|Pronunciation||English: / / SEE-zər |
Classical Latin: [ˈkae̯sar]
|Region of origin||Roman Empire|
|Variant form(s)|| Kaiser |
|Popularity||see popular names|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
|Precedent and law|
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Caesar ( Latin: [ˈkae̯.sar] English pl. Caesars; Latin pl. Caesares) is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. The change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman Emperors can be dated to about 68/69 AD, the so-called "Year of the Four Emperors".[ dubious ]
For political and personal reasons, Octavian chose to emphasize his relationship with Julius Caesar by styling himself simply "Imperator Caesar" (whereto the Roman Senate added the honorific Augustus , "Majestic" or "Venerable", in 27 BC), without any of the other elements of his full name. His successor as emperor, his stepson Tiberius, also bore the name as a matter of course; born Tiberius Claudius Nero, he was adopted by Caesar Augustus on 26 June 4 AD, as "Tiberius Julius Caesar". The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar".
The fourth Emperor, Claudius, was the first to assume the name "Caesar" upon accession, without having been adopted by the previous emperor; however, he was at least a member by blood of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, being the maternal great-nephew of Augustus on his mother's side, the nephew of Tiberius, and the uncle of Caligula. Claudius in turn adopted his stepson and grand-nephew Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, giving him the name "Caesar" in the traditional way; his stepson would rule as the Emperor Nero. The first emperor to assume the position and the name simultaneously without any real claim to either was the usurper Servius Sulpicius Galba, who took the imperial throne under the name "Servius Galba Imperator Caesar" following the death of the last of the Julio-Claudians, Nero, in 68 AD. Galba helped solidify "Caesar" as the title of the designated heir by giving it to his own adopted heir, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus.
Galba's reign did not last long and he was soon deposed by Marcus Otho. Otho did not at first use the title "Caesar" and occasionally used the title "Nero" as emperor, but later adopted the title "Caesar" as well. Otho was then defeated by Aulus Vitellius, who acceded with the name "Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Imperator Augustus". Vitellius did not adopt the cognomen "Caesar" as part of his name and may have intended to replace it with "Germanicus" (he bestowed the name "Germanicus" upon his own son that year).
Nevertheless, Caesar had become such an integral part of the imperial dignity that its place was immediately restored by Titus Flavius Vespasianus ("Vespasian"), whose defeat of Vitellius in 69 AD put an end to the period of instability and began the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian's son, Titus Flavius Vespasianus became "Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus".
By this point the status of "Caesar" had been regularised into that of a title given to the Emperor-designate (occasionally also with the honorific title Princeps Iuventutis, "Prince of Youth") and retained by him upon accession to the throne (e.g., Marcus Ulpius Traianus became Marcus Cocceius Nerva's designated heir as Caesar Nerva Traianus in October 97 and acceded on 28 January 98 as "Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus"). After some variation among the earliest emperors, the style of the Emperor-designate on coins was usually Nobilissimus Caesar "Most Noble Caesar" (abbreviated to NOB CAES, N CAES etc.), though Caesar (CAES) on its own was also used.
The popularity of using the title Caesar to designate heirs-apparent increased throughout the third century. Many of the soldier emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century attempted to strengthen their legitimacy by naming heirs, including Maximinus Thrax, Philip the Arab, Decius, Trebonianus Gallus and Gallienus. Some of these were promoted to the rank of Augustus within their father's lifetime, for example Philippus II. The same title would also be used in the Gallic Empire, which operated autonomously from the rest of the Roman Empire from 260 to 274, with the final Gallic emperor Tetricus I appointing his heir Tetricus II Caesar and his consular colleague for 274.
Despite the best efforts of these emperors, however, the granting of this title does not seem to have made succession in this chaotic period any more stable. Almost all Caesars would be killed before or alongside their fathers, or at best outlive them for a matter of months, as in the case of Hostilian. The sole Caesar to successfully obtain the rank of Augustus and rule for some time in his own right was Gordian III, and even he was heavily controlled by his court.
On 1 March 293, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus established the Tetrarchy, a system of rule by two senior Emperors and two junior sub-Emperors. The two coequal senior emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors, as Imperator Caesar NN. Pius Felix Invictus Augustus (Elagabalus had introduced the use of Pius Felix, "the Pious and Blessed", while Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus "Thrax" introduced the use of Invictus, "the Unconquered") and were called the Augusti , while the two junior sub-Emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors-designate, as Nobilissimus Caesar. Likewise, the junior sub-Emperors retained the title "Caesar" upon accession to the senior position.
The Tetrarchy was quickly abandoned as a system (though the four quarters of the empire survived as praetorian prefectures) in favour of two equal, territorial emperors, and the previous system of Emperors and Emperors-designate was restored, both in the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East.
