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An emperor (from la,
imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

imperator
, via fro, empereor) is a
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
, and usually the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...
ruler of an
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

empire
or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (
empress consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king, or an empress consort in the case of an emperor. A queen consort usually shares her spouse's social Royal and noble ranks, rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchi ...
), mother (
empress dowager Empress dowager (also dowager empress or empress mother) () is the translation of the title given to the or of an East Asian (, , , and ) emperor. The title was also given occasionally to another of the same generation, while a woman from t ...
), or a woman who rules name in her own right (
empress regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of st ...
). Emperors are generally recognized to be of the highest monarchic
honour Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...
and
rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking A ranking is a relationship between a set of items such that, for any two items, the first is either "rank ...
, surpassing
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
s. In
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
, the title of Emperor has been used since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
. The
Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may re ...
is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as "Emperor". Both emperors and kings are
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
s, but emperor and empress are considered the higher monarchical titles. In as much as there is a strict definition of emperor, it is that an emperor has no relations implying the superiority of any other ruler and typically rules over more than one nation. Therefore, a king might be obliged to pay
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
to another ruler, or be restrained in his actions in some unequal fashion, but an emperor should in theory be completely free of such restraints. However, monarchs heading empires have not always used the title in all contexts—the British sovereign did not assume the title Empress of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
even during the
incorporation of India
incorporation of India
, though she was declared
Empress of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of ...
. In
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
, the title of Emperor was used exclusively by the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
, whose imperial authority was derived from the concept of , i.e. they claimed succession to the authority of the
Western Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territori ...
s, thus linking themselves to Roman institutions and traditions as part of state ideology. Although initially ruling much of Central Europe and northern Italy, by the 19th century the Emperor exercised little power beyond the German-speaking states. Although technically an elective title, by the late 16th century the imperial title had in practice come to be inherited by the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
Archdukes of Austria This is a list of people who have ruled either the Margraviate of Austria, the Duchy of Austria or the Archduchy of Austria. From 976 until 1246, the margraviate and its successor, the duchy, was ruled by the House of Babenberg. At that time, thos ...
and following the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
their control over the states (outside the
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Monarchy (german: Habsburgermonarchie), or Danubian Monarchy (german: Donaumonarchie), or Habsburg Empire (german: Habsburgerreich) is a modern umbrella term In linguistics, hyponymy (from Greek language, Greek ὑπό, ''hupó'', "u ...

Habsburg Monarchy
, i.e.
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...
,
Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, ...
and various territories outside the empire) had become nearly non-existent. However,
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
was crowned
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foake ...
in 1804 and was shortly followed by
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II (german: Franz II.; 12 February 1768 – 2 March 1835) was the last Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the ste ...

Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
, who declared himself
Emperor of Austria The Emperor of Austria ( German: '' Kaiser von Österreich'') was the ruler of the Austrian Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A hereditary imperial title and office proclaimed in 1804 by Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, a member of th ...
in the same year. The position of Holy Roman Emperor nonetheless continued until
Francis II
Francis II
abdicated that position in 1806. In
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
, the monarchs of
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
also used to wield imperial authority as successors to the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
. Their status was officially recognized by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1514, although not officially used by the Russian monarchs until 1547. However, the Russian emperors are better known by their Russian-language title of
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
even after
Peter the Great Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈp ...

Peter the Great
adopted the title of
Emperor of All Russia The emperor or empress of all the Russias or All Russia, ''Imperator Vserossiyskiy'', ''Imperatritsa Vserossiyskaya'' (often titled Tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks ...
in 1721. Historians have liberally used emperor and empire anachronistically and out of its Roman and European context to describe any large state from the past or the present. Such pre-Roman titles as Great King or
King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known as name of Iran, Persia in Western world, the West), especially the Achae ...
, used by the Kings of Persia and others, are often considered as the equivalent. Sometimes this reference has even extended to non-monarchically ruled states and their spheres of influence such as the
Athenian Empire The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dict ...
of the late 5th century BC, the
Angevin Empire The Angevin Empire (; french: link=no, Empire Plantagenêt) describes the possessions of the Angevin kings of England The Angevins (; "from Anjou Anjou (, ; ; la, Andegavia) was a French province straddling the lower Loire River. Its ca ...

Angevin Empire
of the
Plantagenets The House of Plantagenet () was a Dynasty, royal house which originated from the lands of County of Anjou, Anjou in France. The family held the English throne from 1154 (with the accession of Henry II of England, Henry II, at the end of The An ...
and the
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
and
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
"empires" of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
era. However, such "empires" did not need to be headed by an "emperor". Empire became identified instead with vast territorial holdings rather than the title of its ruler by the mid-18th century. For purposes of protocol, emperors were once given precedence over kings in international diplomatic relations, but currently precedence amongst
heads of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
who are sovereigns—whether they be kings, queens, emperors, empresses, princes, princesses and to a lesser degree presidents—is determined by the duration of time that each one has been continuously in office. Outside the European context, emperor was the translation given to holders of titles who were accorded the same precedence as European emperors in diplomatic terms. In reciprocity, these rulers might accredit equal titles in their native languages to their European peers. Through centuries of international convention, this has become the dominant rule to identifying an emperor in the modern era.


Roman Empire and Byzantine emperors


Classical Antiquity

When Republican Rome turned into a ''de facto''
monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
in the second half of the 1st century BC, at first there was no name for the title of the new type of monarch. Ancient Romans abhorred the name Rex ("king"), and it was critical to the political order to maintain the forms and pretenses of republican rule.
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
had been
Dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
, an acknowledged and traditional office in Republican Rome. Caesar was not the
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...
to hold it, but following his assassination the term was abhorred in Rome.
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
, considered the first
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
, established his hegemony by collecting on himself offices, titles, and honours of Republican Rome that had traditionally been distributed to different people, concentrating what had been distributed power in one man. One of these offices was ''
princeps senatus The ''princeps senatus'' (plural ''principes senatus'') was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the ''cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequ ...
'', ("first man of the Senate") and became changed into Augustus' chief honorific, '' princeps civitatis'' ("first citizen") from which the modern English word and title
prince A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in so ...

prince
is descended. The first period of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, from 27 BC – AD 284, is called the ''
principate The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republ ...
'' for this reason. However, it was the informal descriptive of ''
Imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

Imperator
'' ("commander") that became the title increasingly favored by his successors. Previously bestowed on high officials and military commanders who had ''
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in t ...

imperium
'', Augustus reserved it exclusively to himself as the ultimate holder of all ''imperium''. (''Imperium'' is Latin for the authority to command, one of a various types of authority delineated in Roman political thought.) Beginning with Augustus, ''Imperator'' appeared in the title of all Roman monarchs through the extinction of the Empire in 1453. After the reign of Augustus' immediate successor
Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Tiberius
, being proclaimed ''imperator'' was transformed into the act of accession to the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
. Other honorifics used by the Roman Emperors have also come to be synonyms for Emperor: *
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
(as, for example, in
Suetonius Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (), commonly known as Suetonius ( ; c. AD 69 – after AD 122), was a Roman historianRoman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans ...

Suetonius
' '' Twelve Caesars''). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "
Kaiser ''Kaiser'' is the German word for "emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title ...

Kaiser
"; in certain
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavs, Slavic peoples or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic language, Proto- ...

Slavic languages
it became "
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
"; in Hungarian it became " Császár", and several more variants. The name derived from
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
's
cognomen A ''cognomen'' (; plural ''cognomina''; from ''con-'' "together with" and ''(g)nomen'' "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC ...
"Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the
Julio-Claudian dynasty , native_name_lang=Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles: Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of
Caesar Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, ...

Caesar Augustus
to Tsar
Simeon II of Bulgaria Simeon Borisov von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha ( bg, Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, translit=Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski, ; born 16 June 1937) is a Bulgarian politician who reigned as the last tsar of the Kingdom of Bul ...
's removal from the throne in 1946. *
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...
was the
honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It ...
first bestowed on Emperor Augustus: on his death it became an official title of his successor and all Roman emperors after him added it to their name. Although it had a high symbolic value, something like "elevated" or "sublime", it was generally not used to indicate the office of ''Emperor'' itself. Exceptions include the title of the ''
Augustan History The ''Historia Augusta'' (English: ''Augustan History'') is a late Roman collection of biographies A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, r ...
'', a semi-historical collection of Emperors' biographies of the 2nd and 3rd century. This title also proved very enduring: after the fall of the Roman Empire, the title would be incorporated into the style of the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
, a precedent set by
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
, and its Greek translation ''
Sebastos ''Sebastos'' ( grc-koi, Σεβαστός, Sebastós, Venerable One, Augustus, , plural , ''sebastoí'' ) was an honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring ...
'' continued to be used in the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
until the
Fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Cap ...
in 1453, although it gradually lost its imperial exclusivity. Augustus had (by his last will) granted the feminine form of this honorific (
Augusta Augusta may refer to: Places Australia * Augusta, Western Australia Brasil * Rua Augusta (São Paulo) Canada * Augusta, Ontario * North Augusta, Ontario * Augusta Street (Hamilton, Ontario) France * Augusta Suessionum ("Augusta of the Suessii" ...
) to his wife. Since there was no "title" of Empress(-consort) whatsoever, women of the reigning dynasty sought to be granted this honorific, as the highest attainable goal. Few were however granted the title, and it was certainly not a rule that all wives of reigning Emperors would receive it. *
Imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

Imperator
(as, for example, in
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
's ''
Naturalis Historia The ''Natural History'' ( la, Naturalis Historia) is a work by Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, ...
''). In the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
Imperator meant "(military) commander". In the late Republic, as in the early years of the new monarchy, ''Imperator'' was a title granted to Roman generals by their troops and the
Roman Senate
Roman Senate
after a great victory, roughly comparable to
field marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space force ...

field marshal
(head or commander of the entire army). For example, in AD 15
Germanicus Germanicus Julius Caesar (24 May 15 BC – 10 October AD 19) was a popular and prominent Roman general, known for his campaigns in Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: '' ...

