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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 _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 _ in 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 _comes_ * 2.2 Etymological parallels of the German _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

* 3.2 The Holy Roman Empire

* 3.2.1 In Germany

* 3.2.2 In 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 * 3.3.1.2 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

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

In the Western Roman Empire, 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 , 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 did the title of "count" resurface in the title _hrabia_, derived from the German _Graf_.

The title of 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 , the equivalent "Earl" can also be used as a courtesy title for the eldest son of a duke or marquess. In Italy , by contrast, all the sons of certain counts were counts (_contini_). In 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_ (applies to title granted by monarchies other than the British where Earl applies) Countess (even where 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 _comes_ but rather from English "earl".

ITALIAN Conte Contessa Contea, Contado, Comitato

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

LATIN (FEUDAL JARGON, NOT CLASSICAL) 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 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 : _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 , notably by Gaspar de Guzmán, Count- Duke of Olivares who had inherited the title of count of Olivares, but being created Duke of Sanlucar la Mayor by King Philip IV of 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 (higher than Count) just as he would when simply concatenating both titles. * CONDE-BARãO 'Count-Baron' is a rare title used in Portugal , notably by D. Luís Lobo da Silveira, 7th Baron of Alvito, who received the title of Count of Oriola in 1653 from 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 of Burgundy * at least one Count of Burgundy (i.e. _Freigraf_ of Franche-Comté )

* In German kingdoms, the title _ 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 Palatine" and, historically, as "Palsgrave"), _Raugraf_ ("Raugrave", see " Graf ", and _Waldgraf _ (_comes nemoris_), where _wald_ signifies a large forest). * The German _Graf_ and Dutch _graaf_ ( 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 (in Picardy) * Count of Toulouse , until united to the crown in 1271 by marriage * 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 of Angoulême, later Dukes * Count of Anjou, later Dukes * Count of Auvergne * Count of Bar, later Dukes * Count of Blois * Count of Boulogne * 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

A _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 , Landgraf , Reichsgraf ; compare Markgraf , Pfalzgraf

In Italy

The title of _Conte_ is very prolific on the peninsula. In the eleventh century, _conti_ like the Count of Savoy or the Norman 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 . 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 .

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 of Apulia * Count of Savoy, later Duke (also partly in France and in Switzerland) * Count of Asti * Count of Montferrat (Monferrato) * Count of Montefeltro * Count of 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 of Tyrol * Count of Cilli * 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 (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 of Leuven (Louvain) soon became the Duke of Brabant * 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 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 of Neuenburg * Count of Toggenburg * Count of Kyburg * Count de Salis-Soglio (also in the UK, Canada and Australia) * Count de Salis-Seewis * 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 ), proliferated.

Portugal

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

Spain

Coronet of a count (Spanish heraldry)

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

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

Bulgaria

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

CRUSADER STATES

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

EQUIVALENTS

Like other major Western noble titles , Count is sometimes used to render certain titles in non-western languages with their own traditions, even though they are as a rule historically unrelated and thus hard to compare, but which are considered "equivalent" in rank.

This is the case with:

* the Chinese _Bó_ (伯), hereditary title of nobility ranking below _Hóu_ (侯) and above _Zĭ_ (子) * the Japanese equivalent _ Hakushaku _ (伯爵), adapted during the Meiji restoration * the Korean equivalent _Baekjak_ (백작) or _Poguk_ * in Vietnam , it is rendered _Bá_, one of the lower titles reserved for male members of the Imperial clan, above _Tử_ (Viscount), _Nam_ (Baron) and _Vinh phong_ (lowest noble title), but lower than—in ascending order—_Hầu_ (Marquis), _Công_ (Prince), _Quan-Cong_ (Duke) and _Quốc-Công_ (Grand Duke), all under _Vương_ (King). * the Indian _ Sardar _, adopted by the Maratha Empire , additionally, Jagirdar and Deshmukh are close equivalents * the Arabic equivalent _ Sheikh _ * In traditional Sulu equivalent to Datu Sadja

SEE ALSO

* County * Viscount

REFERENCES

* ^ Pine, L. G. _Titles: How the King Became His Majesty_. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992. p. 73. OCLC 27827106 . * ^ "An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors". University of South Carolina. Retrieved 2008-04-10. * ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-05-10. Retrieved 2005-06-21. * ^ "Geschiedenis". _Ppant.be_. Retrieved 2016-08-27. * ^ _Mechelen de oude hoofdstad van de Nederlanden_, F.O. Van Hammée (not verified, referenced on a blog) * ^ Лъв Граматик, Гръцки извори за българската история, т. V, стр. 156; Жеков, Ж. България и Византия VII-IX в. - военна администрация, Университетско издателство "Св. Климент Охридски", София, 2007, ISBN 978-954-07-2465-2 , стр. 254

SOURCES

* Labarre de Raillicourt: _Les Comtes Romains_ * Westermann, _Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte_ (in German)

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to COUNTS _.

_ Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica_ article _COUNT _.

_ Look up COUNT _ in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

* Heraldica.org - here the French peerage * Italian Titles of Nobility * Webster\'s 1828 Dictionary

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