Amber - Eventful History, The Teutonic Order

Amber - The Teutonic Order

Archaeological finds show that since about 1500 BC a regular exchange trading took place. But even in the oldest cultural country in the world, in Egypt, amber must have belonged to coveted treasures. It was even found in the grave of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1357 - 1338 BC).



The history of amber is closely related to the Teutonic Order – formerly: Teutonic knightly Order. The Order was founded of merchants of Lübeck and Bremen as a hospital orden St. Mary's in Jerusalem in 1191 during the Crusades. The selfless dedication of the members of the young congregation for suffering and needy people lead soon to a plenty of gifts for them and this caused a rapid expansion of the Order throughout the mediterranean region and the neighboring countries.
The Polish Duke Conrad of Masovia asked the famous Grand Master Hermann of Salza to help in the fight against unbelieving Prussians. He left the German Order a territory in the Vistula knee, the so-called Chelmno country. The monks recognized very early the value of amber, and the lucrative opportunities to trade



The Teutonic Order.

The order of brothers of the german house of St. Mary in Jerusalem, shortly German Order, has its origin in the holy country. In 1190, citizens of Bremen and Lübeck built a tent hospital, to care for sick and astonished Crusaders in front of the sieged Acre. The selfless dedication of the members of the young congregation for suffering and needy people lead soon to a plenty of gifts for them. This caused the rapid expansion of the order throughout the mediterranean and neighbouring countries.
Marienburg, now Malbork / Poland and Marburg represent the two functions of the Order:

Malbork / Poland

Marienburg stands for the Order State whose flag bears the well-known Teutonic Order Cross. And Marburg, where the holy Elisabeth, patron saint of the Order, worked in the hospital, was the place for the service of the sick, the poor, the needy. Therefore the Order used the variegated forms of religious, social,
non-profit and commercial facilities.


Knight of the Tautonic Order

Knight of the Order of the Middle Ages                               St., Elizabeth



The Amber monopoly.

It gave the Teutonic Knights financial security and independence. In 1250 it was awarded by the Polish duke Konrad of Masovia, the Kulmerland / Samland - also known as the land of amber - the gift with the aim of christianization of the country. In an agreement with Danzig fishermen and the monastery of Oliva near Danzig, the Order acquired the rights to the amber-recovery and - processing. Thereafter an own trade organization of
"large and orden coopers" developed in Marienburg and Konigsberg.
Documents from 1399 in Marienburg prove, that the Order assigned orders to a significant extent on amber turners and amber gravers and paid with money from their own "coinage prerogative". Master Johann, "Court artist" of the Grand Master, prepared besides rosaries and medallions also altars. Rosaries with the german cross were made in Lübeck and Bruges by German monks of the Order,
so-called "Fathernoster makers". The sale was made in large markets in Venice, Frankfurt / Main, Cologne and Nuremberg as well as in the so-called
"Amber Road". The Order also dealt with raw amber and used it to buy wax, copper, lead, cloth and spices in the whole world. The transportation was mostly made with the typical vessels, the so-called "Hanse cogs" of Gdansk.


amber - fathernoster-maker

Fathernoster maker

The amber and coinage prerogative.

The monks recognized very early the value of amber, and the lucrative trading opportunities. Therefore the amber monopoly in West and East Prussia, recovery and editing and processing was very important for the Order.


Tautonic Order - Coins

Tautonic-Order-Coins 14th century

In the 14th century the Order built numerous churches, castles, towns, villages, granaries, mills - the great Mill in Gdansk is preserved until today. The Teutonic Order provided for uniform dimensions and watched the currency. It had the
Coinage prerogative, it minted its own coins called "Good silver coin".


Great Mill of the Teutonic Order

Great Mill of the Teutonic Order

The Teutonic Order in the Baltic's and Bavaria.

In the late Middle Ages, in the years 1230 to 1561, the territory in the Baltic was called Teutonic country.
It covered the area of West and East Prussia. Castles, palaces, churches and many other buildings were raised in the order of the Teutonic Knightly Order and  were managed by the Marienburg, seat of the Grand Master. Therefore, amber played an important role for the funding. The famous Grand Master Hermann von Salza (1210-1239) reigned in this time and made to ensure that the Order received many donations.
Over 600 years, the Order also determined the history of Franconia and Bavaria: The Grand Master Seat with a castle in Bad Mergentheim, the bailiwick with a castle in Ellingen, and many former possessions of the Teutonic Order in Franconia are
witnesses of a great past.

Castle - Bad-Mergentheim

Castle Bad Mergentheim


Horst W. Henn

German Order Cross
25 years: German Order, Komturai francs, 2013
Horst W. Henn, Fam. OT


We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site
EU Cookie Directive plugin by www.channeldigital.co.uk