(/zɑːr/ or /tsɑːr/) (Old Church Slavonic: ц︢рь [usually
written thus with a title] or цар, цaрь), also spelled csar, or
czar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or
supreme rulers of Eastern Europe. As a system of government in the
Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia
and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist
autocracy, or Tsarism. The term is derived from the
, which was intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense
of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding
it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical
or the Ecumenical Patriarch)—but was usually
considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be
somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.
"Tsar" and its variants were the official titles of the following
First Bulgarian Empire, in 913–1018
Second Bulgarian Empire, in 1185–1396
Serbian Empire, in 1346–1371
Tsardom of Russia, in 1547–1721 (replaced in 1721 by imperator, but
remaining in use outside Russia – and also officially in relation to
several regions – until 1917)
Tsardom of Bulgaria, in 1908–1946
The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria.
Simeon II, the last
Tsar of Bulgaria, is the last person to have borne
the title Tsar.
1 Meaning in Slavic languages
1.1 The Lord's Prayer
3 Kievan Rus'
5.1 Full style of Russian Sovereigns
5.2 Titles in the Russian Royal/Imperial family
6 Metaphorical uses
7 See also
9 External links
Meaning in Slavic languages
Tsar is derived from the
Latin title for the Roman emperors,
Caesar. In comparison to the corresponding
Latin word "imperator",
Byzantine Greek term basileus was used differently depending on
whether it was in a contemporary political context or in a historical
or Biblical context. In the history of the Greek language, basileus
had originally meant something like "potentate". It gradually
approached the meaning of "king" in the Hellenistic Period, and it
came to designate "emperor" after the inception in the Roman Empire.
As a consequence, Byzantine sources continued to call the Biblical and
ancient kings "basileus" even when that word had come to mean
"emperor" when referring to contemporary monarchs (while it was never
applied to Western European kings, whose title was transliterated from
Latin "rex" as ῥήξ, or to other monarchs, for whom designations
such as ἄρχων "leader", "chieftain" were used).
As the Greek "basileus" was consistently rendered as "tsar" in
Slavonic translations of Greek texts, the dual meaning was transferred
into Church Slavonic. Thus, "tsar" was not only used as an equivalent
Latin "imperator" (in reference to the rulers of the Byzantine
Empire, the Holy
Roman Empire and to native rulers) but was also used
to refer to Biblical rulers and ancient kings.
From this ambiguity, the development has moved in different directions
in the different Slavic languages. Thus, the
Bulgarian language and
Russian language no longer use tsar as an equivalent of the term
emperor/imperator as it exists in the West European (Latin) tradition.
Currently, the term tsar refers to native sovereigns, ancient and
Biblical rulers, as well as monarchs in fairy tales and the like. The
title of king (Russian korol' , Bulgarian kral) is sometimes perceived
as alien and is by some Russian-speakers reserved for (West) European
royalty (and, by extension, for those modern monarchs outside of
Europe whose titles are translated as king in English, roi in French
etc.). Foreign monarchs of imperial status, both inside and outside of
Europe, ancient as well as modern, are generally called imperator
(император), rather than tsar.
In contrast, the Serbian (along with the closely related Croatian
language and Bosnian language) and Ukrainian languages translate
Latin imperator) as tsar (car, цар) and not as
imperator, whereas the equivalent of king (kralj, краљ,
король) is used to designate monarchs of non-imperial status,
Serbian as well as foreign ancient rulers - like
Latin "rex". Biblical
rulers in Serbian are called цар and in Croatian kralj.
In the modern West Slavic languages and Slovene language, the use of
the terms is nearly identical to the one in English and German: a king
is designated with one term (Czech král, Slovak kráľ, Polish król,
Slovene kralj), an emperor is designated with another, derived from
Caesar as in German (Czech císař, Slovak cisár, Polish cesarz,
Slovene cesar; Croatian cesar and Montenegrin ćesar fell into disuse
after World War I), while the exotic term "tsar" (Czech, Slovene and
Polish car, Slovak cár) is reserved for the Bulgarian, Russian and
In the Polish language however tsar is always used as imperator, never
as king. The term tsar is very often used to refer to the Russian
rulers after Peter the Great.
