Lower Austria is the northeasternmost of the nine states of Austria. Since 1986, the capital of Lower Austria has been St. Polten, the most designated capital in Austria. Lower Austria's capital was Vienna though Vienna has not been part of Lower Austria since 1921. With a land area of 19,186 km2 and a population of 1.612 million people, Lower Austria is the country's largest state. Other main cities are Krems an der Donau and Wiener Neustadt. Situated east of Upper Austria, Lower Austria derives its name from its downriver location on the Enns River, which flows from west to east. Lower Austria has an international border, 414 km long, with Slovakia; the state has the second longest external border of all Austrian states. It borders the other Austrian states of Upper Austria and Burgenland as well as surrounding Vienna. Lower Austria is divided into four regions, known as Viertel: Weinviertel or Tertiary Lowland Waldviertel or Bohemian Plateau Mostviertel Industrieviertel; these regions have different geographical structures.
Whilst the Mostviertel is dominated by the foothills of the Limestone Alps with mountains up to 2,000 m high, most of the Waldviertel is a granite plateau. The hilly Weinviertel lies to the northeast, descends to the plains of Marchfeld in the east of the state, is separated by the Danube from the Vienna Basin to the south, which in turn is separated from the Vienna Woods by a line of thermal springs running north to south. Schneeberg Rax Ötscher Dürrenstein Schneealpe Hochkar Gamsstein Stumpfmauer Göller Hochwechsel Gippel Großer Sonnleitstein Großer Zellerhut Gemeindealpe Scheiblingstein Drahtekogel Sonnwendstein Obersberg Königsberg Großer Sulzberg Reisalpe Gahns Tirolerkogel Türnitzer Höger Unterberg Traisenberg Dürre Wand Hohenstein Eisenstein Hohe Wand Großer Peilstein Weinsberg Hocheck Nebelstein Eibl Hohe Mandling Jauerling Anninger Buschberg Other mountains in Lower Austria may be found at Category:Mountains of Lower Austria. Semmering Wechsel The state border with Styria runs over both passes.
All of Lower Austria is drained by the Danube. The only river that flows into the North Sea is the Lainsitz in northern Waldviertel; the most important rivers north of the Danube are the Ysper, Krems, Lainsitz and Thaya. South of the Danube are the Enns, Erlauf, Pielach, Schwechat, Schwarza, Triesting and the Leitha. Ottenstein Reservoir Lunzer See Erlaufsee Erlauf Reservoir Wienerwaldsee Lower Austria is rich in natural caves. Most of the caves are therefore called karst caves. Cavities form in the marble of the Central Alps and the Bohemian Massif. Among the largest caves in Lower Austria are: Ötscherhöhlensystem: 27,003 m long; the history of Lower Austria is similar to the history of Austria. Many castles are located in Lower Austria. Klosterneuburg Abbey, located here, is one of the oldest abbeys in Austria. Before World War II, Lower Austria had the largest number of Jews in Austria. Lower Austria is divided into four regions: Waldviertel, Mostviertel and Weinviertel; the Wachau valley, situated between Melk and Krems in the Mostviertel region, is famous for its landscape and wine.
Administratively, the state is divided into 20 districts, four independent towns. In total, there are 573 municipalities within Lower Austria. Krems an der Donau Sankt Pölten Waidhofen an der Ybbs Wiener Neustadt Amstetten Baden Bruck an der Leitha Gänserndorf Gmünd Hollabrunn Horn Korneuburg Krems-Land Lilienfeld Melk Mistelbach Mödling Neunkirchen Sankt Pölten-Land Scheibbs Tulln an der Donau Waidhofen an der Thaya Wiener Neustadt-Land Zwettl Media related to Lower Austria at Wikimedia Commons Land Niederösterreich Useful information of Lower Austria Lower Austrian Genealogy PhotoGlobe - georeferenced photos of Lower Austria
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Elisabeth of Bavaria was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I. Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavaria house of Wittelsbach. Nicknamed "Sisi", she enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen; the marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. Early in the marriage she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elisabeth's daughters, one of whom, died in infancy; the birth of the heir apparent, Crown Prince Rudolf, improved her standing at court, but her health suffered under the strain, she would visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867; the death of her only son and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered.
