Banners from the Battle of Tannenberg

A critical review of Die "Banderia Prutenorum" des Jan Dlugosz - eine Quelle zur Schlacht bei Tannenberg 1410 by Sven Ekdahl. (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1976)

by Lothar von Katzenellenbogen and Johannes von Narrenstein

© 1995,2002 by Thomas Barnes. All rights reserved
Originally published: 24-25 June 1995, KWHS Proceedings (Outlands)
Posted: 5 April 2002

Part of the Medieval Heraldry Archive.

Background and Introduction

In 1410, a combined Polish and Lithuanian army defeated the army of the Knights of the Teutonic Order at the battle of Tannenburg. So many German knights were killed at Tannenberg that the Order was unable to defend their headquarters at Marienburg, which fell a few months later. As a result of these defeats, the Grand Master of the Order was forced to pledge fealty to the Wladislaw Jagiellon, king of the Poles and Lithuanians, for all its lands in East Prussia. This crippled the Teutonic Order for close to a century.

Among the booty retrieved from the field at Tannenberg were many banners bearing the arms of the Order or cities affiliated with the Order. At least some of these flags were brought to Kraków and hung in the cathedral to commemorate the victory -- these, or reproductions of them, hang today in Wawel Castle. In 1448, Polish scholar Jan Dlugosz and painter Stanislaw Durink produced a manuscript book on the battle of Tannenberg entitled Banderia Prutenorum (Banners of the Prussians). This book depicts fifty-six banners, most of which are from Tannenberg. Forty-six banners are painted on the verso (left-hand) side of the page; ten were added later on the recto (right-hand) side [1]. Precise measurements are given for each banner, using the Polish ell as a standard [2], and their horizontal and vertical axes are marked. It survives as a rich source for turn-of-the-15th-century Central European heraldic style.

Ekdahl is no stranger to the subject. He reviews the extensive scholarship surrounding both the battle of Tannenberg and the Banderia Prutenorum. In particular he comments and elaborates on Karol Gorski's 1958 critical edition of the manuscript, thus making that Polish scholar's work a bit more accessible. Students of military history will appreciate his chapters on the possible presence among the Teutonic Knights of levies or mercenaries from elsewhere in Germany, on the size and organization of the Prussian army at Tannenberg, and on the role the banners played in organization and communication. Students of art history will be interested in the information on Stanislaw Durink, called "one of the most important Polish artists of the Middle Ages" (p. 60); other work attributed to him (plates XI and XII) has been compared to that of Low Countries artist Roger van der Weyden. Ekdahl notes that there, as in Durink's case, heraldic painting lay within the sphere of t! he professional artist. He also offers an overview of the book's origins, construction, paleography and history. Of closer interest for students of heraldry are the chapters dealing with Jan Dlugosz. An adept politician, Dlugosz was also the author of legal texts, hagiographies, early works of Polish history, and of the Insignia seu Clenodia Regni Poloniae, the earliest book on Polish heraldry.

The unique value of Ekdahl's book lies in the appendix, in which the pages containing the 58 banners and the commentary are reproduced in color. Ekdahl identifies which sections of the commentary were written by Dlugosz, which by Durink, ands which by later owners of the text. Durink comments on the purely visual aspects of each banner, including noting the measurements. Dlugosz provides the historical commentary. He records whose arms they were and who bore the arms at the battle, the personal arms and family history of the bearer, and occasionally his fate. Ekdahl annotates and corrects Dlugosz's attributions of personal arms. He compares Dlugosz's attributions of the arms and the people who might have borne the arms to surviving town seals and family histories to correct Dlugosz's errors, of which there are many. The results provide a rare critical source of heraldic history and design, and of east-central European onomastics, which we are pleased to bring to you ! in English.

We record here the information from this appendix, which follows the sequence of the manuscript [3]. We have included Durink's measurements for each banner (in Polish ells, of course). All blazons are our own, based on the pictures reproduced. As we have noted, the persons, towns or offices to which Dlugosz attributes the arms are often incorrect. In such cases we give Ekdahl's corrections and abridged commentary. Dlugosz lists the names in Latin, which Ekdahl gives in their German form, followed by a modern Polish form if the entry is a place name. Note that in the case of personal names, Ekdahl often gives alternate spellings, which we have included in brackets.

