Marquess - Equivalent Non-Western Titles

Equivalent Non-Western Titles

Like other major Western noble titles, marquess or marquis is sometimes used to render certain titles in non-Western languages with their own traditions, even though they are, as a rule, historically unrelated and thus hard to compare. However, they are considered "equivalent" in relative rank.

This is the case with:

  • in ancient China, 侯 (hóu) was the second of five noble ranks created by King Wu of Zhou and is generally translated as marquess or marquis.
  • in imperial China, 侯 (hóu) is generally, but not always, a middle-to-high ranking hereditary nobility title. Its exact rank varies greatly from dynasty to dynasty, and even within a dynasty. It is often created with different sub-ranks.
  • in Meiji Japan, Kōshaku (侯爵), a hereditary peerage (Kazoku) rank, was introduced in 1884, granting a hereditary seat in the upper house of the imperial diet just as a British peerage did (until the House of Lords Act 1999), with the ranks usually rendered as baron, viscount, count, marquis and duke. The Japanese rendered these titles in Chinese (though there the titles devalue when a new generation succeeds), though the Western titles were used in translation.
  • in Korea, the title of Hyeonhu (현후, 縣侯), of which the meaning is "marquess of district", existed for the hereditary nobility in the Goryeo dynasty. It was equivalent to the upper fifth rank of nine bureaucratic orders, and was in the third rank of six nobility orders. In the Joseon dynasty, there was no title equivalent to marquess.
  • in Vietnam's Annamite realm / empire, hau (Hán tự: 侯) was a senior title of hereditary nobility, equivalent to marquis, for male members of the imperial clan, ranking under vuong (king), quoc-cong (grand duke), quan-cong (duke) and cong (prince, but here under duke, rather like a German Fürst), and above ba (count), tu (viscount), nam (baron) and vinh phong (no equivalent).
  • in the Thai royal and noble title Phraya (Phaya in dialects that elide /r/) which ranks below Chao Phraya (Duke) and above Phranai (Count or Earl.)

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