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(feminine: ) is a historical
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...

title
of the
German nobility The German nobility (german: deutscher Adel) and royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty payment for use of such things as intell ...
, usually translated as "
count Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...

count
". Considered to be intermediate among
noble ranks Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobili ...
, the title is often treated as equivalent to the British title of "
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''S ...

earl
" (whose female version is "countess"). The German nobility was gradually divided into high and low nobility. The high nobility included those counts who ruled immediate imperial territories of "
prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in so ...

prince
ly size and importance" for which they had a seat and vote on the count's benches of the Reichstag.


Etymology and origin

The word derives from gmh, grave, italics=yes, which is usually derived from la, graphio, italics=yes. is in turn thought to come from the
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...

Byzantine
title , which ultimately derives from the Greek verb () 'to write'. Other explanations have been put forward, however;
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
and
Wilhelm Grimm Wilhelm Carl Grimm (also Karl; 24 February 178616 December 1859) was a German Confederation, German author and anthropologist, and the younger brother of Jacob Grimm, of the literary duo the Brothers Grimm. Life and work Wilhelm was born in Febru ...

Wilhelm Grimm
, while still noting the potential of a Greek derivation, suggested a connection to got, gagrêfts, italics=yes, meaning 'decision, decree'. However, the Grimms preferred a solution that allows a connection to ang, gerēfa '
reeve Reeve may refer to: Titles *Reeve (Canada), an elected chief executive in counties and some district municipalities *Reeve (England), an official elected annually by the serfs to supervise lands for a lord *High-reeve, a title taken by some English ...
', in which the ''ge-'' is a prefix, and which the Grimms derive from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
' 'number'.


History

The
comital Count (feminine: countess) is a historical title of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility ...

comital
title of is common to various European territories where German was or is the official or vernacular tongue, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Alsace, the
Baltic states The Baltic states ( et, Balti riigid, Baltimaad; lv, Baltijas valstis; lt, Baltijos valstybės), also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations, or simply the Baltics, is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the ...

Baltic states
and other former
Habsburg crown lands
Habsburg crown lands
. In Germany, all legal privileges of the nobility have been officially abolished since August 1919, and , like any other hereditary title, is treated as part of the legal surname. In Austria, its use is banned by law, as with all hereditary titles and
nobiliary particle A nobiliary particle is used in a surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows ...
s. In
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, the title is not acknowledged in law. In the monarchies of Belgium, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, where German is one of the
official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciar ...

official language
s, the title continues to be recognised, used and, occasionally, granted by the national , the reigning monarch. From the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, a usually ruled a territory known as a ('county'). In the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, many Imperial counts () retained near-sovereign authority in their lands until the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
subordinated them to larger, neighboring monarchs through the
German mediatisation German mediatisation (; german: deutsche Mediatisierung) was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number ...
process of 1815, preserving their precedence, allocating familial representation in local legislatures, some jurisdictional immunities and the prestigious privilege of . In regions of Europe where nobles did not actually exercise over the populace, the long retained specific
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
privileges over the land and in the villages in his county, such as rights to peasant service, to periodic fees for use of common infrastructure such as timber, mills, wells and pastures. These rights gradually eroded and were largely eliminated before or during the 19th century, leaving the with few legal privileges beyond land ownership, although comital estates in German-speaking lands were often substantial. Nonetheless, various rulers in German-speaking lands granted the hereditary title of to their subjects, particularly after the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Although lacking the prestige and powers of the former Imperial counts, they remained legal members of the local nobility, entitled to whatever minor privileges were recognised at the ruler's court. The title, translated as "count", was generally accepted and used in other countries by custom. Many
Continental Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * Continental (album), ''Continental'' (album), an alb ...

Continental
counts in Germany and Austria were titled without any additional qualification. Except in the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German Monarchy, kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918.Marriott, J. A. R., and Charles Grant Robertson. ''The Evolution of Prussia, the Making of an Empi ...
from the 19th century, the title of was not restricted by
primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit Inherit may refer to: * Inheritance, passing on of property after someone's death * Heredity, passing of genetic traits to offspring * Inheritance ( ...
: it was inherited by all legitimate descendants in the
male line Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through their father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance ...
of the original titleholder, the males also inheriting an approximately equal share of the family's wealth and estates. Usually a hyphenated suffix indicated which of the familial lands a particular line of counts held, e.g. . In the medieval Holy Roman Empire, some counts took or were granted unique variations of the title, often relating to a specific domain or jurisdiction of responsibility, e.g. , , (
Count Palatine A count palatine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...
), , , , , , etc. Although as a title ranked, officially, below those of (duke) and (prince), the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
could and did recognise unique concessions of authority or rank to some of these nobles, raising them to the status of or "princely count". But a title with such a prefix did not always signify a higher than comital rank or membership in the . Only the more important of these titles, historically associated with degrees of sovereignty, remained in use by the 19th century, specifically and .


