Order of the Black Eagle


Order of the Black Eagle
Order of the Black Eagle (Schwarzer-Adler-Orden)
Black Eagle Order star.jpg

Order of the Black Eagle breast star with the motto SUUM CUIQUE (idiomatically, "to each according to his merits") in the medallion's center
Awarded by the Kingdom of Prussia
Type Chivalric order
Eligibility Members of ruling houses, senior civil and military officials and other worthy figures appointed by the King of Prussia.
Awarded for Civil or military merit
Status Obsolete
Description Badge of the order worn from a sash over the recipients left shoulder a black and white ribbon around the neck or from a chain around the neck; breast star worn on the left chest.
Motto Suum Cuique (idiomatically, "to each according to his merits")
Statistics
Established 17 January 1701
First awarded 1701
Last awarded 1918
Total awarded 407[1]
Precedence
Next (higher) None
Equivalent None
Next (lower) Order of the Red Eagle

The Order of the Black Eagle (German: Hoher Orden vom Schwarzen Adler) was the highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia. The order was founded on 17 January 1701 by Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg (who became Friedrich I, King in Prussia, the following day). In his Dutch exile after WWI, deposed Emperor Wilhelm II continued to award the order to his family. He made his second wife, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, a Lady in the Order of the Black Eagle.

Contents

Overview

The statutes of the order were published on 18 January 1701, and revised in 1847. Membership in the Order of the Black Eagle was limited to a small number of knights, and was divided into two classes: members of reigning houses (further divided into members of the House of Hohenzollern and members of other houses, both German and foreign) and capitular knights. Before 1847, membership was limited to nobles, but after that date, capitular knights who were not nobles were raised to the nobility (Adelstand).[2] Capitular knights were generally high-ranking government officials or military officers.

The Order of the Black Eagle had only one class, but could also be awarded at the king's prerogative "with the Chain" ("mit der Kette") or without ("ohne Kette"). By statute, members of the order also held the Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle, and wore the badge of that order from a ribbon around the neck. From 1862, members of the Prussian royal house, upon award of the Order of the Black Eagle, also received the Prussian Crown Order 1st Class.[3]

Insignia

The badge of the Order was a gold Maltese cross, enamelled in blue, with gold-crowned black eagles between the arms of the cross. The gold center medallion bore the royal monogram of Friedrich I ("FR", for Fredericus Rex).

This badge was worn from either a broad ribbon (or sash) or a collar (or "chain"). The ribbon of the Order was an orange moiré sash worn from the left shoulder to the right hip, with the badge resting on the hip. The collar or chain (Kette) was worn around the neck and resting upon the shoulders, with the badge suspended from the front center; the collar had twenty-four elaborate interlocking links: alternatively a black eagle and a device featuring a center medallion with the motto of the Order (Suum Cuique -- literally "To each his own," but idiomatically "To each according to his merits"), a series of FRs forming a cross pattern, a blue enameled ring around this, and crowns at each cross point.

The star of the Order was a silver eight-pointed star, with straight or faceted rays depending on the jeweler's design. The center medallion displayed a black eagle (which gripped a wreath of laurels in its left claws and a scepter in its right) on a golden background, surrounded by a white enamelled ring bearing a wreath of laurels and the motto of the Order.

At meetings of the chapter of the Order of the Black Eagle and at certain ceremonies, the knights wore red velvet capes with blue linings. Embroidered on the left shoulder of each cape was a large star of the Order.[3]

Recipients

From its founding in 1701 to 1918, the Order of the Black Eagle was awarded 407 times, with 57 of these installations during the reign of Friedrich I (1701-1713).[1][4] In 1918, the knights of the order totalled 118: fourteen were members of the Prussian royal house, one was a member of the Princely House of Hohenzollern, forty-nine (of whom nine were from states then at war with Germany) were members of other reigning houses, and fifty-four (including seventeen who had not yet been fully installed) were nonroyal Germans.[5] Subjects of the Prussian King receiving the order which was only given in one class were promoted to the peerage and received hereditary title.