The Lord's Prayer
Tsar (Tsesar) is part of the
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic vocabulary.
Here is the
Lord's Prayer in Old Church Slavonic:
ижє ѥси на нєбєсѣхъ:
да свѧтитъ сѧ имѧ твоѥ·
да придєтъ цѣсар҄ьствиѥ твоѥ·
да бѫдєтъ волꙗ твоꙗ
ꙗко на нєбєси и на ꙁємл҄и:
хлѣбъ нашь насѫщьнꙑи
даждь намъ дьньсь·
и отъпоусти намъ длъгꙑ нашѧ
ꙗко и мꙑ отъпоущаѥмъ
и нє въвєди насъ въ искоушєниѥ·
нъ иꙁбави нꙑ отъ нєприꙗꙁни:
ꙗко твоѥ ѥстъ цѣсар҄ьствиѥ
и сила и слава въ вѣкꙑ вѣкомъ
Iže jesi na nebesěxŭ.
Da svętitŭ sę imę tvoje
da pridetŭ cěsar'ĭstvije tvoje
da bǫdetŭ volja tvoja
jako na nebesi i na zeml'i.
hlěbŭ našĭ nasǫštĭnyi
daždĭ namŭ dĭnĭsĭ
i otŭpusti namŭ dlŭgy našę
jako i my otŭpuštajemŭ
i ne vŭvedi nasŭ vŭ iskušenije
nŭ izbavi ny otŭ neprijazni.
jako tvoje jestŭ cěsar'ĭstvije
i sila i slava vŭ věky věkomŭ.
Thou Who art in heaven.
May hallowed be Thy Name
may come Thy empire
may become Thy will
as in heaven, also on Earth.
Our supersubstantial bread
give us this day
and release us of our debts
as we also release
and do not lead us to temptation
but free us from the evil.
As Thine is the empire
and the power and the glory unto the ages of ages.
Further information: List of Bulgarian monarchs
Redrawing of the epitaph of ichirgu boila Mostich. Translation (the
Tsar is enclosed): "Here lies
Mostich who was ichirgu-boil
during the reigns of
Tsar Simeon and
Tsar Peter. At the age of eighty
he forsook the rank of ichirgu boila and all of his possessions and
became a monk. And so ended his life." Now in the Museum of Preslav.
Emperor Justinian II named Tervel of
Bulgaria "Caesar", the
first foreigner to receive this title, but his descendants continued
to use Bulgar title "Kanasubigi". The sainted
Boris I is sometimes
retrospectively referred to as tsar, because at his time
converted to Christianity. However, the title "tsar" (and its
Byzantine Greek equivalent "basileus") was actually adopted and used
for the first time by his son Simeon I, following a makeshift imperial
coronation performed by the
Patriarch of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople in 913. After
an attempt by the
Byzantine Empire to revoke this major diplomatic
concession and a decade of intensive warfare, the imperial title of
the Bulgarian ruler was recognized by the Byzantine government in 924
and again at the formal conclusion of peace in 927. Since in Byzantine
political theory there was place for only two emperors, Eastern and
Western (as in the Late Roman Empire), the Bulgarian ruler was crowned
basileus as "a spiritual son" of the Byzantian basileus.
Some of the earliest attested occurrences of the titlo-contraction
"tsar" (car' ) from "tsesar" (cěsar' ) are found in the grave
inscription of the chărgubilja (ichirgu-boil) Mostich, a contemporary
of Simeon I and Peter I, from Preslav.
