Audio|De-Fürst.ogg|"Fürst" (plural "Fürsten") is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.

The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, which is referred to as "Prinz". English uses the term "Prince" for both concepts.

Use of the title in German

The title "Fürst" (female form "Fürstin", plural mask. "Fürsten", plural fem. "Fürstinnen") is used for the heads of princely houses of German origin. Unless he also holds a higher title, such as duke or king, he will be known either by the formula "Fürst von" + [geographic origin of the dynasty] ", or by the formula "Fürst zu" + [name of the ruled territory] ". A notable exception is the Liechtenstein family, which uses the title "...von und zu Liechtenstein".

The rank of the title-holder is not determined by the title itself, but by his degree of sovereignty, the rank of his lord, or the age of the princely dynasty (note the terms "Uradel, Briefadel, altfürstliche, neufürstliche; and see German nobility)."

The present-day rulers of the principality of Liechtenstein bear the title of "Fürst", and the title is also used in German when referring to the ruling princes of Monaco. The hereditary rulers of the one-time principalities of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania were also all referred to in German as "Fürsten" before they eventually assumed the title of "King" (translated in German as "König").

Other uses in German

"Fürst" is used more generally in German to refer to any ruler, such as a King, a Duke, or a "Fürst" in the narrow sense. Before the 12th century, counts were also included in this group, in accordance with its usage in the Germany, and in some contexts, the term "Fürst" can extend to any lord.

The child of a "Fürst" in the general sense is referred to as "Prinz" (female "Prinzessin"). In some families some or all members are styled "Fürst"/"Fürstin" (Wrede) or "Herzog"/"Herzogin" (Anhalt, Bavaria, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Saxony, and Württemberg) [http://pages.prodigy.net/ptheroff/gotha/gotha.htm] .

"Fürst" is also a German, Hungarian and/or Jewish (Ashkenazi) surname.

Etymology of the term

The German word derives from the Latin word princeps, which linguistically translates into English as the first, hence the old Germanic roots of the word.

Derived titles

Several titles were derived from the term "Fürst":
*"Reichsfürst" ("Prince of the Empire") is a ruling Prince whose territory is part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was entitled to a vote, either by having a voting seat or being part of a voting unit, in the "Reichstag". A ""Reichsfürst" could be, in order of descending rank, the King, a Grand Duke, a Duke, a Margrave, a Count, a Landgrave, a Count of the Empire, a nominal Prince ("Fürst"), a Burgrave, a "Freiherr", a nominal 'Lord' (German: "Herr"), an Imperial Knight, or a Prince of the Church.

*"Kirchenfürst" ("Prince of the Church") is an ecclesiastic who holds a secular territory and princely rank, such as Prince-abbots, Grand Masters of a military order, or Prince-Bishops.

*"Landesfürst" ("Prince of the Land") is a princely Head of state of a "Land", i.e. not just a titular prince. A "Land" is a country (political geographical entity) with (feudal) statehood, whether sovereign or not; in a personal unionClarifyme|date=March 2008, the Monarch has this capacity in each of the states, under a different titleClarifyme|date=March 2008, and indeed often in chief of a different constitutional traditionClarifyme|date=March 2008, whether coordinated over time or notClarifyme|date=March 2008; thus the Habsburg Emperor of Austria had a different style as such in each Kronland ('crown land', i.e. feudal state, normally under one provincial government), the sum of which is then to be part of the full imperial styleClarifyme|date=March 2008

*"Kurfürst" ("Prince-Elector") is a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire with a casting vote in the election of a Holy Roman Emperor. This made them next in rank only to the Emperor, regardless of the titles attached to their own principalities. "Kur", earlier spelled "Chur", is derived from "kur"/"küren", "to choose".

*"Großfürst" ("Grand Prince") is the sovereign of a grand principality with a rank higher than other sovereign princes.

*"Fürstprimas" ("Prince-Primate") is rarely used title for an archbishop presiding in an assembly of mainly secular princes.

Origins and cognates of the title

The word "Fürst" designates the head (the "first") of a ruling house, or the head of a branch of such a house. The "first" originates from ancient Germanic times, when the "first" was the leader in battle.

