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The Hand of Lon

June 10, 2011
Illustration from the circa 1305 Manesse Codex showing the habit of a Teutonic knight.

Three skeletons were discovered May 2007 in a crypt under the cathedral in Kwidzyn in northern Poland – formerly known by the German name Marienwerder – along with pieces of silk and ornate brooches, which were a sign of high religious rank.

The Teutonic Knights’ order was founded in the Holy Land in 1190, during the Third Crusade. Despite its name, its members came from a handful of European regions, and not only German-speaking areas.

In 1226 the Polish Duke Konrad of Mazovia invited the knights to help him conquer the pagan population of neighbouring Prussia.

The order gradually took control of large stretches of the Baltic coast, establishing a state with its capital at Marienburg – today’s Malbork in northern Poland.

The knights fought a string of successful military campaigns against their neighbours.

But their power declined after they were defeated by an army of Poles and Lithuanians in 1410 at the Battle of Grunwald, which is still seen as a key moment in the history of both peoples.

The order lost its religious character in the 16th century, and its domain was transformed into the Duchy of Prussia, which endured in various guises until Germany lost the territory to Poland and Russia after World War II.

“Anthropological and DNA testing has enabled us to back up the theory that these are the remains of the grand masters. We can be 96 percent certain,” Bogumil Wisniewski, head of a team which found the skeletons.

Wisniewski said his team was convinced the men were Werner von Orseln, who led the knights from 1324-1330, Ludolf Koenig (1342-1345), and Heinrich von Plauen (1410-1413).

Story found thelocal.de

From the Muse

Ludolf Koenig!  Is this an ancestor of  Lon Koenig of Lon Koenig Games, who created the Archetype Storytelling Cards that featured here a few posts back?

Could Ludolf Koenig, Grand Master, Teutonic Knight have been involved in the creation of a much earlier deck of cards: like the Tarot?

Doncha love it when life is stranger than fiction……

Malbork Castle: the biggest brick castle in Eastern Europe built in 13th century in the vicinity of Gdansk (60 km). This gothic castle, with a system of defensive walls, towers, a labyrinth of chambers, dungeons and architectural details, was the headquarters of the order of the Teutonic Knights. Unconquerable stronghold of 50-acre area was one of the largest fortresses of medieval Europe.

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