The title of Caesar remained in use throughout the Constantinian period, with both Constantine I and his co-emperor and rival Licinius utilising it to mark their heirs. In the case of Constantine, this meant that by the time he died, he had four Caesars: Constantius II, Constantine II, Constans and his nephew Dalmatius, with his eldest son Crispus having been executed in mysterious circumstances earlier in his reign. In the event, Constantine would be succeeded only by his three sons, with Dalmatius dying in the summer of 337 in similarly murky circumstances.
Constantius II himself would nominate as Caesars his two cousins Constantius Gallus and Julian in succession in the 350s, although he first executed Gallus and then found himself at war with Julian before his own death. After Julian's revolt of 361, the title Caesar fell out of imperial fashion for some time, with emperors preferring simply to elevate their sons directly to the post of Augustus, as with Gratian. It would be revived only nearly three quarters of a century later when Theodosius II used it to mark his nephew Valentinian III before successfully installing him upon the western throne vacated by the boy's other uncle Honorius. Thereafter it would receive limited use in the Eastern Roman Empire, for example, in the designation of the future Leo II in the final months of his grandfather's life.
Caesar or Kaisar (Καῖσαρ) was a senior court title in the Byzantine Empire. Originally, as in the late Roman Empire, it was used for a subordinate co-emperor or the heir apparent, and was first among the "awarded" dignities. From the reign of Theodosius I, however, most emperors chose to solidify the succession of their intended heirs by raising them to co-emperors. Hence the title was more frequently awarded to second- and third-born sons, or to close and influential relatives of the Emperor: thus for example Alexios Mosele was the son-in-law of Theophilos (ruled 829–842), Bardas was the uncle and chief minister of Michael III (r. 842–867), while Nikephoros II (r. 963–969) awarded the title to his father, Bardas Phokas. An exceptional case was the conferment of the dignity and its insignia to the Bulgarian khan Tervel by Justinian II (r. 685–695, 705–711) who had helped him regain his throne in 705. The title was awarded to the brother of Empress Maria of Alania, George II of Georgia in 1081.
The office enjoyed extensive privileges, great prestige and power. When Alexios I Komnenos created the title of sebastokrator , kaisar became third in importance, and fourth after Manuel I Komnenos created the title of despot , which it remained until the end of the Empire. The feminine form was kaisarissa. It remained an office of great importance, usually awarded to imperial relations, as well as a few high-ranking and distinguished officials, and only rarely awarded to foreigners.
According to the Klētorologion of 899, the Byzantine Caesar's insignia were a crown without a cross, and the ceremony of a Caesar's creation (in this case dating to Constantine V), is included in De Ceremoniis I.43. The title remained the highest in the imperial hierarchy until the introduction of the sebastokratōr (a composite derived from sebastos and autokrator , the Greek equivalents of Augustus and imperator ) by Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118) and later of despotēs by Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180). The title remained in existence through the last centuries of the Empire. In the Palaiologan period, it was held by prominent nobles like Alexios Strategopoulos, but from the 14th century, it was mostly awarded to rulers of the Balkans such as the princes of Vlachia, Serbia and Thessaly.
In the late Byzantine hierarchy, as recorded in the mid-14th century Book of Offices of pseudo-Kodinos, the rank continued to come after the sebastokratōr. Pseudo-Kodinos further records that the Caesar was equal in precedence to the panhypersebastos , another creation of Alexios I, but that Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1259–1282) had raised his nephew Michael Tarchaneiotes to the rank of protovestiarios and decreed that to come after the Caesar; while under Andronikos II Palaiologos (r. 1282–1328) the megas domestikos was raised to the same eminence, when it was awarded to the future emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (r. 1347–1354). 's insignia under the Palaiologoi were a skiadion hat in red and gold, decorated with gold-wire embroideries, with a veil bearing the wearer's name and pendants identical to those of the despotēs and the sebastokratōr. He wore a red tunic (rouchon) similar to the emperor's (without certain decorations), and his shoes and stockings were blue, as were the accouterments of his horse; these were all identical to those of the sebastokratōr, but without the embroidered eagles of the latter. Pseudo-Kodinos writes that the particular forms of another form of hat, the domed skaranikon, and of the mantle, the tamparion, for the Caesar were not known.According to pseudo-Kodinos, the Caesar
In the Middle East, the Persians and the Arabs continued to refer to the Roman and Byzantine emperors as "Caesar" (in Persian : قیصر رومQaysar-i Rum, "Caesar of the Romans", from Middle Persian kēsar). Thus, following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the victorious Ottoman sultan Mehmed II became the first of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire to assume the title (in Ottoman Turkish : قیصر رومKaysar-i Rûm).
