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Generalissimo or Generalissimus is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to a Field Marshal or Grand Admiral and comparable to commander-in-chief (though with power not delegated from outside the military power structure, as commander-in-chief often is; e.g. an elected official).


The word "generalissimo" is an Italian term, from generale, plus the suffix -issimo, itself from Latin -issimus, meaning "utmost, to the highest grade".

The rank was historically given to a military officer leading an entire army or the entire armed forces, only subordinated to the Sovereign. Other usage of the title is for a commander of united armies of several allied powers. In fact, most of the generalissimos are dictators. "Generalissimo" is sometimes used in modern English language to refer to a military officer who has obtained political power by a military coup, or in some cases one who has suspended pre-existing constitutional mechanisms in order to retain power by means of a military hierarchy.

Notable historical generalissimos

Republic of China


North Korea

Dominican Republic


The Holy Roman Empire / Austrian Empire




From 1834 to 1910, the Kings of Portugal were considered "Generalissimo", in their constitutional role of Supreme Commanders of the Portuguese Army.

Russia and the Soviet Union

There were four holders of the Russian rank or title "generalissimus" prior to the 20th century. Menshikov both commanded military forces and ruled absolutely; Aleksei Shein and Aleksandr Suvorov, were principally field commanders rather than political figures. Anthony Ulrich II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1714–1776), was appointed generalissimus by his wife Anna Leopoldovna but neither commanded nor ruled.





Other Italians

See also


  1. , French Larousse Étymologique.
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]

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