Index of European Titles, Styles,
Honours and Formal Appellations
His Holiness is the official style or manner of address
in reference to the leaders of certain religious groups. In the
Catholic Church, including the Eastern Catholic Churches, the style is used when referring
to the Pope. It is also used in reference to some patriarchs of Eastern Orthodoxy. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is
also addressed in the same manner in English, as are other Buddhist leaders such as Sakya Trizin, the Patriarch of Sakyapa.
In the Hindu tradition, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, is also styled "His
Holiness" by his followers. Adherents of Kemetic Orthodoxy use the term "Her Holiness" for their leader. Also,
the leader of Raëlism, Raël, styles himself "His Holiness" as the Raelist prophet. In Catholicism, the
style derives from the Latin Sanctitas. It was originally used for all bishops, but from the 7th century on, it was only used
for patriarchs and some secular rulers, and from the 14th century on its use has been restricted to the Pope.
IMPERIAL AND ROYAL MAJESTY
His/Her Imperial and Royal Majesty was the style
used by King-Emperors and their consorts as heads of imperial dynasties that were simultaneously Imperial and Royal. The style
was used by the Emperor of Austria, who was also the King of Hungary and Bohemia and also by the German Emperor, who was also
the King of Prussia. The Austrian and Bohemian monarchies were abolished in 1918 while the vacant throne of Hungary continued
to exist until the 1940s. The last king-emperor to use that style was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran (r: 1941-1979).
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom reigned as Queen-Empress of India between 1876 and 1901. The Kings that followed her,
Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI reigned as King-Emperors (1901-1947). However these monarchs did not use the
style Imperial and Royal Majesty preferring the style His/Her Majesty instead.
Imperial Majesty (His/Her Imperial Majesty, abbreviated as HIM) is
a style used by Emperors and Empresses. The style is used to distinguish the status of an Emperor from that of a king, who
is simply styled Majesty (HM). Today the style has mainly fallen from use with the exception of the Emperor and Empress of
Japan (in Japanese: heika)
Majesty is an English word derived ultimately from
the Latin Maiestas, meaning Greatness, Originally, during the Roman republic, the word maiestas was the legal term for the
supreme status and dignity of the state, to be respected above everything else. After the fall of Rome, Majesty was used to
describe a Monarch of the very highest rank - indeed, it was generally applied to God. The title was then also assumed by
Monarchs of great powers as an attempt at self-praise and despite a supposed lower royal style as a King or Queen, who would
thus often be called "His or Her Royal Majesty." The first English king to be styled Majesty was Henry VIII - earlier
monarchs had used the form His Grace. Eventually the title became enshrined in law, and it was thus that all of the Kings
and Queens of Europe bear the title to this day. Variations include His Catholic Majesty for Spain and Her Britannic Majesty
for the United Kingdom.
IMPERIAL AND ROYAL HIGHNESS
Imperial and Royal Highness (in German:Kaiserliche
und königliche Hoheit) is a style possessed by someone who either through birth or marriage holds two individual styles,
Imperial Highness and Royal Highness. The style is used by members of the Habsburg dynasty who use the titles Prince Imperial
and Archduke of Austria and Prince Royal of Bohemia and Hungary. One contemporary example of this is Prince Lorenz, Archduke
of Austria-Este and his children who are members of the Belgian Royal Family and of the Austrian Imperial Family at the same
time. The style was also used by the eldest son of the German Emperor who was Crown Prince of the German Empire and Crown
Prince of Prussia. It is still used by the Head of the House of Hohenzollern.
His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH) is a style used by members
of an imperial family to denote imperial - as opposed to royal - status to show that the holder in question is descended from
an Emperor rather than a King (compare His/Her Royal Highness). It generally outranks all other single styles.
Today the style has mainly fallen from use with
the exception of the Imperial Family of Japan (in Japanese: denka), and the descendants of the Imperial Line of Russia who
are still addressed as such, although, of course, have no longer any power in Russia. In the past, the style has been applied
to more senior members of the French and Korean Imperial Houses. Archdukes of Austria from the Habsburg dynasty held the style
of Imperial and Royal Highness (in German:Kaiserliche und königliche Hoheit), with the "Royal" signifying their
status as Princes of Hungary and Bohemia. They were also addressed as "Imperial Highness" (Kaiserliche Hoheit).
Members of the Imperial House of Osman still continue to use the style His/Her Imperial Highness, which was and still is reserved
for children and grandchildren of the Ottoman Emperor (Grand Sultan).
Royal Highness (abbreviation HRH) is a style (His Royal
or Her Royal Highness). It appears in frontof the names of some members of some royal families other than the King or Queen. The style His/Her Royal Highness ranks below His/Her Imperial Highness
(referring to an Imperial House)
but above His/Her Grand Ducal Highness, His/Her
Highness, His/Her Serene Highness and some other styles (referring
to Grand Ducal, Princely or Ducal Houses).
In the British monarchy the style of HRH is associated with the rank of prince or princess (although this
has not always applied, the notable exception being Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was given the style of HRH in 1947
but was not created a prince until 1958). This is especially important when a prince has another title such as Duke (or a
princess the title of Duchess) by which he or she would usually be addressed. For instance HRH The Duke of Connaught was a
prince and a member of the royal family while His Grace The Duke of Devonshire is a non-royal duke and not a member of the
British Royal Family. The Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of The Earl of Wessex, is legally Her Royal Highness Princess Louise
of Wessex but it was decided by her parents that she be styled as the daughter of an earl and not Her Royal Highness. This
however is debatable as The Duke of York's daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie enjoy the style Her Royal Highness. In
the United Kingdom, a Letter patent issued on 28 August 1996 states that a style received by a spouse of a member of the Royal
Family on their marriage ceases at the point of divorce. For that reason Diana Spencer, when she and Prince Charles, Prince
of Wales divorced, ceased to be HRH.
(His) Princely Highness is the English rendering of (Zijne) Vorstelijke Hoogheid, a very rare style of
address awarded by the colonial authorities of the Dutch East Indies (present Indonesia) to very few major Sultans on Java.
The word Vorst at its root is ambivalent in Dutch, used for either a ruler of the low rank title equivalent to German Fürst
or as generic term for ruler, never for a non-ruing prince of the blood. Apparently the style reflected the equally rare status
of Vorstenland 'princely land', which distinguished the Susuhanan (a higher, pre-Islamic title of this Sultan) of Surakarta
(which also enjoyed the privilege of a 19-guns salute), who was explicitly granted the style, reportedly in the atrocious
misspelling Zeine Vorstelijke Hoogheid, on 21 January 1932) and plausibly to the Sultan of Yogyakarta, two of the successor
states to the Hindu Mataram state on Java, from the Gouvernementslanden '(colonial) government countries' to which all other
Regentschappen (native princely states participating in indirect rule) belonged. The same style, probably forged independently,
has also been used by unhistorical 'princely houses' in fiction and micronations
Highness was a rare, hybrid western-Islamic honorific style, exclusively used by the son, daughter-in-law and daughters of
Sultan Husain Kamil of Egypt (a British protectorate since 1914), who bore it with their primary titles of Prince (Arabic
Amir, Turkish Prens) or Princess, after 11 October 1917. They enjoyed these for life, even after the Royal Rescript regulating
the styles and titles of the Royal House after the Egyptian Independence in 1922, when the sons and daughters of the newly
styled King (Arabic Misr al-Malik, considered a promotion) were granted the style Sahib(at) us-Sumuw al-Malik, or Royal Highness).
