View Full Version : The Teutonic Order

Sunday, October 17th, 2004, 05:08 PM

A medieval military order modelled on the Hospitallers of St. John, which changed its residence as often as the latter. These residences, marking as many stages in its development, are:

(1) Accon (Acre), its cradle in Palestine (1190-1309)
(2) Marienburg, Prussia, the centre of its temporal domination as a military principality (1309-1525)
(3) Mergentheim in Franconia, which inherited its diminished possessions after the loss of Prussia (1524-1805)
(4) finally, Vienna in Austria, where the order has gathered the remains of its revenues and survives as a purely hospital order. A Protestant branch likewise subsists in Holland.

(1) There was already a Teutonic hospital for pilgrims from Germany in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, with a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, who is still the patroness of the order and after whom the name Mariani is sometimes given to its members. But this establishment, which was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Master of St. John, was broken up at the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin (1187).

During the Third Crusade German pilgrims from Bremen and Lübeck with the Duke of Holstein established a temporary hospital under the besieged walls of Acre; this was a large tent, constructed from the sails of their ships, in which the sick of their country were received (1190). After the capture of Acre this hospital was permanently established in the city with the co-operation of Frederick of Suabia, leader of the German crusade, and at the same time religious knights were attached to it for the defence of pilgrims.

The Order of Teutonic Knights was founded and took its place beside the other two orders of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers and the Templars. As early as 1192 they were endowed by Celestine III with the same privileges as the Order of St. John, whose hospital rule they adopted, and as the Order of the Temple, from which they borrowed their military organization. Innocent III in 1205 granted them the use of the white habit with a black cross.

The emperors of the House of Suabia heaped favours upon them. Moreover, they took sides with Frederick II even after he had broken with the papacy and in opposition to the other two military orders. During the Fourth Crusade, when the gates of Jerusalem were for the last time opened to Christians, under the command of this emperor, the Teutonic Knights were able to take possession of their first house, St. Mary of the Germans (1229). But it was not for long and before the end of the century they left Palestine, which had again fallen under the yoke of Islam (1291).

(2) A new career was already open to their warlike and religious zeal, in Eastern Europe, against the pagans of Prussia. This coast of the Baltic, difficult of access, had hitherto resisted the efforts of the missionaries, many of whom had there laid down their lives. To avenge these Christians a crusade had been preached; a military order founded with this object, the Sword-bearers (see MILITARY ORDERS, THE), had not been very successful, when a Polish duke, Conrad of Massovia, determined to ask the assistance of the Teutonic Knights, offering them in return the territory of Culm with whatever they could wrest from the infidels.

Hermann of Salza, fourth Grand Master of the order, was authorized to make this change by Honorius III and the Emperor Frederick II, who, moreover, raised him to the rank of prince of the empire (1230). The knight Hermann Balk, appointed Provincial of Prussia, with twenty-eight of his brother knights and a whole army of crusaders from Germany began this struggle which lasted twenty-five years and was followed by colonization.

Owing to the privileges assured to German colonists, new towns arose on all sides and eventually Germanized a country of which the natives belonged to the Letto-Slavic race. Thenceforth the history of this military principality is identified with that of Prussia (q.v.). In 1309 the fifteenth Grand Master, Sigfried of Feuchtwangen, transferred his residence from Venice, where at that time the knights had their chief house, to the Castle of Marienburg, which they made a formidable fortress.

The number of knights never exceeded a thousand, but the whole country was organized in a military manner, and with the constant arrival of new crusaders the order was able to hold its own among its neighbours, especially the inhabitants of Lithuania, who were of the same race as the natives of Prussia and, like them, pagans. In the battle of Rudau (1307) the Lithuanians were driven back, and they were converted only some years later, with their grand duke, Jagellon, who embraced Christianity when he married the heiress of the Kingdom of Poland (1386).

With this event, which put an end to paganism in that section of Europe, the Teutonic Knights lost their raison d'être. Thenceforth their history consists of incessant conflicts with the kings of Poland. Jagellon inflicted on them the defeat of Tannenberg (1410), which cost them 600 knights and ruined their finances, in order to repair which the order was obliged to have recourse to exactions, which aroused the native nobility and the towns and provided the Poles with an opportunity to interfere against the order.

A fresh war cost the order half its territory and the remaining half was only held under the suzerainty of the King of Poland (Treaty of Thorn, 1466). The loss of Marienburg caused the transfer of the Grand Master's residence to Königsberg, which is still the capital of Prussia properly so-called. To maintain itself against the kings of Poland the order had to rely on Germany and to confide the office of Grand Master to German princes. But the second of these, Albert of Brandenburg (1511), abused his position to secularize Prussia, at the same time embracing Lutheranism (1525). He made Prussia an hereditary fief of his house under the suzerainty of the Crown of Poland.

(3) Nevertheless, the dignitaries of the order in the remainder of Germany faithfully preserved its possessions, and having broken with the apostate chose a new Grand Master, Walter of Cronenberg, who fixed his residence at Mergentheim in Franconia (1526). After the loss of Prussia the order still retained in Germany twelve bailiwicks, which they lost one by one. The secession of Utrecht (1580) meant the loss of the bailiwick of that name in the Low Countries.

Louis XIV secularized its possessions in France. The Treaty of Lunéville (1801) took away its possessions on the left bank of the Rhine and in 1809 Napoleon abandoned its possessions on the right bank to his allies of the Confederation of the Rhine. The Teutonics retained only the bailiwick in the Tyrol and that in the Austrian States.

(4) Thus the order became purely Austrian, under the supreme authority of the Emperor of Austria, who reserves the dignity of Grand Master for an archduke of his house. Since 1894 it has been held by Archduke Eugene. There are at present 20 professed knights who are bound to celibacy while they enjoy a benefice of the order, and 30 knights of honour who are not bound to this observance, but who must furnish an entrance fee of 1500 florins and an annual contribution of 100 florins.

Moreover, their admission exacts a nobility of sixteen quarterings. The revenues of the order are now devoted to religious works; it has charge of 50 parishes, 17 schools, and 9 hospitals, for which object it supports 2 congregations of priests and 4 of sisters. Moreover, it performs ambulance service in time of war; it pays the cost of the ambulance, while lay Marians are engaged as ambulance bearers.

Thus, after various vicissitudes the Teutonic Knights are restored to their original character of hospitallers. Besides this Catholic branch in Austria the order has a Protestant branch in the ancient bailiwick of Utrecht, the possessions of which have been preserved for the benefit of the nobility of the country. The members, who are chosen by the chapter of knights, must give proof of four quarterings of nobility and profess the Calvinistic religion, but are dispensed from celibacy.

When Napoleon took possession of Holland in 1811 he suppressed the institution, but as early as 1815 the first King of the Low Countries, William I of Orange, re-established it, declaring himself its protector. The present order comprises 10 commanders, Jonkheeren, and aspirants (expectanten), who pay an entrance fee of 525 florins and have the right to wear in their buttonhole a small cross of the order.

