Origin of the title Earl
Posted by Marie-Bernadette on July 14, 1998 at 13:31:56:
A while ago there was a disscussion about the title of Earl and some speculation as to its origins as well as the question of why an Earl's wife is a Countess and not an "Earless". I found this explanation and have provided a link to the site from which this quote was obtained.
"Earl" is related to Old Norse "jarl", and is equivalent to "count", which itself comes from the Latin
comes. This in turn is related to the English word "county", which pretty much explains what a count
was: the principal figure of the county. In Roman times, the comes was a courtier, an Imperial
official, and actually outranked a dux (duke).
William I of England regarded the Anglo-Saxon "earl" as a synonym for "count", and while this was
not correct, it was a practical equivalency. Old English lacked a feminine and thus the French term
was adopted for an earl's wife as well as for women who hold earldoms in their own right.
- Thank youuuuuu! I was I who had asked; Constanza 09:35:08 7/15/98 (0)
- Only Quibble Ken 08:18:03 7/15/98 (0)
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