Thus our format for each entry is as follows: Page number (Banner style and dimensions in ells) Blazon. Attribution : Latin form by Dlugosz (German form by Ekdahl [Alternate spellings, German first, Polish second], comments on the banner bearer or place). Dlugosz's heraldic commentary on personal arms or other names follows, as does that of Ekdahl on Dlugosz.

A note on the banners: Most of the banners in this collection are square. When we have been unable to provide dimensions, the designation "banner" should be taken to mean a square flag. Each banner is shown as depending from a staff at the top of the page, with the horizontal and vertical axes marked and the dimensions recorded. When the banner has a Schwenkel (a very long, thin streamer of fabric attached to the upper corner of the flag), its measurements are included as well. In some cases, it is important to note which was the "fly" side and which was the "staff" side of the banner. This is the case with a Gonfallon, where the long axis of the fabric was attached to the staff so the flag's length was more than its width. In these cases the emblazon appears to have been "turned" 90 degrees (for example, a wolf passant might look like a wolf rampant). In these cases we have used these terms instead of the conventional "dexter" or "sinister".

A note on the terminology of the Teutonic Order: The Hochmeister was the Grand Master, the head of the order. The Grand Marshall was the chief military leader of the Order. The term komtur means "commander" and the term komturei is equivalent to garrison. In many cases, Dlugosz's formulaic notation "commendarie et civitatis," used to mean "komturei and town," is misleading since all garrisons were separate from the cities of the same name. In some cases one finds a garrison without a city but one never finds a city without a garrison. A Vogt is equivalent to a governor or bailiff of a territory.

The Banners

168 (Gonfallon with three horizontal slits on the fly 3 ells x 2 1/4 ells) Argent, a cross potent Or fimbriated sable overall on an escutcheon Or a double headed eagle displayed sable. (The edges of the cross potent meet the field along the fly of the banner; the arms in the escutcheon are those of the Holy Roman Empire) Magister generalis Vlrichus de Junigen (Ulrich von Jungingen, Hochmeister 1407-1410. Fell at Tannenberg).

170 (1 1/4 x 1 ell) Blazoned as above. No attribution.

172 (Gonfallon, 3 1/4 ells x nearly 2 3/4 ells) Argent, a cross sable. Fridericus Vallerod, magnus marscalus Prussie (Friedrich von Wallenrode, Grand Marshal of the Order and Komtur of Koenigsberg). "He bore as family arms a cross and as a crest a rooster." [Wallenrode actually bore "Gules, a square buckle argent."].

174 (2 1/4 ells x 1 3/4 ells) Or, on an eagle displayed sable, a kleestengel argent. Cunradi Albi ducis Oleschniczensi Zlesie (Duke Conrad der Weisse [the White] von Oels, in Silesia; captured at Tannenberg, released June 1411). "He bore as family arms a black eagle on a gold field" (Historia Polonia)

176 (Banner, dimensions not given, with "schwenkel" or tail) Gules, a cross argent. Georgius Kerzdorf (actually Christopher von Gersdorf, knight, advisor and ambassador of King Sigismund). Dlugosz calls this "banderium Sancti Georgii" -- the banner of St. George -- but in Historia Polonia he blazons the cross of St. George as Argent, a cross gules. Ekdahl notes that the reversed blazon was very common in Germany at this time.

178 (Banner with schwenkel, 3 1/4 x 7/8 ells) Barry wavy of four argent and gules, issuant from chief a Latin cross reversed sable. Civitatis Culmensis (City of Kulm [Chelmno]), Nicolaus dictas Niksz (Nikolaus von Renys [Renis] "called Niksz"). The current arms of the city of Chelmno are: Barry wavy of four enarched gules and argent, issuant from the third bar a Latin cross sable (Marian Gumowski, Erby Miast Polskich, Warsaw 1960, p.145). Two stories are told of the fate of Nicholaus von Renys. In the first, he is captured at Tannenberg and, upon seeing his banner in Polish hands, dies on the spot of shame. In the second and more likely story, he fled the battlefield and was summarily executed in Graudenz in 1411. Dlugosz also lists the names Janussius Orzechowsky (Johannes [Hans, Hannos] von Orsichau [Orsechaw]), Conradus de Ropkow, and Henricus de Plauyen (Heinrich von Plauen) in connection with the banner. The first two were knights with th! e army, the last succeded Ulrich von Jungingen as Grand Master of the Order (1410-1413).

