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Tsar ( /, / or // ; alternatively czar, tzar or csar) was a title used by Slavic monarchs. 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 (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch)—but was usually considered by Western Europeans to be equivalent to "king". It lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocracy or tsarism.
Tsar and its variants were the official titles in the First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018), Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396), the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1908–1946), the Serbian Empire (1346–1371), and the Tsardom of Russia (1547–1721). The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria.Simeon II, the last tsar of Bulgaria, is the last person to hold this title.
The title tsar is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, caesar.The Greek equivalent of the Latin word imperator was the title autokrator . The term basileus was another term for the same position but it was used differently depending on whether it was in a contemporary political context or in a historical or Biblical context.
In 705 Emperor Justinian II named Tervel of Bulgaria "caesar", the first foreigner to receive this title, but his descendants continued to use Bulgar title "Kanasubigi". The sainted Boris I is sometimes retrospectively referred to as tsar, because at his time Bulgaria was converted to Christianity. However, the title "tsar" (and its Byzantine Greek equivalent basileus) was actually adopted and used for the first time by his son Simeon I, following a makeshift imperial coronation performed by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 913. After an attempt by the Byzantine Empire to revoke this major diplomatic concession and a decade of intensive warfare, the imperial title of the Bulgarian ruler was recognized by the Byzantine government in 924 and again at the formal conclusion of peace in 927. Since in Byzantine political theory there was place for only two emperors, Eastern and Western (as in the Late Roman Empire), the Bulgarian ruler was crowned basileus as "a spiritual son" of the Byzantine basileus.
It has been hypothesized that Simeon's title was also recognized by a papal mission to Bulgaria in or shortly after 925, as a concession in exchange for a settlement in the Bulgarian-Croatian conflict or a possible attempt to return Bulgaria to union with Rome. Thus, in the later diplomatic correspondence conducted in 1199–1204 between the Bulgarian ruler Kaloyan and Pope Innocent III, Kaloyan—whose self-assumed Latin title was "Imperator Bulgarorum et Blachorum"—claims that the imperial crowns of Simeon I, his son Peter I, and Samuel were somehow derived from the papacy. The pope, however, only speaks of reges (kings) of Bulgaria in his replies, and eventually grants only that lesser title to Kaloyan, who nevertheless proceeds to thank the pope for the "imperial title" conferred upon him.
After Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottomans in 1878, its new monarchs were at first autonomous prince (knyaz). With the declaration of full independence, Ferdinand I of Bulgaria adopted the traditional title "tsar" in 1908 and it was used until the abolition of the monarchy in 1946. However, these titles were not generally perceived as equivalents of "emperor" any longer. In the Bulgarian as in the Greek vernacular, the meaning of the title had shifted(although Paisius' Slavonic-Bulgarian History (1760–1762) had still distinguished between the two concepts).
The title of tsar (Serbian car) was used officially by two monarchs, the previous monarchial title being that of king (kralj). In 1345, Stefan Dušan began to style himself "Emperor of Serbs and Greeks" (the Greek renderings read "basileus and autokrator of Serbs and Romans"), and was crowned as such in Skopje on Easter (April 16) 1346 by the newly elevated Serbian patriarch, alongside the Bulgarian patriarch and archbishop of Ohrid. On the same occasion, he had his wife Helena of Bulgaria crowned as empress and his son associated in power as king. When Dušan died in 1355, his son Stefan Uroš V became the next emperor. The new emperor's uncle Simeon Uroš (Siniša) contested the succession and claimed the same titles as a dynast in Thessaly. After his death around 1370, he was succeeded in his claims by his son John Uroš, who retired to a monastery in about 1373.[ citation needed ]
The title tsar was used once by church officials of Kievan Rus' in the naming of Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of Kiev (r. 1019–1054). This may have related to Yaroslav's war against Byzantium and to his efforts to distance himself from Constantinople. However, other Kievan Rus' princes never styled themselves as tsars.
The first Russian ruler to openly break with the khan of the Golden Horde, Mikhail of Tver (lived 1271-1318), assumed the title "basileus of Rus"and "tsar".
Following his assertion of independence from the khan in 1476, Ivan III, the grand prince of Moscow (r. 1462–1505), adopted the title of sovereign of all Russia and later also started to use the title of "tsar" regularly in diplomatic relations with the West. From about 1480, he is designated as "imperator" in his Latin correspondence, as "keyser" in his correspondence with the Swedish regent, as "kejser" in his correspondence with the Danish king, Teutonic Knights, and the Hanseatic League. Ivan's son Vasily III continued using these titles. Sigismund von Herberstein (1486-1566) observed that the titles of "kaiser" and "imperator" were attempts to render the Russian term "tsar" into German and Latin, respectively. [ page needed ]
The title-inflation related to Russia's growing ambitions to become an Orthodox "Third Rome", after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Muscovite ruler was recognized as an emperor by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in 1514.
However, the first Russian ruler to be formally crowned as tsar of all Russia was Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible"), in 1547. Some foreign ambassadors — namely, Herberstein (in 1516 and 1525), Daniel Printz a Buchau (in 1576 and 1578) and Just Juel (in 1709) — indicated that the word "tsar" should not be translated as "emperor", because it is applied by Russians to David, Solomon and other Biblical kings, who are simple reges. r. 1605–1606), argues that the title of "tsar" is more honorable for Muscovites than "kaiser" or "king" exactly because it was God and not some earthly potentate who ordained to apply it to David, Solomon, and other kings of Israel. Samuel Collins, a court physician to Tsar Alexis in 1659–66, styled the latter "Great Emperor", commenting that "as for the word Czar, it has so near relation to Cesar... that it may well be granted to signifie Emperor. The Russians would have it to be a higher title than King, and yet they call David Czar, and our kings, Kirrols, probably from Carolus Quintus, whose history they have among them".On the other hand, Jacques Margeret, a bodyguard of False Demetrius I (
The title tsar remained in common usage, and also officially as part of various titles signifying rule over various states absorbed by the Muscovite monarchy (such as the former Tatar khanates and the Georgian Orthodox kingdom). In the 18th century, tsar was increasingly viewed as inferior to "emperor" or as highlighting the oriental side of the rank.Upon annexing Crimea in 1783, Catherine the Great adopted the hellenicized title "tsaritsa of Tauric Chersonesos", rather than "tsaritsa of the Crimea". By 1815, when Russia annexed a large part of Poland, the title had clearly come to be interpreted in Russia as the equivalent of Polish król ("king"), and the Russian emperor assumed the title "tsar of Poland".
In Central Asian and Muslim contexts the autocracy of the Russian Empire often became identified with the image of the "White Tsar" (Russian : Белый царь).
By 1894, when Nicholas II ascended the throne, the full title of the Russian rulers was
"By the grace of God Almighty, the Emperor and Supreme Autocrat of all the Russias, Tsar of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Kazan, Astrakhan, Poland, Siberia, Tauric Chersonese, and Georgia, Lord of Pskov, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Białystok, Karelia, Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria, and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Nizhny Novgorod, Chernigov; Ruler of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all northern territories; Ruler of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories; hereditary Ruler and Lord of the Cherkess and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg".
Like many lofty titles, such as mogul, tsar or czar has been used in English as a metaphor for positions of high authority since 1866 (referring to U.S. President Andrew Johnson), with a connotation of dictatorial powers and style, fitting since "autocrat" was an official title of the Russian Emperor (informally referred to as 'the tsar'). Similarly, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed was called "Czar Reed" for his dictatorial control of the House of Representatives in the 1880s and 1890s.[ citation needed ]
In the United States and in the United Kingdom, the title "czar" is a colloquial term for certain high-level civil servants, such as the "drug czar" for the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (not to be confused with a drug baron), "terrorism czar" for a presidential advisor on terrorism policy, "cybersecurity czar" for the highest-ranking Department of Homeland Security official on computer security and information security policy, and "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More specifically, a czar in the US government typically refers to a sub-cabinet-level advisor within the executive branch. One of the earliest known usages of the term was for Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was named commissioner of baseball, with broad powers to clean up the sport after it had been sullied by the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
The word emperor can mean the male absolute ruler of an empire. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother/grandmother, or a woman who rules in her own right and name. Emperors are generally recognized to be of the highest monarchic honor and rank, surpassing 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".
Notes on Muscovite Affairs (1549) was a Latin book by Baron Sigismund von Herberstein on the geography, history and customs of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy. The book was the main early source of knowledge about Russia in Western Europe.
Tsarina or tsaritsa is the title of a female autocratic ruler (monarch) of Bulgaria, Serbia or Russia, or the title of a tsar's wife. The English spelling is derived from the German czarin or zarin, in the same way as the French tsarine / czarine, and the Spanish and Italian czarina / zarina. (A tsar's daughter is a tsarevna.)
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 their praenomen. 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.
Kaloyan or Kalojan, also known as Ivan I, Ioannitsa or Johannitsa, the Romanslayer, was emperor or tsar of Bulgaria from 1196 to 1207. He was the younger brother of Theodor and Asen, who led the anti-Byzantine uprising of the Bulgarians and Vlachs in 1185. The uprising ended with the restoration of Bulgaria as an independent state. He spent a few years as a hostage in Constantinople in the late 1180s. Theodor, crowned Emperor Peter II, made him his co-ruler after Asen was murdered in 1196. A year later, Peter was also murdered, and Kaloyan became the sole ruler of Bulgaria.
Peter I was emperor (tsar) of Bulgaria from 27 May 927 to 969. Facing the Bogomil heresy and rebellions by his brothers and also by Časlav Klonimirović early on in his reign, Peter secured more success later in life; he ensured the retreat of the invading Rus by inciting Bulgaria's allies, the Pechenegs, to attack Kiev itself. Traditionally seen as a weak ruler who lost land and prestige, recent scholarship challenges this view, emphasizing the empire's affluence and internal peace. Considered a good ruler during the Middle Ages, his name was adopted by later leaders trying to restore Bulgarian independence under Byzantine rule to emphasize legitimacy and continuity.
