is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who under the system of primogeniture
would otherwise have no inheritance. The system was widespread in much of Europe.
The system of appanage has greatly influenced the territorial construction of France and The Germanies in particular and explains the flag of many provinces of France.
By extension, appanage also describes the funds given by the state to certain royal families, for instance the annual income given the Danish Royal Family.
Late Latin apanare 'to give bread' (panem, compare the French court title Grand panetier), a pars pro toto for food and other necessities, hence for a "subsistence" income, notably in kind, as from assigned land.
The original appanage: in France
History of the French appanage
An appanage was a concession of a fief by the sovereign to his younger sons, while the eldest son became king on the death of his father. Appanages were considered as part of the inheritance transmitted to the puisne (french puisné
, 'later born') sons; the word Juveigneur
(from the Latin comparartive Iuvenior
, 'younger [brother]'; in Brittany's customary law only the youngest brother) was specifically used for the royal princes holding an appanage
. These lands could not be sold, neither hypothetically nor as a dowry, and returned to the royal domain on the extinction of the princely line. Daughters were excluded from the system: a now-archaic interpretation of salic law
generally prohibited daughters from inheriting land and also from acceding to the throne.
The appanage system was used to gild the pill of the primogeniture to avoid civil war among throne contenders or the division of the kingdom among princes of royal blood. It was used in this way in 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, when Louis the Pious divided his empire between his sons Lothair and Louis the German. This division was a source of antagonism between France and Germany, less so in France, since the treaty was imposed on Lothair by Louis.
Hugh Capet was elected King of France on the death of Louis V in 987. The royal line of France from 987 to 1328 broke entirely away from the Merovingian and Carolingian custom of dividing the kingdom among all the sons. The eldest son alone became King and received the royal domain except for the appanages. Most of the Capetians endeavored to add to the royal domain by the incorporation of additional fiefs, large or small, and thus gradually obtained the direct lordship over almost all of France.
King Charles V tried to remove the appanage system, but in vain. Provinces conceded in appanage tended to become de facto independent and the authority of the king was recognized there reluctantly. Theoretically appanages could be reincorporated into the royal domain but only if the last lord had no male heirs. Kings tried as much as possible to rid themselves of the most powerful appanages: for example, Francis I confiscated the Bourbonnais, the last appanage of any importance then, after the treason in 1523 of his commander in chief, Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, the 'constable of Bourbon' (died 1527 in the service of Emperor Charles V).
The first article of the Edict of Moulins (1566) declared that the royal domain (defined in the second article as all the land controlled by the crown for more than ten years) could not be alienated, except in two cases: by interlocking, in the case of financial emergency, with a perpetual option to repurchase the land; and to form an appanage, which must return to the crown in its original state on the extinction of the male line. The apanagist (incumbent) therefore could not separate himself from his appanage in any way.
- After Charles V of France, a clear distinction had to be made between titles given as names to children in France, and true appanages. At their birth the French princes received a title independent of an appanage. Thus, the Duke of Anjou, son of Louis XIV, never possessed Anjou and never received any revenue from this province. The king waited until the prince had reached adulthood and was about to marry before endowing him with an appanage. The goal of the appanage was to provide him with a sufficient income to maintain his noble rank. The fief given in appanage could be the same as the title given to the prince, but this was not necessarily the case. Only seven appanages were given from 1515 to 1789.
- Appanages were abolished in 1792 before the proclamation of the Republic. The youngest princes from then on were to receive a grant of money but no territory.
- Appanages were reestablished under the first French empire by Napoleon Bonaparte and confirmed by the Bourbon restoration-king Louis XVIII. The last of the appanges, the Orléanais, was reincorporated to the French crown when the Duke of Orleans, Louis-Philippe, became king of the French in 1830.
- The word apanage is still used in French figuratively, in a non-historic sense: “to have appanage over something” is used, often in an ironic and negative sense, to claim exclusive possession over something. For example, “cows have appanage over prions.”
List of major French appanages
- Louis VI
- Philip II
- Louis VIII, by his 1225 will, granted
- The County of Artois to his second son Robert. Artois was lost by Robert's male heirs, passing through a female line, and eventually was inherited by the Dukes of Burgundy. Louis XI seized it upon the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, but his son returned it to Charles's heirs in preparation for his invasion of Italy in 1493.
- The Counties of Anjou and Maine to his third son John. This title returned to the crown when John died without heirs in 1232.
- The Counties of Poitou and Auvergne to his fourth son Alphonse. This title returned to the crown when Alphonse died without heirs in 1271.
- Louis IX endowed
- 1246 - The Counties of Anjou and Maine to his youngest brother, Charles. These titles passed to Charles's granddaughter, who married Charles, Count of Valois, the younger son of Philip III, and thence to their son, Philip. When Philip inherited the throne as Philip VI, the titles merged into the crown.
- The County of Orleans to his eldest son, Philip. This title returned to the crown when Philip succeeded his father in 1270.
- ca. 1268 - The County of Valois to his second son, John Tristan. This title became extinct upon John Tristan's death in 1270.
- 1268 - The Counties of Alençon and Perche to his third son, Pierre. This title became extinct on Pierre's death in 1284.
- 1269 - The County of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis to his fourth son, Robert. Robert's son, Louis, was later given the Duchy of Bourbon, which was treated as an apanage, although it was not technically one. Louis later traded Clermont for La Marche with his cousin Charles, Count of Angoulême, younger brother of King Philip V. These titles remained in the Bourbon family until they were confiscated due to the treason of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon in 1527.