180 (Banner, possibly used like a gonfallon due to orientation of the major charge. No dimensions given.) Gules, a key palewise argent, wards to chief. Thomas Morheym thezaurius ordonis (Thomas von Merheim, Tressler [Treasurer of the Order] 1407-1410. Fell at Tannenberg).

182 (2 1/2 x 2 1/4 ells) Gules, the eagle of St. John statant wings displayed reversed Or maintaing in its talons a scroll in bend wavy argent inscribed with the motto "Sts Johannes" sable between two croziers palewise respectant Or. Episcopi Pomezaniensis (Bishop of Pomesenia [the region due south of Marienburg]); carried by Marquardus de Reszenburg [Markward von Riesenburg].

184 (Banner, no dimensions given) Argent, a bulls head couped affronty sable, ringed and armed argent. Civitatis Grudzancz [City of Graudenz, (Grudziadz)]; carried by Vilhelmus Ellfenstein [Wilhelm von Helfenstein, Komtur von Graudenz 1404-1410]. A ring in the bull's nose seems to be a characteristic of Polish heraldry; seals of the Teutonic Knights don't show the ring in the bull's nose but the Polish arms do. The arms of Grudziadz are quite different today (HMP, p. 181). The current form of the arms dates from 1937 and seems to be based on an older seal. We have blazoned them: Argent, issuant from a wall throughout gules masoned sable within a barbican of 11 towers gules roofed azure arched sable a bishop statant affronty maintaining a church and a crozier proper.

186 (3 x 1 7/8 ells) Argent, a wolf statant palewise gules and a chief sable. Comendare et civitatis Balga [Komturei of Balga [Balga]. The komturei of Balga was one of three German units to escape slaughter or capture at Tannenberg. Balga was in the possession of Count Friedrich von Zollern [Hohenzollern] from 1410-1412, but the Count's presence at the battle is uncertain. Compare with the banner on p. 221 below.

189 (Banner, dimensions unclear) Argent, two fish niant embowed and naint counter-embowed fesswise gules. City of Schoensee (Kowalewo), Nikolaus von Vilz (Filz, Viltz, Wylez), Komtur von Schoensee. The seal of the Komturei also has two fish. Ekdahl proposes that the fish are fesswise, as 1) otherwise their position on the banner would suggest a gonfallon (not likely); 2) the town name "schoensee" means "pretty lake," one fish is springing from the lake's surface and is reflected in the surface of the water, hence two fish (p. 133).

191 (Banner with schwenkel 1 1/4 x 3/4 ells, add ca. 1 ell for the schwenkel) Gules, a lion rampant queue forchee argent crowned Or and on a chief argent a latin cross fesswise throughout to staff. (City of Königsberg [Krolewiec]) Called Kaliningrad since World War II, Königsberg was the seat of the highest marshall of the Teutonic Order. Its arms are essentially those of Bohemia with a chief of the Order. Königsberg was founded by King Ottokar of Bohemia in 1255. At the time of the battle Königsberg was made up of three distinct towns, each with its own arms. Hence Ekdahl doubts the attribution to the "city" of Königsberg; more likely it belonged to the komturei of Königsberg. Dlugosz claims that it was awarded to the komtuei by King John of Bohemia, and flown by the "vice-marshall" of the komtur (an office of which nothing is known). Ekdahl suggests Dlugosz mixed it up with a "hauskomtur" who in 1410 was Hannos von Heyd! eck.

193 (Banner, dimensions not given) Quarterly sable and argent. Komturei of Althaus (Starogrod Chelminski). Eberhard von Ippenburg (Nippenburg), komtur 1409-1410, died at Tannenberg.

195 (2 1/2 x 2 1/4 ells) Argent, three Phyrgian caps palewise gules. Bishop (or Bishopric) of Samland, borne by Count Heinrich von Kamenz; Dlugosz' s attribution here is incorrect. This banner is identical with the banner on p. 236 (q.v.), which is ascribed to the town of Ragnit. The correct arms of the Komturei of Samland are depicted on the banner on p. 212, which Dlugosz attributes to the city of Kulm. It may be that this is the field banner of the Order's Vogt for Samland, whose seal of 1322 bore a Phyrgian cap. There is no evidence that Heinrich von Kamenz was ever a count. He later lived in Meissen (1416-1446).

