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Stefan Czarniecki, a 17th century Polish magnate

A very rich industrialist , aristocrat or landowner has been referred to as a magnate since the 20th century . The term is mainly used for an owner of large, possibly also branch-dominant economic power. For example, John D. Rockefeller was referred to as an oil magnate.

Somewhat out of date, the term also describes a member of the high nobility , especially in Poland and Hungary , sometimes also in Bohemia .

The word is a borrowed from Middle Latin magnas (plural magnates ) or magnatus (plural magnati ) noble, noble, influential person , preceded by the late Latin magnātus Großer, head of a people (plural magnātī ) or magnātēs (plural) , which is already attested in the Vulgate , Formations in Latin magnus ("large, elegant").


The magnates took part in the representation of the country in Hungary from birth and gathered for this purpose in a special chamber, the magnate table . From 1861 to 1918, like the British House of Lords , the Magnate House was the second legislative chamber alongside the elected House of Representatives. At the beginning of the 20th century, these included:


In Poland magnates were called ecclesiastical and secular senators or imperial councils as well as the high nobility. The political counterpart to them in the Reichstag, the Sejm , the Szlachta , representatives of the petty and land nobility.

Polish magnate families

Individual references and footnote

  1. ^ Magnate. In: Duden - spelling, meaning, definition, synonyms. Retrieved October 12, 2017 .
  2. John D. Rockefeller: News on the Oil Magnate. In: FAZ . Retrieved October 12, 2017 .
  3. For example with Johann von Pernstein .
  4. Wolfgang Pfeifer et al .: Etymological Dictionary of German . 1994. Digitized version revised by Wolfgang Pfeifer: Magnat. In: Digital dictionary of the German language . Retrieved September 3, 2019