- «In the time of Charlemagne a duc (from Lat. dux, leader), was an appointed official whose task it was to oversee a group of frontier comitati (now comté, qv). Later in France, the office became hereditary and practically independent of the king. By 1500, however, the monarchy had absorbed the duchés, and duc was now merely the highest rank of nobility, with no sovereign rights. This was not the same in Germany, where the dukes maintained their independence for centuries».
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