Caesar (title)

Caesar (English pl. Caesars; Latin pl. Caesares) is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. The change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman Emperors can be dated to about AD 68/69, the so-called "Year of the Four Emperors".

Sole Roman Emperor

For political and personal reasons, Octavian chose to emphasize his relationship with Julius Caesar by styling himself simply "Imperator Caesar" (whereto the Roman Senate added the honorific Augustus, "Majestic" or "Venerable", in 27 BC), without any of the other elements of his full name. His successor as emperor, his stepson Tiberius, also bore the name as a matter of course; born Tiberius Claudius Nero, he was adopted by Caesar Augustus on 26 June 4 AD, as "Tiberius Julius Caesar". The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar".

The fourth Emperor, Claudius, was the first to assume the name "Caesar" upon accession, without having been adopted by the previous emperor; however, he was at least a member by blood of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, being the maternal great-nephew of Augustus on his mother's side, the nephew of Tiberius, and the uncle of Caligula. Claudius in turn adopted his stepson and grand-nephew Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, giving him the name "Caesar" in the traditional way; his stepson would rule as the Emperor Nero. The first emperor to assume the position and the name simultaneously without any real claim to either was the usurper Servius Sulpicius Galba, who took the imperial throne under the name "Servius Galba Imperator Caesar" following the death of the last of the Julio-Claudians, Nero, in 68. Galba helped solidify "Caesar" as the title of the designated heir by giving it to his own adopted heir, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus.

Galba's reign did not last long and he was soon deposed by Marcus Otho. Otho did not at first use the title "Caesar" and occasionally used the title "Nero" as emperor, but later adopted the title "Caesar" as well. Otho was then defeated by Aulus Vitellius, who acceded with the name "Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Imperator Augustus". Vitellius did not adopt the cognomen "Caesar" as part of his name and may have intended to replace it with "Germanicus" (he bestowed the name "Germanicus" upon his own son that year).

Nevertheless, Caesar had become such an integral part of the imperial dignity that its place was immediately restored by Titus Flavius Vespasianus ("Vespasian"), whose defeat of Vitellius in 69 put an end to the period of instability and began the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian's son, Titus Flavius Vespasianus became "Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus".

Dynastic title

By this point the status of "Caesar" had been regularised into that of a title given to the Emperor-designate (occasionally also with the honorific title Princeps Iuventutis, "Prince of Youth") and retained by him upon accession to the throne (e.g., Marcus Ulpius Traianus became Marcus Cocceius Nerva's designated heir as Caesar Nerva Traianus in October 97 and acceded on 28 January 98 as "Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Augustus"). After some variation among the earliest emperors, the style of the Emperor-designate on coins was usually Nobilissimus Caesar "Most Noble Caesar" (abbreviated to NOB CAES, N CAES etc.), though Caesar (CAES) on its own was also used.

Late Empire

Crisis of the Third Century

The popularity of using the title Caesar to designate heirs-apparent increased throughout the third century. Many of the soldier emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century attempted to strengthen their legitimacy by naming heirs, including Maximinus Thrax, Philip the Arab, Decius, Trebonianus Gallus and Gallienus. Some of these were promoted to the rank of Augustus within their father's lifetime, for example Philippus II. The same title would also be used in the Gallic Empire, which operated autonomously from the rest of the Roman Empire from 260 to 274, with the final Gallic emperor Tetricus I appointing his heir Tetricus II Caesar and his consular colleague for 274.

Despite the best efforts of these emperors, however, the granting of this title does not seem to have made succession in this chaotic period any more stable. Almost all Caesars would be killed before or alongside their fathers, or at best outlive them for a matter of months, as in the case of Hostilian. The sole Caesar to successfully obtain the rank of Augustus and rule for some time in his own right was Gordian III, and even he was heavily controlled by his court.