One may deduce from the Prussian State Handbooks that the Order of the Black Eagle (as well as, by statute, the other Prussian orders, as mentioned above) was conferred upon all male members of the royal family on their tenth birthdays; these men the collar of the Order on their eighteenth birthdays. The Order was also conferred upon Prussian queens (and, later, German empresses), though other female members of the royal family usually received the Order of Louise instead.

Sovereigns and Masters of the Order

Friedrich Wilhelm IV, wearing the collar and cloak of the Order of the Black Eagle. Original portrait by Krüger
  • Friedrich I of Prussia (1657 - 1713) - founder of the Order of the Black Eagle; last Elector of Brandenburg and first King of Prussia
  • Frederick William I of Prussia (1688 - 1740) - first member of the Order, inducted in 1701, when he was crown prince; Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1713 - 1740
  • Friedrich II (1712 - 1786) - "Friedrich the Great"; Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1740 - 1786
  • Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (1744 - 1797) - Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1786 - 1797
  • Frederick William III of Prussia (1770 - 1840)- King of Prussia during the Napoleonic era; Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1797 - 1840
  • Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (1795 - 1861) - Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1840 - 1861
  • Wilhelm I (1797 - 1888) - King of Prussia and first German emperor; Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1861 - 1888
  • Friedrich III (1831 - 1888) - better remembered as "Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm" of Prussia; general during the German wars of unification; briefly German emperor, March to June 1888; Died of throat cancer
  • Wilhelm II (1859 - 1941) - last King of Prussia and last German emperor; Sovereign and Master of the Order, 1888 - 1918

Royal House of Hohenzollern

  • Frederick William, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, Prince in Prussia (1700-1770) - nephew of Friedrich I.
  • August Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia (1722 - 1758) - second son of Friedrich Wilhelm I; brother of Friedrich II ("Friedrich the Great"); father of Friedrich Wilhelm II; Prussian general in the Silesian Wars
  • Heinrich, Prince of Prussia (1726 - 1802) - third son of Friedrich Wilhelm I and younger brother of Friedrich the Great; general in the Seven Years' War
  • August Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia (1730 - 1813) - fourth and youngest son of Friedrich Wilhelm I, and youngest brother of Friedrich the Great
  • Ludwig Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia (1772 - 1806) - son of August Ferdinand; general in the Napoleonic Wars, killed at the Battle of Saalfeld
  • Ludwig Karl, Prince of Prussia (1773 - 1796) - second son of Friedrich Wilhelm II and brother of Friedrich Wilhelm III
  • Kaiserin Augusta (1811 - 1890)- Princess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, wife and empress consort of Wilhelm I
  • Karl, Prince of Prussia (1801 - 1883) - third son of Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, father of Friedrich Karl and Albrecht
  • Adalbert, Prince of Prussia (1811 - 1873) - son of Prinz Wilhelm; Grandson of Friedrich Wilhelm II and nephew of Friedrich Wilhelm III; naval teorist, admiral, and founder of the first Prussian Fleet
  • Friedrich Karl, Prince of Prussia (1828 - 1885) - veteran of the Austro-Prussian War and Franco-Prussian War; hero of Königgrätz; Generalfeldmarschall of Prussia, and honorary Field Marshal of Russia; eldest son of Karl, father of Friedrich Leopold
  • Albrecht, Prince of Prussia (1809 - 1872) - second and youngest son of Karl, father of Albrecht
  • Heinrich, Prince of Prussia (1862 - 1929) - second son of Friedrich III and brother of Wilhelm II; Grand Admiral in the German Imperial Navy, World War One
Empress Auguste Viktoria, wearing the sash and star of the Order of the Black Eagle. Portrait by Philip de Laszlo
  • Kaiserin Victoria (1840 - 1901) - "Kaiserin Friedrich"; Daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain; wife and Empress consort of Friedrich III; mother of Wilhelm II; Dowager German Empress and Queen Dowager of Prussia, 1888 - 1901; recognized by Friedrich III, March 9, 1888
  • Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria (1858 - 1921) - Princess of Schleswig-Holstein, (first) wife and empress consort of Wilhelm II
  • Kronprinz Wilhelm (1882 - 1951) - Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia until 1918, World War One-era German general.
  • Friedrich Leopold, Prince of Prussia (1865 - 1931) - son of Friedrich Karl, father of Friedrich Sigismund, Friedrich Karl, and Friedrich Leopold
  • Albrecht, Prince of Prussia (1837 - 1906) - only son of Albrecht
  • Friedrich Heinrich, Prince of Prussia (1874 - 1940) - eldest son of Albrecht and grandson of Albrecht
  • Joachim Albrecht, Prince of Prussia (1876 - 1939) - second son of Albrecht and grandson of Albrecht
  • Friedrich Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia (1880 - 1925) - third son of Albrecht and grandson of Albrecht
  • Eitel Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (1883 - 1942) - second son of Wilhelm II
  • Adalbert, Prince of Prussia (1884 - 1948) - third son of Wilhelm II
  • August Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia (1887 - 1949) - fourth son of Wilhelm II
  • Oskar, Prince of Prussia (1888 - 1958) - fifth son of Wilhelm II
  • Waldemar, Prince of Prussia (1889 - 1945) - eldest son of Prince Heinrich, Grand Admiral
  • Joachim, Prince of Prussia (1890 - 1920) - sixth and youngest son of Wilhelm II
  • Friedrich Sigismund, Prince of Prussia (1891 - 1927) - eldest son of Friedrich Leopold; World War One pilot
  • Friedrich-Karl, Prince of Prussia (1893 - 1917) - second son of Friedrich Leopold; Bronze medalist in the 1912 Olympics; World War One pilot; wounded in action, taken POW, and died of wounds (1917)
  • Friedrich Leopold, Prince of Prussia (1895 - 1959) - third and youngest son of Friedrich Leopold
  • Sigismund, Prince of Prussia (1896 - 1978) - second and youngest son of Prince Heinrich, Grand Admiral
  • Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia (1906 - 1940) - eldest son of Crown prince Wilhelm

