Order of the Golden Fleece

The Order of the Golden Fleece is an order of knights founded in 1430, ie a formed on the model of monastic religious order of knights. Later, one belonging to a privilege conferred by the emperor as a reward for merit more and more. The medal badge, hanging on a Collar of golden ram's fleece, received independent significance and became the archetype of the modern Order of Merit. Respect, the Order of the Golden Fleece, the link between the two meanings of the word today, " order" dar.

  • 3.1 Appearance and significance of the chain
  • 4.1 Grand Master of the Order (Spain )
  • 4.2 Grand Master of the Order ( Austria )
  • 6.1 Coat of arms of Knight of the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece


The Order of the Golden Fleece was the Good, Duke of Burgundy on the occasion of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal in Bruges (7 January 1430) the most distinguished nobles of his country founded on January 10, 1430 Philip, after he rejected membership in the Order of the Garter. 24 were admitted to the order of the most important Burgundian nobles. The statutes were enacted the good in Lille a few days before the first meeting of the Order on 27 November in 1431 by Philip and on December 3, 1431 to Rysell (Lille ) at the first meeting of registrar (Secretary ) read to the members present.

The Order also became the Ordre de la Toison d'Or, el Toyson de oro, el Tusan, in earliest times and the Order of Knights of the golden Lämbleins of Burgundy or the Belgian Schäpers called.

After the extinction of the Burgundian Dukes in 1477, the Order was transferred to the Spanish line of the Habsburgs. As in 1700, the last Spanish king died from the house of Habsburg, the Order was divided into two lines. Both the Spanish, the branch of the Bourbons and the Austrian branch of the Habsburg family still exist today. The Republic of Austria recognized on July 23, 1953 the head of the family of the house of Habsburg, the legal ceremony of the Order on their territories.

Religious principles and privileges

The Order maintains all its members together as an inseparable band. All members of the Order are equal and should conduct themselves as brothers. The number of knights was originally limited to 30. In addition to the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Knights were not members of any other religious. However, these rules are loosened over time.

The Teutonic Knights were exempt from all duties and subject only a jurisdiction of the Order itself This consisted of the 30 knights of the Order and the Order of the sovereign or his deputy together. At all celebrations at court they had priority and precedence with the exception of crowned heads. The Spanish Knight of the Order received from King Philip the right at any time without entering the apartments of the palace, and to keep their head before the king covered.

The goal of the order was the preservation of the Catholic faith, the protection of the church and the preservation of the immaculate honor of knighthood. He was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and had the Apostle and Martyr Andrew the patron saint. In addition, the head of the Order was without the consent of the other knights start a war.

On 30 November, is Ordenstag be added to the still in a solemn Holy Mass new members into the Order.

Mythological Background

There are two sources for the origin of the Order:

  • One of the derivations comes from Gideon Begnadungswunder.
  • The other comes from Greek mythology, from the legend of the Golden Fleece.

Appearance of the Order

The religious character is the image of a ram's coat with a blue enameled flint and the words: Pretium non vile laborum ( No lower price of labor ).

Appearance and meaning of the chain

The necklace is symbolic of the 31 members for each Teutonic Knights a member, the Order sovereign is represented by two members. As a chain holds only if each member holds, so shall also the Order through every single link gain cohesion. The links are made of iron and fire flint and wear a hanging fleece it.

Grand Master of the Order

Grand Master of the Order (Spain )

Grand Master of the Order ( Austria )

Order Chapter

But only 24 admissions were the foundation of the order was for 30 knights (plus the duke as the first Grand Master, which was designated as Chieff et Souverain ), appointed performed - if not an extension of the Order was made - and as Nachbesetzungen for deceased or excluded members to 1559 on the Order chapters ( Festivals et Chapittre ) by choice, then by appointment by the Grand Master of the Order without convening a general meeting. The number of knights was completed in 1431 on the third chapter. In the 18th Chapter ( 1516 ) the number of knights on 41 on the 19th Chapter ( 1519) was increased to 51 (plus Grandmaster ).

Initially it was planned to hold annual religious chapter on Andre Astag (30 November ), but was planned for 1434 next canceled after the third chapter, " because the Duke was prevented ." The same happened for the 1437 to 1439 and 1441 to 1444 planned seven chapters. The 7th Chapter ( 1445 ) then presented a three yearly intervals and fixed May 2 as the date, but this decision was obviously not implemented with respect to the rotation, given relating to the date after the acquisition of the Order by the Habsburgs ( 1478).

The general elections 1430-1559 24 Order's (founding and 23 chapters) found mainly in the ( former ) Netherlands, Bruges (4 ), Lille ( 2) Brussels ( 3) Saint- Omer ( 2), Ghent ( 2), Mons, The Hague, Valenciennes, 's- Hertogenbosch, Malines, Middelburg, Tournai, Utrecht and Antwerp, only twice outside ( in Dijon and Barcelona), in suitable churches instead ( only at the founding meeting, the exact location unknown).

After the regular cycle of the Order meeting had been abandoned, the Order was generally only be summoned if the number of knights was too strong dropped - even the changing of the Grand Master gave it no longer raises: So Philip was the Beautiful already nine years, Charles V and Philip II, 10 years almost 4 years Grandmaster before a religious chapter was convened.

Knight of the Order

Until 1961, there were 1282 ceremonies of the Order, for, among other things:

Coat of arms of the Knight of the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece