| Emperor: Padishah, Shahanshah|
| High King: Maharaja |
| King: Raja, Sultan, Shah, Khan |
|Royal Prince : Shahzada ( Şehzade ), Mirza|
|Noble Prince : Sahibzada|
|Nobleman: Nawab, Baig, Begzada|
|Royal house : Damat|
|Governmental : Lala, Agha, Hazinedar|
Shah ( // ; Persian : شاه, translit. Šāh, pronounced [ʃɒːh] , "king") is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran (historically also known as Persia). It was also adopted by the kings of Shirvan (a historical Iranian region in Transcaucasia) namely the Shirvanshahs, the rulers and offspring of the Ottoman Empire (in that context spelled as Şah and Şeh), Mughal emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, the Bengal Sultanate, as well as in Afghanistan. In Iran (Persia and Greater Persia) the title was continuously used; rather than King in the European sense, each Persian ruler regarded himself as the Šāhanšāh ("King of Kings") or Emperor of the Persian Empire.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.
Romanization of Persian or Latinization of Persian is the representation of the Persian language with the Latin script. Several different romanization schemes exist, each with its own set of rules driven by its own set of ideological goals.
Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.
Other Iranian words for King, like Sogdian xšyδ, Kurdish, Parthian and Gilaki šāh, Bactrian šao, Luri and Mazandrani ša and Pashto pača are also from the same root.
The Sogdian language was an Eastern Iranian language spoken in the Central Asian region of Sogdia, located in modern-day Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, as well as some Sogdian immigrant communities in ancient China. Sogdian is one of the most important Middle Iranian languages, along with Bactrian, Khotanese Saka, Middle Persian, and Parthian. It possesses a large literary corpus.
Central Kurdish, also called Sorani is a Kurdish language spoken in Iraq, mainly in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as the Kurdistan Province, Kermanshah Province, and West Azerbaijan Province of western Iran. Central Kurdish is one of the two official languages of Iraq, along with Arabic, and is in political documents simply referred to as "Kurdish".
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlawānīg, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Iran. Parthian was the language of state of the Arsacid Parthian Empire, as well as of its eponymous branches of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, and the Arsacid dynasty of Caucasian Albania.
The word descends from Old Persian xšāyaθiya "king", which (for reasons of historical phonology) must be a borrowing from Median,and is derived from the same root as Avestan xšaϑra-, "power" and "command", corresponding to Sanskrit (Old Indic) kṣatra- (same meaning), from which kṣatriya- , "warrior", is derived. The full, Old Persian title of the Achaemenid rulers of the First Persian Empire was Xšāyathiya Xšāyathiyānām or Šāhe Šāhān, "King of Kings" or "Emperor".
Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages. Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets and seals of the Achaemenid era. Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is now Iran, Romania (Gherla), Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription. Recent research (2007) into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago have unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.
The Median language was the language of the Medes. It is an Old Iranian language and classified as belonging to the Northwestern Iranian subfamily, which includes many other languages such as Azari, Gilaki, Mazandarani, Zaza–Gorani, Kurdish, and Baluchi.
Avestan, also known historically as Zend, refers to two languages: Old Avestan and Younger Avestan. The languages are known only from their use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, from which they derive their name. Both are early Iranian languages, a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages within the Indo-European family. Its immediate ancestor was the Proto-Iranian language, a sister language to the Proto-Indo-Aryan language, with both having developed from the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian. As such, Old Avestan is quite close in grammar and lexicon with Vedic Sanskrit, the oldest preserved Indo-Aryan language.
Šāh, or Šāhanšāh (King of Kings) to use the full-length term, was the title of the Persian emperors. It includes rulers of the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid dynasty, who unified Persia in the sixth century BC, and created a vast intercontinental empire, as well as rulers of succeeding dynasties throughout history until the twentieth century and the Imperial House of Pahlavi.
The phrase King of Kings is a superlative expression for "great king" or high king; it is probably originally of Semitic origins, but from there was also adopted in Persian (Shahanshah), Hellenistic and Christian traditions.
The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.
The Pahlavi dynasty was the last ruling house of the Imperial State of Iran from 1925 until 1979, when the 2,500 years of continuous Persian monarchy was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, a former brigadier-general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, whose reign lasted until 1941 when he was forced to abdicate by the Allies after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.
While in Western surces the Ottoman monarch is most often referred to as a Sultan, in Ottoman territory he was most often referred to as Padishah and several used the title Shah in their tughras. Their male offspring received the title of Şehzade , or prince (literally, "offspring of the Shah", from Persian shahzadeh).
The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
A tughra is a calligraphic monogram, seal or signature of a sultan that was affixed to all official documents and correspondence. It was also carved on his seal and stamped on the coins minted during his reign. Very elaborate decorated versions were created for important documents that were also works of art in the tradition of Ottoman illumination, such as the example of Suleiman the Magnificent in the gallery below.
Şehzade is the Turkish form of the Persian title Shahzade, and refers to the male descendants of an Ottoman sovereign in the male line. This title is equivalent to "prince of the blood imperial" in English.
The full title of the Achaemenid rulers was Xšāyaθiya Xšāyaθiyānām, literally "King of Kings" in Old Persian, corresponding to Middle Persian Šāhān Šāh, and Modern Persian شاهنشاه (Šāhanšāh). In Greek, this phrase was translated as βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλέων ( basileus tōn basiléōn), "King of Kings", equivalent to "Emperor". Both terms were often shortened to their roots shah and basileus.
