Posted by Marie Bernadette on March 15, 1998 at 13:04:13:
In response to Earls and Counts, written by Constanza on March 03, 1998 at 13:41:03
One thing that I forgot to mention previously was that I believe the title 'Earl' came from 'Jarl', which was Old Norse for a chieftain. The Norse invaded and eventually settled in parts of England and intermarried. 'Jarl' became 'Earl' over time and 'Jarl' probably did not originally have a female counterpart, but later when the english 'Earl' became the counterpart of the European 'comte', 'count', 'conte', &c. it became necessary to add the feminine 'countess'. I have no particular sources for any of this; it's only bits and pieces that I have heard.
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