It has been hypothesized that Simeon's title was also recognized by a
papal mission to
Bulgaria in or shortly after 925, as a concession in
exchange for a settlement in the Bulgarian-Croatian conflict or a
possible attempt to return
Bulgaria to union with Rome. Thus, in the
later diplomatic correspondence conducted in 1199–1204 between the
Pope Innocent III, Kaloyan—whose
Latin title was "imperator Bulgarorum et
Blachorum"—claims that the imperial crowns of Simeon I, his son
Peter I, and of Samuel were somehow derived from the Papacy. The Pope,
however, only speaks of reges, kings of
Bulgaria in his replies, and
eventually grants only that lesser title to Kaloyan, who nevertheless
proceeds to thank the
Pope for the "imperial title" conferred upon
The title, later augmented with epithets and titles such as autocrat
to reflect current Byzantine practice, was used by all of Simeon's
successors until the complete conquest of
Bulgaria by the Ottoman
Empire in 1422. In
Latin sources the
Bulgaria is sometimes
Emperor of Zagora" (with variant spellings). Various
additional epithets and descriptions apart, the official style read
Emperor and autocrat of all Bulgarians and Greeks".
During the five-century period of Ottoman rule in Bulgaria, the sultan
was frequently referred to as "tsar". This may be related to the fact
that he had claimed the legacy of the
Byzantine Empire or to the fact
that the sultan was called "Basileus" in medieval Greek.
After Bulgaria's liberation from the Ottomans in 1878, its new
monarchs were at first autonomous prince (knjaz). With the declaration
of full independence, Ferdinand I of
Bulgaria adopted the traditional
title "tsar" in 1908 and it was used until the abolition of the
monarchy in 1946. However, these titles were not generally perceived
as equivalents of "emperor" any longer. In the Bulgarian as in the
Greek vernacular, the meaning of the title had shifted (although
Paisius' Slavonic-Bulgarian History (1760–1762) had still
distinguished between the two concepts). Accordingly, while Ferdinand
and his successors, Boris III and Simeon II, used the title of "tsar"
in Bulgarian, they used the title of "king" outside Bulgaria. In the
same fashion, the modern rulers of Greece (1821-1923, 1935-1973) used
the traditional title of basileus in Greek and the title of "king"
"Tsar" was used once by Church officials of
Kievan Rus' in the naming
Yaroslav the Wise
Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev. This may be connected to Yaroslav's war
against Byzantium and to his efforts to distance himself from
Constantinople. However, other princes of
Kievan Rus' never styled
themselves as "czars". After the fall of
Constantinople to the
Crusaders and the
Mongol invasion of Rus'
Mongol invasion of Rus' (1237–1240), the term
"tsar" was applied by some people of
Kievan Rus' to the
overlords of the Rus' principalities.
Emperor of Serbia
Tsar Dušan of Serbia
The title of tsar (sr. "car") was used officially by two monarchs, the
previous monarchial title being that of king (kralj). In 1345, Stefan
Dušan began to style himself "
Emperor of Serbs and Greeks" (the Greek
renderings read "basileus and autokrator of Serbs and Romans"), and
was crowned as such in
Easter (April 16) 1346 by the newly
elevated Serbian patriarch, alongside the Bulgarian patriarch and
archbishop of Ohrid. On the same occasion, he had his wife Helena of
Bulgaria crowned as empress and his son associated in power as king.
When Dušan died in 1355, his son
Stefan Uroš V
Stefan Uroš V became the next
emperor. The new emperor's uncle
Simeon Uroš (Siniša) contested the
succession and claimed the same titles as a dynast in Thessaly. After
his death around 1370, he was succeeded in his claims by his son John
Uroš, who retired to a monastery in about 1373.
With the extinction of the Nemanjić dynasty in Serbia in 1371, the
imperial title became obsolete (though it was retained by Stefan Uroš
IV's widow Elena of
Bulgaria until her death in 1376/1377). The royal
title was preserved by Vukašin Mrnjavčević, a Serbian ruler in
Macedonia, who had been associated by Stefan Uroš. Several other
Serbian rulers are known as tsars, although they were never recognized
as such. These include
Tsar Lazar (who was titled autokrator), Tsar
Jovan Nenad (self-given) and
Tsar Stephen the Little (who claimed to
be the Russian
Emperor in Montenegro).
