See also:translation of
See also:foreign titles
See also:equivalent generally to the English "
See also:earl." I In Anglo-French documents the word counte was at all times used as the equivalent of earl, but, unlike the feminine
See also:form " countess," it did not find its way into the English language until the 16th century, and then only in the sense defined above . The title of earl, applied by the English to the foreign
See also:counts established in England by
See also:William the Conqueror, is dealt with elsewhere (see EARL) . The
See also:present article deals with (I) the
See also:office of count in the
See also:empire and the Frankish
See also:kingdom, (2) the development of the feudal count in France and under the
See also:Holy Roman Empire, (3)
See also:modern counts . 1 . The Latin comes meant literally a
See also:companion or follower . In the early Roman empire the word was used to designate the companions of the emperor (comites principis) and so became a title of
See also:honour . The emperor
See also:chose senators as companions on his travels and to help him in public business . They formed a permanent council, and Hadrian's successors entrusted these comites with the administration of
See also:justice and
See also:finance, or placed them in military commands . The designation comes thus
See also:developed into a formal official title of high
See also:officers of state, some qualification being added to indicate the
See also:special duties attached to the office in each case . Thus in the 5th century, among the comites attached to the emperor's
See also:establishment, we find, e.g., the comes sacrarum largitionum and the comes rei privatae; while others, forming the council, were styled comites consistorii . Others were sent into the provinces as
See also:governors, comites per provincias constituti; thus in the Notitia dignitatum we find a comes Aegypti, a comes Africae, a comes Belgicae, a comes Lugdunensis and others . Two of the generals cf the Roman province of Britain were styled the comes Britanniae and the comes littoris Saxonici (count of the Saxon
See also:shore) .
At Constartinople in the latter Roman empire the Latin word comes assumed aGreek garb as K6µi7s and was declined as a Greek noun (gen . Koµip-os); the comes sacrarum largitionum (count of the sacred bounties) was called at Constantinople 6 Koµils
See also:TOW vaxp&w Xapytriwvwv and the comes rerum privatarum 1 The exact significance of a title is difficult to reproduce in a foreign language . Actually, only some foreign counts could be said to be equivalent to English earls; but " earl " is always translated by foreigners by words (comte, Graf) which in English are represented by " count," itself never used as the synonym of " earl." Conversely old English writers had no hesitation in translating as " earl " foreign titles which we now render " count." (count of the private estates) was called K6/27)S T& P 7p.tMTc, v . The count of the sacred bounties was the
See also:lord treasurer or chancellor of the
See also:exchequer, for the public
See also:treasury and the imperial fisc had come to be identical; while the count of the private estates managed the imperial demesnes and the privy
See also:purse . In the 5th century the " sacred bounties " corresponded to the aerarium of the early Empire, while the res privatae represented the fist . The officers connected with the palace and the emperor's
See also:person included the count of the
See also:wardrobe (comes sacrae vestis), the count of the residence (comes demo-
See also:rum), and, most important of all, the comes domesticorum et sacri stabuli (graecized as K6Jn7s Tov ara(3Xov) . The count of the
See also:stable, originally the imperial
See also:master of the
See also:horse, developed into the " illustrious "
See also:commander-in-chief of the imperial army (
See also:Stilicho, e.g.,
See also:bore the full title as given above), and became the prototype of the
See also:constable (q.v.) . An important official of the second
See also:rank (spectabilis, " respectable " as contrasted with those of highest rank who were " illustrious ") was the count of the East, who appears to have had the
See also:control of a department in which 600 officials were engaged . His power was reduced in the 6th century, when he was deprived of his authority over the Orient
See also:diocese, and became
See also:governor of
See also:Syria Prima, retaining his " respectable " rank . Another important officer of the later Roman
See also:court was the comes sacri pairimonii, who was instituted by the emperor
See also:Anastasius . In this connexion it should be observed that the word patrimonium gradually changed in meaning . In the be-ginning of the 3rd century patrimonium meant
See also:property, and res privata meant
See also:personal property: at the beginning of the 6th century patrimonium meant personal property, and res privata meant crown property .
