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Encyclopedia > Countess
Look up Count in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

A count is a nobleman in most European countries, equivalent in rank to a British earl, whose wife is still a "countess" (for lack of an Anglo-Saxon term). The word count comes from French comte, itself from Latin comes— in its accusative comitem— meaning "companion, bound (by oath)", and later "bound to the emperor, delegate of the emperor". Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary logo Wiktionary is a sister project to Wikipedia intended to be a free wiki dictionary (including thesaurus and lexicon) in every language. ... The Lords and Barons prove their Nobility by hanging their Banners and exposing their Coats-of-arms at the Windows of the Lodge of the Heralds. ... An Earl or Jarl was an Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian title, meaning chieftain and it referred especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a kings stead. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Comes is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus (compare comitatenses), especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. ... The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a verb. ...

Contents


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 was made emperor in the West in 467, he was military comes charged with strengthening defenses on the Danube frontier [1]. Comes is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus (compare comitatenses), especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. ... For other uses, see Roman Empire (disambiguation) The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Augustus), until its radical reformation in what was later to be known as the Byzantine... Comes is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus (compare comitatenses), especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. ... Procopius Anthemius (c. ...


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 in military charge, not of a roving warband, but settled in a locality, a county, his main rival for power being the bishop, whose diocese was often coterminous. The term duke is a title of nobility which refers to the sovereign male ruler of a Continental European duchy, to a nobleman of the highest grade of the British peerage, or to the highest rank of nobility in various other European countries, including Portugal, Spain and France (in Italy... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ... Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ...


In many Germanic and Frankish kingdoms in the early Middle Ages, the 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 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 of comes sacrarum largitionum (concerned with the strictly monetary fiscal matters of the realm) [2], The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Graf is a German noble title equal in rank to a count or an earl. ... The quintessential medieval European palace: Palais de la Cité, in Paris, the royal palace of France. ... Late Antiquity is a rough periodization (c. ... Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (ca 484/490 - ca585), commonly known as Cassiodorus, was a Roman statesman and writer, serving in the administration of Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. ...


The position of comes was not originally a hereditary one, but by developing a local power base, a count was often able to make it a hereditary title—though 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 replaced with other institutions. Only after the Partitions of Poland did the title of "count" resurface in the German-derived title hrabia. In the first centuries of its existence, the Polish nation was led by a series of strong rulers who converted the Poles to Christendom, created a strong Central European state, and integrated Poland into European culture. ... For other uses of the term Merovingian, see Merovingian (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... The Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, commonly known as the Partitions of Poland (Polish: Rozbiór Polski or Rozbiory Polski; Lithuanian: Padalijimas) took place in the 18th century and ended the existence of the sovereign Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. ...


The title of Count was often conferred by the monarch as an honorific title for special services rendered. In the UK a count or earl is often a courtesy title for the eldest son of a duke. In the United Kingdom stringent rules apply, often a future heir has a lower ranking courtesy title; in Italy, by contrast, all the sons of certain counts are counts (contini). A courtesy title is a form of address in the British peerage system used for wives, children, and other close relatives of a peer. ... A courtesy title is a form of address in the British peerage system used for wives, children, and other close relatives of a peer. ...


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 sometimes, after a second slash, by the territorial circonscription


Etymological derivations from the Latin Comes

Language Male Title Female Title/Spouse territory
English Earl conferred by a British monarch/ Count applying to all others monarchies Countess (even where Earl applies) Earldom for an Earl/ County for a count, but also as an administrative district
Latin (feudal jargon, not classical) Comes Comitissa Comitatus
Albanian Kont Konthesë
Irish Cuntas (alongside Iarla : Earl) /Cuntaois
French Comte - cfr. the variation ?Comtor Comtesse Comté
Greek Κόμης (Komes) Κόμισσα (Komissa) Κομητεία (Kometeia)
Maltese Konti Kontessa
Monegasque Conte Contessa
Italian Conte Contessa Contea, Contado, Comitato
Portuguese Conde Condessa Condado
Romanian Conte Contesă Comitat
Rhaeto-Romanic Cont Contessa
Spanish Conde Condesa Condado
Croatian knez kneginja knežija

