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''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 qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...

title
that has signified various types of
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 in history. In the
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "
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
" or "
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 roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...

emperor
". The title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, the Byzantine emperors, and the kings of modern Greece. The feminine forms are ''basileia'' (βασίλεια), ''basilis'' (βασιλίς), ''basilissa'' (βασίλισσα), or the archaic ''
basilinna The ''Basilinna'' ( grc-gre, Βασιλίννα) or ''Basilissa'' (), both titles meaning "queen", was a ceremonial position in the ancient Greek religion, religion of ancient Athens, held by the wife of the ''archon basileus''. The role dated to t ...
'' (βασιλίννα), meaning "queen" or "empress".


Etymology

The etymology of ''basileus'' is uncertain. The Mycenaean form was *''gʷasileus'' (
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
: , ''qa-si-re-u''), denoting some sort of court official or local chieftain, but not an actual king. Its hypothetical earlier
Proto-Greek The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...
form would be *''gʷatileus''. Some linguists assume that it is a non-Greek word that was adopted by
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
Greeks from a pre-existing linguistic
Pre-Greek substrate The Pre-Greek substrate (or Pre-Greek substratum) consists of the unknown pre-Indo-European language(s) spoken in prehistoric Greece before the coming of the Proto-Greek language The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is ...
of the Eastern
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
. Schindler (1976) argues for an inner-Greek innovation of the ''-eus'' inflection type from
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and the Iranian Plateau. Some European languages of ...
material rather than a Mediterranean loan.


Ancient Greece


Original senses encountered on clay tablets

The first written instance of this word is found on the baked
clay tablet In the Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and sym ...
s discovered in excavations of
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...

Mycenae
an palaces originally destroyed by fire. The tablets are dated from the 15th century BC to the 11th century BC and are inscribed with the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
script, which was deciphered by
Michael Ventris Michael George Francis Ventris, (; 12 July 1922 – 6 September 1956) was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in ...
in 1952 and corresponds to a very early form of Greek. The word ''basileus'' is written as ''qa-si-re-u'' and its original meaning was "
chieftain A tribal chief or chieftain is the leader of a tribe, tribal society or chiefdom. Tribe The concept of tribe is a broadly applied concept, based on tribal concepts of societies of western Afroeurasia. Tribal societies are sometimes categor ...
" (in one particular tablet the chieftain of the guild of
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
smith Smith or Smithing is a craft A craft or trade is a pastime or an occupation that requires particular skills and knowledge of skilled work. In a historical sense, particularly the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Age ...
s is referred to as ''qa-si-re-u''). Here the initial letter ''q-'' represents the
PIE A pie is a baked Baking is a method of preparing food that uses dry heat, typically in an oven, but can also be done in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is grad ...
labiovelar consonant ''*/gʷ/'', transformed in later Greek into ''/b/''. Linear B uses the same glyph for ''/l/'' and ''/r/'', now uniformly written with a Latin "r" by convention. (The Old Persian word "vazir" has almost the same meaning as chieftain). Linear B only depicts syllables of single vowel or consonant-vowel form, therefore the final ''-s'' is not represented.


''Basileus'' vs. ''wanax'' in Mycenaean times

The word can be contrasted with ''
wanax Archaic inscription (', "to the king") on ceramic fragment, here shown upside down; a warrior bearing a spear and mounted on a horse is also depicted. (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
'', another word used more specifically for "
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
" and usually meaning "
High King A high king is a king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The ...