197 (Banner, dimensions not given) Per pale argent and gules. Komturei of Tuchel (Tuchola), Heinrich von Schwelborn (komtur of Tuchel, 1404-1410). Heinrich von Schwelborn was an overproud man who earned special condemnation from Dlugosz. According to Dlugosz, von Schwelborn was "so puffed up with supreme arrogance and self-importance" that he was an annoyance even to his own commanders. Before the battle of Tannenberg he started to act like a conquerer and had two unsheathed swords carried before his troops as a sign of victory. He fled from the battle of Tannenberg to the village of "Wyechnyow" where he was captured by the Poles, who "cut off his miserable head".

199 (31/4 x 3 ells) Gules, a fess argent. Komturei of Stuhm (Sztum), Konrad von Lichtenstein, Grosskomtur of Stuhm. The seal of the town of Stuhm shows not a fess but a bend. Further, there was no Grosskomtur of Stuhm. Dlugosz' s attribution of these arms is doubtless incorrect. They were possibly borne by Heinrich von Pot(ten)dorf , Vogt of Stuhm, rather than by Grosskomtur Kuno (Konrad) von Lichtenstein. Konrad von Lichtenstein as Grosskomtur and would have had command of the troops from Marienburg. He was killed at Tannenberg.]

201 (Banner, no dimensions given) Sable, a pale argent. City of Nessau (Nieszawa), Gottfried von Hatzfeld, komtur von Nessau.

203 (21/8 x 2 ells) Argent, two arrows in cross fesswise points to staff gules. Knights and militia of Westphalia. This attribution is very questionable. Though it is attributed to the Westphalian troops who fought at Tannenberg by Dlugosz, it is suggested that this is instead an archers' banner or a signal banner. Compare this with the banner on p. 219 (below).

205 (Banner, no dimensions given) Argent, on a bend gules three roses argent seeded gules. City of Roggenhausen (Rogozno), Friedrich von Wenden, Vogt von Roggenhausen [1407-1410], killed at Tannenberg. The attribution is doubtful. There was no such city, and the attribution of the banner is not supported by evidence from surviving seals.

207 (1 3/4 x 1 1/8 ells) Per fess argent and gules, two crosses couped counterchanged. City of Elbing (Elblag), Werner von Tettingen [1404-1412]. Elsewhere the arms are different, with crosses patty. Werner von Tettingen was chief hospitaller as well as komtur of Elbing. He either fled from the battle of Tannenberg or was too sick to fight. He died in 1412 while on a diplomatic mission to Hungary.

209 (Banner) Gules, an angel statant affronty proper wings displayed reversed winged and vested argent crined Or. City of Engelsburg (Pokrzywno), Burkhard von Wobecke [Komtur of Engelsburg from March 1410-1410], killed at Tannenberg. Ekdahl notes there is no such city as "Engelsburg".

211 (1 3/4 x 1 1/2 ells) Argent, a stag courant palewise gules. Strasburg (Brodnica), Balduin (Baldewin) Stal (Stael) [komtur 1409-1410], killed at Tannenberg. The arms match the seal of the komturei of Stal.

213 (2 1/4 x 1 7/8 ells) Argent, in cross a sword reversed and a crozier gules. City of Kulm (Chelmno), Theodoric von Sonnenburg (Gorowychy), Vogt Bischof von Samland. The attribution of the arms and the person who carried the arms are both wrong. The arms are those of the Archbishopric and Bishopric of Kulm, while the name given for the Bishop of Samland is incorrect. The Vogt of the Bishop at that time was probably Adam von Schaumberg, who held that office until 1417 or 1418. The Bishop was either Heinrich von Seefeld (from 1395 to 1414) or Heinrich von Schaumberg (from 1414 to 1416).

215 (Banner, dimensions not given) Argent, three stags antlers in pall proper. City of Brattian (Branthean), Johannes von Redern, vogt von Bratian [in 1410]. The tincture of the antlers is nowhere noted, but they are a light tan color on the banner. The seal of the komturei of Brattian shows a hunter with a horn and a dog. The banner is assumed to be "a further simplification."

