Re: [sig] Kniaz: King or Prince?
- In a message dated 10/8/2001 4:40:45 PM Central Daylight Time,
> Emperor, King, Grand Prince, and Grand Duke are uniqueFirst, I am not contesting what Janos said, and I fully agree with Paul. The
> titles, as they cannot be held by someone who does not
> actually own the land.
issue of the meaning of "kniaz" was not stated properly. There is one more
reason why: the meaning of the word (and power/authority associated with it)
varied quite a bit over time (imperial titles, which is what Janos was
quoting, have nothing to do with medieval titles).
Just a little comment: as for land *ownership*, it's more complicated than
that. In medieval Russia, before and during the Mongol era, kniaz'ia (plural
of kniaz) ruled over certain lands, owned some in their own (personal) right,
and ordinary Russians could also own lands, free of the kniaz's authority,
except for taxes, military defense, judicial authority, etc -- pretty much
the modern concept of ownership.
The kniaz'ia could move from one land to another, fight over rulership of
this or that land (some lands had more prestige, and therefore their rulers
had more authority), levy taxes (as set by law), etc. So technically, what
made a kniaz a kniaz was 1) inheritance (it's a patrilinear title), 2)
rulership (but not ownership) or a land, 3) how good they were at keeping 1)
(staying alive) and 2) (not being overrun by neighbors).
The best explanation of the system I've read is by Janet Martin, _Medieval
Russia_. I recommend the book, even though it's a bit of a dry read; it is,
after all, a textbook.
Per fess embattled azure and gules, two otters passant or.
<A HREF="http://members.aol.com/Predslava/RussianHistoryTriviaPage.html">Russian History Trivia Page</A>
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