The Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft

 Updated: 03/17/2010

Logo of the Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft, ihe Indian "palm or cocosnut tree"

on this page:

Foundation of Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft

Objectives and regulations of the association

The Koethener society book and his function

Christian Gueintz and the Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft

Christian Gueintz' entry in the Köthen society book





Foundation of Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft

The Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft was founded on August 24th, 1617 on Hornburg Castle - later named Wilhelmsburg - near Weimar on the occasion of the funeral ceremonies of the Duchess Dorothea Maria of Saxony-Weimar, the sister of Prince Ludwig of Anhalt-Köthen, who was fatally be killed in an accident while riding, on suggestion of the Court Marshal Kaspar of Teutleben. In order to offer support to the members a prince should always be the head and by this Prince Ludwig of Anhalt gets into this position first. [3]

Homburg Castle, the place of foundation of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft

The usage of German language was criticized by the founders, that it became more and more fashion to insert foreign-language expressions in speeches and texts. The following example is given by Neumark:

"Monsieur mon tres honore frere, hochgeehrter Herr Patron, Seine hohen meriten / dadurch er mich à l' extreme ihm verobligiret / causiren mich / demselben mit diesen Zeilen zu servieren. Mein Devoir hätte unlängsten mir adresse gegeben / solches zu effectuieren; aber aus manquement einiger occasion, habe ich bis dato mein officium re ipsâ nicht præstieren können. ..." [2]

Model were the already since the 15th century existing language societies abroad, in particular the Accademia della Crusca, still existing today, which was founded in 1582 in Florence and where Prince Ludwig of Anhalt was member since July 2st, 1600. [3]

Founder members of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft were:

1. Johann Ernst the younger, Duke of Saxony-Weimar
2. Friedrich Duke of Saxony-Weimar
3. Wilhelm Duke of Saxony-Weimar
4. Ludwig Prince of Anhalt
5. Johann-Casimir Prince of Anhalt
6. Dietrich von dem Werder, colonel
7. Friedrich von Cospoth, Princely Saxony-Weimar Chamber Counselor
8. Kaspar von Teutleben, Princely Saxony-Weimar Court Marshal
9. Christoph von Krosig [2]

Foundation board of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft on Castle Homburg.

The Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft was the most important German language association, have had 890 members and existed until 1680.





Objectives and regulations of the association

One believed that the mother tongue "Uns ganz rein in der ersten Milch / gleichsam eingeträufelt / nachmals aber durch fremdes Wortgepräg / wässerig und versalzen worden". ("Us purely within the first milk / quasi instilled/ but afterwards by strange word stamps / watery and over-salten") It's neccessary to give back again her initial "und angebohren Teutschen Reinlichkeit" ("and inherent German cleanliness") and free it "von fremd-drückenden Sprachjochen" ("from strange language yokes"). [2]

The society chose the Indian "palm or coconut palm tree" as a logo why the society was also mentioned "Palmorden" ("Palm order"). It gave themselves as a motto: "Alles zum Nutzen" ("Everything for benefit)". [2]

Its companions also received a society-name and a plant as a symbol normally by the head of the society. Above the the symbol - "Gemaehlde" - is placed the motto - "das Wort" - and in a rhyme law - "Reimgesetz" -, the qualities of the plant are explained and referred to possible affinities and traits of the new member. [5]

Co-founder and first head of the society, Ludwig Prince of Anhalt, did bear the society-name "Der Nehrende" ("The Feeder") and did choose "Nichts bessere" ("nothing better") as a motto, as well as a symbol "Ein Weitzen-Brodt" ("a wheat bread").

Ludwig Prince of Anhalt, "the Nehrende".

Ludwig Prince of Anhalt died 1650, and 1651 his successor Duke of Saxony-Weimar Wilhelm IV was elected. 1652 he set up the middle class George Neumark as a secretary, included him 1653 into the society, and intoduced him as "Erzschreinhalter" ("owner of the arch shrine"). [3]

The communication within the society normally occurred by replacement of letters. Only a few meetings of the members are verified, which took place occasionally in a small circle of 10 to 15 persons. A book, an own work or a work of a colleague was often attached the letter, which the one held for to be recommended. [3]

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The Koethener society book and his function

The three-volume society book lies in the historical museum Köthen today. The first volume comes from year 1629 and contains the registration and coats of arms of the first 200 members, the second that of members 201 to 400 and that third that of members 401 to 527. The predecessors of these society books from years 1622, 1624 and 1628 were not so extensive in their structure. [1]

For every member, two pages with the following entries were planned: First page: Coat of arms, name and date of entry. Second page: Society name, moto and plant.
The members recognized the laws of the society solemnly with their entry. From the 527 members who were included from 1617 to 1649 for 333 a personal drawing could be carried out, and the coat of arms could at least be furnished by 135 further members in spite of the 30-years war and the heaviness of traffic at that time. Only 59 registration pages remained empty in the three volumes. With early deceased, meanwhile dishonoured or by Ludwig only unwillingly included members, the reason is recognizable. However not with all 59 members, the missing entry can be followed. The coat of arms is missing with 126 members. There are many reasons herefore. [1]




Christian Gueintz and the Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft

Who Christian Gueinzius proposed to the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, is not confessed. He was included 1641 as a 316th companion. As names he received "Der Ordnende" (The Arranger), as a motto "Jedes an seinem Ort" (each on his place) as well as plant and painting the Mechoacana or China root [1].

