Burgrave

Last updated
The Burgrave of Regensburg presiding over a trial, early 14th-century illustration in the Codex Manesse. Codex Manesse 318r Burggraf von Regensburg.jpg
The Burgrave of Regensburg presiding over a trial, early 14th-century illustration in the Codex Manesse.

Burgrave, also rendered as burggrave [1] [2] (from German : Burggraf, [1] Latin : burgravius, burggravius, burcgravius, burgicomes, also praefectus ), was since the medieval period in Europe (mainly Germany) the official title for the ruler of a castle, especially a royal or episcopal castle, and its territory called a Burgraviate or Burgravate (German Burggrafschaft also Burggrafthum, Latin praefectura). [1] [3] [4]

Contents

The burgrave was a "count" in rank (German Graf , Latin comes ) [2] equipped with judicial powers, [3] [4] under the direct authority of the emperor or king, or of a territorial imperial state—a prince-bishop or territorial lord. The responsibilities were administrative, military and jurisdictional.

A burgrave, who ruled over a substantially large territory, might also have possessed the regality of coinage, and could mint his own regional coins (see silver bracteates).

History

Etymologically, the word burgrave is the English and French form of the German noble title Burggraf (compounded from Burg: castle, fortress or equally fortified town and Graf : count [2] ) from Middle High German burcgrâve. [5] [6] The feminine form is burgravine, in German Burggräfin (from Middle High German burcgrâvin). [3] [5] [7]

From the early High Middle Ages, the German Burggraf (burgrave) was the military governor or commander of a castle, [4] similar to that of the Anglo-Norman French "castellain" and Middle English "castellan" (from Latin : castellanus). [8] [9]

In the mid-12th century, King Conrad III of Germany created a new quality for the title of burgrave during the German eastward colonization. They became protectors and administrators of extensive royal territories near major imperial castles, such as Meissen, Altenburg and Leisnig, and received "judicial lordship" (German: Gerichtsherrschaft [6] ). They also acted as colonizers and created their own dominions.

Under the reign of King Rudolf I of Germany, their dignity was considerably advanced. [2] Before his time, burgraves were ranked only as counts ( Graf ), below the princes ( Fürst ), but during his reign, they began to receive the same esteem as princes. [2]

Holy Roman Empire territories

In the Kingdom of Germany, owing to the distinct conditions of the Holy Roman Empire, the title, borne by feudal nobles having the status of Reichsfürst (princes of the Empire), obtained a quasi-royal significance. [10]

Like other officials of the feudal state, some burgraves became hereditary rulers. There were four hereditary burgraviates ranking as principalities within the Holy Roman Empire, plus the burgraviate of Meissen:

Bohemia

In the Crown of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the title of burgrave was given by the King of Bohemia to the chief officer, or the regal official whose command is equivalent to a viceroy's. [2] From the 14th century, the burgrave of Prague—the highest-ranking of all burgraves, seated at Prague castle, gradually became the state's highest-ranking official, who also acted as the king's deputy; [17] the office became known as the high or supreme burgrave of the Kingdom of Bohemia (Czech: Nejvyšší purkrabí  [ cz ]); the appointment was usually for life. After the reforms of Maria Theresa (reign 1740–1780) and her son Joseph II (reign 1780–1790), the title of highest burgrave gradually lost its de facto power. The title of highest burgrave was still granted, however, and its holder remained the first officer of the kingdom. It was abolished in 1848.

Poland

In the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the burgrave (Polish: burgrabia , earlier also murgrabia) was also of senatorial rank (i.e. held a seat in the upper chamber of the Senate of Poland). Ranking first among them was the "Burgrave of Kraków" (Polish: Burgrabia krakowski ) of the former capital of Poland and Wawel Castle, who was appointed directly by the King of Poland. The royal office was originally created during the reign of Casimir III the Great. At that time, Kraków's burgrave was also chief judge of the supreme court of Magdeburg law (Polish: Sąd wyższy prawa niemieckiego ) erected in Kraków in lieu of Magdeburg. [18] The burgrave of Kraków also collected an income from the royal Wieliczka Salt Mine, run by the Royal Salt Mines company Żupy krakowskie since the 13th century.