217 (1 3/4 x 1 1/4 ells) Per fess argent and sable, two crosses patty counterchanged. City of Braunsberg (Braniewo). There is no sigilographic confirmation of these arms. The name of the Vogt of the Bishop of Braunsberg, who would have been in charge of troops from this city, is unknown.

219 (2 x 2 ells) Argent, a crossbow bolt and a bird blunt bolt in cross gules. Militia of Westphalia. There is no information from Dlugosz on this banner. It is very questionable in its attribution, as with the banner on p. 203. It is perhaps the banner of the militia of the komturei of Mewe (see p. 268).

221 (1 1/8 x 1 1/2 ells) Gules, a fox (?) statant palewise argent, langued sable. Fischborn komturei Balga. This banner is falsely attributed to a Swiss contingent, but there is no certain attribution. It resembles the arms of the Frankish family Fischborn and also those of the komturei Balga (see p. 186).

223 (2 7/8 x 1 3/4 ells) Per fess, argent and gules, two crosses patty counterchanged. City of Elbing (Elblag), Ulrich von Stoffeln [hauskomtur von Elbing (see p. 207)]. Dlugosz might be mistaking the Hauskomtur for the Vogtkomtur.

225 (2 3/4 x 2 1/8 ells) Per fess gules and sable, a fess argent. City of Leske (Laski). There is no such city. It might be a vogtei near Marienburg. There is no certain attribution for the person who bore the banner, but it is probable that it was borne by Konrad von Kunseck (Koenigsbeck) who, says Dlugosz, " is called Zyoawa in Polish". Ekdahl clarifies the etymology of "zyoawa" is as follows: Zukany (Pol.) = Werder (Ger.) "an island in a river".

227 (3 x 1 1/2 ells) Per fess gules and argent, two crosses couped counterchanged. City of Elbing (Elblag). These are the arms of Elbing with the colors reversed, which were borne by the mayor of the city. Among the possible candidates for this office were: Tideman von der Wide (killed at Tannenberg); Johann von Hervorden (killed at Tannenberg); Johann Raue (killed at Tannenberg); Hauptkapitan (Chief Captain) Heinrich Monch; Alderman Bertram Betke; and Alderman Klaus Kustraten.

229 (Banner with schwenkel 1 3/4 x 2 1/4 ells) Per fess gules and argent, in chief a paschal lamb vulned gules and a chalice argent. Komtur and city of Schlochau (Czluchow). The attribution of these arms is doubtful. It resembles the banner attributed to the Bishop of Ermland (see p. 260). The seals of the city of Schlochau have an ox on the arms. Arno (Arnold) von Baden was komtur of Schlochau and died in 1410.

231 (Banner with Schwenkel 3 x 2 1/4 add 1 1/4 ell for schwenkel) Sable, a broadaxe argent. Komtur and city of Bartenstien (Bartaszyc). Dlugosz comments on the canting arms of the city: two axes in saltire and in base a stone (Barten [Ger.] = a wood axe). Though he says that these arms were borne by the Vogt, Bartenstein had only a "pfleger" (or "caretaker") in 1410. His name is unknown.

233 (3 x 2 1/2 ells) Quarterly gules and argent. Komtur and city of Osterode (Ostroda). The city seal differs from these arms. In 1410 the komtur was Konrad (Gamrath) von Pinzenau, who died in 1410, but the standard bearer of Osterode was one Peregrin Vogel.

235 (2 3/4 x 2 1/4 ells) Per bend gules and argent. Office of Komturei of Elbin. There never was a city of Elbin. One attribution assigns the arms to Albert von Schwarzberg, Chief Wardrober and Komtur of Christburg in 1410, who was killed at Tannenberg. There is some evidence that the arms should be turned 90 degrees reversing the tinctures in the blazon.

237 (2 1/2 x 2 1/4 ells) Argent, three Phyrgian caps palewise gules. Komturei of Ragnit (Ragneta) led by Count Friedrich von Zollern. Compare with p. 195 above: Ekdahl's attribution of the seal is different.

239 (2 ells and a hand x 1 3/4 ells) Per fess argent and gules, a crown and a cross couped counterchanged. City of Königsberg, Johannes Frankenstein. Compare with p. 190 above. These are specifically the armsof the old town. Ekdahl says the crown was essentially an augmentation granted by Otakar, king of Bohemia, in 1255. The mayor of Königsberg at this time might have been one of three men: Konrad Marscheide, Johannes Stein, or Jakob Zagen.

