titles of nobility and honor Titles of nobility and honor are the terms used to categorize

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titles of nobility and honor Titles of nobility and honor are the terms used to categorize those persons holding high rank in a nation socially organized along aristocratic lines. Modern European titles originated in feudal times, largely during the early Holy Roman Empire. Titles were formerly widespread, but today only a few nations recognize a formal peerage, Great Britain being the preeminent example. A provision of Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the granting of titles of nobility by the United States. Ruling Titles In the traditional aristocratic society the monarch represents the apex of the hierarchy. The commonest titles of rulers are emperor (empress) and king (queen). Rulers of smaller nations often hold lesser titles: prince (princess), grand duke, or duke. Nonruling members of royal families also generally hold Press , or croll for more?s titles of nobility: prince or princess, duke or duchess, and sometimes lesser titles. In Britain, for example, the children of the sovereign are princes and princesses; the sons are often also created royal dukes. Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is also a royal duke: the duke of Edinburgh. Duke The duke (from the Latin dux, "leader") is the highest title in the peerage. The first nonruling duke was created in England by Edward III, who made his oldest son, Edward, the Black Prince, duke of Cornwall in 1337. The title, however, had a checkered career. It vanished altogether during the reign of Elizabeth I (who had her cousin, the duke of Norfolk, beheaded for treason). Elizabeth's successor, James I, reinstated the title. Great victors in battle have been raised to dukedoms (for example, Marlborough and Wellington), but mostly the title went hand in hand with the great landholding magnates. Many of these were concentrated in mid-England, which became known as the Dukeries. No new nonroyal dukedoms have been created in the 20th century; the last created duke without royal connections was the duke of Westminster in 1874. Marquess This title dates from the Norman period. Originally the title applied to lords guarding the border areas, or marches. In Germany the comparable title was Markgraf (margrave), granted to counts who stood on border guard for the ruler; margraves could be further distinguished by the type of territory over which they ruled (Landgraf or Pfalzgraf). Earl The title of earl--third in precedence and the oldest title and rank of English nobles--is of Saxon-Danish origin (meaning "chieftain"). The earl was originally one who administered a shire or province. The equivalent Continental title is count (from the Latin comes, "companion"). In more recent times earldoms in Britain were conferred on retiring prime ministers but this practice has fallen into disuse, the last being Sir Anthony Eden, who became the earl of Avon in 1961. Viscount This title, which means vice-count, deputy, or lieutenant of a count, is an office that was well established in the Holy Roman Empire of Frederick I Barbarossa. Leading British soldiers of World War II (for example, Field Marshal Montgomery) were raised to the title of viscount. Baron Finally, the lowest on the ladder of peerage are the barons. They too came to England with the Norman invasion, and on the Continent barons remain the most numerous relics of a bygone age. The name meant an individual holding land directly from the sovereign. Baronets and Knights Members of these ranks are not members of the peerage; that is, they do not sit in the House of Lords. Baronets and KNIGHTS are both titled "Sir," but baronetcies are hereditary, and knighthoods are not. The term baronet was first applied to nobles who had lost the right of individual summons to Parliament in the 14th century. The hereditary order of baronets was introduced by King James I in 1611, and the title was sold to gentlemen prepared to establish plantations in Ireland. Nova Scotia was accorded a similar status for newly created baronets in 1624. The baronet is styled "Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart." British knighthood has two forms: (1) the oldest and simplest is the Knight (derived from the saxon cnyt, signifying "attendant") Bachelor, and (2) the knight enrolled in one of the 8 orders of chivalry: the Order of the Garter--the oldest existing honor--for England, the Order of the Thistle for Scotland, the Order of the Bath, the Order of Saint Patrick, the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, the Order of the Star of India, the Royal Victorian Order, and the Order of the British Empire. French and German equivalents of the British knight are chevaliers and ritters. Both terms mean "horseman," which indicates that the title was connected with mounted warriors and reflects the fact that from the days of the Roman Empire, mounted warriors enjoyed high social status. Titles and Honors in the Modern Age Active nobility has practically died out on the European continent with the extinction of the principal dynasties--Russian, French, Austrian, German, and Italian. Even in Britain, a considerable adaptation has been made. The creation of peers had always been a political act. This fact was apparent, for example, in 1832 when Lord Grey, the prime minister, forced the House of Lords to pass the Reform Bill by threatening to have King William IV create enough new Whig peers to pack the House of Lords with his supporters. In 1911, Herbert Asquith's Liberal government used the same threat to force the House of Lords to accept the Parliament Bill that effectively ended its political powers. The Life Peerages Act of 1958 allows nonhereditary barons and baronesses to be created. Although still legal, no new hereditary peers have been created since 1964. The Peerage Act of 1963 was passed to permit individuals to disclaim peerages and remain commoners--thus, for example, qualifying them to remain members of the House of Commons where real political power lies. The value of the modern honors system to Britain is that political or other services may be acknowledged by titles rather than by gold. Some observers see the system as a symbolic and inexpensive way of rewarding those who have performed some noteworthy service. Almost all other nations have orders of honor, although the United States is extremely sparing and has just one, the Legion of Merit, which is for foreigners. In contrast Panama, for example, has 2 and the USSR, 17. JAMES MCMILLAN Bibliography: Burke's Peerage and Baronetage (quadrennial); Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage and Companionage, 104th ed. (1980); McMillan, James, The Honours Game (1969); Perrott, Roy, The Aristocrats (1968); Pine, L. G., The Story of Titles (1969). EUROPEAN TITLES OF NOBILITY ---------------------------------------------- British ---------------------------------------------- Masculine Feminine ---------------------------------------------- duke duchess marquess marchioness earl countess viscount viscountess baron baroness ---------------------------------------------- French ---------------------------------------------- Masculine Feminine ---------------------------------------------- duc duchesse prince princesse marquis marquise comte comtesse vicomte vicomtesse baron baronne ---------------------------------------------- German ---------------------------------------------- Masculine Feminine ---------------------------------------------- Herzog Herzogin Furst Furstin Prinz+ Prinzessin Markgraf Markgrafin Pfalzgraf Pfalzgrafin Landgraf Landgrafin Graf Grafin Baron Baronin Freiherr Freiherrin Freier Freierin ---------------------------------------------- Italian ---------------------------------------------- Masculine Feminine ---------------------------------------------- duca duchesa principe principessa marchese marchesa conte contessa visconte viscontessa barone baronessa ---------------------------------------------- Spanish ---------------------------------------------- Masculine Feminine ---------------------------------------------- duque duquesa principe principesa marques marquesa conde condesa visconde viscondesa baron baronesa ----------------------------------------------- + Courtesy title for son/daughter of kings or dukes.

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