HOME
The Info List - Graf


--- Advertisement ---



Graf
Graf
(male) or Gräfin (female) is a historical title of the German nobility, usually translated as "count". Considered to be intermediate among noble ranks, the title is often treated as equivalent to the British title of "earl" (whose female version is "countess").

Contents

1 History 2 Etymology and origin 3 Nobiliary titles containing the term graf 4 Reichsgraf 5 Margrave 6 Landgrave 7 Gefürsteter Graf 8 Burgrave
Burgrave
/ Viscount 9 Rhinegrave, Wildgrave, Raugrave, Altgrave 10 In Sweden 11 Modern usage in German surnames 12 Other uses 13 See also 14 Sources and references 15 External links

History[edit] The comital title of Graf
Graf
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
Baltic states
and other former Habsburg crown lands. In Germany, all legal privileges of the nobility have been officially abolished since August 1919, and Graf, like any other hereditary title, is treated as part of the legal surname.[1] In Austria, its use is banned by law, as with all hereditary titles and nobiliary particles. In Switzerland, the title is not acknowledged in law. In the monarchies of Belgium, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, where German is one of the official languages, the title continues to be recognised, used and, occasionally, granted by the national fons honorum, the reigning monarch. From the medieval era, a Graf
Graf
usually ruled a territory known as a Grafschaft (county). In the Holy Roman Empire, many Imperial counts (Reichsgrafen) retained near-sovereign authority in their lands until the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
subordinated them to larger, neighboring monarchs through the German mediatisation
German mediatisation
process of 1815, preserving their precedence, allocating familial representation in local legislatures, some jurisdictional immunities and the prestigious privilege of Ebenbürtigkeit. In regions of Europe where nobles did not actually exercise Landeshoheit, or sovereignty over the populace, the Graf
Graf
long retained specific feudal 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 Graf
Graf
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 Graf
Graf
to their subjects, particularly after the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire
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 counts in Germany and Austria were titled Graf without any additional qualification. Except in the Kingdom of Prussia from the 19th century, the title of Graf
Graf
was not restricted by primogeniture: it was inherited by all legitimate descendants in the male line 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. Castell-Rudenhausen. In the medieval Holy Roman Empire, some counts took or were granted unique variations of the gräfliche title, often relating to a specific domain or jurisdiction of responsibility, e.g. Landgraf, Markgraf, Pfalzgraf ( Count
Count
Palatine), Burggraf, Wildgraf, Waldgraf, Altgraf, Raugraf, etc. Although as a title Graf
Graf
ranked, officially, below those of Herzog
Herzog
(duke) and Fürst
Fürst
(prince), the Holy Roman Emperor could and did recognise unique concessions of authority or rank to some of these nobles, raising them to the status of gefürsteter Graf
Graf
or "princely count". But a grafliche title with such a prefix did not always signify a higher than comital rank or membership in the Hochadel. Only the more important of these titles, historically associated with degrees of sovereignty, remained in use by the 19th century, i.e. Markgraf and Landgraf. For a list of the titles of the rank of Count
Count
etymologically related to Graf
Graf
(and for other equivalents) see article Count. Etymology and origin[edit] The word Graf
Graf
is said to derive ultimately from the Greek verb graphein ("to write"), but this may be fanciful: Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
wrote in Latin
Latin
ca 790: "the count (comes) of the Bavarians that they call gravio who governed Bauzanum and other strongholds…" (Historia Langobardorum, V.xxxvi); this may be read to make the term a Germanic one, but by then using Latin
Latin
terms was quite common. Nobiliary titles containing the term graf[edit] 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.

German English Comment/ etymology

Markgraf Margrave
Margrave
(only continental) or Marquess Mark = march (border province) + Graf. Exercised authority over territory on the border of the Empire.

Landgraf Landgrave Land (country) + Graf. Exercised authority over an entire province.

Reichsgraf Imperial Count Reich, i.e., (the Holy Roman) Empire + Graf. Imperial count, whose title was granted or recognised by the Emperor.

Gefürsteter Graf Princely Count German verb for "made into a Reichsfürst" + Graf.

Pfalzgraf Count
Count
Palatine or Palsgrave (the latter is archaic in English) Pfalz (palatial estate, Palatinate) + Graf. Originally ruled "with the authority of the Imperial Palace"; later, ruler of the "Palace-land", i.e., the Palatinate.

