Insignia Germany Order Teutonic.svg hochmeisterarmsteutonic.png Insignia Germany Order Teutonic.svg
The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St.
Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem - 1190-2020
The German Order of the Teutonic Knights of Christ in Jerusalem
Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem
File:Crux Ordis Teutonicorum.svg  " Helfen - Wehren - Heilen "  File:Crux Ordis Teutonicorum.svg " Help - Defend - HealFile:Crux Ordis Teutonicorum.svg

Teutonic Order - HomepageHistory of the Teutonic OrderRule and Statutes of the Teutonic OrderMembership of the Teutonic OrdenInternational Bailiwicks and Commanderies of the Teutonic OrderTeutonic OrderAdministrative StructureChronicon terrae PrussiaePeter of DusburgKingdom of JerusalemAssizes of JerusalemHaute Cour of JerusalemOfficers of the Kingdom of JerusalemVassals of the Kingdom of JerusalemKnights TemplarReligious Military OrdersJesus ChristSaint MaryRosary of the Virgin MaryMarian Cross - Teutonic OrderCatholic PrayersTeutonic ShopMembership StructureTeutonic BrigadeTeutonic Brigade - Command and RanksLivonian Brothers of the SwordLivonian OrderLivonian ChronicleLandmeister in LivlandLandmeister of PrussiaHermann BalkDietrich von GruningenAnno von SangershausenOtto von LutterbergErnst von RatzeburgJohann Osthoff von MengedeJohann Freytag von LoringhovenWolter von PlettenbergGotthard KettlerOrder of DobrzynTeutonic EventsTeutonic StateDuchy of EstoniaTeutonic ChurchStephansdomTeutonic SaintsSaint Elisabeth of HungarySaint GeorgeBad MergentheimSchloss MergentheimDeutschordenskommendeMalbork CastleCastles - Teutonic OrderHermann CastleAlden Biesen CastleBran CastleBalga CastleBytow CastleBauska CastleKonigsberg CastleMontfort CastleRiga CastleOrdensburgBattle of GrunwaldBanners in the Battle of GrunwaldBattle of KoronowoSiege of DamiettaSiege of MarienburgBattle of the IcePrussian UprisingsBattle of La ForbieTreaty of ChristburgBattle of KrückenBattle of DurbeBattle of PokarwisSiege of KönigsbergBattle of LöbauSiege of BartensteinBattle of PagastinBattle of AizkraukleMilan uprising - 1311Siege of ChristmemelBattle of MedininkaiBattle of Saint GeorgeBattle of PlowceBattle of PyzdryBattle of LegnicaBattle of RudauBattle of the Siritsa RiverBattle of StrevaBattle of the Vorskla RiverBattle of Vistula LagoonBattle of ChojniceBattle of SwiecinoTeutonic BattlesPrussian CrusadeLivonian CrusadeWendish CrusadeTeutonic RegaliaCoats of Arms of Knights of the Teutonic OrderTeutonic DocumentsArms of HochmeistersPortraits - OnePortraits - TwoPortraits - ThreePortraits - FourOrders CompositionTeutonic CoinsHochmeisters of the Teutonic OrderTeutonic Grand CommandersTeutonic MarshalsMaster SibrandHeinrich von BassenheimOtto von KerpenHeinrich von TunnaHermann von SalzaKonrad von ThuringenGerhard von MalbergHeinrich von HohenloheGunther von WullerslebenPoppo von OsternaAnno von SangershausenHartmann von HeldrungenBurchard von SchwandenKonrad von FeuchtwangenGottfried von HohenloheSiegfried von FeuchtwangenKarl von TrierWerner von OrselnLuther von BraunschweigDietrich von AltenburgLudolf Konig von WattzauHeinrich DusemerWinrich von KniprodeKonrad Zollner von RothensteinKonrad von WallenrodeKonrad von JungingenUlrich von JungingenHeinrich von PlauenMichael Kuchmeister von SternbergPaul von RusdorfKonrad von ErlichshausenLudwig von ErlichshausenHeinrich Reuß von PlauenHeinrich Reffle von RichtenbergMartin Truchseß von WetzhausenJohann von TiefenDuke Frederick of SaxonyDuke Albert of PrussiaArchduke Maximilian of AustriaArchduke Eugen of AustriaArchduke Wilhelm Franz of AustriaArchduke Anton Victor of AustriaArchduke Charles, Duke of TeschenArchduke Maximilian Francis of AustriaPrince Charles Alexander of LorraineClemens August of BavariaCount Francis Louis of NeuburgLudwig Anton von Pfalz-NeuburgJohann Caspar von AmpringenArchduke Charles Joseph of AustriaArchduke Leopold Wilhelm of AustriaJohann Kaspar von StadionJohann Eustach von WesternachCharles of Austria, Bishop of WroclawMaximilian III, Archduke of AustriaHeinrich von BobenhausenGeorg Hundt von WeckheimWolfgang SchutzbarWalter von CronbergNorbert KleinPaul HeiderRobert Johann SchalzkyMarian TumlerIldefons PaulerArnold Othmar WielandBruno PlatterFrank BayardPrince Karl of GermanyHonorary KnightsKonrad AdenauerCarl Duke of WurttembergFranz Joseph of LiechtensteinKarl von HabsburgOtto von HabsburgJoachim MeisnerPhilipp Albrecht Duke of WurttembergChristoph SchonbornKnights Grand CrossKnights of HonourMarian KnightsKnights of the Livonian CrossOrder of The Iron CrossKnights of The Iron CrossOrder of The Pour le MériteKnights of The Pour le MériteGrand Bailiwick of the United States of AmericaGrand Bailiwick of GermanyGrand Bailiwick of JerusalemGrand Bailiwick of South AmericaGrand Bailiwick of North AmericaBailiwick of KönigsbergBailiwick of RomeBailiwick of ApuliaBailiwick of AustriaBailiwick of WestfaliaBailiwick of FranconiaBailiwick of HesseBailiwick of LombardyBailiwick of KoblenzBailiwick of SicilyBailiwick of ThuringiaBailiwick of SaxoniaBailiwick of SwabiaBailiwick of LorraineBailiwick of Puerto RicoAncient Teutonic BailiwicksBailiwick of UtrechtDuitse HuisJacob van AmerongenUnico van WassenaerCommandery of FranceCommandery of SpainCommandery of ItalyCommandery of PortugalCommandery of BrazilCommandery of AustraliaCommandery of CanadaCommandery of the Holy SeeCommandery of SwedenCommandery of NorwayKnights of the Teutonic OrderGermanic PeopleTeutons - Teutones - TeutoniTheodiscusTeutonic BishopsTeutonic ParishesPope FrancisPope Benedict XVIPope John Paul IIList of PopesLinks - OneLinks - TwoCharity LinksGerman WebsitesGerman Websites

