(1190 / ap.1245)



TEUTONIC ORDERThe order of German knights (ordo fratrum domus hospitalis Sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum Ierosolymitani) grew out of a hospital community founded outside Acre in 1190. In 1198 it was converted into a military order with the rule of the Templars and confirmed as such by the Papacy. In 1245 it received a rule of its own. The order, made up of knights, priests, and lay brothers, was active and richly endowed in Palestine and Syria, but soon it also sought to advance the frontiers of Christendom elsewhere. After a brief and abortive interlude in Hungary (1211–25) the fourth Grand Master, Hermann of Salza, planned a new sphere of action for his knights in Prussia, having received an invitation from Duke Conrad of Masovia to fight and subdue the heathen Prussians. In the Golden Bull of Rimini (1226) the Emperor Frederick II conferred princely powers on the Grand Master and gave almost limitless rights over future conquests to the order. In 1231 the knights crossed the Vistula and set about building their first castles. From the very beginning their missionary enterprise was compromised by their aristocratic interest in lordship and government. From 1236 onwards the order also expanded in Livonia, but the heathen Lithuanians remained an unconquered threat to its land-communications. The seat of the Grand Masters, at first at Montfort in Palestine, was moved from Acre to Venice in 1291 and to Marienburg on the Nogat in 1309. From the later 13th cent. onwards the order gave itself more and more to the administration of its territories, their colonization by German immigrants—not always at the expense of the subject Prussians—and the development of prosperous towns. When Lithuania accepted Latin Christianity and entered into a personal union with the Polish kingdom in 1386 the knights’ crusading task finally lost its meaning. They succumbed to a Polish—Lithuanian army at the battle of Tannenberg (1410) and henceforth had to face increasing disaffection from their noble vassals and towns. In 1525 the Grand Master, Albert of Prussia, resigned his office and became the first ecclesiastical prince to secularize his territory for dynastic ends when he embraced Lutheranism. Soon afterwards the order also lost its possessions in Livonia and the Grand Masters now resided at Mergentheim in Swabia supervising their S. German bailiwicks. The order still met needs, if only to provide a suitable abode for the younger sons of RC nobles. Suppressed by Napoleon, it survived under the protection of the Habsburgs in Austria and until 1918 the Grand Master was usually one of the Archdukes. From about 1840 it found its vocation once more in hospital work, especially military hospitals, but also in schools. The institution of serving sisters, who had held a humble place in the order’s medieval statutes, was revived. Clerical rather than knightly, the community resumed its charitable work after 1945. It has, however, remained conscious of its long martial past.

E. Joachim and W. Hubatsch (eds.), Regesta Historico-Diplomatica Ordinis S. Mariae Theutonicorum: 1198–1525 (4 vols., Göttingen, 1948–50; Register zu Pars I und zu Pars II, 1965). For details of other pr. sources see Mayer and Lampe, cited below. E. Caspar, Hermann von Salza und die Gründung des Deutschordensstaats in Preussen (Tübingen, 1924). M. Tumler, Der Deutsche Orden im Werden, Wachsen und Wirken bis 1400 (Vienna [1955]). K. Wieser, OT (ed.), Acht Jahrhunderte Deutscher Orden in Einzeldarstellungen (Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens, 1; Bad Godesberg [1967]; also other vols. in this series, mostly specialized, but some more general, such as vol. 36: U. Arnold (ed.), Beiträge zur Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens, 1; 1986). M.-L. Favreau, Studien zur Frühgeschichte des Deutschen Ordens (Kieler Historische Studien, 21; 1977). H. Boockmann, Der Deutsche Orden: Zwölf Kapitel aus seiner Geschichte (Munich, 1981). M. [C.] Barber (ed.), The Military Orders: Fighting for the Faith and Caring for the Sick (1994), esp. pp. 221–79; H. Nicholson (ed.), The Military Orders, 2: Welfare and Warfare (Aldershot [1998]), passim. B. Demel, Der Deutsche Orden einst und jetz, ed. F. Vogel (Europäische Hochschulschriften, Reihe 3, 848; Frankfurt, 1999). K. Górski, ‘The Teutonic Order in Prussia’, Medievalia et Humanistica, 17 (1966), pp. 20–37. W. Urban, The Baltic Crusade (DeKalb, Ill., 1975), pp. 157–259 passim. E. Christiansen, The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier 1100–1525 (New Studies in Medieval History, 1980), passim. M. Biskup, ‘Polish Research Work on the History of the Teutonic Order State Organization in Prussia (1945–1959)’, Acta Poloniae Historica, 3 (Warsaw, 1960), pp. 89–113. H. E. Mayer, Bibliographie zur Geschichte der Kreuzzüge (Hanover, 1960), p. 4 (no. 57), p. 6 (nos. 118–20), p. 87 (no. 1624), and pp. 169 f. (nos. 3622–47), with addenda in HZ, Sonderheft, 3 (1969), p. 708; K. H. Lampe, Bibliographie zur Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens bis 1959, 1, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens, 3 (Bad Godesberg, 1970). K. Wieser in DIP 6 (1980), cols. 796–806, s.v. ‘Ordine Teutonico’.

HZ Historische Zeitschrift (Munich etc., 1859 ff.).

DIP Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, ed. G. Pelliccia and G. Rocca (10 vols., 1974–2003).

This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.