Sankt Jörgenschild

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Societies with St. Jörgenschild, often also St. Jergenschild, St. Georgenschild, or any other version of the name of Georg , were each time-limited associations of high and low nobles and prelates as representatives of clerical areas , especially in the area of ​​the old Duchy of Swabia , where no new territorial rulers - such as B. Württemberg - had formed. The regional focus was therefore in the Lake Constance area and along the upper Danube.


Appenzell War

The first merger took place in 1406 in connection with the Appenzell War . The local nobility saw this as an attack on their manorial rights.

As a result of the plague years of 1348/50, there was a considerable decline in population and, in connection with a corresponding rural exodus, a decrease in agricultural production. Because of this and the reduced income from tithing, the income of the nobility had declined. In addition, this low income was divided among more and more heads as a result of the real division . Uncontrolled feuds led to further social decline in many noble houses.

These small aristocrats tried to accommodate the falling income by offering themselves to the territorial princes who were establishing themselves at the same time as "officials", then called councils. In the south of Germany, the Archduchy of Austria or Württemberg , but also the Bavarian dukes and the royal / imperial court offered themselves here . Here one could, committed to the old knightly ideals, also prove oneself in campaigns. Thus we find to pick out a noble family, for example, representatives of the Klingenberg , which at this time on the Hohentwiel sat, as fallen in those battles that we made today, as examples of the inferiority of the traditional armies of knights to the new fighting techniques and forms of organization look :
Johann von Klingenberg, died on August 26, 1346 in the Battle of Crécy , Sigmund von Klingenberg on July 9, 1386 in the Battle of Sempach , together with Martin Malter, Hans' brother-in-law, called Schoch von Klingenberg, who in turn died on July 9, 1386 April 1388 fell in the battle of Näfels . His nephew Hans von Klingenberg, Ritter zu Stein, to whom we owe a description of this battle in the so-called Klingenberger Chronik, also took part in this battle. On June 17, 1405, Hans von Twiel, Schoch's son, died in the Battle of the Stoss in the Appenzell War .

Knight League

As a reaction to social change, the Swabian nobility founded the Knight League with Sankt Jörgenschild, also known as the Knighthood of Sankt Georgenschild. His first captain was Caspar von Klingenberg († 1439). His grandson, also called Caspar, died in the Swabian War in 1499 near Rielasingen .

The goals also later associations were, therefore securing the public peace and their own rights, both internally among members as well as in external relations, in the above case against the rebellious Appenzeller and their allies Confederates .

Arbitration tribunals served as a means for this, but feuding was also allowed. The resulting need for misalignment in the event of a crisis gave rise to the need for neighborly proximity and support. This resulted in sub-companies, Danube , Hegau-Allgäu-Bodensee , Neckar-Black Forest , and later Kocher and Kraichgau .

Swabian Federation

Kings , princes and cities tried in the 15th century to use the political potential of the Sankt Jörgenschild by concluding individual alliances. The most successful was the founding of the Swabian Federation , whose organizational structure was based on that of the St. Jörgenschild and initially even integrated the sub-companies as a member of the Federation.

This construct allowed the princes to enter into an alliance with the lower nobility, as it were, since they did not allied with the individual lower nobility, but with society.

Members of the Sankt Jörgenschild Association who joined the Swabian Federation in 1488
Counts / barons Knight / lower nobility Prelates
Hegau / Lake Constance 12 52 6th
Danube 2 71 11
Stove 2 29 3
Neckar / Black Forest 1 52 -
total 17th 204 20th

But the Swabian Federation was not the end of the Sankt Jörgenschild societies. In addition to this, separate, temporary, regional societies continued to establish themselves, also because the members did not see their interests in the Swabian Federation realized.
From the 1940s onwards, the interests of the lower and higher nobility diverged more and more. In the course of the imperial reform , both the high nobility and the ecclesiastical territories were able to establish themselves as a state with representation in the imperial circles and in the Reichstag . In order to ensure that taxation by the emperor could be paid directly and not via regional sovereigns, which would have been tantamount to mediatization, the lower nobility united to form the imperial knighthood.


  • Herbert Obenaus: Sankt Jörgenschild . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 7, LexMA-Verlag, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-8907-7 , Sp. 1170.
  • Karl Heinz Burmeister: Sankt Jörgenschild. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Herbert Obenaus : Law and constitution of the companies with St. Jörgenschild in Swabia. Investigations into nobility, unification, arbitration tribunals and feuds in the fifteenth century (= publications of the Max Planck Institute for History. No. 7, ZDB -ID 121375-1 ). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1961.
  • Georg Jacob Mellin (Praeses), Johann Sebastian Held (Respondens): De foedere suevico, vulgo from the company of S. Georgen Schildt. Literis Gollnerianis, Jena 1696 (Jena, Universität, Dissertation, 1696), (Printed in: Johann Reinhard Wegelin (Ed.): Thesaurus rerum Suevicarum, seu, Dissertationum selectarum. Volume 3. Impensis Ottonis, Lindau 1757, pp. 223–241 , Digitized version ).
  • Johannes Reinhard Hedinger (Praeses), Philipp Friedrich Zubrodt (Respondens): De Svevorum nobilium foedere sive Societate St. Georgen-Schilds . Giessen 1698 ( digitized version )
  • Klaus Schubring : An aristocratic association as referee. The St. Georgenschild in Hegau and the Roßhaupter feud 1436/37 , in: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 96th year 1978, pp. 7-29 ( digitized version )


  1. Horst Carl: The Swabian Federation 1488–1534. Country peace and cooperative society in the transition from the late Middle Ages to the Reformation (= writings on Southwest German regional studies. Vol. 24). DRW-Verlag, Leinfelden-Echterdingen 2000, ISBN 3-87181-424-5 , p. 64 (At the same time: Tübingen, Universität, habilitation paper, 1998).