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mayor of the palace

noun
1.
one of a line of hereditary administrative lieutenants to the Merovingian kings who eventually took over royal function and title in the Frankish kingdoms; a palatine.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; translation of Medieval Latin major domūs; see major-domo
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for mayor of the palace

official of the western European kingdoms of the 6th-8th century, whose status developed under the Merovingian Franks from that of an officer of the household to that of regent or viceroy. The Merovingian kings adopted the system by which great landowners of the Roman Empire had employed a major domus (mayor, or supervisor, of the household) to superintend the administration of numerous, often scattered, estates. The Merovingians appointed a major palatii (mayor of the palace) to perform a similar function. The mayor gradually acquired further duties and powers: he obtained authority over court personnel, advised the king on the appointment of counts and dukes, protected the commendati (persons commended to the king) and the king's wards, and eventually even came to command the royal army.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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