Nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary

Nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary

This article deals with titles of the nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary.


Earlier usage (until 1526)

Before the accession of the Habsburgs, the nobility was structured according to the offices held in the administration of the Kingdom. The highest officials were entitled barons of the kingdom (Latin: barones regni) with the title of magnificus vir.

During the reign of Sigismund of Luxemburg they were as follows:

English Latin Hungarian
Palatine comes palatinus nádor
Voivode of Transylvania woyuoda Transsiluanus erdélyi vajda
Judge of the royal court iudex curiae regiae országbíró
Bans of Croatia, Slavonia, Dalmatia,
Macva and Severin
... horvát-dalmát bán, horvát-szlavón bán,
macsói bán, szörényi bán
Master of the treasury magister tavernicorum tárnokmester
Master of janitors ianitorum regalium magister főajtónálló
Master of stewards dapiferorum regalium magister főasztalnok
Master of cup-bearers pincernarum regalium magister főpohárnok
Marshal agasonum regalium magister főlovászmester
Counts of Pozsony and Timis .. pozsonyi ispán, temesi ispán
High Treasurer summus thesaurarius főkincstárnok
Count of the Szeklers .. székelyek ispánja
Secret Chancellor ... titkos kancellár

These officials were usually chosen from among the most powerful nobility.

There was also a class of noblemen that arose from the "royal servants" called the servientes regis.

Counts (Latin: comes, Hungarian: ispán or gespan) that appear before the 16th century were in most cases holders of posts in administration, governing their respective comitatus (Hungarian: vármegye). Nevertheless, the position of comes was hereditary as early as the 13th century, mostly for families residing in the southern and western parts of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Habsburg period (after 1526)

The use of such titles as duke or count, although of earlier origin, became widespread only in the Habsburg era.

According to István Werbőczy (a Hungarian jurist and palatine of the 16th century—mostly known for his work Tripartitum, a summary of customary laws) the rights of noblemen were:

  • immunity from arrest without legal procedure,
  • owing obedience only to the king,
  • exemption from taxes and customs duties, and
  • freedom from compulsion to perform military service except in defence of the country.

Most nobles either inherited the title or were ennobled by the king. There were two additional ways to become a noble: either by being adopted into a noble family with special permission from the king or, for a daughter of a nobleman who had no male heirs, by being granted special privileges by the king (thus the daughter was treated as if she were male, could inherit the title and the estates, and could pass the title to her children even if she married below her status).

Noblemen were usually wealthy landowners. There were two kinds of estates: those that were granted by the king (usually together with the title) and those that were purchased. The second class could be bought and sold freely, but the estates of the first class were inalienable and were always inherited by the eldest son (or sometimes, with the king's permission, the eldest daughter—see above). If the family became extinct, the estate reverted to the king.

Sometimes a nobleman granted a noble title and estate to one of his loyal men. Legally this required the permission of the king, but often the king's permission was not sought.

Due to the great demand for soldiers during the wars against the Turks in the 16th and 17th centuries, sometimes a whole unit of 80 to 120 soldiers was raised to nobiliary rank, and were granted a single coat of arms for all of them to share.[1]

The Eighth Law of 1886 finally created the category of noble prince (Hungarian: herceg). The law gave a list of princely families, mostly of foreign origin such as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Liechtenstein, Thurn and Taxis, and Schwarzenberg.

All hereditary titles were abolished in 1945. In newly formed states formerly belonging to the Hungarian crown the situation varies; for instance the constitution of Czechoslovakia abolished all indicators of nobility in 1918. This included titles and place origins suggesting noble rank (e.g. Forgach de Ghymes).

Some titles

  • Duke (Latin: dux, Hungarian: herceg, Slovak: vojvoda, German: Herzog): The Hungarian word is derived from the German. Initially, all dukes were members of the royal family, so that the title can also be translated as royal prince, hereditary prince, crown prince (as in some other countries).
  • Prince (Latin: princeps; Hungarian: herceg, fejedelem, or uralkodó; Slovak: Knieža, German: Fürst): The title and rank of Prince was the highest attainable state for a Hungarian nobleman, and was granted by the Habsburgs in their capacity as Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and Austria. However, this title did not come with an autonomous principality.
  • Count and baron (Latin: comes or baro, Hungarian: gróf or báró, Slovak: gróf or barón, German: Graf or Baron): These titles were mainly used in the Habsburg era, although the title of baron was first granted by King Vladislaus II (1490–1516). The first documented creation of a count (Latin perpetuus comes) was that of John Hunyadi, although the title had already been used by some families in Croatia and the western parts of Hungary, following German and Italian customs. The most important comital families before the Habsburg era were the Subich, Zrínyi, Frangepán (Frankopan), Blagay, Cseszneky, Németújvári (Grafen von Güssing), Héderváry, Szentgyörgyi és Bazini (Grafen von Sankt-Georgen und Pösing), Nagymartoni, and Fraknói.