High King
" or "overlord". With the collapse of Mycenaean society, the position of ''wanax'' ceases to be mentioned, and the ''basileis'' (the plural form) appear the topmost potentates in Greek society. In the works of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
''wanax'' appears, in the form ''ánax'', mostly in descriptions of
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
(''ánax andrōn te theōn te'', "king of men and of the
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...
") and of very few human monarchs, most notably
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
. Otherwise the term survived almost exclusively as a component in compound personal names (e.g., ''Anax''agóras, Pleisto''ánax'') and is still in use in
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
in the description of the ''anáktoron/anáktora'' (" lace ''or'' homeof the ''ánax''"), i.e. of the royal palace. The latter is essentially the same word as ''wa-na-ka-te-ro'', ''wanákteros'', "of the ''wanax''/king" or "belonging to the ''wanax''/king", used in Linear B tablets to refer to various craftsmen serving the king (e.g. the "palace", or royal, spinner, or the ivory worker), and to items belonging or offered to the king (javelin shafts, wheat, spices, precincts etc.). Most of the Greek leaders in Homer's works are described as ''basileís'', which is rendered conventionally in English as "kings". However, a more accurate translation may be "princes" or "chieftains", which would better represent conditions in Greek society in Homer's time, and also the roles ascribed to Homer's characters. Agamemnon tries to give orders to
Achilles In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. ...

Achilles
among many others, while another ''basileus'' serves as his charioteer. His will, however, is not to be obeyed automatically. In Homer the ''wanax'' is expected to rule over the other ''basileis'' by consensus rather than by coercion, which is why Achilles rebels (the main theme of the
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
) when he perceives that Agamemnon is treating him unjustly.


Archaic ''basileus''

A study by
Robert Drews Robert Drews (born March 26, 1936) is an 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 ...
(1983) has demonstrated that even at the apex of Geometric and Archaic Greek society, ''basileus'' does not automatically translate to "king". In a number of places authority was exercised by a college of ''basileis'' drawn from a particular clan or group, and the office had term limits. However, ''basileus'' could also be applied to the hereditary leaders of "tribal" states, like those of the Arcadians and the
Messenians Messenia or Messinia ( el, Μεσσηνία) was an ancient district of the southwestern Peloponnese more or less overlapping the modern Messenia region of Greece. To the north it had a border with Elis along the Neda (river), Neda river. From ther ...
, in which cases the term approximated the meaning of "king".


Pseudo-Archytas' definition of the ''basileus'' as "sovereign" and "living law"

According to pseudo-
Archytas Archytas (; el, Ἀρχύτας; 435/410–360/350 BC) was an 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 oft ...

Archytas
's treatise "On justice and law", quoted by
Giorgio Agamben Giorgio Agamben (; ; born 22 April 1942) is an Italian philosopher best known for his work investigating the concepts of the state of exception, form-of-life (borrowed from Ludwig Wittgenstein Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( ; ; 26 Ap ...
in ''State of Exception'' (2005), ''Basileus'' is more adequately translated into "
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 ...
" than into "king". The reason for this is that it designates more the ''person'' of king than the ''office'' of king: the power of
magistrates The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a ''Roman magistrate, magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and posse ...
(''arkhontes'', "
archons ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meani ...
") derives from their social functions or offices, whereas the sovereign derives his power from himself. Sovereigns have ''
auctoritas 300px, Representation of a sitting of the Roman Senate: Cicero attacks Catilina, Catiline, from a 19th-century fresco ''Auctoritas'' is a Latin word which is the origin of English "authority". While historically its use in English was restricted ...
'', whereas magistrates retain ''
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
''. Pseudo-Archytas aimed at creating a theory of sovereignty completely enfranchised from
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
s, being itself the only source of legitimacy. He goes so far as qualifying the ''Basileus'' as '' nomos empsykhos'', or "living law", which is the origin, according to Agamben, of the ''
Führerprinzip The (; German for 'leader principle') prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the Government of Nazi Germany. This principle can be most succinctly understood to mean that "the 's word is above all written law" and that gov ...
'' and of
Carl Schmitt Carl Schmitt (; 11 July 1888 – 7 April 1985) was a German jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal ...
's theories on
dictatorship A dictatorship 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 ...
.


Use of ''basileus'' in classical times

In
classical times Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ) ...
, most Greek states had abolished the hereditary royal office in favor of
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
or
oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
rule. Some exceptions existed, namely the two hereditary
Kings of Sparta This List of Kings of Sparta details the important rulers of the 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 of ...

