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MARSHAL (med. Lat. ntarescalcus, from O.H.Ger. tnarah, horse, and scale, servant), a title given in various countries to certain military and civil officers, usually of high rank. The origin and development of the meaning of the designation is closely analogous with that of constable (q.v.). Just as the title of constable, in all its medieval and modern uses, is traceable to the style and functions of the Byzantine count of the stable, so that of marshal was evolved from the title of the marescaki, or masters of the horse, of the early Frankish kings. In this original sense the word survived down to the close of the Holy Roman empire in the titular office of En-Marschalk ( archmarshal), borne by the electors of Saxony. Elsewhere the meaning of office and title was modified. The importance of cavalry in medieval warfare led to the marshalship being associated with military command; this again led to the duty of keeping order in court and camp, of deciding questions of chivalry, and to the assumption of judicial and executive functions. The marshal, as a military leader, was originally a subordinate officer, the chief command under the king being held by the constable; but in the 12th century, though still nominally second to the constable, the marshal has come to the forefront as commander of the royal forces and a great officer of state. In England after the Conquest the marshalship was hereditary in the family which derived its surname from the office, and the hereditary title of earl-marshal originated in the marriage of William Marshal with the heiress of the earldom of Pembroke (see EARL MARSHAL). Similarly, in Scotland, the office of marischal (from the French mar(chal), probably introduced under David I., became in the 14th century hereditary in the house of Keith. In 1485 the Scottish marischal became an earl under the designation of earl-marischal, the dignity coming to an end by the attainder of George, loth earl-marischal, in 1716. In France, on the other hand, though under Philip Augustus the marshal of France (marescalcus Franciae) appears as commander-in-chief of the forces, care was taken not to allow the office to become descendible; under Francis I. the number of marshals of France was raised to two, under Henry III. to four, and under Louis XIV. to twenty. Revived by Napoleon, the title fell into abeyance with the downfall of the Second empire.

In England the use of the word marshal in the sense of commander of an army appears very early; so Matthew Paris records that in 1214 King John constituted William, earl of Salisbury, marescalcus of his forces. The modern military title of field marshal, imported from Germany by King George II. in 1736, is derived from the high dignity of the marescalcus in a roundabout way. The marescalcus campi, or martchal des champs, was originally one of a number of officials to whom the name, with certain of the functions, of the marshal was given. The marshal, being responsible for order in court and camp, had to employ subordinates, who developed into officials often but nominally dependent upon him. On military expeditions it was usual for two such marshals to precede the army, select the site of the camp and assign to the lords and knights their places in it. In time of peace they preceded the king on a journey and arranged {or his lodging and maintenance. In France marechal des logis is the title of superior non-commissioned officers in the cavalry.

Similarly at the king's court the marescalcus aulae or inlrinsecus was responsible for order, the admission or exclusion of those seeking access, ceremonial arrangements, etc. Such " marshals " were maintained, not only by the king, but by great lords and ecclesiastics. The more dignified of their functions, together with the title, survive in the various German courts, where the court marshal (Hofmarschall) is equivalent to the English lord chamberlain. Just as the marescalcus intrinsecus acted as the vicar of the marshal for duties " within " the court, so the marescalcus forinsecus was deputed to perform those acts of serjeanty due from the marshal to the Crown " without." Similarly there appears in the statute 5 Edw. III. cap. 8, a marescalcus band regii {marechal du Bane du Roy), or marshal of the king's bench, who presided over the Marshalsea Court, and was responsible for the safe custody of prisoners, who were bestowed in the mareschalcia, or Marshalsea prison. The office of marshal of the queen's bench survived till 1849 (see LORD STEWARD; and MARSHALSEA). The official known as a judge's marshal, whose office is of considerable antiquity, and whose duties consisted of making abstracts of indictments and pleadings for the use of the judge, still survives, but no longer exercises the above functions. He accompanies a judge of assize on circuit and is appointed by him at the beginning of each circuit. His travelling and other expenses are paid by the judge, and he receives an allowance of two guineas a day, which is paid through the Treasury. He introduces the high sheriff of the county to the judge of assize on his arrival, and swears in the grand jury. For the French marechaussee see FRANCE: Law and Institutions.

In the sense of executive legal officer the title marshal survives in the United States of America in two senses. The United States marshal is the executive officer of the Federal courts, one being appointed for each district, or exceptionally, one for two districts. His duties are to open and close the sessions of the district and circuit courts, serve warrants, and execute throughout the district the orders of the court. There are United States marshals also in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. They are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years, and, besides their duties in connexion with the courts, are employed in the service of the internal revenue, public lands, post office, etc. The temporary police sworn in to maintain order in times of disturbance, known in England as special constables, are also termed marshals in the United States. In some of the southern and western states of the Union the title marshal has sunk to that of the village policeman, as distinct from the county officers known as sheriffs and those of the justices' courts called constables.

In England the title of marshal, as applied to an executive officer, survives only in the army, where the provost marshal is chief of the military police in large garrisons and in field forces. Office and title were borrowed from the French prevot des marechaux, the modern equivalent of the medieval praepositus marescalcorum or guerrarum.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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