It is difficult to give briefly a clearidea of the functions of the three important officials comes sacrarum largitionum, comes rei privatae and comes sacri partrimonii; but the terms have been well translated by a German author as Finanzminister
See also:des Reichsschatzes (finance
See also:minister of the treasury of the Empire), F. des Kronschatzes (of the crown treasury), and F. des kaiserlichen Privatvermogens (of the emperor's private property) . The Frankish
See also:kings of the Merovingian
See also:dynasty retained the Roman
See also:system of administration, and under them the word comes preserved its
See also:original meaning; the comes was a companion of the
See also:king, a royal servant of high rank . Under the early Frankish kings some comites did not exercise any definite functions; they were merely attached to the king's person and executed his orders . Others filled the highest offices, e.g. the comes palatii and comes stabuli (see CONSTABLE) . The kingdom was divided for administrative purposes into small areas called pagi (pays, Ger .
See also:Gau), corresponding generally to the Roman civitates (see CITY).' At the
See also:head of the pagus was the comes, corresponding to the German Graf (Gaugraf, cf . Anglo-Saxon scire-gerefa,2
See also:sheriff) . The comes was appointed by the king and removable at his pleasure, and was chosen originally from all classes, sometimes from enfranchised slaves . His essential functions were judicial and executive, and in documents he is often described as the king's
See also:agent (agens publicus) or royal
See also:judge (judex publicus or fiscalis) . As the delegate of the executive power he had the right to military command in the king's name, and to take all the
See also:measures necessary for the preservation of the peace, i.e. to exercise the royal "
See also:ban " (bannus regis) . He was at once public prosecutor and judge, was responsible for the execution of the sentences of the courts, and as the king's representative exercised the royal right of
See also:protection (mundium regis) over churches, widows, orphans and the like . He enjoyed a triple wergeld, but had no definite
See also:salary, being remunerated by the
See also:receipt of certain revenues, a system which contained the germs of discord, on account of the confusion of his public and private 1 The changing language of this epoch speaks of civitates, subsequently of pagi, and later of comitatus (counties) .
2 The A.S. gerefa, however, meaning " illustrious," " chief," has apparently, according to philologists, no connexion with the German ra , which originally meant " servant " (cf . "knight," "
See also:valet," &c.) . It is the more curious that the gerefa should end as a servant (" reeve "), the Graf as a
See also:noble (count).estates . He also retained a third of the fines which he imposed in his judicial capacity . Under the early Carolings the title count did not indicate noble
See also:birth . A comes was generally raised from childhood in the king's palace, and
See also:rose to be a count through successive stages . The count's office was not yet a dignity, nor hereditary; he was not
See also:independent nor appointed for
See also:life, but exercised the royal power by delegation, as under the
See also:Merovingians . While, however, he was theoretically paid by the king, he seems to have been himself one of the
See also:sources of the royal revenue . The counties were, it appears, farmed out; but in the 7th century the royal choice became restricted to the larger landed proprietors, who gradually emancipated themselves from royal control, and in the 8th century the
See also:term comitatus begins to denote a
See also:area, though there was little difference in its extent under the Merovingian kings and the early Carolings . The count was about to pass into the feudatory stage . Throughout the
See also:middle ages, however, the original official and personal
See also:connotation of the title was never wholly lost; or perhaps it would be truer to say, with
See also:Selden, that it was early revived with the study of the Roman civil
See also:law in the 12th century . The unique dignity of count of the Lateran palace,3 bestowed in 1328 by the emperor
See also:Louis IV. the Bavarian on Castrucio de' Antelminelli, duke of Lucca, and his heirs male, was official as well as honorary, being charged with the attendance and service to be per-formed at the palace at the emperor's
See also:coronation at Rome (Du Cange, s.v .
Comites Palatii Lateranensis; Selden, op. cit. p . 321) . This instance, indeed, remained isolated; but the personal title of " countpalatine," though honorary rather than official, was conferred on officials—especially by the popes on those of the Curia—had no territorial significance, and was to the last reminiscent of those early comites palatii whose relations to the
See also:sovereign had been purely personal and official (see PALATINE) . A relic of the old official meaning of " count " still survives in Transylvania, where the head of the
See also:political administration of the Saxon districts is styled count (comes, Graf) of the Saxon Nation . 2 . Feudal Counts.—The
See also:process by which the official counts were transformed into feudal vassals almost independent is described in the article FEUDALISM . In the confusion of the
See also:period of transition, when the title to possession was usually the power to hold, designations which had once possessed a definite meaning were preserved with no defined association . In France, by the loth century, the process of decomposition of the old organization had gone far, and in the filth century titles of
See also:nobility were still very loosely applied . That of " count " was, as Luchaire points out, " equivocal " even as
See also:late as the 12th century; any castellan of moderate rank could
See also:style himself comte who in the next century would have been called seigneur (dominus) . Even when, in the 13th century, the ranks of the feudal hierarchy in France came to be more definitely fixed, the style of " count " might imply much, or comparatively little . In the
See also:register of
See also:Augustus counts are reckoned with dukes in the first of the five orders into which the nobles are divided, but the
See also:list includes, besides such almost sovereign rulers as the counts of
See also:Flanders and
See also:Champagne, immediate vassals of much less importance—such as the counts of
See also:Soissons and Dammartin—and even one mediate vassal, the count of
See also:Seine . The title was still in fact " equivocal," and so it remained throughout French
See also:history .
