Nobility, Aristocracy and Titles
I'm having trouble understanding the history and etymology of various titles, such as earl, count, duke, marquis, etc. I seem to have a jumble of English and French titles in my mind.
I'm back to 1066 and the Norman conquest, and I can't tell (yet) what titles William the Conqueror bestowed upon the Norman overlords when he carved up England. Did he import the term "duke" or was it already in use in Anglo-Saxon England? Were there dukes at that time? When I read about the 1100's and 1200's, I see mostly Earls in England (and duchies seem to be in France - Kings Richard and John are Dukes of Normandy, etc.)
I guess I'm asking several questions. When did the title "duke" (from the Latin) appear in England and which dukedoms were earliest? Where does the word "earl" come from, is it Saxon? Are there counts in England or no (ever)? I know marquis is mainly in France, but Italy and Spain have cognate terms - so I'm guessing that's from days when Latin was prevelant - and that term never made it to England.
The word that the Welsh use for their highest lords is translated into English as Prince (anyone know what the etymology of Prince is?) I think I understand why, although any illumination on that point would be welcome.
As I lay awake pondering all this, I decided that it would be silly not to avail myself of the venerable expertise that is The Royal Forums. Some of you will understand what I'm trying to get at (a history of royal terminology in England, I guess) and I just know that some of you already know this, extensively.
Thanks in advance for your help. I figure I'm not the only one who could use a refresher in these matters. I also feel like I'm leaving out some titles altogether. (Squire?) I know "knight" is at the bottom of the titles, right?