Duke

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Duke

 

among ancient Germanic peoples, a duke (Herzog) was the elected military leader of a tribe (Latin dux). In Western Europe during the early medieval period, duke meant a tribal prince; during the period of feudal fragmentation, the title signified a major landholder (in the hierarchy of military vassalage, the duke occupied the second most important place after the king). After feudal fragmentation was overcome, duke was one of the highest titles of nobility.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.