Nobiliary titles containing the term

Some are approximately of comital rank, some higher, some lower. The more important ones are treated in separate articles (follow the links); a few minor, rarer ones only in sections below.


A was a

nobleman Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
whose title of ''count'' was conferred or confirmed by the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
, and meant "Imperial Count", i.e., a count of the Holy Roman Empire. Since the
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
era, any count whose territory lay within the Empire and was under the immediate jurisdiction of the Emperor with a shared vote in the came to be considered a member of the "upper nobility" () in Germany, along with princes (), dukes (), electors, and the emperor himself. A count who was not a was likely to possess only a
mesneMesne (an Anglo-French legal form of the O. Fr. ''meien'', mod. ''moyen'', mean, Med. Lat. ''medianus'', in the middle, cf. English ''mean''), middle or intermediate, an adjective used in several legal phrases. * A mesne lord is a landlord who has T ...
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
() — he was subject to an immediate prince of the empire, such as a duke or
prince elector Choosing the king. Above: the three ecclesiastical princes choosing the king, pointing at him. Middle: the Count Palatine of the Rhine hands over a golden bowl, acting as a servant. Behind him, the Duke of Saxony with his marshal's staff and th ...
. However, the Holy Roman Emperors also occasionally granted the title of to subjects and foreigners who did not possess and were not granted immediate territories — or, sometimes, any territory at all. Such titles were purely
honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It i ...
. In English, is usually translated simply as ''count'' and is combined with a territorial suffix (e.g.,
Count of Holland The counts of Holland ruled over the County of Holland in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flander ...
, Count Reuss) or a surname ( Count Fugger, Count von Browne). Even after the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the retained precedence above other counts in Germany. Those who had been quasi-sovereign until
German mediatisation German mediatisation (; german: deutsche Mediatisierung) was the major territorial restructuring that took place between 1802 and 1814 in Germany and the surrounding region by means of the mass mediatisation and secularisation of a large number ...
retained, until 1918, status and privileges pertaining to members of reigning
dynasties A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). Th ...
. Notable have included: * * * , a title merged into the imperial dignity * * since 26 September 1366 (previously, simply ) * * *
Tyrol Tyrol (; historically the Tyrole; german: Tirol ; it, Tirolo) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Gre ...
as a dominion of the
Austrian Austrian may refer to: * Austrians, someone from Austria or of Austrian descent ** Someone who is considered an Austrian citizen, see Austrian nationality law * Something associated with the country Austria, for example: ** Austria-Hungary ** Austr ...
crown A complete list of with immediate territories as of 1792 can be found in the
List of Reichstag participants (1792) The was a highly decentralized state for most of its history, composed of hundreds of smaller states, most of which operated with some degree of independent sovereignty. Although in the earlier part of the Middle Ages, under the and emperors, it ...
.


Margrave

A or ''
Margrave Margrave was originally the medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the ...
'' was originally a military governor of a
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
"mark" (
march March is the third month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the calendar A calendar is a system of organizing days. This is done by giving names to periods of time, typically days ...
), a border province. In medieval times the borders of the Holy Roman Empire were especially vulnerable to foreign attack, so the hereditary count of these "marches" of the realm was sometimes granted greater authority than other
vassals A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
to ensure security. They bore the title "margrave" until the few who survived as sovereigns assumed higher titles when the Empire was abolished in 1806. Examples:
Margrave of Baden The Margraviate of Baden (german: Markgrafschaft Baden) was a historical territory of the Holy Roman Empire. Spread along the east side of the Upper Rhine River in southwestern Kingdom of Germany, Germany, it was named a margrave, margraviate in 1 ...
, Margrave of . Since the abolition of the German Empire at the end of World War I, the heirs of some of its former monarchies have resumed use of ''margrave'' as a title of pretence, e.g. , Margrave of and
Maximilian, Margrave of Baden Maximilian, Margrave Margrave was originally the medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past ev ...
.