Germanicus
was proclaimed ''Imperator'' during the reign of his adoptive father
Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Tiberius
. Soon thereafter "Imperator" became however a title reserved exclusively for the ruling monarch. This led to "Emperor" in English and, among other examples, "Empereur" in French and "Mbreti" in Albanian. The Latin feminine form Imperatrix only developed after "Imperator" had taken on the connotation of "Emperor". *
Autokrator ''Autokratōr'' ( grc-gre, αὐτοκράτωρ, autokrátōr, self-ruler", "one who rules by himself, , ; grc, αὐτοκράτορες, autokrátores, label=none, from grc, αὐτός, autós, self, label=none + grc, κράτος, krátos, ...
(Αὐτοκράτωρ) or
Basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
(βασιλεύς): although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καῖσαρ, ''Kaisar'') and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as , ''Augoustos'' or translated as , ''
Sebastos ''Sebastos'' ( grc-koi, Σεβαστός, Sebastós, Venerable One, Augustus, , plural , ''sebastoí'' ) was an honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring ...
'') these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name for the new type of monarchy, they used (''autokratōr'', only partly overlapping with the modern understanding of " autocrat") or (''
basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
'', until then the usual name for "
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'', meaning "above". The roles of a sovereign v ...

sovereign
"). ''Autokratōr'' was essentially used as a translation of the Latin ''Imperator'' in Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks ''Autokratōr'' was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin ''
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
'' concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came to mean Emperor. ''Basileus'' appears not to have been used exclusively in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal designation of the Emperor in the Greek-speaking East. The title was later applied by the rulers of various Eastern Orthodox countries claiming to be the successors of Rome/Byzantium, such as
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
,
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...
. After the turbulent
Year of the four emperors The Year of the Four Emperors, AD 69 AD 69 (Roman numerals, LXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Galba, Augus ...

Year of the four emperors
in 69, the
Flavian Dynasty The Flavian dynasty ruled the Roman Empire between AD 69 and 96, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as ...
reigned for three decades. The succeeding Nervan-Antonian Dynasty, ruling for most of the 2nd century, stabilised the Empire. This epoch became known as the era of the ''
Five Good Emperors 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era * 5 BC, the fifth year before the AD era Literature * ''5'' (visual novel), a 2008 visual novel by Ram * ''5'' (comics), an awa ...
'', and was followed by the short-lived
Severan Dynasty The Severan dynasty was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Tes ...
. During the
Crisis of the 3rd century#REDIRECT Crisis of the Third Century#REDIRECT Crisis of the Third Century {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
,
Barracks Emperor A barracks emperor (also called a "soldier emperor") was a Roman Emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...
s succeeded one another at short intervals. Three short lived secessionist attempts had their own emperors: the
Gallic Empire The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rh ...
, the Britannic Empire, and the
Palmyrene Empire The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived breakaway state from the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petraea, and Egypt ...

Palmyrene Empire
though the latter used ''rex'' more regularly. The
Principate The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republ ...
(27 BC – 284 AD) period was succeeded by what is known as the
Dominate The Dominate, also known as the late Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the "despotic Despotism ( el, Δεσποτισμός, ''despotismós'') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing ...
(284 AD – 527 AD), during which Emperor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
tried to put the Empire on a more formal footing. Diocletian sought to address the challenges of the Empire's now vast geography and the instability caused by the informality of succession by the creation of co-emperors and junior emperors. At one point, there were as many as five sharers of the ''imperium'' (see:
Tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
). In 325 AD
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine I
defeated his rivals and restored single emperor rule, but following his death the empire was divided among his sons. For a time the concept was of one empire ruled by multiple emperors with varying territory under their control, however following the death of
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
the rule was divided between his two sons and increasingly became separate entities. The areas administered from Rome are referred to by historians the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
and those under the immediate authority of Constantinople called the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
or (after the
Battle of Yarmouk The Battle of the Yarmuk (also spelled Yarmouk) was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, ne ...

Battle of Yarmouk
in 636 AD) the
Later Roman or Byzantine Empire
Later Roman or Byzantine Empire
. The subdivisions and co-emperor system were formally abolished by Emperor Zeno in 480 AD following the death of
Julius Nepos Julius Nepos (died 9 May 480), also known as just Nepos, ruled as Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basi ...

Julius Nepos
last Western Emperor and the ascension of
Odoacer Flavius Odoacer ( ; – 493 AD), also spelled Odovacer or Odovacar ( grc, Ὀδόακρος, translit=Odóakros), was a soldier and statesman of Barbarian kingdoms, barbarian background, who deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustulus and bec ...

Odoacer
as the ''de facto'' King of Italy in 476 AD.


Byzantine period


Before the 4th Crusade

Historians generally refer to the continuing Roman Empire in the east as the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
after
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
, the original name of the town that
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine I
would elevate to the Imperial capital as
New Rome New Rome (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately ...
in AD 330. (The city is more commonly called
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
and is today named
Istanbul ) , postal_code_type = Postal code A postal code (also known locally in various English-speaking countries throughout the world as a postcode, post code, PIN or ZIP Code) is a series of letters or digits or both, sometimes ...

Istanbul
). Although the empire was again subdivided and a co-emperor sent to Italy at the end of the fourth century, the office became unitary again only 95 years later at the request of the
Roman Senate
Roman Senate
and following the death of
Julius Nepos Julius Nepos (died 9 May 480), also known as just Nepos, ruled as Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basi ...

Julius Nepos
, last Western Emperor. This change was a recognition of the reality that little remained of Imperial authority in the areas that had been the Western Empire, with even Rome and Italy itself now ruled by the essentially autonomous
Odoacer Flavius Odoacer ( ; – 493 AD), also spelled Odovacer or Odovacar ( grc, Ὀδόακρος, translit=Odóakros), was a soldier and statesman of Barbarian kingdoms, barbarian background, who deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustulus and bec ...

Odoacer
. These Later Roman "Byzantine" Emperors completed the transition from the idea of the Emperor as a semi-republican official to the Emperor as an
absolute monarch Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. ...
. Of particular note was the translation of the Latin ''Imperator'' into the Greek ''
Basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic quali ...
'', after Emperor
Heraclius Heraclius ( el, Ἡράκλειος, ''Hērakleios''; c. 575 – 11 February 641), sometimes called Heraclius I, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinop ...
changed the official language of the empire from Latin to Greek in AD 620. Basileus, a title which had long been used for
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
was already in common usage as the Greek word for the Roman emperor, but its definition and sense was "King" in Greek, essentially equivalent with the Latin ''Rex''. Byzantine period emperors also used the Greek word "autokrator", meaning "one who rules himself", or "monarch", which was traditionally used by Greek writers to translate the Latin ''
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
''. Essentially, the Greek language did not incorporate the nuances of the Ancient Roman concepts that distinguished ''imperium'' from other forms of political power. In general usage, the Byzantine imperial title evolved from simply "emperor" (''basileus''), to "emperor of the Romans" (''basileus tōn Rōmaiōn'') in the 9th century, to "emperor and autocrat of the Romans" (''basileus kai autokratōr tōn Rōmaiōn'') in the 10th. In fact, none of these (and other) additional epithets and titles had ever been completely discarded. One important distinction between the post Constantine I (reigned AD 306–337) emperors and their pagan predecessors was cesaropapism, the assertion that the Emperor (or other head of state) is also the head of the Church. Although this principle was held by all emperors after Constantine, it met with increasing resistance and ultimately rejection by bishops in the west after the effective end of Imperial power there. This concept became a key element of the meaning of "emperor" in the Byzantine and Orthodox east, but went out of favor in the west with the rise of
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
. The Byzantine Empire also produced three women who effectively governed the state: the Empress
Irene Irene is a name derived from εἰρήνη (eirēnē), the Greek for "peace". See Irene (given name) Irene (Greek: Ειρήνη- ''Eirēnē''), sometimes written Irini, is derived from εἰρήνη, the Greek language, Greek word for "peace". Eiren ...
and the Empresses Zoe and Theodora.


Latin emperors

In 1204 Constantinople fell to the
Venetians Venetian often means from or related to: * Venice, a city in Italy * Veneto, a region of Italy * Republic of Venice (697–1797), a historical nation in that area Venetian and the like may also refer to: * Venetian language, a Romance language sp ...
and the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
in the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Roman Catholic Church, Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Islam, Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first defeating th ...
. Following the tragedy of the horrific
sacking
sacking
of the city, the conquerors declared a new "Empire of Romania", known to historians as the
Latin Empire of Constantinople The Latin Empire, also referred to as the Latin Empire of Constantinople, was a feudal Crusader states, Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. The Latin Empire was intended to repl ...
, installing
Baldwin IX Baldwin I ( nl, Boudewijn; french: Baudouin; July 1172 – ) was the first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome ...

