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DUKE (corresponding to Fr. duc, Ital....

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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 650 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DUKE (corresponding to Fr. duc, Ital. duca, Ger. Herzog), the title of one of the highest orders of the European nobility, and of some minor sovereign princes. The word " duke," which is derived from the Lat. dux, a leader, or general, through the Fr. duc (O. Fr. dust, ducs, dus), originally signified a leader, and more especially a military chief, and in this latter sense was the equivalent of the A.S. heretoga (here, an army, and teon, from togen, to draw; Ger. ziehen, zog; Goth. tiuhan; Lat. ducere) and the old Ger. herizog. In this general sense the word survived in English literature until the 17th century, but is now obsolete. The origin of modern dukes is twofold. The dux first appears in the Roman empire under the emperor Hadrian, and by the time of the Gordians has already a recognized place in the official hierarchy. He was the general appointed to the command of a particular expedition and his functions were purely military. In the 4th century, after the separation of the civil and military administrations, there was a duke in command of the troops quartered in each of the frontier provinces of the empire, e.g. the dux Britanniarum. The number of dukes continually in-creased, and in the 6th and 7th centuries there were duces at Rome, Naples, Rimini, Venice and Perugia. Gradually, too, they be-came charged with civil as well as military functions, and even exercised considerable authority in ecclesiastical administration. Under the Byzantine, emperors they were the representatives in all causes of the central power. The Roman title of duke was less dignified than that of count (comes, companion) which implied an honourable personal relation to the emperor (see COUNT). Both titles were borrowed by the Merovingian kings for the administrative machinery of the Frank empire, and under them the functions of the duke remained substantially unaltered. He was a great civil and military official, charged to watch, in the interests of the crown, over groups of several comitatus, or count-ships, especially in the border provinces. The sphere of the dukes was never rigidly fixed, and their commission was sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary. Under the Carolingians the functions of the dukes remained substantially the same; but with the decay of the royal power in the loth century, both dukes and counts gained in local authority; the number of dukes became for the time fixed, and finally title and office were made hereditary, the relation to the crown being reduced to that of more or less shadowy vassalage. (See
End of Article: DUKE (corresponding to Fr. duc, Ital. duca, Ger. Herzog)
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