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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.

References in classic literature ?
He had not considered the government as permanently secure until three hundred deputies at least had the courage to form a compact majority systematically ministerial. An administration founded on that basis had come into power since Rabourdin had finished his elaborate plan.
Fortunately for him she had on the other side Lord Faudel, a most intelligent middle-aged mediocrity, as bald as a ministerial statement in the House of Commons, with whom she was conversing in that intensely earnest manner which is the one unpardonable error, as he remarked once himself, that all really good people fall into, and from which none of them ever quite escape.
To understand how sarcastic were these exhortations, repeated at intervals, we should state that the approaching huntsman was a stout little man whose protuberant stomach was the evidence of a truly ministerial "embonpoint." He was struggling painfully across the furrows of a vast wheat-field recently harvested, the stubble of which considerably impeded him; while to add to his other miseries the sun's rays, striking obliquely on his face, collected an abundance of drops of perspiration.
Danglars had, however, protested against showing himself in a ministerial box, declaring that his political principles, and his parliamentary position as member of the opposition party would not permit him so to commit himself; the baroness had, therefore, despatched a note to Lucien Debray, bidding him call for them, it being wholly impossible for her to go alone with Eugenie to the opera.
With a convulsive motion, he tore away the ministerial band from before his breast.

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