Baldwin IX
,
Count of Flanders The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders The County of Flanders ( nl, Graafschap Vlaanderen; vls, Groafschap Vloandern; french: Comté de Flandre) was a historic territory in the Low Countries The term Lo ...
, as Emperor. However, Byzantine resistance to the new empire meant that it was in constant struggle to establish itself. Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos succeeded in recapturing Constantinople in 1261. The
Principality of Achaea The Principality of Achaea () or Principality of Morea The Morea ( el, Μορέας or ) was the name of the Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula ...
, a vassal state the empire had created in
Morea The Morea ( el, Μορέας or ) was the name of the Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in sou ...

Morea
(Greece) intermittently continued to recognize the authority of the crusader emperors for another half century. Pretenders to the title continued among the European nobility until circa 1383.


After the 4th Crusade

With Constantinople occupied, claimants to the imperial succession styled themselves as emperor in the chief centers of resistance: The Laskarid dynasty in the
Empire of Nicaea The Empire of Nicaea or the Nicene Empire is the conventional historiographic name for the largest of the three Byzantine Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek (mod ...

Empire of Nicaea
, the Komnenid dynasty in the
Empire of Trebizond The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: ...
and the Doukid dynasty in the
Despotate of Epirus Despot or ''despotes'' ( el, δεσπότης, despótēs, "lord", "master") was a senior Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern ...
. In 1248, Epirus recognized the Nicaean Emperors, who subsequently recaptured Constantinople in 1261. The Trapezuntine emperor formally submitted in Constantinople in 1281, but frequently flouted convention by styling themselves emperor back in Trebizond thereafter.


Holy Roman Empire

The ''Emperor'' of the Romans' title was a reflection of the ''
translatio imperii ''Translatio imperii'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

translatio imperii
'' (''transfer of rule'') principle that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
, despite the continued existence of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
in the east, hence the
problem of two emperors The problem of two emperors or two-emperors-problem (deriving from the German language, German term ''Zweikaiserproblem'')The term was introduced in the first major treatise on the issue, by W. Ohnsorge, cf. . is the historiographical term for the ...
. From the time of
Otto the Great Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (german: Otto der Große, it, Ottone il Grande), was German king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of ...

Otto the Great
onward, much of the former
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
kingdom of
Eastern Francia East Francia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
became the Holy Roman Empire. The
prince-elector The prince-electors (german: Kurfürst pl. , cz, Kurfiřt, la, Princeps Elector), or electors for short, were the members of the that elected the of the . From the 13th century onwards, the prince-electors had the privilege of who would ...
s elected one of their peers as
King of the Romans King of the Romans ( la, Rex Romanorum; german: König der Römer) was the title used by the German king following his election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple i ...
and
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...
before being crowned by the
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
. The Emperor could also pursue the election of his heir (usually a son) as King, who would then succeed him after his death. This junior King then bore the title of Roman King (King of the Romans). Although technically already ruling, after the election he would be crowned as emperor by the Pope. The last emperor to be crowned by the pope was
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...

Charles V
; all emperors after him were technically ''emperors-elect'', but were universally referred to as ''Emperor''. The Holy Roman Emperor was considered the first among those in power. He was also the first defender of Christianity. From 1452 to the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 (except in the years 1742 to 1745) only members of the
House of Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...
were Holy Roman Emperors.
Karl von Habsburg Karl von Habsburg (given names: ''Karl Thomas Robert Maria Franziskus Georg Bahnam''; born 11 January 1961) is an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no ...
is currently the head of the House of Habsburg.


Austrian Empire

The first Austrian Emperor was the last Holy Roman Emperor, Franz II. In the face of aggressions by
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
, Francis feared for the future of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. He wished to maintain his and his family's Imperial status in the event that the Holy Roman Empire should be dissolved, as it indeed was in 1806 when an Austrian-led army suffered a humiliating defeat at the
Battle of Austerlitz The Battle of Austerlitz (2 December 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV French Republican Calendar, FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regard ...

Battle of Austerlitz
. After which, the victorious Napoleon proceeded to dismantle the old ''Reich'' by severing a good portion from the empire and turning it into a separate
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common act ...
. With the size of his imperial realm significantly reduced, Francis II, ''Holy Roman Emperor'' became Francis I, ''Emperor of Austria''. The new imperial title may have sounded less prestigious than the old one, but Francis'
dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press of the University of Oxford. It is the larges ...
continued to rule from Austria and a Habsburg monarch was still an emperor (''Kaiser''), and not just merely a king (''König''), in name. According to the historian Friedrich Heer, the Austrian Habsburg emperor remained an "auctoritas" of a special kind. He was "the grandson of the Caesars", he remained the patron of the Holy Church. The title lasted just a little over one century until 1918, but it was never clear what territory constituted the "
Empire of Austria The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central European multinational state, multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the Habsburg Monarchy, realms of the Habsburgs. Dur ...
". When Francis took the title in 1804, the Habsburg lands as a whole were dubbed the ''Kaisertum Österreich''. ''Kaisertum'' might literally be translated as "emperordom" (on analogy with "kingdom") or "emperor-ship"; the term denotes specifically "the territory ruled by an emperor", and is thus somewhat more general than
Reich ''Reich'' (; , English: ''Riche'') is a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nati ...

Reich
, which in 1804 carried connotations of universal rule. Austria proper (as opposed to the complex of Habsburg lands as a whole) had been part of the
Archduchy of Austria Archduke (feminine: Archduchess; German: ''Erzherzog'', feminine form: ''Erzherzogin'') was the title borne from 1358 by the Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de ...
since the 15th century, and most of the other territories of the Empire had their own institutions and territorial history. There were some attempts at centralization, especially during the reign of
Maria Theresa Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (german: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was the ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy, Habsburg dominions from 1740 until her death in 1780, and the only woman to hold the position. She was th ...
and her son
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II (German: ''Josef Benedikt Anton Michael Adam''; English: ''Joseph Benedict Anthony Michael Adam''; 13 March 1741 – 20 February 1790) was Holy Roman Emperor from August 1765 and sole ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy, Habsburg lands from ...

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
. These efforts were finalized in the early 19th century. When the
Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen The internal official name "Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen" ( hu, "a Szent Korona Országai") denominated the Hungarian territories of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monar ...
(Hungary) were given self-government in 1867, the non-Hungarian portions were called the Empire of Austria. They were officially known as the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council (''Reichsrat'')". The title of Emperor of Austria and the associated Empire were both abolished at the end
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
in 1918, when
German Austria The Republic of German-Austria (german: Republik Deutschösterreich or ) was a country created following World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war originating in Europe that last ...
became a
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
and the other kingdoms and lands represented in the Imperial Council established their independence or adhesion to other states. The ''Kaisers'' of the Austrian Empire (1804–1918) were
Franz I
Franz I
(1804–1835),
Ferdinand IFerdinand I or Fernando I may refer to: People * Ferdinand I of León, ''the Great'' (ca. 1000–1065, king from 1037) * Ferdinand I of Portugal and the Algarve, ''the Handsome'' (1345–1383, king from 1367) * Ferdinand I of Aragon and Sicily, ''of ...

Ferdinand I
(1835–1848),
Franz Joseph I en, Francis Joseph Charles , mother = Princess Sophie of Bavaria Princess Sophie of Bavaria (Sophie Friederike Dorothea Wilhelmine; 27 January 1805 – 28 May 1872) was born to King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and his second wife Ca ...

Franz Joseph I
(1848–1916) and
Karl I
Karl I
(1916–1918). The current head of the House of Habsburg is
Karl von Habsburg Karl von Habsburg (given names: ''Karl Thomas Robert Maria Franziskus Georg Bahnam''; born 11 January 1961) is an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no ...
.


Emperors of Europe

Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
's close cultural and political interaction with its Balkan neighbors
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, and with Russia (Kievan Rus', then Muscovy) led to the adoption of Byzantine imperial traditions in all of these countries.


Bulgaria

In 913,
Simeon I of Bulgaria Tsar Simeon (also Symeon) I the Great ( cu, цѣсар҄ь Сѷмеѡ́нъ А҃ Вели́къ, cěsarĭ Sỳmeonŭ prĭvŭ Velikŭ bg, цар Симеон I Велики, Simeon I Veliki el, Συμεών Αʹ ὁ Μέγας, Sumeṓn prôto ...
was crowned Emperor (
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
) by the
Patriarch of Constantinople The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...
and Imperial regent
Nicholas Mystikos Nicholas I Mystikos or Nicholas I Mysticus ( el, Νικόλαος Α΄ Μυστικός, ''Nikolaos I Mystikos''; 852 – 11 May 925) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Π ...