Landgrave

A or ''
Landgrave Landgrave (german: Landgraf, nl, landgraaf, sv, lantgreve, french: landgrave; la, comes magnus, ', ', ', ', ') was a noble title Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility Nobility is a social class normall ...
'' was a nobleman of comital rank in feudal Germany whose jurisdiction stretched over a territory larger than usually held by a count within the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The status of a landgrave was elevated, usually being associated with
suzerain Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity controls the foreign policy and relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary state to have internal autonomy. The dominant state is called the "suzerain." Suzeraint ...
s who were subject to the Holy Roman Emperor but exercised sovereign authority within their lands and independence greater than the prerogatives to which a simple was entitled, but the title itself implied no specific, legal privileges. occasionally continued in use as the subsidiary title of such minor royalty as the
Elector of Hesse This is a list of rulers of Hesse (german: Hessen) during the history of Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state of the Germany, Federal Republic of Germa ...
or the Grand Duke of
Saxe-Weimar Saxe-Weimar (german: Sachsen-Weimar) was one of the History of Saxony, Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine duchies, Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin, Wettin dynasty in present-day Thuringia. The chief town and capital was Weimar. The Weimar ...
, who functioned as the ''Landgrave'' of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
in the first decade of the 20th century. The jurisdiction of a landgrave was a or landgraviate, and the wife of a landgrave was a or landgravine. Examples: Landgrave of
Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germany. Located in central Germany, it covers , being the sixth smallest of the sixteen German States (including City States). It ...
, Landgrave of
Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U. ...
, Landgrave of , Landgrave of . The title is now borne by the hereditary heirs to the deposed monarchs of Hesse (
Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse (Heinrich Donatus Philipp Umberto; born 17 October 1966) is the head of the House of Brabant. He is the eldest son and successor of German aristocrat Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse, and his former wife, Princess ...
and Wilhelm, Landgrave of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld), who lost their throne in 1918.


A ( en, princely count) is a who was recognised by the Holy Roman Emperor as bearing the higher rank or exercising the more extensive authority of an

Imperial prince Prince of the Holy Roman Empire ( la, princeps imperii, german: Reichsfürst, cf. ''Fürst ' (, female form ', plural '; from Old High German ', "the first", a translation of the Latin ') is a German language, German word for a ruler and i ...
(). While nominally retaining only a comital title, he was accorded princely rank and, usually, by the Emperor.


Burgrave / Viscount

A , or ''
Burgrave Burgrave also rendered as Burggrave (from german: Burggraf, la, burgravius, burggravius, burcgravius, burgicomes, also praefectus Prefect (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic bran ...
'', was a 12th- and 13th-century military and civil judicial
governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, ''governor'' may be t ...

governor
of a castle (compare
castellan A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and ...
, , keeper) of the town it dominated and of its immediate surrounding countryside. His jurisdiction was a , burgraviate. Over time the office and domain to which it was attached tended to become hereditary by Imperial grant or retention over generations by members of the same family. Examples: Burgrave of
Nuremberg Nuremberg ( ; german: link=no, Nürnberg ; in the local East Franconian dialect: ''Nämberch'' ) is the second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants ...

Nuremberg
, Burgrave of () Initially ''burgrave'' suggested a similar function and history as other titles rendered in German by , in Dutch as or in English as ''
Viscount A viscount ( , for male) or viscountess (, for female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qu ...
'' ( la, Vicecomes); the deputy of a count charged with exercising the count's prerogatives in overseeing one or more of the count's strongholds or fiefs, as the burgrave dwelt usually in a castle or fortified town. Some became hereditary and by the modern era obtained rank just below a count, though above a ' (baron) who might hold a fief as vassal of the original count.


Rhinegrave, Wildgrave, Raugrave, Altgrave

Unlike the other comital titles, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave (
Waldgrave The noble family of the Waldgraves or Wildgraves (Latin: ''comites silvestres'') descended of a division of the House of the Counts of Nahegau in the year 1113. German noble families Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map ...
), Raugrave, and Altgrave are not generic titles. Rather, each is linked to a specific countship, whose unique title emerged during the course of its history. These unusually named countships were equivalent in rank to other Counts of the Empire who were of status, being entitled to a shared seat and vote in the
Imperial DietImperial Diet means the highest representative assembly in an empire, notably: * Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire), general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) * Diet of Japan, Has been going on since 1889 (1889 ...

Imperial Diet
and possessing
Imperial immediacy Imperial immediacy (german: Reichsfreiheit or ') was a privileged constitutional and political status rooted in German feudal law under which the Imperial state, Imperial estates of the Holy Roman Empire such as Free imperial city, Imperial cities, ...
, most of which would be
mediatised In politics and law, mediatisation () is the loss of Imperial immediacy, immediacy, the status of persons not subject to local lords but only to a higher authority directly, such as the Holy Roman Emperor. In a Feudalism, feudal context, it is the ...
upon dissolution of the Empire in 1806.
Almanach de Gotha The ''Almanach de Gotha'' (german: Gothaischer Hofkalender) is a directory of Europe's royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty ...
, ''Salm''.
Justus Perthes Johann Georg Justus Perthes (11 September 1749, Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt – 2 May 1816, Gotha, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg () was a duchy ruled by the Ernestine branch of the House of Wettin in today's Thuringia, Ge ...