241 (2 3/4 x 2 1/2 ells ) Per fess Or and gules, a fess argent. These arms have been attributed to the "Militia of the Rhine of Germany," an attribution which is doubtful. Dlugosz follows Polish cadency practice when he attributes these arms to a number of families.

243 (2 1/2 x 2 and a hand ells) Paly of four argent and sable. City of Dirschau (Tczew), Mathias von Bebern. The attribution to the city and the vogt has never been questioned, though the arms of the city and the vogtei are different. The city has a griffin on its seal; the vogtei has an animal of some sort, possibly a boar.

245 (3 1/2 x 2 ells) Per fess sable and gules, a fess argent. City of Altenstein (Olsztyn). "Called in German Melsack:" Dlugosz confused this city with another city in the area. The attribution of this banner remains uncertain, since the charges differ from those on the seals of the cities of Melsack and Altenstein.

247 (2 1/2 x 2 1/8 ells) Quarterly gules and azure. Attributed to the "Militia of Meissen;" again uncertain. Compare with p. 272. Dlugosz again attributes Polish cadency practice to the Germans.

249 (2 1/4 x 2 1/4) Argent, on an eagle displayed gules beaked and limbed a kleestengel Or. City of Brandenburg (Pokarmin), Marquard von Salzbach. Ekdahl comments: this is appearantly not the same city as the city of Brandenburg in the Mark. The Mark's arms are shown here as the arms of the komterei but there is no city of that name. The city in the mark of Brandenburg was founded in 1265 by Margraf Otto of Brandenburg. Dlugosz says that the arms of the Mark of Brandenburg were given to the komterei by patent.

Dlugosz's own father (also named Jan Dlugosz) is said to have captured Marquard and this banner. Dlugosz take up considerable space to tell the story: Several knights and the komtur Marquard were captured under this banner. By order of the Polish king, Marquard was brought by Dlugosz senior before Witold, the king's cousin. Witold longed to punish Marquard for having seriously insulted his mother. Witold said, "Bis du hi, Marquard?" (Are you here, Marquard?); Marquard, guessing his fate, nonetheless answered courageously, saying he would bear his fate with equanimity, and reminding Witold that fortune had let Marquard down that day, and could let Witold down the next. Witold, even more insulted, ordered Marquard beheaded. Upon hearing the story, the king reprimanded his cousin, saying that such behavior cheapened the victory and that showing mercy after this God-given victory would have been more honorable.

Witold had earned a reputation for quick executions. He had killed his royal cousin's brother Kasimir in this way during the struggle for the Polish throne in 1386 when he was allied with the Order against his relatives Jagellion and Skirgiellon. Appearantly he had two other noble prisoners at Tannenberg -- Herr Schonburg, Vogt of Samland, and Jorge Marshalck. The Order never forgot or forgave these examples of "un-Christian" behavaior from this convert from Paganism.

253 (Banner 1 7/8 x 1 3/4 ells with a schwenkel 1 3/4 x 1 ell) Argent, a griffin segreant gules. Kasimir son of Duke Swantbor III von Stettin. Dlugosz incorrectly says Stettin also called Sroup. Compare with p. 174. Kasimir was captured at Tannenberg and released in June 1411, during a general amnesty.

255 (Banner 2 1/8 x 2 1/2 ells with schwenkel 2 x 1 ells) Barry wavy of four argent and gules, in chief and a Latin cross sable. (The schwenkel is Paly of five gules and argent.) Dlugosz attributes this to "the militia of the land of Culm." Compare with p. 178. Ekdahl notes the banner resembles the seal of the vogt of Leipe or Lippinken (Lipieniek) near Kulm.

Gorski's commentary goes into detail on the symbolism of the arms of Culm (3 rivers or 3 mountains) and the similarity with the arms of Leipe/Lippinken (3 streams). Note that the German heraldic practice translates "barry of four" as "divided three times," i.e. 4 bars vs. three lines of division.

