Order of the Red Eagle

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1st class breast star of the Order of the Red Eagle

The Red Eagle Order (in the 19th century Rother Eagle Order ) was a Prussian Order of Merit , which on 17 November 1705 by Prince Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg-Bayreuth under the name Ordre de la sincérité (Order of sincerity) as a court order of knights was donated. From 1792, after the transition of the Franconian Hohenzollern areas to Prussia, the King of Prussia awarded it. The Order of the Red Eagle was now the second highest order in the Prussian state after the Order of the Black Eagle . It was awarded until the November Revolution.


Award certificate of the Red Eagle Order (1851)

The order was founded by Georg Wilhelm von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, probably based on the English Order of the Garter , which he had met on his travels. The members of the order committed themselves to always follow the order's statutes. This also included the permanent wearing of the order. However, it also served the margrave's self-portrayal, because every year on St. George's Day a gathering of all order bearers with festivities was held in St. Georgen am See near Bayreuth . A service also took place in the specially designed Sophienkirche (today Ordenskirche). The last Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Bayreuth, Christian Friedrich Karl Alexander , gave the order new statutes and the name Hochfürstlicher Brandenburgischer Roter-Adler-Orden in 1776 . When he ceded the principalities to Prussia on December 2, 1791, the order also passed to Prussia and was elevated to the Kingdom's second knighthood on June 12, 1792 by Friedrich Wilhelm II .

In 1810 the order was divided into three classes. In 1818 a star was added to the second class and a fourth class was created. Those who received the third grade after fourth, wore this medal on a ribbon on the ring of the order. Those who received several classes of the order wore the order with an ornament made of oak leaves on the ring from the second grade onwards. In 1861 the Grand Cross was added as the new, highest class of orders.

After the November Revolution brought the end of the monarchy, the medal was no longer awarded.


Order cross

Since 1810, the order's emblem has consisted of a white enameled St. George's cross that widened towards the top . The medallion in the obverse showed the red Brandenburg eagle with a green laurel branch in its claws and in the lapel the monogram "FW" under the Prussian royal crown. The grand cross donated on October 18, 1861 by King Wilhelm I († 1888) on the occasion of his coronation in Königsberg was a St. John's Cross and had red eagles in the corners of the cross, the medallion in the obverse showed the monogram WR (Wilhelmus Rex), from the order's motto SINCERE ET CONSTANTER (sincere and steadfast) . In the reverse medallion, within an oak wreath, was the date Oct. 18. 1861 . The Grand Cross was worn on an orange sash with white stripes. The chain to the Grand Cross was awarded for special merits . The first class cross was carried from the left shoulder to the right hip on a white sash with orange side stripes. The II. Class was around the neck and the III. 1st and 4th class worn on the left chest. From 1864 the war decorations hung on the black and white ribbon. Since 1851, non-Christian knights of the order were sometimes given a silver star-shaped or round medallion with the red eagle in the middle instead of a cross.


The star of the Grand Cross was a golden eight-pointed star, in the middle of which the crowned red eagle with a sword and a scepter in its claws is painted on a medallion. The eagle bears the Hohenzollern coat of arms and around the medallion of the eagle is the motto of the order on blue enamel. The first class star is silver and resembles the star of the Grand Cross with a few changes. The eagle wears a laurel wreath instead of a sword and scepter and the motto of the order is written on white enamel. The second class was awarded with a silver four-pointed star with the medallion of the star of the first class. All three stars could be awarded in diamonds.


The chain was donated on January 18, 1861 with the Grand Cross and only awarded for special merits. It had three types of links: the first was a blue circlet on which the motto of the order was written with a crown and the monogram of the founder WR (Wilhelminus Rex) on the inside ; the second link consisted of a crossed sword and scepter in an oak wreath; the third was identical to the first except for the monogram, which was replaced by a red eagle with the applied coat of arms of Brandenburg, the golden rod of the arch chamberlain in a blue field.

Order classes


The Order of the Red Eagle has been awarded in four classes (I to IV) since 1818, and as a Grand Cross since 1861.

There were also a large number of additions to the individual levels, some of which could be combined:

  • Swords (since 1848 for war merit)
  • Oak leaves (for owners of the 1st and 2nd class who previously owned the 2nd or 3rd class)
  • Diamonds (Grand Cross, 1st and 2nd class)
  • Enamel ribbon of the Royal Order of the Crown, wrapped around the cross and star (for holders of both medals in 1st class)
  • Johanniterkreuz
  • Swords on the ring (for holders due to military merit who had a level below with swords)
  • Service anniversary numbers (50 and 60)
  • Loop (for holders of class III who previously owned class IV).

The Red Eagle Order was the German order with the most diverse degrees. In 1861 he was given a new order, the Order of the Crown , which, like the Grand Cross of the Red Eagle Order , had been donated at the coronation of Wilhelm I.

On May 18, 1842, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV ordered the creation of a silver medal of the Order of the Red Eagle, which was only awarded to non-Prussian troops. Kaiser Wilhelm I ordered a new version of the medal in 1871.

Known owner

Order of the Red Eagle in the state of Brandenburg

Since 2005, Brandenburg has awarded the Order of Merit of the State of Brandenburg , also known as the "Red Eagle Order". The number of medal winners is limited to 300.


  • Gustav Adolph Ackermann: Order book of all in Europe flourishing and extinct orders and decorations. Rudolph & Dieterici, Annaberg 1855 ( books.google.de ).
  • Louis Schneider: The Rothe Adler Order. Hayn, Berlin 1868 ( uni-duesseldorf.de ).
  • Friedrich W. Hoeftmann: Der Prussische Ordens-Herold: Compilation of all documents, statutes and ordinances about the Prussian medals and decorations . Mittler, Berlin 1863, p. 37 ( books.google.de ).
  • Friedrich W. Hoeftmann: The Prussian red eagle order and the royal crown order. Decker, Berlin 1878 ( books.google.de ).
  • Maximilian Gritzner : Handbook of the knight and merit orders of all civilized states in the world. Reprint of the edition from 1893. Reprint-Verlag Leipzig, Holzminden 2000, ISBN 3-8262-0705-X , pp. 358–373.
  • Jörg Nimmergut : German Order 1800–1945. Volume 3. Prussia. Munich 1997.
  • Arnhard Graf Klenau: The awards of the Prussian Red Eagle Order in the first and second class from 1810 to 1854. (= Statistical elaborations on the Phaleristics of Germany. Volume VIII.) PHV, Offenbach 1997, ISBN 3-932543-21-1 .
  • Felix Lehmann: The Red Eagle Order. Frankfurt am Main 2002. ISBN 3-631-37094-6 .

Web links

Commons : Red Eagle Order  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Pierer's Universal Lexicon of the Past and Present . 4th edition. Verlagbuchhandlung von H. A. Pierer , Altenburg 1865 ( zeno.org [accessed October 9, 2019] lexicon entry "Sincere et constanter").
  2. Maximilian Gritzner: Handbook of the knights and orders of merit of all civilized states of the world. P. 371.
  3. Brandenburg's Red Eagle Order is awarded for the first time in June 2005. In: The world . Retrieved May 26, 2012.