In the official lists it was early placed second to that of duke (Luchaire,
See also:Manuel, p . 181, note 1), but in practice at least the
See also:great comtes-pairs (e.g. of Champagne) were the equals of any duke and the superiors of many . Thus, too, in modern times royal princes have been given the title of count (
See also:Paris, Flanders,
See also:Caserta), the
See also:heir of
See also:Charles X. actually changing his style, without sense of loss, from that of duc de
See also:Bordeaux to that of comte de Chambord . From the 16th 3 " Count of the Lateran Palace " (Comes Sacri Lateranensis Palatii) was later the title usually bestowed by the popes in creating counts palatine . The emperors, too, continued to make counts palatine under this title long after the Lateran had ceased to be an imperial palace . century onwards the equivocal nature of the title in France was increased by the royal practice of selling it, either to viscounts or barons in respect of their fiefs, or to
See also:rich roturiers . In Germany the
See also:change from the official to the territorial and hereditary counts followed at the outset much the same course as in France, though the later development of the title and its meaning was different . In the loth century the counts were permitted by the kings to
See also:divide their benefices and rights among their sons, the
See also:rule being established that countships (Grafschaften) were hereditary, that they might be held by boys, that they were heritable by
See also:females and might even be ad-ministered by females . The Grafschaft became thus merely a bundle of rights inherent in the
See also:soil; and, the count's office having become his property, the old counties or Gauen rapidly disappeared as administrative units, being either amalgamated or subdivided . By the second
See also:half of the 12th century the official character of the count had quite disappeared; he had become a territorial noble, and the foundation had been laid of territorial
See also:sovereignty (Landeshoheit) . The first step towards this was the concession to the counts of the military prerogatives of dukes, a right enjoyed from the first by the counts of the
See also:marches (see
See also:MARGRAVE), then given to counts palatine (see PALATINE) and, finally, to other counts, who assumed by reason of it the style of landgrave (Landgraf, i.e. count of a province) . At first all counts were reckoned as princes of the Empire (Reichsfursten); but since the end of the 12th century this rank was restricted to those who were immediate tenants of the crown,' the other counts of the Empire (Reichsgrafen) being placed among the
See also:free lords (barones, liberi domini) .
Counts of princely rank (gefurstete Grafen) voted among the princes in the imperial
See also:diet; the others (Reichsgrafen) were grouped in the Grafenbanke—originally two, to which two more were added in the 17th century—each of which had one
See also:vote . In 18o6, on the formation of the
See also:Confederation of the Rhine, the sovereign counts were all mediatized (see MEDIATIZATION) . Even before the end of the Empire (1806) the right of bestowing the title of count was freely exercised by the various German territorial sovereigns . 3 . Modern Counts.—Any political significance which the feudal title of count retained in the 18th century vanished with the changes produced by the Revolution . It is now simply a title of honour and one, moreover, the social value of which differs enormously, not only in the different
See also:European countries, but within the limits of the same
See also:country . In Germany, for instance, there are several categories of counts: (I) the mediatized princely counts (gefurstete Grafen); who are reckoned the equals in
See also:blood of the European sovereign houses, an equality symbolized by the " closed crown " surmounting their armorial
See also:bearings . The heads of these countly families of the " high nobility " are entitled (by a decree of the federal diet, 1829) to the style of Erlaucht (illustrious, most honourable); (2) Counts of the Empire,' (Reichsgrafen), descendants of those counts who, before the end of the Holy Roman Empire (18o6), were Reichs standisch, i.e. sat in one of the Grafenbanke in the imperial diet, and entitled to a ducal coronet; (3) Counts (a) descended from the
See also:lower nobility of the old Empire, titular since the 15th century, (b) created since; their coronet is nine-pointed (cf. the nine points and
See also:strawberry leaves of the English earl) . The difficulty of determining in any case the exact significance of the title of a German count, illustrated by the above, is increased by the fact that the title is generally heritable by all male descendants, the only exception being in Prussia, where, since 184o, the rule of
See also:primogeniture has prevailed and the bestowal of the title is dependent on a
See also:roll of £3000 a
See also:year . The result ' Of these there were four who, as counts of the Empire
See also:par excellence, were sometimes styled "
See also:simple counts " (Schlechtgrafen), i.e. the counts of
See also:Cleves, Schwarzburg, Cilli and Savoy; they were entitled to the ducal coronet . Three of these had become dukes by the 17th century, but the count (now
See also:prince) of Schwarzburg still styled himself " Of the four counts of the Holy Roman Empire, count of Schwarzburg " (see Seldenr ed . 1672, p .