The Asen dynasty founded and ruled a medieval Bulgarian state, called in modern historiography the Second Bulgarian Empire, between 1185 and 1280.
Knyaz, kniaz or knez is a historical Slavic title, used both as a royal and noble title in different times of history and different ancient Slavic lands. It is usually translated into English as prince or duke, depending on specific historical context and the potentially known Latin equivalents of the title for each bearer of the name. These translations probably derive from the fact that the title tsar was often treated as equivalent to "king" by European monarchs. In Latin sources the title is usually translated as princeps, but the word was originally derived from the common Germanic *kuningaz (king).
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 "monarch", referring to either a "king" or an "emperor" and also by bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. The title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, and the kings of modern Greece.
The title Emperor of the Romans was a title used by medieval and modern claimants to the position of Roman emperor. Ancient Roman emperors had only used the title Imperator (Emperor) and Augustus ("venerable") without specification because in their time there (usually) was only a single emperor.
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1422. A successor to the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Tsars Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the early 15th century.
The Byzantine–Bulgarian wars were a series of conflicts fought between the Byzantine Empire and Bulgaria which began after the Bulgars conquered parts of the Balkan peninsula after 680 AD. The Byzantine and First Bulgarian Empire continued to clash over the next century with variable success, until the Bulgarians, led by Krum, inflicted a series of crushing defeats on the Byzantines. After Krum died in 814, his son Omurtag negotiated a thirty-year peace treaty. Simeon I had multiple successful campaigns against the Byzantines during his rule from 893 to 927. His son Peter I negotiated another long-lasting peace treaty. His rule was followed by a period of decline of the Bulgarian state.
Autokrator or Autocrator is a Greek epithet applied to an individual who is unrestrained by superiors. It has been applied to military commanders-in-chief as well as Roman and Byzantine emperors as the translation of the Latin title imperator. Its connection with Byzantine-style absolutism gave rise to the modern terms autocrat and autocracy. In Modern Greek, it means "emperor", and its feminine form is autokráteira (αὐτοκράτειρα).
Between 1345 and 1371, the Serbian monarch was self-titled emperor (tsar). The full title was initially Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks, later Emperor of the Serbs, Greeks and Bulgarians in Serbian and basileus and autokrator of Serbia and Romania ["the land of the Romans"] in Greek. This title was soon enlarged into "Emperor and Autocrat of the Serbs and Greeks, the Bulgarians and Albanians". The Serbian Empire was ruled by only two monarchs; Stefan Dušan and Stefan Uroš V. Two other claimants of the title ruled in Thessaly, Central Greece.
Ivan Asen II, also known as John Asen II, was Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1218 to 1241. He was still a child when his father Ivan Asen I – one of the founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire – was killed in 1196. His supporters tried to secure the throne for him after his uncle, Kaloyan, was murdered in 1207, but Kaloyan's other nephew, Boril, overcame them. Ivan Asen fled from Bulgaria and settled in the Rus' principalities.
The Bulgarian monarchs used the titles kanasubigi, khan, knyaz and tsar (emperor). When acceding to the throne in the First and Second Bulgarian Empire the occasion was marked with a coronation, conducted by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. During the Third Bulgarian State accession was marked by an oath on the constitution.
Moscow, third Rome is a theological and political concept asserting Moscow as the successor to ancient Rome, with the Russian world carrying forward the legacy of the Roman Empire. The term "third Rome" refers to a historical topic of debate in European culture: the question of the successor city to the "first Rome" and the "second Rome".
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 multiple individuals who claimed the position simultaneously. The term is primarily used in regards to medieval European history and often refers to 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 monarch represented the legitimate Roman emperor.
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the sultans of the Ottoman Empire laid claim to be the legitimate Roman emperors, in succession to the Byzantine emperors who had previously ruled from Constantinople. Based on the concept of right of conquest, the sultans at times assumed the styles kayser-i Rûm and basileus. The assumption of the heritage of the Roman Empire also led the Ottoman sultans to claim to be universal monarchs, the rightful rulers of the entire world.
The Slavonic Bible did equate the terms "tsar" and "king"... Russian writers often compared the grand prince or tsar with any kings of the Old Testament. Several writers [argued] that it was a mistake to translate tsar as "emperor". This was important because of a widely held view in Europe that the tsar wished to claim the imperial legacy of the defunct Byzantine Empire.
The primary meaning of tsar was thus an independent ruler, with no overlord, who could be either a king of one particular nation or people, as in the Bible, or an 'emperor' ruling over several antions, such as the East Roman Emperor.
[...] Michael of Tver', after receiving the yarlyk (edict) of the Mongol Khan in 1304 as grand prince of Vladimir and Moscow sent an embassy to the Emperor Andronicos II in which he described himself as 'basileus ton Ros'.
Ivan III had occasionally, not regularly, used the title 'tsar' in letters to other rulers.
[...] White Tsar [Belyi Tsar']. This title was widely used in Russian communication with Asian or Muslim peoples during the nineteenth century and derived its attraction from its 'Asian' appeal. [...I]n late Tsarist times the expression White Tsar was perceived as a specific 'oriental' title for the Russian Tsar that was rooted in Mongolian traditions.