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Landgrave (Dutch landgraaf, German Landgraf; Swedish lantgreve, French landgrave; Latin comes magnus, comes patriae, comes provinciae, comes terrae, comes principalis, lantgravius) was a title used in the Holy Roman Empire and later on by its former territories. The German titles of Landgraf, Markgraf, and Pfalzgraf bei Rhein are in the same class of ranks as Herzog ("duke") and above the rank of a Graf ("count").
The title referred originally to a count who had imperial immediacy, or feudal duty owed directly to the Holy Roman Emperor. His jurisdiction stretched over a sometimes quite considerable territory, which was not subservient to an intermediate power, such as a Duke, a Bishop or Count Palatine. The title survived from the times of the Holy Roman Empire (first records in Lower Lotharingia from 1086 on: Henry III, Count of Louvain, as landgrave of Brabant). By definition, a landgrave exercised sovereign rights. His decision-making power was comparable to that of a Duke.
Landgrave occasionally continued in use as the subsidiary title of such noblemen as the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, who functioned as the Landgrave of Thuringia in the first decade of the 20th century, but the title fell into disuse after World War II.
The jurisdiction of a landgrave was a landgraviate, and the wife of a landgrave was known as a landgravine.
The term was also used in what are now North and South Carolina in United States during British rule. A "landgrave" was "a county nobleman in the British, privately held North American colony Carolina, ranking just below the proprietary (chartered equivalent of a royal vassal)."
- Landgrave of Thuringia
- Landgraves of Hesse, Hesse-Casel and Hesse-Darmstadt.
- Landgraves of Leuchtenberg, lying around a Bavarian castle (later raised into a duchy)
- Landgraviate – the rank, office, or territory held by a landgrave
- Landgravine (German: Landgräfin) – the wife of a Landgrave or one who exercises the office or holds the rank in her own right.
- Wiktionary definition
- Wise, L., Hansen, M., Egan, E. (2005), Kings, Rules and Satesmen, revised edition, New York, p. 122
- Mayer, Theodor, Über Entstehung und Bedeutung der älteren deutschen Landgrafschaften, in Mitteralterliche Studien – Gesammelte Aufsätze, ed. F. Knapp (Sigmaringen 1958) 187–201. Also published in Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, Germanische Abteilung 58 (1938) 210–288.
- Mayer, T., 'Herzogtum und Landeshoheit', Fürsten und Staat. Studien zur Verfassungsgeschichte des deutschen Mittelalters (Weimar 1950) 276–301.
- Eichenberger, T., Patria: Studien zur Bedeutung des Wortes im Mittelalter (6.-12. Jahrhundert), Nationes – Historische und philologische Untersuchungen zur Entstehung der europäischen Nationen im Mittelalter 9 (Sigmaringen 1991).
- Van Droogenbroeck, F.J., De betekenis van paltsgraaf Herman II (1064–1085) voor het graafschap Brabant, in Eigen Schoon en De Brabander, 87 (Brussel 2004) 1–166.
- The dictionary definition of landgrave at Wiktionary