Kings of Sparta
(who served as joint commanders of the army, and were also called ''arkhagetai''), the
Kings of Cyrene Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene or Cyrenaica was a Greece, Greek colony on the North African coast, in what is now northeastern Libya, founded by Dorians, Dorian settlers from Ancient Thera, Thera (modern Santorini) in the 7th century BC. Kings of Cyrene rec ...
, the
Kings of Macedon This is a list of the ancient Macedonians. Mythology *Makednos Kings Argead dynasty Antipatrid dynasty, Antipatrid Dynasty * Cassander 305–297 BC * Philip IV of Macedon, Philip IV Δʹ 297 BC * Alexander V of Macedon, Alexander V Ε' and ...
and of the
Molossia The Molossians () were a group of ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet S ...

Molossia
ns in
Epirus sq, Epiri rup, Epiru , native_name_lang = , settlement_type = Historical region , image_map = Epirus antiquus tabula.jpg , map_alt = , map_caption = Map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich ...
and Kings of Arcadian Orchomenus. The Greeks also used the term to refer to various kings of "
barbaric A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
" (i.e. non-Greek) tribes in
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and
Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyria ...

Illyria
, as well as to the
Achaemenid The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subj ...
kings of
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 ...
. The Persian king was also referred to as ''Megas Basileus'' (Great King) or ''Basileus Basileōn'', a translation of the Persian title ''xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām'' ("
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 ...
"), or simply "''the'' king". There was also a cult of
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
''Basileus'' at Lebadeia.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
distinguished the ''basileus'', constrained by law, from the unlimited
tyrant A tyrant (from Ancient Greek , ''tyrannos''), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has usurped a legitimate ruler's sovereignty. Often portrayed as cruel, ty ...

tyrant
(''tyrannos''), who had generally seized control. At
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
, the ''
archon basileus''Archon basileus'' ( grc, ἄρχων βασιλεύς ') was a Greek title, meaning "king magistrate": the term is derived from the words ''archon ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word ...
'' was one of the nine
archons ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meani ...
, magistrates selected by lot. Of these, the ''
archon eponymos In ancient Greece the chief magistrate in various Greek city states was called eponymous archon (ἐπώνυμος ἄρχων, ''epōnymos archōn''). "Archon" (ἄρχων, pl. ἄρχοντες, ''archontes'') means "ruler" or "lord", frequently ...
'' (for whom the year was named), the
polemarch A polemarch (, from , ''polemarchos'') was a senior military title in various 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 30 ...
(polemos archon = war lord) and the ''basileus'' divided the powers of Athens' ancient kings, with the ''basileus'' overseeing religious rites and homicide cases. His wife had to ritually marry
Dionysus Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek rel ...

Dionysus
at the
Anthesteria The Anthesteria (; grc, Ἀνθεστήρια ) was one of the four Athenian festivals The festival calendar of Classical Athens The city of Athens ( grc, Ἀθῆναι, ''Athênai'' .tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯ Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ...
festival.
Philippides of PaianiaPhilippides, son of Philomelos, of Paiania was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate artic ...
was one of the richest Athenians during the age of Lycurgus of Athens, he was honoured archon, basileus in 293/2. Similar vestigial offices termed ''basileus'' existed in other Greek city-states. By contrast, the authoritarian rulers were never termed ''basileus'' in classical Greece, but ''archon'' or ''tyrannos''; although
Pheidon Pheidon (Greek language, Greek: Φείδων) was an Ancient Argos, Argive ruler during the 7th century BCE and 10th in line to Temenus. He was arguably Argos's most ambitious and successful ruler during the 7th century BCE. There is a possibility ...
of Argos is described by Aristotle as a ''basileus'' who made himself a tyrant. Many Greek authors, reconciling Carthaginian supremacy in the western Mediterranean with eastern stereotypes of absolutist non-Hellenic government, termed the Punic chief magistrate, the ''
sufet In several ancient Semitic-speaking cultures and associated historical regions, the shopheṭ or shofeṭ (plural shophṭim or shofeṭim; he, שׁוֹפֵט ''šōp̄ḗṭ'', xpu, 𐤔𐤐𐤈 ''šūfeṭ'', uga, 𐎘𐎔𐎉 ''ṯāpīṭ'') ...
'', as ''basileus'' in their native language. In fact, this office conformed to largely republican frameworks, being approximately equivalent in mandate to the
Roman consul A consul held the highest elected political office The incumbent is the current holder of an office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human acti ...
. This conflation appears notably in
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
's otherwise positive description of the Carthaginian Constitution in the ''
Politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...
'', as well as in the writings of
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
,
Diodorus Siculus Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily ( grc-gre, Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης ;  1st century BC), was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern ...
and
Diogenes Laertius Diogenes ( ; grc, Διογένης, Diogénēs ), also known as Diogenes the Cynic (, ), was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Turke ...

