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Principalities of Reuss-Gera and Reuss-Greiz 1778-1919 (Reuss, Germany)

Fürstentüme Reuss-Gera und Reuss-Greiz

Last modified: 2013-12-09 by editor unassigned
Keywords: reuss | fürstentum reuss | fuerstentum reuss | reuss-greiz | reuss ältere linie | reuss-gera | reuss jüngere linie | canton (yellow) | saltire (black) | reuss-schleiz | reuss-plauen | reuss-lobenstein |
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Introduction

There are several principalities with the name Reuss. In addition the princely dynasty was split into a senior and junior branch [ältere Linie and jüngere Linie], each of them ruling some of the Reusses. I have found the following flag information. The colours are black-red-yellow. For the principalities of the junior branch, a "tricolour of the French type" [i.e. vertical stripes], for the senior branch, a horizontal triband (like the present German flag). The order of the colours is a bit unclear — it might also have been black-yellow-red. Source: Mattern and Neubecker 1977.

Harald Müller, 23 July 1996

In general [in] the 17th century the flag was black and yellow, colors coming from those of the ruling family. Later the red was added. The three colors are known from the time of the Rhine Confederation (1806-1814). In 1734 the officers of the 2nd regiment of Schwarzburg and Reuss united and wore the colors black-white-red, while during the Rhine Confederation the colors were yellow-red-black. On 14 August 1814, after the Paris peace treaty, soldiers from Reuss who fought against Napoleon brought at the Frankfurt parade the decoration ribbon black with red and yellow stripes. In 1820 the colors were proclaimed by the [sovereign] princes colors of the country [Landesfarben] and in three horizontal stripes they formed the flag of Reuss, in particular of the Greiz line, while the Schleiz-Gera line mainly used them vertically. My sources gives different dates for territorial subdivisions and arrangements. As members of the German Confederation and of the German Empire only the two lines of Reuss-Greiz and Reuss-Schleiz-Gera are to be considered.

Mario Fabretto, 31 August 1998

Reuss is rather strange, even for small German states. All males of the family are named Heinrich [Henry] in thanks to the emperor who first ennobled the family and they are given numbers 1 to 100 in succession by the head of family (so that, say, Henry XC might be the older brother of Henry II). In addition, over time the sub-branches have been changing. Apparently, the elder branch Reuss-Greiz used the horizontal black-red-yellow tricolor as flag and the flag with a saltire as dynastic flag and the younger branch usually used a vertical black-red-yellow tricolor (although there appears to be reason to believe that they sometimes used the horizontal). Also until 1820, there was considerable additional variation. One has to be mindful that prior to the 19th century, irregularity in flag practice was not uncommon.

Norman Martin, 14 February 2001

Before ca. 1815 national flags and Landesfarben or civil flags etc. were not known i.e. not in use in Germany, there are only a few exceptions. Reuss' colours were black and gold from the 15th century. Later used in the banners of the Leibgarde [the sovereign's Life Guards]. In 1806 three-coloured badges appear. In 1820 the tricolour (black, red and yellow) was declared Landesfarben by the heads of Gera, Schleitz and Lobenstein.

Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001

Reuss-Greiz and Reuss-Gera became republics in November 1918, merged into a single state in April 1919 and joined the newly created state of Thuringia in December 1919.

Santiago Dotor, 14 February 2001


Reuss-Greiz or Reuss Elder Line 1778-1918

Reuss-Greiz or Reuss ältere Linie

[Reuss-Greiz or Reuss Elder Line 1778-1918 (Germany)] 4:5  image by Santiago Dotor

Reuss. Landesfarben: Horizontal tricolor black-red-gold. In use until 1918.

Norman Martin, March 1998

[This flag in an old chart] uses the national colours of Germany after 1919 and is described as the National Flag of Reuss. The ratio is 27:34.

Jaume Ollé, 23 July 1996


Reuss-Greiz Sovereign Prince's Standard until 1918

Fürstenstandarte Reuss-Greiz

[Sovereign Prince's Standard until 1918 (Reuss-Greiz, Germany)] 4:5  image by Jaume Ollé

The red flag with the black saltire belongs to the princely house of Reuss-Greiz (senior branch), and is not to be considered a national flag. Source: Mattern and Neubecker 1977.

Harald Müller, 23 July 1996

Red flag with yellow canton with black St. Andrew's cross. In use until 1918.

Norman Martin, March 1998

This was the princely standard. The canton was square and represented the coat of arms of the Burgraviate of Meissen [Burggrafschaft Meissen]: during the Middle Ages the principality of Reuss was also the Burgraviate of Meissen. Proportions: 2:2.5 [4:5]. This standard was for the Greiz line, while in Schleiz-Gera they used the country flag.

