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Ranks of nobility and peerage

Traditional ranks among royalty, peers, and nobles are rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and between geographic regions (for example, one region's prince might be equal to another's grand duke), the following is a fairly comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.

1) Loss of sovereignty or fief does not neccessarily lead to loss of title. The position in the ranking table is however accordingly adjusted. The occurrence of fiefs has changed from time to time, and from country to country: for instance dukes in England rarely had a duchy to rule.
2) The term Peer is used in Britain, but the division could be argued to be of general value.
3) Dukes who are not actually or formerly sovereign, such as all British, French, and Spanish dukes, or who are not sons of sovereigns, as titulary dukes in many other countries, would not be considered to be of princely rank.

In Germany, the actual rank of the holder of a title is, however, dependent on not only the title as such, but on for instance the degree of sovereignty and on the rank of the lord of the title-holder. But also such matters as the age of the princely dynasty play a role (Uradel, Briefadel, altfürstliche, neufürstliche, see: German nobility[?]).

Thus, any sovereign ruler would be higher than any formerly sovereign, i.e. mediatized[?], family of any rank (thus, the Fürst of Waldeck, sovereign until 1918, was higher than the Duke of Arenberg, mediatized). Members of a formerly sovereign house ranked higher than the regular nobility. Among the regular nobility, those whose titles derived from the Holy Roman Empire ranked higher than those whose titles were granted by one of the German princes after 1806, no matter what title was held.

German comital titles

In Holy Roman Empire the title was combined with the word for the jurisdiction or domain the nobleman was responsible for. These titles represented special concessions of authority or rank. Only the more important titles came to remain in use until modern times. Many counts were titled Graf without any additional qualification.

Markgraf Margrave military governor of a border province Examples: Margrave of Brandenburg, Margrave of Meissen
Pfalzgraf Count palatine[?] viceroy at an imperial palace Born by the Count Palatine of the Rhine and junior branches of his family.
Landgraf Landgrave jurisdiction over often large rural regions. Examples: Landgrave of Thuringia, Landgrave of Hesse, Landgrave of Leuchtenberg[?]
Burggraf Burgrave military and civil judicial governor of a city Examples: Burgrave of Nuremberg.
Rheingraf Rhinegrave with holdings along the Rhine, levying tolls for passage along the river  
Altgraf Altgrave with holdings in mountainous regions, particularly along garrisoned passes, claiming tolls for access and passage  
Wiltgraf Wildgrave responsible over wilderness and forests  
Raugraf   jurisdiction over waste ground, and uninhabited districts This title was used exclusively by the children of Elector Palatine Karl I's bigamous second marriage.

See also: Titles of nobility (on some European languages), Royal and noble styles

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