Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Golden Fleece

Golden Fleece, in Greek mythology, was the fleece of the ram Chrysomallus, which the Argonauts sought to obtain in their expedition to Colchis. An order of knighthood with this title was instituted by Philip III., Duke of Burgundy, in 1429. The selection of the fleece as a badge is perhaps explained by the fact that the manufacture of wool had long been the staple industry of the Low Countries, then a part of the Burgundian possessions. The office of Grand Master was held by Philip himself, and became hereditary in his family. There were thirty-one knights, who filled up vacancies by co-optation, but the right of election was transferred by Gregory XIII. to Philip II. of Spain, at that time Grand Meister. Early in the 18th century a dispute concerning the possession of the order arose between Philip V. of Spain and the Emperor Charles VI., who then held the Netherlands. It was eventually settled by the establishment of the order both in Spain and Austria.