Mac Seafraidh
Thursday, December 16th, 2004, 07:14 PM

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 01:44 PM


Grand masters (Hochmeister)of the Order 1198-

1) Heinrich I Walpot von Bassenheim 1198-1200.
(2) Otto von Kerpen, 1200-1206.
(3) Heinrich II von Tunna, 1206-1209.
(4) Herman von Salz, 1209-1239.
(5) Konrad I of Thuringia, 1239-1240.
(6) Gerhard von Malberg, 1241-1244.
(7) Heinrich III von Hohenlohe, 1244-1249.
(8) Gunther von Schwarzenberg, 1249-1253.
(9) Poppo von Osterna, 1253-1257.
(10) Hanno von Sangershausen, 1257-1274.
(11) Hartmann von Helbrungen, 1274-1283.
(12) Burkhard von Scwanden, 1283-1290.
(13) Konrad II von Feuchtwangen, 1290-1297.
(14) Gottfried von Hohenlohe, 1297-1302.
(15) Siegfried von Feuchtwangen, 1302-1310.
(16) Karl Bessart, 1311-1324.
(17) Werner von Orselen, 1324-1330.
(18) Lothar of Brunswick, 1331-1335.
(19) Dietrich von Altenburg, 1335-1341.
(20) Ludolf Konig von Wattzau, 1342-1345.
(21) Heinrich IV Dusener von Arfberg, 1345-1351.
(22) Winrich von Kniprode 1351-1382.
(23) Konrad III Zollner von Rothstein, 1382-1390.
(24) Konrad IV von Wallenrode 1391-1393.
(25) Konrad V von Juningen, 1393-1407.
(26) Ulrich von Jungingen, 1407-1410.
(27) Heinrich V von Reuss, 1410-1413.
(28) Michael Kuchenmeister von Sternberg, 1414-1422.
(29) Paul Belenzer von Ruszdorf, 1423-1440.
(30) Konrad VI von Erlichshausen, 1441-1449.
(31) Ludwig von Erlichshausen, 1450-1467.
(32) Heinrich VI von Reuss, 1467-1470.
(33) Heinrich VII Reffle von Richtenberg, 1470-1477.
(34) Martin Truchsetz von Wetzhausen, 1477-1489.
(35) Johann von Tieffen, 1489-1497.
(36) Friedrich of Saxony, 1497-1510.
(37) Albrecht of Brandenburg, 1510-1525.
(38) Walter von Cronberg, 1527-1543.
(39) Wolfgang Schutzbar, 1543-1566.
(40) Georg Hundt von Weckheim, 1566-1572.
(41) Heinrich VIII von Bobenhausen, 1572-1590.
(42) Maximillian of Austria, 1590-1618.
(43) Karl I of Austria, 1619-1624.
(44) Johann Eustach von Westernach, 1625-1627.
(45) Johann Kasper I von Stadion, 1627-1641.
(46) Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, 1641-1662.
(47) Karl Josef of Austria, 1662-1664.
(48) Johann Kasper II von Ampringen, 1664-1684.
(49) Ludwig Anton of Palatinate-Neuburg, 1685-1694.
(50) Ludwig Franz of Palatinate-Neuburg, 1694-1732.
(51) Clemens August of Bavaria, 1732-1761.
(52) Charles Alexander of Lorraine, 1761-1780.
(53) Maximillian Franz of Austria, 1780-1801.
(54) Karl II of Austria, 1801-1804.
(55) Anton Viktor of Austria, 1804-1835.
(56) Maximillian of Austria-Este, 1835-1863.
(57) Wilhelm Franz Karl of Austria, 1863-1894.
(58) Eugen Ferdinand Pius Bernhard of Austria, 1894-1923.
(59) Chivalric, Dr. Norbert Klein 1923-29,1st Clerical, 1929-1933.The Teutonic Order ceased to be a Chivalric Order of Knighthood in November 1929 when His Holiness Pope Pius XI, formally ratified the Orders new constitution making the Teutonic Order a Clerical Order, and as such Dr.Norbet Klein held the Chivalric Grand Mastership as the 59th Hochmeister from 1923-1929, from 1929-1933 the Orders 1st Clerical Grand Master.
(60)Chivalric, HI&RH Prinz Karl Friedrich von Deutschland, Herzog von Swabia, de jure Charles VIII I.R. 2002- His Imperial and Royal Highness Prinz Karl Friedrich von Deutschland, Herzog von Swabia, de jure Charles VIII of Germany, formally revived the Order of the Teutonic Knights back into a Chivalric Order of Knighthood thus making a seperate Teutonic Order from the Clerical Papal Order in Rome, by Imperial Decree on Christmas Day, 2001, His Imperial Highness, furthermore raised the Teutonic Order to the Rank and Dignity of an Imperial Chivalric Ceremonial Order of Knighthood by Imperial Decree, and assumed The Grand Mastership of The Imperial Teutonic Order on the 1st of May, 2002, as The 60th Chivalric Hochmeister of The Teutonic Order.
(60) 2nd Clerical, Paul Heider, 1933-1936.
(61) 3rd Clerical, Robert Schalzky, 1936-1948.
(62) 4th Clerical, Dr.Marian Tumler, 1948-1970.
(63) 5th Clerical, Ildefons Pauler, 1970-1988.
(64) 6th Clerical, Dr.Arnold Othmar Wieland, 1988-2000.
(65) 7th Clerical, Bruno Platter, 2000-


The headquarter of the Order

Today, the Deutsch-Ordens-Haus (House of the Teutonic Order) in Vienna houses the Church of Saint Elisabeth, the Office of the Grand Master, the archives and library, and the Treasury of the Order. St. Elisabeth, the Church of the Teutonic Order

A church already stood on the site of the present House of the Teutonic Order in Vienna at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. As a result of two fires, only the spire of this church is left standing today. The present church was finished in 1395 and it was consecrated to St. Elisabeth of Thuringia. The House of the Teutonic Order was lightly renovated in the baroque style between 1725 and 1735. The church was also altered at this time and can now be said to represent a harmonious blend of the gothic and baroque styles. Inside, the gothic triptych and the tombstones of the Teutonic knights are of particular note.

Archives & Library

Hundreds of crates of records from all the provinces of the Order were sent to Vienna in the decades after it became the new seat of the Grand Master in 1809. Happily for today's researchers, the records of the provincial leader of Moravia and Silesia were also sent to Vienna, in 1918. They now represent much sought after sources for researchers from Eastern Europe, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In recent years, the inventory of documents (including imperial, royal and papal deeds and bulls) have been catalogued in accordance with modern academic criteria. The archives contain 44 different categories of documents (so-called departments). The archives of the Teutonic Knights also contain a collection of about 1,000 old seals, treatises, inventories and catalogues.

The library of the Teutonic Order in Vienna contains some 10,000 volumes at present. These include important works of reference for users of the library, numerous titles devoted to the history of the Order, as well as its own academic publications. The library bookcases are fine joinery work: they are the prentice work of Grand Master Archduke Eugen of Austria. Ever since the era of Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I, every archduke has had to learn a craft and every archduchess has had to produce some handiwork and delicate embroidery (the embroidered stoles and chasubles of the order represent outstanding examples of this).

