Military Order of Max Joseph, Official's Cross
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A Maltese cross constructed of gold and enamel. The obverse centre bears the monogram of Max Joseph (MJK). The reverse centre bears a blue enamel medallion with the inscription "VIRTUTI PRO PATRIA” (Bravery for the Fatherland). The 12 o'clock arm of the cross is in gold, rather than in white enamel to identify it as an Official's Cross. With a crown and elongated suspension.
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 knighted and thus 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 a knighthood, thus were not permitted to use the title of “Ritter von”. Since the heads of states other than Bavaria could also bestow knighthood onto a subject, it is important to note that not all individuals with the title “Ritter von” were recipients of the Military Order of Max Joseph.
The Order of 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 award 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.
The Official's Cross is not an award for distinction, but rather a badge which signifies an individuals official position.
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