Tetrarchy

On 1 March 293, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus established the Tetrarchy, a system of rule by two senior Emperors and two junior sub-Emperors. The two coequal senior emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors, as Imperator Caesar NN. Pius Felix Invictus Augustus (Elagabalus had introduced the use of Pius Felix, "the Pious and Blessed", while Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus "Thrax" introduced the use of Invictus, "the Unconquered") and were called the Augusti, while the two junior sub-Emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors-designate, as Nobilissimus Caesar. Likewise, the junior sub-Emperors retained the title "Caesar" upon accession to the senior position.

The Tetrarchy was quickly abandoned as a system (though the four quarters of the empire survived as praetorian prefectures) in favour of two equal, territorial emperors, and the previous system of Emperors and Emperors-designate was restored, both in the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East.

After the Tetrarchy

The title of Caesar remained in use throughout the Constantinian period, with both Constantine I and his co-emperor and rival Licinius utilising it to mark their heirs. In the case of Constantine, this meant that by the time he died, he had four Caesars: Constantius II, Constantine II, Constans and his nephew Dalmatius, with his eldest son Crispus having been executed in mysterious circumstances earlier in his reign. In the event, Constantine would be succeeded only by his three sons, with Dalmatius dying in the summer of 337 in similarly murky circumstances.

Constantius II himself would nominate as Caesars his two cousins Constantius Gallus and Julian in succession in the 350s, although he first executed Gallus and then found himself at war with Julian before his own death. After Julian's revolt of 361, the title Caesar fell out of imperial fashion for some time, with emperors preferring simply to elevate their sons directly to the post of Augustus, as with Gratian. It would be revived only nearly three quarters of a century later when Theodosius II used it to mark his nephew Valentinian III before successfully installing him upon the western throne vacated by the boy's other uncle Honorius. Thereafter it would receive limited use in the Eastern Roman Empire, for example, in the designation of the future Leo II in the final months of his grandfather's life.

Byzantine Empire

Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 1000 002
The Roman emperor Constantine the Great, mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople

Caesar or Kaisar (Καῖσαρ), was a senior court title in the Byzantine Empire. Originally, as in the late Roman Empire, it was used for a subordinate co-emperor or the heir apparent, and was first among the "awarded" dignities. From the reign of Theodosius I, however, most emperors chose to solidify the succession of their intended heirs by raising them to co-emperors. Hence the title was more frequently awarded to second- and third-born sons, or to close and influential relatives of the Emperor: thus for example Alexios Mosele was the son-in-law of Theophilos (ruled 829–842), Bardas was the uncle and chief minister of Michael III (r. 842–867), while Nikephoros II (r. 963–969) awarded the title to his father, Bardas Phokas.[1][2] An exceptional case was the conferment of the dignity and its insignia to the Bulgarian khan Tervel by Justinian II (r. 685–695, 705–711) who had helped him regain his throne in 705.[2] The title was awarded to the brother of Empress Maria of Alania, George II of Georgia in 1081.

The office enjoyed extensive privileges, great prestige and power. When Alexios I Komnenos created the title of sebastokrator, kaisar became third in importance, and fourth after Manuel I Komnenos created the title of despot, which it remained until the end of the Empire. The feminine form was kaisarissa. It remained an office of great importance, usually awarded to imperial relations, as well as a few high-ranking and distinguished officials, and only rarely awarded to foreigners.

According to the Klētorologion of 899, the Byzantine Caesar's insignia were a crown without a cross, and the ceremony of a Caesar's creation (in this case dating to Constantine V), is included in De Ceremoniis I.43.[3] The title remained the highest in the imperial hierarchy until the introduction of the sebastokratōr (a composite derived from sebastos and autokrator, the Greek equivalents of Augustus and imperator) by Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118) and later of despotēs by Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180). The title remained in existence through the last centuries of the Empire. In the Palaiologan period, it was held by prominent nobles like Alexios Strategopoulos, but from the 14th century, it was mostly awarded to rulers of the Balkans such as the princes of Vlachia, Serbia and Thessaly.[2]