During the five-century period of the Ottoman rule in Serbia, the
sultan was also frequently referred to as tsar, for instance in
Serbian epic poetry.
See also: List of Russian rulers
The first Russian ruler to openly break with the khan of the Golden
Horde, Mikhail of Tver, assumed the title of "
Basileus of Rus" and
Władysław IV of Poland was the
Tsar of Russia during the Time of
Troubles, when the Polish forces occupied Moscow.
Following his assertion of independence from the khan and perhaps also
his marriage to an heiress of the Byzantine Empire, "Veliki Kniaz"
Ivan III of
Muscovy started to use the title of tsar regularly in
diplomatic relations with the West. From about 1480, he is designated
as "imperator" in his
Latin correspondence, as "keyser" in his
correspondence with the Swedish regent, as "kejser" in his
correspondence with the Danish king, Teutonic Knights, and the
Hanseatic League. Ivan's son Vasily III continued using these titles,
Latin letters to
Clement VII testify: "Magnus Dux Basilius, Dei
Imperator et Dominator totius Russiae, nec non Magnus Dux
Woldomeriae", etc. (In the Russian version of the letter, "imperator"
corresponds to "tsar"). Herberstein correctly observed that the titles
of "kaiser" and "imperator" were attempts to render the Russian term
"tsar" into German and Latin, respectively.
Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia
This was related to Russia's growing ambitions to become an Orthodox
"Third Rome", after
Constantinople had fallen. The Muscovite ruler was
recognized as an emperor by Maximilian I, the emperor of the Holy
Roman Empire in 1514. However, the first Russian ruler to
be formally crowned as «ЦР҃Ь ВСЕꙖ РУСИ» ("
Tsar of all
Rus'" or "
Tsar of all Russias") was Ivan IV, until then known as Grand
Prince of all Rus' (1547). Some foreign ambassadors—namely,
Herberstein (in 1516 and 1525), Daniel Printz a Buchau (in 1576 and
1578) and Just Juel (in 1709)—indicated that the word "tsar" should
not be translated as "emperor", because it is applied by Russians to
David, Solomon and other Biblical kings, which are simple "reges".
On the other hand, Jacques Margeret, a bodyguard of False Demetrius I,
argues that the title of "tsar" is more honorable for Muscovites than
"kaiser" or "king" exactly because it was God and not some earthly
potentate who ordained to apply it to David, Solomon, and other kings
of Israel. Samuel Collins, a court physician to
Tsar Alexis in
1659-66, styled the latter "Great Emperour", commenting that "as for
the word Czar, it has so near relation to Cesar... that it may well be
granted to signifie Emperour. The Russians would have it to be an
higher Title than King, and yet they call David Czar, and our kings,
Kirrols, probably from Carolus Quintus, whose history they have among
Sigismund III of Poland
Sigismund III of Poland manipulated his son's (Władysław IV)
election as tsar of Russia while Polish forces held
Moscow during the
Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles following the death of Boris Godunov. His election,
which never resulted in his assumption of the Muscovite throne, was
part of an unsuccessful plan by Sigismund to conquer all of Russia and
convert the population to Catholicism. As a young man Władysław
showed ability as a military leader in operations against Muscovy
(1617–18) and the
Ottoman Empire (1621).
In short, the Westerners were at a loss as to how the term "tsar"
should be translated properly. In 1670,
Clement X expressed
doubts that it would be appropriate for him to address Alexis as
"tsar", because the word is "barbarian" and because it stands for an
"emperor", whereas there is only one emperor in the Christian world
and he does not reside in Moscow. Reviewing the matter, abbot Scarlati
opined that the term is not translatable and therefore may be used by
Pope without any harm. Paul Menesius, the Russian envoy in
Vatican, seconded Scarlati's opinion by saying that there is no
Latin translation for "tsar", as there is no translation for
"shah" or "sultan". In order to avoid such difficulties of translation
and to assert his imperial ambitions more clearly, an edict of Peter I
the Great raised Russia to an empire and decreed that the Latin-based
title imperator should be used instead of "tsar" (1721).
