Archduke

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Archducal hat, the coronet of an archduke Weltliche Schatzkammer Wien.JPG
Archducal hat, the coronet of an archduke

Archduke (feminine: Archduchess; German: Erzherzog, feminine form: Erzherzogin) was the title borne from 1358 by the Habsburg rulers of the Archduchy of Austria, and later by all senior members of that dynasty. It denotes a rank within the former Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), which was below that of Emperor and King and above that of (debatably) a Grand Duke, Duke and Prince. [1]

Archduchy of Austria fief of the Holy Roman Empire

The Archduchy of Austria was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire and the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy. With its capital at Vienna, the archduchy was centered at the Empire's southeastern periphery.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

An emperor is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother, or a woman who rules in her own right. Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings. In Europe, the title of Emperor has been used since the Middle Ages, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as Emperor.

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The territory ruled by an Archduke or Archduchess was called an Archduchy. All remaining Archduchies ceased to exist in 1918.

Terminology

The English word is first recorded in 1530, derived from Middle, via Old, French archeduc, from Merovingian Latin archidux, from Greek arch(i)-, ἀρχι- meaning "authority" or "primary" (see arch- ) and dux "duke" (literally "leader")

Middle French is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from the 14th to the early 17th centuries. It is a period of transition during which:

Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.

Medieval Latin form of Latin used in the Middle Ages

Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in Roman Catholic Western Europe during the Middle Ages. In this region it served as the primary written language, though local languages were also written to varying degrees. Latin functioned as the main medium of scholarly exchange, as the liturgical language of the Church, and as the working language of science, literature, law, and administration.

"Archduke" (German : Erzherzog; Dutch : Aartshertog) is a title distinct from "Grand Duke" (French : Grand-Duc; Luxembourgish : Groussherzog; German : Großherzog), a later monarchic title borne by the rulers of other European countries (for instance, Luxembourg).

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

History

The first known claim to the title of Archduke was by the rulers of Austrasia (c. 750), one of the Merovingian (Frankish) realms resulting from the complex successions in the house of Clovis, roughly comprising Germany, Switzerland and the Low Countries.

Austrasia

Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks during the 6th to 8th centuries. It was centred on the Meuse, Middle Rhine and the Moselle rivers, and was the original territory of the Franks, including both the so-called Salians and Rhineland Franks, which Clovis I conquered after first taking control of the bordering part of Roman Gaul, now northern France, which is sometimes described in this period as Neustria.

Clovis I first king of the Franks (c. 466–511)

Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

Switzerland federal republic in Western Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.

In the Carolingian Empire, the title Archduke was awarded not as rank of nobility, but as a unique honorary title to the Duke of Lotharingia (who held a substantially larger territory than the post-medieval Duchy of Lorraine). The Lotharingian (Arch)Duchy could be seen as the successor to the former Carolingian Kingdom of Lotharingia, a realm which had been of approximately equal stature with West Francia (modern France) in the dynastic divisions under the early heirs of Charlemagne. Lotharingia was eventually absorbed by East Francia (Greater Germany), becoming part of the Holy Roman Empire rather than a fully independent Kingdom.

Lotharingia former medieval kingdom (855-959)

Lotharingia was a medieval successor kingdom of the Carolingian Empire, comprising the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany), Saarland (Germany), and Lorraine (France). It was named after King Lothair II who received this territory after the kingdom of Middle Francia of his father Lothair I was divided among his sons in 855.

Duchy of Lorraine former state

The Duchy of Lorraine, originally Upper Lorraine, was a duchy now included in the larger present-day region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Its capital was Nancy.

West Francia former country (843-987)

In medieval historiography, West Francia or the Kingdom of the West Franks was the western part of Charlemagne's Empire, ruled by the Germanic Franks that forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious and the east–west division which "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms (...) of what we can begin to call Germany and France."

Bust of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria.jpg
Bust of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria

After the split of the (Arch)Duchy of Lotharingia in 959 into the Duchies of Upper Lotharingia in the south (German : Oberlothringen, which included modern Lorraine) and Lower Lotharingia in the north (German : Niederlothringen, capital city: Cologne on the Rhine river), the title Archduke disappeared officially for almost 400 years. The later extended fragmentation of both territories created two "succeeding" Duchies in the Low Countries, Brabant (mainly in modern-day Belgium) and Geldre (now in the Netherlands, giving its name to the province of Gelderland). Both claimed archducal status but were never officially recognised as such by the Holy Roman Emperor.

Cologne Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centred on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

Low Countries historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or historically also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders.

Duchy of Brabant State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.

