Duce (Italian pronunciation: [ˈduːtʃe], "leader") is an Italian title, derived from the Latin word dux, and a cognate of duke. National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini was identified by Fascists as Il Duce ("The Leader") of the movement. In 1925 it became a reference to the dictatorial position of Sua Eccellenza Benito Mussolini, Capo del Governo, Duce del Fascismo e Fondatore dell'Impero ("His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Leader of Fascism and Founder of the Empire").[1] Mussolini held this title together with that of President of the Council of Ministers: this was the constitutional position which entitled him to rule Italy on behalf of the King of Italy. Founder of the Empire was added for the exclusive use by Mussolini in recognition of his founding of an official legal entity of the Italian Empire on behalf of the King in 1936 following Italy's victory in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. The position was held by Mussolini until 1943, when he was removed from office by the King and the position of "Duce" was dismantled, while Marshal The 1st Duke of Addis Abeba was appointed Presidente del Consiglio.

This position was the model which other fascist leaders adopted, such as the position of Führer by Adolf Hitler. In September 1943, Mussolini styled himself as the "Duce of the Italian Social Republic" (Italian: Duce della Repubblica Sociale Italiana), and held the position until the collapse of the Italian Social Republic and his death in April 1945.[2]

Duce of Fascism
Duce del Fascismo
Flag of Prime Minister of Italy (1927-1943)
StyleHis Excellency
ResidencePalazzo Chigi
Palazzo Venezia
Villa Torlonia
AppointerGrand Council of Fascism
PrecursorHimself (as Prime Minister)
Formation24 December 1925
First holderBenito Mussolini
Final holderBenito Mussolini
Abolished25 July 1943
SuccessionMarshal The 1st Duke of Addis Abeba (as Prime Minister)
Himself (as Duce of the RSI, as claimed by the RSI)

History of the term

The title was used outside its traditional noble sense in some of the publications praising Garibaldi during the Unification of Italy in 1860, though not taken up officially by Garibaldi himself.[3]

'Duce Supremo' ("Supreme Leader") was more formally used by Victor Emmanuel III in 1915, during World War I, referring to his role as the commander in chief of the armed forces. The term was also used by Gabriele d'Annunzio as dictator of the self-proclaimed Italian Regency of Carnaro in 1920, and most significantly by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. The painting 'Il Duce' by Gerardo Dottori represents Mussolini. Because the title 'Il Duce' has become associated with Fascism, it is no longer in common use other than in reference to him. Because of modern anti-fascist sentiment, Italian speakers in general now use other words for leader, mainly including the English loanword. However, the term duce survives as an antonomasia for Benito Mussolini.


Mussolini intended that the Grand Council of Fascism would choose a successor from a list of three men chosen by him, and submit the name for approval by the king. As of 1940 he may have been preparing his son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano for the role.[4]


Duce of Italian Fascism

Portrait Name
Term Political Party
Took office Left office Duration
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
24 December 192525 July 194317 years, 213 daysFascist Party

Duce of the Italian Social Republic

Portrait Name
Term Political Party
Took office Left office Duration
Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
23 September 194325 April 19451 year, 214 daysFascist Party

See also


  1. ^ Image Description: Propaganda poster of Benito Mussolini, with caption "His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Leader of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire ...".
  2. ^ Quartermaine, L. (2000). Mussolini's Last Republic: Propaganda and Politics in the Italian Social Republic. p. 21
  3. ^ Lucy Riall, "Garibaldi, Invention of a Hero", London, 2007, Ch. 9
  4. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 255, 257–258.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of duce at Wiktionary
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Big Black

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Big Black's aggressive and abrasive music was characterized by distinctively clanky guitars and the use of a drum machine rather than a drum kit, elements that foreshadowed industrial rock. The band's lyrics flouted commonly held taboos and dealt frankly—and often explicitly—with politically and culturally loaded topics including murder, rape, child sexual abuse, arson, racism, and misogyny. Though the band's lyrics contained controversial material, the lyrics were meant to serve as a commentary or a display of distaste for the subject matter. They were staunchly critical of the commercial nature of rock, shunning the mainstream music industry and insisting on complete control over all aspects of their career. At the height of their success, they booked their own tours, paid for their own recordings, refused to sign contracts, and eschewed many of the traditional corporate trappings of rock bands. In doing so, they had a significant impact on the aesthetic and political development of independent and underground rock music.

In addition to two studio albums, Big Black released two live albums, two compilation albums, four EPs, and five singles, all through independent record labels. Most of the band's catalog was kept in print through Touch and Go Records for years following their breakup.

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During the Roman Republic, dux could refer to anyone who commanded troops, including foreign leaders, but was not a formal military rank. In writing his commentaries on the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar uses the term only for Celtic generals, with one exception for a Roman commander who held no official rank.

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Fall of the Fascist regime in Italy

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Grand Council of Fascism

The Grand Council of Fascism (Italian: Gran Consiglio del Fascismo) (aka: Fascist Grand Council) was the main body of Mussolini's Fascist government in Italy. A body which held and applied great power to control the institutions of government, it was created as a body of the National Fascist Party in 1923 and became a state body on 9 December 1928. The council usually met at the Palazzo Venezia, Rome, which was also the seat of head of the Italian government.


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Originally formed in Seattle, Washington in May 1976, they relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1979 where their irreverent attitude aligned them with the city's punk rock scene. Their music has developed stylistically over the years from garage metal to hardcore punk to experimental thrash metal.

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Sharon Duce (born 17 January 1948) is a British actress.

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Big Deal (TV series)

Buddy's Song

Clocking Off

Coronation Street

Doctor Who (Ghost Light).


London's Burning

Midsomer Murders


Moving On


The Bill

The Professionals

The Royle Family

Tales of the Unexpected (TV series)

The Tomorrow People



Z-CarsIn 1992 she was reunited with Brooks to star in the BBC drama series Growing Pains, in which they played middle-aged foster parents. She also guest starred for two episodes in February 1992 in ITV's BAFTA award-winning series for teenagers, Press Gang, playing Spike Thomson's mother. Duce appeared in Coronation Street as Julie Carp's mother, Paula Carp, but she left the soap on 22 May 2009.

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Kingdom of Italy
Italian Republic

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