GRAND DUCAL HIGHNESS
His/Her Grand Ducal Highness (acronym: HGDH) is a style of address used before the princely
titles of the non-reigning members of some German ruling families headed by a Grand Duke. No currently reigning family employs
the style, although it was used most recently by the younger sisters of the late Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. Since
Grand Duchess Charlotte's marriage to Prince Felix of Parma, all of their male-line descendants have used the style Royal
A reigning Grand
Duke, his heir apparent, and their spouses would use the style of Royal Highness. The male line descendants of a reigning
Grand Duke, other than the heir, would use the style Grand Ducal Highness. This practice was followed by the ruling families
of Luxembourg, Hesse and by Rhine, and Baden. Other grand ducal families either existed before this system developed or were
controlled by different rules. At present, the style is used only by the former ruling family of Baden, as the Hessian grand
ducal family has become extinct.
Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses were the children or grandchildren of the Emperor and used the style Imperial Highness. The
Grand Dukes of Tuscany used the style Royal Highness for themselves but it is not clear what style other members of the family
would have used in the absence of the Austro-Hungarian styles. By the time the system of different classes of Highness came
into regular use for the relatives of rulers (in the nineteenth century), the Grand Dukes of Tuscany were also members of
the House of Austria. As such, they had the title of Archduke and used the style Imperial and Royal Highness. In most of Europe,
the style of Grand Ducal Highness was considered to be lower in rank than Royal Highness, and Imperial Highness, but higher
in rank than Highness and Serene Highness. If a woman with the rank of Royal Highness married a man with the rank Grand Ducal
Highness, the woman would usually retain her pre-marital style. Also, if a woman with the rank of Grand Ducal Highness married
a man with the rank of Serene Highness, she would keep her pre-marital style.
Exalted Highness was a rare hybrid of the style highness. It as used as the style of the Nizams of Hyderabad and Berar
Highness, often used with a personal possessive
pronoun (His/Her/Your Highness, the first two abbreviated HH) is an attribute referring to the rank of the dynasty (such as
Royal Highness, Imperial Highness) in an address. It is literally the quality of being lofty or high, a term and style used,
as are so many abstractions, as a style of dignity and honor, to signify exalted rank or station.
Abstract styles arose in great profusion in the Roman Empire, especially
in the Byzantine continuation. Currently such styles can be subject to confusion, as their meaning was affected by inflation
and devaluation, but at any given time they were rather rigidly ruled by imperial commands, rendering the official hierarchy
of offices; for example at the time of the Notitia dignitatum, the highest offices were grouped in classes, each awarded a
characteristic title on top of every functional one, the highest being Illustris, next Spectabilis, et cetera. Like other
exorbitant and swelling attributes of the time, the higher styles were conferred on imperial and ruling foreign princes generally
as well as attached to various offices at court and/or in the state (military, financial, judiciary and various other, often
combined, central and provincial administrations), clarifying the protocollary hierarchy (often deviating from the political
reality, though). In the early Middle Ages such styles, couched in the second or third person, were uncertain and much more
arbitrary, and were more subject to the fancies of secretaries than in later times (Selden, Titles of Honor, part I, Ch. vii.
In English usage, the
terms Highness, Grace (which is not used exclusively for the sovereign), and Majesty, were all used as honorific styles of
Kings and Queens until the time of James I of England. Thus in documents relating to the reign of Henry VIII of England, all
three styles are used indiscriminately; an example is the King's judgment against Dr Edward Crome (d. f562), quoted, from
the Lord Chamberlains' books, ser. I, p. 791, in Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. N.S. lOX. 299, where article 15 begins with Also the
Kinges Highness hath ordered, 16 with Kinges Majestie, and 17 with Kinges Grace. In the Dedication of the Authorized Version
of the Bible of 1611, James I is still styled Majesty and Highness; thus, in the first paragraph, the appearance of Your Majesty,
as of the Sun in his strength, instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists ... especially when we beheld the government
established in Your Highness and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted title. It was, however, in James I's reign that Majesty
became the official style. It may be noted that Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and his wife, were
styled Highness, which is unusual for a republic.
In present usage the following members of the British Royal Family normally have the right to be addressed
as Royal Highness (HRH, His or Her Royal Highness): The children of past and present Sovereigns, the grandchildren in the
male-line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (decree of 31 May 1898). A change of sovereign does
not entail the forfeiture of the style of Royal Highness. However, the sovereign has the right to grant or revoke the style
of HRH and other titles (e.g., Princess Royal).
As a general rule, the members of the blood royal of an Imperial or Royal house are addressed as Imperial
or Royal Highness (French Altesse Imperiale, Altesse Royale; German Kaiserliche Hoheit, Königliche Hoheit etc.) respectively.
In Germany, Austria (and other former parts of
the Holy Roman Empire) the reigning heads of the Grand Duchies bear the title of Royal Highness (Königliche Hoheit),
while other members of the family are simply addressed as Grand Ducal Highness or Highness (Großherzogliche Hoheit or
Hoheit). Hoheit is borne by the reigning dukes and the princes and princesses of their families.
The style Serene Highness has also an antiquity equal to that of highness,
and were titles borne by the Byzantine rulers, and serenitas and serenissimus by the Emperors Honorius and Arcadius. The Doge
of Venice was also styled Serenissimus (Latin 'Most Serene'), the crowned republic and the (later Austrian, then Italian)
city itself remain widely known as (la) Serenissima. Selden (op. cit. part II. ch. X. 739) calls this style one of the greatest
that can be given "to any Prince that hath not the superior title of King". In modern times Serene Highness (Altesse
Sérénissime) is used as the equivalent of the German Durchlaucht, a stronger form of Erlaucht, illustrious,
represented in the Latin honorific superillustris- Thackerays burlesque title Transparency in the ficticious court at Pumpernickel
very accurately gives the meaning. The style of Durchlaucht was granted in 1375 by the Emperor Charles IV to the electoral
princes (Kurfürsten), the highest rank under the Roman Emperor).
In the 17th century it became the general style borne by the heads of the reigning princely
states of the empire (reichstandische Fürsten), as Erlaucht by those of the countly houses (reichstandische Grafen, i.e.
Counts of the Empire). In 1825 the Imperial German Diet agreed to grant the style Durchlaucht to the heads of all mediatized
princely houses domiciled in Germany or Austria, and it is now customary to use it of the members of those houses. Further,
all those who are elevated to the rank of Fürst (prince in the *secondary meaning of that title) are also styled Durchlaucht.
In 1829 the style of Erlaucht, which had formerly been borne by the reigning Counts of the empire, was similarly granted to
the mediatized countly families (Almanach de Gotha, 1909, 107).
His Highness, often abbreviated HH, is a style for members of ducal families, some grand
ducal families, and lesser members of some royal families. The third case is the only usage of the style that is still used
officially. However, socially, many formerly-reigning ducal and grand ducal families assume the style HH, but this is only
used socially and they are not normally referred to as such in any official capacity.
The style is officially used by junior members of the royal houses
of Denmark and the Netherlands. Before 1917, it was also used by some junior members of the British royal house. The style
was also once used by the ruling families of the Grand Duchies of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and of the Duchies of Brunswick, Anhalt, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg,
as well as by the House of Schleswig-Holstein, which never ruled. Surviving members of these families are sometimes known
by the style.
DUCAL SERENE HIGHNESS
Ducal Serene Highness is a style used by
members of certain ducal
families, such as those of Nassau.
MOST SERENE HIGHNESS
Serene Highness ( acronym HMSH ) is a style
used by Sovereign Princes or heads of former
Sovereign Princely Houses, namely the present
Soveregn Princes of Monaco and of Liechtenstein.
