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servants of the king and of important feudal lords in medieval Western Europe.
The ministerials served at court and in the military and carried out household administrative duties. They were selected primarily from among the nonfree population and granted landed possessions for their service (fiefs). In Germany, where the office of ministerial (Ministeriales) had the greatest importance, ministerials acquired personal freedom in the 12th and 13th centuries, and some joined the ranks of knights; some imperial ministerials even became princes.