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 01:48 PM


Composition of the Order.

The Brethren:
Some of the Brethren formed the Military wing of the Order. There were three distinct groups of Brethren, the RitterBrudern, the Diendebrudern and the HalbBrudern.
Under the Statutes of the Order anyone wishing to join the Order had to speak German and not as is often portrayed be German. There were further restrictions on what capacity a new member could serve. The RitterBrudern and HalbBrudern had to be from a Noble family, while the Diendebrudern was open to anyone of military experience. The above combined with the requirement to take monastic vows limited the numbers of Brethren in the Order.

RitterBrudern: (Brother Knight)
These monastic Knights were the Elite of the Order. Their equipment was the best available of the time comparable with that of the best Knights of Western Europe. A White Jupon marked with a black cross distinguished the RitterBrudern from other troops in the Order's forces. The number of RitterBrudern peaked in the period just prior to the battle of Tannenberg. The highest figure given by Historians is around 750 though the more accepted figure is around 500. Order records put the loss of RitterBrudern at Tannenberg as 203 (out of the 250 present). The loss of between a third and a half of their total numbers was in itself a disaster but this number included almost every senior officer of the Order.

These Brothers were those not of Noble birth. Their military role was either as lesser men at arms forming the rear ranks to the RitterBrudern and HalbBrudern or as infantry. Their infantry role was usually that of an officer commanding non-Brethren foot. The closest equivalent would be that of an NCO in modern armies as usually a Lay or Brethren Knight had overall command. The Diendebrudern wore a light grey Jupon with a tau cross. A Tau cross is the shape of a capital T.

HalbBrudern: (Half Brothers)
These were members of the Order but whose period of service and duties were less than the RitterBrudern or DiendeBrudern. Unlike these Brethren the HalbBrudern did not take monastic vows of service for life. These Half Brothers may well have been an attempt to encourage people unwilling to join the Order for life or those fulfilling lesser Crusader vows. The HalbBrudern wore a light grey Jupon with a tau cross. Unlike other Brethren of the Order it appears that the HalbBrudern were allowed to combine their family coats of arms with that of the Tau Cross. This may explain why examples of such have been found even though the Statutes of the Order expressly forbid such practises. That said even some Hochmeisters quartered their coats of arms with the Order's Cross.

Other forces of the Order:
The Brethren of the Order formed a very small proportion of available troops. The majority were supplied vassals, the rest by volunteers.

The Vassals:
There was no uniform law on vassalage within the Order controlled lands. The Germanised areas fell under the equivalents of Imperial law on the subject, all of Prussia being technically a Imperial Fief held by the Order. Conquered Polish and Lithuanian lands appear to have followed Polish precedent on vassal service. Running alongside these was vassalage in the 'Prussian fashion' this only applied to the natives or non-nobles in the case of Polish and Lithuanian lands. German and Polish vassalage differed only in the details so is not covered separately.

MitBrudern: (Lay Knights)
Nobility that held land granted to them by the Order. These Nobles were almost always German though some of the border families were Polish in origin. As with much of Europe the holding of land imposed certain duties on the holder. In the case of land granted by the Order the amount defined the service. A surviving Order document relating to land holdings in Chelmno, dated 1223 provides information on two main types of service, The Rossdienst and the Platendienst. The Rossdienst was anyone holding over 40 Ian (also called a Hufen) was expected to muster a horseman in full armour with a barded steed along with two retainers, this forming the traditional German Lance. Note the barded steed may well be a mistranslation and in fact may merely mean a horse in a cloth housing. The Platendienst was anyone holding fewer than 40 Ian and usually refereed to native Prussians who was expected to muster in lesser armour and be mounted. Later Order documents show a reduction in the minimum, some as low as 15 Ian for Rossdienst. However these reductions appear in areas long pacified by the Order. There are two probable reasons for this. Firstly that these 'secure' areas were more effectively farmed/managed and so provided greater wealth. Secondly by the late 14th Century the Order was increasingly allowing vassals to buy their way out of military service so a downward trend in the minimum Ian would have increased revenues. Certainly frontier estates retained larger minima.

Volunteers, Crusaders and Adventurers:
Prior to 1400 the Order was able to recruit large numbers of volunteers for its campaigns. These volunteers were mostly German however some Grandees of European Nobility also took part. Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) of England for instance campaigned twice in Prussia in the 1390's. These volunteers served for a variety of reasons, some to fulfil crusading vows, others for prestige and many for loot.

German Colonists:
From its earliest conquests in the Baltic the Order encouraged German Colonists to settle in the new territories. This created numerous 'German' Towns and villages. As a result by the late 14th Century the Order was able to call upon quite significant Militias from these towns and villages. These Militias did take to the field though their usefulness was as suspect as their German counterparts, their primary function was defence of their town. The Richer Burghers of the towns were able to buy their way out of field service by supplying a mercenary replacement. This was either a
mounted Knight or a foot soldier depending on their wealth.

Native troops:
The Order recruited large numbers of native troops to serve with their armies. These contingents were invariably lightly equipped and the least effective of the Order's soldiers. They were however abundant and provided the bulk of the army and as often as not took the brunt of the casualties as well. The quality of these troops was also highly variable. The Border provinces of the Livonian territories provided an enthusiastic levy for the Order as they were usually employed to fight their traditional enemies the Estonians. The long held Prussian Provinces tended to provide the least effective levy, presumably as their fighting spirit had long been crushed by Order control. It was the provinces that bordered Lithuania and Poland that produced the best native troops and also the most revolts. Overall the best were the light horse who were usually recruited under the Platendienst, these forming contingents known as Turkopolen. The levy foot were usually bow or spear armed and carried a shield. They however faired badly in European style warfare, these native foot may well have formed the majority of the infantry ridden down by the Lithuanians at the start of the battle of Tannenberg. That said the lightness of the native foot made them highly useful for the more normal raid and counter raid that distinguishes much of the Order's frontier wars of the period. They were far more effective in the woods and marshes of Lithuania than the heavily armoured mercenary infantry and Knights of the Order.

The Order used mercenaries to bolster its forces, particularly as more vassals bought their way out of military service. These mercenaries were usually German in origin, for no other reason than the fractured nature of the Holy Roman Empire created large numbers of these troops. Precise numbers are not known though the Polish Chronicler Jan Dlugosz states around 4,000 hired troops were present at Tannenberg out of some 30,000. What is not clear is whether Dlugosz is referring to mounted Knights only. This is probable as Dlugosz give scant information on the foot of the Order. Accounts of the Order confirm the approximate numbers of Dlugosz. They note 1237 Knightly lances were present at the battle of Tannenberg, assuming 3 to lance that gives a total of 3711 men. These lances were paid 11 marks per month. To put this in perspective this would buy 8 cows or 400 geese at the time of Tannenberg.

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 02:17 PM
Castle of the Teutonic Order, Mainau Island, Lake Constance, Germany.




Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 02:24 PM

OF THE TEUTONIC ORDER 1070-15001070 Possible founding date of the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem by Amalfi merchants.