Highness ( acronym HSH ) - His Serene Highness or Her Serene Highness. The style of HSH appeared at the front of the princely
titles of members of German ruling families. The style is also used today by the ruling families of Monaco and Liechtenstein.
The style Serene Highness was mainly used by the mediatized Dukes, reigning and mediatized Fürsten ("Princes"),
and the children and grandchildren of the reigning or mediatized Dukes and Fürsten, of the small German states that survived
after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire. It was also given to several morganatic branches of German ruling family. Queen
Mary, the consort of King George V used the style Her Serene Highness as a Princess of Teck. (The dukes and princes of Teck
were a branch of the Royal House of Württemberg). In the Republic of Venice, also called the Serene Republic, the Doge
was known as "Serenissimus".
In most of Europe, the style of Serene Highness was considered to be lower in rank than Highness, Grand Ducal Highness,
Royal Highness, and Imperial Highness. If a woman with the rank of Royal Highness married a man with the rank Serene Highness,
the woman would usually retain her pre-marital style. Queen Victoria did however create those German princes and dukes who
married her daughters Royal Highnesses.
In Germany, the styled used is Durchlaucht, a translation for the Latin superillustris. This is usually translated
into English as Serene Highness, however, it would be more correct to translate it as superior to, above, beyond or greater
than famous. In a number of Old English dictionaries, serene as used in this context means supreme, royal, august, or marked
by majestic dignity or grandeur or high or supremely dignified. The style Serene Highness has an antiquity equal to that of
highness. However, is some, excluding the Latin speaking countries, Highness outranks a Serene Highness. In 1905 the Emperor
Wilhelm II granted the high Durchlaucht title to virtually every prince in the former Holy Roman Empire, even if they had
never been sovereign. During World War I, King George V revoked the style Serene Highness for use by those members of the
British Royal Family who were British subjects. The official current usage of the style in the German-speaking countries
is by the princely house of Liechtenstein, the entirety of which bears the style, and other higher Germanic states. It is
used officially by these.
Illustrious Highness is the English-language form for a style used by
various members of the European aristocracy. It is used
to translate the German
word Erlaucht, a style used by the cadet members of some mediatized princely families, as well as the members of some mediatized comital families. It is sometimes used to translate the Russian word Ssiatelstvo, a style used by members of some Russian princely families (also sometimes translated as Serene Highness).
His Eminence is a historical style of address for high nobility, still
in useas a style of reference to the cardinalate of the Roman Catholic Church. The style remains in use as the official style
or standard of address in reference to a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, reflecting his status as a Prince of the Church,
ecclesiastically outranking Archbishops and even Patriarchs. A longer, and more formal, title is "His (or Your when addressing
the cardinal directly) Most Reverend Eminence". [a] The style for cardinals of noble birth is His Most Illustrious and
Reverend Eminence. While the term is shunned by many individuals of other faiths denominations of Christianity, the title
is officially maintained in international diplomacy without regard for its doctrinal, philosophical and theological origins.
When the Grand Master of the Military Order of
the Knights of Malta, the Head of state of their sovereign territorial state comprising the island of Malta until 1797, who
had already been made a Reichsfürst (i.e. Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1607, was granted ecclesiastical equality
with the Cardinals in 1630, he was also awarded the hybrid style His Most Eminent Highness.
Excellency is a honorific style given to certain members of an organization
or state, It is sometimes misinterpreted
as a title of office in itself, but in fact it is an honorific which goes with and is used before various such titles (such as Mr, President, and so on), both in speech and in writing. In reference to such an official, it takes the form "His/Her Excellency";
in direct address, "Your Excellency",
or, less formally, simply "Excellency". In many states,
this form is used for: Presidents , Governors-General , Other Governors,
Prime Ministers, Foreign ambassadors, Roman Catholic ,
Archbishops and Bishops (except
if Cardinal, then replaced by Your Eminence).
Germanic Titles and
of the German
ALTGRAF / ALTGRAEFIN
A Comital Title indicating feudal
(Alt = Old) origin. An Altgraf or
Altgrave, was a nobleman of the
status of a count who had his dominion
in mountainous areas of Germany and
Alpine regions, particularly around
mountain passes where he had rights
and entitlements of establishing garrisons
at such points, and of levying tolls for
passage. Originally it was a title of
veneration rather than the holding of power.
A style of specific Houses or lines
"Nobility by the Letter", as opposed
to "Uradel" or the ancient nobility.
Traditionally titles granted after
c.15th or 16th century but often
referring to more recent (19th and
20th century) nobility.
Count: A Burggraf,
was a military and civil
governor in the 12th and 13th
of a castle, the town it dominated
its immediate surrounding countryside.
jurisdiction was a burgraviate. Later
title became ennobled and hereditary
its own domain. Example of the Title
the Burgrave of Nuremberg, held by
House of Hohenzollern.
CONFEDERATION OF THE RHINE
COLLEGE OF ELECTORS
COUNCIL - COLLEGE
OF THE PRINCES
COUNCIL - COLLEGE OF THE IMPERIAL COUNTS
Most Serene Highness, (Perfect translation is "
"Most Serenely High Born", given to members
of Houses holding Durchlaucht.
EDLER VON / EDLE VON; ELDER HERR VON
"Noble of", Austrian / Austrian-Hungarian title usually indicating 'Briefadel' and ranking
below Freiherr / Baron.
Perfix (Hereditary) used to
denote the senior heir of (to) a mediatized comital house (Erbgraf). For Royalty the prefix is Kron-(Crown)as in Kronprinz / Kronprinzessin.
Heir Apparent to a Duke.
His / Her Illustrious Highness.
ERZHERZOG / ERZHERZOGIN
Archduke / Archduchess.
IMPERIAL FREE CITY OF THE
HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
FREIHERR / FREIFRAU
German Baron/Baroness. The unmarried
daughter of a Freiherr is Titled Freiin.
The Style "Baron"
is used in social address.
Hungarian and Polish nobility (with German
or Austrian Title) of this rank are usually
Titled Baron rather than Freiherr.
FURST / FURSTIN
The Title of a reigning Prince;
or head of Princely House
(others Titled Prinz / Prinzessin)
or in a Princely primogeniture /
comital House (others Titled Graf
/ Graefin, as in Starhemberg).
The Appellation Style
of 'Princely Grace'.
GEFURSTETER GRAF / GRAEFIN
A Princely Count or Countess.
GRAF / GRAEFIN
German Count / Countess: Graf
German noble Title with equal in rank
to a Count or an Earl. The Comital titles
awarded in the Holy Roman Empire were often
related to the jurisdiction
or domain of
responsibility and represented special
concessions of authority or rank. Only the
more important Titles came to remain in use
until modern times. Many Counts
Graf without any additional qualification.
GROBHERZOG / GROBHERZOGIN
Grand Duke / Grand Duchess.
HERZOG / HERZOGIN
German Duke / Duchess.
Used by German Nobles being
of high birth 'High Born'.
'High Well Born' Used for
German Nobles holding rank
below that of Count / Graf.
HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
Heiliges Römisches Reich.
IMPERIAL ASSEMBLY / PARLIAMENT
KAISER / KAISERIN
Emperor / Empress.
KONIG / KONIGIN
King / Queen.
A Royal Prince.
Prince-Elector / Elector of the Empire.
LANDGRAVE / LANDGRAF
"Landgrave", an accessory
title style, a Landgraf, or Landgrave,
was a nobleman of rank or count in medieval
Germany whose jurisdiction stretched
sometimes quite considerable territory.