Diogenes Laertius
. Roman and early Christian writings sourced from Greek fostered further mischaracterizations, with the ''sufet'' mislabeled as the Latin ''rex''.


Alexander the Great

''Basileus'' and ''megas basileus'' were exclusively used by
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
and his
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...
successors in
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , o ...
,
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
(e.g. the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
, the
Kingdom of Pergamon Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female monarch Taxonomy * Kingdom (biology), a category in biological taxonomy Arts an ...
and
Kingdom of Pontus The Kingdom of Pontus ( grc, Βασιλεία τοῦ Πόντου, ''Basileía toû Póntou'') was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic O ...
) and
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
. The feminine counterpart is ''basilissa'' (queen), meaning both a
queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king (title), king, who reigns in her own right over a realm known as a "kingdom"; as opposed to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king ...
(such as
Cleopatra VII of Egypt Cleopatra VII Philopator ( grc-gre, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ}; 69 BC10 August 30 BC) was queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basile ...
) and a
queen consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning 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. *I ...
. It is at this time that the term ''basileus'' acquired a fully royal connotation, in stark contrast with the much less sophisticated earlier perceptions of kingship within Greece.


Romans and Byzantines

Under
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
rule, the term ''basileus'' came to be used, in the Hellenistic tradition, to designate the
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 ...
in the ordinary and literary speech of the Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean. Although the early Roman Emperors were careful to retain the façade of the
republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
institutions and to not formally adopt monarchical titles, the use of ''basileus'' amply illustrates that contemporaries clearly perceived that the Roman Empire was a monarchy in all but name. Nevertheless, despite its widespread use, due to its "royal" associations the title ''basileus'' remained unofficial for the Emperor, and was restricted in official documents to client kings in the East. Instead, in official context the imperial titles ''
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 ...
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 ...
'', translated or transliterated into Greek as ''Kaisar Sebastos'' or ''Kaisar Augoustos'', and ''
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
'', translated as '' Autokratōr'', were used. By the 4th century however, ''basileus'' was applied in official usage exclusively to the two rulers considered equals to the Roman Emperor: the
Sassanid Persia The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭩𐭥𐭠𐭭𐭱𐭲𐭥𐭩 ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Pe ...
n ''
shahanshah Shah (; fa, شاه, Šâh or Šāh, , ) was a title given to the emperors and kings of Iran (historically known as "Name of Iran, Persia" in the Western world).Yarshater, EhsaPersia or Iran, Persian or Farsi, ''Iranian Studies'', vol. XXII n ...

