Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Civil List to County Government In The >> Count


title, counts, officers, german, times and en

COUNT (Lat. comes) appears to have been first as a title of under the reign of During the existence of the republic the inferior officers as tribnni, pealecti, seribar, horn spices, accensi pticacnnes, who accompanied the proconsnles and proprm lores into their provincial governments, were known as the comstes or colsoes of their pro On the establishment of the imperial government the name was applied to the court and household of the and Dio ($3) mentions a council of senators selected by Augustus as his comites. On the first distribu tion of his and the foundation of the new capital by Constantine, 10, out of 35 provincial generals received the title of coma{.

After the fall of the Ronian power the title was retained by the and under Charlemagne it denoted equally a military or civil employment. About the end of the 15th in and under the last princes of the Morovingian race in the title appears to have become hereditary in families. The institutions of the ancient German tribes may have contributed much to the establishment of this class of nobles. In early times before the existence of the Latin co+nttes, die Ger mans had officers at least in some tribes, by the people. These were a land of inferior judges. After the Franks became the ruling nation they made a change in their character. The king now appointed them, and they exer cised jurisdiction over certain districts in the kui 's name, with the title of graf en. These ancient officers are perhaps as fairly entitled as the comites to be considered the root of the subsequent counts. The German title graf cor responds to the title in other countries of Europe. These grafen superintended the adnumstrauon of justice, the police and the After the time of the Carlovingian dy nasty different classes of counts or gra en were formed; thus pfalzgrafen, or Co mites Palatu, the judges of court who decided whether a case should be brought before the king; mark grafen, counts of the frontiers; holsgrafen, counts of the forest that is, inspectors, etc.

These royal officers soon usurped power which did not belong to and treated the people so badly that the emperors and kings were obliged to go themselves into the provinces and hold courts, or to send particular officers for this purpose, called sendgrafen. The sheriffs in England were originally the deputies of the English counts or earls, who correspond to the German grofen The wife of an earl has been called from very early times. Their Latin title is still vice-comes. Their English title, derived'from "shire" and "gerefa,s has the same origin with the German (See SHmtrp). In the 12th century the division of counties on the continent of Europe was abolished, and thus the counts lost their jurisdiction, except on their own In point of rank, the English earls are considered as corresponding to the continental counts. In Italy a large num ber of landed counts were created, but they are no longer recognized by the government. In Spain the title is still of value owing to the existence of In the Russian mon archy the title of graf bore little social prestige. In present times, the Japanese use the word to translate a similar rank in their country. (See Couxrr; Consult Sel den, 'Titles of Honor' (London 1672) ; Luchaire, 'Essai sur l'origtne de la noblesse en France au moyen age (Paris 1902) ; Brunner, 'Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte' (Vol. II, Leipzig 1892).