Origin of titles

Origin of titles of nobility

Duc, marquis, comte, baron, chevalier: these titles have long established a hierarchy within the nobility of the Ancien Régime. These titles were not always purely honorific or hereditary: most of them originally designated a function, performed for the most part during the Middle Ages, and some of which date back to the Roman Empire.

Titles of nobility were originally military, administrative or judicial offices. The exercise of these offices contributed to the management of territories, and their holders were appointed by the suzerain.

The functions of duke, count and knight have their origins in theRoman Empire.

  • The term duke derives from the Latin "dux" meaning leader, chief.
  • The term count derives from the Latin "comes" meaning associate, companion, clerk.
  • The term chevalier derives from the Low Latin "caballus" meaning bad horse. Cavalier has the same etymology.

The functions of marquis and baron first appeared in the Middle Ages.

  • The term marquis derives from the Old German "mark", meaning frontier.
  • The term baron derives from the Old German "bar" meaning free.

These functions gradually became hereditary and were transformed into titles of nobility.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, dukes (administrative and military chiefs) and counts (high dignitaries), who had been in charge of administering a territory on behalf of Rome, took charge of it independently. The first duchies and counties in history make their appearance.

Ever-expanding territories oblige suzerains to delegate their authority: this will be done with the creation of barons, who are given fiefs, called baronies. After the offices of governance (duke and count) came the office of lieutenancy (baron). Most barons came from the military aristocracy (knights). As for the marquis, his military function was to defend a "march", i.e. a frontier territory. The marquis is a count with increased authority.

Titles of nobility became purely honorary from the Renaissance onwards. Under the Second Empire, they were sold.

(For the record, here's what "L'Histoire de France pour les Nuls" reveals, page 404, § 2: "To acquire a title of nobility, usually associated with an office, you had to pay the equivalent of two million Euros!)

By virtue of their ancestral origin, these titles are part of a common historical heritage, and no more belong to a king than to the ancien régime nobility of any country. In France, in particular, the nobility no longer has a legal existence, even if the existence of titles of nobility is still recognized.

The particle Farge is a distinction of authentic titles (certified by a public officer and in the required forms), of the Order of the Knights of Rondmons from any other order or former regimes. So there can be no confusion with his 3rd millennium titles, whose root is moreover justifiable.
Its source, democracy, is its right.

Partial extract from www.commentfaiton.com