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Marshal (also spelled marshall, esp. in British English)) is a word used in several official titles of various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offices, such as in military ranking and civilian law enforcement.
"Marshal" is an ancient loan word from Old (Norman) French, cf. modern French maréchal, which in turn is borrowed from Old Frankish *marhskalk "stable boy, keeper, servant", still evident in Middle Dutch maerscalc, marscal "id.", modern Dutch maarschalk "military commander" (the meaning influence by the French). It is cognate with Old High German mar(ah)-scalc "id.", modern German Marschall "military commander" (the meaning influenced by the French). It originally meant "stable keeper", from Germanic *marha- "horse" (cf. Engl. mare) and skalk- "servant" (cf. Old Engl. scealc "servant, soldier"). This "stable servant" origin is retained in the current French name for farrier: maréchal-ferrant.
Marshals are typically, but not exclusively, appointed only in wartime. In many countries, especially in Europe, the special symbol of a Marshal is a baton, and so their insignia often incorporate batons.
In some countries, the word 'Marshal' is used instead of 'General' in the higher air force ranks. The four highest Royal Air Force ranks are Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal and Air Vice Marshal (although the first named, which has generally been suspended as a peacetime rank, is the only one which can properly be considered a marshal). The five-star rank of Marshal of the Air Force is used by some Commonwealth and Middle Eastern air forces.
Some historical rulers have used special 'Marshal' titles to reward certain subjects. Though not strictly military ranks, these honorary titles have been exclusively bestowed upon successful military leaders, such as the famous Grand Marshal of Ayacucho Antonio José de Sucre. Most famous are the Marshals of France (Maréchaux de France), not least under Napoleon I. Another such title was that of Reich Marshal (Reichsmarschall), bestowed upon Hermann Göring by Adolf Hitler, although it was never a regular title. In England during the First Barons' War the title "Marshal of the Army of God" was bestowed upon Robert Fitzwalter by election.
Both the Soviet Union and Russia have General of the Army as well as 'Marshal' in their rank system, the latter being largely an honorary rank.
Marshal ranks by country 
The following articles deal with the rank of Marshal as used by specific countries:
- Feldmarschall and Feldmarschalleutnant (Austria-Hungary Empire)
- Marshal of Bolivia
- Marshal (Brazil)
- Marshal of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany)
- Marshal of Finland
- Generalfeldmarschall (German Empire)
- Marshal (Japan)
- Marshal of the Air Force (New Zealand)
- Marshal of Paraguay
- Marshal of Peru
- Marszałek Polski (Poland)
- Mareşal (Romania)
- Marshal of the Russian Federation (Russian Federation)
- The Soviet Union had three marshals ranks. The relationships between them is unresolved.
- Marshal of the Soviet Union
- Chief Marshal of a troop arm was used in five Soviet military branches – the air force, artillery, armoured troops, engineer troops, and signal troops.
- 'Marshal of a Troop Arm' was used in five Soviet military branches – the air force, artillery, armoured troops, engineer troops, and signal troops. 'Marshal of a troop arm' is considered equivalent to the rank 'General of the Army', which was used in the infantry and the marines.
- Mareşal (Turkey)
- Field Marshal, Marshal of the Royal Air Force (United Kingdom)
- Marshal of Venezuela
- Marshal of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia)
- Mariscal and the upper Condestable (Spanish language countries)
Marshal equivalents 
These ranks are considered the equivalent to a Marshal:
- Chom Phon (Thailand)
- General of the Army, Fleet Admiral and General of the Air Force (United States)
- Mushir (Middle East)
- Protostrator (in the Byzantine Empire, likewise deriving from the post of "stable-master")
- Stratarches (modern Greece)
- Vojvoda (Kingdom of Serbia)
- Vrhovnik (Croatia)
- Wonsu (North Korea and South Korea)
- Yuan Shuai (modern China)
- Sima (ancient China)
- Gensui (Japan)
- Nguyên soái (Vietnam)
Military police 
The name is also applied to the leader of military police organizations.
- Provost Marshal - a term used in many countries
- Provost Marshal General - for the head of the military police in the United States
- In feudal times, at many courts one or more of the major dignitaries were styled marshal or a compound such as court marshal (not related to court martial) or grand marshal; their functions varied, also in time, but frequently included formally announcing guests at audiences, balls, dinners, etc. This prestigious office was often made hereditary in the high nobility, e.g., the English Earl Marshal, or the Scots Earl Marischal.