Prussia

In the Kingdom of Prussia, the burgrave was one of the four chief officers of a province, delegated by the King of Prussia. [2]

Sweden

In Sweden, the burgrave (Swedish : burggreve, earlier spelling burggrefve) was the highest official in the cities of Gothenburg and Malmö during periods in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The title was first introduced by the king Gustavus Adolphus in the 1621 charter for Gothenburg, though it was not actually used until 1625. The burgrave of Gothenburg was to protect the "highness, reputation and regalia" of the monarch and was appointed by him or her from a group of six candidates proposed by the city board. In Gothenburg, the title ceased to be used in 1683 but was briefly reintroduced by Charles XII between 1716 and 1719. Now appointed among three candidates, the burgrave was the executive of the city, keeping the city keys and supervising the board. Following the Gothenburg model, the title was introduced in Malmö by Charles X Gustav after the city was ceded to Sweden in 1658, but was abolished 19 years later in 1677. [19]

England and France

In Anglo-French parlance, a burgrave was considered analogous to a viscount. [1] [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

House of Hohenzollern Former ruling royal and imperial house of Prussia and German Empire

The House of Hohenzollern is a German royal dynasty whose members were variously princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family came from the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the late 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle. The first ancestors of the Hohenzollerns were mentioned in 1061.

Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen Former principality in Southwestern Germany

Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was a principality in Southwestern Germany. Its rulers belonged to the senior Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern. The Swabian Hohenzollerns were elevated to princes in 1623. The small sovereign state with the capital city of Sigmaringen was annexed to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1850 following the abdication of its sovereign in the wake of the revolutions of 1848, then became part of the newly created Province of Hohenzollern.

Bolesław the Brave, less often known as Bolesław the Great, was Duke of Poland from 992 to 1025, and the first King of Poland in 1025. He was also Duke of Bohemia between 1003 and 1004 as Boleslaus IV.

A viscount or viscountess is a title used in certain European countries for a noble of varying status.

<i>Graf</i> Historical title of the German nobility

Graf is a historical title of the German nobility, usually translated as "count". Considered to be intermediate among noble ranks, the title is often treated as equivalent to the British title of "earl".

Châtelain was originally the French title for the keeper of a castle.

A castellan is the title used in Medieval Europe for an appointed official, a governor of a castle and its surrounding territory referred to as the castellany. The title of governor is retained in the English prison system, as a remnant of the medieval idea of the castellan as head of the local prison. The word stems from the Latin Castellanus, derived from castellum "castle". Sometimes also known as a constable of the castle district, the Constable of the Tower of London is, in fact, a form of castellan, with representative powers in the local or national assembly. A castellan was almost always male, but could occasionally be female, as when, in 1194, Beatrice of Bourbourg inherited her father's castellany of Bourbourg upon the death of her brother, Roger. Similarly, Agnes became the castellan of Harlech Castle upon the death of her husband John de Bonvillars in 1287.

Margravate of Meissen Medieval margravate (965–1423)

The Margravate of Meissen was a medieval principality in the area of the modern German state of Saxony. It originally was a frontier march of the Holy Roman Empire, created out of the vast Marca Geronis in 965. Under the rule of the Wettin dynasty, the margravate finally merged with the former Duchy of Saxe-Wittenberg into the Saxon Electorate by 1423.

Burgraviate of Nuremberg State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Burgraviate of Nuremberg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire from the early 12th to the late 15th centuries. As a burgraviate, it was a county seated in the town of Nuremberg; almost two centuries passed before the burgraviate lost power over the city, which became independent from 1219. Eventually, the burgraviate was partitioned to form Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth.

Czchów Place in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

Czchów is a town in Brzesko County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland, with 2,205 inhabitants (2004). It lies on the Dunajec river, and along National Road Nr. 75. In the years 1928-2000, Czchów was a village.

Burg Sommeregg

Sommeregg is a medieval castle near Seeboden in the Austrian state of Carinthia, Austria. It is situated in the foothills of the Nock Mountains at an altitude of 749 m.

Andreas von Graben

Andreas von Graben zu Sommeregg was a Carinthian knight and nobleman residing at Sommeregg Castle. He served as a burgrave and castellan governor in the Ortenburg estates, held by the Counts of Celje until 1456.

The Dohna Feud was a 14th-century dispute between the burgraves of Dohna, who resided in the Eastern Ore Mountains of Central Europe, on the one hand and Saxon nobleman, John of Körbitz and the Meißen Margrave William I on the other. The feud lasted from 1385 to 1402.

Henry IV, Burgrave of Plauen

Henry IV of Plauen, was Colonel Chancellor of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Burgrave of Meissen, Lord of Plauen, Gera, Greiz, Schleiz and Bad Lobenstein, Lord of Toužim, Hartenštejn Castle, Andělská Hora Castle and Žlutice. He also used the traditional title of Lord of Lázně Kynžvart and, apart from an intermezzo in 1547, he was Lord of Bečov nad Teplou as well.

Henry VI of Plauen was Burgrave of Meissen, Lord of Plauen and Lord of Schleiz and Lobenstein.