1098 Crusaders of First Crusade captured Jerusalem.

1113 Hospital of St. John recognized by papal bull as separate order.

1118 Hugh of Payens of Burgundy and Godfrey of Saint Adhemar, a Fleming, with seven other knights were credited with founding the Templars whose headquarters was on or near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

1126 Hospital of St. John displayed possible military attributes; its "constable" was cited in sources.

1127 Possible date of the founding of the German Hospital of St. Mary in Jerusalem.

1128 Probable circulation of St. Bernard of Clairvaux' Liber ad milites templi de laude novae militiae.

Jan., 1129 Council of Troyes recognized the Temple as an order.

1131 King Alfonso I of Aragon and Navarre attempted to turn over the kingdom to the Templars, Hospitallers, and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in his will.

1143 Two sources of Pope Celestine II mention a German hospital in Jerusalem in some kind of dispute with the Hospital of St. John; the German hospital was put under the supervision of the Hospital of St. John.

1147-1149 Second Crusade.

1170's John of Würzburg mentioned the German hospital in Jerusalem in his Description of the Holy Land.

1172 German monk Theodorich wrote Guide to the Holy Land.

1176 Sophia, Countess of Holland, was buried in the German hospital in Jerusalem.

May 1, 1187 Hospitallers and Templars defeated by the Muslims at Nazareth.

July 4, 1187 Battle of Hattin lost by crusaders; Hospitallers, Templars, and the "flower of the nobility" devastated.

Oct. 4, 1187 Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin.

1190 Third Crusade featured the German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, King Richard I of England, and King Philip II of France; the crusaders lay siege to Acre; Germans from Luebeck and Bremen probably established a field hospital named after the previous German hospital of St. Mary in Jerusalem.

Sep., 1190 King Guy of Jerusalem awarded Teutonic Order or "Teutonic Knights" a portion of a tower in Acre; the bequest was re-enforced on Feb. 10, 1192; the order perhaps shared the tower with the English Order of the Hospital of St. Thomas.

Feb. 6, 1191 Questionable bull of Pope Clement III approving the German hospitaller order at Acre.

Jul. 12, 1191 Siege of Acre ended in crusader victory.

Apr., 1195 Count Palatinate Henry of Champagne provided Teutonic Knights the house of Theodore of Sarepta in Tyre.

Mar., 1196 Count Palatinate Henry conferred possessions in Jaffa (Joppa) on Teutonic Knights.

Dec. 21, 1196 Pope Celestine III took the "Hospital of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem" under his protection

1196 Hermann von Salza may have accompanied Landgraf Hermann von Thüringen to the Holy Land.

May 20, 1197 German emperor Henry VI gave the Teutonic Knights a hospital in Barletta, Italy.

Jul. 18, 1197 Henry VI gave Teutonic Knights a church and cloister (of the Holy Trinity) in Palermo, Sicily.

Mar. 5, 1198 Teutonic Knights established as a military order in a ceremony in Acre's Temple which was attended by the secular and clerical leaders of the Latin Kingdom.

1198 First military action of the Teutonic Knights with King Amalric II of Jerusalem; Amalric gave them (in August) a tower in Acre, formerly belonging to the Order of St. Nicholas.

Feb. 19, 1199 Bull of Pope Innocent III confirmed the Teutonic Knights' wearing of the Templars' white mantle and following of the Hospitallers' rule.

Aug., 1200 Teutonic Knights paid the sons of Theodore of Sarepta 200 besants for the house in Tyre to complete the deal.

1202 Gerold of Bozen gave the Teutonic Knights a hospital in Bozen.

1202 - 1204 Crusading effort led by Boniface of Montferrat diverted from Palestine or Egypt to Constantinople with influence of Venetians and pretender to the Byzantine throne.

Apr., 1204 Fall of Constantinople to the Latin crusaders.

Early, 1205 William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin conquered Patras, Andravida, Pundico Castro, Modon, and Coron in the Morea; Battle of Koundoura won by William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin with about 600 men over 5,000 Byzantine Greeks.

1206 Statutes of Margat adopted by the Hospitallers in annual chapter meeting.

1207 Famous singing contest held at the Wartburg; St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Hermann von Salza possibly attended.

1208 Teutonic Knights "marshal" appears in the sources; indicates the military nature of the order.

1208 - 1229 Albigensian Crusade in France.

Early 1209 Geoffrey Villehardouin, Prince of Achaia, in dividing up the Peloponnesus in his capital of Andravida, gave the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights four knightly fees; the Teutonic Knights' fee is near Kalamata.

1209 Teutonic Knights side with Hospitallers and barons in Acre against theTemplars and prelates; origin of long-standing opposition between the Templars and Teutonic Knights.

Oct. 3, 1210 Probable date of election of Hermann von Salza as grand master of the Teutonic Knights; the date coincided with the date of the marriage in Tyre of John of Brienne to Mary; it was also the date of John's coronation as King of Jerusalem.

Sep., 1211 Frederick II chosen king in Germany.

1211 Burzenland settled by the Teutonic Knights with the authority of Hungary's King Andrew II.

Jul., 1212 Peter II of Aragon defeats the Moors at Las Navas de Tolosa.

1212 Adomadana given to the Teutonic Knights by King Leo of Armenia.

1212 Children's Crusade: spring---German phase; June--- French phase.

Sep. 12, 1213 Simon of Montfort wins the battle of Muret; Peter II killed.

Feb. 24, 1214 King Leo of Armenia granted Teutonic Knights Amudain, the castle of Sespin, and more.

Nov., 1215 Innocent III called the Fourth Lateran.Council; new crusade proclaimed; Hermann von Salza probably at the Fourth Lateran Council representing his order.

1215 Frederick II crowned in Aix-la-Chapelle; took the cross.

1215 Magna Carta signed in England.

1215 Dominican Order founded.

Feb. 18, 1216 Innocent III issued a bull of protection for the Teutonic Knights.

Dec., 1216 Hermann von Salza attended Frederick II's court in Nuremberg; first meeting between the Teutonic Knights' grand master and the emperor.

Feb., 1217 Hermann von Salza received possessions in Sicily from Frederick II while at Ulm.

Jun.24, 1217 Frederick II granted the Teutonic Knights the same status as the Templars and Hospitallers in the Kingdom of Sicily.

1217-1221 Fifth Crusade.

May - Aug. 1218 Crusading army lands in Egypt; Hermann von Salza at Damietta; Saphadin died (1199ó1218); al-Kamil, his son, became caliph (1218- 1238); crusaders captured Damietta.

1218 - 1219 Patriarch of Jerusalem, church officials, Templars and Hospitallers advised Pelagius not to accept peace terms of Sultan al-Kamil to surrender Jerusalem; contrary advice offered by King John of Jerusalem, Earl Ranulf of Chester, and the German leaders.

Spring, 1220 Hermann von Salza went to Acre with King John of Jerusalem.

Nov., 1220 Hermann von Salza was with Frederick II in Italy; first identified by name as Hermann von Salza in documents; Frederick II crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Honorius III.

1220 Leopold VI of Austria presented the Teutonic Knights the site of the castle of Montfort near Acre.

Jan. 9, 1221 Honorius III gave privileges to the Teutonic Knights; as an order, they now were on the same level as the Templars and the Hospitallers.