Mario Fabretto, 31 August 1998

Note that the [two] principalities of Reuss did not use exactly the same arms. The elder line used golden lions, the younger line lions parted in black and white as supporters. The black cross of St Andrew in gold is the coat of arms of the viscounts of Meissen — not to be confused with the margravate / palatinate of Meissen, a black lion in gold [used for instance by the Saxon crown prince].

Theo van der Zalm, 22 June 2001


Reuss-Gera or Reuss Younger Line 1848-1918

Reuss-Gera or Reuss jüngere Linie / Reuss-Schleiz-Gera 1802-1848

[Reuss-Gera 1848-1918 (Germany)] 4:5  image by Santiago Dotor

Reuss-Schleiz received in 1802 [1806?] half of Reuss-Gera and was renamed Reus-Schleiz-Gera. In 1848 receive[d] Reuss-Lobenstein and was renamed Reuss-Gera. Horizontal black, red, yellow (ratio can be 4:5 or 5:6).

Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1998


Reuss-Plauen, Elder Line until 1778

Reuss-Plauen ältere Linie

[Reuss-Plauen Elder Line until 1778 (Germany)] 4:5  image by Santiago Dotor

Antique line of Reus[s]-Plauen (capital Untergreiz) was divided in 1625 into two lines: Reuss-Obergreiz and Reuss-Untergreiz. In 1768 [1778?] they were reunified under Henry XI of Reuss-Untergreiz and renamed Reuss-Greiz. Vertical black, red, yellow.

Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1998

Reuss-Greitz had horizontal black-red-yellow.

Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


Reuss-Plauen, Younger Line until 1666

Reuss-Plauen jüngere Linie

[Reuss-Plauen Younger Line until 1666 (Germany)] 4:5  image by Santiago Dotor

Modern line of Reuss-Plauen (capital Gera) was divided 1613 into Reuss-Gera, Reuss-Schleiz and Reuss-Lobenstein, and redistribu[t]ed in 1666. Reuss-Gera was extinguished in 1802 for unknown reasons (the existence of several lines makes the attribution uncertain). Vertical black, yellow, red.

Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1998

[The younger line of Reuss-Plauen] had no flag or Landesfarben.

Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


Reuss-Lobenstein until 1848

[Reuss-Lobenstein until 1848 (Germany)] 4:5  image by Santiago Dotor

Reus[s]-Lobenstein was extinguished in 1848 for unknown reasons (the existence of several lines makes the attribution uncertain). Horizontal black, yellow, red.

Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1998

Arrangement of colours [for Reuss-Lobenstein is] not known. But in my opinion not black-yellow-red, but black-red-yellow.

Ralf Stelter, 15 February 2001


People's Republic of Reuss 1919

[People's Republic of Reuss 1919 (Germany)] 2:3  image by Santiago Dotor

The (short-lived) People's Republic of Reuss in 1919 is reported in an article found in the heraldical magazine Herold-Jahrbuch, 1997. The author of the article, who has researched the coats of arms of the present German Länder, says that despite all his research he has been unable to find a coat of arms for the People's Republic of Reuss. This state had however a seal which showed a big "R" under the pair of scales of Justice. I also found the drawing in the short vexillological and heraldic article Reuss, that the great vexillologist Ottfried Neubecker made for the Brockhaus Enzyklopaedie in the 1960's. Neubecker also says that the People's Republic used the black-red-yellow flag.

In 1920, the People's Republic became a part of the new Land of Thuringia, which adopted a horizontally white-red flag. The flag of the authorities of the Land had the coat of arms (gules seven six-pointed stars argent) in the white stripe in the canton. See picture above.

[Ralf Hartemink's website shows] the coat of arms of the two principalities of Reuss, both Reuss jüngere Linie and Reuss ältere Linie (Reuss young dynasty and Reuss old dynasty). Both principalities used the same coat of arms and flag.

Sources:

  • Steinbruch, Karl-Heinz: Die Enstehung der Landeswappen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Herold Jahrbuch, Neue Folge, 2. Band, Berlin, 1997;
  • Neubecker, Ottfried: Vexillological and heraldical part of the article Reuss in the Brockhaus Enzyklopaedie in 24 Bände, Wiesbaden 1965; and
  • Neubecker, Ottfried and Rentzmann, Wilhelm: Wappen, Bilder Lexikon. Dictionnaire héraldique. Encyclopaedia of heraldry, München, Battenberg Verlag, 1974.

Pascal Vagnat, 23 May 1999