Various cognates of the word "Fürst" exist in other European languages (see extensive list under Prince), sometimes only used for a princely ruler. A derivative of the Latin "Princeps" (ironically, a Republican title in Roman law, which never formally recognized a monarchic style for the executive head of state but nominally maintained the Consuls as collegial Chief magistrates) is used for a genealogical prince in some languages (e.g., Dutch, where a ruler is usually called "Vorst", but a prince of the blood is always styled "Prins"; and Icelandic where "Fursti" is a ruler, and a blood prince is "Prins"), while in other languages only a "Princeps"-derived word is used for both irrespectively (e.g., English uses "prince" for both). In any case the original (German or other) term may also be used.

ources and references

* [http://www.deutsche-kaiserreich.de/ German Empire] (in German- use the English and French translated versions only with due caution)
* [http://www.donaumonarchie.com/ Danubian Monarchy Austria-Hungary] (in German- use the English and French translated versions only with due caution)
*Westermann, "Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte" (in German)
* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/Germany.html#Holy%20Roman%20Empire WorldStatesmen - here Germany (with specifics on the HREmpire); see also other present countries]
* [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=F%FBrst&searchmode=none Etymology Online]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fürst — [fʏrst], der; en, en: a) seit dem Mittelalter nach dem Kaiser oder König rangierender, an der Herrschaft über das Reich beteiligter Angehöriger des hohen Adels: Heinrich Fürst [von] Sorden. Syn.: ↑ Herrscher, ↑ Regent. b) Angehöriger des hohen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Furst — ist der Name folgender Personen: Anton Furst (1944–1991), US amerikanischer Filmdesigner Griff Furst (* 1981), US amerikanischer Schauspieler und Filmregisseur Stephen Furst (* 1955), Schauspieler Diese Seite ist eine …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fürst — Sm std. (8. Jh.), mhd. vürste, ahd. furisto, as. furisto Stammwort. Substantivierung zu dem Superlativ g. * furista der erste in anord. fyrstr, ae. fyr(e)st, afr. ferist, ferst, ferost, ahd. furist, as. furist. Die Bedeutungsspezialisierung wie… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Fürst — [Basiswortschatz (Rating 1 1500)] Auch: • Prinz Bsp.: • Wird Prinz Charles König werden? • Albert ist Fürst von Monaco …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Fürst — «foorst», noun, plural Für|sten «fooR stuhn». German. a nobleman ranking below a Herzog and above a Graf. The word is commonly represented in English by prince. * * * furst var. of frist and obs. f. of first, thirst …   Useful english dictionary

  • Fürst [1] — Fürst (vom Althochd. Furisto, der Vorderste, Erste, lat. Princeps), 1) im frühen Mittelalter so v.w. Herzog; 2) später ein dem freien Herrenstande Angehöriger, der ein ursprüngliches Reichsamt (Herzogthum, Pfalz , Mark od. Landgrafschaft)… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Fürst [2] — Fürst, Art der Kegelschnecke …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Fürst [3] — Fürst, 1) Walther, aus dem Canton Uri; verband sich 1307 mit Werner Stauffacher aus Schwyz u. Arnold Melchtal aus Unterwalden, um ihr Vaterland vom Drucke der kaiserlichen Landvögte zu befreien; er st. 1317; s.u. Schweiz (Gesch.). 2) Joh. Evang …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Fürst [1] — Fürst (althochd. furisto, engl. the first, »der vorderste, erste, oberste«, wie sich auch im Deutschen der Ausdruck »First« erhalten hat, lat. princeps, franz. prince), war zur Zeit des alten Deutschen Reiches Titel einer Klasse von Personen, die …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Fürst [2] — Fürst, 1) Walter, aus dem Kanton Uri, Held der schweizer. Sage, wonach er sich 1307 mit Werner Stauffacher aus Schwyz und Arnold Melchthal aus Unterwalden zu dem Bund auf dem Rütli vereinigte, um die Waldstätte vom Druck der österreichischen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Fürst — (althochd. furisto, d.i. der Vorderste, Oberste, lat. princeps), bei den german. Völkerschaften der Führer, Häuptling eines polit. Verbandes, später diejenigen Personen des Landadels, welche Reichslehne unmittelbar vom Kaiser empfangen haben,… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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