- The term is still used in modern pageantry; for example, the grand marshal of a parade is often an honored guest or dignitary.
- In the United States, many colleges and universities have marshals. In some cases there is a single 'faculty marshal', appointed to the post on a more or less permanent basis. In others, there are one or several faculty marshals, and often one or several student marshals appointed for a single occasion. In all cases the post is one of honor given to a senior faculty member or outstanding student, and the functions are generally limited to leading processions or parts of processions during commencement exercises, academic convocations and similar events. These marshals often carry maces, staffs or wands of office.
Apart from its military uses, the Polish word marszałek (marshal) also refers to certain political offices:
- Marszałek Sejmu and Marszałek Senatu: the respective speakers of the lower house (Sejm) and upper house (Senate) of Poland's parliament, usually nominated by the governing party or coalition;
- marszałek województwa (voivodeship marshal): since 1999, the leader of the executive of a voivodeship (one of Poland's 16 provinces), elected by the regional assembly (sejmik), and co-existing with the government-appointed voivode (governor).
For other historical uses of the word, see marszałek.
Demonstration marshal 
Demonstration marshals, also called stewards, are used by the organizers of large or controversial demonstrations, rallies and protests, to help assure the safety of the participants. They are especially important for preventing infiltration by agents provocateurs.
Racing and other competitions 
- In motor racing, rallying etc. the track marshals wave the Racing flags and assist crashed or broken down vehicles cars and their drivers, while pit marshals watch over the procedures in the pits, and fire marshals operate fire extinguisher if needed. The FIA provides  general rules and recommendations on marshalling. In the 1977 South African Grand Prix, 1977 Japanese Grand Prix, 2000 Italian Grand Prix and 2001 Australian Grand Prix, track marshals were victims of fatal accidents.
- In some organized competitions, such as the endurance sport Tough guy, officials seeing to the observance of the rules are styled marshals. In road running races, in particular, course marshals enforce rules of competition and assist runners as needed.
- Marshal is the highest playing piece in the board game Stratego.
- In golf, Marshal is the highest honor bestowed upon a person for the duty of overseeing the competitors in The Appin Open, as well as The Wardsville Open. This honor currently belongs to James Alexander McAlpine, as passed down from Alec Riddell. His judgement is without question, and all decisions are final.
Law enforcement 
The word Maréchaussée seems to derive from the Old French name Maréchaux given to an ancient court of justice in Paris called the "Tribunal of Constables and Marshals of France". These constables and marshals were to become members of the Gendarmerie which served as a model for the police forces of both Belgium and the Netherlands. The term Maréchaussée was also used for the Continental Army's military police during the American Revolution. In the Netherlands today, the Koninklijke Marechaussee is a national military police service similar to the French Gendarmerie.
It is also said[who?] that the word "Marshal" is derived from the Roman god Mars who was the God of War.
United States 
Particularly in the United States, marshal is used for various kinds of law enforcement officers.
Federal marshals 
The federal court system in the United States is organized into 94 federal judicial districts, each with a court (and one or several judges), a United States Attorney with assistants as prosecutors and government lawyers, and one marshal, appointed by the president, in charge of federal law enforcement. The courts are part of the independent judicial branch of the government, while the marshals and US attorneys are part of the Department of Justice in the executive branch.
In actual practice, the US marshal for the district mainly oversees court security, and has a unit of appointed deputies (other law enforcement operations and the federal prison system are handled by a variety of federal police agencies) and special deputies.
The United States Marshals Service is a professional, civil service unit of federal police, part of the system of marshals explained above but made up of career law enforcement personnel rather than the appointed district marshals. The US Marshals Service assists with court security and prisoner transport, asset forfeiture, serves arrest warrants and seeks fugitives.
The Federal Air Marshal Service is a separate, armed federal law enforcement service employed to protect commercial airliners from the threat of aircraft hijacking. These officers, like the marshals listed above, work for the executive branch of the US government.
The US Supreme Court maintains its own, separate Marshal of the United States Supreme Court, who also controls the US Supreme Court Police, a security police service answerable to the court itself rather than to the president or attorney general. It handles security for the Supreme Court building and for the justices personally, and undertakes whatever other missions the court may require.
State and local marshals 
- In many US States, marshals can be found acting at the state, local or municipal court level; marshals can be court bailiffs and/or serving process or even full police officers. Although some may be sworn peace officers, their job is, in certain cases, entirely civil rather than criminal law enforcement. Some communities maintain a Town Marshal who is responsible for general law enforcement as well as court duties, while others are strictly court officers. This is especially true in communities with both police and marshals.