She withdrew from court duties and travelled unaccompanied by her family. In 1890, she had a palace built on the Greek Island of Corfu; the palace Achilleion, featuring an elaborate mythological motif, served as a refuge. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty, which were legendary during her life. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress of Austria at 44 years. Born Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie on 24 December 1837 in Munich, she was the fourth child of Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria, the half-sister of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Maximilian was considered to be rather peculiar; the family's homes were the Herzog-Max-Palais in Munich during winter and Possenhofen Castle in the summer months, far from the protocols of court. "Sisi" and her siblings grew up in a unrestrained and unstructured environment. In 1853, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, the domineering mother of 23-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph, preferring to have a niece as a daughter-in-law rather than a stranger, arranged a marriage between her son and her sister Ludovika's eldest daughter, Helene.
Although the couple had never met, Franz Joseph's obedience was taken for granted by the archduchess, once described as "the only man in the Hofburg" for her authoritarian manner. The Duchess and Helene were invited to journey to the resort of Bad Ischl, Upper Austria to receive his formal proposal of marriage. Fifteen-year-old Sisi accompanied her mother and sister and they traveled from Munich in several coaches, they arrived late. The family was still in mourning over the death of an aunt so they were dressed in black and unable to change to more suitable clothing before meeting the young Emperor. While black did not suit eighteen-year-old Helene's dark coloring, it made her younger sister's blonder looks more striking by contrast. Helene was a pious, quiet young woman, she and Franz Joseph felt ill at ease in each other's company, but he was infatuated with her younger sister, he did not propose to Helene, but defied his mother and informed her that if he could not have Elisabeth, he would not marry at all.
Five days their betrothal was announced. The couple were married eight months in Vienna at the Augustinerkirche on 24 April 1854; the marriage was consummated three days and Elisabeth received a dower equal to USD 240,000 today. After enjoying an informal and unstructured childhood, shy and introverted by nature, more so among the stifling formality of Habsburg court life, had difficulty adapting to the Hofburg and its rigid protocols and strict etiquette. Within a few weeks, Elisabeth started to display health problems: she had fits of coughing and became anxious and frightened whenever she had to descend a narrow steep staircase, she was surprised to find she was pregnant and gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Archduchess Sophie of Austria, just ten months after her wedding. The elder Archduchess Sophie, who referred to Elisabeth as a "silly young mother", not only named the child without consulting the mother, but took complete charge of the baby, refusing to allow Elisabeth to breastfeed or otherwise care for her own child.
When a second daughter, Archduchess Gisela of Austria, was born a year the Archduchess took the baby away from Elisabeth as well. The fact that she had not produced a male heir made Elisabeth unwanted in the palace. One day she found a pamphlet on her desk with the following words underlined:... The natural destiny of a Queen is to give an heir to the throne. If the Queen is so fortunate as to provide the State with a Crown-Prince this should be the end of her ambition – she should by no means meddle with the government of an Empire, the care of, not a task for women... If the Queen bears no sons, she is a foreigner in the State, a dangerous foreigner, too. For as she can never hope to be looked on kindly here, must always expect to be sent back whence she came, so will she always seek to win the King by other than natural means, her mother-in-law is considered to be the source of the ma
Spaniards, or the Spanish people, are a Romance ethnic group that are indigenous to Spain. They share a common Spanish culture, history and language. Within Spain, there are a number of nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history and diverse culture. Although the official language of Spain is known as "Spanish", it is only one of the national languages of Spain, is less ambiguously known as Castilian, a standard language based on the medieval romance speech of the Kingdom of Castile in north and central Spain; the Spanish people's heritage includes the pre-Celts and Celts. There are several spoken regional languages, most notably Basque and Galician. There are many populations outside Spain with ancestors who emigrated from Spain and who share a Hispanic culture; the Roman Republic conquered Iberia during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages, with the exception of Basque, stem from the Vulgar Latin; the Germanic Vandals and Suebi, with part of the Iranian Alans under King Respendial conquered the peninsula in 409 AD.
