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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:14 PM   #1

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European titles of nobility


I have always found European titles of nobility (and also religious titles) fascinating. It's always fun to throw less well-known titles into a written pieces. There are the usual English titles and their equivalents in Romance languages - Baron(et), Viscount, Earl/Count, Duke. There are also the titles of Grand Duke and Archduke, although I'm not sure how those rank in the heirarchy. I'm a little disappointed that the Latin title of Megas Dux wasn't carried through to the medieval period. Being a Megaduke would have been awesome.

I'm aware of a couple of the Germanic equivalents - Ritter and Graf. Some of the titles of the Holy Roman Empire were quite interesting, such as Count Palatine and Elector - I'm not sure where the former stems from though.

The church can be a good source of titles too - I particularly like "Archimandrite".

What other European titles do you know of? I know very little about Eastern European ones in particular.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:18 PM   #2

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I thought the difference was an Archduke was usually a prince of some sort or a high noble just under the Emperor, whereas a Grand Duke actually ruled his own (often independent) Grand Duchy. ie. Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

That being the case, I believe a Grand Duke outranks an Archduke, while both outrank plain old Dukes and both are below Kings and Emperors.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
I thought the difference was an Archduke was usually a prince of some sort or a high noble just under the Emperor, whereas a Grand Duke actually ruled his own (often independent) Grand Duchy. ie. Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

That being the case, I believe a Grand Duke outranks an Archduke, while both outrank plain old Dukes and both are below Kings and Emperors.
Not sure about that, as Austria was an Archduchy before it became the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #4

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Not sure about that, as Austria was an Archduchy before it became the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Was it? I've only ever heard of it being called the Austrian Empire. During the Austro-Hungarian days the Archduke was just under the Emperor, no?
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #5

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Was it? I've only ever heard of it being called the Austrian Empire. During the Austro-Hungarian days the Archduke was just under the Emperor, no?
From 1359-1804, it was a territory within the Holy Roman Empire as the Archduchy of Austria. Prior to that, it had been a duchy, and before that a margravate. I think the title in the Austro-Hungarian Empire might have had something to do with the holder being a direct relative of the Emperor.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #6

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From 1359-1804, it was a territory within the Holy Roman Empire as the Archduchy of Austria. Prior to that, it had been a duchy, and before that a margravate. I think the title in the Austro-Hungarian Empire might have had something to do with the holder being a direct relative of the Emperor.
Just realized I totally misread your last post.

But anyhow, that makes sense according to what I was saying. The principal difference being that an Archduke/Arch-duchy is part of a greater empire while a Grand Duke and Grand Duchy is an independent entity.

But now that I think about it wasn't their a Grand Duke amongst the Russians during Tsarist times?

That would seem to break the pattern.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #7

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Just realized I totally misread your last post.

But anyhow, that makes sense according to what I was saying. The principal difference being that an Archduke/Arch-duchy is part of a greater empire while a Grand Duke and Grand Duchy is an independent entity.

But now that I think about it wasn't their a Grand Duke amongst the Russians during Tsarist times?

That would seem to break the pattern.
Lithuania was a Grand Duchy but I don't know if it was actually part of Russian territory, or whether the Tsar of Russia was also the monarch of Lithuania, the same way that Georges I-IV of England were also the Electors of Hanover.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:46 PM   #8

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Lithuania was a Grand Duchy but I don't know if it was actually part of Russian territory, or whether the Tsar of Russia was also the monarch of Lithuania, the same way that Georges I-IV of England were also the Electors of Hanover.
Well I'm out of my depth here, if there is one thing that you Europeans (and I know, supposedly you Brits aren't European - but for the purpose of this thread your titles and nobility are every bit as confusing as the Continental ones) do well is obfuscate any semblance of clarity to the outside observer regarding your titles and rankings of landed nobility.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:47 PM   #9

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I only know very few additional titles, sorry N

Doge: derived from the Byzantine Dux(a title used in most Italian maritime republics, basically elective monarchies)

Boyar: an aristocratic title used in Eastern European countries(Walacchia, Moldavia and Medieval Russian states)
I know that in Walacchia they formed the upper substratum, inferior only to the Voivode and held a very high degree of autonomy

Giudice:: from the latin Iudices(Judge), the title bestowed to the rulers of the Sardinian Giudicati during the Middle Ages; it was an hereditary title, so we have dynasties of Giudici(they were de facto kings)
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
Well I'm out of my depth here, if there is one thing that you Europeans (and I know, supposedly you Brits aren't European - but for the purpose of this thread your titles and nobility are every bit as confusing as the Continental ones) do well is obfuscate any semblance of clarity to the outside observer regarding your titles and rankings of landed nobility.
Here's a confusing one for you. British titles don't have the rank of Count. The equivalent to a count is an earl. But the female equivalent of the title of Earl is Countess!
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