Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1999-02 > 0918224515

From: John Carmi Parsons< >
Subject: Re: The Fst and Gf Folks
Date: 5 Feb 1999 06:21:55 -0800

As I noted in a posting to the list a few weeks ago, the title prince as
used by the eldest sons and heirs of French dukes was not a true title,
merely an honorific; analogous to the courtesy titles used by the eldest
sons of British peers, such "princely" titles conferred no status on their
users apart from that they already enjoyed as ducal heirs. The only true
princes in France were the Princes of the Blood, and they certainly took
precedence over duke-peers and dukes. (The debated class of princes in France
were those French families who had somehow acquired the title of prince from
the Holy Roman Emperor; there were endless squabbles over precedence at court
between the duke-peers and these so-called "foreign princes," which usually
ended by exasperating court officials to the point that they threw up their
hands and dropped the quarrel in the lap of the king, who quite sensibly said
precedence should be reckoned according to the families' French titles. I'm
not sure if the foreign princes' precedence was definitively settled before

The Italian nobility is emphatically *sui generis* because of the political
fragmentation of the peninsula from the 10th century until the 19th. There are
wide variations in custom--e.g., some Sicilian titles are not strictly
hereditary and can be bequeathed like chattels. As Italian history is not
my forte, I'm not surprised to see the details in Francisco's post and would
appreciate any references he might be able to provide to comprehensive
histories of the Italian nobility that might fill in the gaps in my knowledge.
(I read Italian quite well, as I lived there for a time in my youth.)

John Parsons

On Fri, 5 Feb 1999, Francisco Antonio Doria wrote:

> > princes always
> >outrank dukes no matter which monarchy is at issue.
> Not in France, or in Italy. The Princes de Lon were the style adopted by the heirs of the Ducs de Rohan-Chabot. In Italy, the same: the Princes of Oneglia (Doria) changed their fief for a marquisate - i cam check which one, if you wish. Those princes ranked like sovereign marquesses. Princes abound in Sicily, and they rank under dukes there, in most cases. Confusion arose when the German Emperors started granting princely titles (Reichsfuerst) to Italian wealthy merchants in the 17th century, like the Centurioni, as those German-made princes surely outrank the Italian kind.
> (As my family moved to oltremarini regions before that, I remain a poor mister ;-))
> Chico Doria
> Francisco Antonio Doria
> Prix Caumont-La Force 1995
> Tels.: 021-547-5541/024-231-4133/021-9943-6968
> Visit
> Visit

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