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The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis. Knight Cross

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The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis. Knight Cross
Number of awards: RRR
manufactured: _________

Product Code:



Knight Cross

Constitutor: König Ludwig XIV.
Foundation date: 5.4.1693
Year award: 1830-1852
Origin / Provenance: -
Material: Gold + Emaille
Weight in (g). 11,28
Size in (mm). 41 x 38
Condition: II
The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis (French: Ordre Royal et Militaire de Saint-Louis) was a military Order of Chivalry founded on 5 April 1693 by Louis XIV and named after Saint Louis (Louis IX). It was intended as a reward for exceptional officers, and is notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles. It is a predecessor of the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honour), with which it shares the red ribbon (though the Légion d'honneur is awarded to military personnel and civilians alike).
The King was the Grand Master of the order, and the Dauphin was automatically a member as well. The Order had three classes:
 Grand-Croix (Grand Cross)
 Commandeur (Commander)
 Chevalier (Knight)
The entire order included 8 Grand Crosses, 28 Commanders and a variable number of Knights. Officers of the Order included, after the Grand Master, a Trésorier (Treasurer), a Greffier (Registrar) and a Huissier (Gentleman Usher).
The badge of the order consisted of a portrait of Saint Louis surrounded by the motto « LUD(OVICUS) M(AGNUS) IN(STITUIT) 1693 » ("Louis the Great instituted it in 1693"). The reverse features a sword interlaced with a laurel crown and a white sash, with the inscription « BELL(ICAE) VIRTUTIS PRAEM(IUM) » ("reward of wartime valour"). Knights wore the badge suspended from a ribbon on the breast, Commanders wore a red ribband (sash) over the right shoulder, and recipients of the Grand Cross wore the ribband as well as a star on the left breast. The general assembly of the Order was held annually on 25 August, the feast day of Saint Louis, in the residence of the King.
Conditions to obtain the award did not include nobility; however, Catholic faith was mandatory, as well as at least ten years' service as a commissioned officer in the Army or the Navy. Members of the Order received a pension. Hereditary nobility was granted to a knight's son and grandsons. Another decoration, the Institution of Military Merit (fr:Institution du mérite militaire) was created for the Protestant officers in service of the French king (mainly foreign mercenaries, as French Protestants were not tolerated at the time).
Until the death of Louis XIV, the medal was awarded to outstanding officers only, but it gradually came to be an award that most officers would receive during their career. On 1 January 1791, during the French Revolution, a decree changed the name to décoration militaire ("military decoration"). It was subsequently withdrawn on 15 October 1792.
One of the first acts of Louis XVIII was to reinstate the Order of Saint Louis, awarding it to officers of the Royal and Imperial armies alike. In 1830 the new king Louis-Philippe abolished the order, which was never reinstated.

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