The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... An Earl or Jarl was an Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian title, meaning chieftain and it referred especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a kings stead. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Comes is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus (compare comitatenses), especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. ... For article about famous philosopher and sociologist, see Auguste Comte Comte is a title of French nobility. ... Monégasque (or Munegascu) is a Romance language based on Zeneize, the modern Ligurian language; it is spoken in Monaco and taught in schools there. ... Conte is a title of Italian nobility. ... You may have been looking for the pencil manufacturer Conté. Conte is a title of Italian nobility. ... Cond is part of the name of several communes in France: Cond -sur-lEscaut, in the Nord d partement Cond sur Ifs, in the Calvados d partement Cond -sur-Marne, in the Ardennes d partement Cond sur Noireau, in the Calvados d partement Cond sur Seulles, in the Calvados... Conte is a title of Italian nobility. ... Romansh (also spelled Rumantsch, Romansch or Romanche) is any of the various Rhaetian languages spoken in Switzerland. ... Cond is part of the name of several communes in France: Cond -sur-lEscaut, in the Nord d partement Cond sur Ifs, in the Calvados d partement Cond -sur-Marne, in the Ardennes d partement Cond sur Noireau, in the Calvados d partement Cond sur Seulles, in the Calvados...

Etymological parallels of the German Graf (some unclear)

Language Male Title Female Title/Spouse territory
Estonian Krahv Krahvinna
Belorussian Graf Grafinya
Bulgarian Graf Grafinya
Croatian grof grofica grofovija
Czech hrabě hraběnka hrabství
Danish Greve Grevinde Grevskab
Dutch Graaf Gravin Graafschap
Latvian Grāfs Grāfiene
German Graf Gräfin Grafschaft
Finnish Kreivi Kreivitär Kreivikunta
Hungarian (Magyar) gróf grófnő grófság
Icelandic Greifi Greifynja
Lithuanian Grafas Grafiene
Luxemburgish Grof Gräfin
Macedonian Grof Grofina
Polish Hrabia Hrabina Hrabstwo
Norwegian Greve Grevinne
Russian Graf Grafinya
Serbian Grof Grofica Grofovija
Slovak gróf grófka grófstvo
Slovene Grof Grofica
Swedish Greve Grevinna Grevskap
Ukrainian Graf Grafinya

Greve is any of the following: Greve municipality, in Roskilde (county) on the island of Zealand (Sjælland) in Denmark, . Greve in Chianti, a town in Tuscany, Italy, at the center of the Chianti wine region. ... Graf (from the Latin Grafio scribe from the Greek) is a German noble title equal in rank to a count (derived from the Latin Comes, with a history of its own) or a British earl (an original Anglo-Saxon title). ... Graf (from the Latin Grafio scribe from the Greek) is a German noble title equal in rank to a count (derived from the Latin Comes, with a history of its own) or a British earl (an original Anglo-Saxon title). ... The Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugric language spoken in Hungary and in the adjacent states of Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, and Slovenia (to all of which Hungary had to cede territories after World War I). ... Luxembourgish or Luxembourgian (in French, Luxembourgeois; in German, Luxemburgisch; in Luxembourgish Lëtzebuergesch) is a West Germanic language spoken in Luxembourg. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Hrabina is a Polish female aristocratic title, reffering to the wife of hrabia (eng. ... The Serbian language is one of the standard versions of the Å tokavian dialect (former standard was known as Serbo-Croatian language). ... Greve is any of the following: Greve municipality, in Roskilde (county) on the island of Zealand (Sjælland) in Denmark, . Greve in Chianti, a town in Tuscany, Italy, at the center of the Chianti wine region. ...