The title tsar remained in common usage, and also officially as the
designator of various titles signifying rule over various states
absorbed by the Muscovite monarchy (such as the former Tatar khanates
and the Georgian Orthodox kingdom). In the 18th century, it was
increasingly viewed as inferior to "emperor" or highlighting the
oriental side of the term. Upon annexing
Crimea in 1783, Catherine
the Great adopted the hellenicized title of "
Tsaritsa of Tauric
Chersonesos", rather than "
Tsaritsa of the Crimea", as should have
been expected. By 1815, when a large part of Poland was annexed, the
title had clearly come to be interpreted in Russia as the equivalent
Król "king", and the Russian emperor assumed the title
"tsar of Poland", (and the puppet Kingdom of Poland was officially
called Królestwo Polskie in Polish and Царство
Польское - Tsardom of Poland - in Russian) (see also Full
style of Russian Sovereigns below).
Since the word "tsar" remained the popular designation of the Russian
ruler despite the official change of style, its transliteration of
this title in foreign languages such as English is commonly used also,
in fact chiefly, for the Russian Emperors up to 1917.
Full style of Russian Sovereigns
The first page of the Alexander II's ratification of the 1867 Alaska
purchase treaty; this page is almost entirely occupied by the tsar's
full style (which, incidentally, does not mention Alaska).
The full title of Russian emperors started with "By the Grace of God,
Emperor and Autocrat of
All the Russias
All the Russias (Божию Милостию,
Император и Самодержец Всероссийский
Imperator i Samoderzhets Vserossiyskiy])" and went
further to list all ruled territories. For example, according to the
article 59 of the Russian Constitution of 23 April 1906, "the full
title of His Imperial Majesty is as follows: We, ------ by the
Contributing Grace of God,
Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, of
Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, King of Kazan, King of Astrakhan,
King of Poland, King of Siberia, King of Chersonesus Taurica, King of
Georgia, Lord of Pskov, and
Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania,
Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland
and Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, Tver, Yugra, Perm,
Bulgaria and other territories; Lord and
Grand Duke of Nizhni
Novgorod, Sovereign of Chernigov, Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl,
Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislavl, and all
northern territories; Sovereign of Iberia, Kartalinia, and the
Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories - hereditary Lord and Ruler
of the Circassians and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan,
Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen,
Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth."
For example, Nicholas II (1 November 1894 - 15 March 1917), the last
Russian emperor, was titled as follows (note the archaic Cyrillic
Божіею Поспѣшествующею Милостію: МЫ,
НИКОЛАЙ ВТОРЫЙ ИМПЕРАТОРЪ и
Московскій, Кіевскій, Владимірскій,
Царь Казанскій, Царь Астраханскій,
Царь Польскій, Царь Сибирскій, Царь
Херсониса Таврическаго, Царь
Государь Псковскій, и
Великій Князь Смоленскій, Литовскій,
Волынскій, Подольскій и Финляндскій;
Князь Эстляндскій, Лифляндскій,
Курляндскій и Семигальскій,
Тверскій, Югорскій, Пермскій, Вятскій,
Болгарскій и иныхъ;
Государь и Великій Князь Новагорода
низовскія земли, Черниговскій,
Ростовскій, Ярославскій, Бѣлозерскій,
Удорскій, Обдорскій, Кондинскій,
Витебскій, Мстиславскій и
всея Сѣверныя страны Повелитель; и
Государь Иверскія, Карталинскія и
Кабардинскія земли и области
Черкасскихъ и Горскихъ Князей и иныхъ
Наслѣдный Государь и Обладатель;
Стормарнскій, Дитмарсенскій и
Ольденбургскій, и прочая, и прочая, и
