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Konrad Wilhelm Ledderhose : From the Missing Tax in Hesse, 1795

The Apanage (French from Middle Latin appanare = to provide with bread ) is the compensation of the non - ruling members of a noble family with land ownership, income from real estate or monetary payments to enable a class-appropriate way of life. It was granted either until the death of the apanaged nobleman or until the line he founded died out. Since a long time in medieval Europe is currently no single, clear succession law was, they tried the non-ruling members of a dynasty come to terms with a prerogative, a division of the dominions to prevent.

If the granted land ownership was associated with (albeit limited) rulership rights , it was a paragium .


The legal institution of the apanage was due to the primogeniture order, i.e. the succession of the elder from the oldest line, legally determined and also historically attributable to this (Ubi primogenitura, ibi apanagium) .

The need to take care of the princes and princesses who were excluded from the succession of the government due to the indivisibility of the country, was in older times by Paragia , i. H. by the transfer of land and people with limited rights of rule, while since the 19th century the pension entitlement of non-ruling princely persons, which was already recognized in the Golden Bull , has mostly been satisfied by the granting of pensions .

The amount of the appanage and the property status of the apanaged princes and princesses in general was determined in the individual states partly by the Basic Law, partly by special laws , partly by house laws and observance .

Only equal members of the house were entitled to apanage. With regard to the apanage, however, two systems had to be distinguished according to which the lines or the individual princely persons were equipped:

  • According to the inheritance system that z. B. existed in Bavaria , Saxony , Württemberg and Waldeck , the Apanage was intended for the line. The children do not receive any special allowance during the life of the father, but on his death the allowance is distributed among his equal children and remains in the inheritance until the line is extinct.
  • According to the fallback system, as it is e.g. B. was legal in Baden and in Oldenburg , the individual princely persons, as a rule, from the time they came of age, were specially endowed, and the appanage ended with the death of the appanaged.

The direct descendants of the ruling lord, especially the heir to the throne , were also entitled to apanage in some countries, while in other countries they had to be supported by the father during his lifetime.

As long as they were not married, princesses were either received from the apanage of the line, or they received a special apanage, in this case often called sustentation . In the case of marriage, they were entitled to trousseau tax ( princess tax or miss tax ); the widow of the monarch as well as that of a later prince had to claim a wittum . Financing the dowry was seen as a legitimate reason to levy general taxes, which the estates could not refuse to approve. Taxes to finance the dowry for princesses were therefore sometimes (like the dowry itself) referred to as miss tax .

Apanage, Fräuleinsteuer and Wittum (widow's apanage), which consisted regularly in a cash pension, but sometimes also in the income from real estate, were based on the Kronfideikommissgut (→ Fideikommiss ), the chamber or domain assets, depending on the institution in the individual states the state treasury or on the civil list of the ruling gentleman.

Similar conditions were also found in the mediatized princely houses as well as in those families that had set up a family entailment commission, the owner of which then sometimes has to pay the family members excluded from the succession for their proper maintenance, the size of which is according to the statute, house law and family observation.

In China of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), too , all non-ruling members of the imperial family were provided for by appanages, usually in the form of extensive goods and rents from the state treasury. This contributed significantly to an increasingly desolate financial situation of the government.


  • August Wilhelm Hefftner: The special rights of the sovereign and mediatized formerly imperial houses of Germany. Schroeder, Berlin 1871 ( online ).
  • Hermann Schulze (ed.): The house laws of the ruling German royal houses. 3 volumes. Mauke u. a., Jena 1862-1883.
  • Konrad Wilhelm Ledderhose : From the miss tax in Hesse. In: Konrad Wilhelm Ledderhose: Small writings. Volume 5. Academic bookstore, Marburg 1795, pp. 4-74.