Vidame

Vidame (French: [vidam]) was a feudal title in France, a term descended from mediaeval Latin vicedominus.[lower-alpha 1] Like the avoué or advocatus, the vidame was originally a secular official chosen by the bishop of the diocese—with the consent of the count—to perform functions on behalf of the church's earthly interest that were religiously inappropriate; this especially included violence, even in the service of justice, and to act as protector.

Heraldic coronet of a vidame
François de Vendôme, vidame de Chartres, drawn in costume in 1829; vidame's coronet visible at upper left

Unlike the advocatus, however, the vice-dominus was at the outset an ecclesiastical official, who acted as the bishop's lieutenant (locum tenens) or vicar. But the causes that changed the character of the advocatus operated also in the case of the vidame.[1] The title of Vidame de Chartres is much the best known, having been held by several people distinguished in various fields and known by the title.

Although a vidame was in theory a relatively low-ranking title, in practice under the French medieval system it gained in prestige and seniority because of the unusually early dates the titles could be traced back to.


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