Nicholas Mystikos
outside the Byzantine capital. In its final simplified form, the title read "Emperor and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Greeks" (''Tsar i samodarzhets na vsichki balgari i gartsi'' in the modern vernacular). The Roman component in the Bulgarian imperial title indicated both rulership over Greek speakers and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans, however this component was never recognised by the Byzantine court. Byzantine recognition of Simeon's imperial title was revoked by the succeeding Byzantine government. The decade 914–924 was spent in destructive warfare between Byzantium and Bulgaria over this and other matters of conflict. The Bulgarian monarch, who had further irritated his Byzantine counterpart by claiming the title "Emperor of the Romans" (''basileus tōn Rōmaiōn''), was eventually recognized, as "Emperor of the Bulgarians" (''basileus tōn Boulgarōn'') by the Byzantine Emperor Romanos I Lakapenos in 924. Byzantine recognition of the imperial dignity of the Bulgarian monarch and the patriarchal dignity of the Bulgarian patriarch was again confirmed at the conclusion of permanent peace and a Bulgarian-Byzantine dynastic marriage in 927. In the meantime, the Bulgarian imperial title may have been also confirmed by the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
. The Bulgarian imperial title "tsar" was adopted by all Bulgarian monarchs up to the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. 14th-century Bulgarian literary compositions clearly denote the Bulgarian capital (
Tarnovo Veliko Tarnovo ( bg, Велико Търново, Veliko Tǎrnovo, ; "Great Tarnovo") is a town in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred as the "''City of the Tsars''", Veliko Tarnovo ...

Tarnovo
) as a successor of Rome and
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
, in effect, the "Third Rome". After Bulgaria obtained full independence from the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in 1908, its monarch, who was previously styled ''Knyaz'', rince took the traditional title of ''Tsar''
ing Ing, ING or ing may refer to: Art and media * ''...ing'', a 2003 Korean film * i.n.g, a Taiwanese girl group * The Ing, a race of dark creatures in the 2004 video game ''Metroid Prime 2: Echoes'' * "Ing", the first song on The Roches' 1992 al ...

ing
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Simeon Borisov von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha ( bg, Симеон Борисов Сакскобургготски, translit=Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski, ; born 16 June 1937) is a Bulgarian politician who reigned as the last tsar of the Kingdom of Bul ...
is the former Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria.


France

The kings of the ''
Ancien Régime The Ancien Régime (; ; literally "old rule"), also known as the Old Regime was the political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms o ...
'' and the
July Monarchy The July Monarchy (french: Monarchie de juillet, officially the Kingdom of France, french: Royaume de France) was a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberal ...
used the title ''Empereur de France'' in diplomatic correspondence and treaties with the
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
emperor from at least 1673 onwards. The Ottomans insisted on this elevated style while refusing to recognize the Holy Roman Emperors or the Russian tsars because of their rival claims of the
Roman crown
Roman crown
. In short, it was an indirect insult by the Ottomans to the HRE and the Russians. The French kings also used it for
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
(1682) and
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
(1715).


First French Empire

Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
, who was already First Consul of the French Republic (''Premier Consul de la République française'') for life, declared himself
Emperor of the French Emperor of the French (French: ''Empereur des Français'') was the title of the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foake ...
(''Empereur des Français'') on 18 May 1804, thus creating the
French Empire#REDIRECT French Empire {{Redirect shell , {{R from ambiguous page {{R from other capitalisation ...
(''Empire Français''). Napoleon relinquished the title of Emperor of the French on 6 April and again on 11 April 1814. Napoleon's infant son,
Napoleon II , house = House of Bonaparte, Bonaparte , father = Napoleon, Napoleon I , mother = Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, Marie Louise of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Tuileries P ...

Napoleon II
, was recognized by the Council of Peers, as Emperor from the moment of his father's abdication, and therefore reigned (as opposed to ruled) as Emperor for fifteen days, 22 June to 7 July 1815.


Elba

Since 3 May 1814, the Sovereign Principality of
Elba Elba ( it, isola d'Elba, ; la, Ilva; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...

Elba
was created a miniature non-hereditary Monarchy under the exiled French Emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon I was allowed, by the treaty of Fontainebleau (27 April), to enjoy, for life, the imperial title. The islands were ''not'' restyled an empire. On 26 February 1815, Napoleon abandoned Elba for France, reviving the French Empire for a
Hundred Days The Hundred Days (french: les Cent-Jours ), also known as the War of the Seventh Coalition, marked the period between Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose ...
; the Allies declared an end to Napoleon's sovereignty over Elba on 25 March 1815, and on 31 March 1815 Elba was ceded to the restored
Grand Duchy of Tuscany The Grand Duchy of Tuscany ( it, Granducato di Toscana; la, Magnus Ducatus Etruriae) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of t ...
by the Congress of Vienna. After his final defeat, Napoleon was treated as a general by the British authorities during his second exile to Atlantic Isle of
St. Helena Saint Helena () is a British possession in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote volcanic tropical island west of the coast of south-western Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro in South America. It is one of three constituent parts of the ...

St. Helena
. His title was a matter of dispute with the governor of St Helena, who insisted on addressing him as "General Bonaparte", despite the "historical reality that he had been an emperor" and therefore retained the title.


Second French Empire

Napoleon I's nephew,
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is t ...

Napoleon III
, resurrected the title of emperor on 2 December 1852, after establishing the
Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire, ), was the 18-year Imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, Cali ...

Second French Empire
in a presidential coup, subsequently approved by a plebiscite. His reign was marked by large scale public works, the development of social policy, and the extension of France's influence throughout the world. During his reign, he also set about creating the
Second Mexican Empire ) , s1 = Restored Republic (Mexico)Restored Republic , flag_s1 = Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg , image_flag = Bandera del Segundo Imperio Mexicano (1864-1867).svg , flag = ...
(headed by his choice of
Maximilian I of Mexico Maximilian I (''german: Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph Maria von Habsburg-Lothringen'', es, Fernando Maximiliano José María de Habsburgo-Lorena; 6 July 1832 – 19 June 1867) was an Austrian archduke who reigned as the only Emperor An empe ...
, a member of the
House of Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...
), to regain France's hold in the Americas and to achieve greatness for the 'Latin' race. Napoleon III was deposed on 4 September 1870, after France's defeat in the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire ...
. The Third Republic followed and after the death of his son Napoleon (IV), in 1879 during the Zulu War, the Bonapartist movement split, and the Third Republic was to last until 1940. The role of head of the House of Bonaparte is claimed by Jean-Christophe Napoléon and Charles Napoléon.


Iberian Peninsula


Spain

The origin of the title ''
Imperator totius Hispaniae is a Latin title meaning "Emperor of All Spain". In Spain in the Middle Ages, the title "emperor" (from Latin ''imperator'') was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practi ...
'' (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
for ''Emperor of All
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
'') is murky. It was associated with the Leonese monarchy perhaps as far back as Alfonso the Great (''r.'' 866–910). The last two kings of its
Astur-Leonese dynasty The Asturian or Astur-Leonese dynasty (Spanish ''dinastía asturiana'' or ''astur-leonesa''), known in Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international ...
were called emperors in a contemporary source. King
Sancho III of Navarre Sancho Garcés III ( 992-996 – 18 October 1035), also known as Sancho the Great ( es, Sancho el Mayor, eu, Antso Gartzez Nagusia), was the King of Pamplona from 1004 until his death in 1035. He also ruled the County of Aragon and by marriage ...

Sancho III of Navarre
conquered Leon in 1034 and began using it. His son,
Ferdinand I of Castile Ferdinand is a Germanic name composed of the elements ''frith'' "protection", ''frið'' "peace" (PIE ''pri'' to love, to make peace) or alternatively ''farð'' "journey, travel", Proto-Germanic *farthi, abstract noun from root *far- "to fare, t ...

Ferdinand I of Castile
also took the title in 1039. Ferdinand's son,
Alfonso VI of León and Castile Alfonso VI (1 July 1109), nicknamed the Brave (El Bravo) or the Valiant, was king of León (10651072) and of Galicia (10711109), and then king of the reunited Castile and León (10721109). After the conquest of Toledo Toledo most commonly refers t ...
took the title in 1077. It then passed to his son-in-law,
Alfonso I of Aragon Alfonso I (''c''. 1073/10747 September 1134), called the Battler or the Warrior ( es, el Batallador), was the king of Aragon and Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ; oc, Navarra ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ...
in 1109. His stepson and Alfonso VI's grandson,
Alfonso VII Alphons (Latinized ''Alphonsus'', ''Adelphonsus'', or ''Adefonsus'') is a male given name recorded from the 8th century ( Alfonso I of Asturias, r. 739-757) in the Christian successor states of the Visigothic kingdom in the Iberian peninsula. ...

Alfonso VII
was the only one who actually had an imperial coronation in 1135. The title was not exactly hereditary but self-proclaimed by those who had, wholly or partially, united the Christian northern part of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian Peninsula
, often at the expense of killing rival siblings. The popes and Holy Roman emperors protested at the usage of the imperial title as a usurpation of leadership in western Christendom. After Alfonso VII's death in 1157, the title was abandoned, and the kings who used it are not commonly mentioned as having been "emperors", in Spanish or other historiography. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the legitimate heir to the throne,
Andreas Palaiologos Andreas Palaiologos or Palaeologus ( el, Ἀνδρέας Παλαιολόγος; 17 January 1453 – June 1502), sometimes anglicized to Andrew, was the eldest son of Thomas Palaiologos, Despot of the Morea. Thomas was a brother of Constantine XI P ...
, willed away his claim to
Ferdinand and Isabella The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, whose marriage and joint rule marked the ''de facto'' unification of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , ...
in 1503.