Justus Perthes
, 1944, pp. 169, 276, 280. French.
* Rhinegrave (german: Rheingraf) was the title of the count of the , a county located between and on the right bank of the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
. Their castle was known as the Castle. After the Rhinegraves inherited the Wildgraviate (see below) and parts of the Countship of Salm, they called themselves ''Wild-and-Rhinegraves of Salm''. * When the (a countship named after the river Nahe) split into two parts in 1113, the counts of the two parts, belonging to the
House of Salm Salm was a Lotharingia Lotharingia (Latin: ''regnum Lotharii, regnum Lothariense, Lotharingia'', French: ''Lotharingie'', German: ''Reich des Lothar'', ''Lotharingien'', ''Mittelreich'') was a medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire ...
, called themselves Wildgraves and Raugraves, respectively. They were named after the geographic properties of their territories: Wildgrave (german: Wildgraf; la, comes sylvanus) after ("forest"), and Raugrave (german: Raugraf; la, comes hirsutus) after the rough (i.e. mountainous) terrain. ** The first Raugrave was Count I (died 1172). The dynasty died out in the 18th century.
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine Charles Louis (german: Karl I. Ludwig; 22 December 1617 – 28 August 1680), Elector Palatine KG was the second son of Frederick V of the Palatinate, the "Winter King" of Bohemia, and of Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia and sister of C ...
purchased the estates, and after 1667 accorded the wife and children of his arguably bigamous (
morganatic Morganatic marriage, sometimes called a left-handed marriage, is a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which in the context of royal family, royalty or other List of titles, inherited title prevents the principal's position or privileges ...
) second marriage to Baroness , the title of "Raugravine/Raugrave". * Altgrave (german: Altgraf, "old count") was a title used by the counts of Lower Salm to distinguish themselves from the Wild- and Rhinegraves of Upper Salm, since Lower Salm was the senior branch of the family.


In Scandinavia

The corresponding titles in Scandinavia are (m.) and (f.) and would commonly be used in the third-person in direct address as a mark of courtesy, as in .


Modern usage in German surnames

German nobility The German nobility (german: deutscher Adel) and royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty payment for use of such things as intell ...
, although not abolished (unlike the
Austrian nobility The Austrian nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, e ...
by the new
First Austrian Republic The First Austrian Republic (german: Republik Österreich) was created after the signing of the on 10 September 1919—the settlement after the end of which ended the of —and ended with the establishment of the Austrofascist based upon a ...
in 1919), lost recognition as a legal class in Germany under the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
in 1919 under the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
, article 109. Former hereditary noble titles legally simply transformed into dependent parts of the legal surname (with the former title thus now following the given name, e.g. ).Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution constitutes: ("Noble names are only recognised as part of the surname and may no longer be granted"). As dependent parts of the surnames (), they are ignored in alphabetical sorting of names, as is any
nobiliary particle A nobiliary particle is used in a surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows ...
, such as or ,Compare DIN standard # 5007, part 2. and might or might not be used by those bearing them. The distinguishing main surname is the name following the , or , and the nobiliary particle if any. Today, having lost their legal status, these terms are often not translated, unlike before 1919. The titles do, however, retain prestige in some circles of society.


Other uses

The suffix occurs in various office titles which did not attain nobiliary status but were either held as a
sinecure A sinecure ( or ; from Latin ''sine'' 'without' and ''cura'' 'care') is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medi ...
by nobleman or courtiers, or functional officials such as the (in a polder management organization).


See also

*
German nobility The German nobility (german: deutscher Adel) and royalty Royalty may refer to: * Kingship * Royal family, the immediate family of a king or queen regnant, and sometimes his or her extended family * Royalty payment for use of such things as intell ...
*
History of Germany The concept of Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the , according t ...
*
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
*
List of German monarchs This is a list of monarchs who ruled over East Francia, and the Kingdom of Germany (''Regnum Teutonicum''), from Treaty of Verdun, the division of the Francia, Frankish Empire in 843 until German Revolution of 1918–19, the collapse of the Germ ...
* (Holy Roman Empire) *


Sources and references

(incomplete)
WorldStatesmen: see every modern state; here Germany/Holy Roman Empire


External links



{{Authority control Austrian noble titles German feudalism German words and phrases German noble titles