47

In terms of continuously dateable genealogy, it is probably the Bagratids of Georgia, the current head of which is disputed between three branches. The Georgian branch was founded by Adarnase in the late 700s as branch of the Armenian Bagratuni dynasty, though descendants then fabricated an origin story claiming descent from the biblical David, which is ...


38

Firstly, there is the distinction between inherited versus conferred titles. Inherited titles passed more or less automatically from parent to child, e.g. King, Duke, Baron, Viscount. Conferred titles were granted as rewards for merit -- e.g. knight or as temporary offices -- or powers -- e.g. viceroy (in the stead of the king). Inherited titles were ...


25

Louis Philippe II the Duke of Orléans, who avidly supported the French Revolution - arguably, the quintessential revolution of the modern era. As First Prince of the Blood, he was one of the most senior members of the ruling Bourbon dynasty. In fact his son would assume the French throne in 1830. I think he qualifies both as a royal and member of the high ...


19

You don't usually get promoted. You either are or you aren't. Titles are additive. So if you are the Baron of Butterscotch, and the king decides to make you the Duke of Diddlysquat, you don't stop being the Baron, you become both a Baron and a Duke. Medieval titles of nobility are almost always associated with land. The more land, the bigger the title. In ...


19

It is very common to have titles based on the surname such as Barry Jones, Baron Jones or with a location so as to reduce ambiguity such as Nigel Jones, Baron Jones of Cheltenham There are others with minor spelling differences such as Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington (note the extra r) who renounced his hereditary peerage but was later awarded a life ...


18

Yes, the name of the process to which you are referring is subinfeudation. It's important to remember that most people only had a few meaningful things to trade - land, food, fighters, and protection. Feudalism is giving the people above you food and fighters and giving the people below you land and protection. The King was at the top and granted rights ...


18

This question Did an English Duke ever grant away an Earldom that he held?" generated so much confusion, including references to courtesy titles and European practice, that I decided to contact the experts on British peerage at the House of Lords. I received a reply from the Assistant Registrar of the Peerage and Baronetage, which he has kindly permitted me ...


18

The ranks of the UK peerage are duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron. A baronetcy is an hereditary title awarded by the British Crown, and (with a couple of exceptions) is the only British hereditary honour that is not a peerage. Baronetcies were originally introduced in England during the 14th century. They were used extensively by King James I/VI as ...


17

This may sound unintuitive, but a new kingdom could not be trivially proclaimed. Calling yourself a king has very little meaning if it isn't recognised by anyone else. For maximum acceptance by your peers and subjects, therefore, your new kingdom had to be properly constituted by the lawful authorities. In the case of Latin Europe during the High Middle ...


16

If you're interested enough to read a whole book, Smokeless Tobacco in the Western World: 1550-1950 by Jan Rogozinski looks like the one (the new price is ridiculous but there seem to be several used editions for a reasonable amount). Alternatively, here's an online article that describes the development of cigarettes in America, which I think sheds a fair ...


16

In GENERAL, captured nobles were ransomed. That's because this maximized their value to their captors. One notable exception was the battle of Agincourt, in 1415, during the 100 years' war. At one point, the French lines approached the English prison camp, and King Henry V feared that the prisoners would not only be released, but re-armed, and take the ...


16

There have been several dukes whose titles match their surnames. These include Frederick Schomberg, a German-born general who, at various times, commanded forces for France, Brandenburg and Portugal. In 1673 he was invited to England to plan and lead an invasion of Holland, which was cancelled. He later did the opposite, accompanying William III in the ...


13

Nobles don't get promoted, they gain titles Someone may obtain a title 'Duke of Someplace'. If he wasn't a duke before, that event might be treated like a 'promotion'. Do note that it always involves gaining that Someplace together with it - a duke doesn't get more respect than a baron because he has a fancier title; a duke gets respect because he owns a ...


13

The three ecclesiastic electorates; Trier, Cologne, and Mainz have well documented lists of the Archbishop-Electors who served and at what times. The majority of them in the latter period of the Holy Roman Empire are indeed of noble descent. However, John I of Trier is presumably to have been of commoner descent, as stated in this 1881 publication by ...


13

Probably more common than you would think. Lots of nobles were little more than farmers with a coat of arms. Peasants could acquire a lot of wealth. Were the division between the two classes fell varied enourmously between countries, as well as the relative status. To give an example: In Sweden, the noble class was created in 1280, when anyone who would ...