312) . 2 This title is
See also:borne by certain English families, e.g. by Lord Arundell of Wardour . In other cases it has been assumed without due
See also:warrant . See J . H .
See also:Round, " English Counts of the Empire," in The Ancestor, vii . 15 (
See also:October 1903).is that the title is very widespread and in itself little significant . A German or
See also:Austrian count may be a wealthy noble of princely rank, a member of the Prussian or Austrian Upper
See also:House, or he may be the penniless
See also:cadet of a
See also:family of no great rank or antiquity . Nevertheless the title, which has long been very sparingly bestowed, always implies a
See also:good social position . The style Altgraf (old count), occasionally found, is of some antiquity, and means that the title of count has been borne by the family from
See also:time immemorial . In medieval France the significance of the title of count varied with the power of those who bore it; in modern France it varies with its
See also:historical associations . It is not so
See also:common as in Germany or Italy; because it does not by
See also:custom pass to all male descendants .
The title was, however, cheapened by its revival under
See also:Napoleon . By the decree of the 1st of
See also:March 18o8, reviving titles of nobility, that of count was assigned ex officio to ministers, senators and life councillors of state, to the
See also:president of the
See also:Corps Legislatif and to archbishops . The title was made heritable in
See also:order of primogeniture, and in the case of archbishops through their nephews . These
See also:Napoleonic countships, increased under subsequent reigns, have produced a plentiful
See also:crop of titles of little social significance, and have tended to lower the status of the counts deriving from the ancien regime . The title of
See also:marquis, which Napoleon did not revive, has risen proportionately in the estimation of the
See also:Faubourg St Germain . As for that of count, it is safe to say that in France its social value is solely dependent on its historical associations . Of all European countries Italy has been most prolific of counts . Every
See also:Italian prince, from the
See also:pope downwards, created them for love or
See also:money; and, in the
See also:absence of any regulating authority, the title was also widely and loosely assumed, while often the feudal title passed with the sale of the
See also:estate to which it was attached . Casanova remarked that in some Italian cities all the nobles were baroni, in others all were conti . An Italian
See also:conte may or may not be a '
See also:gentleman; he has long ceased, qua count, to have any social
See also:prestige, and his rank is not re-cognized by the Italian
See also:government . As in France, however, there are some Italian conti whose titles are respectable, and even illustrious, from their historic associations . The prestige belongs, however, not to the title but to the name .
As for the papal countships, which are still freely bestowed on those of all nations whom the Holy See wishes to
See also:reward, their prestige naturally varies with the religious complexion of the country in which the titles are borne . They are esteemed by the faithful, but have small significance for those outside . In Spain, on the other
See also:hand, the title of conde, the earlier history of which follows much the same development as in France, is still of much social value, mainly owing to the fact that the rule of primogeniture exists, and that, a large
See also:fee being payable to the state on succession to a title, it is necessarily associated with some degree of
See also:wealth . The
See also:Spanish counts of old creation, some of whom are grandees and members of the Upper House, naturally take the highest rank; but the title, still bestowed for eminent public services or other reasons, is of value . The title, like others in Spain, can pass through an heiress to her
See also:husband . In Russia the title of count (graf, fem. grafinya), a foreign importation, has little social prestige attached to it, being given to officials of a certain rank . In the
See also:British empire the only recognized counts are those of Malta, who are given precedence with baronets of the
See also:United Kingdom . See Selden, Titles of Honor (
See also:London, 1672) ; Du Cange, Glossarium Med .
See also:Lat . (ed .
See also:Niort, 1883) s.v . " Comes "; La Grande Encyclopedia, s.v .
" Comte "; A . Luchaire, Manuel des institutions francaises (Paris, 1892) ; P . Guilhiermoz, Essai sur l'origine de la noblesse en France au moyenage (Paris, 1902);
See also:Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte,
See also:Band ii . (
See also:Leipzig, 1892) .
COUNSEL AND COUNSELLOR
COUNT KAROLY ZICHY (1753—1826)
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