- In the American Old West (example, Arizona Territory of the 1880s), marshals, usually called the 'Town Marshal', or 'City Marshal' (since the larger cities were often punctilious about their titles), were appointed or elected police officers of small communities, with powers and duties similar to those of a police chief; these powers generally ended at the border of the community. By contrast, federal marshals (US marshals) worked in a larger area, especially in pioneering country, this area possibly overlapping with the state or territorial office of county sheriff (who then, as now, policed communities as well as areas between communities). The word is still used in this sense, especially in the Southwest United States. (See List of Western lawmen). Town or City Marshal is still the name for the head officer of some community police forces.
- In Arizona, cities, towns and villages decide whether to appoint or elect a Marshal, or have the board/council/city manager hire a Chief of Police as the top criminal law enforcement official for their jurisdiction (as in the town of Tombstone). Marshals are elected by the trustees to serve a fixed term, and chiefs of police can be fired at will by whomever hired them, just like any other employee.
- In California, several urban counties (including Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego) once maintained separate county Marshal's Offices which served as court officers similar to US Marshals, but mainly for the Municipal Court system (this system was abolished by state law in 2000, when the sheriffs of those counties announced that those counties' marshals would be absorbed into their departments). Thus, many have been merged into or taken over by the local County Sheriff's Office, with the exceptions of San Benito County, south of the San Francisco Bay Area, Shasta County and Trinity County both located in Northern California. California also has Fire Marshals and Deputy Fire Marshals. These individuals may work for the State of California Fire Marshal's Office, or various county, city or special districts throughout the state. Fire Marshals and Deputy Fire Marshals are full-time sworn peace officers throughout the state, with powers of arrest state wide under section 830.37 of the California Penal Code. Responsibilities include fire and arson investigation, bomb and explosives investigation, general law enforcement as well as enforcement of the Fire Code.
- In Colorado, cities, towns and villages decide whether to appoint or elect a Marshal, or have the board/council/city manager hire a Chief of Police as the top criminal law enforcement for their jurisdiction. Marshals are elected by the trustees to serve a fixed term, and chiefs of police can be fired at will by whomever hired them, just like any other employee.
- In Connecticut, marshals serve as court officers and replaced county sheriffs in Connecticut in the year 2000. There are two classes: State Marshals are charged with service of process, and Judicial Marshals perform court security and transport detainees to and from court.
- In Georgia, the Marshal is a civil law enforcement officer in some counties and may have some patrol duties.
- In Indiana, many towns still utilize the Town Marshal system. By definition, a town is managed by a council without an elected mayor, where a city has a mayor and thus a city police department. There, Marshals are responsible for law enforcement in a town. Usual duties are the enforcement of local and state ordinances and code enforcement. The Town Marshal may also be the town's humane officer. Town Marshals have general law enforcement authority throughout the state; therefore, it is not at all uncommon for town marshals to be seen outside of their town's jurisdiction assisting other police agencies. Some town marshal agencies in Indiana can be quite large, with up to 50 paid officers. Any town marshal can appoint any number of unpaid deputy town marshals/reserve officers who may exercise full police powers in the state. Under Indiana Code IC36-5-7 the marshal is described as "the chief police officer of the town and has the powers of other law enforcement officers in executing the orders of the legislative body and enforcing laws. The marshal or his deputy:
- shall serve all process directed to him by the town court or legislative body;
- shall arrest without process all persons who commit an offense within his view, take them before a court having jurisdiction, and detain them in custody until the cause of the arrest has been investigated;
- shall suppress breaches of the peace;
- may, if necessary, call the power of the town to his aid;
- may execute search warrants and arrest warrants; and
- may pursue and jail persons who commit an offense."
- In Maine the State Marshal Service provides physical security and law enforcement duties to the judicial system as well as protection of all state judges. Deputy Marshals are fully sworn state law enforcement officers with statewide authority.
- In Missouri, there are two types of Marshal:
- State Marshals provides physical security and law enforcement duties to the judicial system as well as protection of all state judges. Deputy Marshals are fully sworn state law enforcement officers with statewide authority.