shahanshah
'' ("king of kings"), and to a lesser degree the King of Axum, whose importance was rather peripheral in the Byzantine worldview. Consequently, the title acquired the connotation of "emperor", and when barbarian kingdoms emerged on the ruins 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
in the 5th century, their rulers were referred to in Greek not as ''basileus'' but as ''rēx'' or ''rēgas'', the hellenized forms of the Latin title ''rex'',
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
. The first documented use of ''basileus Rhomaíōn'' in official context comes, surprisingly, from the Persians: in a letter sent to Emperor
MauriceMaurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice (died 287), Roman legionary and Christian martyr *Maurice (emperor) or Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus (539–602), Byzantine emperor *Maurice (bishop of London) (died 1107), Lord Chancellor and Lor ...
(r. 582–602) by
Chosroes II Khosrow II (Chosroes II in classical sources; Middle Persian: ''Khosrow (word), Husrō(y)''), also known as Khosrow Parviz (Persian language, New Persian: , "Khosrow the Victorious"), is considered to be the last great Sasanian Empire, Sasanian ...
, Maurice is addressed in Greek as ''basileus Rhomaíōn'' instead of the habitual
Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the literary language of the Sasanian Empire. For some time after the Sasan ...
appellation ''kēsar-i Hrōm'' ("Caesar of the Romans"), while the Persian ruler refers to himself correspondingly as ''Persōn basileus'', thereby dropping his own claim to the Greek equivalent of his formal title, ''basileus basileōn'' ("king of kings"). The title appears to have slowly crept into imperial titulature after that, and 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 ...
is attested as using it alongside the long-established ''Autokratōr Kaisar'' in a letter to
Kavadh II Shērōē (also spelled Shīrūya, New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym (from Greek Gr ...
in 628. Finally, in a law promulgated on 21 March 629, the Latin titles were omitted altogether, and the simple formula , "faithful in Christ Emperor" was used instead. The adoption of the new imperial formula has been traditionally interpreted by scholars such as
Ernst SteinErnst Edward Aurel Stein (19 September 1891, in Jaworzno Jaworzno is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Sc ...
and
George Ostrogorsky Georgiy Aleksandrovich Ostrogorskiy (russian: Георгий Александрович Острогорский; 19 January 1902 – 24 October 1976), known in Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in ...

George Ostrogorsky
as indicative of the almost complete
hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as t ...
of the Empire by that time. In imperial coinage, however, Latin forms continued to be used. Only in the reign of
Leo III the Isaurian Leo III the Isaurian ( gr, Λέων Γ ὁ Ἴσαυρος, Leōn ho Isauros; 685 – 18 June 741), also known as the Syrian, was Byzantine Emperor from 717 until his death in 741 and founder of the Isaurian dynasty. He put an end to the Twent ...
(r. 717–741) did the title ''basileus'' appear in silver coins, and on gold coinage only under
Constantine VI Constantine VI ( gr, Κωνσταντῖνος, ''Kōnstantinos''; 14 January 771 – before 805Cutler & Hollingsworth (1991), pp. 501–502) was Byzantine emperor from 780 to 797. The only child of Emperor Leo IV the Khazar, Leo IV, Constantine ...

Constantine VI
(r. 780–797). "BASILEUS" was initially stamped on Byzantine coins in Latin script, and only gradually were some Latin characters replaced with Greek ones, resulting in mixed forms such as "BASIΛEVS". Until the 9th century, the Byzantines reserved the term ''basileus'' among
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
rulers exclusively for their own emperor in
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
. This usage was initially accepted by the "barbarian" kings of Western Europe themselves: despite having neglected the fiction of Roman suzerainty from the 6th century onward, they refrained from adopting imperial titulature. The situation began to change when the Western European states began to challenge the Empire's political supremacy and its right to the universal imperial title. The catalytic event was the coronation of
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
as ''imperator Romanorum'' (" Emperor of the Romans") by
Pope Leo III Leo III (died 12 June 816) was the 96th 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 th ...

Pope Leo III
on 25 December 800, at in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
. The matter was complicated by the fact that the Eastern Empire was then managed by
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 ...

Irene
(r. 797–802), who had gained control after the death of her husband, the Emperor Leo IV (r. 775–780), as
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the 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 Repu ...
for their 9-year-old son,
Constantine VI Constantine VI ( gr, Κωνσταντῖνος, ''Kōnstantinos''; 14 January 771 – before 805Cutler & Hollingsworth (1991), pp. 501–502) was Byzantine emperor from 780 to 797. The only child of Emperor Leo IV the Khazar, Leo IV, Constantine ...