The Title survived from the times of the
Holy Roman Empire. The power of a landgrave
was often associated with Sovereign
and decision making much greater than that
of a count. The formal jurisdiction of a
Landgrave was a Landgraviate
and the wife
of a Landgrave was a Landgravine. The Title
was used for the heads of different lines
namely the House of Hesse and
was also held
by the Princes zu Furstenberg.
LINE OF SUCCESSION
MARKGRAF / MARKGRAEFIN
"Margrave / Margravine", equivalent to Marquess. Title of Imperial Counts who
ruled the border territories or marches. A rank between Count and Duke. A Markgraf, or Margrave, was originally the military
governor of a Carolingian 'Mark'(or March), a medieval border province. As outlying areas tended to be of great importance
to the central realms of Kings and Princes, and they often were larger than those nearer the interior, Margraves assumed quit
inordinate powers over those of the Counts of a realm. The jurisdiction of a Margrave was a Margraviate. The wife of a Margrave
is called a Margravine. Most Marks and, consequently, Margraves were to be found on the Eastern border of the Carolingian
and later, Holy Roman Empire. One notable exception is the Spanish Mark on the Muslim frontier including what is now Catalonia.
In central Europe the most important provinces so called were the 'Marks of Brandenburg' and 'Austria', which in its medieval
Latin version was Marchia Austriaca, the 'eastern borderland'. Here one has to bear in mind that Austria was the eastern outpost
of the Holy Roman Empire, on the border to, first, Eastern Christianity and ,later, to Isalm. Similarly in the north-west
there was the 'Higher March'(Hohe Mark). Marggrabova was an example of a town in the eastern Marches of the German Empire,
formerly in East Prussia, (renamed Olecko in the Mazury province of Poland), that had been named after the Margrave Albrecht
of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Later, the title became hereditary and is considered a higher equivalent of a Marquess in England,
or Marquis in France.
NOBILITY OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
PALSGRAVE / PFALZGRAF
Count Palatine: A Pfalzgraf or Count
Palatine functioned, especially in
medieval times, and particularly
the Holy Roman Empire, as a viceroy and
often becoming a more independent ruler
of a Palatinate. Borne by the Count
Palatine of the Rhine and junior
of his family.
A Raugraf, or Raugrave only
jurisdiction over waste ground and
uninhabited districts. The title -since
1667 - was used exclusively by the children
of Elector of Palatine Karl
second marriage and Karl's wife, Maria
Louise von Degenfeld.
Style variation of the basic rank (Furst,
Graf,etc.) indicating that the
by a Holy Roman Emperor.
A Rheingraf, or Rhinegrave,
was a nobleman
with the status of a Count in the 12th and
13th centuries, the governor of one of the
many castles or fortresses along
river in western Germany, who had the
entitlement of levying tolls for passage
along the river.
"Knight of" (no female equivalent,
wife and daughter usually Elde
von or von);
Ancient Title. In modern times an Austrian /
Austrian-Hungarian " Briefadel" Title usually
conferred on military men. Like
of the British Baronet, it is hereditary and
a Title of nobility(except that British
Baronectcies are held in the
by male primogeniture and not extended to
simultaneous living issue).
The most basic Title-particle of German(ic)
nobility, translates into English
and can be equated to the French / Spanish
/ Latin "de, dela, du", Italian "di" and
the Polish suffix "ski
or cki", and like
those, not strictly an indicator of nobility.
Von may also appear as part of a non-noble
family name. To differentiate
the two forms,
it has been German-language practice among
the nobility to abbreviate the noble "von" as "v".
A Wiltgraf, Wildgrave or Waldgrave was
originally a nobleman of the
count who had jurisdiction over uncultivated
areas, forests and uninhabited districts.
His legal privileges eventually
him the power of a chief forester and
gamekeeper of a district.
Literally meaning "to", the original
use of "zu" rather than "von"
Titles of high nobility (Princely and
comital houses) indicated that the
ancestral property which served as the
basis for the name was still
possession of the House (Fuerst zu Stolberg).
Often it forms an accessory style (Graf von
Harrach zu Rohrau und Thannhausen).
also used with "von" to indicate the duality
of origin and possession/rule (Furst von und
zu Liechtenstein). The comman
belief that "zu"
was a higher or move valued Title-particle
than "von" has no basis.
EUROPEAN TITLES OF RANK
(Ger. Altgraf) An exclusively German usage, granted
to nobles of the
status of Counts
with holdings in mountainous regions, particularly
along passes, where they were vested with the right to garrison such
points, and levy tolls for access and passage. See also Burggrave,
Landgrave, Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.
(Fr. Archiduc; Ger. Erzherzog; Ir. Ard Diuc; Ital. Arciduca; Sp. Archiduque) The title of sovereignty used
exclusively by legitimate members of the Austrian Habsburgs and Lorraine-Habsburgs, from 1359; a duke of higher rank than
Grand Dukes or simple Dukes. The title of Archduke was invented in the Privilegium Maius, a forgery initiated by Duke Rudolf
IV of Austria. Originally, it was meant to denote the ruler of the Archduchy of Austria, in any effort to put that ruler on
par with the electorships, as Austria had been passed over in the Golden Bull of 1356, where the electorships had been assigned.
Emperor Charles IV refused to recognize the title. Duke Ernest the Iron and his descendants unilaterally assumed the title
"Archduke." This title was only officially recognized in 1453 by Emperor Frederick III, when the Habsburgs had (permanently)
gained control of the office of the Holy Roman Emperor . From the 16th century onward, Archduke or its female form, Archduchess,
came to be used by all the members of the House of Habsburg, similar to the title Prince in many other royal houses. For example,
Queen Marie_Antoinette of France was born an Archduchess of Austria. This practice was maintained in the Austrian_Empire (1804-1867)
and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918). With the abolition of the monarchy, titles and the peerage system were also abolished
in Austria. Thus, those members of the extended Habsburg family who are citizens of the Republic of Austria, are simply known
by their respective first name and their surname Habsburg-Lothringen. The use of aristocratic titles such as archduke is in
fact illegal in Austria. However, some members of the family who are citizens of other countries such as Germany, where aristocratic
titles have become part of the name, may use the title.
ARDRIGH - ARDRY
(Irish) High King, the theoretical (and sometimes
actual) ruler of the entire Irish nation.
( Slavonic ) A term usually found in Hungary and the Balkans, in the
context of describing district or provincial governors; it often had
hereditary implication, and
could be approximately equivalent to
or Prince. In it's origin, it seems to have been based on a Irani
term, and imported into the Balkans with the Avar invasions.
(Fr. Baron; Ger. Freiherr; Ir. Barun; It. Barone;
Port. Barao; Sp. Baron) The lowest grade of nobility; the word derives from a Gothic term meaning "Man" in the sense
of "My man in London", ie. my representative, my servant, one who exerts himself on my behalf. Spanish still has
two separate terms for the idea, the Latinate "Hombre" and the Visigothic "Varon". Originally, Barons
were the holders of Royal lands, castellans and companions of the King who assisted in maintaining order in the provinces.
The German term translates as "free warrior".
( Slavonic ) A term meaning "Noble", "Companion",
or "Landholder"; roughly speaking, an eastern European equivalent for "Count". It
is an archaic term, and tends to be superceded by Slavic transliterations of central
and western European titles after the 16th century.
( Ger. Burggraf ) A title encountered exclusively
in Germany, where it refers to a person with the status of Count whose domain was primarily an urban territory.
Some sources equate it as an equivalent title to the Anglo-French Viscount. Cf. Altgrave, Landgrave,
Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.