Rheingraf Rhinegrave Rhein (river Rhine) + Graf. Ruled territory bordering the Rhine
Rhine
River.

Burggraf Burgrave Burg (castle, burgh) + Graf. Ruled territory surrounding or dominated by a fortified castle.

Altgraf Altgrave Alt (old) + Graf. A count whose title pre-dated Imperial grants of the comital title. Unique to the Salm family.

Freigraf Free Count Frei = free (allodial?) + Graf. Both a feudal title of comital rank and a more technical office.

Wildgraf Wildgrave Wild (game or wilderness) + Graf. Ruled territory centered on a wilderness.

Raugraf Raugrave Rau (raw, uninhabited, wilderness) + Graf. Ruled territory centered on an undeveloped area of land.

Vizegraf Viscount Vize = vice- (substitute) + Graf.

Reichsgraf[edit] Main article: Imperial Count A Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
was a nobleman whose title of count was conferred or confirmed by the Holy Roman Emperor, and meant "Imperial Count", i.e. a count of the Holy Roman Empire. Since the feudal era, any count whose territory lay within the Empire and was under the immediate jurisdiction of the Emperor with a shared vote in the Reichstag came to be considered a member of the "upper nobility" (Hochadel) in Germany, along with princes (Fürsten), dukes (Herzöge), electors, and the emperor himself.[2] A count who was not a Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
was likely to possess only a mesne fief (Afterlehen) — he was subject to an immediate prince of the empire, such as a duke or prince elector. However, the Holy Roman Emperors also occasionally granted the title of Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
to subjects and foreigners who did not possess and were not granted immediate territories — or, sometimes, any territory at all.[2] Such titles were purely honorific. In English, Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
is usually translated simply as count and is combined with a territorial suffix (e.g. Count
Count
of Holland, Count Reuss) or a surname ( Count
Count
Fugger, Count
Count
von Browne). Even after the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
in 1806, the Reichsgrafen retained precedence above other counts in Germany. Those who had been quasi-sovereign until German mediatisation
German mediatisation
retained, until 1918, status and privileges pertaining to members of reigning dynasties. Notable Reichsgrafen included:

Castell Fugger Henneberg, a title merged into the imperial dignity Leiningen Nassau-Weilburg
Nassau-Weilburg
since 26 September 1366 (previously, simply Graf) Pappenheim Stolberg Tyrol as a dominion of the Austrian crown

A complete list of Reichsgrafen with immediate territories as of 1792 can be found in the List of Reichstag participants (1792). Margrave[edit] A Markgraf or Margrave
Margrave
was originally a military governor of a Carolingian
Carolingian
"mark" (march), a border province. In medieval times the borders of the Holy Roman Empire
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 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
Margrave
of Baden, Margrave
Margrave
of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. 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. Maria Emanuel, Margrave
Margrave
of Meissen and Maximilian, Margrave
Margrave
of Baden. Landgrave[edit] A Landgraf or Landgrave
Landgrave
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 status of a landgrave was elevated, usually being associated with suzerains who were subject to the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
but exercised sovereign authority within their lands and independence greater than the prerogatives to which a simple Graf
Graf
(count) was entitled, but the title itself implied no specific, legal privileges. Landgraf occasionally continued in use as the subsidiary title of such minor royalty as the Elector of Hesse
Elector of Hesse
or the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who functioned as the Landgrave
Landgrave
of Thuringia
Thuringia
in the first decade of the 20th century. The jurisdiction of a landgrave was a Landgrafschaft or landgraviate, and the wife of a landgrave was a Landgräfin or landgravine. Examples: Landgrave
Landgrave
of Thuringia, Landgrave
Landgrave
of Hesse, Landgrave
Landgrave
of Leuchtenberg, Landgrave
Landgrave
of Fürstenberg-Weitra. The title is now borne by the hereditary heirs to the deposed monarchs of Hesse
Hesse
(Donatus, Landgrave
Landgrave
of Hesse
Hesse
and Wilhelm, Landgrave
Landgrave
of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld), who lost their throne in 1918. Gefürsteter Graf[edit] A gefürsteter Graf
Graf
(English: "princely count") is a Reichsgraf
Reichsgraf
who was recognised by the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
as bearing the higher rank or exercising the more extensive authority of an Imperial prince (Reichsfürst). While nominally retaining only a comital title, he was accorded princely rank and, usually, arms by the Emperor. Burgrave
Burgrave
/ Viscount[edit] A Burggraf, or Burgrave, was a 12th- and 13th-century military and civil judicial governor of a castle (compare castellan, custos, keeper) of the town it dominated and of its immediate surrounding countryside. His jurisdiction was a Burggrafschaft, 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
Burgrave
of Nuremberg, Burgrave
Burgrave
of (Burggraf zu) Dohna-Schlobitten Initially burgrave suggested a similar function and history as other titles rendered in German by Vizegraf, in Dutch as Burggraaf or in English as Viscount[citation needed] (Latin: 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 Freiherr (baron) who might hold a fief as vassal of the original count. Rhinegrave, Wildgrave, Raugrave, Altgrave[edit] Unlike the other comital titles, Rhinegrave, Wildgrave
Wildgrave
(Waldgrave), 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 Hochadel status, being entitled to a shared seat and vote in the Imperial Diet and possessing Imperial immediacy, most of which would be mediatised upon dissolution of the Empire in 1806.[3]