Constantine VI
(r. 780–797). After Constantine's coming of age, Irene eventually decided to rule in her own name. In the conflict that ensued, Irene was victorious and Constantine was blinded and imprisoned, to die soon afterward. The revulsion generated by this incident of
filicide '' Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan'', by Ilya Yefimovich Repin Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing their own child. The word ''filicide'' is derived from the Latin words ''filius'' and ''filia'' (son and daughter) and the suff ...
''cum''
regicide Regicide is the purposeful killing of a monarch or sovereign of a polity and is often associated with Usurper, the usurpation of power. A regicide can also be the person responsible for the killing. The word comes from the latin roots of ''re ...
was compounded by the traditional (and especially
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...
) aversion to the idea of a female
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 ...

sovereign
. Consequently, to the Franks, the imperial throne was vacant and free for Charlemagne to claim. Although it is often claimed that, as monarch, Irene called herself in the male form ''basileus'', in fact she normally used the title ''basilissa''. Charlemagne's claim to the imperial title of the Romans began a prolonged diplomatic controversy which was resolved only in 812 when the Byzantines agreed to recognize him as "''basileus''". In an effort to emphasize their own Roman legitimacy, the Byzantine rulers thereafter began to use the fuller form ''basileus Rhomaíōn'' (, "emperor of the Romans") instead of the simple "''basileus''", a practice that continued in official usage until the end of the Empire. The title ''autokratōr'' was also revived by the early 9th century (and appears in coins from 912 on). It was reserved for the senior ruling emperor among several co-emperors (''symbasileis''), who exercised actual power. The term ''megas basileus'' ("Great Emperor") was also sometimes used for the same purpose. By the
Palaiologan period The Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Con ...
, the full style of the Emperor was finalized in the phrase "X, in Christ the God faithful Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans" (, "''Χ, en Christō tō Theō pistós basileus kai autokratōr Rhōmaíōn''"). The later German emperors were also conceded the title "''basileus'' of 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
". The Byzantine title in turn produced further diplomatic incidents in the 10th century, when Western potentates addressed the emperors as "emperors of the Greeks". A similar diplomatic controversy (this time accompanied by war) ensued from the imperial aspirations of
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 ...
in the early 10th century. Aspiring to conquer Constantinople, Simeon claimed the title "''basileus'' of the
Bulgarians Bulgarians ( bg, българи, Bǎlgari, ) are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Le ...
and of the Romans", but was only recognized as "''basileus'' of the Bulgarians" by the Byzantines. From the 12th century however, the title was increasingly, although again not officially, used for powerful foreign sovereigns, such as the kings of
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
or
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, the tsars of the restored
Bulgarian Empire In the medieval history of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarde ...

Bulgarian Empire
, the and the emperors of Trebizond. In time, the title was also applied to major non-Christian rulers, such as
Tamerlane Timur ; chg, ''Aqsaq Temür'', 'Timur the Lame') or as ''Sahib-i-Qiran'' ( 'Lord of the Auspicious Conjunction'), his epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of ...

Tamerlane
or
Mehmed II Mehmed II ( ota, محمد ثانى, translit=Meḥmed-i s̱ānī; tr, II. Mehmed, ; 30 March 14323 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror ( ota, ابو الفتح, Ebū'l-Fetḥ, lit=the Father of Conquest, links=no; tr, Fatih Su ...

Mehmed II
. Finally, in 1354,
Stefan Dušan Stephen (honorific), Stefan Uroš IV Dušan ( sr-Cyrl, Стефан Урош IV Душан, ), known as Dušan the Mighty ( sr, Душан Силни, Dušan Silni; circa 1308 – 20 December 1355), was the King of Serbia from 8 September 1331 and ...
, king of
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 ...
, assumed the imperial title, based on his Bulgarian mother's Theodora Smilets of Bulgaria royal line, self-styling himself in Greek as ''basileus'' and ''autokratōr'' of the Romans and Serbs which was, however, not recognized by the Byzantines.