Archduke of Austria, the only archducal title to re-emerge, was invented in the Privilegium Maius in the 14th century by Duke Rudolf IV of Austria. Originally, it was meant to emphasize the claimed precedence (thus "Arch-") of the Duchy of Austria, in an effort to put the Habsburgs on an even level with the Prince-Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, as Austria had been passed over when the Golden Bull of 1356 assigned that dignity to the four highest-ranking secular Imperial princes and three Archbishops. Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV refused to recognise the title, as did all the other ruling dynasties of the member countries of the Empire. But Duke Ernest the Iron and his descendants unilaterally assumed the title of Archduke.

The archducal title was only officially recognized in 1453 by Emperor Frederick III, when the Habsburgs had solidified their grip on the throne of the de jure elected Holy Roman Emperor, making it de facto hereditary. [2] Despite that imperial authorization of the title, which showed a Holy Roman Emperor from the Habsburg dynasty deciding over a title claim of the Habsburg dynasty, many ruling dynasties of the countries which formed the Empire refused to recognize the title "Archduke". Ladislaus the Posthumous, Duke of Austria, who died in 1457, did never get in his lifetime the imperial authorization to use it, and accordingly, neither he nor anyone in his branch of the dynasty ever used the title. Emperor Frederick III himself simply used the title "Duke of Austria", never Archduke, until his death in 1493. The title was first granted to Frederick's younger brother, Albert VI of Austria (d. 1463), who used it at least from 1458.

In 1477, Frederick III also granted the title of Archduke to his first cousin, Sigismund of Austria, ruler of Further Austria (German : Vorderösterreich). Frederick's son and heir, the future Emperor Maximilian I, started to use the title, but apparently only after the death of his wife Mary of Burgundy (d. 1482), as Archduke never appears in documents issued jointly by Maximilian and Mary as rulers in the Low Countries (where Maximilian is still titled "Duke of Austria"). The title appears first in documents issued under the joint rule of Maximilian and his son Philip in the Low Countries.

Archduke was initially borne by those dynasts who ruled a Habsburg territory i.e., only by males and their consorts, appanages being commonly distributed to cadets. But these "junior" archdukes did not thereby become sovereign hereditary rulers, since all territories remained vested in the Austrian crown. Occasionally a territory might be combined with a separate gubernatorial mandate ruled by an archducal cadet.

Usage

The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (right) with his family. Ferdinand, along with his wife, was assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, which sparked World War I Franzferdinand.jpg
The heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand (right) with his family. Ferdinand, along with his wife, was assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, which sparked World War I

From the 16th century onward, "Archduke" and its female form, "Archduchess", came to be used by all the members of the House of Habsburg (e.g. Queen Marie Antoinette of France was born Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria). Upon extinction of the male line of the Habsburgs and the marriage of their heiress, the Holy Roman Empress-consort Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Archduchess of Austria, to Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine who was elected Holy Roman Emperor, their descendants formed the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire this usage was retained in the Austrian Empire (1804–1867) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918). [2]

The official use of titles of nobility and of all other hereditary titles, including Archduke, has been illegal in the Republic of Austria for Austrian citizens since the Law on the Abolition of Nobility (Gesetz vom 3. April 1919 über die Aufhebung des Adels, der weltlichen Ritter- und Damenorden und gewisser Titel und Würden). Thus those members of the Habsburg family who are residents of the Republic of Austria are simply known by their first name(s) and their surname Habsburg-Lothringen. However, members of the family who reside in other countries may or may not use the title, in accordance with laws and customs in those nations.

For example, Otto Habsburg-Lothringen (1912–2011), the eldest son of the last Habsburg Emperor, was an Austrian, Hungarian and German citizen. As he lived in Germany, where it is permitted to use hereditary titles as part of the civil surname (including indications of origin, such as von or zu), his official civil name was Otto von Habsburg (literally: Otto of Habsburg), whereas in Austria he was registered as Otto Habsburg. [2]

The King of Spain also bears the nominal title of Archduke of Austria as part of his full list of titles, as the Bourbon dynasty adopted all the titles previously held by the Spanish Habsburgs when they took over the Spanish throne. However, "Archduke" was never considered by the Spanish Bourbons as a substantial dignity of their own dynasty, but rather as a traditional supplementary title of the Spanish Kings since the days of the Habsburg dynasty on the royal throne (1516–1700). Hence, no member of the royal family other than the King bears the (additional) title of "Archduke".

Insignia

The insignia of the Archduke of Lower and Upper Austria was the archducal hat, a coronet which is kept in Klosterneuburg Monastery.

See also

References and notes

  1. Meyers Taschenlexikon Geschichte 1982, vol 1, p22 & vol 2 pp106 & 319
  2. 1 2 3 Genealogisches Hanbduch des Adels, Furstliche Hauser Band XIV. Limburg ad der Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke Verlag. 1991. pp. 91–93. ISBN   3-7980-0700-4.

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