Military Order of Max Joseph, Grand Cross
Image courtesy of “Histoire, Costumes, Decorations de tous Les Ordres De Chevalerie et Marques D’Honneur” by Par Auguste Wahlen
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A white-enameled gold Maltese cross with rounded finials at each point of the arms. The center medallion is of blue enamel and edged in gold, featuring the monogram of Max Joseph (MJK).The reverse center bears a blue enamel medallion with the inscription "VIRTUTI PRO PATRIA” ("Bravery for the Fatherland"). Golden flames sit in the quadrants between the arms. The cross is topped with a Bavarian crown and an elongated loop for suspension. On a black sash or neck ribbon with light blue and white stripes at the borders.
The Military Order of Max Joseph was instituted on January 1, 1806 by Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria. It was originally divided into three classes: Grand Cross, Commander’s Cross and Knight’s Cross. It was established to reward excellent military service and bravery. Individuals who received the order were permitted to add the title of “Ritter von” to their family name and those who were not already members of the nobility were ennobled. The descendants of two religious knights qualified for hereditary nobility. Foreigners could receive the order, but did not receive the title of “Ritter von”. It is also important to note that not all individuals with the title “Ritter von” were recipients of the Military Order of Max Joseph. The Order of the Merit of the Bavarian Crown also carried with it a title of nobility and some noble families possessed the title. The awards of the order began to be numbered on October 27, 1840. Following the collapse of the Bavarian monarchy in 1918, the Order became obsolete. However, outstanding awards recommendations were issued until 1922.
The Military Order of Max Joseph is organized as such: Grand Cross and Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander Cross, Knight’s Cross and Official’s Cross.
The Grand Cross was worn on a sash, but also on a neck ribbon.
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