In turn, the Visigoths established themselves in Spain. The Iberian Peninsula was conquered and brought under the rule of the Arab Umayyads in 711 and by the Berber North African dynasties the Almohads and the Almoravids in the 11th and 12th centuries. Following the eight century Christian Reconquista against the Moors, the modern Spanish state was formed with the union of the Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon, the conquest of the last Muslim Nasrid Kingdom of Granada and the Canary Islands in the late 15th century. In the early 16th century the Kingdom of Navarre was conquered; as Spain expanded its empire in the Americas, religious minorities in Spain such as Jews and Muslims were either converted or expelled and the Catholic church fiercely persecuted heresy during a period known as the Spanish Inquisition. A small number of Spaniards descend from converted Jewish and North Africans, as a result of the 800 years of Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. In parallel, a wave of emigration to the Americas began, with over 1.86 million Spaniards emigrating to the Spanish Americas during the colonial period and the population of the Spanish Empire had risen to 16.8 million by the end of the 18th century In the post-colonial period, a further 3.5 million Spanish left for the Americas Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Spain is home to one of the largest communities of Romani people. The Government's statistical agency CIS estimated in 2007 that the number of Gitanos present in Spain is around one million; the Spanish Roma, which belong to the Iberian Kale subgroup, are a formerly-nomadic community, which spread across Western Asia, North Africa, Europe, first reaching Spain in the 15th century. The population of Spain is becoming diverse due to recent immigration. From 2000 to 2010, Spain had among the highest per capita immigration rates in the world and the second highest absolute net migration in the World and immigrants now make up about 10% of the population; the prolonged economic crisis between 2008 and 2015 reduced both immigration rates and the total number of foreigners in the country, Spain becoming once more a net emigrant country. The earliest modern humans inhabiting Spain are believed to have been Neolithic peoples who may have arrived in the Iberian Peninsula as early as 35,000–40,000 years ago.
In more recent times the Iberians are believed to have arrived or developed in the region between the 4th millennium BC and the 3rd millennium BC settling along the Mediterranean coast. Celts settled in Spain during the Iron Age; some of those tribes in North-central Spain, which had cultural contact with the Iberians, are called Celtiberians. In addition, a group known as the Tartessians and Turdetanians inhabited southwestern Spain and who are believed to have developed a separate civilization of Phoenician influence; the seafaring Phoenicians and Carthaginians successively founded trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast over a period of several centuries. The Second Punic War between the Carthaginians and Romans was fought in what is now Spain and Portugal; the Roman Republic conquered Iberia during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC transformed most of the region into a series of Latin-speaking provinces. As a result of Roman colonization, the majority of local languages, with the exception of Basque, stem from the Vulgar Latin, spoken in Hispania, which evolved into the modern languages of the Iberian Peninsula, including Castilian, which became the main lingua franca of Spain, is now known in most countries as Spanish.
Hispania emerged as an important part of the Roman Empire and produced notable historical figures such as Trajan, Hadrian and Quintilian. The Germanic Vandals and Suebi, with part of the Iranian Alans under King Respendial, arrived in the peninsula in 409 AD. Part of the Vandals with the remaining Alans, now under Geiseric in personal union removed themselves to North Africa after a few conflicts with another Germanic tribe, the Visigoths, who established in Toulouse supported Roman campaigns against the Vandals and Alans in 415–19 AD and became the dominant power in Iberia for three centuries; the Visigoths were romanized in the eastern Empire and Christians, so their integration withi
Pope Paul VI
Pope Saint Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential advisors of Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most successors. Upon his election to the papacy, Montini took the name Paul VI, he re-convened the Second Vatican Council, which had automatically closed with the death of John XXIII.
After the Council had concluded its work, Paul VI took charge of the interpretation and implementation of its mandates walking a thin line between the conflicting expectations of various groups within Catholicism. The magnitude and depth of the reforms affecting all fields of Church life during his pontificate exceeded similar reform programmes of his predecessors and successors. Paul VI spoke to Marian conventions and mariological meetings, visited Marian shrines and issued three Marian encyclicals. Following Ambrose of Milan, he named Mary as the Mother of the Church during the Second Vatican Council. Paul VI described himself as a humble servant for a suffering humanity and demanded significant changes from the rich in North America and Europe in favour of the poor in the Third World, his positions on birth control, promulgated famously in the 1968 encyclical Humanae vitae, were contested in Western Europe and North America. The same opposition emerged in reaction to the political aspects of some of his teaching.
