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  Order of the Dragon

The Order of the Dragon (Lat: Societatis draconistrarum) was an institution similar to other chivalric orders of the time, modeled on the Order of St. George (1318). It was created in 1408 by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund (then the king of Hungary). According to its statute, which survives in a copy dated 1707, the Order required its initiates to defend the Cross and fight its enemies, principally the Turks. The original Order had twenty four members of the nobility, including such notable figures as:

  • Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire (after 1410)

  • Despot Stefan Lazarevic of Serbia

  • King Alfonso V of Aragon and Naples

  • King Vladislav Jagello of Poland

  • Grand Prince Vitovd of Lithuania

  • Duke Ernst of Austria

  • Christopher III, Duke of Bavaria and King of Denmark

  • Thomas de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk (after 1439)

  • Vlad Tsepesh, Duke of Wallachia (after 1431)

The Order of the Dragon adopted as its symbol in 1408 the image of a circular dragon with its tail coiled around its neck. On its back, from the base of its neck to its tail, was the red cross of St George on the background of a silver field. With the expansion of the Order, other symbols were adopted, all variations on the theme of dragon and cross. For example, one class of the Order used a dragon being strangled with a cross draped across its back; another presents a cross perpendicular to a coiled-up dragon with an inscription:

"O quam misericors est Deus" (Oh, how merciful God is)

 and "Justus et paciens" (Justifiably and peacefully)


Other emblems of the Order included a necklace and a seal, each with a variant form of the dragon motif.

After the death of Sigismund in 1437, the Order of the Dragon lost much of its prominence, though its iconography was retained on the coats-of-arms of several noble families.











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