Military Orders in King Matthias` time in Hungary /The Order of Dragon
King Matthias, like Sigismund, used to give the rank of membership in the Hungarian-founded Order of the Dragon which had been established by King Sigismund in 1408 although we have only one such case recorded concerning Matthias.
The founding document of the Order, written in Latin, call it a society (societas) whose members carry the signum draconis. (It was also called Gesellschaft mit dem Drachen, Divisa seu Societas Draconica, Societas Draconica seu Draconistarum, and Fraternitas Draconum.
There were two levels in the Order: in the first group, the members` number was limited to 24 and they were allowed to wear both the dragon and the cross, while the rest could wear just the dragon; the latter` number was not limited.
The Order was to some extent modeled after the earlier Hungarian monarchical order, the Order of St. George (Societas militae Sancti Georgii), founded by King Carol Robert of Anjou in 1318.
The patron Saints of the Order are St. George and St. Margit; she was swallowed by the dragon but God freed her unharmed.
The order adopted St. George as its patron saint, whose legendary defeat of a dragon was used as a symbol for the military and religious ethos of the order.
The aim of the order was to fight the Ottoman Empire, defend the Hungarian monarchy from foreign and domestic enemies, and the Catholic Church from heretics and pagans. It also included foreigners (and non-Catholics), such as the Orthodox Serbian ruler Stefan Lazarević and the Wallachian rulers. Traditionally, the body-guards or their captain of the Hungarian kings were members of this Order.
The primary representatives of “the perfidious Enemy” remained the Ottoman Turks, who continued to be a problem for Sigismund’s successors. The Order’s outward focus on foreign threats was also aimed at achieving a level of domestic cohesion. The statutes go on to describe the order’s symbols of the ouroboros and the red cross, which were worn by its members and gave the order its corporate identity. They also list the mutual obligations of the king and his nobles. The members were to swear loyalty to the king, queen, and their future sons and to protect the royal interests. In return for their services, the nobles could expect to enjoy royal protection, honors, and offices.
The creation of the order was an instance within a larger fashion of founding chivalric orders during the 14th and early 15th centuries, not infrequently dedicated to organizing “crusades”, especially after the disaster of the Battle of Nicopolis (1396). Sigismund’s order was particularly inspired from the Order of Saint George of 1326. Another influential model may have been the Sicilian Order of the Ship, founded in 1381.
The „slogan” of the members was: O Quam Misericors est Deus (“Oh, how merciful God is”) and the answer to it was: “Justus et Paciens” (“Just and patient”). I am a member of a modern HEMA association, the Societas Draconistrarum:
https://www.facebook.com/Sarkanyosok/ and we start our fencing training with the same greeting and answer. See another video about one of our tournaments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2uoPw-ue0U
In the pictures, you can see many members of the Order, including Vlad Tepes aka Dracula (who got his name from this very Order) and King Henry V of England who naturally hadn`t sworn the oath of loyalty.