The existence of the aristocracy in the classical sense, that is, not just the elite of the state and society, but the hereditary system of the transfer of elite status, always implies a certain structuring and formalization. Therefore, the existence of aristocracy is impossible without the existence of a titular system. In this material, the European traditional titular system will be considered in the most accessible form, namely, its origin and development.
When considering this phenomenon, I do not pretend to complete the scope of the object of study and admit that some points may not be covered in this material. Therefore, traditionally (for myself) I remind you that comments that begin with the words “The author has forgotten about ...” will be an undoubted decoration and functional addition to the material, if, of course, they are formulated on the merits.
The roots of the medieval and modern European aristocracy lie in those ancient and dark times when ancient Germans, Celts and Slavs ran across the endless dark European forests. For simplicity, the consideration of the material in the future will be called the whole of this set of Germans, because Tacitus (the author of the most complete sources on the population of the forests mentioned) did not distinguish between Germans and Slavs; as for the Celts, their contribution to the formation of medieval foundations was objectively less significant than the contribution of the Slavs and the Germans. It was the German (in the Tacitus sense) tribes that later created what is called feudalism and the Medieval society as a whole; in fact, the descendants of these very Germans now inhabit all of Europe and not only. From the preceding Romans and Greeks, the Germans took only a few titles of titles ("Emperor", for example), but the essence of the ancient system of the aristocracy, and, accordingly, the titular system was almost never taken over by the Germans. The reasons for this, we also mention in this material.
Let's start with the axial in the entire titular system of the title - "King".
At the time of Tacitus, the Germans did not have statehood. Before Tacitus, however, too. However, the Germans had already experienced a very primitive communal system; therefore, the main social unit they had was not even a clan (a union of several families), but a tribe. The tribal organization allowed doing two interesting things: firstly, it allowed collecting considerable forces for military needs (the race could not cope with this task), and secondly, it allowed introducing social stratotymic differentiation. That is, in a clan, for example, all of them are relatives to one degree or another, and therefore they can send the head of a clan in a relative and send three letters without special sanctions; but in the tribe this trick no longer rolls.
Naturally, the first function of the leader was economic - it was necessary to ensure the joint extraction by the tribe of grub and other nishtyakov. Experimentally, the Germanic tribes quickly established that in addition to hunting and gathering, as well as more advanced animal husbandry, crop production, food and nishtyaki are very well mined by forced expropriation from their neighbors. So there was a need for military actions, and, accordingly, in people who will carry out these military actions. Initially, of course, the whole tribe went on a campaign: Tacitus records that "all free citizens of the Germans are armed."
Again, by experimental means, the Germans quickly learned that everyone wanted food and nishtyakov, but at the same time they could die to the death. And then opened the scope for the activities of "strong-willed personalities." At the stage of the existence of military democracy as a sociopolitical system and tribal militia as the only form of military organization, the following happened: the most physically strong and mentally freezed citizen spoke to the tribe with a fiery speech in ancient German / Proto-Slavonic, and strenuously beat himself in the chest, promised to lead the tribe to victory by its own efforts, and specifically by the efforts of its own muscles, military luck, and a stone ax (bronze ax / iron sword - depending on the technology the level of development of the tribe or the fact that the Romans passing by lost a year earlier in this forest). From the rest of the tribe, in fact, it was required to cover this citizen in battle, not giving the enemy a chance to meanly punish him in the back with the same stone ax.
An interesting moment arises here. There is a physically strong citizen, but the tribe also has a leader - and this is not one and the same citizen. He is physically strong - he doesn’t know much about agricultural technologies, and he cannot solve the problem of obtaining food on a permanent basis, because for years the young have not seen all the difficulties of life. Accordingly, the leader of the tribe of him, hmm, in general, we do not need such a leader. But the military leader of him is not bad. Therefore, a physically strong citizen was ELECTED (military democracy in the courtyard!) By a tribe at the TIME OF TRAVEL, after which, taking a part of the booty due to him, he again lost his status.
So, what was the name of such a leader? The Romans called them Rex, conferring on them the same title as, for example, the much more civilized Eastern monarchs. Apparently, the barbarians did not really like to have warlords with a dog nickname instead of a title, so they thought about their own title.
