Knights of Dobrin

views updated


One of the twelve religious military orders of knighthood that came into being between 1100 and 1300 and one of the three of German origin. It was founded by Duke Conrad of Masovia and Bp. christian of prussia, who patterned the new brotherhood after the Order of the knights of the sword of Livonia. In August 1228 a certain Bruno, together with 14 knights, were invested into the new order. These "new" Knights of Dobrin may actually have been former members of the Order of the Brothers of the Sword. Duke Conrad endowed them with Dobrin castle in Prussia on the Drweca River, hence the name, Knights of Dobrin. The knights were most likely Germans. Their habit consisted of a white mantle with a red cross. The new order, however, had little opportunity to develop. The Prussians were greatly annoyed by the news of its foundation and attacked Dobrin castle in strength and surrounded it so closely that none of its inhabitants dared to venture far beyond its ramparts. When Duke Conrad was forced to cede Prussia to the teutonic knights, the Order of Dobrin lost its reason for existence and applied to the Holy See for permission to merge with the Teutonic Order. On April 19, 1235, permission was granted. A group of knights, however, refused to accept the merger, and ten of them were still living under the protection of Duke Conrad c. 1240. After this date the Order of Dobrin disappeared completely from history, and its possessions, following a short litigation, became the property of the Teutonic Knights.

Bibliography: t. hirsch et al., eds., Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, 5 v. (Leipzig 186174), v.1, main source. m. tumler, Der Deutsche Orden im Werden, Wachsen und Wirken bis 1400 (Vienna 1955; 2d ed. 1965). a. forey, The Military Orders from the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries (Toronto 1992).

[g. grosschmid]