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COUNT (male) or COUNTESS (female) is a title in European countries for a noble of varying status, but historically deemed to convey an approximate rank intermediate between the highest and lowest titles of nobility. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin
Latin
comes —in its accusative comitem—meaning “companion”, and later “companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor”. The adjective form of the word is "comital". The British and Irish equivalent is an earl (whose wife is a "countess", for lack of an English term). Alternative names for the "count" rank in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as Graf
Graf
in Germany
Germany
and Hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era .

CONTENTS

* 1 Definition

* 2 Comital titles in different European languages

* 2.1 Etymological derivations from the Latin
Latin
comes * 2.2 Etymological parallels of the German Graf
Graf
(some unclear) * 2.3 Compound and related titles

* 3 Lists of countships

* 3.1 Territory of today\'s France

* 3.1.1 West-Francia proper * 3.1.2 Parts of today\'s France long within other kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire

* 3.2 The Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire

* 3.2.1 In Germany
Germany

* 3.2.2 In Italy
Italy

* 3.2.2.1 Holy See

* 3.2.3 In Austria * 3.2.4 In Poland * 3.2.5 In the Low Countries * 3.2.6 In Switzerland

* 3.3 In other continental European countries

* 3.3.1 In Iberia

* 3.3.1.1 Portugal
Portugal
* 3.3.1.2 Spain
Spain

* 3.3.2 Bulgaria * 3.3.3 Montenegro and Serbia

* 3.4 Crusader states

* 4 Equivalents * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Sources * 8 External links

DEFINITION

Main article: Comes
Comes

In the late Roman Empire
Roman Empire
, the Latin
Latin
title comes , meaning (imperial) "companion", denoted the high rank of various courtiers and provincial officials, either military or administrative: before Anthemius
Anthemius
became emperor in the West in 467, he was military comes charged with strengthening defenses on the Danube
Danube
frontier.

In the Western Roman Empire, Count
Count
came to indicate generically a military commander, but was not a specific rank. In the Eastern Roman Empire, from about the seventh century, "count" was a specific rank indicating the commander of two centuries (i.e., 200 men).

Military counts in the Late Empire and the Germanic successor kingdoms were often appointed by a dux and later by a king. From the start the count was not in charge of a roving warband, but settled in a locality, known as a county; his main rival for power was the bishop , whose diocese was sometimes coterminous with the county.

In many Germanic and Frankish kingdoms in the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, a count might also be a count palatine , whose authority derived directly from the royal household, the "palace " in its original sense of the seat of power and administration. This other kind of count had vague antecedents in Late Antiquity too: the father of Cassiodorus held positions of trust with Theodoric, as comes rerum privatarum, in charge of the imperial lands, then as comes sacrarum largitionum ("count of the sacred doles"), concerned with the finances of the realm.

The position of comes was originally not hereditary. By virtue of their large estates, many counts could pass the title to their heirs—but not always. For instance, in Piast Poland , the position of komes was not hereditary, resembling the early Merovingian institution. The title had disappeared by the era of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth , and the office had been replaced by others. Only after the Partitions of Poland
Partitions of Poland
did the title of "count" resurface in the title hrabia, derived from the German Graf.

The title of Count
Count
was also often conferred by the monarch as an honorific title for special services rendered, without a feudal estate (countship, county) being attached, so it was merely a title, with or without a domain name attached to it. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
, the equivalent "Earl" can also be used as a courtesy title for the eldest son of a duke or marquess. In Italy
Italy
, by contrast, all the sons of certain counts were counts (contini). In Sweden
Sweden
there is a distinction between counts (Swedish: greve) created before and after 1809. All children in comital families elevated before 1809 are called count/countess. In families elevated after 1809, only the head of the family is called count, the rest had a status similar to barons and were called by the equivalent of Mr/Ms/Mrs, before the recognition of titles of nobility was abolished.

COMITAL TITLES IN DIFFERENT EUROPEAN LANGUAGES

The following lists are originally based on a Glossary on Heraldica.org by Alexander Krischnig. The male form is followed by the female, and when available, by the territorial circumscription.

ETYMOLOGICAL DERIVATIONS FROM THE LATIN COMES

LANGUAGE MALE TITLE FEMALE TITLE / SPOUSE TERRITORY

ALBANIAN Kont Konteshë Konte

ARMENIAN Կոմս (Koms) Կոմսուհի (Komsuhi)

BULGARIAN Кмет (Kmet), present meaning: mayor; medieval (9th-century) Комит (Komit): hereditary provincial ruler Кметица (Kmetitsa), woman mayor / Кметша (Kmetsha), mayor's wife Кметство (Kmetstvo); medieval Комитат (Komitat)

CATALAN Comte Comtessa Comtat

ENGLISH Count
Count
(applies to title granted by monarchies other than the British where Earl
Earl
applies) Countess (even where Earl
Earl
applies) Earldom for an Earl; Countship or county for a count (County persists in English-speaking countries as a sub-national administrative division)

FRENCH Comte Comtesse Comté

HUNGARIAN Vikomt Vikomtessz Actually meaning viscount. These forms are now archaic and/or literary; Gróf is used instead.

