Order of the Hunt, Cross
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A George’s cross with Maltese cross style arms, constructed of gold and enamel. The cross arms are enamelled in red with narrow golden edges. In between the arms are golden eagles with spread wings. Between the tips of each cross arm is a golden hunting horn. The obverse centre medallion is enamelled in green and features a crowned golden monogram ‘W’. The medallion ring is golden and smooth. The reverse is similar, except that the centre medallion features three intertwined golden hunting horns forming a wreath. On a loop for suspension, on a red ribbon.
The Order of the Hunt was established by Duke Eberhard IV Ludwig in 1702. It was also known as the Order of St. Hubertus.
The Dukes of Württemberg considered themselves to be the imperial masters of the hunt, and the order was created to not only bolster the prestige of Württemberg, but also to establish an association of nobility with whom the duke could hunt.
The order’s motto was “Amicitiae Virtutis Que Foedus”, which means “covenant of friendship and virtue”. The motto was chosen, because the duke hoped to establish friendship and unity between himself and the influential members of the order.
The order was limited to 30 members. This number does not include the leaders of the order, who were rulers of different principalities from throughout the German Empire. The original founding leaders of the order included Margrave Georg Wilhelm von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm von Hohenzollern-Hechinger, Prince Carl Alexander, Margrave Carl Wilhelm III von Baden-Durlach, and Prince Friedrich Ludwig von Württemberg-Winnental.
Men were eligible to be admitted into the order at the age of 20 and could receive a place on the council of the order at the age of 25.
The cross of the order was worn from a band that was worn over the left shoulder and secured above the right hip. A Knight of the order was also issued a silver breast star and a golden collar, which was worn on special occasions. Members were penalised if they failed to wear these decorations in public. If a member consistently failed to wear the decorations, their membership was revoked.
In 1807, King Friedrich I converted the Order of the Hunt into the Order of the Golden Eagle. On September 23, 1818, the Order of the Golden Eagle was combined with the Order of Civil Merit to create the Order of the Württemberg Crown.
The Cross was made of gold with red enamel work. In between the arms there are golden eagles. The arms feature cut-out peaks at the top and in the lower three arms, with a hunting horn placed in the peak. In the centre of the obverse, there is a green-enamelled medallion that features a golden letter “W”. The reverse features a green-enamelled medallion with three interwoven hunting horns forming a wreath.
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