Rhinegrave (German: Rheingraf) was the title of the count of the Rheingau, a county located between Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
and Lorch on the right bank of the Rhine. Their castle was known as the Rheingrafenstein Castle. After the Rhinegraves inherited the Wildgraviate (see below) and parts of the Countship of Salm, they called themselves Wild-and-Rhinegraves of Salm.[3][4] When the Nahegau
Nahegau
(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, called themselves Wildgraves and Raugraves, respectively. They were named after the geographic properties of their territories: Wildgrave
Wildgrave
(German: Wildgraf; Latin: comes sylvanus) after Wald ("forest"), and Raugrave
Raugrave
(German: Raugraf; Latin: comes hirsutus) after the rough (i.e. mountainous) terrain.[3][5]

The first Raugrave
Raugrave
was Count
Count
Emich I (died 1172). The dynasty died out in the 18th century. Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
purchased the estates, and after 1667 accorded the wife and children of his arguably bigamous (morganatic) second marriage to Baroness Marie Luise von Degenfeld, the title of "Raugravine/Raugrave".[6]

Altgrave (German: Altgraf, "old count") was a title used by the counts of Lower Salm
Lower Salm
to distinguish themselves from the Wild- and Rhinegraves of Upper Salm, since Lower Salm
Lower Salm
was the senior branch of the family.[3]

In Sweden[edit] The corresponding titles in Sweden are greve (m.) and grevinna (f.) and would commonly be used in the third-person in direct address as a mark of courtesy, as in grevinnan. Modern usage in German surnames[edit] German nobility, although not abolished (unlike the Austrian nobility by the new First Austrian Republic
First Austrian Republic
in 1919), lost recognition as a legal class in Germany under the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
in 1919 under the 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. Otto Graf
Graf
Lambsdorff).[7] As dependent parts of the surnames (nichtselbständige Namensbestandteile), they are ignored in alphabetical sorting of names, as is the eventual nobiliary particle, such as von or zu,[8] and might or might not be used by those bearing them. The distinguishing main surname is the name following the Graf, or Gräfin, and the eventual nobiliary particle. 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[edit] The suffix -graf occurs in various office titles which did not attain nobiliary status but were either held as a sinecure by nobleman or courtiers, or functional officials such as the Deichgraf (in a polder management organism). See also[edit]

German nobility History of Germany Holy Roman Emperor List of German monarchs Reichstag (Holy Roman Empire) Sendgraf

Sources and references[edit] (incomplete)

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

^ Weimar Constitution
Weimar Constitution
Article 109, sentence 2 ^ a b Velde, François (2008-02-13). "Heraldica.org". The Holy Roman Empire. Retrieved 2008-03-04.  ^ a b c d Almanach de Gotha, Salm. Justus Perthes, 1944, pp. 169, 276, 280. French. ^ Rheingraf. article in: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4. Aufl. 1888–1890, Bd. 13, S. 0780 f. ^ Raugraf. article in: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4. Aufl. 1888–1890, Bd. 13, S. 0605 f. ^ Raugraf at wissen.de ^ Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution
Weimar Constitution
constitutes: Adelsbezeichnungen gelten nur als Teil des Namens und dürfen nicht mehr verliehen werden ("Noble names are only recognised as part of the surname and may no longer be granted"). ^ Cf. DIN standard # 5007, part 2.

External links[edit]

Lexikon article "Raugraf"

Authority control

.