Johann von Tiefen

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Johann von Tiefen
Grand Master's coat of arms Johann von Tiefen

Johann (Hans) von Tiefen (* around 1440; † August 25, 1497 ) was the 35th Grand Master of the Teutonic Order from 1490 to 1497.


Johann's place of birth is unknown. He probably came from a Swiss noble family from Thurgau or Zürichgau . His career in the Teutonic Order began as a caretaker for Schaaken . Then he worked in Elbing , where he was the cellar master, the right hand of Colonel Spittler Heinrich Reuss von Plauen and also as a surgeon (he was a student of Heinrich von Pfalzpaint ). In 1474 he was appointed Komtur von Memel and two years later Grand Komtur . He represented the Order in numerous diplomatic missions in many European courts.

During the time of Grand Master Martin Truchsess von Wetzhausen , Johann tried to resolve the tensions between the Teutonic Order and the Kingdom of Poland . In 1480 he became Commander of Brandenburg (Frisches Haff) . On June 25, 1487, Johann published a charter in Drengfurt to establish a church in Alt Jucha .

In 1489 Johann was first appointed governor of the Grand Master. Immediately after his election as Grand Master on September 1, 1490, he went to Poland and paid the required homage to the Polish King Casimir IV Jagiello on November 18 in Radom .

Having settled difficult relations with Poland in this way helped him to concentrate on the internal affairs of the order, although Lukas Watzenrode , Bishop of Warmia , tried to become independent from both the Polish crown and the Grand Master. In May 1490 Johann sent a written request to Lukas Watzenrode to allow him to inaugurate a chapel dedicated to John the Baptist in Groß Stürlack and to allow a priest from Schwarzstein to read the mass.

Otherwise he continued the reform policy of his predecessor against the resistance of the land masters of Livonia and Germany as well as some other high order functionaries. Protective measures in favor of the poorer classes increased the popularity of the Grand Master among the people. During his term of office there began a strong immigration from Mazovia and Lithuania to areas of Prussia that were depopulated by war and epidemics.

In 1492, the Polish King John I proposed to the Teutonic Order to move its seat from Prussia to Podolia , but John opposed the idea. He was aware that this would mean the end of the sovereignty of the Teutonic Order. He appealed to Maximilian I and the plan was averted.

Called by Johann I, Johann led a crusade against the Ottoman Empire with the order to take ports along the coast of the Black Sea . He had an army of 400 knights and their mounted companions. During the journey across the Dniester the Grand Master fell ill with dysentery . He decided to return to Lviv , which he could not reach alive. He was buried in the Königsberg Cathedral .

His legacy was the concept of the election of a prince as grand master in order to oppose submission to the Polish king and to receive stronger support from the Holy Roman Empire .

See also


Web links

Commons : Johann von Tiefen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Walther Killy, Rudolf Vierhaus (ed.): German biographical encyclopedia. 10 volumes, Munich a. a. 1995-1999, Volume 4 (1996), p. 373.
  2. Gundolf Keil : "blutken - bloedekijn". Notes on the etiology of the hyposphagma genesis in the 'Pommersfeld Silesian Eye Booklet' (1st third of the 15th century). With an overview of the ophthalmological texts of the German Middle Ages. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Volume 8/9, 2012/2013, pp. 7–175, here: pp. 135 f., Note 1100.