IRISH Cunta; Iarla Cuntaois, Baniarla Honorary title only; iarla does not derive from Latin
Latin
comes but rather from English "earl".

ITALIAN Conte Contessa Contea, Contado, Comitato

GREEK Κόμης (Kómēs) Κόμησσα (Kómēssa) Κομητεία (Komēteía); in the Ionian Islands
Ionian Islands
the respective Italianate terms Kóntes, Kontéssa were used instead

LATIN (FEUDAL JARGON, NOT CLASSICAL) Comes
Comes
Comitissa Comitatus

MALTESE Konti Kontessa

MONEGASQUE Conte Contessa

PORTUGUESE Conde Condessa Condado

ROMANIAN Conte Contesă Comitat

ROMANSH Cont Contessa

SPANISH Conde Condesa Condado

TURKISH Kont Kontes Kontluk

ETYMOLOGICAL PARALLELS OF THE GERMAN GRAF (SOME UNCLEAR)

LANGUAGE MALE TITLE FEMALE TITLE / SPOUSE TERRITORY

AFRIKAANS Graaf Gravin Graafskap

BELARUSIAN Граф (Hraf) Графiня (Hrafinia) Графствa (Hrafstva)

BULGARIAN Граф (Graf) Графиня (Grafinya) Графство (Grafstvo)

CROATIAN Grof Grofica Grofovija

CZECH Hrabě Hraběnka Hrabství

DANISH Greve Grevinde (Count's wife)

Komtesse (Unmarried daughter of a count.) Grevskab

DUTCH Graaf Gravin Graafschap

ENGLISH Grave Gravine Graviate

ESTONIAN Krahv Krahvinna Krahvkond

FINNISH Kreivi Kreivitär Kreivikunta

GERMAN Graf
Graf
Gräfin
Gräfin
Grafschaft

GREEK Γράβος

GEORGIAN გრაფი(Grafi) გრაფინია(Grafinya) საგრაფო(Sagrafo)

HUNGARIAN Gróf Grófnő, Grófné Grófság

ICELANDIC Greifi Greifynja

LATVIAN Grāfs Grāfiene Grāfiste

LITHUANIAN Grafas Grafienė Grafystė

LUXEMBOURGISH Grof Gréifin

MACEDONIAN Гроф (Grof) Грофица (Grofica)

NORWEGIAN Greve Grevinne Grevskap

POLISH Hrabia Hrabina Hrabstwo

ROMANIAN Grof (also Conte, see above)

RUSSIAN Граф (Graf) Графиня (Grafinya) Графство (Grafstvo)

SERBIAN Гроф Грофица Грофовија

SLOVAK Gróf Grófka Grófstvo

SLOVENE Grof Grofica Grofija

SWEDISH Greve Grevinna Grevskap

UKRAINIAN Граф (Hraf) Графиня (Hrafynya) Графство (Hrafstvo)

COMPOUND AND RELATED TITLES

Apart from all these, a few unusual titles have been of comital rank, not necessarily to remain there.

* Dauphin (English: Dolphin; Spanish: Delfín; Italian: Delfino; Portuguese: Delfim; Latin
Latin
: Delphinus) was a multiple (though rare) comital title in southern France, used by the Dauphins of Vienne and Auvergne, before 1349 when it became the title of the heir to the French throne. The Dauphin was the lord of the province still known as the région Dauphiné . * CONDE-DUQUE "Count-Duke" is a rare title used in Spain
Spain
, notably by Gaspar de Guzmán, Count- Duke
Duke
of Olivares who had inherited the title of count of Olivares, but being created Duke
Duke
of Sanlucar la Mayor by King
King
Philip IV of Spain
Spain
begged permission to preserve his inherited title in combination with the new honour—according to a practice almost unique in Spanish history; logically the incumbent ranks as Duke
Duke
(higher than Count) just as he would when simply concatenating both titles. * CONDE-BARãO 'Count-Baron' is a rare title used in Portugal
Portugal
, notably by D. Luís Lobo da Silveira, 7th Baron
Baron
of Alvito, who received the title of Count
Count
of Oriola in 1653 from King
King
John IV of Portugal. His palace in Lisbon still exists, located in a square named after him (Largo do Conde-Barão).