After the Fall of Constantinople, having conquered the Byzantine Empire, Mehmed took the title Kaysar-i Rûm, claiming succession to the Roman imperium. [ when? ] Contemporary scholar George of Trebizond wrote "the seat of the Roman Empire is Constantinople ... and he who is and remains Emperor of the Romans is also the Emperor of the whole world".His claim was that by possession of the city, he was emperor, a new dynast by conquest, as had happened previously in the Empire’s history.
Gennadius Scholarius, a staunch antagonist of the West because of the Sack of Constantinople committed by the Western Catholics and theological controversies between the two Churches, had been enthroned the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople-New Rome with all the ceremonial elements and ethnarch (or milletbashi) status by the Sultan himself in 1454. In turn, Gennadius II recognized Mehmed as successor to the throne.Mehmed also had a blood lineage to the Byzantine Imperial family; his predecessor, Sultan Orhan I had married a Byzantine princess, and Mehmed may have claimed descent from John Tzelepes Komnenos. Ottoman sultans were not the only rulers to claim such a title, as there was the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe, whose emperor, Frederick III, traced his titular lineage from Charlemagne who obtained the title of Roman Emperor when he was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800, although he was never recognized as such by the Byzantine Empire.
In diplomatic writings between the Ottomans and Austrians, the Ottoman bureaucracy was angered by their use of the Caesar title when the Ottomans saw themself as the true successors of Rome. When war broke out and peace negotiations were done, the Austrians (Holy Roman Empire) agreed to give up the use of the Caesar title according to the Treaty of Konstantiniyye 1533 (though they would continue to use it and the Roman imperial title until the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806). The Russians who also claimed as the Third Rome were sanctioned by the Ottomans by giving orders to the Crimean Khanate to raid Russia numerous times.The Ottomans would lose their political superiority to Holy Roman Empire in the Treaty of Sitvatorok in 1606 and to the Russians in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774.
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The history of "Caesar" as an imperial title is reflected by the following monarchic titles, usually reserved for "emperor" and "empress" in many languages (note that the name Caesar, pronounced // in English, was pronounced [kaisar] in Classical Latin):
In various Romance and other languages, the imperial title was based on the Latin Imperator (a military mandate or a victory title), but Caesar or a derivation is still used for both the name and the minor ranks (still perceived as Latin).[ citation needed ]
There have been other cases of a noun proper being turned into a title, such as Charlemagne's Latin name, including the epithet, Carolus (magnus), becoming Slavonic titles rendered as King: Kralj (Serbo-Croat), Král (Czech) and Król (Polish), etc.[ citation needed ]
However certain languages, especially Romance languages, also commonly use a "modernized" word (e.g., César in French) for the name, both referring to the Roman cognomen and modern use as a first name, and even to render the title Caesar, sometimes again extended to the derived imperial titles above.[ citation needed ] Yoruba language:
Translation of the name Caesar first recorded in the first book translated to Yoruba, the bible. The Caesar in the bible refers to Emperor Augustus, who was referred to as Caesar. It was not used as a title for kings as it did not reach the language till the late 19th century and was not widely known till the 20th century. The main title for king was "Kábíyèsi, meaning one who cannot be questioned (Ká-bí-yò-èsi).
Oswald Spengler used the term, Caesarism, in his book, The Decline of the West .
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized Alexius I Comnenus, was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military, financial, and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration. The basis for this recovery were various reforms initiated by Alexios. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks were also the catalyst that likely contributed to the convoking of the Crusades.
Alexios III Angelos was Byzantine Emperor from March 1195 to July 17/18, 1203. A member of the extended imperial family, Alexios came to throne after deposing, blinding, and imprisoning his younger brother Isaac II Angelos. The most significant event of his reign was the attack of the Fourth Crusade on Constantinople in 1203, on behalf of Alexios IV Angelos. Alexios III took over the defense of the city, which he mismanaged, then fled the city at night with one of his three daughters. From Adrianople, and then Mosynopolis, he unsuccessfully attempted to rally his supporters, only to end up a captive of Marquis Boniface of Montferrat. He was ransomed, sent to Asia Minor where he plotted against his son-in-law Theodore Laskaris, but was eventually captured and spent his last days confined to the Monastery of Hyakinthos in Nicaea, where he died.
An emperor is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother, or a woman who rules in her own right. Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings. In Europe, the title of Emperor has been used since the Middle Ages, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as "Emperor".
The Latin Empire, also referred to as the Latin Empire of Constantinople, was a feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. The Latin Empire was intended to replace the Byzantine Empire as the recognized Roman Empire in the east, with a Western Catholic emperor enthroned in place of the Eastern Orthodox Roman emperors.
The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title often used was imperator, originally a military honorific. Early Emperors also used the title Princeps Civitatis. Emperors frequently amassed republican titles, notably princeps senatus, consul and pontifex maximus.