In the late Byzantine hierarchy, as recorded in the mid-14th century Book of Offices of pseudo-Kodinos, the rank continued to come after the sebastokratōr. Pseudo-Kodinos further records that the Caesar was equal in precedence to the panhypersebastos, another creation of Alexios I, but that Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (r. 1259–1282) had raised his nephew Michael Tarchaneiotes to the rank of protovestiarios and decreed that to come after the Caesar; while under Andronikos II Palaiologos (r. 1282–1328) the megas domestikos was raised to the same eminence, when it was awarded to the future emperor John VI Kantakouzenos (r. 1347–1354).[4] According to pseudo-Kodinos, the Caesar's insignia under the Palaiologoi were a skiadion hat in red and gold, decorated with gold-wire embroideries, with a veil bearing the wearer's name and pendants identical to those of the despotēs and the sebastokratōr. He wore a red tunic (rouchon) similar to the emperor's (without certain decorations), and his shoes and stockings were blue, as were the accouterments of his horse; these were all identical to those of the sebastokratōr, but without the embroidered eagles of the latter. Pseudo-Kodinos writes that the particular forms of another form of hat, the domed skaranikon, and of the mantle, the tamparion, for the Caesar were not known.[5]

Ottoman Empire

Gennadios II and Mehmed II
Mehmed II and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Gennadios.

In the Middle East, the Persians and the Arabs continued to refer to the Roman and Byzantine emperors as "Caesar" (in Persian: قیصر رومQaysar-i Rūm, "Caesar of Rûm", from Middle Persian kēsar). Thus, following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the victorious Ottoman sultan Mehmed II became the first of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire to assume the title "Caesar of the Roman Empire" (Ottoman Turkish: قیصر رومKayser-i Rûm).

After the Fall of Constantinople, having conquered the Byzantine Empire, Mehmed took the title Kayser-i Rûm, claiming succession to the Roman imperium.[6] His claim was that by possession of the city, he was emperor, a new dynast by conquest, as had happened previously in the Empire’s history.[7] Contemporary scholar George of Trebizond wrote "the seat of the Roman Empire is Constantinople ... and he who is and remains Emperor of the Romans is also the Emperor of the whole world".[8]

Gennadius Scholarius, a staunch antagonist of the West because of the Sack of Constantinople committed by the Western Catholics and theological controversies between the two Churches, had been enthroned the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople-New Rome with all the ceremonial elements and ethnarch (or milletbashi) status by the Sultan himself in 1454. In turn, Gennadius II recognized Mehmed as successor to the throne.[9] Mehmed also had a blood lineage to the Byzantine Imperial family; his predecessor, Sultan Orhan I had married a Byzantine princess, and Mehmed may have claimed descent from John Tzelepes Komnenos.[10] Ottoman sultans were not the only rulers to claim such a title, as there was the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe, whose emperor, Frederick III, traced his titular lineage from Charlemagne who obtained the title of Roman Emperor when he was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800, although he was never recognized as such by the Byzantine Empire.

Legacy

Title (and name)

The history of "Caesar" as an imperial title is reflected by the following monarchic titles, usually reserved for "Emperor" and "Empress" in many languages (note that the name Caesar, pronounced /siːzər/ in English, was pronounced [kaisar] in Classical Latin):

Germanic languages:

Baltic languages:

Slavic languages:

  • Belarusian: Цар & Царыца (Tsar & Tsarytsa)
  • Bulgarian: Цар & Царица (Tsar & Tsaritsa);
  • Croatian: Car & Carica (c is read ts);
  • Czech: Císař & Císařovna;
  • Macedonian: Цар & Царица (Tsar & Tsarica Ц is read ts)
  • Polish: Cesarz & Cesarzowa;
  • Russian: Царь & Царица, Czar & Czaritza (archaic transliteration), Tsar & Tsaritsa (modern transliteration); however in the Russian Empire (also reflected in some of its other languages), which aimed to be the "third Rome" as successor to the Byzantine Empire, it was abandoned (not in the foreign language renderings though) as imperial style — in favor of Imperator and Autocrator — and used as a lower, royal style as within the empire in chief of some of its parts, e.g. Georgia and Siberia
    • In the United States and, more recently, Britain, the title "czar" (from the Russian title) 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 and "terrorism czar" for a Presidential advisor on terrorism policy. More specifically, a czar refers to a sub-cabinet-level advisor within the executive branch of the U.S. government.
  • Serbian: Цар & Царица / Car & Carica (pronounced Tsar & Tsaritsa) or Kesar/Кесар
  • Slovak: Cisár & Cisárovná;
  • Slovene: Cesar & Cesarica or Car & Carica;
  • Ukrainian: Цісар і Цісарева (thisar & tsisareva), also Ukrainian: Цар/Царь & Царина (archaic transliteration: czar & czarina), Tsar & Tsaryna (modern transliteration)