Following the standard procedures that lead to sainthood, Pope Benedict XVI declared that the late pontiff had lived a life of heroic virtue and conferred the title of Venerable upon him on 20 December 2012. Pope Francis beatified him on 19 October 2014 after the recognition of a miracle attributed to his intercession, his liturgical feast was celebrated on the date of his birth on 26 September until 2019 when it was changed to the date of his sacerdotal ordination on 29 May. Pope Francis canonised Paul VI on 14 October 2018. Giovanni Battista Montini was born in the village of Concesio, in the province of Brescia, Italy, in 1897, his father Giorgio Montini was a lawyer, director of the Catholic Action and member of the Italian Parliament. His mother was Giudetta Alghisi, from a family of rural nobility, he had two brothers, Francesco Montini, who became a physician, Lodovico Montini, who became a lawyer and politician. On 30 September 1897, he was baptised with the name Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini.
He attended the Cesare Arici school, run by the Jesuits, in 1916 received a diploma from the Arnaldo da Brescia public school in Brescia. His education was interrupted by bouts of illness. In 1916, he entered the seminary to become a Catholic priest, he was ordained priest on 29 May 1920 in Brescia and celebrated his first Holy Mass in Brescia in the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Montini concluded his studies in Milan with a doctorate in Canon Law in the same year. Afterwards he studied at the Gregorian University, the University of Rome La Sapienza and, at the request of Giuseppe Pizzardo at the Accademia dei Nobili Ecclesiastici. In 1922, at the age of twenty-five, again at the request of Giuseppe Pizzardo, Montini entered the Secretariat of State, where he worked under Pizzardo together with Francesco Borgongini-Duca, Alfredo Ottaviani, Carlo Grano, Domenico Tardini and Francis Spellman, he never had an appointment as a parish priest. In 1925 he helped found the publishing house Morcelliana in Brescia, focused on promoting a'Christian-inspired culture'.
Montini had just one foreign posting in the diplomatic service of the Holy See as Secretary in the office of the papal nuncio to Poland in 1923. Of the nationalism he experienced there he wrote: "This form of nationalism treats foreigners as enemies foreigners with whom one has common frontiers. One seeks the expansion of one's own country at the expense of the immediate neighbours. People grow up with a feeling of being hemmed in. Peace becomes a transient compromise between wars." He described his experience in Warsaw as "useful, though not always joyful". When he became pope, the Communist government of Poland refused him permission to visit Poland on a Marian pilgrimage, his organisational skills led him to a career in the papal civil service. In 1931, Pacelli appointed him to teach history at the Pontifical Academy for Diplomats In 1937, after his mentor Giuseppe Pizzardo was named a cardinal and was succeeded by Domenico Tardini, Montini was named Substitute for Ordinary Affairs under Cardinal Pacelli, the Secretary of State.
His immediate supervisor was Domenico Tardini. Pacelli became Pope Pius XII in 1939 and confirmed Montini's appointment as Substitute under the new Cardinal Secretary of State Luigi Maglione. In that role that of a chief of staff, he met the pope every morning until 1954 and developed a rather close relationship with him. Of his service to two popes he w
Mieczysław Halka-Ledóchowski, was born in Górki in Russian controlled Congress Poland to Count Josef Ledóchowski and Maria Zakrzewska. He was uncle to Saint Ursula Ledóchowska, the Blessed Maria Teresia Ledóchowska and Father Wlodimir Ledóchowski, General Superior of the Society of Jesus. Born 29 October 1822, he was named after the first Christian prince of Poland. After studying at Radom, at the age of nineteen, he entered the seminary at Warsaw run by the Missionaries of St. Vincent de Paul, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome and entered the Jesuit Accademia dei Nobili Ecclesiastici to prepare to work in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See. Ledóchowski was ordained priest on 13 July 1845, he earned two doctorates, in civil and canon law. Father Ledóchowski became domestic prelate of Pope Pius IX in 1846, in 1847 auditor of the papal nunciature at Lisbon. In 1857 he became papal delegate in Bogota for an area that encompassed present-day Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. In 1861, he was named papal nuncio at Brussels.
