Elise Loehnen, Editor-in-Chief, BesoSo here’s my deal: I’m originally from Missoula, Montana, where I grew up with chickens, cats, dogs, horses, and my own “mountain.” These days, though, I seem to spend most of my time hunting around for things that are beautiful and useful, whether it’s at my favorite flea market in Connecticut (Elephant Trunk), my favorite dress-laden boutique in NYC’s West Village (Albertine), or at any number of awesome websites that I troll at all hours (more on all of these spots later). For the past decade or so, I’ve been an editor at Conde Nast in New York, primarily at Lucky Magazine, where as the Editor at Large (and ultimately Deputy Editor) I got to write guides about shopping the cities of the world, and a column about all the random (but I would maintain, covetable) things I found to buy online. Hand-beaded Navajo barrettes? Leather “Possibles” bags turned out by war re-enactors that are actually undeniably chic? Any takers?

I grew up in an editorial tradition where my job and sole duty was to canvas these cities that I wrote about as comprehensively as possible, so that readers would be armed with all of the info they could possibly need to make informed decisions about where they chose to spend their time shopping. If I missed a boutique worth writing about, that was a fail. How could anyone trust me? To that end, what was an otherwise pretty glamorous gig often turned into a deathmarch. When I wrote a guide on Paris, for example, I walked every conceivable, boutique-dotted street. And since I’m dorky enough to carry a Fitbit, I can tell you that that netted out to about 14 miles of walking per day. Easy justification for what became a two-croissant-a-day habit. When it comes to canvassing the web, what I can’t track in miles, I can track in hours: This office supply round-up that I did for Beso? It took me about 18 hours of clicking around, at a minimum. I know…martyr. :)

But the point of this ramble? You can trust that all of us here at Beso—Diana, Kate, our deep bench of contributing editors (many of whom worked alongside me at Lucky over the years)—will be spending our days tirelessly looking for the best stuff online so that you simply don’t have to. Best stuff sounds pretty vague, right? Well, we’ll be looking for the best stuff that we like, but we need to hear what you like, too: So talk to us, because we’re here to serve you. You can email all three of us at: help@beso.com, you can tweet us @beso, or me directly at @eloehnen, or you can talk to us on Facebook by liking Beso and writing on our wall, and you can register for the site and start “favoriting” the finds you love, so we can add them to our stream.

Happy shopping!


  1. Names and sources

    The battle was fought in the territory of the monastic state of the Teutonic Order, on the plains between three villages:
    Grünfelde (Grunwald) to the west, Tannenberg (Stębark) to the northeast, and Ludwigsdorf
    (Łodwigowo, Ludwikowice) to the south. Władysław II Jagiełło referred to the site in Latin as in loco conflictus nostri, quem cum Cruciferis
    de Prusia habuimus, dicto Grunenvelt.[9] Later Polish chroniclers interpreted the word
    Grunenvelt as Grünwald, meaning “green forest” in German. The Lithuanians followed suit and translated the name as Žalgiris.[12] The Germans named
    the battle after Tannenberg (“fir hill” or “pine hill” in German).[13] Thus there are three commonly used
    names for the battle: German: Schlacht bei Tannenberg, Polish:
    Bitwa pod Grunwaldem, Lithuanian: Žalgirio mūšis. Its names in the languages of other involved peoples include Belarusian: Бітва пад Грунвальдам, Ukrainian: Грюнвальдська битва, Russian: Грюнвальдская битва,
    Czech: Bitva u Grunvaldu, Romanian: Bătălia de la Grünwald.

    The most important source about the Battle of Grunwald is Cronica conflictus Wladislai Regis Poloniae cum cruciferis anno Christi
    The most important source about the Battle of Grunwald is
    Cronica conflictus Wladislai Regis Poloniae cum cruciferis anno Christi

    There are few contemporary, reliable sources about the battle,
    and most were produced by Poles. The most important and trustworthy source is Cronica
    conflictus Wladislai regis Poloniae cum Cruciferis anno Christi 1410, which was written within a year of the battle by an eyewitness.[14]
    Its authorship is uncertain, but several candidates have been proposed: Polish deputy chancellor Mikołaj Trąba and Władysław II Jagiełło’s secretary Zbigniew Oleśnicki.[15] While the original Cronica conflictus did not survive, a short summary from the 16th century has been preserved.
    Another important source is Historiae Polonicae by Polish historian Jan Długosz
    (1415–1480).[15] It is a comprehensive and detailed account written several decades after the battle.
    The reliability of this source suffers not only from the long gap between the events and the chronicle, but also Długosz’s biases against the Lithuanians.[16] Banderia Prutenorum is a mid-15th-century manuscript with images and Latin descriptions of the
    Teutonic battle flags captured during the battle and displayed in Wawel Cathedral.
    Other Polish sources include two letters written by Władysław II
    Jagiełło to his wife Anne of Cilli and Bishop of Poznań Wojciech
    Jastrzębiec and letters sent by Jastrzębiec to Poles in the Holy See.[16] German sources include
    a concise account in the chronicle of Johann von Posilge.
    A recently discovered anonymous letter, written between 1411 and 1413, provided important details on Lithuanian maneuvers.[17][18]
    Historical background
    Lithuanian Crusade and Polish–Lithuanian union