List of notable noble families of Hungary

  • Aba (Genus Aba) (19 families) Aba (family) and the Royal House of Samuel Aba of Hungary, King of Hungary, Bans of Croatia and Dalmatia, Palatines of Hungary
  • Almásy de Zsadány et Törökszentmiklós
  • Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály et Krasznahorka (count)
  • Antall de Kisjenő
  • Asbóth
  • Apafi de Apanagyfalva
  • Athinai – Genus Aba
  • Balassi de Gyarmat and Kékkő (baron)
  • Bánffy de Alsólendva
  • Bánffy de Losoncz (count)
  • Báthory de Gagy – Genus Aba
  • Báthory de Ecsed (count) – Gutkeled Genus
  • Báthory de Somlyó (count) – Gutkeled Genus
  • Batthyány de Németújvár (count)
  • Beleznay de Pilis
  • Benyovszky
  • Berthóty – Genus Aba
  • Bethlen de Bethlen (count)
  • Bethlen de Iktár (count)
  • Bezerédj de Bezeréd
  • Both de Bajna
  • Brunszvik de Korompa (count)
  • Budaméry – Genus Aba
  • Csáky (and Csáki)
  • Cséfalvay (and Cséffalvay)
  • Cseszneky de Milvány et Csesznek (count)
  • Csirke – Genus Aba
  • Csobánka – Genus Aba
  • Darányi de Pusztaszentgyörgy et Tetétlen
  • Deák de Kehida
  • Dessewffy de Csernek et Tarkeö
  • Diósy de Tótdiós
  • Dohnányi
  • Erdődy de Monyorókerék et Monoszló (count)
  • Eötvös de Vásárosnamény (baron)
  • Esterházy de Galántha (count])
  • Farkas de Bánegyháza
  • Farkas de Boldogfa
  • Farkas de Farkasfalva
  • Farkas de Kisbarnak
  • Farkas de Bolya
  • Feichtinger de Baranyanádasd (baron)
  • Festetics (Festetits) de Tolna (count])
  • Frangepán – Frankopan in Croatian
  • Frichi – Genus Aba
  • Gagyi – Genus Aba
  • Garay (and Garai) – Gorjanski in Croatian
  • Gömbös de Jákfa
  • Hadik de Futak (count)
  • Hedry – Aba Genus
  • Hertelendy de Vindornyalak et Hertelend
  • Horthy de Nagybánya
  • Hunyady (and Hunyadi)
  • Imrédy de Ómoravicza
  • Jakabffy (and Jakabfy)
  • Jankovich
  • Jeszenszky de Nagyjeszen
  • Jeszenszky de Kisjeszen
  • Jókai de Ásva
  • Kállay de Nagykálló
  • Kálnoky
  • Kanizsai/Kanizsay
  • Károlyi de Nagykároly (count)
  • Keczer – Genus Aba
  • Koháry de Csábrágh et Szitnya (count)
  • Kompolthi – Genus Aba
  • Kossuth de Kossuth et Udvar
  • Khuen de Belasi (count)
  • Laczkffy de Nádasd – Genus Aba
  • Lackfi (and Laczkovich) – Lacković in Croatian
  • Lapispataky – Genus Aba
  • Lipthay de Kisfalud et Lubelle (baron)
  • Magyary
  • Majthényi
  • Medveczky
  • Meskó
  • Nádasdy de Nádasd et Fogarasföld (count)
  • Orczy de Orczi (baron)
  • Pálffy
  • Pázmány de Panasz
  • Perényi de Perény (baron)
  • Podmaniczky
  • Radvánszky de Radvány (baron)
  • Rákóczi de Felsővadász (baron)
  • Révay de Szklabinia et Blatnicza (count)
  • Rhédey, Rhédey de Kis-Rhéde (prince, count palatine, duke, count) - Genus Aba
  • Sigray (and Zsigray)
  • Sirokay – Genus Aba
  • Schneider de Zajol (zajoli Schneider/Snajder)
  • Somosy de Somos – Genus Aba (comes)
  • Stiborici (barons of the Kingdom, comes)
  • Szapáry de Muraszombath and Széchysziget (count)
  • Széchenyi de Sárvár-Felsővidék (count)
  • Széchy
  • Szécsen
  • Szent-Imrey
  • Szepessy de Négyes (baron)
  • Szily
  • Szilágyi
  • Szőgyény-Marich de Magyarszőgyén et Szolgaegyház (count)
  • Szőnyi
  • Teleki de Szék (count)
  • Thököly de Késmárk (count)
  • Thurzó
  • Tisza de Szeged et Borosjenő (count)
  • Turcsányi de Turcsány (Genus Divék)
  • Vendéghy – Genus Aba
  • Viczay de Loós et Héderváry (count])
  • Vitéz – Genus Aba
  • Wass de Czege (count)
  • Zápolya (and Szapolyai) – Zapolja in Croatian
  • Zichy de Zich et Vásonkeő (count)
  • Zrínyi – Zrinski in Croatian


  • (Ruling) Prince (Latin: princeps or dux, Hungarian: fejedelem, Slovak: knieža, German: Fürst): Fejedelem was the title of the ruler of the Hungarian principality before the first king, Stephen I, was crowned in 1000. In later centuries a fejedelem was the ruler of Transylvania. Francis II Rákóczi was also elected "prince of the Estates Confederated for Liberty of the Kingdom of Hungary" during a war of independence (1703–1711).
  • King (Latin: rex, Hungarian: király, Slovak: kráľ, German: König): The Magyar word király is derived from the Slavic word kral or kralj, which in turn is derived from the German name Karl. A reigning queen was called királynő in Hungarian; a queen consort was called királyné. The title of junior king (Latin: rex iunior) designated a crowned son of the monarch who held territorial power and ruled by the grace of God and his father.

See also


  1. ^ Carl-Alexander von Volborth. Heraldry: Customs, Rules, and Styles. (Blandford Press, Dorset: 1981), p. 122.

External links

  • Hungarian coats of arms
  • For an example of a Hungarian aristocratic family, see The History of the Wass de Czege Family [1]
  • For an example of Hungarian minor nobility, see Records of the Tötösy de Zepetnek Family / A Zepetneki Tötösy család adattára [2]
  • For a list of surnames of the historical nobility of Hungary, see nobilitashungariae: List of Historical Surnames of the Hungarian Nobility / nobilitashungariae. A magyar történelmi nemesség családneveinek listája[3]

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