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A castellan was the governor or caretaker of a castle or keep. The word stems from the Latin Castellanus, derived from castellum "castle".

Contents

Duties

Usually, a castellan combined the duties of both a majordomo (responsible for a castle's domestic staff) and a military administrator (responsible for maintaining defenses and protecting the castle's lands). This was particularly the case if there was no lord resident at the castle, or if the resident lord was frequently absent. Not to be confused with castellations, which are structures atop castle walls that provide cover from missiles to the castle's defenders in a siege.

France

In France, castellans (known in French as Châtelains) who governed castles without resident nobles acquired considerable powers, and the position actually became a hereditary fiefdom.

Jerusalem

At times, there was a castellan among the Officers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Poland

In the Kingdom of Poland and later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Castellans (Polish: Kasztelan) were in most cases lower in precedence to the voivodes (with the exception of the Lord Castellan of Kraków who had precedence before voivode of Kraków). Castellans were in charge of a part of a voivodeship called Castellany (Polish: Kasztelania) until the 15th century and from that time on their domain was divided into provinces for Greater Castellans and powiats for Minor Castellans.

Japan

Karō (家老) were top-ranking samurai officials and advisors in service to the daimyo of feudal Japan.

See also

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