Middle Persian also known as Pahlavi or Parsik, is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran that during the Sasanian Empire (224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well. Middle Persian is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descends from Old Persian and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "king" or "emperor". The title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, and the kings of modern Greece.
In Western languages, Shah is often used as an imprecise rendering of Šāhanšāh. The term was first recorded in English in 1564 as a title for the King of Persia and with the spelling Shaw. For a long time, Europeans thought of Shah as a particular royal title rather than an imperial one, although the monarchs of Persia regarded themselves as emperors of the Persian Empire (later the Empire of Iran). The European opinion changed in the Napoleonic era, when Persia was an ally of the Western powers eager to make the Ottoman Sultan release his hold on various (mainly Christian) European parts of the Ottoman Empire, and western (Christian) emperors had obtained the Ottoman acknowledgement that their western imperial styles were to be rendered in Turkish as padishah .
In the twentieth century, the Shah of Persia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, officially adopted the title شاهنشاهŠāhanšāh and, in western languages, the rendering Emperor. He also styled his wife شهبانو Shahbānu ("Empress"). Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the last Shah, as the Iranian monarchy was abolished after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Shahzadeh (Persian شاهزاده Šāhzādeh). In the realm of a shah (or a more lofty derived ruler style), a prince or princess of the blood was logically called shahzada as the term is derived from shah using the Persian patronymic suffix -zādeh or -zāda , "born from" or "descendant of". However the precise full styles can differ in the court traditions of each shah's kingdom. This title was given to the princes of the Ottoman Empire ( Şehzade , Ottoman Turkish: شهزاده) and was used by the princes of Islamic India (Shahzāda, Urdu: شہزاده) such as in the Mughal Empire. It is to be noted, however, that the Mughals and the Sultans of Delhi were not of Indian origin but of Mongol-Turkic origin and were heavily influenced by Persian culture,a continuation of traditions and habits ever since Persian language was first introduced into the region by Persianised Turkic and Afghan dynasties centuries earlier.
Thus, in Oudh, only sons of the sovereign shah bahadur (see above) were by birth-right styled "Shahzada [personal title] Mirza [personal name] Bahadur", though this style could also be extended to individual grandsons and even further relatives. Other male descendants of the sovereign in the male line were merely styled "Mirza [personal name]" or "[personal name] Mirza". This could even apply to non-Muslim dynasties. For example, the younger sons of the ruling Sikh maharaja of Punjab were styled "Shahzada [personal name] Singh Bahadur".
The corruption shahajada, "Shah's son", taken from the Mughal title Shahzada, is the usual princely title borne by the grandsons and male descendants of a Nepalese sovereign, in the male line of the Shah dynasty.
For the heir to a "Persian-style" shah's royal throne, more specific titles were used, containing the key element Vali Ahad , usually in addition to shahzada, where his junior siblings enjoyed this style.
A prince is a male ruler ranked below a king and above a duke or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. Prince is also a title of nobility, often hereditary, in some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess. The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) and capio, meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince".
Shāh Abbās the Great or Shāh Abbās I of Persia was the 5th Safavid Shah (king) of Iran, and is generally considered the strongest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad Khodabanda.
Tahmasp I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty. He was the son and successor of Ismail I.
Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility is rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and among geographic regions, the following is a reasonably comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.
A Persianate society, or Persified society, is a society that is based on or strongly influenced by the Persian language, culture, literature, art and/or identity.
Great king and the equivalent in many languages is a semantic title for historical titles of monarchs, suggesting an elevated status among the host of kings and princes. This title is most usually associated with the shahanshah of Persia under the Achaemenid dynasty whose vast empire in Asia lasted for 200 years up to the year 330 BC, and later adopted by successors of the Achaemenid Empire whose monarchial names were also succeeded by "the great". In comparison, "high king" was used by ancient rulers in Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland, as well as Greece.
Sardar, also spelled as Sirdar, Sardaar, Shordar or Serdar, is a title of nobility that was originally used to denote princes, noblemen, and other aristocrats. It has also been used to denote a chief or leader of a tribe or group. It is used as a Persian synonym of the Arabic title Amir.
Padishah, sometimes rendered as Padeshah, Padshah or Badshah(Persian: پادشاه, Turkish: padişah) is a superlative sovereign title of Persian origin, composed of the Persian pād "master" and the widespread shāh "king".
Shah is the Persian word for "King", mainly used in Iran/Persia.
Sultan of Sultans is the literal English translation of the Ottoman Turkish royal title Sulṭānü's-Selāṭīn.
The term paramount ruler, or sometimes paramount king, is a generic description, though occasionally also used as an actual title, for a number of rulers' position in relative terms, as the summit of a feudalistic pyramid of rulers of lesser polities in a given historical and geographical context, often of different ranks, which all recognize the single paramount ruler as their senior, though not necessarily with effectively commanding authority, but often rather a notion like the Western suzerainty.
The modern Persian name of Iran (ایران) derives immediately from 3rd-century Sasanian Middle Persian ērān, where it initially meant "of the Iranians", but soon also acquired a geographical connotation in the sense of "(lands inhabited by) Iranians". In both geographic and demonymic senses, ērān is distinguished from its antonymic anērān, meaning "non-Iran(ian)".
Padishah, Padshah, Badshah or Padişah is a title of nobility roughly meaning 'emperor' in Persian languages, primarily used for the Shahanshah of imperial Iran.
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