After returning to Poland in 1864, he was named coadjutor with right of succession to Primate Leon Przyłuski, two years upon Przyłuski's death, despite the opposition of the Prussian authorities, he was appointed archbishop of Gniezno and Archbishop of Poznań. In 1873, the Prussian government began the implementation of Kulturkampf policies against the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and in the aftermath forbade the use of Polish in instruction in the Province of Posen. Archbishop Ledóchowski urgently protested this order, issued a circular ordering the religion teachers at higher educational institutes to use German in their teachings to the higher classes but to preserve Polish in their teachings to the lower classes; the religious instructors obediently followed the archbishop's order and were subsequently deposed by the Prussian government. Ledóchowski's refusal to cede control of the seminaries of Gniezno and Poznan to the Prussian authorities led to their closure. After repeated fines for outlawed activity, the government demanded Ledóchowski's resignation.
The archbishop responded that no temporal court could deprive him of an office granted to him by God, he was jailed in the Ostrów Wielkopolski prison in February 1874. In March 1875 the Pope appointed him as Cardinal. Ledóchowski was released and banished and thereafter ruled his see from Rome through secret emissaries. Towards the end of his life he began to have serious vision problems due to cataracts, he resigned in 1885. In 1892 he became Prefect of the Propaganda, an office which he held until his death, on 22 July 1902. Our Lady of La Salette Wlodimir Ledóchowski This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton
A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans and Carmelites. Friars are different from monks in that they are called to live the evangelical counsels in service to society, rather than through cloistered asceticism and devotion. Whereas monks live in a self-sufficient community, friars work among laypeople and are supported by donations or other charitable support. A monk or nun makes their commits to a particular community in a particular place. Friars commit to a community spread across a wider geographical area known as a province, so they will move around, spending time in different houses of the community within their province; the English term Friar is derived from the Norman French word frere, from the Latin frater, used in the Latin New Testament to refer to members of the Christian community. "Fray" is sometimes used in Spain and former Spanish colonies such as the Philippines or the American Southwest as a title, such as in Fray Juan de Torquemada.
In the Roman Catholic Church, there are two classes of orders known as friars, or mendicant orders: the four "great orders" and the so-called "lesser orders". The four great orders were mentioned by the Second Council of Lyons: The Carmelites, founded c. 1155. They are known as the "White Light Friars" because of the white halo which covers their brown skin, they received papal approval from Honorius III in 1226 and by Innocent IV in 1247. The Carmelites were founded as a purely contemplative order, but became mendicants in 1245. There are two types of Carmelites, those of the Ancient Observance and those of the Discalced Carmelites, founded by St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century; the Franciscans, founded in 1209. They are known as the "Friars Minor"; the Franciscans were founded by St. Francis of Assisi and received oral papal approval by Innocent III in 1209 and formal papal confirmation by Honorius III in 1223. Today the Friars Minor is composed of three branches: the Order of Friars Minor, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and the Order of Friars Minor Conventual wearing grey or black habits.
The Dominicans, founded c. 1216. They are known as the "Friar Preachers", or the "Black Friars", from the black mantle worn over their white habit; the Dominicans were founded by St. Dominic and received papal approval from Honorius III in 1216 as the "Ordo Praedicatorum" under the Rule of St. Augustine, they became a mendicant order in 1221. The Augustinians, founded in 1244 and enlarged in 1256, they are known as the "Hermits of St. Augustine", or the "Austin Friars", their rule is based on the writings of Augustine of Hippo. The Augustinians were assembled from various groups of hermits as a mendicant order by Pope Innocent IV in 1244. Additional groups were added by Alexander IV in 1256; some of the lesser orders are: the Trinitarians, established in 1198 the Mercedarians, established in 1218 the Servites, established in 1240 the Minims, established in 1474 the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, a branch of the Third Order of St. Francis, part of the Franciscan Order established in 1447 the Discalced Carmelites, established in 1568 the Order of Augustinian Recollects, established in 1598 through the Chapter of Toledo the Discalced Trinitarians, established in 1599 the Order of Penance, established in 1781 Orders of friars exist in other Christian traditions, including the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans and the Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers.