Afro-Asiatic languages:

  • Arabic: Qays'r قصر;قيصر Qas'r (palace)
  • Hebrew: Kesár‎ קיסר (male) & Kesarít קיסרית (female);

Indo-Iranian languages:

Kartvelian languages

  • Georgian: კეისარი (Keisari)

Turkic languages:

  • Turkish: Kayser (historical), Sezar (modern). Kayser-i-Rûm "Caesar of [Constantinople, the second] Rome", one of many subsidiary titles proclaiming the Ottoman Sultan (main imperial title Padishah) as (Muslim) successor to "Rum" as the Turks called the (Christian) Roman Empire (as Byzantium had continued to call itself), continuing to use the name for part of formerly Byzantine territory (compare the Seljuk Rum-sultanate)

Uralic languages:

Austronesian languages:

Albanian:

Armenian:

  • Armenian: կայսր Kaysr, and Armenian: կայսրություն Kaysrutiun meaning empire;
  • Modern Greek: Greek: Καίσαρας (Kaisaras), the archaic form Greek: Καίσαρ is rarely used today;

Romance languages

  • Romanian, cezar as a common noun in certain contexts; Cezar, used as a first name.
  • Spanish, Portuguese and French, César: commonly used as first or second name.
  • Italian, Cesare, used as a first name.

In various Romance and other languages, the imperial title was rather based on the Latin Imperator (in fact a military mandate or a victory title), but Caesar or a derivation is then still used for both the name and the minor ranks (still perceived as Latin)

There have been other cases of a noun proper being turned into a title, such as Charlemagne's Latin name, including the epithet, Carolus (magnus) becoming Slavonic titles rendered as King: Kralj (Serbo-Croat), Král (Czech) and Król (Polish), etc.

However certain languages, especially Romance languages, also commonly use a 'modernized' word (e.g. César in French) for the name, both referring to the Roman cognomen and modern use as a first name, and even to render the title Caesar, sometimes again extended to the derived imperial titles above.

Historiography

Oswald Spengler used the term, Caesarism, in his book, The Decline of the West.

List of holders

Byzantine
Serbian

See also

References

  1. ^ Bury 1911, p. 36.
  2. ^ a b c ODB, "Caesar" (A. Kazhdan), p. 363.
  3. ^ Bury 1911, pp. 20, 36.
  4. ^ Verpeaux 1966, pp. 134–136.
  5. ^ Verpeaux 1966, pp. 147–149.
  6. ^ Michalis N. Michael; Matthias Kappler; Eftihios Gavriel (2009). Archivum Ottomanicum. Mouton. p. 10.
  7. ^ Christine Isom-Verhaaren; Kent F. Schull (11 April 2016). Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries. Indiana University Press. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-253-01948-6.
  8. ^ Roger Crowley (2009). Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453. Faber & Faber. pp. 13–. ISBN 978-0-571-25079-0.
  9. ^ http://global.britannica.com/biography/Gennadios-II-Scholarios. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Norwich, John Julius (1995). Byzantium:The Decline and Fall. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-679-41650-1.
  11. ^ Juan Signes Codoñer (23 March 2016). The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842: Court and Frontier in Byzantium During the Last Phase of Iconoclasm. Routledge. pp. 121–. ISBN 978-1-317-03427-8.