Portugal

After the independence and proclamation of the
Empire of Brazil The Empire of Brazil was a 19th-century state that broadly comprised the territories which form modern Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South Americ ...
from the
Kingdom of Portugal The Kingdom of Portugal ( la, Regnum Portugalliae, pt, Reino de Portugal) was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Hou ...
by Prince Pedro, who became Emperor, in 1822, his father, King
John VI of Portugal , house = Braganza , father = Pedro III of Portugal , mother = Maria I of Portugal , birth_date = , birth_place = Queluz Palace, Queluz, Portugal , death_date = , death_place = Bemposta Palace, Lisbon, Portugal ...
briefly held the honorific style of Titular
Emperor of Brazil The monarchs of Brazil ( Portuguese: ''monarcas do Brasil'') were the imperial heads of state and hereditary rulers of Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in bot ...
and the treatment of ''His Imperial and Royal Majesty'' under the 1825 Treaty of Rio de Janeiro, by which Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil. The style of Titular Emperor was a life title, and became extinct upon the holder's demise. John VI held the imperial title for a few months only, from the ratification of the Treaty in November 1825 until his death in March 1826. During those months, however, as John's imperial title was purely honorific while his son, Pedro I, remained the sole monarch of the Brazilian Empire. Today
Duarte Pio
Duarte Pio
is the head of the Braganza family.


Great Britain

In the late 3rd century, by the end of the epoch of the ''barracks emperors'' in Rome, there were two Britannic Emperors, reigning for about a decade. After the
end of Roman rule in Britain The end of Roman rule in Britain was the transition from Roman Britain Roman Britain is the period in classical antiquity when large parts of the island of Great Britain were under Roman conquest of Britain, occupation by the Roman Empire ...
, the Imperator
Cunedda Cunedda ap Edern, also called Cunedda ''Wledig'' ( 5th century), was an important early Welsh leader, and the progenitor of the royal dynasty of Gwynedd Gwynedd (; ) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for adm ...
forged the
Kingdom of Gwynedd The Kingdom of Gwynedd (Medieval Latin Medieval Latin was the form of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication ( ...
in northern Wales, but all his successors were titled kings and princes.


England

There was no consistent title for the king of England before 1066, and monarchs chose to style themselves as they pleased. Imperial titles were used inconsistently, beginning with
Athelstan
Athelstan
in 930 and ended with the
Norman conquest of England The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to ...
.
Empress Matilda Empress Matilda ( 7 February 110210 September 1167), also known as the Empress Maude, was one of the claimants to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy The Anarchy was a civil war A civil war, also known ...

Empress Matilda
(1102–1167) is the only English monarch commonly referred to as "emperor" or "empress", but she acquired her title through her marriage to
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (german: Heinrich V.; 1081 or 1086 (probably on 11 August) – 23 May 1125, in Utrecht), was King of Germany (from 1099 to 1125) and Holy Roman Emperor (from 1111 to 1125), as the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. He was made ...

Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
. During the rule of
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
the
Statute in Restraint of Appeals The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 (24 Hen 8 c 12), also called the Statute in Restraint of Appeals, the Act of Appeals and The Act of Restraints in Appeals, was an Act of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislatu ...
declared that 'this realm of England is an Empire...governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the
imperial Crown
imperial Crown
of the same'. This was in the context of the divorce of
Catherine of Aragon Catherine of Aragon (; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533. She was previously Princess of Wales as the ...

Catherine of Aragon
and the
English Reformation The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformati ...
, to emphasize that England had never accepted the quasi-imperial claims of the papacy. Hence England and, by extension its modern successor state, the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
, is according to English law an Empire ruled by a King endowed with the imperial dignity. However, this has not led to the creation of the ''title'' of Emperor in England, nor in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
, nor in the United Kingdom.


United Kingdom

In 1801,
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on th ...

George III
rejected the title of Emperor when offered. The only period when British monarchs held the title of ''Emperor'' in a dynastic succession started when the title
Empress of India Emperor or Empress of India, was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British India The provinces of India, earlier presidencies of ...
was created for
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of En ...

Queen Victoria
. The government led by
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
Benjamin Disraeli Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government ...
, conferred the additional title upon her by an Act of Parliament, reputedly to assuage the monarch's irritation at being, as a mere Queen, notionally inferior to the emperors of Russia, Prussia and Austria. That included her own daughter (
Princess Victoria
Princess Victoria
, who was the wife of the reigning German Emperor). Hence, "Queen Victoria felt handicapped in the battle of protocol by not being an Empress herself". The Indian Imperial designation was also formally justified as the expression of Britain succeeding the former
Mughal Emperor The Mughal (or Moghul) emperors built and ruled the Mughal Empire The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, ...
as
suzerain Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity controls the foreign policy and relations of a tributary state, while allowing the tributary state to have internal autonomy. The dominant state is called the "suzerain." Suzeraint ...
over hundreds of
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the East India Company and af ...
s. The
Indian Independence Act 1947 The 1947 Indian Independence Act 947 c. 30 (10 & 11. Geo. 6.)is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: ...
provided for the abolition of the use of the title "
Emperor of India Emperor or Empress of India was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British Raj, British India, as its imperial head of state. Royal Procl ...
" by the
British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents A precedent is a principle or rule established ...
, but this was not executed by
King George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last Emp ...
until a
royal proclamation A proclamation (Lat. ''proclamare'', to make public by announcement) is an official declaration issued by a person of authority to make certain announcements known. Proclamations are currently used within the governing framework of some nations ...
on 22 June 1948. Despite this, George VI continued as king of India until 1950 and as king of Pakistan until his death in 1952. The last Empress of India was George VI's wife,
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A const ...

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
.


German Empire

Under the guise of idealism giving way to realism, German nationalism rapidly shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848 to
Prussian Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 1525 with Duchy of Prussia, a duchy centered on the Prussia (region), region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Balt ...
prime minister
Otto von Bismarck Otto, Prince of Bismarck, Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen, Duke of Lauenburg (german: Otto Fürst von Bismarck, Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen, Herzog zu Lauenburg ; 1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898), born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, was a c ...

Otto von Bismarck
's authoritarian ''
Realpolitik ''Realpolitik'' (; ) is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical app ...
''. Bismarck wanted to unify the rival German states to achieve his aim of a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to convince German people to do this: the
Second war of Schleswig The Second Schleswig War ( da, 2. Slesvigske Krig; german: Deutsch-Dänischer Krieg) was the second military conflict over the Schleswig-Holstein Question of the nineteenth century. The war began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian and Austrian fo ...
against Denmark in 1864, the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
against
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...
in 1866, and the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire ...
against the
Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire, ), was the 18-year Imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, Cali ...

Second French Empire
in 1870–71. During the Siege of Paris in 1871, the
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of ...
, supported by its allies from
southern Germany Southern Germany () as a region has no exact boundary but is generally taken to include the areas in which Upper German Upper German ( German: ) is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in the southern German-speaking area (). Fa ...
, formed the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
with the proclamation of the Prussian king
Wilhelm I , signature = Wilhelm_I,_German_Emperor_Signature.svg , religion = Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German Protestant Reformers, r ...

Wilhelm I
as German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at the
Palace of Versailles The Palace of Versailles ( ; french: Château de Versailles ) is a former royal residence located in Versailles, about west of Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, mo ...

Palace of Versailles
, to the humiliation of the French, who ceased to resist only days later. After his death he was succeeded by his son
Frederick IIIFrederick III may refer to: * Frederick III, Duke of Upper Lorraine (died 1033) * Frederick III, Duke of Swabia (1122–1190) * Friedrich III, Burgrave of Nuremberg (1220–1297) * Frederick III, Duke of Lorraine (1240–1302) * Frederick III of Sici ...
who was only emperor for 99 days. In the same year his son
Wilhelm II Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 18594 June 1941), anglicised as William II, was the last German Emperor (german: Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until Abdication of Wilhelm II, his abdication on Nove ...
became the third emperor within a year. He was the last German emperor. After the empire's defeat in World War I the empire, called the
German Reich ''German Reich'' (german: Deutsches Reich, ) was the constitutional name for the German nation state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social b ...
, had a president as head of state instead of an emperor. The use of the word ''Reich'' was abandoned following
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
.


Russia

In 1472, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor,
Sophia Palaiologina Zoe Palaiologina ( grc-x-byzant, Ζωή Παλαιολογίνα), who later changed her name to Sophia Palaiologina (russian: София Фоминична Палеолог; ca. 1449 – 7 April 1503), was a Byzantine princess, member of the ...
, married
Ivan III Ivan III Vasilyevich (russian: Иван III Васильевич; 22 January 1440, Moscow – 27 October 1505, Moscow), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Duchy of Moscow, Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Names of Rus', Russ ...

Ivan III
, grand prince of Moscow, who began championing the idea of Russia being the successor to the Byzantine Empire. This idea was represented more emphatically in the composition the monk Filofej addressed to their son
Vasili III Vasili III Ivanovich (russian: Василий III Иванович, 25 March 14793 December 1533) was the Grand Prince of Moscow This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia. It includes the princes of medieval Rus′ ...

