AskDefine | Define landgrave

Dictionary Definition

landgrave n : a count who had jurisdiction over a large territory in medieval Germany

User Contributed Dictionary



From Landgraf, itself from Land 'land, territory, principality' + Graf 'count'.


  1. Anglicised rendering of Landgraf, a rare, specific nobiliary title ranking as count in certain feudal countships in the Holy Roman Empire, in present Germany.
  2. County nobleman in the British, privately held North American colony Carolina, ranking just below the proprietary (chartered equivalent of a royal vassal).


renderings of Landgraf
county nobleman in the British


Extensive Definition

Landgrave (Dutch landgraaf, German Landgraf; French landgrave; Latin comes magnus, comes patriae, comes provinciae, comes terrae, comes principalis, lantgravius) was a title only used in the Holy Roman Empire and later on by its former territories. The title refers to a count who had feudal duty directly to the Holy Roman Emperor. His jurisdiction stretched over a sometimes quite considerable territory, which was not subservient to an intermediate power like 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 of Leuven as landgrave of Brabant). A landgrave by definition 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 nobility 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 I.
The jurisdiction of a landgrave was a landgraviate and the wife of a landgrave was a landgravine. Examples: Landgrave of Thuringia, Landgrave of Hesse, Princely (Gefürsteter) Landgrave of Leuchtenberg (around a Bavarian castle; later made a duchy).
Landgraviate refers to the rank, office, or territory held by a landgrave.
Landgravine refers to the wife of a Landgrave or one who exercises the office or holds the rank in her own right.


  • 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, T., 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, F.J., De betekenis van paltsgraaf Herman II (1064-1085) voor het graafschap Brabant, in Eigen Schoon en De Brabander, 87 (Brussel 2004) 1-166.

Other meanings of Landgrave

landgrave in Afrikaans: Landgraaf
landgrave in Danish: Landgreve
landgrave in German: Landgraf
landgrave in French: Landgrave
landgrave in Dutch: Landgraaf (titel)
landgrave in Japanese: 方伯
landgrave in Polish: Landgraf
landgrave in Portuguese: Landgrave
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