* ARCHCOUNT is a very rare title, etymologically analogous to archduke , apparently never recognized officially, used by or for:

* the count of Flanders (an original pairie of the French realm in present Belgium, very rich, once expected to be raised to the rank of kingdom); the informal, rather descriptive use on account of the countship's de facto importance is rather analogous to the unofficial epithet Grand Duc de l'Occident (before Grand duke became a formal title) for the even wealthier Duke
Duke
of Burgundy * at least one Count of Burgundy (i.e. Freigraf of Franche-Comté )

* In German kingdoms, the title Graf
Graf
was combined with the word for the jurisdiction or domain the nobleman was holding as a fief and/or as a conferred or inherited jurisdiction, such as Markgraf (see also Marquess ), Landgraf , Freigraf ("free count"), Burggraf , where burg signifies castle; see also Viscount , Pfalzgraf (translated both as " Count
Count
Palatine" and, historically, as "Palsgrave"), Raugraf ("Raugrave", see " Graf
Graf
", and Waldgraf (comes nemoris), where wald signifies a large forest). * The German Graf
Graf
and Dutch graaf ( Latin
Latin
: Grafio) stems from the Byzantine-Greek grapheus meaning "he who calls a meeting together"). * The Ottoman military title of Serdar was used in Montenegro and Serbia as a lesser noble title with the equivalent rank of a Count. * These titles are not to be confused with various minor administrative titles containing the word -graf in various offices which are not linked to nobility of feudality, such as the Dutch titles Pluimgraaf (a court sinecure, so usually held by noble courtiers, may even be rendered hereditary) and Dijkgraaf (to the present, in the Low Countries, a managing official in the local or regional administration of water household trough dykes, ditches, controls etcetera; also in German Deichgraf, synonymous with Deichhauptmann, "dike captain").

LISTS OF COUNTSHIPS

TERRITORY OF TODAY\'S FRANCE

West-Francia Proper

Since Louis VII (1137–80), the highest precedence amongst the vassals (Prince-bishops and secular nobility) of the French crown was enjoyed by those whose benefice or temporal fief was a pairie, i.e. carried the exclusive rank of pair ; within the first (i.e. clerical) and second (noble) estates, the first three of the original twelve anciennes pairies were ducal, the next three comital comté-pairies :

* Bishop-counts of Beauvais (in Picardy) * Bishop-counts of Châlons (in Champagne) * Bishop-counts of Noyon
Noyon
(in Picardy) * Count
Count
of Toulouse , until united to the crown in 1271 by marriage * Count of Flanders
Count of Flanders
(Flandres in French), which is in the Low countries and was confiscated in 1299, though returned in 1303 * Count of Champagne , until united to the crown (in 1316 by marriage, conclusively in 1361)

Later other countships (and duchies, even baronies) have been raised to this French peerage, but mostly as apanages (for members of the royal house) or for foreigners; after the 16th century all new peerages were always duchies and the medieval countship-peerages had died out, or were held by royal princes

Other French countships of note included those of:

* Count
Count
of Angoulême, later Dukes * Count
Count
of Anjou, later Dukes * Count
Count
of Auvergne * Count
Count
of Bar, later Dukes * Count of Blois * Count of Boulogne * Count
Count
of Foix * Count of Montpensier * Count of Poitiers * Count of Saint Germain

Parts Of Today\'s France Long Within Other Kingdoms Of The Holy Roman Empire

* Freigraf ("free count") of Burgundy (i.e. present Franche-Comté) * The Dauphiné

THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

See also above for parts of present France

In Germany

Main article: Graf
Graf

A Graf
Graf
ruled over a territory known as a Grafschaft ('county'). See also various comital and related titles; especially those actually reigning over a principality: Gefürsteter Graf
Graf
, Landgraf , Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
; compare Markgraf , Pfalzgraf

In Italy

The title of Conte is very prolific on the peninsula. In the eleventh century, conti like the Count
Count
of Savoy or the Norman Count
Count
of Apulia, were virtually sovereign lords of broad territories. Even apparently "lower"-sounding titles, like Viscount , could describe powerful dynasts, such as the House of Visconti which ruled a major city such as Milan
Milan
. The essential title of a feudatory, introduced by the Normans, was signore, modelled on the French seigneur, used with the name of the fief . By the fourteenth century, conte and the Imperial title barone were virtually synonymous.

Some titles of count, according to the particulars of the patent, might be inherited by the eldest son of a Count. Younger brothers might be distinguished as "X dei conti di Y" ("X of the counts of Y"). However, if there is no male to inherit the title and the count has a daughter, in some regions she could inherit the title. The Papacy and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies might appoint counts palatine with no particular territorial fief. Until 1812 in some regions, the purchaser of land designated "feudal" was ennobled by the noble seat that he held and became a conte. This practice ceased with the formal abolition of feudalism in the various principalities of early-19th century Italy, last of all in the Papal States
Papal States
.