(Ang.-Sax. Ealdorman; Eng. Earl/Countess; Fr. Comte; Ger. Graf; Ir. Iarla,
Coimhid, Cunta; It. Conte; Lat. Comes; Port. Conde; Scand. Jarl; Sp. Conde) The Anglo-Saxon term translates literally as "Elder",
"Senior", and refers to a chief counselor of the realm. The term survives in modern English as "Alderman",
a councilman or representative in local government or a local church governing body. The "Co..." terms all derive
from the Latin "Comes", a companion, ally, or supporter. In English, a cognate term is "Committee". The
term came to be used to refer to close friends and companions of Royalty, and was eventually institutionalized as such, somewhat
superceding, but not replacing, Barons. The Scandinavian "Jarl", which came to be transliterated in English as "Earl"
has exactly the same sense: a companion or supporter ( of Royalty ). The German term of "Graf" also has the same
basic meaning as well. English is unusual in that it preserves all three terms in contemporary speech: Earl recalls the Scandinavian
term, a Countess is a female Earl, and Graf entered the language as "Reeve", a manorial steward or overseer; "Reeve"
has become archaic with the disappearance of manorial feudalism, but it may be noted that Kings began to appoint bailiffs
to enforce Royal perogatives on a local level, and these "shire-reeves" (sheriffs) still exist today.
(Eng. Palatine Earl; Ger. Pfalzgraf; Ital. Conte Palatino) In a general sense, Palatine nobles
are those invested not only with the honours and privileges usual to their rank, but also with certain sovereign or semi-sovereign
rights as well, especially those involving the administration of justice. This is the case both in the north of England and
within Germany, where this form is most usually encountered. In the specific sense of the German usage, the Counts Palatine
of the Rhine became the senior Counts of the Empire, and were invested with Electoral dignity from the 14th century.
(Gk.) An old term which came, in the Middle Ages, to be used in the
Balkansand Anatolia as regional ruler, dictator (in the modern
sense). Sometimes as a vassal. sometimes autonomous.
(Arm. Naharar; Fr. Duc, Ger. Herzog, Ir. Diuc; Ital. Doge, Duca; Lat. Dux; Port. Duque; Serb. Herceg; Sp.
Duque) The highest grade of nobility, and sometimes a sovereign title. Most of the above-mentioned terms derive from the Latin
"Dux", meaning a leader or commander, especially in a military sense, ie. a general or warlord. Warlord is the exact
equivalent of the Dark Ages usage from which the term evolved into an hereditary caste of nobility: "Dux Bellorum".
The German Herzog means exactly the same thing.
Dux was a title given by the Romans to a general commanding a single military expedition and holding
no other power than that which he exercised over his soldiers. The designation first arose in the early part of the second
century. Upon the separation of the civil and military functions in the fourth century the duke became commander of all the
troops cantoned in a single province. The Germanic Franks converted, under Roman influence, the Germanic concept of ''Herzog''
(literally: "war-leader", commonly translated as "duke"), the temporarily elected general for a major
expedition of warfare, into military governors for units of up to a dozen counties. In the 7th_century these units developed
into hereditary clan-duchies of Bavarians, Thuringians, Alemanns, Franks and other Germanic tribes, which Charlemagne crushed
in 788, converting the border provinces into margraviates ( which however soon emerged as clan-margraviates: Saxony, Bavaria,
Swabia, Lorraine...). The dissolution tendency was counteracted by the appointment of younger sons of the monarchs ''( royal
dukes )'' as military governors of the important border provinces, which however also soon developed into hereditary duchies
and a source of intrigues against the monarch. The medieval dukes had a strong position in the realms they belonged to. Like
the margraves, they were responsible for the military defence of an important region, and had strong arguments for retaining
the Crown's tax incomes of their duchy to found their military force. In early Medieval Italy, the Dukes of Benevento and
of Spoleto were independent territorial magnates in duchies originally created by the Lombards. Although since the unification
of Italy in the 1870, there have no longer been any sovereign duchies Luxembourg is a grand duchy sovereign dukes of Parma
and Modena in Italy, and of Brunswick , Anhalt , Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Saxe-Meiningen, and Saxe-Altenburg in Germany survived
(Ger. Kurfürst) In the restricted sense of the
German usage, "Elector"
to the any of the great nobles of the Mediaeval and Renaissance
Kingdom of Germany who held the right to elect successive Holy Roman
Emperors; the term became in effect a kind of senior nobility in and
itself. In fact, one electorate
( Hesse-Cassel) insisted on retaining
title even after the Empire had been abolished.
(Fr. Empereur; Ger. Kaiser; Ital. Imperatore; Lat.
Augustus, Caesar, Imperator; Rus. Tsar; Sp. Emperador) Technically, a ruler of sovereigns, a king of kings. Most of the above
terms derive from the Latin Imperator, meaning "One who requires, demands, or obligates". The Roman usage was as
field marshal, a supreme military commander. As such, there were many individuals invested with imperium before the establishment
of the Roman Empire. That establishment took place with the granting of the style of "Augustus" (revered one) to
the Imperator Octavian Caesar in 27 BCE. His family name provides the source for the remaining terms. An Emperor is the male
head of state of an empire who reigns for life. Empress is the feminine form. The term "emperor" is in many cases
interchangeable with "dictator" or "king", but there are subtle differences. An emperor always adopts
royal ceremony and regalia, and thus acts as a monarch, though he may not be from an established royal family. In some cases,
this is the only thing making a "dictator" into an "emperor". An emperor, in theory at least, reigns over
several ethnicities or nationalities, as opposed to a king, who rules a single nation. Emperors are always recognised to be
above kings in precedence when both titles are used in a single system. While a king is subject to the conventions of a state
church, an emperor often ranks above the church, answering to no one but himself. Derivation of Emperor , The English term
for emperor is derived from the Latin imperator ( literally, "one who prepares against" loosely,commander ). Imperator
was originally a title used by the highest-ranking Roman commanders, roughly comparable to field marshal or commander in chief.
The term was later used by Roman monarchs specifically in place of the Latin word for "king", which had negative
historical connotations for the Romans. What we now call the "emperors" of Rome in fact had a long list of honorifics
and titles, of which the dynastic name Caesar also played an important part. Successive emperors took the name Caesar regardless
of whether they had any dynastic tie to Julius or Augustus Caesar, founders of the imperial system. Thus, in German the title
''Kaiser'' is equivalent to "emperor". Kaiser was used in the Austro Hungarian Empire. In some Slavic languages
''tsar'' was used. All of these are derived from ''Caesar'' rather than "imperator". Another honorific of the Roman
emperors was "princeps", meaning "first citizen", from which we derive "prince". Historical
development , After the fall of Rome to barbarian forces, the title of "emperor" lived on in rulers of the Byzantine_Empire
until at least the mid 14th century. Following the final fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the Turkish
sultan sometimes designated himself as successor to the Roman Emperors, and used the title of Emperor in addition to that
of Sultan. The tsars of Russia also claimed to be the carriers of the "Eastern Roman Empire" flame since one of
them had taken a niece of a Byzantine emperor as consort.