257 (2 1/2 x 1 3/4 ells) ??? Gules ??? two crosses patty counterchanged. City of Danzig (Gdansk) borne by Count Johannes von Sayn (Seyn) Komtur of Thorn, killed at Tannenberg. Dlugosz claims that the arms of Danzig were 2 crosses on a red field, to which Kasimir III of Poland added a gold crown after 1447 to form the present arms of the town. He claims the arms on this banner were borne by the mayor of the city of Danzig, who would have been either Arnold Hecht or Konrad Letzkau. Ekdahl finds other sources which name Albrecht Mantel and Andreas Fecher as captains of the militia. Dlugosz says that among the militia of Danzig were "schiffskinder" i.e. sailors or marines. Danzig was (and remains) an important Baltic seaport.

259 (Banner 2 7/8 x 1 7/8 with schwenkel 2 x 1/4 ells) Argent, a bend sable. Komterei of Danzig, Johannes von Schoenfeld. The attribution is questionable. See p. 266 below.

261 (Banner 2 1/8 x 1 3/4 with schwenkel 1 1/2 x 1/4 ells) Per fess gules and argent, in chief a paschal lamb argent vulned gules and a chalice argent. Bishopric of Warmia a.k.a. Heilsberg (Lidzbark warminski), in Ermland (Warmia). The bishop of Warmia was Heinrich (IV) von Vogelsang, whose seat was at Heilsberg. See p. 228 above.

263 (2 3/4 x 2 1/4 ells) Per bend gules and argent. City of Schwetz (Swiecie), Heinrich von Plauen. This is the banner of Grand Marshall Heinrich von Plauen. Dlugosz attributes this banner to the komterei of Schwetz, maintaining unusually that it was borne by Heinrich von Plauen at an encounter after Tannenberg at Polnisch Krone (Koponowo) in October, 1410. The attribution of Schwetz to von Plauen is uncertain. Heinrich von Plauen does not seem to have been present; in his place as leader was probably Michael Kuchmeister, vogt of Neumark, who was captured.

On the Polish side were Johannes Naschian de Ostroncze (Ostrowiccy of the House Topor); Herricus {Heinricus} Franko; Sandivogius de Ostrorog, Count Palatinate of Posen (?); and Petrus de Riterz of the house of Topor. See also p. 234 above.

265 (Banner 2 1/8 x 1 7/8 with schwenkel 1 7/8 x 1/4 ells.) Argent, a castle of three towers gules portaled and windowed sable, portcullised argent doors Or. City of Thorn (Torun). Dlugosz has the correct arms for the city. The seal of the komterei has a castle of six towers flanked by two stars. The arms of the city were "borne by the mayor of the city". This would have been Johannes van der Merse (1409-1421), who was captured at Tannenberg. The leader of the Thorn troops was former mayor Albrecht Rote (Rothe), who died in 1421.

267 (Banner 2 1/2 x 1 7/8 with Schwenkel 2 x 1/4 ells) Argent a bend sable. Hauskomtur of Danzig (Gdansk). The bearer of these arms is unknown. See also p. 259 above.

269 (2 1/8 x 1 3/4 ells) Gules, a crossbow bolt and a bird blunt crossbow bolt argent. City of Mewe (Gniew); Count Johannes von Soyn. Dlugosz attributs these arms to the komturei and the city as well as to Count Johann von Veynol (see p. 218 above). This last attribution is unlikely. Graf Johannes von Sayns was the Komtur of Thorn. The komtur of Mewe was Segemunt von Ramungen, who was killed at Tannenberg. Friedrich von Wenden, vogt of Roggenhausen, was also killed at Tannenberg.

This case provides an interesting insight into the way history was written in the Middle Ages. The arms were "borne by Johannes, Count of Veynde, komtur of Mewe." Dlugosz tells a story portraying Johannes as a good character and Werner von Tettingen as bad. Von Tettingen had called for war against the Poles. Von Veynde counselled for peace, prompting von Tettingen to accuse von Veynde of cowardice. In the battle of Tannenberg, von Tettingen fled the battle he so desired, and von Veynde died doing his duty. In actuality, Werner von Tettingen, the Hospitaller of the Order, was probably not at the battle, since he was very ill. The names and the places probably became garbled in the story. Gorski suggests that the story is accurate in that it shows deep divisions between pro-war and anti-war factions within the Order before Tannenberg. It is said that Ulrich von Jungingen, the Grand Master of the Order, did not wish to do battle.

271 ( 2 x 2 ells) Sable, a broadax argent. City of Heiligenbeil (Sweitomeijsce). This is an example of canting arms. In German and in Polish the name of the town translates as "holy axe". Two axes appear on the city seal. No vogt is assigned for this town and the bearer of these arms is unknown.

