The portion of the duchy lying east of the Elbe is mostly a fiat sandy plain, with extensive pine forests, though interspersed, at intervals, by bog-land and rich pastures.
As soon as possible the army pressed on in pursuit, Ney being sent across the Elbe to turn the position of the allies at Dresden.
The coastlands north of the mouth of the Rhine were occupied by the Canninefates, beyond them by the Frisii as far as the mouth of the Ems, thence onward to the mouth of the Elbe by the Chauci.
The earlier Saxony was the district lying between the Elbe and the Saale on the east, the Eider on the north and the Rhine on the west, with a fluctuating boundary on the south.
His object was twofold: first, to obtain the control of the great German rivers the Elbe and the Weser, as a means of securing his dominion of the northern seas; and secondly, to acquire the secularized German bishoprics of Bremen and Werden as appanages for his younger sons.
Navigable and canalized rivers, to which belong the great water-systems of the Rhine, Elbe and Oder, have a total length of about 600o m.
The crusaders of northern Germany never went to the Holy Land at all; they were allowed the crusaders' privileges for attacking the Wends to the east of the Elbe - a fact which at once attests the cleavage between northern and southern Germany (intensified of late years by the war of investitures), and anticipates the age of the Teutonic knights and their long Crusade on the Baltic. The crusaders of the Low Countries and of England took the sea route, and attacked and captured Lisbon on their way, thus helping to found the kingdom of Portugal, and achieving the one real success which was gained by the Second Crusade.
German priests and bishops carried the Christian faith to the Czechs and the Moravians, laboured among the Hungarians and the Poles, and won the wide district between the Elbe and the Oder at once for Christianity and for the German nation.
The Elbe forms the southern boundary of Holstein for 65 m., but the only river of importance within the province is the Eider, which rises in Holstein, and after a course of 120 m.
From both ridges spurs of greater or less length are sent off at various angles, whence a magnificent view is obtained from Breslau to Prague; the lowlands of Silesia, watered by the Oder, and those of Bohemia, intersected by the Elbe and the Moldau, appearing to lie mapped in relief.