New Testament and Jesus

While the terms used for the
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 ...

Roman emperor
are ''Kaisar Augustos'' (Decree from Caesar Augustus, Dogma para Kaisaros Augoustou, Luke 2:1) or just ''Kaisar'' (see Render unto Caesar...) and
Pontius Pilate Pontius Pilate ( ; grc-gre, Πόντιος Πιλᾶτος, ) was the fifth governor of the , serving under Emperor from the year 26/27 to 36/37 AD. He is best known for being the official who presided over and later ordered . Pilate's importan ...
is termed
Hegemon Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
( Matthew 27:2), Herod is Basileus (in his coins also ''Basileōs Herodou'', "of King Herod", and by
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Roman Jews, Romano-Jewish historian and military leader, best known for ''The Jewish War'', who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Judea (Roman province), Roman ...

Josephus
) Regarding
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
the term basileus acquires a new Christian theological meaning out of the further concept of Basileus as a chief religious officer during the Hellenistic period. Jesus is ''Basileus Basileōn'' (Βασιλεὺς βασιλέων =
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 ...
, Revelation 17:14, 19:16) (a previous Near Eastern phrase for rulers of empires), or ''Basileus tōn basileuontōn'' (Βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων = literally King of those being kings, 1 Timothy 6:15). Other titles involving ''Basileus'' include ''Basileus tōn Ouranōn'', translated as '' King of Heaven'', with his ''Basileia tōn Ouranōn'', i.e. Kingship or Kingdom of Heaven, and is ''Basileus tōn Ioudaiōn'', i.e. King of the Jews (see
INRI In the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in ...

INRI
). In Byzantine art, a standard depiction of Jesus is ''Basileus tēs Doxēs'' King of Glory (in the West ); a phrase derived from the
Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), commonly referred to simply as Psalms, the Psalter or "the Psalms", is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh ...

Psalms
24:10 and the ''Lord of Glory'' (
Kyrios ''Kyrios'' or ''kurios'' ( grc, κύριος, kū́rios) is a Greek language, Greek word which is usually translated as "lord" or "master". It is used in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew religious text, scriptures about 7000 times, in pa ...

Kyrios
tēs Doxēs, 1 Corinthians 2:8).


Modern Greece

During the post-Byzantine period, the term ''basileus'', by the renewed influence of Classical writers on the language, reverted to its earlier meaning of "king". This transformation had already begun in informal usage in the works of some classicizing Byzantine authors. In the Convention of London in 1832, the Great Powers (the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
,
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 ...
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
, and
Imperial Russia 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. T ...
) agreed that the new Greek state should become 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: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
, and chose the
Wittelsbach The House of Wittelsbach () is the Kingdom of Bavaria, Royal Bavarian dynasty from Germany, with branches that have ruled over territories including Bavaria, the Palatinate, Holland and Zeeland, Sweden (with Denmark and Norway), Hungary (with ...

Wittelsbach
Prince
Otto of Bavaria Otto (german: Otto Wilhelm Luitpold Adalbert Waldemar; 27 April 1848 – 11 October 1916) was King of Bavaria from 1886 until 1913. However, he never actively ruled because of alleged severe mental illness. His uncle, Luitpold, Prince Regent ...