Jan - Apr, 1221 Hermann von Salza was in Italy; 57 privileges were given by Honorius III to the Teutonic Knights (Honorius III granted 113 to the Teutonic Knights during his pontificate).

mid-April, 1221 Hermann von Salza accompanied the duke of Bavaria and other German nobles to Damietta; arrived in May.

Aug. 30, 1221 Battle of Mansurah; crusaders surrendered in Egypt (Templars led the rearguard action); peace treaty; Hermann von Salza and the master of the Temple held as hostages by the Muslims.

1222 "Golden Bull" of Hungary, first issue.

1223 Hermann von Salza negotiated with the pope over Gunzelin; later in the Holy Land, he arranged the marriage for the emperor.

1224 Hermann von Salza was involved in the Treaty of Dannenberg.

Nov., 1225 Frederick II married Isabella (Yolande) of Brienne and claimed the throne of Jerusalem; Hermann von Salza was present.

1225 Teutonic Knights forcibly expelled from Burzenland by king Andrew II; Conrad of Masovia requested aid from the Teutonic Knights in Prussia.

1226 "Golden Bull of Rimini" from Frederick II for the Teutonic Knights giving them wide-ranging authority in the name of the empire in Prussia.

1227 Montfort rebuilt---renamed Starkenberg

Sep., 1228 Frederick II arrived in the Holy Land accompanied by Hermann von Salza.

Feb. 18, 1228 Frederick II took control of Jerusalem from the Egyptian Sultan al-Kamil by treaty; Hermann von Salza with Frederick.

Mar. 12, 1228 Hermann von Salza sent a letter to Gregory IX from Joppa informing him about the treaty.

Mar. 18, 1228 Frederick II crowned King of Jerusalem in the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem; then held high court in the house of the Hospital of St. John.

Apr., 1229 Peace of Paris ended Albigensian Crusade.

Apr., 1229 Frederick II gave Teutonic Knights former house of Germans in Jerusalem; also a house that once belonged to King Baldwin located in the Armenian street near the church of St. Thomas (plus a garden and six acres of land).

May 1, 1229 At odds with the Templars and Ibelins, Frederick II departed Acre; feared losing Apulia to John of Brienne.

1229-1244 German Hospital of St. Mary in Jerusalem expanded.

1230 Kulm recognized by Pope Gregory IX as belonging to the Teutonic Knights.

1231 Teutonic Knights' Hermann Balke advanced into Prussia.

1231 Gautier of Brienne gave the Teutonic Knights Beauvoir.

1231 St. Elizabeth of Hungary died at Marburg; later was canonized (1234).

1234 Teutonic Knights won the battle at Sirguna, Prussia.

1234 Pope took control of Prussia; leased it to the Teutonic Knights

Spring, 1235 Dobriner Order incorporated into Teutonic Knights; approved by Frederick II and Gregory IX.

Sept., 1235 Andrew II of Hungary died; Bela IV succeeded him (until 1270).

Dec. 23, 1236 Gregory IX taxed the Peloponnesus to support crusading ventures; preceptor of the Teutonic Knights identified in the Morea as one of three collectors of the tithing effort.

1237 Frederick II's second Lombard campaign; Hermann von Salza at Battle of Cortenuova.

1237 Teutonic Knights and Swordbrothers unite.

Jul., 1237 Geoffrey II of Achaia gave the Teutonic Knights a hospital in Andravida.

1238 Frederick II's third Lombard campaign; Hermann von Salza's health failed.

Mar., 1239 Hermann von Salza died in Salerno and buried in Barletta; Frederick II excommunicated.

Mar., 1239 Robert de l'Isle donates property (Villegrot) near Veligosti to the Teutonic Knights.

Apr. 9, 1241 Battle of Liegnitz; Mongols defeat army of Poles and Germans including Hospitallers, Templars, and Teutonic Knights.

Apr. 5, 1242 Russians under Alexander Nevsky defeat the Teutonic Knights on Lake Peipus.

1244 Muslims recapture Jerusalem.

Oct. 31, 1246 Innocent IV transferred the Hospital of St. James to the Templars.

1257 Julian of Grenier, lord of Sidon, donated a fortress called Cave of Tyron to the Teutonic Knights (about 12 miles east of Sidon) signifying the order's role in Holy Land was expanding.

1257-1261 Teutonic Knights bought large land complex (called Souf or Schuf) northeast of Sidon from Julian Grenier, lord of Sidon for 23,000 crusader besants.

Oct. 16, 1258 Peace treaty among the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights signed in Acre.

1258 Teutonic Knights buy a manor from John de la Tour, constable of Sidon, and two manors from John of Schuf and assumed the responsibility for defense north of Acre.

Jul., 1260 Teutonic Knights routed at Durben; Prussians revolted.

1261 Teutonic Knights bought fief made up of several manors called Schuf from Andrew of Schufe.

May, 1263 All Teutonic Knight possessions near Sidon lost to Muslims after Baybars won battle of Sidon.

1290 Teutonic Knights complete a 30óyear effort to control Prussians.

May 18, 1291 Fall of Acre; Hospitaller and Templar headquarters moved from Acre to Cyprus; Teutonic Knights headquarters moved from Acre to Venice.

1306 Hospitallers began conquest of Rhodes.

Nov. 28, 1309 Trial of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Templars (in Paris).

1309 Hospitallers' headquarters moved from Cyprus to Rhodes.

1309 Teutonic Knights' headquarters moved from Venice to Prussia.

May 16, 1312 Hospitallers awarded Templars' estates throughout western Europe, Cyprus, and Greece.

Mar. 15, 1314 Jacques de Molay, Templar grand master, and Preceptor of Normandy burned at the stake in Paris.

Sep. 9, 1320 Teutonic Knight commander in the Morea died in battle against the Greeks near the fortress of St. George.

1348 Plague devastated the Byzantine Empire.

1376 - 1381 Hospitallers leased the Principality of Achaia from Joanna of Naples for 4,000 ducats per year.

1383 or 1384 Strife between Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights in the Peloponnesus.

1387 Rudolf Schoppe, preceptor of the Teutonic Knights in the Morea, became the field deputy of Pedro Bordo de San Superan.

1391 List of Moreote fiefs included the Hospital of St. John and the Teutonic Knights.

1401 Jacob of Arkel, preceptor of the Teutonic Knights in the Morea, rewarded with vineyards at Modon and Coron by the Venetians.

1402 Source identified a number of Teutonic Knight monasteries in the Morea including St. Steven in Andravida.

1410 Teutonic Knights defeated at Tannenberg; bankrupted

May 21, 1433 Teutonic Knight procurator John Nichlausdorf in Rome reported he protested to the Byzantine representative the loss of properties in the Morea.

Apr. 27, 1435 Teutonic Knights' representative at the Council of Basel asked the return of possessions in the Morea from the Byzantines.

1435 1437 Johann Franke attempted to purchase Mostenitsa.

