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The third of the great chivalric bodies,

taking its rise in the time of the Crusades was

the Teutonic Knights, or Knights of St. Mary or Jerusalem. Like its two predecessors the new Order was based on a union

of monastic and military service. A few

years after the capture of Jerusalem by the

Christians, a German merchant and his wife,

dwelling in the city, threw open their house

for the entertainment of the sick and distressed of their own nation. The attention

of the Patriarch was called to this benevolent

act, and a chapel near by was attached to

the humble hospital, which received the name

of Saint Mary. The founder of the institution devoted all his own means to the work,

and it was not long until alms began to pour

in aid of the enterprise. Several distinguished Germans contributed their property

to the support of the work begun by their

countrymen. A service and ritual were established, and in the year 1119, only one

year after the founding of the Templars, the

new Order received the sanction of Pope

Calixtus II. Religious and martial vows

were taken by the brothers, who made the

work of charity and the relief of the distressed

the prominent feature of their discipline.

In the choice of a dress and regalia, the

Teutonic Knights distinguished themselves

as much as possible from the Hospitallers

and the Templars. The gown was black

with a white mantle, and on this was a black

cross with a silver edging. The Order soon

achieved an enviable fame, and its members

became the recipients of the same favors

and honors which were showered upon the

other two brotherhoods. The second establishment of the Teutonic Knights was founded

in 1189 by the burghers of Bremen and

Lubeck, who, during the siege of Acre, were

moved to build a hospital for the relief of

their countrymen. The two chapters were

presently combined into one order by Duke

Frederick of Suabia, who in 1192 obtained

for the union the sanction of Pope Celestine

III. The rule of the body was amplified and

the discipline of the Augustinians adopted for

its government.

At the, origin of the Teutonic Order none

but Germans of noble birth were admitted to

membership. Not until 1221 were sergeants

and priests added to the fraternity. The chief

officer was called the Grand Master. At the first, he had his residence in Jerusalem. After

the fall of Acre in 1291 he removed to Venice,

and shortly afterward to Marburg.

The Teutonic knights first appeared as a

powerful military factor in the affairs of

Europe about the beginning of the thirteenth

century. In 1226 they were called out by

the Grand Master, Hermann of Salza, to

aid Conrad, duke of Masovia, in repelling

the Prussian and Lithuanian pagans from

his borders. Their valor and religious zeal

attracted the attention of all the European

states; and Conrad gave them, in reward

for their services, the province of Culm on

the Vistula. Establishing themselves in this

territory, they extended their authority over

Prussia, Courland, and Livonia. In their

wars in these dark regions, they carried

the sword in one hand and the Gospel in

the other, and the pagans were given their

choice. In the year 1309 the residence of

the Grand Master was transferred to Marienburg, from which, as a center, the Order

became almost as dominant in the North

as the Templars in the South. The territory under their rule extended from the

Gulf of Finland to the river Oder, and the

annual revenues of the fraternity were estimated at 800,000 marks. The highest dignitaries of Northern Europe eagerly sought

membership, and the Church smiled her

fairest approval.

As in the case of the Hospitallers and

the Templars, the Teutonic Order felt the

disastrous effects of luxury and power. The

humbler professions and practices of the

founders were forgotten by the haughty

German barons who now controlled the destinies of the brotherhood. Oppression followed in the wake of opulence and authority,

and violent dissensions arose as the precursors

of decline. By the beginning of the fifteenth

century, the Order had reached its climax.

At that epoch, a series of conflicts began

with the kings of Poland which hastened

the downfall of the fraternity. In 1410

the knights fought the great battle of Griinwald, in which they were disastrously defeated by LadislausYagellon; and, in a subsequent struggle with Casimir IV., West Prussia

was wrested from them and annexed to the

Polish dominions. Even in East Prussia

they were reduced to the rank of vassals.

At length the proud Knights, galled by their