|Order of Merit of Philip the Magnanimous|
Verdienstorden Philipps des Großmütigen
|Awarded by |
|Type||Order of Merit|
|Established||1 May 1840|
|Motto||SI DEUS NOBISCUM QUIS CONTRA NOS|
|Status||Monarchy dissolved in 1918|
|Sovereign||Grand Duke of Hesse|
Commander 1st Class
Commander 2nd Class
Cross of Honour
Knight 1st Class
Knight 2nd Class
|Next (higher)||Ludwig Order (before 1875); Order of the Golden Lion (after 1875)|
|Next (lower)||Order of the Star of Brabant|
Ribbon bar of the order
The Order of Merit of Philip the Magnanimous (German: Verdienstorden Philipps des Großmütigen) was an order of chivalry established by Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse on 1 May 1840, the name day of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, in his honour to award extraordinary military or civil merit. It was the second-highest order of the Grand Duchy of Hesse before 1876, when it was displaced to third by the revived Order of the Golden Lion, the former paramount order of the Electorate of Hesse.
After the First World War and the fall of the German monarchies, the order—along with all other grand ducal decorations—was formally abolished in 1919.
The order was initially divided into four grades: Grand Cross, Commanders 1st and 2nd classes, and knight. On the anniversary of its founding in 1849, a new class was created, the Silver Cross, with the introduction of crossed swords in gold or silver for the class. From 10 November 1859 the knight class was further divided into two grades, 1st and 2nd classes. In 1876, the order was renamed the "Grand Ducal Hessian Order of Philip" (German: Großherzoglich Hessischer Philipps-Orden), though that decree was withdrawn a year later.
From 1881, the order could be awarded with a golden crown, as a special distinction; the order with swords for military merit was from 1893 restricted to those with outstanding achievements during war. In 1900, another new class, the Cross of Honour (German: Ehrenkreuz) was created, which was below commander 2nd class and above knight 1st class. A final revision was made on 17 June 1911, with golden rays added to the cross arms of the Commander 1st Class grade.