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For the title used in the colonial province of Carolina, see Cassique.
Heraldic crown of a landgrave

Landgrave (Dutch: landgraaf, German: Landgraf; Swedish: lantgreve, French: landgrave; Latin: comes magnus, comes patriae, comes provinciae, comes terrae, comes principalis, lantgravius) was a noble title used in the Holy Roman Empire, and later on in its former territories. The German titles of Landgraf, Markgraf ("margrave"), and Pfalzgraf bei Rhein ("count palatine [of the Rhine]") are in the same class of ranks as Herzog ("duke") and above the rank of a Graf ("count").


The English word landgrave is the equivalent of the German landgraf, a compound of the words land and graf (German: 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)."[1]


Examples include:

Related terms[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ Wiktionary definition 
  2. ^ Wise, L., Hansen, M., Egan, E. (2005), Kings, Rules and Satesmen, revised edition, New York, p. 122 

Further reading[edit]

  • 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, Theodor, '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, Frans J., "De betekenis van paltsgraaf Herman II (1064–1085) voor het graafschap Brabant", Eigen Schoon en De Brabander, 87 (Brussel 2004) 1–166.
  • Van Droogenbroeck, Frans J., Het landgraafschap Brabant (1085-1183) en zijn paltsgrafelijke voorgeschiedenis. De territoriale en institutionele aanloop tot het ontstaan van het hertogdom Brabant (2004)

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of landgrave at Wiktionary