Related titles

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

  • Dauphin (anglicized Dolphin, possibly an etymological match; Latin Delphinus) was a multiple title in southern France before it became (informally) the courtesy title of the heir to the French royal crown in chief of the province still known as the Dauphiné
  • 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" (Margrave - see also Marquess), "Landgraf" ('landgrave'), "Freigraf" ('free count'), "Burggraf" ('burgrave', where burg signifies castle - see also Viscount), Pfalzgraf (see (Count) Palatine).
  • These are not to be confused with various minor office titles also containing the word -graf (in German, -grave in French and English, -graaf in Dutch) rather in its original sense (its medieval Latin original, GRAFIO, stems from the Greek verb graphein, to draw or to write : a civil servant, as the Carolingian counts were before they gradually managed to obtain hereditary succession) in various offices and sinecures which are not intrinsically linked to nobility of feudality, such as the Dutch titles Pluimgraaf (a court sinecure, so usually held by nobles 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 ditches, controls etcetera).

For other uses, see Dauphin (disambiguation). ... Dauphiné is a former province in southeastern France, roughly corresponding to the present départements of the Isère, Drôme, and Hautes-Alpes. ... Graf (from the Latin Grafio scribe from the Greek) is a German noble title equal in rank to a count (derived from the Latin Comes, with a history of its own) or a British earl (an original Anglo-Saxon title). ... Margrave is the English and French form of the German title Markgraf (from Mark march and Graf count) and certain equivalent nobiliary (princely) titles in other languages. ... A marquess is a nobleman of hereditary rank in Europe, China, and Japan. ... A viscount is a member of the European nobility, especially, as in the British peerage, ranking above a baron, below a (British) earl or (his continental equivalent) count. ... A Pfalzgraf or Count Palatine or Palsgrave functioned, especially in medieval times, as the permanent representative (grafio =scribe rather than Count) of the Frankish king and later Holy Roman Emperor in a pfalz or palatial domain of the crown, of which there were dozens throughout greater Germany. ...

Lists of counts

Territory of today's France - A - West- Francia proper

Angouleme (Angoumois) in western France was part of the Carolingian empire as the kingdom of Aquitaine. ... This is a list of the various rulers of Auvergne. ... In the middle of the 10th century, the territory of Bar (Barrois) formed a dependency of the Holy Roman Empire. ... The County of Blois was centred on Blois, south of Paris. ... Boulogne-sur-Mer became the centre of the County of Boulogne in the 9th century. ... The Counts of Champagne ruled the region of Champagne, France from 1022 to 1314. ... County of Foix in 1328 (Béarn is outside of the map) The independent counts of Foix, with their castle overlooking the town of Foix, now in southernmost France, governed their county of Foix, which corresponded roughly to the eastern part of the modern département of Ariège (the... The French lordship of Montpensier (départment of Puy-de-Dôme), which became a countship in the 14th century, was sold in 1384 by Bernard and Robert de Ventadour to John, duke of Berry, whose daughter Marie brought the countship to her husband, John I, Duke of Bourbon, in... After the Visigothic Kings of Aquitaine (409-508), the Merovingian kings were kings and dukes in Aquitaine and dukes of Toulouse. ... Among the men who have borne the title of Count of Poitiers (or Poitou, in what is now France but in the Middle Ages became part of the Aquitaine) are: Guerin (or Warin[us]) (638-677) Renaud (795-843) Bernard I (815-844) Ranulph I (835-875) Ranulph II (855...

Territory of today's France - B - long within the German kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire

Freigraf is a German noble title derived from the German language words frei (free) and the feudal title graf (count). ... The County of Burgundy was a medieval county, within the traditional province and modern French region Franche-Comté, whose very name is reminiscent of the unusual title of its count : Freigraf (free count, or franc comte in french, hence the term franc(he) comté for his feudal principiality). ... The now-extinct title of Count of Provence belonged to local families of Frankish origin, to the House of Barcelona, to the House of Anjou and to a cadet branch of the House of Valois. ... The House of Savoy was a dynasty of nobles who traditionally had their domain in Savoy, a region between Piedmont, Italy, France and French-speaking Switzerland. ...

