Nobel Titles: Baron

Christopher Jones said: "Freiherr" is always translated as "baron."  It is often combined with "Rittmeister" which was a lowly military rank equated with the level of Captain in the Imperial army.  That said, it still crops up, once in a while, combined with Freiherr, and still meaning "baron." Eugen Solf comments:  It is a little more complicated,  if I am well informed: "Freiherr" is a German title, whereas "Baron" isn't. It is a French, Belgian, Latvian title - and in the rankings a little lower than Freiherr. Every Freiherr is a Baron but not every Baron is a Freiherr. However, you address a Freiherr as "Baron". That applies mostly to servants, who say "Herr Baron". Nobody says "Herr Freiherr".

RH: This reminds me of the complicated structure of the British aristocracy. I ask someone from the UK to tell me what"baron" means in that system, There was the Barons' War (1263-1267) led by Simon de Montfort, who was Earl of Leicester and presumably also a baron. He supported King  Henry III, his brother-in-law, on whom he and other barons forced a council and reform measures. Henry did not respect the terms, and Montfort began a war against him and set up a parliament. This was after the Magna Carta (1215) forced on King John by the Barons.  Obviously the Barons ran the show.  Webster says "Baron"  is the lowest rank of the British nobility.  That doesn't make sense given the story of Magna Carta.  Presumably one reason the American revolutionaries abolished titles was because they were so difficult to keep straight. I assume that some Americans at the time of the revolution had titles.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: June 11, 2005