Vasili III
. In 1480, after ending Muscovy's dependence on its overlords of the
Great Horde The Great Horde (''Uluğ Orda'') was a rump state of the Golden Horde that existed from 1459/1466 to 1502. Dissolution of the Golden Horde Küchük Muhammad was succeeded by his son Mahmud bin Küchük in 1459, from which point on the Golden ...

Great Horde
, Ivan III began the usage of the titles
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
and Autocrat (''samoderzhets''). His insistence on recognition as such by the emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
since 1489 resulted in the granting of this recognition in 1514 by Emperor
Maximilian IMaximilian I may refer to: *Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, reigned 1486/93–1519 *Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, reigned 1597–1651 *Maximilian I, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1636-1689) *Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, reigned 1795– ...

Maximilian I
to Vasili III. His son
Ivan IV Ivan IV Vasilyevich (russian: Ива́н Васильевич; 25 August 1530 – ), commonly known in English language, English as Ivan the Terrible (from , Romanization of Russian, romanized: , Literal translation, lit. "Ivan the Formidable ...
emphatically crowned himself
Tsar of Russia This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia The history of Russia begins with the histories of the East Slavs The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking the East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of ...
on 16 January 1547. The word "Tsar" derives from Latin
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
, but this title was used in Russia as equivalent to "King"; the error occurred when medieval Russian clerics referred to the biblical Jewish kings with the same title that was used to designate Roman and Byzantine rulers — "Caesar". On 31 October 1721,
Peter IPeter I may refer to: Religious hierarchs * Saint Peter (c. 1 AD – c. 64–88 AD), a.k.a. Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simon, apostle of Jesus * Pope Peter I of Alexandria (died 311), revered as a saint * Peter I of Armenia (died 1058), Catholicos o ...

Peter I
was proclaimed Emperor by the
Governing Senate The Governing Senate (Правительствующий сенат, ''Pravitelstvuyushchiy Senat'') was a legislative, judicial, and executive body of the Russian Emperors, instituted by Peter the Great to replace the Boyar Duma A duma (ду ...
. The title used was Latin "''Imperator''", which is a westernizing form equivalent to the traditional Slavic title "''Tsar''". He based his claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from Maximilian I to Vasili III, in which the Holy Roman Emperor used the term in referring to Vasili. A formal address to the ruling Russian monarch adopted thereafter was 'Your Imperial Majesty'. The crown prince was addressed as 'Your Imperial Highness'. The title has not been used in Russia since the abdication of Emperor
Nicholas II Nicholas II or Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov . ( 186817 July 1918), known in the Russian Orthodox Church as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer, . was the last Emperor of All Russia, ruling from 1 November 1894 until Abdication of Nicholas II ...

Nicholas II
on 15 March 1917. The
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. ...
produced four reigning Empresses, all in the eighteenth century. The role of head of the
House of Romanov The House of Romanov (also transcribed Romanoff; rus, Рома́новы, Románovy, rɐˈmanəvɨ) was the reigning imperial house of Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country s ...
is claimed by
Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia (russian: Мари́я Влади́мировна Рома́нова; born 23 December 1953) has been a claimant to the headship of the Imperial Family of Russia (who reigned as Emperor of All Russia, Em ...
(Great-great-granddaughter of
Alexander II of Russia Alexander II ( rus, Алекса́ндр II Никола́евич, r=Aleksandr II Nikolayevich, p=ɐlʲɪˈksandr ftɐˈroj nʲɪkɐˈlajɪvʲɪtɕ; 29 April 181813 March 1881) was the Emperor of Russia The emperor or empress of all the ...

Alexander II of Russia
),
Prince Andrew Romanoff Prince Andrew Romanoff (born Andrew Andreevich Romanov; 21 January 1923) is a Russian American artist and author. He is a grand-nephew of Russia's last Emperor of Russia, Tsar, Nicholas II of Russia, Nicholas II. He is a great-great-grandson in t ...
(great-great-grandson of
Nicholas I of Russia , house = Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov The House of Romanov (also transcribed Romanoff; rus, Рома́новы, Románovy, rɐˈmanəvɨ) was the reigning dynasty, imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Romanovs achieved prom ...

Nicholas I of Russia
), and
Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen , era name = , era dates = , regnal name = , posthumous name= , temple name = , house = Leiningen Romanov , house-type = , father = Emich, 7th Prince of Leiningen , mother = Duchess ...
(Great-grandson of
Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia Grand may refer to: People with the name * Grand (surname)Grand * Cedric Grand (born 1976), Swiss bobsledder * Gil Grand (born 1968), Canadian country music singer * Jean-Pierre Grand (born 1950), French politician * Pascale Grand (born 1967), C ...
).


Serbia

In 1345, the Serbian King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself Emperor (
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
) and was crowned as such at
Skopje Skopje ( , , ; mk, Скопје ; sq, Shkup) is the capital and List of cities in North Macedonia by population, largest city of North Macedonia. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. The territory of S ...

Skopje
on
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
1346 by the newly created
Serbian Patriarch This article lists the heads of the Serbian Orthodox Church, since the establishment of the church as an autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchical ...
, and by the Patriarch of Bulgaria and the autocephalous Archbishop of Ohrid. His imperial title was recognized by Bulgaria and various other neighbors and trading partners but not by the Byzantine Empire. In its final simplified form, the Serbian imperial title read "Emperor of Serbs and Greeks" (''цар Срба и Грка'' in modern Serbian). It was only employed by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan and his son Stefan Uroš V in Serbia (until his death in 1371), after which it became extinct. A half-brother of Dušan, Simeon Uroš, and then his son Jovan Uroš, claimed the same title, until the latter's abdication in 1373, while ruling as dynasts in
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
. The "Greek" component in the Serbian imperial title indicates both rulership over Greeks and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans.
Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, also claiming the crowned royal title of Alexander II Karađorđević ( sr-Cyrl, Александар II Карађорђевић / ''Aleksandar II Karađorđević''; born 17 July 1945), is the heir to the d ...
, is currently the head of the
Karađorđević dynasty The Karađorđević ( sr-cyr, Карађорђевић, Karađorđevići / Карађорђевићи, ) dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford Unive ...
.


Ottoman Empire

List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman rulers held several titles denoting their Imperial status. These included: Sultan, Khan (title), Khan, Sovereign of the Ottoman Dynasty, Imperial House of Osman, Sultan of Sultans, Khan of Khans, Padishah, Amir al-Mu'minin, Commander of the Faithful and Caliph, Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe, Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, Emperor of The Three Cities of Istanbul, Constantinople, Edirne, Adrianopole and Bursa as well as many other cities and countries. After the Ottoman capture of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman sultans began to style themselves Kaysar-i Rum (Emperor of the Romans) as they asserted themselves to be the heirs to the Roman Empire by right of conquest. The title was of such importance to them that it led them to eliminate the various Byzantine successor states – and therefore rival claimants – over the next eight years. Though the term "emperor" was rarely used by Westerners of the Ottoman sultan, it was generally accepted by Westerners that he had imperial status. Harun Osman is currently the head of the Ottoman dynasty.


Emperors in the Americas


Pre-Columbian traditions

The Aztec and Inca traditions are unrelated to one another. Both were conquered under the reign of King Charles I of Spain who was simultaneously emperor-elect of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
during the fall of the Aztecs and fully emperor during the fall of the Incas. Incidentally by being king of Spain, he was also Roman (Byzantine) emperor in pretence through
Andreas Palaiologos Andreas Palaiologos or Palaeologus ( el, Ἀνδρέας Παλαιολόγος; 17 January 1453 – June 1502), sometimes anglicized to Andrew, was the eldest son of Thomas Palaiologos, Despot of the Morea. Thomas was a brother of Constantine XI P ...
. The translations of their titles were provided by the Spanish.


Aztec Empire

The only pre-Columbian North American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the ''Huey Tlatoani'' of the Aztec Empire (1375–1521). It was an elected monarchy chosen by the elite. In the Aztec Empire, there were three emperors: Those of Tenochtitlan, Tlacopan and Texcoco (altepetl), Texcoco. The Emperors of Tenochtitlan and Texcoco were nominally equals, each receiving two-fifths of tribute from the vassal kingdoms, whereas the Emperor of Tlacopan was a junior member and only received one-fifth of the tribute, due to the fact that Tlacopan was a newcomer to the alliance. Despite the nominal equality, Tenochtitlan eventually assumed a de facto dominant role in the Empire, to the point that even the Emperors of Tlacopan and Texcoco would acknowledge Tenochtitlan's effective supremacy. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés slew Emperor Cuauhtémoc and installed puppet rulers who became vassals for Spain.


Inca Empire

The only pre-Columbian South American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the ''Sapa Inca'' of the Inca Empire (1438–1533). Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, conquered the Inca for Spain, killed Emperor Atahualpa, and installed puppets as well. Atahualpa may actually be considered a usurper as he had achieved power by Inca Civil War, killing his half-brother and he did not perform the required coronation with the imperial crown ''mascaipacha'' by the ''Huillaq Uma'' (high priest).


