Excellence ( from the Latin excellere " excellent " or excellentia " excellence " metonymic "higher position" ) is an honorary title in the salutation of personalities in excellent official position.

Earlier use

The title first led the Lombard and then Frankish kings and German emperors until the 14th century. Then he was accepted in the 15th century by the Italian princes. They replaced the title by Altezza ( sovereignty ) because the French ambassador in Rome, Duke of Nevers, had in 1593 assumed the title and the Messengers were the first rank followed his example. In Golo Mann Wallenstein grieves in January 1630 that, not spoken to the nuncio with Excellenza with Altezza.

The electors were in the Peace of Westphalia, the other princes later the right to appoint ambassador entitled excellence. Then took the Imperial Count, who had also conducted for a time that title to the title of Highness or High Count's grace.

1654 the French began to settle its highest civil and military officials entitled Excellence. This example was followed soon also in Germany, where took in the 18th century even academic teachers and professors (School of Excellence ) award in this claim. For excellence in Germany was turned into a official or service title while the Ducs was reserved in France and in Italy out of every nobleman.

In the German empire the title stood for excellence only ministers, ambassadors, the real secret councils, Upper president, the first courtyard and military Would (from Lieutenant General and Vice Admiral ) and ambassadors. In Prussia, the archbishops bore the title of Excellency.

In the Russian Empire carried him to 1917 civil servants from the real State Council and officers from the Major General upward.

The Grand Cross of the Order of Knights of most European carriers also had the right to honor this predicate.

In the U.S., the President of the United States and the Governor of Massachusetts bore the title of Excellency, the President does not officially by the United States Constitution, the governor, however, officially after the constitution of the state of Massachusetts.

Today's use in Germany

After German Convention and the Protocol Excellencies are (Informal Address: His Excellency (abbreviation SE) of the ambassadors ...):

  • The leaders of foreign countries (assuming no monarch )
  • The leaders of foreign countries, but not the part of States
  • Members of foreign governments with the rank of Minister
  • Foreign ambassadors in the rank of a minister in the recipient country
  • The Apostolic Nuncio
  • Protestant bishops ( unusual in Germany )
  • Catholic bishops, archbishops, and ecclesiastical dignitary of equal rank ( except those who possess dignity of Cardinal ) (eg His Excellency the Most Reverend ( arch) bishop ... )
  • Titular bishops and Orthodox Vicariate
  • Landkomtur a bailiwick of the Teutonic Order

Parliaments are not addressed under this Convention as excellence, as they, as the title was awarded played no role in diplomatic relations. The abbreviation S. E. can also "His Highness " are.