In Germany

In Italy

The title of Conte is very prolific on the peninsula, and modern counts occupy the position in rural society comparable to an English squire, members of rural gentry. In the 11th century however, conti like the Count of Savoia or the Norman Count of Apulia, were virtually sovereign lords of broad territories. The essential title of a feudatory, introduced by the Normans, was signore, modelled on the French seigneur, with the name of the fief. By the 14th century, conte and the Imperial title barone were virtually synonymous, but some titles of count, according to the particulars of the patent, might be inherited, unlike other Italian titles, by all the male heirs. Other younger brothers might be distinguished as "X dei conti de Y" ("X of the counts of Y"). 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. Before the Industrial Revolution, the gentry was located between the yeomanry and the nobility. ... Under the system of feudalism, a fiefdom, fief, feud or fee, consisted of heritable lands or revenue-producing property granted by a liege lord in return for a vassal knights service (usually fealty, military service, and security). ... The Papal States (Gli Stati della Chiesa or Stati Pontificii, States of the Church) was one of the major historical states of Italy before the boot-shaped peninsula was unified under the Piedmontese crown of Savoy (later a republic). ...


Many Italian counts left their mark on Italian history as individuals, yet only a few countships were politically significant domains, notably :

The House of Savoy was a dynasty of nobles who traditionally had their domain in Savoy, a region between Piedmont, Italy, France and French-speaking Switzerland. ... Asti is a town and comune in the Piemonte or Piedmont region, in north-western Italy, 44°54′N 8°12′E, about 80 kilometres west of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro river at 123 m (404 ft) above sea-level. ... Montferrat was a marquisate in Lombardy during the Middle Ages. ... Montefeltro is the name of an historical Italian family who ruled Urbino. ... Tusculum, an ancient city of Latium, situated in a commanding position on the north edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano, 18 km (11 miles) north-east of the modern Frascati. ...

External link

  • Italian Titles of Nobility

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 Tirol
  • Count of Cilli
  • Count of Schaumburg

In the Low Countries

Apart from various small ones, significant were :

The counts of Flanders ruled over the county of Flanders from the 9th century. ... The virtually independent county of Hainaut emerged from chaotic conditions at the end of the 9th century as a semi-independent state, at first a vassal of the crown of Lotharingia. ... The following is a list of Marquis or Margraves of Namur. ... The Counts of Holland ruled over the county of Holland in the Low Countries between the 10th and the 16th century. ... The Counts of Zeeland were also count of Holland. ... The title of Count of Zutphen historically belonged to the ruler of the Dutch province of Gelderland (Zutphen being one of the major cities in the province during the medieval period). ...

In Switzerland

The Counts of Toggenburg (Grafen von Toggenburg) ruled the Toggenburg region of todays Canton of St. ...

In Iberia

As opposed to the plethora of hollow 'gentry' counts, only a few countships ever were important; most territory was firmly within the reconquista kingdoms before counts could become important:

  • Portugal itself started as a counsthip, but was promoted to kingdom
  • in Spain none of importance, except in the former Spanish march
    • Count of Barcelona - it became integrated in the kingdom of Aragon
    • the other counts in Catalonia were much smaller and got absorbed : Cerdagne, Conflans, Pallars, Rousillon (in present France)

History of Spain series Prehistoric Spain Roman Spain Medieval Spain - Visigoths - Al-Andalus - Age of Reconquest Age of Expansion Age of Enlightenment Reaction and Revolution First Spanish Republic The Restoration Second Spanish Republic Spanish Civil War The Dictatorship Transition to Democracy Modern Spain Topics Economic History Military History Social History...

In other continental European countries

Crusader states

The County of Edessa was one of the Crusader states in the 12th century, in a city with an ancient history and an early tradition of Christianity (see Edessa). ...

Equivalents

The word Count is also used, somewhat conventionally, to render in English (as in other western languages) various ranks and officies in other cultures, such as that of Japan under the Shogunate. This page is about the Japanese ruler and military rank. ...


See also


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