Landgrave

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Heraldic crown of a landgrave

Landgrave (German: Landgraf, Dutch: landgraaf, Swedish: lantgreve, French: landgrave; Latin: comes magnus, comes patriae, comes provinciae, comes terrae, comes principalis, lantgravius) was a noble title used in the Holy Roman Empire, and later on in its former territories. The German titles of Landgraf, Markgraf ("margrave"), and Pfalzgraf ("count palatine") are in the same class of ranks as Herzog ("duke") and above the rank of a Graf ("count").

Etymology[edit]

The English word landgrave is the equivalent of the German Landgraf, a compound of the words Land and Graf (German: count).

Description[edit]

The title referred originally to a count who had imperial immediacy, or feudal duty owed directly to the Holy Roman Emperor. His jurisdiction stretched over a sometimes quite considerable territory, which was not subservient to an intermediate power, such as a Duke, a Bishop or Count Palatine. The title survived from the times of the Holy Roman Empire (first recorded in Lower Lotharingia from 1086: Henry III, Count of Louvain, as landgrave of Brabant). By definition, a landgrave exercised sovereign rights. His decision-making power was comparable to that of a Duke.

Landgrave occasionally continued in use as the subsidiary title of such noblemen as the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who functioned as the Landgrave of Thuringia in the first decade of the 20th century, but the title fell into disuse after World War II.

The jurisdiction of a landgrave was a landgraviate (German: Landgrafschaft), and the wife of a landgrave or a female landgrave was known as a landgravine (from the German Landgräfin, Gräfin being the feminine form of Graf)

The term was also used in the Carolinas (what is now North and South Carolina in the United States) during British rule. A "landgrave" was "a county nobleman in the British, privately held North American colony Carolina, ranking just below the proprietary (chartered equivalent of a royal vassal)."[1]

Examples[edit]

Examples include:

Related terms[edit]

  • Landgraviate – the rank, office, or territory held by a landgrave
  • Landgravine (German: Landgräfin) – the wife of a landgrave or one who exercises the office or holds the rank in her own right.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wiktionary definition
  2. ^ Wise, L., Hansen, M., Egan, E. (2005), Kings, Rules and Satesmen, revised edition, New York, p. 122CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of landgrave at Wiktionary