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I am here to referring to comes in its governmental context, not as a word meaning companion.

I have seen the word comes used both as a rank and as a job. For example, Wikipedia mentions that "Constantine created a third order of nobility, the comites..." This makes it seem that comes was a rank, like Colonel or Baron.

On the other hand positions like comes rerum privatum (Count of the Private Estates) make it seem that comes was a job, like Secretary of a Department in the US.

So, is comes a (type of) job, or a noble rank?

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  • Are you conflating two distinct senses of "rank"? Ranks in different hierarchies are not generally comparable, so military ranks (strictly speaking, offices) such as Colonel are not comparable to noble ranks such as comes or comites. Further, ranks and titles and offices migrate over time between the two, such as the evolution of the office "Major General" from 1805 to 1815, a unique office held by Berthier, to the modern two-star rank Major General. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 12 at 23:06
  • I thought that Colonel and Baron are very similar in that they are positions in a hierarchy. Colonel is (Usually) not for life and is never hereditary, but the are both part of a hierarchy of ranks and a person holding that rank can also have a number jobs. Colonel is below General and above Major while Baron is above Knight and below Duke. A Colonel might be a staff officer, or commander of a brigade; similarly, a Baron might have many possible positions. – Master Jun 12 at 23:09
  • I repeat: Ranks in distinct hierarchies are not comparable. Further, until about 150 years ago the rank of Colonel was often, effectively, hereditary (in the British Empire) since it was held by the owner of the right to raise and equip the regiment; and to be reimbursed the expenses of doing so by the crown. The German equivalent Inhaber operated similarly in Austria and many (most?) of the HRE states. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 12 at 23:14
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    I don't know that period well enough to answer the question. I'm just trying to provide guidance so that your question, and its answers, are not misunderstood. Here and here may help understand some of the (more modern) history. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 12 at 23:17
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    Thank you for trying to help. I think, for now, I will leave the analogy in the question. – Master Jun 12 at 23:18

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