Drs. R.J. (Rombert) Stapel

  • PhD Student
  • History of the Military Orders
  • Historiography of the Military Orders

Personal Homepage: www.hum.leiden.edu/​history/​stapel.jsp

Spreekuur / Office Hours

Na afspraak / By appointment

Fields of interest

History of the Military Orders during the Middle Ages; Historiography in the Low Countries in the Late Middle Ages; Historiography of the Military Orders, especially the Teutonic Order.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. J.A. Mol (Leiden University/Fryske Akademy)

Curriculum vitae

Rombert Stapel (1983) was born in Hardenberg and studied History at Leiden University. He graduated in January 2008 in Medieval History on a prosopographical study on the priest-brethren of the Utrecht Bailiwick of the Teutonic Order (1350-1600).

Current project

Currently he is appointed by the Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden to do research on the "Cronike van der Duytscher Oirden" (in recent historiography also known as the "Jüngere Hochmeisterchronik"). This Late Medieval chronicle, originally in Middle Dutch, is probably written by a priest-brother or scribe of the Utrecht Bailiwick. The manuscript held in Vienna most likely is an autograph and is written in several phases between approximately 1480 and 1496. Two other Middle Dutch manuscripts can be found in archives in Utrecht and Ghent and a fourth manuscript, that has been used for an edition by A. Matthaeus in 1710, has been lost. In the early 16th century, the text was translated into German and became very popular and influential in the Baltic region.

The chronicle consists of a prologue in which the history of the Teutonic Order is traced back into Biblical times, followed by a detailed description of all the grandmasters of the Order (and their coats of arms), up until the death of Ludwig von Erlichshausen in 1467. The descriptions are linked to privileges given by consecutive popes and emperors. A large proportion of the chronicle contains an exhaustive history of the period up to the foundation of the Prussian Confederation resulting in the Thirteen Years' War. Then it continues with a list of all the houses of the Order in Prussia and Livonia. Finally the chronicle contains a description of all the houses of the Utrecht Bailiwick, together with all the Land commanders of the Bailiwick, their coats of arms, and their individual merits.

The chronicle is written at a time when the Teutonic Order had to reinvent and legitimize their right of existence: there were for instance no pagans left in the Baltic to fight. Since the chronicle is one of the very few known historiographical documents made by the Military Orders in one of their "remote" provinces, it gives a unique insight of the problems facing the members of the order in this transitional period. The chronicle, which seems to be influenced by historiographical traditions in the Low Countries as well as traditions in the Teutonic Order itself, provides us with an example for literary exchange within the Order. The chronicle also holds a clue to the overall intellectual level of the brethren of the Teutonic Order, especially the priest-brethren, of whom - as recently is discovered - many had studied at universities around Northwestern Europe.

Last Modified: 01-02-2013