Dohna Castle

Dohna Castle on the once important medieval trade route from Saxony to Bohemia was the ancestral castle seat of the Burgraves of Dohna. Of the old, once imposing double castle only a few remnants of the walls remain. The ruins of the old castle are located on the hill of Schlossberg near the subsequent suburb of the town of the same name, Dohna, in the district of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge in Saxony, Germany.

The German Emperors after 1873 had a variety of titles and coats of arms, which in various compositions became the officially used titles and coats of arms. The title and coat of arms were last fixed in 1873, but the titles did not necessarily mean that the area was really dominated, and sometimes even several princes bore the same title.

Burggraf von Rietenburg Middle High German lyric poet

The Burggraf von Rietenburg was a Middle High German lyric poet in the Minnesang tradition. He was probably the younger brother of the Burggraf von Regensburg. All seven of his surviving stanzas are concerned with courtly love.

Burggraf von Regensburg

The Burggraf von Regensburg was a Middle High German lyric poet who wrote Minnelieder. In his four surviving stanzas, love is not yet courtly love. In one, strongly contrary to later courtly convention, the woman serves the man. All his stanzas are preserved in two manuscripts, the 13th-century Kleine Heidelberger Liederhandschrift and the 14th-century Codex Manesse.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Ebers, Johann (1796). The New and Complete Dictionary of the German and English Languages (in German and English). Vol. 1. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Haertel. pp. 502–503.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Ebers, Abraham Rees (1819). The Cyclopædia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. Vol. V. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown etc. Burggrave.
  3. 1 2 3 Encyclopædia Britannica; Definition of burgrave (title).
  4. 1 2 3 Duden; Definition of Burggraf (in German).
  5. 1 2 Hennig, Beate (2014). Kleines Mittelhochdeutsches Wörterbuch [Small Middle High German Dictionary] (in German). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 48. ISBN   9783110328776.
  6. 1 2 Brunner, Otto (1992). Land and Lordship: Structures of Governance in Medieval Austria (in German). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 201. ISBN   9780812281835.
  7. Duden; Definition of Burggräfin (in German).
  8. Ebers, Abraham Rees (1819). The Cyclopædia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature. Vol. 6. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown etc. CASTELLAIN.
  9. Webster's New World College Dictionary. London: John Wiley & Sons. 2003. castellan. ISBN   9780764556029.
  10. 1 2 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Burgrave"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 820.
  11. Motley, John Lothrop (1855). The Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. 2. Harper & Brothers. p. 37.
  12. Young, Andrew (1886). A Short History of the Netherlands (Holland and Belgium). Netherlands: T. F. Unwin. p. 315.
  13. Putnam, Ruth (1895). William the Silent, Prince of Orange: the moderate man of the sixteenth century : the story of his life as told from his own letters, from those of his friends and enemies and from official documents, Volume 1. Putnam. p.  211. viscount of antwerp.
  14. Parker, Geoffrey (2002). The Dutch Revolt. Penguin.
  15. Rowen, Herbert H. (1990). The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge Univ. Press.
  16. Koninklijkhuis (2013). "Frequently asked questions re King William-Alexander". Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD). Archived from the original (web) on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-05-30. The King's full official titles are King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg, Count of Katzenelnbogen, Vianden, Diez, Spiegelberg, Buren, Leerdam and Culemborg, Marquis of Veere and Vlissingen, Baron of Breda, Diest, Beilstein, the town of Grave and the lands of Cuyk, IJsselstein, Cranendonk, Eindhoven and Liesveld, Hereditary Lord and Seigneur of Ameland, Lord of Borculo, Bredevoort, Lichtenvoorde, 't Loo, Geertruidenberg, Klundert, Zevenbergen, Hoge and Lage Zwaluwe, Naaldwijk, Polanen, St Maartensdijk, Soest, Baarn and Ter Eem, Willemstad, Steenbergen, Montfort, St Vith, Bütgenbach and Dasburg, Viscount of Antwerp.
  17. Heymann, Frederick Gotthold (1965). George of Bohemia: King of Heretics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 451–452, 505–506. ISBN   9781400877584.
  18. Toze, M. Eobald (1770). The Present State of Europe: Exhibiting a View of the Natural and Civil History of the Several Countries and Kingdoms ... To which is Prefixed, an Introductory Discourse on the Principles of Polity and Government. Vol. 3. London: J. Nourse, Bookseller to His Majesty. p. 295.
  19. Westrin, Theodor (1905). "Burggrefve". In Meijer, Bernhard; Westrin, Theodor; et al. (eds.). Nordisk familjebok (in Swedish). Vol. 4 (Owl ed.). Stockholm. p. 622. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  20. Ebers, Johann (1794). Vollständiges Wörterbuch der Englischen Sprache für die Deutschen [Complete dictionary of the English language for the Germans] (in English and German). Vol. 2. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Haertel. p. 1033.