1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Marshal

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MARSHAL (med. Lat. marescalcus, from O.H.Ger. marah, horse, and scalc, servant), a title given in various countries to certain military and civil officers, usually of high rank. The origin and development of the meaning of the designation is closely analogous with that of constable (q.v.). Just as the title of constable, in all its medieval and modern uses, is traceable to the style and functions of the Byzantine count of the stable, so that of marshal was evolved from the title of the marescalci, or masters of the horse, of the early Frankish kings. In this original sense the word survived down to the close of the Holy Roman empire in the titular office of Erz-Marschalk (arch-marshal), borne by the electors of Saxony. Elsewhere the meaning of office and title was modified. The importance of cavalry in medieval warfare led to the marshalship being associated with military command; this again led to the duty of keeping order in court and camp, of deciding questions of chivalry, and to the assumption of judicial and executive functions. The marshal, as a military leader, was originally a subordinate officer, the chief command under the king being held by the constable; but in the 12th century, though still nominally second to the constable, the marshal has come to the forefront as commander of the royal forces and a great officer of state. In England after the Conquest the marshalship was hereditary in the family which derived its surname from the office, and the hereditary title of earl-marshal originated in the marriage of William Marshal with the heiress of the earldom of Pembroke (see Earl Marshal). Similarly, in Scotland, the office of marischal (from the French maréchal), probably introduced under David I., became in the 14th century hereditary in the house of Keith. In 1485 the Scottish marischal became an earl under the designation of earl-marischal, the dignity coming to an end by the attainder of George, 10th earl-marischal, in 1716. In France, on the other hand, though under Philip Augustus the marshal of France (marescalcus Franciae) appears as commander-in-chief of the forces, care was taken not to allow the office to become descendible; under Francis I. the number of marshals of France was raised to two, under Henry III. to four, and under Louis XIV. to twenty. Revived by Napoleon, the title fell into abeyance with the downfall of the Second empire.

In England the use of the word marshal in the sense of commander of an army appears very early; so Matthew Paris records that in 1214 King John constituted William, earl of Salisbury, marescalcus of his forces. The modern military title of field marshal, imported from Germany by King George II. in 1736, is derived from the high dignity of the marescalcus in a roundabout way. The marescalcus campi, or maréchal des champs, was originally one of a number of officials to whom the name, with certain of the functions, of the marshal was given. The marshal, being responsible for order in court and camp, had to employ subordinates, who developed into officials often but nominally dependent upon him. On military expeditions it was usual for two such marshals to precede the army, select the site of the camp and assign to the lords and knights their places in it. In