An Afterlehen is a fief that the liege lord has himself been given as a fief and has then, in turn, enfeoffed it wholly or partially to a lesser vassal or vassals. The term is German. It is variously referred to in English as a mesne fief[1] an arriere fief or subfief,[2] under-tenure or mesnalty.[3]

Within the Holy Roman Empire these mesne fiefs even became inheritable over time and could have up to five "stations" between the actual holder of the fief and the overarching liege lord.[4]

An example of an Afterlehen is Rothenberg Castle in Bavaria, Germany.

See also


  1. The Holy Roman Empire, 1495-1806: A European Perspective ed. by Robert Evans and Peter Wilson (2012), p. 124. Retrieved 8 Feb 2014.
  2. Word Formation in German, Vol. 373 by Frederic Turnbull Wood, School of Germanic Languages, University of Va. (1948), p. 48. Retrieved 8 Feb 2014
  3. Vollständiges Taschenwörterbuch der vier Hauptsprachen Europas. Deutsch-englisch, by Johann August Diezmann (1832). Retrieved 8 Feb 2014.
  4. Despotism and capitalism: a historical comparison of Europe and Indonesia by Tilman Schiel (1985). Retrieved 8 Feb 2014.


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