The most plausible and justified at the moment is considered to be the hypothesis, according to which the Slavs first came up with their own title of military leader. The title of this title sounded "Knight", because the leader was ritually handed a battle horse, and the suffix "-bye" in Old Slavic is definitely a suffix to be assigned to a certain profession (as in the word "knight"); that is, "Knight" is "one who is on a horse; rider". In the course of time “Konyaz” (much later than the described events - we will return to this point) was transformed into “Prince” (Knyaz). And the Germanic tribes adopted this title in a way that linguists call "tracing", and specifically added their suffix, similar to the Slavic "-lap". As a result, the title “Konung” appeared, which initially fully corresponded to “Konyazya” - an elected temporary military leader. In particular, it has been documented that the “kings” were called the military leaders of the Viking squads, while the king was initially exercising his powers only until the end of the military event; Civil leaders were called "Yarles."
Somewhat later, the following happened. Again, experimentally, it was established that the young hunter Ragnar fights better than the old gardener Einar, and therefore it is too expensive for a tribe to carry with him all the old gardeners on a hike: in war, the old gardeners usually die (and, as a result, there is no one to feed the tribe in the interwar period), and there is very little use in the battles from these gardeners, young hunters do better. And because if you take only young warriors to war, you will be able to fight better. So the first squads appeared. Literally during the lifetime of one generation (within the framework of a specific tribe that switched to the model of professional warriors instead of universal conscription), one more thing became obvious: if a young citizen is taught only to fight, then he will learn nothing more; but it will be good to fight. And because even in adulthood, he still remains a warrior - his garden painfully turns out to be a curve, his sword is somehow better in his performance than a chopper. That is, the profession has become a "lifelong specialization" - went military trail, all her life you will go. It is better for the slave garden to let the slaves work, of which he will earn money for himself, and distribute to the fellow gardeners.
The same principle very quickly spread to military leaders - the king. For the birth of the new "most physically strong" dude in the tribe had to go through another generation. Therefore, it turned out to be a stupid stupidity every time during the new campaign of the king (if, of course, the king himself did not show outright stupidity in the previous campaign), and the same person began to be elected king, still he is the strongest. And if so, then the title was for life.
Meanwhile, military academies in the Germanic forests in the I century BC. there were exactly as many agricultural academies (and others). This circumstance, coupled with the lack of an intelligible writing system (runic writing took shape a little later and carried primarily sacral ritual burden), greatly contributed to the fact that any knowledge in the tribe was transmitted solely on the principle “from father to son, and by example”. What did the tribe member teach his son? To the one that knew how. A hunter is to hunt, a farmer is nyamku to grow, and a warrior is to fight, respectively. Guess from the first attempt, who was the son of a professional warrior?
In short, this is how the warrior system was formed. The profession of a warrior has become hereditary.
The best illustration of who these leaders and their squads were are ordinary bandits trying to control some area by force.
From whom did the military estate develop in the Germanic tribes? Here is konung - the strongest, most insidious and most frostbitten citizen of the tribe. He lives in the tribe itself, he has a lot of social contacts since childhood. Accordingly, when he becomes king, he begins to pull up his friends - these same friends form what is called the “squad”. If you compare a tribe with a community of social animals (wolves, for example), then the leader is an alpha male, and his friends are, respectively, beta males. These same beta males, as applied to a human tribe, make it so that their alpha turns from just “the strongest dude in the tribe” into a real ruler; at the same time, the old government - the elders, who are well versed in matters of civilian life (in particular, in agricultural technologies) are transformed into another authority, called the “council of elders”, “senate” or something else, and often remain behind them advisory and administrative functions.
Accordingly, in Russian the system of military power at this stage is called “Leader” and “Druzhina”, and in Latin - “Rex” and “Comitas”. Moreover, since in the squad serve hereditarily, then the leader also became hereditary. The “leader” - the leader's heir - was brought up not only by the father himself, but also by his friends (warriors), and therefore this leader, reaching the moment of assuming the position (most often as a result of the death of his father during a campaign or under other cheerful circumstances), was sufficiently loyal squad, and therefore, all suit this system.
And since she arranged for everyone and was hereditary, hereditary titles appeared - the leader remained the “king” at first, which was later transformed into “könig” in German and “king” in English - in Russian it would be “king” ; comitas began to be called "graphs".
