anonymous asked:

Might I ask about the titles of the Spanish Monarchy then?

First you have the basics: el rey and el emperador which are “king” and “emperor”… a king controls el reino “kingdom” while emperador controls el imperio “empire”

The female equivalents are la reina “queen” and la emperatriz “empress”

You also have the title of soberano-a which is “sovereign” which is basically just a byword for a ruling party.

There are also two adjectives you see specifically with royalty… consorte and reinante 

Someone who is reinante is “regnant” meaning that they have the power of a ruler. You can see that as reina reinante “regnant queen” or something like that, meaning that the queen has ruling power.

This is in contrast to consorte which is “consort” meaning the spouse of the king or queen, or emperor or empress. A consorte is married to the monarch but would not have the ability to rule in the event of their death. It means that if you say there is a reina reinante or soberana reinante… that if she has a husband who has no claim to the throne, he is the rey consorte. In the event of the death of the queen, the throne would go to her heir and not the king consort.

The way you refer to kings/queens is Su Majestad but in older texts it would probably be Vuestra Majestad “Your Majesty”.

Next there would be el príncipe and la princesa which are “prince” and “princess” which are the children of a king or queen, or emperor or empress.

The príncipe heredero or princesa heredera would be “Crown Prince” or “Crown Princess”

The way you refer to princes/princesses is Su Alteza or Vuestra Alteza “Your Highness”

In Spanish society there’s also the infantes (infante or infanta) who are children of the king/queen that don’t inherit the throne; that’s their official title. It’s a bit unlike English society where the one who doesn’t inherit the throne is normally given a title of duke/duchess. They’re called infante or infanta for the rest of their life though it literally means “child” or “infant”

For the nobility, it is normally the case that they are addressed by their title or don or doña which in history is like “Sir” or “Lady”, usually given to people who hold land or property. The term doncella means “young lady” but it often gets translated as “maiden”… like you’d call Snow White una doncella though in terms of history, a doncella was a young woman not yet married who was of decent or above average lineage, and was assumed to be a virgin.

The most important of these is el duque and la duquesa which are “duke” and “duchess”, and they control el ducado “duchy”.

With duque and duquesa you sometimes see the terms Gran Duque or Gran Duquesa “Grand Duke” or “Grand Duchess”… This is more common in England (I believe).

But for the most part in England, a prince/princess who isn’t the Crown Prince/Princess is often given a title of duque or duquesa 

Dukes can inherit the title or be given it though they’re usually very very close to the ruler. 

The way to address a duke or duchess is very often Su/Vuestra Excelencia or in some contexts you see Excelentísimo/a Señor(a)

Next in line of importance is el marqués and la marquesa “marquis” and “marchioness”. Sometimes called “margrave”. They receive the title of Ilustrísimo/a Señor(a) or Su/Vuestra Ilustrísima

The marquis/marchioness is probably more important than a duke/duchess in terms of military importance, because el marquesado “marquisate” is always on the border. A marquis/marchioness have such importance because their lands are usually the buffer zones between two countries or two important areas, so they deal with border patrol and are often near the front lines of an invasion or defense.

Next you would have el conde and la condesa which are “count” or “earl”, and “countess”. They also receive Su/Vuestra Ilustrísima and control el condado “county”

The role of a count/countess is to oversee the other lesser feudal lords and take care of the land for administration, farming, taxes, development etc, all of which benefits the royalty or higher nobility.

Below them are vizconde and vizcondesa “viscount” and “viscountess”, who also get Su/Vuestra Ilustrísima

And below them are el barón and la baronesa “baron” and “baroness” who control la baronía who also get Su/Vuestra Ilustrísima. The general role of a baron or baroness is to provide lodging for the royal army when they are on the march through their lands, and they oversee the lesser feudal lords.

The lesser feudal lords are the ones who are most involved in the day to day agricultural aspects of medieval or feudal life, making sure that the barons have supplies for the royal army. Most are given the term of Su/Vuestra Señoría which is “Your Lordship” or “Your Ladyship”

This is where you get the titles of Señor and Señora which is “Lord” or “Lady” in this context, but is how you address a gentleman or gentlewoman. They’re not royal, but they are considered to be of noble blood, to a lesser extent. It makes them socially better than the unwashed masses, but they don’t have the same sway as a duke or even a count or baron.