Bibliography

  • Pauly-Wissowa – Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft
  • Bury, John B. (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century – With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. Oxford University Publishing.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  • Verpeaux, Jean, ed. (1966). Pseudo-Kodinos, Traité des Offices (in French). Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
  • Bury, John B. (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century – With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. Oxford University Publishing.
  • Ferjančić, Božidar (1970). "Севастократори и кесари у Српском царству" [Sebastocrators and Caesares in the Serbian Empire]. Зборник Филозофског факултета. Belgrade: 255–269.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
  • Verpeaux, Jean, ed. (1966). Pseudo-Kodinos, Traité des Offices (in French). Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
Augustus (title)

Augustus (plural augusti; ; Classical Latin: [awˈɡʊstʊs], Latin for "majestic", "the increaser" or "venerable") was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius (often referred to simply as Augustus), Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.

In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos (σεβαστός, "venerable"), or Hellenised as Augoustos (αὔγουστος). After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth, especially in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It remains a given name for males.

Calendar Inscription of Priene

The Priene Calendar Inscription is an inscription in stone recovered at Priene (an ancient Greek city sited in Western Turkey) that uses the term "gospel" in referring to Augustus Caesar. It is called the Priene "Calendar" Inscription because it refers to the birthday of Augustus Caesar as the beginning of an era - the beginning of the gospel announcing his kingdom that heralded peace and salvation for his people - and a Roman decree to start a new calendar system based on the year of Augustus Caesar's birth was published. Calendar dating of history around a ruler is the principle upon which the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendars are based.

The inscription features the term "gospel", which is the Old English translation of Greek εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion, meaning "good news". As exemplified in the Calendar Inscription of Priene, dated from 9 BC, this Koine Greek term εὐαγγέλιον was used at the time of the Roman Empire to herald the good news of the arrival of a kingdom - the reign of a king that brought a war to an end, so that all people of the world who surrendered and pledged allegiance to this king would be granted salvation from destruction. The Calendar Inscription of Priene speaks of the birthday of Caesar Augustus as the beginning of the gospel announcing his kingdom, with a Roman decree to start a new calendar system based on the year of Augustus Caesar's birth. Into this context, the words of the Gospel of Mark are striking: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1 ESV) Jesus is thus heralded as the king who ends war by conquering people's allegiance, in contrast to the Roman Caesar (title).

Crown prince

A crown prince is the male heir apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. Its female form is crown princess, which may refer either to an heir apparent or, especially in earlier times, the wife of the person styled crown prince.

Crown prince as a descriptive term has been used throughout history for the prince being first in line to a throne and is expected to succeed (i.e. the heir apparent) barring any unforeseen future event preventing this. In certain monarchies, a more specific substantive title may be accorded and become associated with the position of heir apparent (e.g. Prince of Asturias in Spain, Prince of Wales in the United Kingdom). In these monarchies, the term crown prince may be used less often than the substantive title (or never).

Until the late twentieth century, no modern monarchy adopted a system whereby females would be guaranteed to succeed to the throne (i.e. absolute primogeniture). A crown princess would therefore more likely refer to the spouse of a crown prince and would be styled crown princess not in her own right but by courtesy.

Index of Byzantine Empire-related articles

This is a list of people, places, things, and concepts related to or originating from the Byzantine Empire (AD 330–1453). Feel free to add more, and create missing pages. You can track changes to the articles included in this list from here.

Note: People are listed by first name. Events, monuments and institutions like "Battle/Siege/Council/Church/Duchy/etc. of NNN" are listed by the location/name.

Paul Shelley

Paul Shelley (born Paul Matthews, 15 May 1942) is an English actor.

Shelley was born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, and trained at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Since then he has mainly worked in the theatre as a classical actor. He has worked extensively with the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and has appeared in several West End productions.

Qaisar

Qaisar (Arabic: قيصر‎) is the Arabic version of the name Caesar and it is used as a given name in Arabia. The Roman and later Byzantine emperors were called Qaisar-e-Rum (Caesar of Rome) by the Arabs and Persians. The Ottoman Sultans also took the title Kayser-i Rum (Caesar of Rome, meaning the Byzantine Empire) after conquering Constantinople, modern Istanbul, on May 29, 1453.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.