The Knights of St Stephen of Tuscany
In the old days of Christendom, there were religious military orders subject to the Roman Pontiff, such as the Templars, as well as religious military orders subject to a particular dynastic house. One of these was the Order of St Stephen of the Italian Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Officially, the “Holy Military Order of St Stephen Pope and Martyr”, it was founded on October 1, 1561 by the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici with the permission of Pope Pius IV.
This could be
seen as part of the normalization of the transition in Tuscany to
monarchy, away from the city-state Republic of Florence, taking on more
of the trappings associated with monarchy as Florence became the seat of
power of a hereditary Grand Duke rather than a republican leadership.
The order was named for Pope St Stephen the Martyr because his feast day
(August 2) corresponded with the victories that Grand Duke Cosimo had
won at the Battle of Montemurlo (August 2, 1537) against republican
insurgents who wanted to restore the Florentine republic and the Battle
of Marciano (August 2, 1554) in which the Medici grand duke had
conquered the city-state Republic of Siena.
|One of the order's war galleys|