Structure of the Teutonic Order
Universal leadership of
the Teutonic Order
Generalkapitel (general chapter) was the collection of all the priests, knights and half-brothers (German: Halbbrüder).
Because of the logistical problems in assembling the members, who were spread over large distances, only deputations of the
bailiwicks and commandries gathered to form the General chapter. The General chapter was
designed to meet annually, but the conventions were usually limited to the election of a new Grandmaster. The decisions
of the Generalkapitel had a binding effect on the Großgebietigers of the order.
Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order
(Grandmaster) was the highest officer of the order. Until 1525, he was elected by the Generalkapitel.
He had the rank of ruler of an ecclesiastic imperial state and was sovereign prince of Prussia
until 1466. Despite this high formal position, practically, he was only a kind of first among equals.
The Großgebietiger were high officers with competence on the whole order, appointed by the Hochmeister.
There were five offices.
- The Großkomtur (Magnus Commendator), the deputy of the Grandmaster
- The Treßler, the treasurer
Spitler (Summus Hospitalarius), responsible for all hospital affairs
- The Trapier, responsible for dressing and armament
Marschall (Summus Marescalcus), the chief of military affairs
The order was divided in three national chapters, Prussia, Livland
and the territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The highest officer of each
chapter was the Landmeister (country master). They were elected by the regional chapters. In the beginning, they
were only substitutes of the Grandmaster but were able to create a power of their own so that, within their territory, the
Grandmaster could not decide against their will. At the end of their rule over Prussia, the Grandmaster was only Landmeister
of Prussia. There were three Landmeisters:
- The Landmeister in Livland, the successor of the Herrenmeister
(lords master) of the former Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
- The Landmeister
of Prussia, after 1309 united with the office of the Grandmaster, who was situated in Prussia from then.
- The Deutschmeister, the Landsmeister of the Holy Roman Empire. When Prussia
and Livland were lost, the Deutschmeister also became Grandmaster.
Because the properties of the order within the rule of the Deutschmeister
did not form a contiguous territory, but were spread over the whole empire and parts of Europe, there was an additional
regional structure, the bailiwick. Kammerbaleien("Chamber Bailiwicks") were governed by the Grandmaster
himself. Some of these bailiwicks had the rank of imperial states
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Thuringia (Zwätzen)
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Hesse (Marburg)
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Saxonia (Lucklum)
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Westphalia (Deutschordenskommende Mülheim)
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Franconia (Ellingen)
- "Chamber Bailiwick" of Koblenz
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick
of Swabia-Alsace-Burgundy (Rouffach)
Order Bailiwick at the Etsch and in the Mountains (south Tyrol) (Bozen)
- Lorraine (Trier)
- "Chamber Bailiwick"
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of Alden Biesen
- Teutonic Order Bailiwick of
Apulia (San Leonardo)
- Lombardy (also called Lamparten)
- "Chamber Bailiwick" of Bohemia
Order Bailiwick of Romania (Achaia, Greece)
The smallest administrative unit of the order was the Kommende.
It was ruled by a Komtur, who had all administrative rights and controlled the Vogteien
(district of a reeve) and Zehnthöfe (tithe collectors) within his rule. In the commandry, all kinds of brothers
lived together in a monastic way. Noblemen served as Knight-brothers or Priest-brothers. Other people could serve as Sariantbrothers,
who were armed soldiers, and as Half-brothers, who were working in economy and healthcare.
- The Kanzler (chancellor) of the Grandmaster and the
Deutschmeister. The chancellor took care of the keys and seals and was also the recording clerk of the chapter.
- The Münzmeister (master of the mint) of Thorn. In 1246, the order received
the right to produce its own coins – the Moneta Dominorum Prussiae – Schillingen.
- The Pfundmeister (customs master) of Danzig. The Pfund was a local customs
- The Generalprokurator the representative of the order
at the Holy See.
- The Großschäffer, a trading representative
with special authority.