Post-Columbian Americas


Brazil

When Napoleon, Napoleon I ordered the invasion of Portugal in 1807 because it refused to join the Continental System, the Portuguese House of Braganza, Braganzas moved their capital to Rio de Janeiro to avoid the fate of the Spanish Bourbons (Napoleon I arrested them and made his brother Joseph Bonaparte, Joseph king). When the French general Jean-Andoche Junot arrived in Lisbon, the Portuguese fleet had already left with all the local elite. In 1808, under a British naval escort, the fleet arrived in Brazil. Later, in 1815, the Portuguese Prince Regent (since 1816 John VI of Portugal, King João VI) proclaimed the ''United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves'', as a union of three kingdoms, lifting Brazil from its colonial status. After the fall of Napoleon I and the liberal Wars, Liberal revolution in Portugal, the Portuguese royal family returned to Europe (1821). Prince Pedro of Braganza (King João's older son) stayed in South America acting as regent of the local kingdom, but, two years later in 1822, he proclaimed himself Peter I of Brazil, Pedro I, first
Emperor of Brazil The monarchs of Brazil ( Portuguese: ''monarcas do Brasil'') were the imperial heads of state and hereditary rulers of Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in bot ...
. He did, however, recognize his father, João VI, as ''Titular Emperor of Brazil'' —a purely honorific title—until João VI's death in 1826. The empire came to an end in 1889, with the overthrow of Pedro II of Brazil, Emperor Pedro II (Pedro I's son and successor), when the Brazilian republic was proclaimed. Today
Duarte Pio
Duarte Pio
is the head of the Braganza family.


Haiti

Haiti was declared an empire by its ruler, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who made himself Jacques I, on 20 May 1805. He was assassinated the next year. Haiti again became an empire from 1849 to 1859 under Faustin Soulouque.


Mexico

In Mexico, the First Mexican Empire was the first of two empires created. After the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire, declaration of independence on 15 September 1821, it was the intention of the Mexican parliament to establish a commonwealth whereby the King of Spain, Fernando VII of Spain, Ferdinand VII, would also be Emperor of Mexico, but in which both countries were to be governed by separate laws and with their own legislative offices. Should the king refuse the position, the law provided for a member of the House of Bourbon to accede to the Mexican throne. Ferdinand VII, however, did not recognize the independence and said that Spain would not allow any other European prince to take the throne of Mexico. By request of Parliament, the president of the regency Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed emperor of Mexico on 12 July 1822 as Agustín I. Agustín de Iturbide was the general who helped secure Mexican independence from Spanish rule, but was overthrown by the Plan of Casa Mata. In 1863, the invading French, under Napoleon III (see above), in alliance with Mexican conservatives and Mexican nobility, nobility, helped create the
Second Mexican Empire ) , s1 = Restored Republic (Mexico)Restored Republic , flag_s1 = Flag of Mexico (1823-1864, 1867-1893).svg , image_flag = Bandera del Segundo Imperio Mexicano (1864-1867).svg , flag = ...
, and invited Archduke Maximilian, of the House of Lorraine, House of Habsburg-Lorraine, younger brother of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, Franz Josef I, to become emperor Maximilian of Mexico, Maximilian I of Mexico. The childless Maximilian and his consort Charlotte of Belgium, Empress Carlota of Mexico, daughter of Leopold I of Belgium, adopted Agustín's grandsons Agustin and Salvador as his heirs to bolster his claim to the throne of Mexico. Maximilian and Carlota made Chapultepec Castle their home, which has been the only palace in North America to house sovereigns. After the withdrawal of French protection in 1867, Maximilian was captured and executed by the liberal forces of Benito Juárez. This empire led to French influence in the Mexican culture and also French Mexican, immigration from France, Belgium, and Switzerland to Mexico. Maximilian's closest living agnatic relative is
Karl von Habsburg Karl von Habsburg (given names: ''Karl Thomas Robert Maria Franziskus Georg Bahnam''; born 11 January 1961) is an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no ...
, the head of the House of Habsburg.


Persia (Iran)

In Iran, Persia, from the time of Darius the Great, Persian rulers used the title "
King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known as name of Iran, Persia in Western world, the West), especially the Achae ...
" (''Shahanshah'' in Persian) since they had dominion over peoples from the borders of India to the borders of Greece and Egypt. Alexander the Great, Alexander probably crowned himself ''shahanshah'' after conquering Persia, bringing the phrase ''basileus ton basileon'' to Greek. It is also known that Tigranes the Great, king of Armenia, was named as the king of kings when he made his empire after defeating the Parthian Empire, Parthians. Georgian title "mephet'mephe" has the same meaning. The last ''shahanshah'' (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was ousted in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution. ''Shahanshah'' is usually translated as ''king of kings'' or simply ''king'' for ancient rulers of the Achaemenid, Arsacid Empire, Arsacid, and Sassanid dynasties, and often shortened to ''shah'' for rulers since the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century. Iranian rulers were typically regarded in the West as emperors.


Indian subcontinent

The sanskrit equivalents for emperor titles are: * Samraat (Another word is ''sārvabhaumā'') * Chakravarti Samraat ''Samraat'' refers to the king of kings, meaning that he is not only a sovereign ruler but also has feudatories. Chakravarti literally means the ruler, the wheels of whose chariot roll everywhere without obstruction. This word has been used as an epithet of various Vedic deities, like Varuna, and has been attested in the Rigveda, Rig-Veda. In the later Vedic age, a Samraat was only called Chakravarti Samraaṭ after performing the Vedic Ashwamedha yagya, enabling him by religious tradition to claim superiority over the other kings and princes. A Chakravartī was always considered a Samraat, but the inverse was not always true. The title of ''Samraaṭ'' has been used by many rulers of the Indian subcontinent. Most historians call Chandragupta Maurya the first ''samraaṭ'' (emperor) of the Indian subcontinent, because of the huge empire he ruled. Other dynasties that are considered imperial by historians are the Tomara dynasty, Tomars, Gupta Empire, Guptas, Vijayanagara Empire, Vijayanagara, Kakatiya Empire, Kakatiya, Hoysala Empire, Hoysala and the Chola Dynasty, Cholas. Post-Vedic emperors often used different titles. South Asia was ruled from the 14th century until the 19th century predominantly by Muslim rulers, who used the title Padishah (or Badshah). Towards the end of Mughal rule, the Maratha Empire was established and its rulers used the title Chhatrapati. When the British ruled over India, they adopted the additional title of Kaisar-i-Hind.


Ethiopian Empire


Ethiopia

From 1270 the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopian Empire, Ethiopia used the title , literally "King of Kings". The use of the ''king of kings'' style began a millennium earlier in this region, however, with the title being used by the Kings of Kingdom of Aksum, Aksum, beginning with Sembrouthes in the 3rd century. Another title used by this dynasty was . translates as Empress, and was used by the only reigning Empress, Zauditu of Ethiopia, Zauditu, along with the official title ("Queen of Kings"). In 1936, the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, Victor Emmanuel III claimed the title of Emperor of Ethiopia after Ethiopia was occupied by Italy during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. After the defeat of the Italians by the British and the Ethiopians in 1941, Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie was restored to the throne but Victor Emmanuel did not relinquish his claim even if it had no standing to the title until 1943. The current head of the Solomonic dynasty is Zera Yacob Amha Selassie.


Central African Empire

In 1976, President Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, proclaimed the country to be an autocratic Central African Empire, and made himself Emperor as Bokassa I. The expenses of his coronation ceremony actually bankrupted the country. He was overthrown three years later and the republic was restored.


East Asian tradition (Sinosphere)

The rulers of China and (once Westerners became aware of the role) Japan were always accepted in the West as emperors, and referred to as such. The claims of other East Asian monarchies to the title may have been accepted for diplomatic purposes, but it was not necessarily used in more general contexts.


China

The East Asian tradition is different from the Roman tradition, having arisen separately. What links them together is the use of the Chinese logographs 皇 (''huáng'') and 帝 (''dì'') which together or individually are imperial. Because of the cultural influence of China, China's neighbors adopted these titles or had their native titles conform in ''hanzi''. Anyone who spoke to the emperor was to address the emperor as bìxià (陛下, lit. the "Bottom of the Steps"), corresponding to "Imperial Majesty (style), Imperial Majesty"; shèngshàng (聖上, lit. Holy Highness); or wànsuì (萬歲, lit. "You, of Ten Thousand Years"). In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang, Ying Zheng, who was Chinese sovereign, king of Qin Dynasty, Qin at the time, proclaimed himself ''Shi Huangdi'' (始皇帝), which translates as "first emperor". ''Huangdi'' is composed of ''huang'' ("august one", 皇) and ''di'' ("sage-king", 帝), and referred to legendary/mythological Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, sage-emperors living several millennia earlier, of which three were ''huang'' and five were ''di''. Thus Zheng became Qin Shi Huang, abolishing the system where the ''huang''/''di'' titles were reserved to dead and/or mythological rulers. Since then, the title "king" became a lower ranked title, and later divided into two grades. Although not as popular, the title 王 ''wang'' (king or prince) was still used by many monarchs and dynasties in China up to the Taiping Rebellion, Taipings in the 19th century. 王 is pronounced ''vương'' in Vietnamese, ''ō'' in Japanese, and ''wang'' in Korean. The imperial title continued in China until the Qing Dynasty was overthrown in 1912. The title was briefly revived from 12 December 1915 to 22 March 1916 by President Yuan Shikai and again in early July 1917 when General Zhang Xun (Qing loyalist), Zhang Xun attempted to restore last Qing emperor Puyi to the throne. Puyi retained the title and attributes of a foreign emperor, as a personal status, until 1924. After the Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1931, they proclaimed it to be the Empire of Manchukuo, and Puyi became emperor of Manchukuo. This empire ceased to exist when it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. In general, an emperor would have one empress (''Huanghou'', 皇后) at one time, although posthumous entitlement to empress for a concubines, concubine was not uncommon. The earliest known usage of ''huanghou'' was in the Han Dynasty. The emperor would generally select the empress from his concubines. In subsequent dynasties, when the distinction between wife and concubine became more accentuated, the crown prince would have chosen an empress-designate before his reign. Early Imperial China, Imperial China produced only one reigning empress, Wu Zetian, and she used the same Chinese title as an emperor (''Huangdi'', 皇帝). Wu Zetian then reigned for about 15 years (AD 690–705). Under the tributary system of China, monarchs of Korea and Vietnam sometimes called themselves ''emperor'' in their country. They introduced themselves as ''king'' for China and other countries (Emperor at home, king abroad). In Japan, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu a shogun was granted title of ''king of Japan'' for trade by the Ming's emperor. However, the shogun is a subject of the Japanese emperor. It was contrary to rules of tributary system, but Ming's emperor connived it for the purpose of suppressing the wokou.


