is an Italian
word meaning leader
or the second, derived from Latin
of the same meaning, of which Duke
is a derivation. Other Italian leaders whose names derive from dux
are the Doges
, and the title of nobility duca
History and usage
The title was used for the eighth time, by the king Vittorio Emanuele III
in the 1915 , during World War I,
the term was also used by Gabriele d'Annunzio
of the self-proclaimed Italian Regency of Carnaro
in 1923 and, most significantly, by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini
; the painting Il Duce
, by Gerardo Dottori
, indeed represents Mussolini. Due to Mussolini, it had become associated with Fascism
and is no longer frequent in contemporary use other than in reference to Mussolini
, and Italian speakers in general use other words for "leader".
The term was also applied to Rudolph Giuliani
during his term as mayor of New York City
(1994-2002), in reference to his Italian
heritage and allegedly dictatorial management style.
The character played by Billy Connolly in the 1999 film The Boondock Saints was named 'Il Duce'.
The late rocker Eldon Hoke, drummer and lead singer of the heavy metal band The Mentors, used the stage name "El Duce."
In The Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Episode 4, Lorelai refers to Headmaster Charleston as "Il Duce".
In the novel "The Gold Coast" by Nelson DeMille, protagonist John Sutter refers to Mafia don Frank Bellarosa many times using the title "Il Duce."