Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The German Order and Prussian society : a noble corporation in crisis, 1410-1466
Author: Burleigh, Michael Christopher Bennet
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1982
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis attempts to use the exceptionally rich archives of the German Order to reveal something of the actuality of life in an aristocratic ecclesiastical corporation in society and under stress between c. 1410 and 1466. It differs from previous histories of the Order in that it attempts to combine analysis of longterm social change with a narrative of political events. The first chapter attempts to characterise German peasant society on the Marienburger Werder in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It seeks to give precision to social and economic relationships and argues that peasant communal organisation and powers of resistance to seigneurial coercion were not retarded in medieval Prussia. The final part of the chapter tries to suggest some of the major contrasts between German and Prussian peasants. The second chapter is concerned with the social origins of the brethren of the Order; the way in which power was exercised and finally, with the quality of life enjoyed by members of the Order. The third chapter begins with an assessment of the social, economic and political consequences for Prussian society of the four major wars between the Order and Poland of 1410-1433. It then considers the Order's increased fiscal demands and the severer insistence upon its rights occasioned by war and the consequently sharpened hostility of Prussian society to the alien regime of the Order. The fourth chapter attempts to bring precision to the view expressed in the fifteenth century as well as by later historians that the Order was in need of reform in the later Middle Ages. It tries to show what was considered to be wrong and how members of the Order---including the rebels in the three Chapters of Konigsberg, Balga and Brandenburg---planned to reform the corporation. Finally, chapter five examines the role of the Prussian Estates and the formation of an alliance of townsmen and the landed classes designed to safeguard their privileges against encroachments on the part of the bankrupt lordship. The sequel was rebellion against the Order and a longing for the long-range lordship of the Poles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: European History