273 (2 1/4 x 2 1/8 ells) Azure, a lion rampant queue forchee barry gules and argent, armed and crowned sable. City of Brunswick. This attribution is wrong; there is no such town in Prussia. Instead the arms resemble those of Thuringia or Hesse. Possibly soldiers from either or both regions were present. Another possibility is that the banner represents troops from Konigsberg who used the charge from the city arms with different tinctures (compare with p. 246 above).

The last four banners were taken from the Order at the Battle of Nakel, in 1431. On the Polish side were Jan Jardgniewski of the house of Oria or Szaszdor; Bartosz (III) Wezemborg, castellan of Nakel in 1438; and Pobrogost Kolenski of the house of Nalencz, castellan of the episcopal castle of Kamien in 1427. On the German/Livonian side were Johann Spar von Herten, 1451-53 Komtur of Ascheraden; and Walther vam Loe, 1431-36 Komtur of Dunaburg (possibly not at the battle).

275 (1 3/4 x 1 3/4 ells ) On a mount vert, the Virgin Mary statant affronty vested azure lined argent maintaining the Christ Child proper and a roundel vert in dexter chief on an escutcheon argent a cross sable. This illustration shows a black-and-white engraved copy of a page now missing from the Banderia Prutenorum, showing one side of a painted banner (the other side is depicted on p. 277 below).

277 (1 34/4 x 1 3/4 ells) Argent, St. Maurice statant affronty proper armed cap a pie and maintaining in base with his sinister hand on an escutcheon (argent, a cross sable) and in his dexter hand a lance palewise proper and to the fly on an eschutcheon (argent, a cross sable). Livonia. Dlugosz calls this "the Banner of the Livonians" from the battel of Nakel (Dabki) in 1431. According to Dlugosz, these arms were borne by the Marshal of the Teutonic Knights of Livonia, Dietrich Krae. This attribution of Krae as the bearer is incorrect. He was landmarshall of Livonia from 1422 to 1427. From 1410-1413 the Master of the Order in Livonia was Konrad von Vietinghof. From 1428-1438 the Landmarshall was Werner von Nesselrode, who was captured at the battle; he was released two and a half years later in 1439. Jost von Hohenkirchen, komtur of Nachel, was killed in the battle.

279 (Banner 2 1/8 x 2 1/4 with three short pennons on the fly each at 1 x 1/4 ell) Sable, in pale two mullets of six argent. Komterei of Aschraden. Taken from Livonian troops of the Order captured at the battle of Nakel.

281 (Banner 2 ells and a hand x 2 ells with three short pennons on the fly each 1 x 1/4 ells) Argent, a fess sable. Komturei of Fellin. The komtur at the time, Goswin von Poelem, was not at the battle. Scholars have (incorrectly) added the name of one "Walter von Gilsen" to those of the leaders. Ekdahl says Dlugosz transfers the name Walter Kerskorff, then Komtur of Danzig, to the fictitious office "Komtur of Kurland".

283 (Banner 1 1/8 x 1 1/8 with three short pennons on the fly each 3/4 x 1/4 ells) Sable, in pale two mullets of six argent. Stiftsvogt of Kokenhusen. The attribution of this "Livonian banner" is presumably wrong. The so-called vogt Jurgen Gutzlaf was actually vogt of Treiden. Nor was the "stiftsvogt" likely at the battle: "stiftsvogt" was a church position, and Kokenhusen was the seat of the Archbishopric of Riga. Troops of the archbishopric of Riga did not take part.


1. Ekdahl cites two sources for the length of the Polish ell; Karol Gorski (who produced the first modern edition with translation of Banderia Prutenorum: Warsaw 1958) gives it as 595.5 millimeters (2 feet); S.M. Kuczynski (another Polish expert) claims it varies between 472.4 mm and 687.8 mm (19 to 27.5 inches).

2. It is not clear why the ten extra banners were added. Among the several explanations offered for this is the possibility that the bulk of the banners came from Tannenberg and that the other ten were spoils of a later battle.

3. There is no order to the banners, except that they are reproduced in Duglosz and Durink (and in Ekdahl) in roughly the order that they were hung in Cracow cathedral. Of course, this order is disrupted by the later inclusion of the extra ten flags.