- Philip III
- Philip IV endowed
- Philip VI endowed the
- the Duchy of Normandy for his elder son John. This title returned to the throne when John succeeded his father in 1350.
- the Duchy of Orléans for his younger son Philip. This title returned to the throne when Philip died without issue in 1375.
- John II the Good, on his departure to England in 1360, granted
- the Duchies of Anjou and of Maine to his second son Louis. This title returned to the throne upon the death of duke Charles IV, Louis I's great-grandson, in 1481.
- the Duchies of Berry and of Auvergne to his third son John. These titles returned to the throne upon John's death without male issue in 1416.
- In 1363, John II granted the Duchy of Burgundy to his fourth son Philip. Upon the death of Philip's great-grandson Charles the Bold in 1477, King Louis XI claimed the reversion of Burgundy and seized the territory. It continued to be claimed, however, by Charles's daughter Marie and her heirs. When Marie's grandson Emperor Charles V defeated and captured Francis I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525, he forced Francis to sign a treaty recognizing him as Duke of Burgundy, but Francis disavowed the treaty when he was released, and the cession was revoked by the Treaty of Cambrai four years later. Charles and his heirs reserved their claims, however, and this reservation was repeated as late as the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, when Philip IV of Spain continued to reserve his rights to the Duchy.
- Charles VI granted
- Louis XI granted
- Francis I granted
- Charles IX granted
- the Duchies of Anjou and Bourbonnais and the County of Forez to the older of his two brothers, Henry, in 1566. He added the Duchy of Auvergne to these holdings in 1569. The titles returned to the crown when Henry succeeded his brother in 1574.
- the Duchies of Alençon and Château-Thierry and the Counties of Perche, Mantes, and Meulan to his youngest brother, Francis in 1566. To this he later added the Duchy of Évreux and the County of Dreux in 1569. Francis's other brother, Henry III, increased his holdings still further in 1576, granting him the Duchies of Anjou, Touraine, and Berry and the County of Maine. All these titles returned to the crown upon Francis's death without issue in 1584.
- Louis XIII granted
- Louis XIV granted
- Louis XV granted
- The Duchy of Anjou and the Counties of Maine, Perche, and Senonches to his second surviving grandson, Louis Stanislas, comte de Provence in 1771. Louis was further given the Duchy of Alençon by his brother Louis XVI in 1774. These titles were abolished during the Revolution in 1790. When the monarchy and apanages were restored in 1814, Louis had inherited the throne as Louis XVIII, and his titles merged into the crown.
- The Duchies of Auvergne, Angoulême and Mercoeur and the Vicomté of Limoges to his youngest grandson Charles, comte d'Artois in 1773. To this was added in 1774 by his brother, Louis XVI the Marquisate of Pompadour and the Vicomté of Turenne. In 1776, Louis XVI deprived Charles of Limoges, Pompadour, and Turenne, and gave him in exchange the Duchies of Berry and Châteauroux, the Counties of Argenton and Ponthieu, and the Lordship of Henrichemont. In 1778, the apanage was further reshaped, with Auvergne and Mercoeur removed and replaced with the County of Poitou, leaving Charles with a final apanage consisting of the Duchies of Angoulême, Berry, and Châteauroux, the Counties of Argenton, Ponthieu, and Poitou, and the Lordship of Henrichemont. These titles were during the Revolution in 1790, but were restored at the time of the Restoration in 1814. They merged into the crown when Charles became king in 1824.
Although Napoleon restored the idea of apanage in 1810 for his sons, none were ever granted, nor were any new apanages created by the restoration monarchs.
Western feudal Appanages outside France
English and British appanages
monarchs frequently granted appanages to younger sons of the monarch. Most famously, the Houses of York
, whose feuding over the succession to the English throne
after the end of the main line of the House of Plantagenet
caused the Wars of the Roses
, were both established as when the Duchies of York
were given as appanages for Edmund of Langley
and John of Gaunt
, the younger sons of King Edward III
The title of Duke of York is the traditional appanage of the second son of the British monarch; from 1716 through 1827 it was merged with the title Duke of Albany. The current Duke is HRH The Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom; all Dukes of York since its second creation in 1474 have either had no male heirs or succeeded to the throne. Various other appanages are given to various other members of the Royal Family.
Kingdom of Jerusalem
In the only crusader state
of equal rank in protocol, the Kingdom of Jerusalem
, the County of Jaffa and Ascalon
was often granted as an appanage.
Equivalents outside Western Europe
The practice is certainly not unique to western feudalism
- The principalities of European Russia had a similar practice; an apanage given to a younger male of the royal family was called an udel. The frequency and importance of the custom was particularly important between the mid 13th and the mid 15th centuries; some historians refer to this era as "the appanage period."
- In the Indian subcontinent, the jagir (a type of fief) was often thus assigned to individual junior relatives of the ruling house of a princely state, but not as a customary right of birth, though in practice usually hereditarily held, and not only to them but also to commoners, normally as an essentially meritocratic grant of land and taxation rights (guaranteeing a 'fitting' income, in itself bringing social sway, in the primary way in a mainly agricultural society), or even as part of a deal.
- Most unusual, the mother of the Maharaja of Travancore (a matrilinear Hindu dynasty) and her sister received the principality of Attingal in joint appanage, being styled the Senior and Junior Rani (the female form of Raja or Rana) of Attingal, respectively; their husbands, known as Koil Tampurans, came from one of four or five princely houses who were closely related to the Royal House of Travancore
Sources and references