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Re: [sig] Kniaz: King or Prince?

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  • MHoll@aol.com
    In a message dated 10/8/2001 4:40:45 PM Central Daylight Time, ... First, I am not contesting what Janos said, and I fully agree with Paul. The issue of the
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 8, 2001
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      In a message dated 10/8/2001 4:40:45 PM Central Daylight Time,
      janos@... writes:


      > Emperor, King, Grand Prince, and Grand Duke are unique
      > titles, as they cannot be held by someone who does not
      > actually own the land.

      First, I am not contesting what Janos said, and I fully agree with Paul. The
      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.


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