Bozhiyeyu Pospeshestvuyushcheyu Milostiyu: MY, NIKOLAI VTORY IMPERATOR
i SAMODERZHETS VSEROSSIYSKIY
Moskovskiy, Kievskiy, Vladimirskiy, Novogorodskiy,
Tsar Khersonisa Tavricheskago,
Gosudar' Pskovskiy, i Velikiy Knyaz' Smolenskiy, Litovskiy, Volynskiy,
Podol'skiy i Finlyandskiy,
Knyaz' Estlyandskiy, Liflyandskiy, Kurlyandskiy i Semigal'skiy,
Samogitskiy, Belostokskiy, Korel'skiy,
Tverskiy, Yugorskiy, Permskiy, Vyatskiy, Bolgarskiy i inykh,
Gosudar' i Velikiy Knyaz' Novagoroda nizovskiya zemli, Chernigovskiy,
Rostovskiy, Yarolslavskiy, Belozerskiy, Udorskiy, Obdorskiy,
Kondinskiy, Vitebskiy, Mstislavskiy i
vseya Severnyia strany Povelitel', i
Gosudar' Iverskiya, Kartalinskiya i Kabardinskiya zemli i oblasti
Cherkasskikh i Gorskikh Knyazei i inykh Nasledny Gosudar' i
Gertsog Shlezvig-Golstinskiy, Stormarnskiy, Ditmarsenskiy i
Ol'denburgskiy, i prochaya, i prochaya, i prochaya.
The subsidiary title of
Kazan proclaimed the chief Orthodox
dynasty as successor in law to the mighty Islamic khanate of Kazan,
not maintaining its "heathen" (khan) title (as the Ottoman Great
Sultans did in several cases), but christening it. It should also be
noted that Khans of
Kazan were mentioned in Russian chronicles such as
Kazan Chronicle as Tsars of Kazan.
The subsidiary title of
Siberia refers to the Tatar Khanate of
Siberia, easily subdued in the early stages of the exploration and
annexation of the larger eponymous region, most of it before inhabited
by nomadic tribal people without a state in the European sense.
The subsidiary title of
Tsar in chief of Transcaucasian Georgia is the
continuation of a royal style of a native dynasty, that had as such
been recognized by Russia.
The subsidiary title of
Tsar of Poland demonstrates the Russian
emperors' rule over the legally separate (but actually subordinate)
Polish Kingdom, nominally in personal union with Russia, established
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna in 1815 (hence also called "Congress
Poland"), in a sense reviving the royal style of the pre-existent
national kingdom of Poland. Internationally and in Poland, the tsars
were referred to as Kings (królowie) of Poland.
In some cases, defined by the Code of Laws, the Abbreviated Imperial
Title was used:
"We, ------ by the Contributing Grace of God,
Emperor and Autocrat of
all the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, King of Kazan,
King of Astrakhan, King of Poland, King of Siberia, King of
Chersonesus Taurica, King of Georgia, Lord of Pskov, and
Grand Duke of
Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, and so forth, and
so forth, and so forth."
In other cases, also defined by the Code of Laws, the Short Imperial
Title was used:
"We, ------ by the Contributing Grace of God,
Emperor and Autocrat of
all the Russias, King of Poland,
Grand Duke of Finland, and so forth,
and so forth, and so forth."
Titles in the Russian Royal/Imperial family
Tsaritsa (царица) is the term used for a Queen, though in
English contexts this seems invariably to be altered to tsarina (since
1717, from Italian czarina, from German Zarin). In Imperial Russia,
the official title was Empress (Императрица). Tsaritsa
(Empress) could be either the ruler herself or the wife (Empress
consort) of the tsar. The title of tsaritsa is used in the same way in
Bulgaria and Serbia.
Tsesarevich (Цесаревич) is the term for a male heir apparent,
the full title was Heir
Tsesarevich ("Naslednik Tsesarevich",
Наследник Цесаревич), informally abbreviated in
Russia to The Heir ("Naslednik") (capitalized).
Tsarevich (царевич) was the term for the younger sons and
grandsons of a
Tsaritsa prior to 1721. In older times the term
was used in place of "Tsesarevich" (Цесаревич). After 1721 a
son who was not an heir was formally called Velikii Kniaz
(Великий Князь) (
Grand Duke or Grand Prince). The latter
title was also used for grandsons (through male lines).