In the Anglican Communion there are a number of mendicant groups such as the Anglican Friars Preachers, the Society of Saint Francis and the Order of St Francis. Several high schools, as well as Providence College, use friars as their school mascot; the Major League Baseball team San Diego Padres have the Swinging Friar. The University of Michigan's oldest a cappella group is a male octet known as The Friars; the University of Pennsylvania has a senior honor society known as Friars. In the order of the Knights of Malta, the short form Fra is used when addressing members who have taken vows. Bhikkhu Brother Dervish Priesthood Sadhu
A lady-in-waiting or court lady is a female personal assistant at a court, royal or feudal, attending on a royal woman or a high-ranking noblewoman. In Europe, a lady-in-waiting was a noblewoman, but of lower rank than of the woman on whom she attended. Although she may either have been a retainer or may not have received compensation for the service she rendered, a lady-in-waiting was considered more of a courtesan or companion to her mistress than a servant. In other parts of the world outside Europe, the lady-in-waiting referred to as palace woman, was in practice a servant or a slave rather than a high-ranking woman, but still had about the same tasks, functioning as companion and secretary to her mistress. In courts where polygamy was practiced, a court lady was formally available to the monarch for sexual services, she could become his wife or concubine. Lady-in-waiting or court lady is a generic term for women whose relative rank and official functions varied, although such distinctions were often honorary.
A royal woman may or may not be free to select her ladies, when she has such freedom, her choices are heavily influenced by the sovereign, her parents, her husband, or the sovereign's ministers. The development of the office of lady-in-waiting in Europe is connected to that of the development of a royal court. During the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, Hincmar describes the royal household of Charles the Bald in the De Ordine Palatii from 882, in which he states that court officials took orders from the queen as well as the king. Merovingian queens are assumed to have had their personal servants, in the 9th century it is confirmed that Carolingian queens had an entourage of guards from the nobility as a sign of their dignity, some officials are stated to belong to the queen rather than the king. In the late 12th century, the queens of France are confirmed to have had their own household, noblewomen are mentioned as ladies-in-waiting. During the Middle Ages, the household of a European queen consort was small and the number of employed ladies-in-waiting, rather than wives of noblemen accompanying their husbands to court, was small: in 1286, the queen of France had only five ladies-in-waiting in her employ, it was not until 1316 that her household was separated from that of the royal children.
The role of ladies-in-waiting in Europe changed during the age of the Renaissance, when a new ceremonial court life, where women played a significant part, developed as representation of power in the courts of Italy and spread to Burgundy, from Burgundy to France, to the rest of the courts of Europe. The court of the Duchy of Burgundy was the most elaborate in Europe in the 15th century and became an example to France when the French royal court expanded in the late 15th century and introduced new offices for both men and women to be able to answer to the new renaissance ideal. From small circle of married femmes and unmarried filles, with a humble place in the background during the Middle Ages, the number of French ladies-in-waiting were expanded, divided into an advanced hierarchy with several offices and given an important and public role to play in the new ceremonial court life in early 16th-century France; this example was followed by other courts in Europe, where courts expanded and became more ceremonial during the 16th century, the offices and visibility of women expanded in the early modern age.
During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, most European courts started to reduce their court staff due to new economic and political circumstances which made court representation more questionable. The duties of ladies-in-waiting varied from court to court, but functions discharged by ladies-in-waiting included proficiency in the etiquette and dances prevalent at court. A number of tribes and cultural areas in the African continent, such as the Lobedu people of Southern Africa, had a similar custom on ladies-in-waiting in historic times. Within certain traditional states of the Bini and Yoruba peoples in Nigeria, the queen mothers and high priestesses were considered "ritually male" due to their social eminence. Due to this fact, they were attended on by women who belonged to their harems in much the same way as their male counterparts were served by women who belonged to theirs. Although these women functioned as ladies-in-waiting, were members of powerful families of the local nobility in their own right, were not used for sexual purposes, they were none-the-less referred to as their principals' wives.
In the late Middle Ages, when the court of the emperor no longer moved around the household of the empress, as well as the equivalent household of the German princely consorts, started to develop a less fluid and more strict organisation with set court offices. The court model of the Duchy of Burgundy, as well as the Spanish court model, came to influence the organisation of the Austrian imperial court during the 16th-century, when the Burgundian Netherlands and Austria was united through the Habsburg dynasty. In the early and mid 16th-century, the female courtiers kept by female Habsburgs in the Netherlands and Austria was composed of one hofmesterees or dame d'honneur who served as the principal lady in wa