Holy Roman Empire - On 25 December , 800, Charles I, King of the Franks, was crowned Emperor
by Pope Leo III in Rome. This was seen as a revival of the Western Empire, and descendants of Charlemagne continued to be
crowned in Rome through the 9th century. The increasing divisions within the Frankish lands, however, led to a suspension
of the office. In 962, Otto I, King of the Eastern Franks ( or Germany ) was again crowned Emperor by the Pope. His successors
became known as Holy Roman Emperors. The Holy Roman Empire, such as it was, consisted of the Kingdoms of Germany, Italy, and
Burgundy. After the 13th century and the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, the universalistic aspirations of the Emperors
became increasingly theoretical, and their control over Italy, still seen as the locus of the proper empire, became increasingly
tenuous. Rather than being hereditary, emperors were elected by the great German magnates, in a process codified by the Golden
Bull of 1356. Coronations in Rome became rarer and rarer, until in 1508, King Maximilian I declared himself Emperor Elect
without having been crowned in Rome. Although Maximilian's grandson and successor, Charles V, was crowned in Bologna in 1529
by the Pope, he was the last, and thereafter the position of Holy Roman Emperor was a wholly German post until the Empire's
dissolution in August 6, 1806. Even in Germany itself, real control was increasingly tenuous, as various local princes put
increasing amounts of power into his own hands, so that the Habsburg emperors who ruled almost continuously from 1438 until
the end of the empire derived their power much more from their hereditary lands in the eastern part of the monarchy than from
their position as emperor. This became even more true after the defeat of Habsburg attempts to reassert authority over the
Empire in the Thirty Years War, which ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The impotence of the Emperors' position
became most nakedly apparent during the brief reign of Charles VII from 1742 to 1745. As Duke of Bavaria, Charles was the
only non-Habsburg emperor for the last three hundred fifty years of the empire's existence, and his utter inability even to
protect his own hereditary lands from the forces of his enemy, Maria Theresa, the Habsburg heiress, showed how empty the position
of Holy Roman Emperor had become. The conquests of the French revolutionary armies in the 1790s made the Empire itself untenable,
so that Emperor Francis II in 1804 took the title of Emperor of Austria as Francis I , and ultimately, allowed ( illegally)
the dissolution of the Empire two years later.
Bulgaria - In 913, Bulgarian king Simeon I crowned himself "Emperor and Autocrat of all the Bulgars
and Greeks" following a victory over the Byzantines. His successors held on to the title Tsar until 1396 when Bulgaria
fell to the invading Ottoman Empire. The title was revived between 1908 and 1946. Simeon II, the last tsar, abdicated and
the monarchy was abolished.
- King Sancho III of Navarre declared himself emperor of Spain in 1034. His son, Ferdinand I of Castile also took the title
in 1039. His son, Alfonso VI of Castile Leon took the title in 1077. His grandson, Alfonso VII crowned himself in 1135. The
title was not hereditary but self proclaimations.
Serbia - After a series of victories against his neighbors, Serbian king Stefan Uros IV proclaimed himself
"Tsar and Autocrat of Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians and Albanians" in 1346. His son, Stefan Uros V, was unable to retain
the empire. After his death in 1371, no Serb monarch would use the title Tsar.
Russia - The exclusivity of the title Emperor in Europe was lost on 31 October , 1721 when,
at the request of his jubilant Senate and the Holy Synod, the recent victor of the 21 year long Great Northern War Peter I
("Peter the Great") proclaimed the establishment of the Russian Empire and accepted the title Emperor of Russia
in addition to the traditional (since 1547) title of Tsar of several diverse nationalities in their specific lands. He based
his claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor to Vasili III,
Grand Duke of Moscow, in which the Holy Roman Emperor used the term in referring to Vasily. The title has not been used in
Russia since the consecutive abdications of Emperor Saint Nicholas II and his brother Grand Duke Michael on March 15 and 16,
France - Napoleon I
declared himself Emperor of the French on 18 May , 1804. He relinquished the title of Emperor of the French on 6 April and
again on April 11, 1814, but was allowed to style himself Emperor of Elba, the island of his first exile. After his attempted
restoration and defeat in 1815 he was stripped of even that usage during his second exile. His nephew Napoleon III resurrected
the title on December_2, 1852 after establishing the Second French Empire in a Coup d'Ã©tat, and lost it when
he was deposed on September_4, 1870 by the Third Republic. It has not been used in France since then.
Austria - On 11 August , 1804 anticipating the
eventual collapse of the Holy Roman Empire (the "First Reich") at the behest of Napoleon I, Francis II of the Holy
Roman Empire assumed the additional title of Emperor of Austria ( as Francis I thereof ). The precaution was a wise one, because
two years later on August 6 1806 he was obliged to proclaim the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The title has not been
used in Austria since Emperor Karl of Austria "relinquished every participation in the administration of the State"
on November_11 1918.
- Upon the formation of the Second Reich the Prussian king had himself crowned German Emperor as Wilhelm I on January 18 1871,
as part of the competition with the Emperor of Austria for dominance in the German-speaking lands. The Prussian Crown Prince
was married to a daughter of Queen Victoria, and when he came to the throne his wife would naturally carry the title of Empress,
outranking her more powerful mother whose title was merely Queen. The title was no longer used in Germany after the announcement
of the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II on 9 November 1918.
(Fr. Gens de Qualite; Ger. Landadel; Ir. Daoine Uaisle; Lat. Gentis;
Gentil) A Gentleman is not necessarily mild-mannered,
he is gentle
because he is a member of a Gens, a
or family (cf. "Gender,
Grand Duc; Ger. Grossherzog; Ital. Granduca) A title created in
modern times to distinguish certain sovereign Dukes from simple
of various nobilities. A single GrandDuchy remains today: Luxembourg.
(Ger. Hauptmann; Pol./Ukr. Hetman) In a general sense, a Hetman is a clan or tribal leader
and/or military commander. The title is most usually a reference to Cossack leaders of the Ukraine: in fact, it has been used
to identify Ukrainian Sovereigns on those occasions when dissident Cossacks attempted the establishment of a separate State.
Its military sense has also been used extensively in Moldavia during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Highness, literally the quality of being lofty or high, a term used,
as are so many abstractions, as a title of dignity and honor, to signify exalted rank or station. These abstractions arose
in great profusion in the Roman empire, both of the East and West, and highness is to be directly traced to the allitudo and
ceisitudo of the Latin and the iah7Xr,~ of the Greek emperors. Like other exorbitant and swelling attributes of the time,
they were conferred on ruling princes generally. In the early middle ages such titles, couched in the second or third person,
were uncertain and much more arbitrary (according to the fancies of secretaries) than in the later times (Selden, Titles of
Honor, pt. i. ch. vii. 100). In English usage, Highness alternates with Grace and Majesty, as the honorific title of the king
and queen until the time of James I Thus in documents relating to the reign of Henry VIII all three titles are used indiscriminately;
an example is the kings judgment against Dr Edward Crome (d. f 562), quoted, from the lord chamberlains books, ser. I, p.
791, in Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc. N.S. lOX. 299, where article 15 begins with Also the Kinges Highness hath ordered, 16 with
Kinges Majestie, and 17 with Kinges Grace. In the Dedication of the Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611 James I is still
styled Majesty and Highness; thus, in the first paragraph, the appearance of Your Majesty, as of the Sun in his strength,
instantly dispelled those supposed and surmised mists . . . especially when we beheld the government established in Your Highness
and Your hopeful Seed, by an undoubted title. It was, however, in James I's reign that Majesty became the official title.
It may be noted that Cromwell, as lord protector, and his wife were styled Highness. In present usage the following members
of the British Royal Family are addressed as Royal Highness (H.R.H.): all sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, uncles
and aunts of the reigning sovereign, grandsons and granddaughters if children of sons, and also great grandchildren (decree
of 31st of May 1898) if children of an eldest son of any prince of Wales. Nephews, nieces and cousins and grandchildren, offspring
of daughters, are styled Highness only. A change of sovereign does not entail the forfeiture of the title Royal Highness,
once acquired, though the father of the bearer has become a nephew and not a grandson of the sovereign. The principal feudatory
princes of the Indian empire are also styled Highness. As a general rule the members of the blood royal of an Imperial or
Royal house are addressed as Imperial or Royal Highness (.4ltesselmpriale, Royale, Kaiserliche, Koniglic/ze Hoheit) respectively.
