In medieval Europe, a Hofmeister (literally court-master or house-master in German; Latin: Magister, Praefectus curiae; Danish: hofmester, hovmester, Swedish: hovmästare, Czech: hofmistr, Polish: ochmistrz; French: précepteur; Italian: precettore / istitutore) was a house-tutor, also responsible for the care of his students beyond their education.
The earliest hofmeisters in Germany were economic officials in monasteries who acted as an adlatus or aide to their abbot. It was one of the highest offices in the courts of the German emperors and kings, and also existed in other princely courts and the courts of smaller dynasties. His official role was initially in the direction of the royal household and serving privately on the monarch's person.
In the 15th century it became a government office and in the German princely courts finally became equivalent to a privy counsellor or cabinet minister, and sometimes as something like the Master of the Household in the modern British royal court. Even now, in some areas, an administrator for a greater good is known as a hofmeister when he would otherwise be called a house-tutor.
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