duchy of prussia

On Prussia’s Relationship with his Father

I am certainly not going to make any friends with this head canon because Prussia’s good relationship with his father is one of the few things that the fandom almost universally agrees upon. But, I am going to explain why I believe they have a very poor, neglectful relationship.

I do not see Prussia as having a good relationship with his father, and this is grounded in Prussia’s earliest days. The earliest German presence in the area that would become East Prussia was the Teutonic Knights. The fact that Gilbert was the Teutonic Knights is canon. But, it is an important choice. There was a small electorate in Brandenburg as well, and the canon could have portrayed Gilbert as the electorate of Brandenburg before inheriting his Eastern provinces, but he is the Teutonic Knights. Therefor, he lays on the very farthest frontiers of what can be considered the German Empire. It is important to remember that the Duchy of Prussia was a vassal to the Polish crown, not the German crown. (His relationship with Poland is a different subject for a different analysis)

What entity Germania is actually supposed to represent is open to interpretation because the entire concept of a “Germania” in the middle ages is more an invention of the German romantics than a historical reality. In his interactions with Rome, I assume he is supposed to be an amalgamation of the German tribes North of the Rhine. But, after the fall of Rome the question is rather open. To fulfill the rhetorical purposes of the concept of Germania, he is most likely the Carolingian empire. This means he ruled both the future Germany and the future France. But, the Frankish provinces slipped away fairly early. This makes him a Christian empire for the later half of his existence. I interpret the weakening of the hereditary title of “the King of the Germans” through fragmentation and rival claims in the late 12th century as Germania’s death.

But, this brings up the question of his title at his death. It would be “Holy Rome Empire” and would have been so since Charlemagne. Therefor, this title is then passed to his son.

By the laws of primogeniture, his title should have passed to his eldest son. Canonly his eldest son is Gilbert. Both Holy Rome and Germany are younger than Prussia. Even if one is not following the laws of primogeniture, Germanic tradition dictates that power passes to the strongest warrior. Logically, either way, Gilbert should have inherited the title of Holy Roman Empire.

Why then was he consigned to a small, barely defensible piece of land on the very edge of the empire? One must conclude that Gilbert is either illegitimate or that he was disowned. He cannot be a bastard because he can make the claim much later in his life that he is pure German. Which leaves the idea that Germania intentionally passed over his otherwise legitimate son. 

There is no reason a loving father should deprive his eldest son of power and leave him with little more than a monastic order. So, I propose a different head canon: Germania hid his first born in a monastery to deprive him of his claim and keep him from the world. The reason? Prussia’s albinism. Imagine an empire who has long been Christian seeing his first son come into the world with unnaturally white skin and red eyes. It would be understandable to send that child away from the eyes of the public and to also act like that son had never existed. This would leave Prussia to basically be raised by the knights around him with very little care or affection from his father.

Yet further evidence of this split is the disdain with which Prussia treats the Holy Roman Empire. In the Thirty Years War, Prussia converted to Lutheranism and fought against the Holy Roman Empire. The conversion of Prussia can be seen as a pragmatic political maneuver to remove the authority of the Holy Roman Empire, since the domain of the Holy Roman Empire only includes Catholics. At the Peace of Augsburg, Prussia was on the side of the Lutheran states. If he his life with his brother and father was happy, he would not have been so quick to turn against his brother in favor of independence and autonomy.

Kaiser Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor. He ruled until 1918.

The House of Hohenzollern is a dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Southwestern Germany during the 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle. The first ancestor of the Hohenzollerns was mentioned in 1061. The family split into 2 branches, the Catholic Swabian branch and the Protestant Franconian branch, which later became the Brandenburg-Prussian branch. The Swabian branch ruled the principalities of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen until 1849, and Romania from 1866 to 1947. Members of the Franconian branch became Margrave of Brandenburg in 1415 and Duke of Prussia in 1525. The Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were ruled in personal union after 1618 as Brandenburg-Prussia. The Kingdom of Prussia was created in 1701, eventually leading to the first unification of Germany and the creation of the German Empire in 1871, with the Hohenzollerns as hereditary German Emperors and Kings of Prussia.
Germany’s defeat in WW1 (1918) led to the German Revolution. The Hohenzollerns were overthrown and the Weimar Republic was established, thus bringing an end to the German monarchy. Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, technically is the current head of the royal Prussian line, while Karl Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern is the head of the princely Swabian line.

A quick look to the history of Prussia

On the 13th century, German crusaders conquered the land of one of the Baltic tribes called Old Prussians. Their name came from the language they spoke, and even though the area was Germanized by German immigrants, the name remained.

In 1466, Old Prussia was split in two: the western part became Poland’s province called Royal Prussia, while in 1525 the eastern part became Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Crown of Poland.

(Explanation to the map: Light pink area is Royal Prussia, while striped is Duchy of Prussia. Map source.)

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In 1618, German Electorate of Bradenburg inherited the Duchy of Prussia. This union led to the proclarnation of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, when the Elector of the Hohenzollerns (a noble family with many kings and emperors troughout the history, and which became the lineage of Prussian kings) crowned himself as the King in Prussia.

This interesting diagram below shows, how the history of Prussia and Bradenburg has been interwined. Picture source.

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During this time, Bradenburg was a state of Holy Roman Empire, which was in it’s last centuries an extremely loose union between hundreds of different territories (such as principalities, duchies, counties etc). It was not a country, and it’s emperor had almost no power at all. It fell apart during the Napoleonic wars in 1806, and like many other states, the Kingdom of Prussia came to be as an fully independent kingdom. 

To replace the fallen empire, German Confederation was formed in the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815. Confederation had almost the same territories as Holy Roman Empire, though this time there were only 39 states, which were all independent. However, this Confederation was nearly as weak as it’s predecessor.

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In 1871 after the three unification wars led by Wilhelm I and Otto von Bismarck, Prussia had assembled other German nations behind it, and together they formed the German Empire, with Wilhelm I being the emperor. Altough Prussia became a state, like all the other German nations, it still had the most powerlful position within the empire.

For more information on unification wars, please read my other post German unification in 1871”.

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In 1888 began the downslide of Prussia. Wilhelm I died, and so did his son Frederik III, who was the emperor only for 99 days. Wilhelm II, the son of Frederik III, succeeded the throne, and to make things short, I’ll just point out that he highlighted German patriotism, ignoring his Prussian roots. The significance, independence and identity of Prussia, who had become the Free State of Prussia, slowly decreased during the 20th century, and finally it was blamed after World War 2 to be the symbolic part / core of Germany, that led to the Nazism and World War 2.

And so, the state of Prussia was abolished in 1947 by the Allies, making Prussia belong to the history.

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Note: Please bear in mind that I’m not a native English speaker. I researched this subject for my Finnish essay, and in the end decided to also post this information here, for those who don’t want to research for hours.

Sources: The Finnish translations of the following books: Karsten Alnæs: Historien om Europa 1800-1900 and Robert Cole: A Traveller’s History of Germany. I want to point out that while I did use Wikipedia to discover what some names were in English and to find great maps and diagrams from, it hasn’t been my main research source.