1500 Turks conquered Modon from the Venetians and expelled the Teutonic Knights from the Peloponnesus.

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 02:52 PM

Although the battles of World War II were particularly destructive in the northern region of Poland, many traces of the distant past survived. Most notable of these are vestiges of the struggles between the Poles and the Knights of the Order of Holy Virgin Mary, commonly known as the Teutonic Knights. The monuments and relics of the last thousand years - towns and castles that changed hands back and forth between Polish and German rulers - today constitute part of a common European repository of culture.

The Order of Teutonic Knights came to Poland at the invitation of Polish royalty, to help convert the heathen Prussians to christianity. Instead, the order took control over large part of northern Poland and began building their strongholds. The most impressive fortress went up in the town of Malbork on the right bank of Nogat, the right branch of the delta of Vistula river. In 1309, the Grand Master moved his seat from Venice to Malbork, officialy making it the Order's capital.

The castle was captured by Polish forces in 1475 and subsequently became the residence of Polish kings visiting Prussia. By the turn of the 19th century, the area had been annexed by Prussia. That was when local authorities began the dismantling of the castle to reuse the bricks. Under the influence of German Romanticism, restoration work began, with the castle being seen as a symbol of Prussian imperial tradition. As it stands today, the castle represents a good illustration of 19th-century conservation methods. Following substantial World War II damage the castle was reconstructed by Polish specialists, who returned the historic halls, chapels, corridors and courtyards to their original 14th century splendor.

The Malbork castle is a classical example of a medieval fortress, one of the best of its kind in entire Europe. Together with a system of multiple defense walls with gates and towers, covering over 80 acres, it is one of the largest such strongholds in the world. The castle itself is divided into three major parts; the oldest section is the rectangular High Castle with arcaded courtyard containing among others refectory, chapterhouse, St. Mary's chapel and treasury. In 14th century the old forecastle was converted into the Mid Castle with the Grand Refectory, The Knights' Hall and the Palace of the Grand Master. The Lower Castle encompassed the armory and the St. Lawrence Church.

The castle interiors house several exhibitions, including a permanent exhibition detailing the castle's history, together with collections of medieval sculpture, stained-glass windows, coins and medals, weaponry, iron and foundrywork, pottery, tapestries, as well as a priceless collection of amber art. In the summer, sons et lumiere spectacles are held in the castle courtyards.







Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 06:00 PM
Weren't the Teutonic Knights the ones who Christianized Prussia and brutally destroyed Prussian culture to begin with?

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 06:17 PM
Weren't the Teutonic Knights the ones who Christianized Prussia and brutally destroyed Prussian culture to begin with?Indeed they Christianised the region. Invited by the Polish to christianise their neigbours & finally authorised by the Papacy for a Crusade upon the Baltic populace there. The Baltic culture dwindled as a result.

Though large parts of what is known as modern prussia was once part of Ancient Germania. The small potion to the east on the map which later became Ost Preußen & a small potion of West Preußen was the domain of the Baltic tribe which the name of Prussia is derived from. Though the area in question has been changing hands since the times of the romans therefore explaining various over laps of various ethnicities & with it claims from each group.


Though this thread is made for purely a historical perspective of the Order not intended for arguements to arise over the area in question.

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 06:17 PM
Weren't the Teutonic Knights the ones who Christianized Prussia and brutally destroyed Prussian culture to begin with?

Teutonic knights christianized Prussia, Poland, baltic states and a little belt of western Russia. All pagan pre christian cultures were destroyed. Officially at least. But seem that something survived far in the east (baltic states).

Thursday, February 24th, 2005, 08:42 PM


Reproduction shield as an example bearing the Hochmeister's arms


The banner of the Order



Two examples of the Hochmeister's banner, both from different periods

Saturday, September 16th, 2006, 05:42 PM
Of course, the military orders derived from the armed guards given to the early missionaries [especially the early missionaries into pagan Europe] who were likely to be killed if they had no such protection.

From there, orders were formed to protect pilgrims too.

"Rulers learned that the military orders were willing to serve in places that secular knights would not, or could not.
The military orders also responded to deeply felt needs of the human psyche - they reconciled the apparent contradictions between spiritual and earthly warfare.
Christians did not have to remain passive when confronted by great evils; nor did they have to wait for a shift in public opinion or the presence of a great leader to raise an armed force.
The military orders made the crusade an on-going operation, one that never ceased or rested".
['The Teutonic Knights', W Urban]

That is why The Order can never die and why some here have suggested its revival in a new form.

The Black flag of the Order

A very good thread on the Teutonic Knights;

Link to the modern Order;

Wikipedia article which has more good links;

Thulian Imperial Inquisitor's important thread on a Knight Order for the Modern World;

A project which must slowly unfurl in our minds because the battle has now shifted from the political to the the spiritual in this new millennium.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, 04:39 PM
I don´t understand why the superior of the teutonic order converted to lutheranism in the end of XVI century, it was a marvellous order.

Fritz Todt
Thursday, November 23rd, 2006, 05:55 PM
Link to the modern Order;

This is not the true modern Teutonic Order, in 1929 the Teutonic Knights were converted to a purely spiritual religious order, and a "Prinz Karl Friedrich von Deutschland" doesnt exist.

For more information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teutonic_Knights

And by the way, the Order is catholic again.

Monday, November 26th, 2007, 08:26 PM
The Teutonic Order

History of the Order

The Teutonic Order was founded in 1190 during the siege of Acre, when a hospital brotherhood was established to care for the many sick German crusaders. It was given a building after the conquest of the city, and in 1198 was turned into a military-monastic order on the model of the Hospitallers of Saint John and the Templars. This creation reflected the growing involvement of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the Holy Land.

From the start, the order started a policy of conquering land and building up independent territory: in the Holy Land, in Hungary in 1211-25, and later in Prussia, after it absorbed the Sword-Brethren in Livonia. It was in Prussia that the order fought with the Polish dukes of Masovia and Silesia to subjugate the pagan Prussians and fight against Novgorod. After the fall of Acre in 1291 the Grand Master went to Venice, and, following the conquest of Pomerelia in 1309, to Marienburg in Prussia. Thus the Order, by now exclusively nobiliary, came to form an independent political entity. In 1243, Pope Innocent IV had placed the Order's possessions in the Pope's domain, but in practice the Order was completely independent. Its fortunes began to fade in 1410 with the defeat inflicted at Tannenberg by Poland-Lithuania, and a revolt in its territories in 1454-66 further diminished it and it became a vassal of Poland.

