Course sword

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Course sword of Elector August of Saxony from 1566
Kurschwerter of Friedrich the Arguable of Saxony from 1425 (left) and Moritz von Sachsen from 1547

The Kurschwert (from mhd.  Kueren  for 'to choose', developed from ahd.  Kuri  'reflection, examination, choice') is to be understood as a - mostly particularly splendid - sword that an office bearer at the inauguration into a high spiritual or even secular office is handed over. In exercising the judicial power of such a public official, the sword is often presented demonstratively. The handover of such a sword has been proven for coronation ordines as early as the early Middle Ages. In interaction with lance, scepter, globe and crown, the Kurschwert formed an ensemble in which it stands for the legitimation of the exercise of ruling power. Swords actually in use can only be identified from the late Middle Ages.

In the use of an elector , it is to be understood as a mark of dignity for such a person. These include the Kurhut and Kurmantel, the latter usually with an ermine collar. In Electoral Saxony, for example, the sword was used as a symbol of the arch-marshal's office that the dukes wore. It is also known as the arch marshal sword or the imperial racing flag . Many depictions show the ruler wielding the sword with his right hand and also wearing the Kurhut. So on the grave slabs of Electors Ernst († 1486) and Friedrich II. († 1464). The Brandenburg Kurschwert (date of origin around 1467 to 1538 has not yet been fully clarified) was first given the name by the Great Elector.

The Brandenburg Kurschwert is one of the Prussian crown jewels . In the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden , the Saxon Kurschwert of 1425 is kept. The Kurschwert of the Elector Moritz von Sachsen and that of Friedrich I , who was also called the arguable, are kept there. Friedrich I was enfeoffed with the electoral dignity by the Roman-German King Sigismund .


In heraldry , two crossed swords are depicted and so used in the marshal's coat of arms. The Ernestine line carried red crossed swords on a black and white coat of arms . In 1547 ( Schmalkaldic War ) the electoral dignity changed to the Albertine line of the House of Wettin. They preferred the sword depiction in the center shield . In Pappenheimer coat of arms was used a gevierten shield. The Pappenheimers had risen to become Reichserbmarschalls .

The execution in other coats of arms follows the rules for the sword as a common figure .

The district of Wittenberg in Saxony-Anhalt still uses the Kurschwerter on black and white shields as its coat of arms.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Eduard Eichmann : The imperial coronation in the west. A contribution to the intellectual history of the Middle Ages with special consideration of ecclesiastical law, the liturgy and church politics. 2 volumes. (Vol. 1: Complete picture. Vol. 2: Individual examinations. ). Echter, Würzburg 1942.
  2. Summary in: Marcel Moning: Kur- und Ehrenschwerter. In: Werner Paravicini (ed.): Courtyards and residences in the late medieval empire. Volume 2: Images and Terms. Part 1: Terms (= Residency Research. Vol. 15, 2, 1). Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7995-4519-0 , pp. 287-289.
  3. Heinz Machatscheck: Entertaining heraldry. New Life Publishing House, Berlin 1981.
  4. ^ Matthias Donath (ed.): The grave monuments in the cathedral to Meissen (= sources and materials on Saxon history and folklore. Vol. 1). Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag, Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-937209-45-X .
  5. Traugott Märcker : The Brandenburg Kurschwert. In: Anzeiger für customer of the German prehistory. 1860, ZDB ID 500020-8 , col. 327-328.
  6. Gert Oswald : Lexicon of Heraldry. VEB Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1984 (also: Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim et al. 1985, ISBN 3-411-02149-7 ).