15th century

Order of the Dragon

  • The Order of the Dragon was established on 12 December 1408 by the Hungarian king, subsequently Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg. The order chose Saint George and Saint Magdalene as their patrons, and the reason for establishing it was to protect the Christian Europe and Christian values jeopardized by the young Asian civilization that aspired to aggressively impose its religion and its culture.

    Twenty-four of most worthy of European knights, personalities characterized with high moral principles, elite in the broadest sense of the concept, were members of the First Order of the Dragon. The honourable place, according to the founding charter – first among equals – was Despot Stefan Lazarević, master of Serbia.

    The first members were: Despot Stefan Lazarević, count Hermannus of Cily and Zagoriae, Nicolae of Gara, the palatine of Hungary, Janosz Thamassy, Stibor of Stiboritz, Jacobus Laczk de Zantho, Joan de Maroth, Filip Skolari, Nicolaus de zeech, Karolus de Corbauia,, Joanus de Alsaan, Petrus Cheh de Lewa , Nicolaus de Chak, Paulus Byssenus, Paulus de Peth, Michael de Nadasd , Petrus de Peren, Ioannes de Gara, and Emericus de eadem Pern, secretary and chancellor.

    In addition to twenty-four members, more knights were selected as prospective substitutes in case of death of any of the proper members, but only after a probationary period of one year. It should be underlined that the knightly order of the Dragon was of an assembly nature. The Kong Sigismund of Luxemburg wanted to copy the celestial order on the earth, so that everything relating to the founding date of the order of the Dragon to the number of knights that made it up, twenty-four of them, was based on Christian meaning and obvious symbols.

  • The symbol of the knightly Order of the Dragon was a dragon with the cross on the back, tail wrapped around its own neck, and the honour to bear the sign on his knightly armour and flag was and still is a symbol of the highest possible nobility (dignity).

    About the position of Despot Stefan in the knightly order:

    Excerpt from the Life of Despot Stefan:

    … when he established proper friendship with the western rulers, he went to the town of Buda, where western kings and other noblemen came to the king of Hungary (who was supposed to go to) Constance and Rome for the coronation, Despot Stefan was above them all, and the brightest of them all, and was the tallest of them all, and was seen as the moon among the stars, and from afar everybody could see him, and all his advice were firmly proper and pertinent …

    …This (Despot Stefan) had the right even to award knightly medals to noble kings and famous knights, so that they were proud and (believing that they are superior to kingʼs knights) stated: “Despot bestowed the knightly order on me.”

        Constantine the Philosopher

  • zastava1-2

    Despot Stefan’s flag


    Order of the Dragon signature


    Ceremonial sward, Kunst Historisches Museum Wien

  • Founding statute of the Order of the Dragon


    Order of the Dragon saddle, Hungarian National Museum