Princely House of Hohenzollern

Foreign royals

Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary, wearing the uniform of a Prussian field marshal and the sash and star of the Order of the Black Eagle, ca. 1900

Knights

Afred Graf von Schlieffen wearing the cape of the order and the badge of the order worn from the collar

Current usage

The Order of the Black Eagle is currently used as the emblem of the German Military Police (Feldjäger).

References

  • Robert Werlich, Orders and Decorations of all Nations (Quaker Press, 2nd edition 1974).
  • Handbuch über den Königlich Preußischen Hof und Staat für das Jahr 1874, (Berlin, 1873).
  • Handbuch über den Königlich Preußischen Hof und Staat für das Jahr 1883, (Berlin, 1882).
  • Handbuch über den Königlich Preußischen Hof und Staat für das Jahr 1907, (Berlin, 1906).
  • Handbuch über den Königlich Preußischen Hof und Staat für das Jahr 1918, (Berlin, 1918) (herein "1918 Prussian State Handbook").
  • Preußische Orden (herein Preußische Orden).
  • Rangeliste Der Königlich Preußisches, Für 1903. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Son, 1903.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Preußische Orden.
  2. ^ Werlich, Orders and Decorations, p. 182.
  3. ^ a b 1918 Prussian State Handbook, p. 38.
  4. ^ It is unclear whether this number only covers capitular knights, or also includes members of reigning houses.
  5. ^ 1918 Prussian State Handbook, p. 38-41.
  6. ^ Rangeliste Der Koniglich Preussisches, 1903. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler & Son, 1903. p 369
  7. ^ (German) Albert Pfister, "Johann Jakob Wunsch." Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Band 44. (1898), S. 315–317

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