Many Italian counts left their mark on Italian history as individuals, yet only a few contadi (countships; the word contadini for inhabitants of a "county" remains the Italian word for "peasant") were politically significant principalities, notably:

* Norman Count
Count
of Apulia
Apulia
* Count
Count
of Savoy, later Duke
Duke
(also partly in France and in Switzerland) * Count
Count
of Asti
Asti
* Count
Count
of Montferrat (Monferrato) * Count
Count
of Montefeltro * Count
Count
of Tusculum
Tusculum

Holy See

Further information: Papal count

Count/Countess is one of the noble titles granted by the Pope as a temporal sovereign, and the title's holder is sometimes informally known as a papal count/papal countess or less so as a Roman countRoman countess, but mostly as count/countess. The comital title, which can be for life or hereditary, has been awarded in various forms by popes and Holy Roman Emperors since the Middle Ages, infrequently before the 14th century, and the pope continued to grant the comital and other noble titles even after 1870 and into the present day.

In Austria

The principalities tended to start out as margraviate and/or (promoted to) duchy, and became nominal archduchies within the Habsburg dynasty; noteworthy are:

* Count
Count
of Tyrol * Count
Count
of Cilli * Count
Count
of Schaumburg

In Poland

Numerous small ones, particularly:

* Counts of Galicia and Poland

In The Low Countries

Apart from various small ones, significant were :

* in present Belgium :

* Count of Flanders
Count of Flanders
(Vlaanderen in Dutch), but only the small part east of the river Schelde remained within the empire; the far larger west, an original French comté-pairie became part of the French realm * Count of Hainaut * Count of Namur , later a margraviate * Count
Count
of Leuven (Louvain) soon became the Duke
Duke
of Brabant * Count
Count
of Mechelen, though the Heerlijkheid Mechelen was given the title of "Graafschap" in 1490, the city was rarely referred to as a county and the title of Count
Count
has not been in practical use by or for anyone of the series of persons that became rightfully entitled to it; the flag and weapon of the municipality still has the corresponding heraldic crowned single-headed eagle of sabre on gold.

* in the present Netherlands:

* Count of Guelders later Dukes of Guelders * Count of Holland * Count of Zeeland * Count of Zutphen

In Switzerland

Comital ephemera: a Count's coronet and crest on a doily .

* Count
Count
of Neuenburg * Count of Toggenburg * Count
Count
of Kyburg * Count de Salis-Soglio (also in the UK, Canada and Australia) * Count de Salis-Seewis * Count
Count
of Panzutti

IN OTHER CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

In Iberia

As opposed to the plethora of hollow "gentry" counts, only a few countships ever were important in medieval Iberia ; most territory was firmly within the Reconquista kingdoms before counts could become important. However, during the 19th century, the title, having lost its high rank (equivalent to that of Duke
Duke
), proliferated.

Portugal

Portugal
Portugal
itself started as a countship in 868, but became a kingdom in 1139 (see: County
County
of Portugal
Portugal
). Throughout the History of Portugal , especially during the Constitutional Monarchy many other countships were created (see: List of Countships in Portugal
Portugal
).

Spain

Coronet
Coronet
of a count (Spanish heraldry)

In Spain, no countships of wider importance exist, except in the former Spanish march.

* County
County
of Barcelona , the initial core of the Principality of Catalonia , later one of the states of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
, which became one of the two main components of the Spanish crown. * Count of Aragon * Count of Castile * Count
Count
of Galicia * Count of Lara * Count Cassius , progenitor of the Banu Qasi * County
County
of Urgell , later integrated into the Principality of Catalonia . * The other Catalan counties were much smaller and were absorbed early into the County
County
of Barcelona (between parentheses the annexation year): County
County
of Girona (897), County
County
of Besalú , County
County
of Osona , which included the nominal County
County
of Manresa (1111), County
County
of Berga and County
County
of Conflent (1117) and County
County
of Cerdanya (1118). From 1162 these counties, together with that of Barcelona, were merged into the Principality of Catalonia , a sovereign state that absorbed some other counties: County
County
of Roussillon (1172), County
County
of Pallars Jussà (1192), County
County
of Empúries (1402), County
County
of Urgell (1413) and County of Pallars Sobirà (1487), giving the Principality its definitive shape.

Bulgaria

In the First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
, a komit was a hereditary provincial ruler under the tsar documented since the reign of Presian (836-852) The Cometopouli dynasty was named after its founder, the komit of Sredets .

Montenegro And Serbia

The title of Count
Count
(Serdar ) was used in the Principality of Montenegro and the Principality of Serbia as a lesser noble title below that of Vojvoda ( Duke
Duke
).

CRUSADER STATES

* Count of Edessa * Count of Tripoli (1102–1288)

EQUIVALENTS

Like other major Western noble titles , Count