When did the Rank of Private start.

July 27th, 2012  

Topic: When did the Rank of Private start.

Hello to you all.
As I work for a Military genealogy website we get asked many questions. Today I had someone ask when then rank of Private started before they were called a Volunteer. I can find link that says
The term derives from the medieval term "private soldiers" (a term still used in the United Kingdom), denoting soldiers who were either hired, conscripted, or feudalized into service by a nobleman forming an army. The usage of "private" dates from the 18th century, when the army of Napoleon Bonaparte first established the permanent rank of soldat.
Is that right.???
Please help lol
July 27th, 2012  
In the United Kingdom you can track the title of "Private" back to the late Middle Ages. The private was a man who signed a private contract with the company commander, offering his services in return for pay.

As the Middle Ages came to an end, Kings increasingly relied on professional soldiers to fill the bottom ranks of their armies instead of militiamen. Each of these professionals began their careers as a private.
July 28th, 2012  
I am not so sure about that, there are terms in Latin such as Privus from which Private is derived but my understanding is that the term as a military rank comes from the Sixteenth Century when individuals had the privilege of enlisting or making private contracts to serve as private soldiers in military units.

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