The Latin word imperator derives from the stem of the verb imperare, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French: Empereür. The Roman emperors themselves generally based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Nevertheless, imperator was used relatively consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate and the dominate. In Latin, the feminine form of imperator is imperatrix.
The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy, which was inherited from the Roman Empire. At the apex of the hierarchy stood the emperor, yet "Byzantium was a republican absolute monarchy and not primarily a monarchy by divine right". There was no codified laws regarding imperial succession and the Roman Republic was never formally abolished, hence the Emperor was still to be elected, formally, by both Senate (Synkletos) and the Army. In reality, Senatorial power was severely curtailed over time and the Army practically had a monopoly regarding election. Also, while being a semi-republican entity, Emperors usually managed to secure succession for their children by indirect means, such as appointing them as co-Emperors, for example. The absence of codified succession laws and procedures, as well as the militarized state of the Empire, led to numerous coups and revolts, leading to several disastrous results, such as defeat at Manzikert.
The Empire of Trebizond or Trapezuntine Empire was a monarchy and one of three successor rump states of the Byzantine Empire that flourished during the 13th through 15th centuries, consisting of the far northeastern corner of Anatolia and the southern Crimea. The empire was formed in 1204 after the Georgian expedition in Chaldia and Paphlagonia, commanded by Alexios Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople. Alexios later declared himself Emperor and established himself in Trebizond. Alexios and David Komnenos, grandsons and last male descendants of deposed Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, pressed their claims as "Roman Emperors" against Byzantine Emperor Alexios V Doukas. The later Byzantine emperors, as well as Byzantine authors, such as George Pachymeres, Nicephorus Gregoras and to some extent Trapezuntines such as John Lazaropoulos and Basilios Bessarion, regarded the emperors of Trebizond as the "princes of the Lazes", while the possession of these "princes" was also called Lazica, in other words, their state was known as the Principality of the Lazes. Thus from the point of view of the Byzantine writers connected with the Laskaris and later with the Palaiologos dynasties, the rulers of Trebizond were not emperors.
Komnenos, Latinized Comnenus, plural Komnenoi or Comneni, is a noble family who ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1081 to 1185, and later, as the Grand Komnenoi founded and ruled the Empire of Trebizond (1204–1461). Through intermarriages with other noble families, notably the Doukai, Angeloi, and Palaiologoi, the Komnenos name appears among most of the major noble houses of the late Byzantine world.
Despot or despotes was a senior Byzantine court title that was bestowed on the sons or sons-in-law of reigning emperors, and initially denoted the heir-apparent of the Byzantine emperor.
Sebastos was an honorific used by the ancient Greeks to render the Roman imperial title of Augustus. The female form of the title was sebastē (σεβαστή). From the late 11th century on, during the Komnenian period, it and variants derived from it, like sebastokrator, protosebastos, panhypersebastos, and sebastohypertatos, formed the basis of a new system of court titles for the Byzantine Empire.
Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.
Nobilissimus, in Byzantine Greek nōbelissimos, was one of the highest imperial titles in the late Roman and Byzantine empires. The feminine form of the title was nobilissima.
The title of protosebastos was a high Byzantine court title created by Emperor Alexios I Komnenos.
The title of panhypersebastos was a Byzantine court title created by Alexios I Komnenos using the imperial root sebastos. It was always conferred to members of aristocratic families closely allied to the imperial family.
Sebastokrator, was a senior court title in the late Byzantine Empire. It was also used by other rulers whose states bordered the Empire or were within its sphere of influence. The word is a compound of "sebastos" and "krátor". The wife of a Sebastokrator was named sebastokratorissa in Greek or sevastokratitsa (севастократица) in Bulgarian and sevastokratica (севастократица) in Serbian.
Tsar, also spelled czar, or tzar or csar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers of Eastern Europe, originally the Bulgarian monarchs from 10th century onwards, much later a title for two rulers of the Serbian State, and from 1547 the supreme ruler of the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocracy or tsarism. The term is derived from the Latin word caesar, which was intended to mean "emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official —but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.
The problem of two emperors or two-emperors-problem is the historiographical term for the historical contradiction between the idea of the universal empire, that there was only ever one true emperor at any one given time, and the truth that there were often two individuals who claimed the position simultaneously. The term is mostly used in regards to medieval Europe, in particular, the long-lasting dispute between the Byzantine emperors in Constantinople and the Holy Roman emperors in modern-day Germany and Austria as to which emperor represented the legitimate Roman emperor.
The Byzantine Empire, the medieval continuation of the ancient Roman Empire, ceased to exist with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, ending its line of emperors stretching from Augustus in 27 BC to the final emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos in 1453. After the Fall of Constantinople, both the Ottoman Empire and Moscow, proclaimed themselves as Byzantium's successors as the "Third Rome".