Von Preußen ins Reich. Der Burgdorfer Krieg und die Heimatreise der einfachen Ordensbrüder Rudolf und Konrad von Kyburg aus dem Jahre 1383
From Prussia to the Reich: The Burgdorf War and the Journey Home by Two Ordinary Teutonic Knights – Rudolf and Konrad von Kyburg in 1383
Languages of publication
Not many primary sources document the lives of ordinary Teutonic Knights who were not among the highest officials of the Order. Therefore, the preserved mentions from the town of Burgdorf, modern-day Switzerland, prove to be of great importance. These refer to two Teutonic Knights, Konrad and Rudolf von Kyburg, who returned to their homeland during the summer of 1383. It is all the more interesting due to the fact that the older of the two – Konrad – was referred to in a document of 1375 as an ordinary Teutonic Knight staying in Balga. His younger brother is also likely to have served in the Teutonic Order in Prussia. The reason for their journey home was the Burgdorf War, which was started in November of 1382 by their nephew Rudolf II von Kyburg, who made an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the town of Solothurn. It resulted in a conflict with Bern, which was the most powerful city in that region. The return of Konrad and Rudolf to their homeland would not have been possible without the approval of their superiors, including the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. The scarce primary sources that were preserved indicate that the two Teutonic Knights tried to alleviate the conflict by diplomatic means, however, without success. They were given a certain amount of time before they were obliged to return to Prussia. The issue of financing the journey is really interesting. Even though the presence of the two Teutonic Knights was certainly beneficial for the von Kyburg family, it is highly unlikely that the relatives covered their travel expenses, as the family had been impoverished long before the war even began, and it needed to allocate all the available resources for the defense of the ancestral castle. Thus, the Teutonic Order was forced, against its thirteenth-century rules, not only to approve but also finance the purely private journey of its two longtime members to their homeland.
Publication order reference