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Teutonic Order (Germany)

Deutscher Orden, Ordo Domus Sanctae Mariae Teutonicorum

Last modified: 2006-03-11 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | prussia | teutonic order | deutscher orden | cross: scandinavian (black) |
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[Flag of the Teutonic Order (Teutonic Order)]
by António Martins, 8 February 2002

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Among the groups of knights organized during the Crusades (e.g Templars, Hospitallers) was a group, largely and later exclusively German, called in German the Deutscher Orden ["German Order"] and in English the Teutonic Knights. In 1225, after the failure of the attempt to reconquer the Holy Land, Pope Gregory IX ordered the Teutonic Knights to convert the Prussians, a people related to the Lithuanians and Latvians and who were the last remaining pagans in Europe. This action apparently pleased the Poles, especially the Duke of Mazovia, to whom the Prussians were not only non-believers, but also warlike pains-in-the-neck. In a long war the Order finally conquered the Prussians by 1285, killing some, converting and subjecting others, and set up a unique feudal state. By the way, the Prussians as a unique ethnic group ceased to exist with the final end of their language at the end of the 17th century, although probably, the bulk of them merged with the German-speaking colonists.

Norman Martin, 20 January 1998

Flag of the Teutonic Order

Fahne des Deutschen Ordens

[Flag of the Teutonic Order (Teutonic Order)]
by António Martins, 8 February 2002

Black scandinavian cross on white field. Frequently shown with the fly half of the flag cut into three "ribbons" (up to center). Occasionally, but rarely, the cross is shown as a St. George type (as in the flag of England). Illustrated in Smith 1975, p. 115. Also, flag is sometimes shown with a narrow blue stripe along the hoist.

Norman Martin, 20 January 1998

[Editor's note: the following translation by Chrystian Kretowicz of the Banderia Prutenorum manuscript is based on a translation from Latin into Old Polish, available at the Choragwie Pruskie cz. 1 - Jan Dlugosz webpage.]

3. Banner of the Teutonic Order, under which Grand Marshal of Prussia, Friedrich Wallerod, native of Franconia and of illustrous lineage, who, with his family, has a coat-of-arms of the river marked with cross and on the helmet, a crowned rooster. He was killed in this battle and his remains transported to Malbork (Marienburg). He was an uncle of Christopher, bishop of Lubusz. In this unit served mostly knights from Franconia. Note: Banner is 3 and 1/4 cubits long, 3 cubits wide. [Editor's note: about 162 cm × 150 cm.]

Chrystian Kretowicz, 2 June 2001

The German editors of Norie and Hobbs 1971 added two charts (which were not originally in Norie and Hobbs 1848) with German flags that were important over time. One of them is no. 31, Deutcher Ritterorden in Preussen 1464 (Teutonic order in Prussia) as the above flag, except that the flag is square, stripes 4+2+4 / 3+3+4, the wider hoistwise arms causing a slight off-set of the cross.

Peter Hans van der Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001

The original image shows the flag hanging vertically (hoist in the top of the picture) and a wodden pole is visible at the viewer's right hand (my image being thus a supposed backside); no finial; sleeve continues the flag pattern.

António Martins, 28 February 2002

From the Teutonic Banners at Tannenberg webpage:

Banner of the Order. A Gonfalon like the Greater and Lesser Banners and measuring some 195cm by 165cm. This was the standard of the Order. Carried at Tannenberg by Grand Marshal Von Wallenrod's personal Squadron. Von Wallenrod's Squadron was the only one to be entirely comprised of Brethren Knights.

Santiago Dotor, 7 June 2005