Famous German Knights

Medieval Germany was home to a number of knightly Orders and the knightly culture was very popular among the German nobility which was particularly known for its martial spirit.

Among the most notable German knightly orders was the Teutonic Order which became a vital political, military and cultural force in a vast part of medieval Europe.

The Order produced some of the most well-known German knights and was one of the most long-lasting institutions established in medieval Germany.


Tannhauser was a German poet and knight of the 13th century. He was historically associated with the Teutonic Order and according to mentions in historical sources, he probably fought alongside the knights of the Order in the Fifth Crusade.

His claim to fame was his poetry which inspired many subsequent German artists in the later centuries. A sizable body of legends also grew around his name towards the later medieval period. In post-medieval period, Richard Wagner famously produced the Tannhauser opera in which the legend of the knight was given a theatric treatment.

Heinrich Von Bulow

Heinrich Von Bulow was a German knight who rose to significant fame during the 14th century. He belonged to the German nobility and was notably known for his archetypal role as the robber baron. He would exact vendetta on many powerful personalities and amassed significant power in northern Germany, although this also earned him many powerful enemies. He was later granted a key position under the Swedish king, Albert. He died towards the end of the 14th century.

Franz Von Sickingen

Franz Von Sickingen was a notable German knight who was one of the most interesting characters of the German Reformation. Sickingen had a knack for siding with the oppressed party in a given feud as an excuse to bring up troops against the oppressor and then either receive bribes or invade different regions and towns.

His skillful manoeuvring in such cases made him a decisive person in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V who then made him his councillor. A notable aspect of Sickingen was his propensity to be a patron and protector for men of learning. His castles served as refuges for many persecuted men of learning of the time, including Martin Luther.

Gotz Von Berlichingen

Gotz Von Berlichingen was a medieval German knight who led a long military life, offering his mercenary services to a number of monarchs and barons. He spent most of his military career in the first half of 16th century. He served under Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, Albert IV of Bavaria and many other notable noblemen and monarchs of the time.

While still quite young, Berlichingen lost his right arm for which he then had a replacement made. The replacement was an iron prosthetic hand which he could use to hold a sword. He was embroiled in the major events of the time, including the German Peasants’ Revolt but was subsequently able to free himself of all charges brought up against him and came to serve under Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Berlichingen was also known for having penned an autobiography and for being a poet as well.





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