In Germany the reigning heads of the Grand Duchies bear the title of Royal or Grand Ducal Highness (Konigliche or Gross-Herzogliche
Hoheit), while the members of the family are addressed as Hoheit, Highness, simply. Hoheit is borne by the reigning dukes
and the princes and princesses of their families. The title Serene Highness has also an antiquity equal to that of highness,
for yaXflv6r1~c and were titles borne by the Byzantine rulers, and serenitas and serenissimus by the emperors Honorius and
Arcadius. The doge of Venice was also styled Serenissimus. Selden (op. cii. pt. ii. ch. X. 739) calls this title one of the
greatest that can be given to any Prince that hath not the superior title of King. In modern times Serene Highness (Altesse
Srnissime) is used as the equivalent of the German Durchlaucht, a stronger form of Erlauclit, illustrious, represented in
the Latin honorific superillustris. Thackerays burlesque title Transparency in the court at Pumpernickel very accurately gives
the meaning. The title of Durchlaucht was granted in 1375 by the emperor Charles IV to the electoral princes (Kurfursten).
In the I 7th century it became the general title borne by the heads of the reigning princely states of the empire (reiclzstandische
Frsten), as Erlaucht by those of the countly houses (reichstandische Grafen). In 1825 the German Diet agreed to grant the
title Durc/ilaucht to the heads of the mediatized princely houses whether domiciled in Germany or Austria, and it is now customary
to use it of the members of those houses. Further, all those who are elevated to the rank of prince (Furst) in the secondary
meaning of that title are also styled Durc/zlauc/it. In 1829 the title of Erlaucht, which had formerly been borne by the reigning
counts of the empire, was similarly granted to the mediatized countly families
(Arm. Tagavor; Celt. Rig; Dan. Konge; Dutch Koning; Fr. Roi; Ger.
König; Gk. Basileus; Hung. Kiraly;
Ir. Ri(gh); Ital. Re; Lat. Rex; Pol. Krol; Port. Rei; Nor. Konge; Rom. Regele;
Serb. Kralj; Sp. Rey; Swe. Konung) All of these terms mean essentially the same thing; national
ruler or sovereign leader of a particular people.
(Russian Knyaz; Serb. Knez) An archaic title meaning "Prince", but often mistranslated as "Duke".
The Kniazy were rulers of the various Russian states existing during the Middle Ages. They had differing levels of authority;
technically a Kniaz was a sub-Prince, the highest level were called Veliky Knyaz, Great Prince (also translated poorly, as
Cniht; Fr. Chevalier; Ger. Ritter; Ir. Curadh, Ridire; Ital.
Lat. Equites; Port. Cavaleiro; Sp. Caballero) A knight is,
just someone who owes military service to a feudal lord,
is wealthy enough to own a horse. Most of the above terms are
on "Horseman" or "Rider"; the Anglo-Saxon term has the
sense of "Youth", "Aide-de-Camp", or "Military Retainer" (almost exactly
the same status as later came to be described by the term "Squire").
(Ger. Landgraf) A title found in Germany, referring to a Count
who has jurisdiction over primarily rural regions. Cf.
Altgrave, Burgrave Margrave, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave.
(Ger. Führer; Ital. Duce; Lat. Dictator; Sp. Caudillo) Not noble
titles at all, these terms nevertheless are important references to political rulers. They
each have the sense of Overall Commander, Ruler (especially: Military Ruler), "Boss".
(Irish) Literally "Half-King", the particular style
for a member of a joint rulership.
Hlaford; Fr. Seigneur; Ger. Herr; Ir.Tiarna, Tighearna; It. Signore; Port. Senhor; Sp. Señor) This is an imprecise
term which can mean various things depending on context. Usually it means "One of noble birth, a holder of a title of
nobility". In Great Britain though, it can also have the sense of rural gentry, one of gentle birth who, without possessing
a patent of nobility, nevertheless owns a manorial estate. The Scottish "Laird" is an exact equivalent of this sense.
The Irish Tighearna was also similar; an untitled ruler of a compact swath of territory. Most of the above terms derive from
the Latin "Senior", an elder or master. The German term means "Warrior".
(Eng. Marquess/Marchioness; Fr. Marquis; Ger. Markgraf; Ir. Marcas;
It. Marchese; Port. Marques; Sp. Marques) Originally this term refered to counts who held frontier districts. Since such regions
tended to be larger than average, and heavily militarized, March lords slowly accumulated greater status than others, and
now are the second grade of nobility, ranking below Dukes but above Counts. Note also; Altgrave, Burggrave, Landgrave, Rhinegrave,
(Armenian) Prince, ruler
of a small state. Derived from Arabic Malik, "King, Prince".
(Fr. Page; Ger. Page, Ital. Paggio; Lat. Paginus; Sp. Paje) All these terms derive from
the Latin, which means "A boy, a child servant". Pages were institutionalized as the first step in becoming a Knight;
a child of roughly 7 to 14 who was set to learning the fundamentals of life in a castle.
(Arm. Ishxan; Fr. Prince; Ger. Fürst, Prinz; Ir. Flaith, Mal, Prionsa;
Lat. Princeps; Port. Principe; Sp. Principe; Welsh Brenin) This term has any of a number of definitions depending on context.
Usually, "Prince" refers to a member of a Royal Family who is not the sovereign. Often, especially when used as
"Crown Prince", it refers to the immediate heir to the throne. It is also a sovereign title, and as such there are
several Principalities still in existence today. In German nobility, a Prince was a grade of nobility located below Dukes
but above Margraves. The term derives from the Latin, which means simply "First, Chief, the Boss" The Roman Empire
was, in fact, described by its citizens as "the Principate".
(Ger. Rheingraf) An exclusively German usage, denoting nobles of Countal status
with holdings on the Rhine River, and vested with the privilege of levying tolls for passage along the
river. See as well; Altgrave, Burggrave, Landgrave, Margrave, Wildgrave.
(Irish) Petty King; Lord of a minor or dependent
(Ger. Gutsherr, Junker;
Ir. Scuibheir; Ital. Scudiero; Port. Morgado; Sp. Escudero) Usually this refers to the servant of a knight, a young person
of roughly 14 to 21 who is learning the business of being a knight. It, and similar terms in other languages have been applied
to landed gentry, owners of large estates who do not hold patents of nobility. The term derives ultimately to a phrase (Esquyer,
Escutier) in Anglo-Norman meaning "Shieldbearer", and a variant of that has also remained in the language: Esquire.
(Arm. Sparapet) An old Greek term for military commander,
General. Came to be used in various places around the
Middle East as a term for Military Governor
TANAISTE - TANIST
(Irish) Successor-designate to a chieftaincy or royalty.
Utilized today as the Irish term for Deputy Prime Minister.
(Irish) Clan elder, chieftain. Utilized
today as the Irish term for Prime Minister.
(Gk.) An ancient term for semi-monarchic oligarchic ruler of a region
or city-state. Very similar in many respects to the modern idea of a military junta or dictator, but not necessarily pejorative.
Tyrants were found mainlt in Greece, western Anatolia, and southern Italy, especially in the 7th through 5th centuries BCE.
(Fr. Vicomte; Ger. Vicomte; Ir. Biocun; Ital. Visconte; Lat. Vice Comes;
Sp. Vizconde) A title meaning, essentially, "Vice-Count", an assistant or deputy Count. It is now the fourth grade
of nobility, situated between Counts/Earls on the one hand, and Barons on the other.
