Female Slaves of Virtue

Ladies’ Orders in Old Austria


Opening: 17.05.2018, 7 pm

In cooperation with the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Ordenskunde

Curated by: Helmut-Theobald Müller, Hermann Dikowitsch, Johann Stolzer und Karl Peitler

About the exhibition

Ladies’ orders were created for women and could only be worn by women. In the exhibition Female Slaves of Virtue, the extraordinary and very rare medallions of the three most important female orders from old Austria are on show: the Stone Cross Order, the Elisabeth Order, and the Order of the Female Slaves of Virtue. The Stone Cross Order was founded on September 18th 1668 by Empress Eleonora, third wife of Emperor Ferdinand III, in memory of a lost and then re-found relic cross for Catholic noblewomen, for the promotion of venerating the holy cross, a virtuous life and good deeds. The Elisabeth Order was founded on September 17th 1898 by Emperor Franz Joseph I as the first and only ladies’ order of distinction of Austria-Hungary in honour of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia.

At the same time, it served to commemorate Empress Elisabeth, who was murdered in Geneva on September 10th 1898. It could be awarded to all women, regardless of social status or religion, whether married or single, as a reward for services rendered. The Order of the Female Slaves of Virtue was also founded by Empress Eleonora. The prerequisite for acceptance into this order was a virtuous and pious way of life. The number of noble women was set at thirty, not including princesses.

This exhibition is the first of its kind in Austria. Support from the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Ordenskunde (the Austrian Society for the Study of Orders) enabled the provision of the objects on show.


Coin Cabinet, Schloss Eggenberg

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9560


Opening Hours

1 November to 17 December only with guided tour by prior appointment
April to October Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am-6pm 

Opening Hours Library
Tues-Fri 10am - 12pm and afternoons by appointment only


10th April 2023
1st May 2023
29th May 2023