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I know it would have varied, but what would a typical hierarchy of feudal noble titles have been during the early middle ages in western Europe and Britain? Was it much different than what existed in the late middle ages and beyond?

closed as off-topic by Pieter Geerkens, Semaphore, CGCampbell, Tyler Durden, Tom Au Nov 14 '15 at 18:52

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    Start with wikipedia – Mark C. Wallace Nov 12 '15 at 23:11
  • The only rank in that article to be created before the 11th century is "Earl". So it isn't clear to me from that article what the hierarchy would have been earlier. Was it just King and Earl? What about continental Europe, was it the same? – varradami Nov 13 '15 at 1:25
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    Remember the mnemonic Do Men Ever Visit Boston - Duke, Marquis, Earl (Count on the continent), Viscount, Baron. Baronet is a hereditary Knight, and both are below Baron and non-noble ranks. ArchDuke (ErzHerzhog in Germanic lands) is a (somewhat) artificial title constructed by the Hapsburgs to, prior to their becoming the hereditary holders of HRE and the Monarchy of Spain, distinguish themselves from other Duke-Electors. Elector is a distinguished Duke in the HRE, with the hereditary right to vote in the election of the HRE. ... – Pieter Geerkens Nov 13 '15 at 1:35
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    ErzHerzog, through being only ever granted to members of the Hapsburg royal family, became a royal rank by default rather than a noble one. – Pieter Geerkens Nov 13 '15 at 1:39
  • Don't forget Grand Duke and Prince... – Felix Goldberg Nov 13 '15 at 15:33
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Remember the mnemonic Do Men Ever Visit Boston - in descending order: Duke, Marquis, Earl (Count on the continent), Viscount, Baron.

Baronet is a hereditary Knight, and both are below Baron and non-noble ranks.

ArchDuke (ErzHerzhog in Germanic lands) is a (somewhat) artificial title constructed by the Hapsburgs to, prior to their becoming the hereditary holders of HRE and the Monarchy of Spain, distinguish themselves from other Duke-Electors. Elector is a distinguished Duke in the Holy Roman Empire, with the hereditary right to vote in the election of the HRE. ErzHerzog, through being only ever granted to members of the Hapsburg royal family, became a de facto royal rank rather than a noble one, essentially equivalent to Prince.

Prince is always a royal rank rather than a noble one, as are of course King and Queen and Emperor along with its variants (Kaiser, Tsar, King of Kings, etc.). I am unsure whether a Queen Consort is considered royal or noble, and this may actually vary by state.

Traditionally the heir of a noble holds a courtesy title one below the concrete title of his parent; this may or may not confer actual privilege of ownership of a fief. Younger children may have the same rank of courtesy title, or one down again depending on tradition. As an heir or other child approaches maturity they may, depending on tradition and the discretion of the hereditary title holder, be granted a real title either distinct from, or identical to, their former courtesy title. In modern times the concept has been extended to include such as former wives, and other related persons to the hereditary holder of the main title.

More details and ranks are available on Wikipedia

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