(Russ. Voyevoda; Serb. Vojvod) An old Slavonic title, usually encountered
in the Balkans. Its original sense was a military one, meaning field commander in an army. By extension, it became the title
of district or provincial governors, and evolved in some areas a quasi-hereditary status close to that of Prince or Duke.
Cf. Bulg. "Voin", "Warrior". In a slightly altered context, it has also come to be applied as a term describing
the clan leader of a Gypsy (Rroma) band or extended family.
(Ger. Wildgraf) A German usage, refering to a noble of the status of Count, who held jurisdiction
over wilderness, waste ground, forests, and uninhabited districts. They had certain legal privileges which made them, in effect,
foresters and gamekeepers.
Most usually found in the Balkans, the original meaning of this term was the "Leader of a Zupa", a clan or grouping
of extended families. These associations of families (remnants of which can still be recognized today in various Slavic nations)
were among the earliest political organizations found among Proto-Slavic and Slavonic peoples. As the term evolved, it became
a usage for certain types of provincial governors and minor nobles.
OF GERMAN NOBILITY
This oldest level of the nobility is made up of those houses which by no later than 1400 were
members of the knightly class, or patricians of a free Imperial city such as Frankfurt/Main. Most often these houses are counted
as noble since "time immemorial" as at their first appearance in written records they were already noble. The families
that make up this segment of the nobility usually descend from the knights or most important warriors of a sovereign that
were the basis of his fighting force, or more rarely from a senior civil official of the time. The Uradel often had legal
privileges over the newer nobility certifying their higher standing, such as in the Nobles Law of the Kingdom of Saxony of
1902. There are far fewer Uradel families still in existence than Briefadel due to the fact that families die out over the
centuries and no Uradel has been created in almost 600 years.
This level of the nobility is made up of those houses which were ennobled since the beginning
of the 15th Century through the end of the German or Austrian Empires in 1918. There were widely differing prerequisites for
this level of the nobility, though most often military or civil service to the sovereign were the qualities most valued. The
Briefadel includes houses ennobled or recognized as noble by the Emperor or one of the sovereigns of the high nobility. Also
included are patricians of the free Imperial cities and non-German noble houses that immigrated over the centuries, such as
the Counts von Polier from France or the Herren von Zerboni di Sposetti from Italy.
The High Nobility is made
up of those families that had Reichsstandschaft, or had a seat in the Parliament of the Holy Roman Empire. These seats were
reserved for sovereign houses. These families were also Reichsunmittelbar, or in a feudal sense holding their lands directly
from the Holy Roman Emperor. In essence, these families were rulers of their own countries, often in times of a weak emperor
paying only lip service to their subservience to him. Their relationship to the emperor was then much like that of today's
Commonwealth rulers to the British Queen. Even in times of a strong emperor he was to them more like a chairman of the board
rather than a ruler. Up to the early 19th Century, there were some baronial and untitled families that held lands directly
of the emperor, so essentially being their own rulers, but had no seat in the Parliament, thus being members of the lower
nobility. Many families of the high nobility have house laws applicable to their members. Often these laws do not allow marriage
outside their ranks, even to the lower nobility which would be considered a morganatic alliance. Even today, the children
of a member of the high nobility who marries morganatically become members of the lower nobility.
OF THE HIGH NOBILITY
Within this division of the nobility the highest title is
Emperor, or Kaiser, deriving from Caesar
in Latin. Next rank is König
and Königin, or King and Queen, which was
carried by the rulers of the larger German states (Bavaria, Hanover, Prussia, Saxony, Württemberg, ). They were addressed as Majesty, and their children, princes or princesses, as Royal Highnesses.
After these come the Großherzog, or Grand Duke, who were styled royal
highness, and were rulers of somewhat smaller states, such as the two Mecklenburgs or Luxemburg . The
heir to these thrones was known as an Erbgroßherzog, or hereditary grand duke, and the other children
were princes or princesses. Additionally in the Saxon kingdom, grand duchy, and duchies, all the children
of the ruler were also styled dukes or duchesses.
The next level
is that of Herzog, or Duke,
who was normally styled Highness.
Kurfürst, or Elector
in English, ranked with a Duke. The electors were
originally the greatest lords of the Holy Roman Empire, both temporal and spiritual, who elected the Emperor before the throne became hereditary. They later became sovereigns no different from the rest.
(Landgrave), Markgraf (Margrave), and Pfalzgraf (Palsgrave or
Count Palatine) ranked somewhat with a Duke and are usually considered higher than a Fürst. All sovereigns of this rank were eventually
"promoted" to higher titles, but
the titles were sometimes used instead of crown prince for their states, and are currently used for the Heads of the Houses of Baden, Hesse and Saxony. Depending on circumstances, they could be styled Royal Highness or simply Highness. In the Middle Ages, some sovereigns
were Burggrafs, or Burgraves, but all these
took higher titles early on and Burggraf became
a title and sometimes function, like Wildgraf,
of the lower nobility.
Next follows Fürst (for which there is no
good translation in English, but
which is confusingly called Prince). These are styled Durchlaucht, translated as Serene Highness. Children of dukes, kurfürsts, and fürsts
were all princes or princesses. In the third
generation their descendants sometimes become counts, except for the ruling line, which retains the princely title. The last category of the high nobility still in existence is that of Graf, or Count.
They are styled Erlaucht, or Illustrious
Highness. Their children are all counts or countesses. A former somewhat higher rank of gefürsteter Graf, or princely count, no longer exists. Among all the higher nobility the idea of Ebenbürtigkeit exists,
of them, no matter what the title, are considered of equal birth
RANKS OF THE LOWER NOBILITY
Very often a
certain level of income, wealth, or social standing was
necessary for appointment to these ranks, so as to demonstrate the ability of the person ennobled to maintain himself at a proper level.
The highest rank of the non-sovereign nobility is Herzog or Duke,
never given them and then only "ad personam", or much like an English life peer. An example is Otto von Bismarck as Duke of Lauenburg. He was styled Serene Highness.
The highest rank that normally was part of the lower nobility is Fürst.
This title, like Duke, was given to them
only in the last centuries of the monarchy. Their children were rarely princes, but more usually counts or barons, depending on what was the original title of the Fürst.
Next in rank is Graf or Count, which in modern times could be given
primogeniture (inherited only by the eldest
son), but was usually given to
all the children of the new count. A very few houses also carry the title Burggraf which is approximately equivalent to Count.
Baron follows, which is almost always called Freiherr in Germany, but given as Baron to the Germans of the Baltic regions. For many years it was in dispute whether Baron was equivalent to Freiherr (which was
deemed "better"), but this was settled
in the last century in an affirmative manner. The
wife of a Freiherr is a Freifrau, the daughter a Freiherrin. This last title is sometimes abbreviated Freiin. The wife of a Baron is a Baronin, the daughter a Baronesse. Another variant of this rank is called Edler Herr, or
Edle Herrin for females, which is borne by
only a few very old families (such as the Gans
zu Putlitz) a Frau (in this sense Lady) and not Ritterin.
The last level is that of the untitled nobility, which nevertheless In former times untitled nobles, especially those from
the eastern regions,
includes some titled families. Normally
an untitled noble is addressed as Herr, in this context meaning Lord.
addressed as Junker, a title still in usage in the Netherlands as Jonkheer. It is no longer normally used in Germany. In Bavaria and especially Austria, the hereditary title of Ritter (Knight) was given to families, but
they were still considered part of the untitled
nobility. Much the same applies to the title of Edler,
which is mainly northern and central German. While the wife and daughters of an Edler were titled Edle, the wife of a Ritter was called