Japan

The earliest Emperor recorded in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki is Emperor Jimmu, who is said to be a descendant of Amaterasu's grandson Ninigi who descended from Heaven (Tenson kōrin). If one believes what is written in Nihon Shoki, the Emperors have an unbroken direct male lineage that goes back more than 2,600 years. In ancient Japan, the earliest titles for the sovereign were either ヤマト大王/大君 (''yamato ōkimi'', Grand King of Yamato), 倭王/倭国王 (''waō''/''wakokuō'', King of Wa, used externally), or 治天下大王 (''amenoshita shiroshimesu ōkimi'', Grand King who rules all under heaven, used internally). In 607, Empress Suiko sent a diplomatic document to China, which she wrote "the emperor of the land of the rising sun (日出處天子) sends a document to the emperor of the land of the setting sun (日沒處天子)" and began to use the title emperor externally. As early as the 7th century, the word 天皇 (which can be read either as ''sumera no mikoto'', divine order, or as ''tennō'', Heavenly Emperor, the latter being derived from a Tang Chinese term referring to the Pole star around which all other stars revolve) began to be used. The earliest use of this term is found on a wooden slat, or ''mokkan'', unearthed in Asuka-mura, Nara Prefecture in 1998. The slat dated back to the reign of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō. The reading 'Tennō' has become the standard title for the Japanese sovereign up to the present age. The term 帝 (''mikado'', Emperor) is also found in literary sources. In the Japanese language, the word ''tennō'' is restricted to Japan's own monarch; ''kōtei'' (皇帝) is used for foreign emperors. Historically, Daijō-tennō, retired emperors often kept power over a child-emperor as de facto regent. For a long time, a ''shōgun'' (formally the imperial Military dictatorship, military dictator, but made hereditary) or an Sesshō and Kampaku, imperial regent wielded actual political power. In fact, through much of Japanese history, the emperor has been little more than a figurehead. The Meiji Restoration restored practical abilities and the political system under Emperor Meiji.Henry Kissinger on China. 2011 p.79 The last shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu resigned in 1868. After World War II, all claims of divinity were dropped (see Ningen-sengen). The Diet acquired all prerogative powers of the Crown, reverting the latter to a ceremonial role. By 1979, after the short-lived Central African Empire (1976-1979), Hirohito, Emperor Shōwa was the only monarch in the world with the title emperor. As of the early 21st century, Japan's succession law prohibits a female from ascending the throne. With the birth of a Aiko, Princess Toshi, daughter as the first child of the then-Crown Prince Naruhito, Japan Naruhito#Marriage and family, considered abandoning that rule. However, shortly after the announcement that Kiko, Princess Akishino, Princess Kiko was pregnant with her third child, the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law was suspended by then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. On 3 January 2007, as the child turned out to be a Prince Hisahito of Akishino, son, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced that he would drop the proposal. Emperor Naruhito is the 126th monarch according to Japan's List of Emperors of Japan, traditional order of succession. The second and third in line of succession are Fumihito, Prince Akishino and Prince Hisahito. Historically, Japan has had eight reigning empresses who used the genderless title ''Tennō'', rather than the female consort title ''kōgō'' (皇后) or ''chūgū'' (中宮). There is ongoing discussion of the Japanese Imperial succession controversy. Although current Japanese law prohibits female succession, all Japanese emperors claim to trace their lineage to ''Amaterasu'', the Sun Goddess of the Shinto, Shintō religion. Thus, the Emperor is thought to be the highest authority of the Shinto religion, and one of his duties is to perform Shinto rituals for the people of Japan.


Korea

Some rulers of Goguryeo (37 BC–AD 668) used the title of ''Taewang'' (), literally translated as "Greatest King". The title of ''Taewang'' was also used by some rulers of Silla (57 BC–AD 935), including Beopheung of Silla, Beopheung and Jinheung of Silla, Jinheung. The rulers of Balhae (698–926) internally called themselves ''Seongwang'' (; lit. "Holy King"). The rulers of Goryeo (918–1392) used the titles of emperor and ''Son of Heaven of the East of the Ocean'' (). Goryeo's imperial system ended in 1270 with capitulation to the Mongol Empire. In 1897, Gojong of Korea, Gojong, the King of Joseon, proclaimed the founding of the Korean Empire (1897–1910), becoming the Emperor of Korea. He declared the Korean era name, era name of "Gwangmu" (), meaning "Bright and Martial". The Korean Empire lasted until 1910, when it was annexed by the Empire of Japan.


Mongolia

The title Khagan (Khan (title), khan of khans or grand khan) was held by Genghis Khan, founder of the Mongol Empire in 1206; he also formally took the Chinese title Emperor of China, ''huangdi'', as "Genghis Emperor" ( ). Only the Khagans from Genghis Khan to the fall of the Yuan dynasty in 1368 are normally referred to as Emperors in English.


Vietnam

Đại Việt, Dai Viet Kingdom (40–43, 544–602, 938–1407, 1427–1945) (The first ruler of Vietnam to take the title of Emperor (Hoàng Đế) was the founder of the Early Lý dynasty, Lý Nam Đế, in the year AD 544)—see List of monarchs of Vietnam Ngô Quyền, the first ruler of Đại Việt as an independent state, used the title ''Vương'' (王, ''King''). However, after the death of Ngô Quyền, the country immersed in a civil war known as Anarchy of the 12 Warlords that lasted for over 20 years. In the end, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh unified the country after defeating all the warlords and became the first ruler of Đại Việt to use the title ''Hoàng Đế'' (皇帝, ''Emperor'') in 968. Succeeding rulers in Vietnam then continued to use this Emperor title until 1806 when this title was stopped being used for a century. Đinh Bộ Lĩnh was not the first to claim the title of ''Đế'' (帝, ''Emperor''). Before him, Lý Bí and Mai Thúc Loan also claimed this title. However, their rules were short-lived. The Vietnamese emperors also gave this title to their ancestors who were lords or influential figures in the previous dynasty, as did the Chinese emperors. This practice was one of the many indications that Vietnam considered itself an equal to China which remained intact up to the twentieth century. In 1802 the newly established Nguyễn dynasty requested canonization from the Chinese Jiaqing Emperor and received the title ''Quốc Vương'' (國王, ''King of a State)'' and the name of the country as ''An Nam'' (安南) instead ''Đại Việt'' (大越). To avoid unnecessary armed conflicts, the Vietnamese rulers accepted this in diplomatic relation and Emperor at home, king abroad, used the title Emperor only domestically. However, Vietnamese rulers never accepted the vassalage relationship with China and always refused to come to Chinese courts to pay homage to Chinese rulers (a sign of vassalage acceptance). China waged a number of wars against Vietnam throughout history, and after each failure, settled for the tributary relationship. The Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan waged three wars against Vietnam to force it into a vassalage relationship but after successive failures, Kublai Khan's successor, Temür Khan, finally settled for a tributary relationship with Vietnam. Vietnam sent tributary missions to China once in three years (with some periods of disruptions) until the 19th century, Sino-French War France replaced China in control of northern Vietnam. The emperors of the last dynasty of Vietnam continued to hold this title until the French conquered Vietnam. The emperor, however, was then a puppet figure only and could easily be disposed of by the French for more pro-France figure. Japan took Vietnam from France and the Axis powers, Axis-occupied Vietnam was declared an Empire of Vietnam, empire by the Japanese in March 1945. The line of emperors came to an end with Bảo Đại, who was deposed after the war, although he later served as head of state of South Vietnam from 1949 to 1955.


Fictional uses

There have been many fictional emperors in movies and books. To see a list of these emperors, see :Fictional emperors and empresses, Category of fictional emperors and empresses.


See also

* Auctoritas * Lists of emperors * Tlatoani * Emperor Norton


Notes


References


External links


Ian Mladjov's site at University of Michigan

Monarchs (chronology and genealogy)

Monarchs (more genealogy)
{{Authority control Emperors, Heads of state Political philosophy Imperial titles Gendered occupations