Tsarevna (царевна) was the term for a daughter and a
granddaughter of a
Tsaritsa prior to 1721. After 1721, the
official title was Velikaya Kniaginya (Великая Княгиня),
Grand Duchess or Grand Princess.
Grand Duchess for more details on the Velikaya Kniaginya
Tsesarevna (Цесаревна) was the wife of the Tsesarevich.
See also: Czar (political term)
Like many lofty titles, e.g. Mogul,
Tsar or Czar has been used as a
metaphor for positions of high authority, in English, since 1866
(referring to U.S. President Andrew Johnson), with a connotation of
dictatorial powers and style, fitting since "Autocrat" was an official
title of the Russian
Emperor (informally referred to as 'the Tsar').
Similarly, Speaker of the House
Thomas Brackett Reed
Thomas Brackett Reed was called "Czar
Reed" for his dictatorial control of the House of Representatives in
the 1880s and 1890s.
In the United States and in the UK the title "czar" is a slang term
for certain high-level civil servants, such as the "drug czar" for the
director of the
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of National Drug Control Policy (not to be
confused with a drug baron), "terrorism czar" for a Presidential
advisor on terrorism policy, "cybersecurity czar" for the
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security official on computer
security and information security policy, and "war czar" to oversee
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More specifically, a czar refers to
a sub-cabinet-level advisor within the executive branch of the U.S.
government. One of the earliest known usages of the term was for Judge
Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who was named Commissioner of Baseball, with
broad powers to clean up the sport after it had been dirtied by the
Black Sox scandal
Black Sox scandal of 1919.
List of Bulgarian monarchs
List of Russian rulers
List of Serbian monarchs
^ "Simeon I." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica
Online. 12 July 2009, EB.com.
^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". etymonline.com.
^ Срђан Пириватрић. Самуилова држава.
^ Innocentii pp. III epistolae ad Bulgariae historiam spectantes.
Recensuit et explicavit Iv. Dujcev. Sofia, 1942.
^ Найден Геров. 1895–1904. Речник на
блъгарский язик. (the entry on цар in Naiden Gerov's
Dictionary of the Bulgarian Language)
^ Wladimir Vodoff. Remarques sur la valeur du terme "czar" appliqué
aux princes russes avant le milieu du 15e siècle, in "Oxford Slavonic
Series", new series, vol. XI. Oxford University Press, 1978.
^ A.V. Soloviev. "Reges" et "Regnum Russiae" au moyen âge, in
"Byzantion", t. XXXVI. Bruxelles, 1966.
^ "Den Titel aines Khaisers, wiewol Er alle seine Brief nur Reissisch
schreibt, darinn Er sich Czar nent, so schickht Er gemaincklich
Lateinische Copeyen darmit oder darinn, und an stat des Czar setzen sy
Imperator, den wir Teutsch Khaiser nennen".
^ Ostrowski, D. (2002)
Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-Cultural
Influences on the Steppe Frontier, 1304-1589, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, p. 178
^ Lehtovirta, J. “The Use of Titles in Herberstein's "Commentarii".
Was the Muscovite
Tsar a King or an Emperor?” in Kӓmpfer, F. and
Frӧtschner, R. (eds.) (2002) 450 Jahre Sigismund von Herbersteins
Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii 1549-1999, Harrassowitz Verlag, pps.
^ "Kayser vnnd Herscher aller Rewssen und Groszfürste zu Wolodimer"
in the German text of Maximilian's letter; "
Imperator et Dominator
universorum Rhutenorum et Magnus Princeps Valadomerorum" in the Latin
copy. Vasily III responded by referring to Maximilian as "Maximiliano
Dei gratia Electo Romanorum Caesare", i.e., "Roman Caesar".