Thumbnail for version as of 21:23, 16 March 2014  Hermann_Balk.jpg  Thumbnail for version as of 21:23, 16 March 2014

Landmeister Herman Balk 

 Hermann Balk (died March 5, 1239, Würzburg), also known as Hermann von Balk or Hermann Balke, was a Knight-Brother of the Teutonic Order and its first Landmeister, or Provincial Master, in both Prussia and Livonia. From 1219 to 1227, he served as the Deutschmeister in the Order's Province of Alemannia. Balk led the crusaders during the Prussian Crusade and became Master of Prussia in 1230. From 1237 to 1238, he also served in the additional role as Master of Livonia. Balk came from a family of Lower Saxon-Markish origin. He may have been a former canon at Hildesheim and may have joined the Teutonic Knights at Acre in 1189. He was well respected by fellow Roman Catholics, but he had no patience for pagans. His leadership and traditions were emulated by his successors throughout the 13th century, and he created the master's seal presenting the flight into Egypt. While all other masters' seals were anonymous, only Balk's included his name.

Hermann-Balk.jpg

In 1226, the Teutonic Knights were invited to combat the Old Prussians by Duke Conrad I of Masovia, whose lands had been raided by the pagans over the preceding decades. Balk led the first substantial detachment of Teutonic Knights to Castle Vogelsang near Toruń. The master allegedly negotiated the Treaty of Kruszwica with Conrad in 1230, by which the Teutonic Knights would control Culmerland and future conquests instead of them passing to the Masovian duke or Bishop Christian of Oliva; the arrangement was similar to what had been agreed upon by Emperor Frederick II in the 1226 Golden Bull of Rimini. Granted the titles of Landpfleger (per Sclavoniam et Prusiam preceptor) and Landmeister, Balk led the Teutonic Knights during the conquests of Culmerland, Pomesania, and northern Warmia in the first decade of the Prussian Crusade, the 1230s. Because the Teutonic Order's primary focus was defending Outremer, Balk, the "Pizarro of the Baltic lands", had limited resources at his disposal. He utilized guerilla warfare, forest ambushes, and his white-cloaked cavalry in winter campaigns; the master crossed the Vistula in 1231 to hang a Prussian chief from a sacred oak tree. Balk allowed tribes who accepted Christianity to become auxiliaries of the Teutonic Knights and left them with their lands, while tribes that remained pagan were defeated and expelled. Ballistae and crossbows were used by the crusaders to capture the Prussians' forts. Under Balk's leadership, castles were built at Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), Culm (Chełmno), Elbing (Elbląg), and Thorn (Toruń). The master encouraged the settlement of German colonists near Teutonic Ordensburg castles; the municipal privileges granted to Culm and Toruń on 28 December 1233 by Balk and Grand Master Hermann von Salza became the basis for Culm law, which was later applied to other developing towns in Prussia.

balk_herman.jpg

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, a German military order active in Livonia, were crushed by Samogitians in the 1236 Battle of Saule. The remnants of the Sword-Brothers were assimilated into the Teutonic Order the following year, and Balk was given the charge of reorganizing the new brethren. He recruited sixty knights from the Teutonic Order's north German convents, as they spoke the Low German used by the Sword-Brothers. After sailing to Riga, he distributed his troops to reinforce the countryside. At Stensby in 1238, Balk returned Danish Estonia, which had been conquered by the Sword-Brothers, to King Valdemar II of Denmark. The upset Livonian Brethren refused to cooperate with Balk, who traveled to Italy to seek aid from Grand Master Hermann von Salza and Pope Gregory IX. Balk received little assistance, as Gregory IX was feuding with Emperor Frederick II and Hermann von Salza died in Salerno. Dietrich von Grüningen was named Master of Livonia later in 1238, and Balk died at Würzburg in Franconia the next year.
 
hermanbalk1.jpg

Legacy

The memory of Hermann von Balk's leading role in the conquest and Christianization of the Chełmno Land and as the actual founder of the State of the Teutonic Order was very much alive in West Prussia until the annexation of this area to Poland in 1919. This is evidenced by numerous monuments and in particular artfully designed fountains in West Prussian cities, which are dedicated to this first Landmaster.