COURT

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COURT (curtis, curia, aula); the space enclosed by the walls of a feudal residence, in which the followers of a lord used to assemble, in the middle ages, to administer justice, and decide respecting affairs of common interest, &c. It was next used for those who stood in immediate connexion with the lord and master, the pares curies, the limited portion of the general assembly, to which was intrusted the pronouncing of judgments, &c. Finally, it came to denote the residence of a prince, with his family and highest officers. From this court (aula principalis), when the vassals began to take less part in the management of the public business, and this could no longer be transacted on the public court days (at Easter, Whitsuntide and Christmas), the different permanent state authorities were separated with independent powers, and the actual court, the residents and daily attendants of the prince, acquired a distinct character. The etiquette of the courts has been formed, in modern times, at first on the model of the old Spanish court (the Spanish fashion of wearing the cloak, Spanish reverences, or bending of the knee, &c, being adopted), and, subsequently, the less formal ceremonial of the French court, in the time of Francis I, Catharine of Medici, Louis XIV, which admits of a dress accommodated to the existing fashion, and requires a mere inclination of the neck. The obstructions in the way of presentation have been growing fewer and fewer, especially since the time of the French revolution. The court offices are, in part, the old hereditary offices, derived from the times of feudal services. Besides these, there are others of a more moriern character, which are founded, however, in some degree at least, on the old distribution of services among such officers as the chief marshal, chamberlain, master of the horse, butler, &c. The modern court offices are now all personal, and have become very numerous.Court ladies are noble ladies, composing the retinue of the princess. At their head stands the dame d'honneur. Court council (Hofraihconsilium aulicum). (See Aulic Council.) This corresponds, in Germany, to the French conseil du roi. Similar authorities, called, in the smaller states, Landesregierungen,were established in Germany in the 16th century, in imitation of the imperial council, and, like this council, were, by degrees, intrusted with judicial functions, till they have finally become supreme courts, wherever no particular department is established, with the charge of presiding over the general administration of justice, and have, as in Prussia, resigned the name of government to the administrative authorities.