Admiral

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For other uses, see Admiral (disambiguation).
See also: Admiralty
Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal or
Field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
Brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major or
Commandant
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant or
First lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign Second lieutenant Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Flight cadet
enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
Chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
Sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM".

The rank is generally thought to have originated in Sicily from a conflation of Arabic: أمير البحر‎‎, amīr al-baḥr, "commander of the sea", with Latin admirabilis[1] ("admirable") or admiratus ("admired"), although alternative etymologies derive the word directly from Latin, or from the Turkish military and naval rank miralay.

In the Commonwealth and the U.S., a "full" admiral is equivalent to a "full" general in the army, and is above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet (or fleet admiral). In NATO, admirals have a rank code of OF-9 as a four-star rank.

Etymology[edit]

The word "admiral" in Middle English comes from Anglo-French amiral, "commander", from Medieval Latin admiralis, admirallus. These themselves come from Arabic "amīr", or amīr al- (أمير الـ), "commander of", as in amīr al-baḥr (أمير البحر), "commander of the sea".[2] Crusaders learned the term during their encounters with the Muslim Arabs, perhaps as early as the 11th century.

The Norman Roger II of Sicily (1095–1154), employed a Greek Christian known as George of Antioch, who previously had served as a naval commander for several North African Moslem rulers. Roger styled George in Abbasid fashion as "Amir of Amirs", i.e. "Commander of Commanders", with the title becoming Latinized in the 13th century as "ammiratus ammiratorum".[3]

The Sicilians and later Genoese took the first two parts of the term and used them as one word, amiral, from their Aragon opponents. The French and Spanish gave their sea commanders similar titles while in Portuguese the word changed to almirante. As the word was used by people speaking Latin or Latin-based languages it gained the "d" and endured a series of different endings and spellings leading to the English spelling "admyrall" in the 14th century and to "admiral" by the 16th century.

The word "admiral" has today come to be almost exclusively associated with the highest naval rank in most of the world's navies, equivalent to the army rank of (full) general. However, this wasn't always the case; for example, in some European countries prior to the end of World War II, admiral was the third highest naval rank after general admiral and grand admiral.

The rank of admiral has also been subdivided into various grades, several of which are historically extinct while others remain in use in most present day navies. The Royal Navy used colours (red, white, and blue, in descending order) to indicate seniority of its admirals until 1864; for example, Horatio Nelson's highest rank was vice admiral of the white. The generic term for these naval equivalents of army generals is flag officer. Some navies have also used army-type titles for them, such as the Cromwellian "general at sea".

Further history[edit]

The Sicilians use was followed by the Genoese. The Spanish and Portuguese used the word almirante. As the word was used by people speaking Latin or Latin-based languages it gained the "d" and endured a series of different endings and spellings leading to the English spelling "admyrall" in the 14th century and to "admiral" by the 16th century.

The word "admiral" has today come to be almost exclusively associated with the highest naval rank in most of the world's navies, equivalent to the army rank of (full) general. However, this wasn't always the case; for example, in some European countries prior to the end of World War II, admiral was the third highest naval rank after general admiral and grand admiral.

The rank of admiral has also been subdivided into various grades, several of which are historically extinct while others remain in use in most present day navies. The Royal Navy used colours (red, white, and blue, in descending order) to indicate seniority of its admirals until 1864; for example, Horatio Nelson's highest rank was vice admiral of the white. The generic term for these naval equivalents of army generals is flag officer. Some navies have also used army-type titles for them, such as the Cromwellian "general at sea".

Admiral insignia by country[edit]

The rank insignia for an admiral often involves four stars and/or 3 stripes/rings over a broad stripe/ring, but as one can see below, there are many cases where the insignia do not involve four stars.

National ranks[edit]

Australia[edit]

Main article: Admiral (Australia)

Canada[edit]

Main article: Admiral (Canada)

France[edit]

Main article: Admiral of France

Germany[edit]

Admiral is a German Navy OF-9 four-star flag officer rank, equivalent to the German Army and German Air Force rank of General.

See also

Netherlands[edit]

Main article: Admiral (Netherlands)

Russia[edit]

Main article: Admiral (Russia)

Spain[edit]

Admiral of Castile was a post with a long and important history in Spain.

Main article: Admiral of Castile

Sweden[edit]

Main article: Admiral (Sweden)

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary
  3. ^ Abulafia (2011).
  4. ^ Chief of Joint Staff Japan Self-Defense Forcese and Chief of Staff Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

References[edit]

  • Abulafia, David (2011) The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean. (London: Allen Lane). ISBN 978-0-7139-9934-1