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Hessenthal & Schreiber make passing reference to the Schwanenorden in the section on Preussen. The entry includes foundation date (29. September 1440 & renewal date (24. December 1843).

Can anyone provide more information on this ancient order?

Was it a house order? Order of Chivalry? When did it become obsolete?

Did it, in its later days confer nobility or knighthood?

Thanks in advance for any insights.


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Hi -

J?rg Nimmergut presents a study of the Prussian Schwanen-Orden in vol. II (pages 958-963) of his ?magnum opus?. Essentially, as I make it out (my German is really not that good) this award was founded in 1440 and was bestowed until 1550; during which time there were 331 awards, including one collar.

There was an unsuccessful attempt to resurrect the award in 1843; but, except for a possible single collar award that same year, nothing came of it.

I hope that this is of some help and that some other member with access to this publication and a better working knowledge of German can provide you with more detailed information.

Best wishes,

Wild Card

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Hello Wild Card & welcome,

Thank you very much for the information you provided.

I've not been able to find information on this one until your post beyond the entry in H&S and a "Cigarette" card.

Certainly not significant in the modern era per your information. Doesn't sound as though it was on a par with the Garter either. I appreciate your time and effort.

Thanks again.

I can appreciate your "German" problem - same problem here - my high school teacher would not be pleased to know that my underachieving ways have continued...

Anyone willing/able to help the "language impaired"?


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That would be beyond excellent.

Don't have the books myself - can't imagine ever being able to afford them...

That said, I hope wild card will be able to post selected scans but as we are "probationary" new members - I don't know if that is possible.

Let's hope!


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If I read the text at the site Dave to which linked us correctly, this sounds like a order for nobility with a special devotion to the Virgin Mary. Dedicated to prayer & charitable works. After the Reformation, died out only to be re-established without specific religious (denomination) affiliation. Never seems to have attained escape velocity the second time around.

This order does not seem to be of great historical significance.

Other opinions? My German is shaky. excl.gif

PS - Rick, I can hardly wait especially now that I know I will not be cursed with zits... blush.gif

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Contents were the obligation for daily carrying of the society character, the admission of women, the supply of become impoverished members, the possibility of the transmission of the membership and hanging up Totenschilden in the medal church. The membership was possible for only noble ones, in the statutes gave it also to regulations over the daily prayer, donating alms, the demand after a Christian life change and reading from Seelmessen for the deceased of members.

Translated via Google

That's pretty much it cheers.gif

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Gentlemen -

Thank you for your kind words of welcome.

I have been very impressed by the knowledge exhibited by various members of

this forum and look forward adding to the knowledge and understanding of Imperial

German orders and decorations with other collectors. There is so much to be learned

out there.

Wild Card

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I tried to translate the text in the link above, i hope it makes sense.

"The Schwanenorden is the oldest order of Brandeburg. It was founded on th 29.09.1440 from Kurf?rst Friedrich II. as the "association(more community) of the dear women". Statutes in 1443. Content was the responsibility to wear the community-sign, the acceptance of women, the maintenance of depleted members, the possibility to bequeath (?) the title and the hanging of deathshields (whatever that may be).

Membership was only possible for noble ones, there were regulations in the statutes about the daily prayer, the donating of alms, the demand for a christian moral-conduct and the reading of "Seelmessen"(?, something catholic ;-) ) for deceased members. Although Friedrich II?s intent was to commit the "m?rkischen" (area) nobility to himself, the order was most common in Franken. Caused by his religious commitment and the adoration of the virgin mary, the order expired in the course of the reformation.

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. renewed the order on the 24. December 1843 "as a free community of men an women of all towns and confessions with the task to abate the physical and moraly suffering with combined powers"

Even after 100 years, there are countless evidences for this order to find, mostly in Franken and in Austria."

Edited by Gerd
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Death shields were probably the analog to the funeral heraldic devices used in many countries upon the passing of one entitled to arms. I assume that this requirement was intended to memorialize the deceased. The English term being hatchments.

?Seelmessen? is a bit of a mystery for me but I suspect it is an ordered series of prayers such as the rosary.

?markischen? most certainly refers to those nobles resident in the Margrave?s (Brandenburg) county.

Well, I have to say this was great! Thanks to all for your efforts. Learned a bunch about a pretty arcane topic!

Gentlemen - let's do it again soon! beer.gif

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Whoa - will you look at that! I'm not a "proby" any more! I'm going to spend the rest of the day (after work unfortunately) testing my new magic powers! No pimples either! tongue.gif

Edited by W McSwiggan
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“Seelmessen” is a bit of a mystery for me but I suspect it is an ordered series of prayers such as the rosary.

A Messe is a religious celebration. I got as translation for that word Mass, but i wasn?t sure, if that is right.

“markischen” most certainly refers to those nobles resident in the Margrave’s (Brandenburg) county.

Exactly, the Margrave?s

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