The Reformation brought many changes to the Order. In 1525, the Hochmeister Albrecht of Brandenburg-Anspach secularized the Order's Prussian holdings into the duchy of Prussia, resigned from the order, became Lutheran, and gav ehomage for the duchy to the king of Poland on April 10, 1525. In Livonia, the Ordenmeister Livlands Gotthard von Ketteler did the same in 1561 and turned the remnants of the order's estates (most of which had been divided between Sweden and Poland) into the duchy of Kurland. In the German Empire, the Deutschmeister became Grand Master in 1530 and the seat of the Order transferred from Marienburg to Mergentheim; the order survived in Germany, adapting to local politics. The protection of the Habsburg dynasty (which reformed the order in 1606) proved a mixed blessing: the order survived, but it never regained any independence, and its efforts were redirected in the Habsburgs' wars against the Turks. With the treaty of Westphalia in 1648 Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist knights received equal rights within an order headed since the late 16th century by a Habsburg Grand Master. Some bailliwicks like Elsass, Burgund, Koblenz, Österreich, Bozen remained Catholic, others like Thüringen, Sachsen were Protestant, and Hessen was tripartite (Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist). In 1637 the (Protestant) Dutch knights broke away and formed the Ridderlijke Duitsche Orde, Ballij van Utrecht, which still exists. In 1809 the order was expelled from most German states, and survived only in Austria. Reduced to four knights in 1839, it was reorganized by the Austrian emperor as a Catholic charitable institution. Nuns were introduced (they had existed in the medieval Order). Knights of honor (1866) and Marianer (1871) were created to attract financial support, while the knights themselves were essentially noble Austrian officers.

With World War I and the end of the Habsburg monarchy the order lost its last possessions. In 1923 archduke Eugen resigned as Grand Master; in 1929 the Pope reorganized the order as a purely religious order of priests. No more knights were created and the last one (Friedrich Graf Belrupt-Tissac) died in 1970. The order suffered during World War II when it was abolished by the Nazis in Austria and Czechoslovakia, but it survived in Italy and started again after 1945 in Austria and Germany.

In its current form, the order has 87 brethren, 294 sisters, 12 honorary knights and 613 Marianer or associates. The Hochmeister resides in Vienna.

Heraldry of the Order

The arms of the Order were originally Argent a cross sable. The emblem of the Order was a cross potent sable, thereon a cross flory or, thereon an escutcheon of the Empire. The cross sable was supposedly granted by the Emperor Henry VI, the cross or by the king of Jerusalem John, the fleurs-de-lys by Louis IX of France, and the escutcheon by Frederic II Hohenstaufen.


Insignia of the Teutonic Order, from Diderot's Encyclopédie


Insignia of the Teutonic Order, by Arnaud Bunel

Originally, the Hochmeister quartered his arms with those of the order, as did occasionally the Deutschmeister and the Baillif of Brandenburg. The high officers, baillifs, preceptors and commanders added the chief of the order to their arms.

Historical source: Udo Arnold, Eight Hundred Years of the Teutonic Order, in Malcolm Barder: The Military Orders: Fighting for the Faith and Caring for the Sick, Variorum, Aldershot (UK), 1994. A great book is:800 Jahre Deutscher Orden : Ausstellung des Germanischen Nationalmuseums Nurnberg in Zusammenarbeit mit der Internationalen Historischen Kommission zur Erforschung des Deutschen Ordens (edited by Udo Arnold with the collaboration of Irmtraud Frfr. von Andrian-Werburg, Ronny Kabus, Andrea M. Kluxen; Gutersloh : Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, 1990.


Monday, November 26th, 2007, 08:46 PM
..Didn't know the Order was abolished by National socialist government.....i thought the opposite.....:confused:

Uh......we could say the Hitler attack to U.S.S.R. being the last of a long series started in the middle ages.........fascinating.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007, 10:42 AM
about Teutonic Order...Im lookin' for bibliography about them in Pommern/Preussen, everything in German, English, Polish or Latin. If anyone is historician or just know any good sites/books/bilbiographies:D I would be very grateful.

Monday, February 4th, 2008, 06:41 PM
Reconstruction pictures of Teutonic knights.

The Teutonic Order is a predominantly German Roman Catholic religious order based in Vienna, Austria. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since it was a crusading military order during the Middle Ages and much of the modern era.

Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teutonic_Knights

Monday, October 26th, 2009, 09:31 AM
A little bit of history!


© Guy Stair Sainty

The Teutonic Order survived the collapse of the Habsburg Empire by abandoning its "chivalric" character, retaining only its religious identity. Henceforth the only members of the Order have been professed religious brothers or sisters. The last Habsburg Grand Master resigned shortly after the First World War and the admission of knights to membership ceased immediately; today there are no survivors from the Habsburg era and the Order functions as a religious Order of the Church, operating principally in Austria, Germany, north Italy and parts of former Yugoslavia. The familiares, who are decorated with either the Knights Cross or the Marian Cross, are not members of the Order, but are lay associates rewarded for their services. The Marian familiares are sometimes called "Teutonic knights" but this is a misnomer and the only persons entitled to be so styled are the twelve "Knights of Honour" who have been specially distinguished by the award of the knight's Cross by the Hochmeister. Only the protestant Teutonic Order in the Netherlands has maintained its traditional, chivalric character.

The Order's inspiration was the hospital founded by German pilgrims and crusaders between 1120 and 1128 but destroyed following the fall of Jerusalem in 1187. With the coming of the knights of the Third Crusade two years later, including a large proportion of Germans, a new hospital was built outside Acre to succor those wounded in the siege. This was constructed on a plot near the Saint Nicholas gate from the timbers and sails of the ships that had transported them to the Holy Land. Although this foundation had no connection with the earlier hospital, its example may have inspired them and, keen to restore Christian rule in Jerusalem, they adopted the city as part of their name, along with that of the Virgin Mary, the Order's principal Patron. The knights later adopted Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, giving her the status of their second patron after her canonization in 1235 and, like so many chivalric Orders, also honored Saint George, the patron of chivalry and knighthood. [1]

The new institution was confirmed by one of the German leaders, Duke Frederick of Swabia, on November 19, 1190 and, with the capture of Acre, the founders of the hospital were given a permanent site in the city. Pope Clement III confirmed this body as the "fratrum Theutonicorum ecclesiae S. Mariae Hiersolymitanae" by the Bull Quotiens postulatur of February 6, 1191 and, within a few years, the Order had developed as a Religious Military institution comparable to the Hospitallers and Templars, although initially subordinate to the Master of the Hospital. This subordination was confirmed in the Bull Dilecti filii of Pope Gregory IX of January 12, 1240 addressed to the "fratres hospitalis S. Mariae Theutonicorum in Accon". [2] The distinct German character of this new Hospitaller Order and the protection given to it by the Emperor and German rulers, enabled it to gradually assert a de facto independence from the Order of Saint John. The first Imperial grant came from Otto IV who gave the Order his protection on May 10, 1213 and this was followed almost immediately by a further confirmation by Frederick II on September 5, 1214. These Imperial confirmations each treated the Teutonic knights as independent from the Hospitallers. [3] By the middle of the fourteenth century this independence was acknowledged by the Holy See.

Some forty knights were received into the new Order at its foundation by the King of Jerusalem and Frederick of Swabia, who selected their first Master in the name of the Pope and Emperor. The knights of the new confraternity had to be of German birth (although this rule was occasionally relaxed), a unique requirement among the Crusader Orders founded in the Holy Land. They were drawn predominately from the noble or knightly class, although this latter obligation was not formally incorporated into the rule until much later. Their blue mantle, charged with a black cross, was worn over a white tunic, a uniform recognized by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and confirmed by the Pope in 1211. The waves of German knights and pilgrims who followed the Third Crusade brought considerable wealth to the new German Hospital as well as recruits. This enabled the knights to acquire the Lordship of Joscelin and, soon thereafter they built the castle of Montfort (lost in 1271), the rival of the great hospitaller fortress of Krak des Chevaliers. Never as numerous in the Holy Land as either the Hospitaller or Templar Orders, the Teutonic knights were nonetheless a formidable power.