Ludwig of Saxony-Anhalt wore Christ an Gueinzius already 1619 for conversion of Ratke's reforms to Köthen. His Deutsche Sprachlehre (Entwurf), Cöthen 164, circulated since November 1638 for check and improvement among the members of the Fruchtbingende Gesellschaft and the old employees of Ratkes's reforms in Koethen as well as among the scholars Buchner and Schottelius who were included later in the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft. In even stronger Die Deutsche Rechtschreibung became a project of the society - "Auf sonderbares gut befinden Durch den Ordnenden verfasset Von der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft übersehen und zur nachricht an den tag gegeben measures (1645)" (Edited by "The Arranger" and not noticed by the society). Above all the competition attempts of Schottelius and Harrisdörfer aroused an active discussion within the Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft. [1]
Therefore it may be presumed that Christan Gueintz elaborated his acceptance of the society by this works.

 Wolfgang Ratke, latinized Ratich[ius], * Wilster, district Steinburg, October 18th, 1571, + Erfurt, April 27th, 1635, German pedagogue, he presented in1612 to the upper classes of the German empire convened in Frankfurt at M. a "Memorial" about the establishment of a homogeneous German school, in which should taught in "natural" method [8].

August Buchner, * Dresden, November 2nd,1591, + Pollendorf near Wittenberg, February 12th, 1661, professor of oratory at the University of Wittenberg, occupied with the roman language and literature. [1]


Christian Gueintz' entry in the Koethen society book

Striking is the absence of every entry of Christian Gueintz in the Koethener society book of 1646. Halle and Köthen are not so far from eachother, to enter himself in the society book would have been possible in spite of disorders of the 30-year war. [1]
The presumption of Cornermann [1] that Gueintz did not carry a coat of arms is verifably not right. A letter of Gueintz already from1629 lies in the city archive of Halle with its coat of arms. [6]
Otherwise, we find the society name "the Arranger" and the word "each on its place" already in the editions of 1641 and 1644), as plant "Mechoacana" (in the editions of 1641 and 1644) and in the edition of 1646 a post-drawing of the Mechoacana appeared from Tabernaemontanus "Mechoacana II ... know for Rhabarbe, ....". In addition to the plant, an cut off root and in the background, a partial view of the city Halle. [1]

Rhyme law:
"Mechoacana weis an ihrer wurtzel ist,
Und der Rabarber gleich, die innre glieder bringet
Jn ordnung widerumb, drumb Ordnend mir erkiest
Der Name billich ward, weil men sinn danach ringet,
Zu ordnen unsre sprach', in denen man vergist
Oft aus unachtsamkeit, was sonsten nicht wohl klinget
Noch deren eigen ist: Die Deutsche Sprachlehr' hab'
Jch nun gezeiget vor, wie ihr gebrauch mir gab.
C.G. 1641

Entry of Christian Gueintz in the printed society book of 1646

Justus George Schottel(ius), * Einbeck, June 23rd, 1612, + Wolfenbüttel, October 25th, 1676, German grammarian and writer, member of the "Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft" and the "Nürnberger Dichterkreis" (Nuermberger poet ring). Besides his lesser important lyrical and dramatic poetries famous is his contribution as important scholar, grammarian and poet of the 17th century. He examined the etymology of the German words and would plan a normative grammar and a general dictionary for the consolidation and pure preservation of German language. [7]


George Phillipp Harsdoerf(f)er, * Fischbach near Nuremberg November 1st,1607, + Nuremberg September 17st, 1658, German poet, set up the Nuernberger poet ring togeteher with J. Klaj , ascribed songs as well as small anecdotal stories, in addition a poetics, "Poetischer Trichter ..." (poetic funnel), he searched to support social ways of life by "Gesprächsspiele" (conversation games). [7]


Jacob Theodor- Tabernaemontanus, * Bergzabern 1522, + Heidelberg 1590, one the most important Palatinate physician and botanist, Ditter/Diether (Theodor) was borne as bondslave, studied medicine in Padua, Montpellier and Heidelberg, was personal physician of Lord Philip II from Nassau-Saarbrücken and the Bishop of Speyer, known by medicating person suffering on pest and his writings and books, among others "New herbal" (1588). Source: Http://www. (25.12.2003).




 [1] Conermann, Klaus (Edit.): Der Fruchtbringenden Gesellschaft Vorhaben, Namen, Gemaehlde und Woerter, Faksimile des ersten Bandes des im Historischen Museum Köthen aufbewahrten Gesellschaftbuches Fürst Ludwig I. von Anhalt-Koethen, Leipzig (1985).
 [2] Neumark, Georg: Der neu-sprossende teutsche Palmenbaum - Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, Nurnberg (1668), Reprint München (1970)
 [3] Squarr Brigitte: Der erste deutsche Sprachverein Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft in Der Lahrer Hinkende Bote aus dem Jahre 2000, Lahr (2000),
 [4] Fürst Ludwig von Anhalt-Koethen: Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft Nahmen / Vorhaben / Gemaehlde und woerter, Frankfurt (1646).
 [5] Adam, Wolfgang: Im Garten der Palme - Die Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft und ihre Zeit, Herzog August Bibliothek (exhib. catalouge), Wolfenbuttel (1992).
 [6] Gueinzius, Gotthold: Die Queintz, Geschichte einer Familie (1979).
 [7]  Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon, Mannheim, Leipzig, Wien, Zürich (1992).






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