It’s also why you use this as the default title for people you don’t know, “mister / mr”, “mrs”, and for younger women typically unmarried it’s señorita “miss”. They’re “senior” enough that they hold some sway, but they work as masters of the fields or towns or a particular district.

Land controlled or awarded by a lord was called el feudo “fief”, though el feudo is sometimes used as “hold” or “keep” as in a military installation, though el feudo in this case is usually a kind of walled city not a straight up military barracks, like there might be farms or markets in a feudo not just soldiers.

The lords and ladies take control of the daily activities of the fiefs, which in turn supply the barony. Their profits and taxes aid the county, which in turn fund the king/queen and the dukedom, and also send aid to the marquisate when needed.

Some people have their own grandezas which influences what you call them. A good example might be a judge, who is addressed as Su/Vuestra Señoría “Your Honor” which means that in modern society a judge is not technically nobility but it’s considered a kind of special title.

Those lower on the social totem pole are addressed with and those higher are addressed today with usted but in a historical Spanish environment it would be with vos which is conjugated like vosotros; the default title when you don’t know someone’s title is Vuestra Merced “Your Worship”, which is what eventually became Usted.

Modern Spanish would use su and Usted… Older Spanish would use vuestro/a and vos and vosotros

In Spanish society you also deal with los hidalgos. A hidalgo or hidalga was literally “son/daughter of someone/something”. The hidalgos were normally the children of lords, and that meant that they acquired the title and the status of nobility.

In practice, hidalgo tends to refer to the 2nd or 3rd son of a lord. Spanish operated under primogeniture, meaning that the eldest son inherited the majority of the estate of the parents. The eldest son was the wealthy one, while the 2nd and 3rd often were just a small step above the commoners. Some were decently wealthy but not really, enough to have their own houses. Some of the hidalgos were poorer than slaves.

The difference is that the hidalgos had noble blood, so they saw themselves (and were seen by society) as socially superior, even though any commoner might be more wealthy and have more food than a hidalgo.

The other key difference is that nobility and hidalgos could not be tortured if they were investigated by the police and Inquisition. 

2nd and 3rd children of lords often joined the military or the clergy.

Spanish society terms are full of these kinds of terms that imply a status when you hear them. The most basic is la nobleza “nobility” where being “noble” meant noble as in birth and character. There’s a lot of stories of “nobles” who were only noble in terms of birth, and that was a really popular source of irony.

For example, noblemen and noblewomen were known as los caballeros and las damas. The term caballero is both “gentleman” and “knight”, but it’s literally “horseman”, or “rider” because it implies the person was wealthy or important enough to have a stables and take care of a horse.

The term dama “lady” or “dame” is one that’s used very broadly but it typically refers to an upstanding woman who is linajuda “with lineage/pedigree”. Even today you hear things like ella es todo una dama “she’s a proper lady”. The diminutive is damisela “damsel” which is a younger lady.

Younger people who were not nobility were usually referred to as el mozo or la moza. I think today you might hear that as the term of a server or someone who cleans rooms in some countries? And I think the term el zagal or la zagala was used as well, though it often referred to “shepherds” or rustic people.

Spanish society had a big obsession with being linajudo/a and particularly with being as Spanish as possible, Catholic and Spaniard, or at the very least not Jewish or another ethnicity that was not as tolerated like the Roma (in historical terms it would be gitano/a or “gypsy”)

The pureza de sangre “blood purity” was very important to Spanish society and it’s why nobles were eventually called sangre azul “blue blood”.

But keep in mind that a lot of these deal more with a European way of life, and that when the Spaniards came in contact with the native cultures they would use their titles as approximations.

The ones that don’t really carry over are religious titles. Catholic clergy have their own titles like el cura / sacerdote “priest” or el obispo “bishop”, and most of these carry over into other denominations of Christianity, but when dealing with pagan religions the terms were more el sacerdote “priest” or la sacerdotisa “priestess” or something like el sumo sacerdote “high priest” and la suma sacerdotisa “high priestess” which came from Greek and Roman culture… so still borrowed or approximated titles that don’t always fit.

[I’m sure I probably messed up some info here and there or oversimplified some things so if anyone wants to correct/amend anything I’ve said please let me know]