Otto of Bavaria
as its first king. The Great Powers furthermore ordained that his title was to be "Βασιλεὺς τῆς Ἑλλάδος" ''Vasilefs tes Elládos'', meaning "King of Greece", instead of "Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων" ''Vasilefs ton Ellénon'', i.e. "King of the Greeks". This title had two implications: first, that Otto was the king only of the small
Kingdom of Greece The Kingdom of Greece ( grc, label=Katharevousa, Greek, Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος ) was established in 1832 and was the successor state to the First Hellenic Republic. It was internationally recognised by the Treaty of Constant ...
, and not of all
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
, whose majority still remained ruled by 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 ...
. Second, that the kingship did not depend on the will of the Greek people, a fact further underlined by Otto's addition of the formula "ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ" ''eléo Theou'', i.e. '' By the Grace (Mercy) of God''. For 10 years, until the
3 September 1843 Revolution The 3 September 1843 Revolution ( el, Επανάσταση της 3ης Σεπτεμβρίου 1843; N.S. 15 September), was an uprising by the Hellenic Army in Athens, supported by large sections of the people, against the autocratic rule of ...
, Otto ruled as an absolute monarch, and his autocratic rule, which continued even after being forced to grant a constitution, made him very unpopular. After being ousted in 1862, the new Danish dynasty of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg began with . Both to assert national independence from the will of the Powers, and to emphasize the constitutional responsibilities of the monarch towards the people, his title was modified to "King of the Hellenes", which remained the official royal title until the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1974. The two Greek kings who had the name of Constantine, a name of great sentimental and symbolic significance, especially in the irredentist context of the ''
Megali Idea The Megali Idea ( el, Μεγάλη Ιδέα, Megáli Idéa, Great Idea) is an irredentist Irredentism is a political and popular movement whose members claim (usually on behalf of their nation A nation is a community of people formed on t ...

Megali Idea
'', were often, although never officially, numbered in direct succession to the last Byzantine Emperor,
Constantine XI Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos or Dragaš Palaeologus ( el, Κωνσταντῖνος Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, ''Kōnstantinos Dragasēs Palaiologos''; 8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453) was the last Byzantine emperor, reign ...

Constantine XI
, as and respectively.


See also

*
Anthesteria The Anthesteria (; grc, Ἀνθεστήρια ) was one of the four Athenian festivals The festival calendar of Classical Athens The city of Athens ( grc, Ἀθῆναι, ''Athênai'' .tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯ Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ...
,
Dionysus Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek rel ...

Dionysus
festival in which a ''
basilinna The ''Basilinna'' ( grc-gre, Βασιλίννα) or ''Basilissa'' (), both titles meaning "queen", was a ceremonial position in the ancient Greek religion, religion of ancient Athens, held by the wife of the ''archon basileus''. The role dated to t ...
'', wife of the
archon ''Archon'' ( gr, ἄρχων, árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, ''árchontes'') is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meani ...

archon
basileus for the time, went through a ceremony of marriage to the wine god. May be compared to
carnivals Carnival is a Western Christianity, Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgy, liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide ( ...
and other
charivari Charivari, alternatively spelled shivaree or chivaree and also called skimmington (ride), was a folk custom in which a mock parade was staged through a community accompanied by a discordant mock serenade. Since the crowd aimed to make as much noise ...

charivari
s. *''
Auctoritas 300px, Representation of a sitting of the Roman Senate: Cicero attacks Catilina, Catiline, from a 19th-century fresco ''Auctoritas'' is a Latin word which is the origin of English "authority". While historically its use in English was restricted ...
'' *''
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
'' *
Sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...


Notes


References


Sources

*
Robert Drews Robert Drews (born March 26, 1936) is an 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 ...
. ''Basileus. The Evidence for Kingship in Geometric Greece'', Yale (1983). * Michael Janda. “Annäherung an ''basileús''”, in ''Analecta Homini Universali Dicata ... Festschrift für Oswald Panagl zum 65. Geburtstag'', vol. 1. Edited by Thomas Krisch, Thomas Lindner, & Ulrich Müller. Stuttgart: Hans Dieter Heinz, 2004, pp. 84−94. *
Jochem Schindler Jochem Schindler (8 November 1944 in Amstetten, Lower Austria – 24 December 1994 in Prague) was an Austrian Indo-Europeanist. In spite of his comparatively thin bibliography, he made important contributions, in particular to the theory of Proto-In ...
. “On the Greek type ''hippeús''”, in ''Studies Palmer'', ed. Meid (1976), 349–352.


External links


The Linear B Tablets and Mycenaean Social, Political, and Economic Organization
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