Maximilian's letter was of great importance to
Ivan the Terrible
Ivan the Terrible and
Peter the Great, when they wished to back up their titles of "tsar"
and "emperor", respectively. Both monarchs demonstrated the letter to
foreign ambassadors; Peter even referred to it when he proclaimed
^ This objection may be used against translating "Basileus" as
"emperor", too. Based on these accounts, the Popes repeatedly
suggested to confer on the Russian monarchs the title of rex ("king"),
if they only ally themselves with Vatican. Such a proposal was made
for the last time in 1550, i.e., three years after Ivan IV had crowned
himself tsar. As early as 1489, Ivan III declined the papal offer,
declaring that his regal authority does not require anyone's
^ "Et ainsi retiennent le nom de Zar comme plus autentique, duquel nom
il pleut iadis à Dieu d'honorer David, Salomon et autres regnans sur
la maison de Iuda et Israel, disent-ils, et que ces mots Tsisar et
Krol n'est que invention humaine, lequel nom quelqu'un s'est acquis
par beaux faits d'armes".
^ The Present State of Russia, in a Letter to a Friend at London.
Written by an Eminent Person residing at Great Tzars Court at Mosco
for the space of nine years. 2nd ed. London, 1671. Pages 54–55.
^ "Wladyslaw IV Vasa - biography - king of Poland". Encyclopædia
^ The first Russian monarch to update his title to "imperator" was
False Demetrius I, following his coronation on 7 July 1605. Peter
started to use the title informally in 1696. He prepared the official
adoption of the new title by renaming the Boyar
Duma to Senate (as
False Demetrius did before), with its ancient Roman associations, and
by introducing the posts of State Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor,
which were modeled on similar magistratures of the Holy Roman Empire.
For Russian traditionalists, these moves signified Peter's conversion
to pagan and Roman Catholic traditions, an opinion reinforced by his
adoption of the heathen Roman titles of "Pater Patriae" (Отец
Отечества) and "Magnus" (Великий) the same year.
^ Boris Uspensky. Царь и император: помазание
на трон и семантика монарших титулов.
Moscow: Языки русской культуры, 2000.
ISBN 5-7859-0145-5. Pages 48–52.
^ "The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia entry on Tsar". Retrieved
2006-07-27. [dead link]
^ "The Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedia entry on The Kingdom of
Poland". Archived from the original on 2006-09-02. Retrieved
^ The title was adopted by
Boris Godunov to prop up his waning
authority and to highlight similarity between his capture of Kuchum
and Ivan IV's conquest of
Astrakhan half a century earlier.
^ As early as 1592,
Fyodor I of Russia
Fyodor I of Russia styled himself
"Государь Иверския земли Грузинских
Царей, и Кабардинския земли
Черкасских и Горских Князей", i.e., "Sovereign
of Iberian lands of Georgian Tsars".
^ The title of Król, with its strong Catholic associations, was
deemed not acceptable for an Orthodox ruler. When Fyodor I posited
himself as a candidate to the vacant Polish throne in 1587, he
envisaged his future title as "
Grand Duke of Moscow,
Vladimir, and all Russia, King (король) of Poland and Grand Duke
^ James K. Glassman (December 18, 2000). "Close, But No Big Czar".
Michael and Natasha, The Life and love of the Last
Tsar of Russia,
Rosemary & Donald Crawford, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London
1997. ISBN 0-297-81836-8
George Ostrogorsky, "Avtokrator i samodržac", Glas Srpske kraljevske
akadamije CLXIV, Drugi razdred 84 (1935), 95-187
John V.A. Fine, Jr., The Early Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1983
John V.A. Fine, Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987
Robert O. Crummey, The Formation of
Muscovy 1304–1613, New York,
David Warnes, Chronicle of the Russian Tsars, London, 1999
Matthew Lang (Editor), The Chronicle - $10 Very Cheap, Sydney, 2009/10
Look up tsar in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Detailed List of Roman and Byzantine Rulers
Detailed List of Bulgarian Rulers
Detailed List of Russian Rulers
Detailed List of Serbian Rulers
Detailed List of Georgian Rulers
The entry on tsar in the Eleventh Edition of Encyclopædia Britannica
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