In Russian, the word "King" comes from Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus). The word "Carolus" was perceived by native speakers of the Slavic language not as a personal name, but as a title.
In this regard, it is interesting that the Russian title “prince” is equal in importance to the European “king”. That is, theoretically, the prince of Mukhosboski is notable for Louis XIV.
Let's return to the graphs. Initially, a graph is a friend or approximate king; The Latin comit is translated “comrade”. Accordingly, when the status of a druzhinnik became hereditary, the title of a graph also became hereditary. In the Slavs, comitas were again called by the name of the profession: "boyars". “-Yar” is the same profession suffix as “yaz”: you make tables — a joiner, play the harps — a guslar, participate in battles — boyars. And the boyar’s son is, respectively, the boyar’s son. Over time, the “son” disappeared, and the hereditary approximate prince began to be called simply “boyar”. That is, the boyar and the count are the same in the Slavic and Germanic traditions, respectively.
And if the count was given a serious allotment of land (“half the kingdom to the bargain”) - the mark, then he became a margrave, or (which is the same thing) the marquis.
There was a small question: the king approached friends, giving them the title of counts; however, the king was also a relative who, with the introduction of the hereditary system of government, could not be equal to some of the columns. Suppose a king had no sons: who should inherit him if the closest relative is a brother? And if the second cousin nephew from the aunt's side of the mother?
So there was a need for a special titling of royals. If for the heir apparent the title “Prince” appeared, then for other persons the title “Duke” was introduced. The duke is in any case the kinship of the king, that is, if the graph can BECOME (the king can bring anyone closer to him), then the duke can only be BORN.
Accordingly, the dukes are higher in status than graphs; moreover, the duke can raise to a count of dignity. And even more than that - anyone can theoretically be elevated to the count's dignity; it is theoretically possible to become a duke by marrying a person of royal blood (and that is desirable on a princess - just the duchess is not always suitable for this). For example, this is how Rollo Pedestrian became the duke - the first duke of Normandy, who used to be a simple Viking (but a relative of Ragnar Lodbroka). Rollo married the only daughter of the then French king - but became, notice, not the heir to the throne of France, but the duke of Normandy. In fact, this marriage and the construction of Rollo in the counts were simply the legalization of the conquest of Normandy by the Vikings and the attempt of the French crown to save face in one bottle.
It must be said that the dukes, although they stood on the feudal ladder above the counts, were often in a losing position compared to them. In the case of a change of dynasty, the graphs usually retained the title (if they had time to flop over time), but the dukes had nowhere to go over - the king was a relative of them. Therefore, when changing the dynasty, the dukes were caught and hanged with particular zeal. Not only that, and the kings themselves periodically repressed the dukes - for they could be claimants to the throne; Earl could not claim the royal place of the word "absolutely."
Over time, a simple system, including only kings, dukes and counts, began to expand, complementing the so-called "junior titles."
The first of the "junior titles" appeared the title of baron.
At present, it is believed that the European title "Baron" was formed from the Russian "boyar". The difference between the baron and the boyar, however, is in fact a whole degree, because the baron is the retainer of the graph. When the kings began to distribute fiefd allotments to their warriors, to protect them, the counts needed their own warriors, who, in fact, were called barons.
A little later, another title appeared - “Knight” (“ritter”, “Chevalier”). These were already vigilant barons. The very word “chevalier” means simply “horseman”, only this title appeared years ago on 800 later than the Slavic “knight”. Initially, the knights were in the lower military class - "Milita", but later became noblemen, and the name of military specialization turned into a title.
In turn, the approximate knights, although they did not have hereditary titles, in some cases had personal titles. So, the knight squire wore a personal (non-inherited) title "Squire".
Subsequently, titles of heirs appeared. The fact is that the inheritance system of feudal property became rather complicated over time (“the father had three sons: one — the mill, the other — the donkey, the third — the cat”), and therefore special titles were needed, denoting the heirs of the “senior titles”.
The heir to the duke is also a duke, the heir to the count is a viscount, the heir to the baron is a baronet, but the heir to the knight is a squire, for lack of a different name.
In addition to the heirs, there were younger children. These were simply called gentlemen. But this is a completely different time period and, accordingly, another история...