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Graf / Count

The Germans call a Count, Graf, which properly signifies a judge. A continental Count ranked between a Duke and a Baron, a title equivalent to an English Earl. The Counts, being persons well skilled in the laws, were made governors in several parts of the Empire. Hence is accounted the origin of the several dignities existing by the 19th Century among the German Princes ; viz. of Landgrave, Burgrave, Margrave, and Paltzgrave.


Landgraves were the Counts, who were governors and judges of provinces. Landgraviate is the dominion or territories subject to a Landgrave. By the 19th Century these were found only in Germany. Landgrave is a German word, which comes from land and graf, signifying a judge.


Burgraves were the Counts set over cities; Burgrave comes from two German, words: Burg, castle, fort, or fortified cily, and Graf, commandant, governor, or under any of our English titles, chief of such a place. In feudal times in Germany, a Burgrave was an officer appointed to the command of some fortress situated, some strong place or point otherwise important. Occasionally, the jurisdiction of the burgrave extended to the country immediately surrounding the stronghold proper. The burgraves were commonly subject to some ecclesiastical prince who had attained in the state the position of a graf, but allowed the administration of those rights to be in the bands of the burgraves, who obtained the right of private justice and of imposing taxes. The Burgraves began under the Othos, and those of them who were placed in large cities or districts, became hereditary. There were also royal burgraves. The most famous of the ecclesiastical burgraves were those of Mainz, Meissen, and Magdeburg; of the royal, the most noted was that of Nrnberg, held by the Hohenzollern family. In particular, the Burgraves of Magdeburg and Nuremburg sat in the College of Princes.


Margraves were those who presided and administered justice in the marches or frontiers. Margraviate, as the Germans call a Marquisate, was the territory or dominion of a Marquis, or Margrave. In the 19th Century these sovereignties were found only in Germany and Italy ; the Marquises of Great Britain and France being merely titular, with particular privileges. The title of Margrave is derived from the Teutonic words mark and graf, which signifies, literally, a keeper of the marches or borders. The Marquisates of Germany are very ancient, and originally were all situated on the frontiers of Germany ; but since they became hereditary, the name of Marquisate has been given to lands, at a great distance from the limits, and even in the middle of countries. The title of Marquis ranks between the dignity of a Duke and that of an Earl or Count. This title was first introduced into England by Richard III, who created Robert Vere, Earl of Oxford, Marquis of Dublin, but it was a title of honor only.

Pfalzgraf [Paltzgraves] / Count Palatine

Pfalzgraf [Paltzgraves], the chief justices of the emperor's palace. Palatinate, or County Palatine, is the territory or dominion possessed by a Palatine. Palatine, in the ancient customs, was a title given to all persons who had an office or employment in the Prince's palace ; and Count Palatine, a title of honor with which their services were rewarded; which title was afterwards conferred on those delegated by the Prince to hold a Court of Justice in some distant province; hence the title of County Palatine in England. A Palatinate is an area administered by a palatine count, originally the direct representative of the sovereign but later the hereditary ruler of the territory subject to the crown's overlordship. Examples include the Palatine Counties of Durham (ruled by a bishop) and Chester in England.

Rome's seven hills stood on the banks of the Tiber, far enough from the coast-line to be safe from the attacks of pirates, and near enough for easy communication seawards. These famous hills were the Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Calian, Aventine, Capitoline and Palatine. Of these only the Aventine, Capitoline and Palatine were near the river. The Aventine, while precipitous towards the Tiber, was open to attack in the other directions, and the Capitoline was too small for settlement. The Palatine satisfied all requirements. It was steep on all sides, and yet afforded convenient access for the herds of the primitive settlers, by the slope upon which now stands the Arch of Titus. The walled town, square in shape, and hence called Roma Quadrata, was entered in the middle of this northeastern face by the Porta Mugonia. And the Palatine had the further advantage of a central position among the hills, surrounded by the six others without being cut off from its close touch with the river. The Palatine Hill was not only the leafy cradle of Rome, but for long the very City herself. Here Romulus, calling about him all his comrades, according to the Etruscan rites yoked the oxen together to the plough and drove them round the Hill, tracing the line of the walls with the ploughshare. The policy of Augustus, finding Rome of brick, as he said, left it a city of marble. Among the many monuments that he had thus given the Romans in exchange for their liberty, not the least splendid was the temple he built, on the Eastern height of the Palatine towards the Arch of Constantine, to Apollo.

Counties palatine are so called a palatio (from a royal court); because the owners thereof in England, the Earl of Chester, the Bishop of Durham, and the Duke of Lancaster], had in those counties jura regalia (regal rights), as fully as the king had in his palace; regalem potestatem in omnibus (regal power in all things), as Bracton expresses it. They might pardon treasons, murders, and felonies; they appointed all judges and justices of the peace; all writs and indictments ran in their names, as in other counties in the king's; and all offenses were said to be done against their peace, and not, as in other places, contra pacem domini regis (against the peace of our lord the king). And indeed by the aucient law, in all peculiar jurisdictions, offenses were said to be done against his peace in whose court they were tried; in a court-leet, contra pacem domini (against the peace of the king) ; in the court of a corporation, contra pacem ballivorum (against the peace of the bailiffs) ; in the sheriff's court or tourn, contra pacem vice- comitis (against the peace of the sheriff).

The Palatinate or German Pfalz, was, in German history, the land of the Count Palatine, a title held by a leading secular prince of the Holy Roman Empire. In early medieval Germany, counts palatine served as stewards of royal territories in the absence of the Holy Roman emperors. It derives its name from the title of a royal official in the old German Empire, the palsgrave (Pfalzgraf) or count palatine. In the Carlovingian period the count palatine was merely the representative of the king in the high court of justice. Otto the Great in 937 appointed a count palatine for Bavaria - and subsequently for other duchies also - who also had supervision of the crown lands situated in the duchy, as well as of the imperial revenues payable there, and had to see that the duke did not extend his powers at the king's expense.

The palsgrave of Lorraine, who had his seat at Aachen, was later esteemed the foremost in rank. In 1155, after the death of the palsgrave Hermann of Stableck, Frederick Barbarossa transferred the countship to his half- brother Conrad (1155-95), who united the lands belonging to the office with his own possessions on the central Rhine, the inheritance of the Salic kings. He made his residence at Heidelberg, where he built a strong castle. Thus the palatinate of Lorraine advanced up the Rhine and became the palatinate "of the Rhine". Neither the lands of the palatinate, nor those which Conrad had inherited, formed a compact whole; but by further acquisitions which Conrad made, the foundation was laid for the principality to which the name Palatinate has clung. In the 12th century the lands of the counts palatine of Lotharingia (Lorraine) were formed into the separate territory of the (Rhenish) Palatinate.Geographically, the Palatinate was divided between two small territorial clusters: the Rhenish, or Lower Palatinate, and the Upper Palatinate. The Palatinates subsisting in the 19th Century, and which give title to a Palatine, were either those of Germany or Poland.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:19 ZULU