Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
(French, from Late Latin comes stabule, chief of the stable), one of the highest officials of the French monarchy.
In the Frankish state the connétable was originally a court servant. Under the Capetians the role of the connétable grew, and he became one of the five highest officials of the realm. Following the example of the kings, the large feudal lords also had their own connétables. After the post of seneschal was virtually eliminated in 1191, his functions were gradually transferred to the connétable. The connétable was the military counselor of the king and, in the king’s absence, chief of the royal knights. At the end of the 14th century the connétable became the only commander in chief of the army and as such was also the head of the tribunal (connétablie) that tried military men. The growing authority of the connétable began to pose a threat to royal authority. The post was unfilled from 1567 to 1593 and was abolished in 1627 by Richelieu. The title “grand connétable” was established by Napoleon I in 1804 for his brother Louis; in 1807, Napoleon conferred the title “vice connétable” on Marshal Berthier. During the restoration these titles were abolished.