Master Heinrich von Walpot (died 1200), who led the knights in their first decade came from the Rhineland. He begun by drawing up the Order's statutes, ready by 1199, which were confirmed by Innocent III in the Bull Sacrosancta romana of February 19, 1199. [4] These divided the knights into two classes, knights and priests, the former being obliged to take the triple monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as well as promise to aid the sick and fight the Infidel. Unlike the knights, who from the early thirteenth century had to prove "ancient nobility", [5] the priests were relieved of this obligation and their function was to celebrate the Mass and other religious offices, to administer the sacraments to the knights and the sick in their hospitals and follow them as almoners into war. Priests brothers could not become Masters, Commanders or even Vice-Commanders in either Lithuania or Prussia, but could become Commanders in Germany. [6] Later these two ranks were augmented by a third class, of serving brothers (Sergeants, or Graumäntler), who wore a similar mantle but in gray rather than blue and charged with only three branches of the Cross to indicate that they were not full members of the confraternity.

The knights lived communally, sleeping in dormitories on simple beds, eating together in a refectory, the fare modest and no more than was sufficient. Their clothes and armor were likewise simple but practical and their daily duties included training for battle, maintaining their equipment and working with their horses. The dignity of Master - the style of Grand Master came later - was elective for life, as in the Order of Saint John, and like all the great officers was limited to the professed knights. The Master's deputy, the (Grand) Commander, to whom the priests were subject, governed the Order in the absence of his superior. The (Grand) Marshal, likewise immediately subordinate to the Master, was in command of the knights and ordinary troops and was responsible for insuring they were properly equipped. The (Grand) Hospitaller was in charge of the sick and the poor, the Drapier was responsible for buildings and clothing, the Treasurer administered the property. Each of these latter offices were generally held for shorter terms, rotating annually. As the Order expanded across Europe, it became necessary to appoint Provincial Masters for Germany, then Prussia and later Livonia with an hierarchic structure paralleling the great offices.

Walpot's successor, Otto von Kerpen, came from Bremen and the third Master, Herman Bart, from Holstein, illustrating the broad distribution of the early knights. The most important early Master was the fourth, Herman von Salza (1209-1239), from near Meissen who, through his own efforts as a diplomatist, considerably enhanced the prestige of the Order. His intercessions in the conflicts between Pope and Emperor earned him the favor of both, augmenting the knights expanding wealth and possessions. During his Magistery the Order received no less than thirty-two Papal confirmations or grants of privileges and a further thirteen Imperial confirmations. By the middle of Salza's Magistery the Orders properties extended from Slovenia (then Styria), through Saxony (Thuringia), Hesse, Franconia, Bavaria and the Tyrol, with houses in Prague and Vienna. There were also outposts in the outer reaches of the Byzantine Empire, notably Greece and what is now Romania. At his death the Orders estates extended as far as the Netherlands in the north west of the Empire, south west to France, Switzerland, further south in Spain and Sicily, and east to Prussia. Salza received a gold cross from the King of Jerusalem as the mark of his Mastership, following the distinguished conduct of the knights at the siege of Damietta in 1219. By an Imperial act of January 23, 1214, the Grand Master and his successors were granted membership of the Imperial Court; as possessors of immediate fiefs they enjoyed a seat in the Imperial Diet with the Princely rank from 1226/27. [7] Immediate Princely rank was subsequently conferred on the Master of Germany and, after the loss of Prussia, to the Master of Livonia.
Complete Article:http://www.chivalricorders.org/vatican/teutonic.htm

The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem [1] (Official names: Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum, German: Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem), or for short the Teutonic Order (Today: German Order), is a German Roman Catholic religious order. It was formed to aid Catholics on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals to care for the sick and injured. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since they also served as a crusading military order during the Middle Ages. The membership was always small and whenever the need arose, volunteers or mercenaries augmented the military forces.

Formed at the end of the 12th century in Acre, in the Levant, the medieval Order played an important role in Outremer, controlling the port tolls of Acre. After Christian forces were defeated in the Middle East, the Order moved to Transylvania in 1211 to help defend Hungary against the Cumans. They were expelled in 1225 after allegedly attempting to place themselves under Papal instead of Hungarian sovereignty.

In 1230, following the Golden Bull of Rimini, Grand Master Hermann von Salza and Duke Konrad I of Masovia launched the Prussian Crusade, a joint invasion of Prussia to Christianise the Baltic Old Prussians. The Order then created the independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights in the conquered territory, and subsequently conquered Courland, Livonia, and Estonia. The Kings of Poland accused the Order of holding lands rightfully theirs.

The Order lost its main purpose in Europe with the Christianisation of Lithuania. The Order became involved in campaigns against its Christian neighbours, the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and the Novgorod Republic (after assimilating the Livonian Order). The Teutonic Knights had a strong economic base, hired mercenaries from throughout Europe to augment their feudal levies, and became a naval power in the Baltic Sea. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army decisively defeated the Order and broke its military power at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg).

In 1515, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I made a marriage alliance with Sigismund I of Poland-Lithuania. Thereafter the Empire did not support the Order against Poland. In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg resigned and converted to Lutheranism, becoming Duke of Prussia. Estonia and Livonia soon followed, and also the Order's holdings in Protestant areas of Germany.

The Order kept its considerable holdings in Catholic areas of Germany until 1809, when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered its dissolution and the Order lost its last secular holdings. The Order continued to exist as a charitable and ceremonial body. It was outlawed by Hitler in 1938, but re-established in 1945. Today it operates primarily with charitable aims in Central Europe.

The Knights wore white surcoats with a black cross. A cross pattée was sometimes used as their coat of arms; this image was later used for military decoration and insignia by the Kingdom of Prussia and Germany as the Iron Cross. The motto of the Order was:"Helfen, Wehren, Heilen" ("Help, Defend, Heal").

Full Article:


Devin De Blois
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010, 12:45 AM
I saw a phrase that actually is true that said "Teutonic Knights: when killing Prussians was a most German thing to do". They fought well against their enemies the pagan Slavs usually while being greatly outnumbered. Bringing the order back as military order might not be such a bad idea these days. :D

That Teutonic re-enactment was absolutely packed! I hope it was held in Germany because seeing that many Germans show up for an event like that is encouraging. :thumbup

I might get in trouble for saying this, but the Teutonic Scandinavian cross flag is awesome with the black cross on the white field and would surely make a cool flag for Germany and I really believe you could make a case for it.

Friday, May 6th, 2011, 03:45 PM
I have been reading up a lot about them recently. Supposedly they are just merely composed of nuns and priests but all the same their history is interesting. I believe I have a family member back on one side that possibly fought for the Teutonic Order or was affiliated with it in someway.