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Teutonic Knights

TEUTONIC KNIGHTS

TEUTONIC KNIGHTS. The Teutonic Order was founded as a hospital in Acre (now 'Akko) in 1190. It became a military order in 1198 and expanded rapidly, particularly under the leadership of Hermann von Salza (12101239). In 1226 Frederick II's Golden Bull of Rimini granted Prussia to the Teutonic Order and this, together with the bulls of Gregory IX in 1230, laid the basis for the order's territorial power. Wars of conquest continued throughout the thirteenth century, and by 1290 the order had subjugated both Prussia and Livonia. After the fall of Acre in 1291 and the loss of the Holy Land, the order's headquarters moved to Venice, and then in 1309 to Marienburg. During the fourteenth century the focus of warfare switched to Lithuania, ruled by Grand Duke Gediminas (ruled 13151341) and his successors, and the order consolidated its power, which reached its apogee under Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode (13511382).

Prussia became the main resort for members of the European nobility intent on continuing the crusading tradition, notably King John of Bohemia in 1329 and Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV of England) in 1390 and 1392. By the end of the fourteenth century, however, the order was faced with rising unrest in the towns in Prussia, while the wars against the Turks, which began in 1396, diverted the flow of crusaders away from northern Europe. The baptism of Gediminas's grandson, Jogailo, and his election as Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland (13861434), saw the beginning of an attack by Poland and Lithuania on the order's territorial expansionism and on the legitimacy of the concept of military orders as such. The conflict culminated in the order's decisive defeat at the battle of Grünwald (Tannenberg) in 1410. The treaty of Toruń in 1466 compelled the order to return to Poland all the land on either side of the Vistula that it had conquered since 1309 and parts of Prussia conquered since 1250, including its headquarters at Marienburg. The remnants of East Prussia were ruled from Königsberg, but the grand masters had to swear an oath of allegiance to the kings of Poland. Finally, in 1525 the Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg implemented Luther's recommendation that he should establish a secular duchy in Prussia and that the knights there should renounce their vows and marry. A Catholic remnant of the order regrouped in Franconia with a new grand master and a residence in Mergentheim.

The order survived in Livonia until 1562, but the impact of the Reformation meant the loss of much of its land and infrastructure in the empire. During the second half of the sixteenth century it began fighting the Turks from its commanderies in eastern Austria, notably under Grand Master Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1585/15901618). However, the order suffered further losses in Alsace and Lorraine during the French Revolution and was abolished at the Peace of Pressburg in 1805. It was revived in Austria in 1834 and took on a charitative role, providing field hospitals and convalescent homes for soldiers until 1918. Following the collapse of the Austrian monarchy after World War I, it was recognized as a spiritual order by the Austrian state and the papacy, and it survives in that form.

See also Lithuania, Grand Duchy of, to 1569 ; Poland to 1569 ; Prussia ; Religious Orders .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arnold, Udo. "Eight Hundred Years of the Teutonic Order." In The Military Orders: Fighting for the Faith and Caring for the Sick. Edited by Malcolm Barber. Aldershot, U.K., and Brookfield, Vt., 1994.

Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades: The Baltic and the Catholic Frontier, 11001525. London, 1980.

Mary Fischer

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Teutonic Knights

Teutonic Knights or Teutonic Order (tōōtŏn´Ĭk), German military religious order founded (1190–91) during the siege of Acre in the Third Crusade. It was originally known as the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem. The order was one of nobles, and the knights took the monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Under Hermann von Salza, its grand master in the early 13th cent., the order moved to E Europe and rose to prominence. After a brief period (1221–25) in Transylvania, where it fought for King Andrew II of Hungary against the Cumans, the order responded to a call (1226) of the Polish Duke Conrad of Mazovia for a crusade against the Prussians. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II granted (1226) it vast privileges, and Conrad invested it with conquered lands. However, Hermann von Salza placed (1234) his conquests under papal suzerainty and set about to organize them as a separate German state. The Poles were long unsuccessful in asserting their claim to suzerainty over the order. After some 50 years of successful campaigning the knights had subdued Prussia (i.e., the lands later known as East Prussia and West Prussia) and founded numerous towns and fortresses. The expansion of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword took place further east; they were united with the Teutonic Order from 1237 to 1525. The Prussians, who had repeatedly risen in revolt, were reduced to serfdom (13th cent.), and German emigrants arrived to settle the land. The order was strongly centralized, and its administration and colonization laid the foundation of the Prussian state. The knights administered their lands from Marienburg, but they granted considerable freedom to the cities, many of which joined the Hanseatic League. In 1263 the pope allowed the knights to monopolize the grain trade. Their seizure (1308–9) of Pomerelia (see Pomerania) from Brandenburg brought on intermittent warfare with Poland, which claimed the province. In 1410 the Poles and Lithuanians routed the order at Tannenberg; successive warfare with Poles ensued and by the second Treaty of Torun (1466) the knights were forced to cede West Prussia and Pomerelia to Poland, retaining only East Prussia as a Polish fief. Their capital was transferred to Königsberg in East Prussia. The fatal blow to the order was delivered in 1525 by its own grand master, Albert of Brandenburg, who accepted the Reformation, declared Prussia a secular duchy, and was invested as duke by Sigismund I of Poland. Stripped of all importance, the Teutonic Order continued in Catholic Germany until its remaining possessions were secularized in 1809. It was later revived in Austria, but as an honorary body. The habit of the order was a white robe with a black cross.

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"Teutonic Knights." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Teutonic Knights

Teutonic Knights a military and religious order of German knights, priests, and lay brothers, originally enrolled c.1191 as the Teutonic Knights of St Mary of Jerusalem. They took part in the Crusades from a base in Palestine until expelled from the Holy Land in 1225. Abolished by Napoleon in 1809, the order was re-established in Vienna as an honorary ecclesiastical institution in 1834 and maintains a titular existence.

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"Teutonic Knights." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Teutonic Knights." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/teutonic-knights

Teutonic Knights

Teutonic Knights German military and religious order, founded in 1190. Its members, of aristocratic class, took monastic vows of poverty and chastity. During the 13th century, the Knights waged war on non-Christians, particularly those in Prussia, whom they defeated, annexing their land. In 1242, they were defeated by Alexander Nevski. In 1410, the Poles and Lithuanians crushed the Knights at Tannenberg, ne Poland.

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"Teutonic Knights." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Teutonic Knights." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/teutonic-knights