12

So your fantasy is about about a common man obtaining a title by marrying into a noble family? To my best knowledge the chances of this happening are slim. What is more likely is that the woman (or at least her children) will lose her title. As cases in points in recent history, consider Alfonso Díez Carabantes (the third husband of the Duchess of Alba and ...


12

"The oldest noble family" is a somewhat fictional concept: When a 'House' starts or ends is somewhat arbitrary, and not uniformly handled throughout European history. There were countless exceptions, uncertainties etc. Further complicated by date of ennoblement, as none of them fall from the skies or heavens, and achieved level of nobility, the following are ...


10

I do not dispute the other answers, but I did want to point out that George Robinson, Earl de Grey, was raised to the 1st Marquis Ripon as a result of his success in negotiating the Treaty of Washington, which ended the US/British conflict over the (American) civil war. The British were in a precarious position because of the Alabama claims. Had events ...


10

They couldn't! All titles were bestowed by the sovereign, you couldn't just say "Oh, I've got a spare earldom etc I don't want, I'll give it to a friend." Apart from any other consideration, your eldest son would be deeply peeved, because he would expect to inherit it! Also, titles were not attached to land in quite the way the question suggests. When ...


9

As T.E.D. already mentioned, titles were tied to the territory, and mostly didn't change unless a feudal lord higher up in the "foodchain" granted one of its vassals a higher title (it usually came with further land and possessions as well). Also, once you fulfilled certain requirements to create a title, you could do so (great example, the British Empire, ...


9

The Reign of Terror resulted in an estimated 40,000 executions, primarily landed nobility, courtiers and clergy. Many upper class French emigrated to other countries. A typical example is that of Pierre du Pont, founder of the chemical company E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Being a member of the lesser nobility, the revolution never got around to ...


8

During the preparation of the royal wedding between The Royal Heiress to the Swedish throne and a commoner, people talked about heraldry and the possibility that a new royal house will emerge. But this changed when The Royal Household afirmed that the commener Westling will change and add his surname into The Royal Family name.


8

First, I am assuming that you are giving your fantasy world a "Western European" flavour. Working from this assumption there are still a myriad details that vary from nation to nation within Western Europe, but in general the two houses are allied, but the offspring only marshall the coat of arms; the husband and wife are each only entitled to their own arms....


8

Noble prisoners captured by other nobles would be held by them - in the proper manner- which frequently got so long and expensive the nobleman lost out on the deal. Since ultimately they belonged to the king, who in the 15th Century would be leading the army in the field, the noble would have to pay a fee to the king to keep them - essentially a cut. Or ...


8

In the old days (meaning pre-Tudor times) the land of Britain was divided into parts each assigned to a man bound to the king by oaths of fealty and often blood ties in one way or another. Such men were responsible for supplying the king with soldiers, if need be, and themselves serving as knights. These men were generally known by the name of the land to ...


8

It's hard to prove a negative (outside of math, of course), but let me try to show why this would be extremely rare (and mostly exist in legends). The institution of marriage exists to protect the woman and to seal a family alliance. Neither reason would apply to a marriage of a high-born and a low-born: There is no alliance to seal (there is nothing the ...


8

There seems to be three different claims as to why Ludendorff should be considered noble in the question: Ludendorff being descended from Eric XIV of Sweden. Ludendorff being descended from several nobles listed in the question. Ludendorff belonging to the "Junker" class. The first of these is relatively straightforward. Eric XIV had only two legitimate ...


8

Short Answer: Nobody knows for sure. Long Answer It is very complicated. A royal pedigree in the agnatic (male only) line that is more or less totally proven and accepted by everyone who studied the subject is likely to be shorter by many generations, centuries, and possibly even millennia, than the longest pedigree ever used by that same royal family ...


7

Firstly, I think you may be getting a little confused between life peers and hereditary peers. Life peers are given a peerage or title for their lifetime only. It is not hereditary and it cannot be handed down to their children. When that person dies, the peerage or title dies with them. They are not expected to maintain a country estate or multiple houses,...


7

Appanage Cadet branches arise under the system of Primogeniture when a younger son receives appanage and manages to establish it as a power base to his own line. Note that the "line" here is not an independent royal line, it is a line of (senior) vassals to the main royal line. If the main line dies out, the cadet line will claim the throne, but otherwise ...


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