    Main article: Northern Crusades

    In 1230, the Teutonic Knights, a crusading military
    order, moved to Chełmno Land and launched the Prussian Crusade against the pagan Prussian clans.
    With support from the pope and Holy Roman Emperor,
    the Teutons conquered and converted the Prussians by the 1280s and shifted their attention to the
    pagan Grand Duchy of Lithuania. For about a hundred years,
    the Knights raided Lithuanian lands, particularly Samogitia, as it separated the Knights in Prussia
    from their branch in Livonia. While the border regions became an uninhabited wilderness, the Knights gained very little territory.
    The Lithuanians first gave up Samogitia during the Lithuanian Civil War (1381–1384) in the
    Treaty of Dubysa. The territory was used as a bargaining chip to ensure Teutonic support for one of the
    sides in the internal power struggle.
    Territory of the State of the Teutonic Order between 1260 and 1410; the
    locations and dates of major battles, including the Battle of
    Grunwald, are indicated by crossed red swords
    Territory of the State of the Teutonic Order between 1260 and
    1410; the locations and dates of major battles, including the Battle of Grunwald, are indicated by crossed red swords

    In 1385, Grand Duke Jogaila of Lithuania agreed to marry
    Queen Jadwiga of Poland in the Union of Kreva. Jogaila converted to
    Christianity and was crowned as the King of Poland (Władysław II Jagiełło),
    thus creating a personal union between the Kingdom of Poland
    and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The official Lithuanian conversion to Christianity removed the religious rationale for the order’s activities in the area.[19]
    Its grand master, Conrad Zöllner von Rothenstein, supported by the Hungarian king, Sigismund of Luxemburg, responded
    by publicly contesting the sincerity of Jogaila’s conversion, bringing the charge to a papal
    court.[19] The territorial disputes continued over
    Samogitia, which had been in Teutonic hands since the
    Peace of Raciąż of 1404. Poland also had territorial claims against the Knights in Dobrzyń Land and Danzig (Gdańsk), but the two
    states had been largely at peace since the Treaty of Kalisz (1343).[20] The conflict was also motivated by
    trade considerations: The knights controlled the lower reaches of the
    three largest rivers (the Neman, Vistula and Daugava) in Poland
    and Lithuania.[21]
    War, truce and preparations

    In May 1409, an uprising in Teutonic-held Samogitia started.
    Lithuania supported the uprising and the knights threatened to invade.
    Poland announced its support for the Lithuanian cause and
    threatened to invade Prussia in return. As Prussian troops evacuated Samogitia, Teutonic Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen declared war on the Kingdom of
    Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania on 6 August 1409.[22] The Knights hoped to
    defeat Poland and Lithuania separately, and began by invading Greater Poland and Kuyavia,
    catching the Poles by surprise.[23] The Knights burned the
    castle at Dobrin (Dobrzyń nad Wisłą), captured Bobrowniki after a fourteen-day
    siege, conquered Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and sacked several towns.[24]
    The Poles organized counterattacks and recaptured Bydgoszcz.[25] The Samogitians attacked Memel (Klaipėda).[23] However, neither side
    was ready for a full-scale war.
    Lithuanians fighting with Teutonic Knights (bas-relief).

    Lithuanians fighting with Teutonic Knights (bas-relief).

    Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, agreed to mediate the dispute.

    A truce was signed on 8 October 1409, and was set to expire on 24 June 1410.[26] Both sides used this time to prepare for war,
    gathering troops and engaging in diplomatic maneuvering. Both sides sent letters
    and envoys accusing each other of various wrongdoings and threats to
    Christendom. Wenceslaus, who received a gift of 60,000
    florins from the knights, declared that Samogitia rightfully belonged to the knights and only Dobrzyń Land should
    be returned to Poland.[27] The knights also paid 300,000 ducats to Sigismund of Hungary, who had ambitions regarding the Principality of Moldavia,
    for mutual military assistance.[27] Sigismund attempted to break the Polish–Lithuanian alliance by offering Vytautas a king’s crown; Vytautas’s acceptance would have violated the terms of the Ostrów Agreement and created
    Polish-Lithuanian discord.[28] At the same
    time, Vytautas managed to obtain a truce from the Livonian Order.[29]

    By December 1409, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas had agreed on a common strategy:
    Their armies would unite into a single massive force and march together towards Marienburg (Malbork), capital
    of the Teutonic Knights.[30] The Knights, who took a defensive position,
    did not expect a joint attack, and were preparing for a dual
    invasion – by the Poles along the Vistula River towards Danzig (Gdańsk), and by the Lithuanians along
    the Neman River towards Ragnit (Neman).[3] To counter this perceived
    threat, Ulrich von Jungingen concentrated his forces in Schwetz (Świecie), a central location from where troops could respond to an invasion from any direction rather quickly.[31]
    Sizable garrisons were left in the eastern castles of Ragnit, Rhein (Ryn) near
    Lötzen (Giżycko), and Memel (Klaipėda).[3] To keep their plans secret and mislead the
    knights, Władysław II Jagiełło and Vytautas organised several raids into border territories,
    thus forcing the knights to keep their troops in place.[30]

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