- City Marshals, at the local level in the State of Missouri, are elected chief law enforcement officers of a city. They have the same police powers as a regular police officer within the city limits. The amount of training to be a city Marshal is far less than a regular municipal police officer; as such a Marshal's jurisdiction is strictly limited to the city limits of the city they are elected from. Even if they witness a violation of the law in their city, they cannot pursue a person who flees beyond the city limits. The position of City Marshal is rare in the State of Missouri and is only found in very small rural cities that do not have the budget to maintain a police department.   
- In New York, there are two levels of marshals:
- City Marshals, are the elected chief law enforcement officers of a city or town. They have the same police powers as a regular police officer within the city limits. The amount of training to be a City Marshal is far less than for a regular municipal police officer; as such a Marshal's jurisdiction is strictly limited to the city limits of the city they are elected from. Even if they witness a violation of the Law in their city, they cannot pursue a person who flees beyond the city limits. The position of City Marshal is rare in the State of New York and is now only found in very small rural cities that do not have the budget to maintain a police department.
- New York City Marshals  are appointed by the Mayor of New York City to five-year terms, but receive no salary from the city. The city's statutes specify that no more than 83 City Marshals shall be appointed by a mayor. Marshals primarily enforce orders from civil court cases, including collecting on judgments, towing, seizing utility meters and carrying out evictions. Marshals collectively perform approximately 25,000 evictions per year. Marshals are regulated by the NYC Department of Investigation but, unlike the City Sheriff, they are not city employees. Marshals collect fees, which are set by statute, from private litigants when they are called on to enforce judgments, and they also retain five percent of any money they collect on judgments. City marshals may, depending on the court order brought to them by the winning litigant, seize money, moveable property (for instance, inventory from a business), vehicles (as is the case with unpaid parking tickets), and return possession of rental premises to the landlord, (also known as eviction), and so on. On an annual basis City Marshals must pay the City of New York $1,500 plus 4.5 percent of the fees he receives for collecting judgments.
- In Ohio, the term village marshal has been used for the same function, often filled without colleagues, directly under the Mayor.
- In Texas, city marshals and deputy city marshals have, by law, the same authority as a municipal (village, town, or city) police officer. However, municipalities (like Fort Worth), that have both a police force as well as a city marshal's office, often utilize the police as the general law enforcement agency of the municipality, while court security and process service is provided by the city marshal's office. In municipalities that do not have a police department, the city marshal's office sometimes serves as the agency that provides general law enforcement services to residents.
- In Washington, the City of Seattle employs Marshals in their Municipal Court, with the senior officer holding the title of Chief Marshal and the subordinate officers being Deputy Marshals. The King County Sheriff's Office (County Seat: Seattle) also employs Court Marshals, which is a unit under the Sheriff's Office. * Answers.com Marshal In the Old-West themed town of Winthrop, WA, the municipal police force is headed by a town Marshal, consistent with the Old West restoration of the buildings and tourist attractions.
United Kingdom 
William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, rose from obscurity for his courage and skill as a knight and served four kings, ultimately becoming one of the most powerful men in Europe, with immense prestige. Before him, the hereditary title of "Marshal" designated the head of household security for the king of England; however by the time he died in 1219, people throughout Europe (not just England) referred to William Marshal simply as "the Marshal". In 1595, Queen Elizabeth I issued letters patent giving powers to a Marshal to maintain order within the City of London. Later, an Under-Marshal and six City Marshalmen were also appointed to assist the Marshal in his duties. As a result of the Police Acts of 1829 and 1839, the Marshals' role changed significantly; however, there is still one City Marshal (As of 2009[update], currently Colonel Billy King-Harman CBE), who acts as peacekeeper to the Lord Mayor of London, leading processions and representing the Lord Mayor at all Entries of Troops (challenging and then escorting those few regiments entitled to march though the City of London).
The office of "Marischal of Scotland" (marascallus Scotie or marscallus Scotie) had been held heritably by the senior member of the Keith family since Hervey de Keith, who held the office of Marischal under Malcolm IV and William I. The descendant of Herveus, Sir Robert de Keith (d. 1332), was confirmed in the office of "Great Marischal of Scotland" by Robert Bruce around 1324.
Robert de Keith's great-grandson, William, was raised to the peerage as Earl Marischal by James II in about 1458. The peerage died out when George Keith, the 10th Earl, forfeited it by joining the Jacobite Rising of 1715.
The Marischal was to serve as custodian of the Royal Regalia of Scotland, and protect the king's person when attending parliament. The former duty was fulfilled by the 7th Earl during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, who hid them at Dunnottar Castle. The role of regulation of heraldry carried out by the English Earl Marshal is carried out in Scotland by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
In France the Maréchaussée was the forerunner of the French Gendarmerie. A military corps having such duties was first created in 1337 and was placed under the command of the Constable of France, and therefore named the connétablie. In 1626 after the abolition of the title of connétable, it was put under the command of the 'Maréchal of France', and renamed the Maréchaussée. Its main mission was protecting the roads from highwaymen.
The maréchaussée was a mounted military police force organised and equipped along military lines. The force wore uniforms similar to those of the dragoons of the regular army and carried the same muskets and sabres. While its existence ensured the relative safety of French rural districts and roads, the maréchaussée was regarded in contemporary England (which had no effective police force of any nature) as a symbol of foreign tyranny.
In 1789, on the eve of the French Revolution, the maréchaussée numbered 3,660 men divided into small detachments called brigades. By law dated 16 February 1791 this force was renamed the gendarmerie nationale. Its personnel and role remained unchanged. The new designation was derived from that of gens d'armes, who were originally heavy cavalry in the king's household, the equivalent of the "Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms".
In the Netherlands the Koninklijke Marechaussee are the gendarmerie force. Created by King William I to replace the French gendarmerie on October 26, 1814 . The word gendarmerie had gained a negative connotation, so William called the new force "marechaussée" (maréchaussée is an alternate French word for gendarmerie). At that time, the marechaussee was part of the army (landmacht). The marechaussee performed police duties for the army, as well as civilian police work as a part of the national police (rijkspolitie). The marechaussee formed the only police force in many small cities like Venlo, especially in the southern provinces of Limburg and North Brabant. As of 1998, the marechaussee is a separate branch of the Dutch military assigned military and civilian police tasks.
The rank of Marshal has made frequent appearances in works of science fiction, both in live action productions and literature.
Star Wars 
In the universe of Star Wars, the rank of Marshal is conjectured to be connected to the TIE fighter forces, being ranks held by senior TIE fighter commanders, equivalent to Imperial Navy Admirals. Several sources of the Star Wars Expanded Universe have conjectured the following Marshal ranks of the starfighter service.
- Grand Marshal
- High Marshal
- Force Marshal
- Chief Marshal
- Vice Marshal
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- The rank of Marshal can be found in the novel Starship Troopers where the rank of Sky Marshal is held by the Commander-in-Chief of the military.
- In the game Unreal II the main character is named Marshal John Dalton.
- Marshal is a military rank frequently found in the universe of Doctor Who where, more often than not, it is held by various villains who seek galactic domination through military force.
- In the computer game StarCraft, the major character Jim Raynor holds the rank of Marshal at the story's outset.
- In the Battletech universe, the British-themed Federated Suns uses the military rank of Marshal for a commander of a Regimental Combat Team or a Polymorphous Defense Zone, and the rank of Field Marshal for top echelon military commanders, typically encompassing the March Lords and the Prince's Champion.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hide and Q" the entity Q took the appearance of a French marshal.
- In Outland, Sean Connery plays Marshal William T. O'Niel who runs a police force for a mining colony on Io, one of Jupiter's moons.
- In the Dresden Files, the only Marshal mentioned is Talos, the Lord Marshal of the Summer Court. He is shown to have much influence and bearing in the Court.
- In Crossfire, Marshal(l) is the highest rank.
- In the 2010 PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game Red Dead Redemption Marshal Johnson helps the main character John Marston in several situations.
- In the computer game World of Warcraft, the rank of Marshal is the 12th PvP honor rank in sequence achieved in the Alliance faction.
See also 
- Earl Marshal
- General of the Army
- Fire marshal
- Magister Equitum
- Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Gramercy Books. 1996. p. 879. ISBN 0-517-15141-3.
-  According to Merriam Webster's, marshall is "considered a spelling error by several commentators" and "In American English, especially, marshal is the better choice.")
- Elmar Seebold, ed. (2002 (24. Auflage)). Kluge, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. Berlin – New York: Walter de Gruyter. p. 1112. ISBN 978-3-11-017473-1.
- Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, Leipzig 1854–1960, Vol. 12 Col. 1673 Online-Version
- Belyaeva et al. (2007) Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, published by OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Alternative version
- Bryan, Dominic The Anthropology of Ritual: Monitoring and Stewarding Demonstrations in Northern Ireland, Anthropology in Action, Volume 13, Numbers 1-2, January 2006, pp.22-31(10)