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A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...
,
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
, Wallachian, Moldavian, and later
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
n,
Lithuanian Lithuanian may refer to: * Lithuanians Lithuanians ( lt, lietuviai, singular ''lietuvis/lietuvė'') are a Balts, Baltic ethnic group. They are native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,561,300 people. Another million or more make up the Lith ...
and
Baltic German The Baltic Germans (german: Deutsch-Balten or , later ; and остзейцы ''ostzeitsy'' 'Balters' in Russian) are ethnic German The Germans (german: Deutsche) are a Germanic peoples, Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe.. ...
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
, second only to the ruling
princes A prince is a male ruler (ranked below 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 ...
(in Bulgaria,
tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

tsar
s) from the 10th century to the 17th century. The rank has lived on as a surname in Russia, Romania,
Finland Finland ( fi, Suomi ; sv, Finland ), officially the Republic of Finland (; ), is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and is defined by the Gulf of B ...

Finland
,
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
and
Latvia Latvia ( or ; lv, Latvija ; ltg, Latveja; liv, Leţmō), officially known as the Republic of Latvia ( lv, Latvijas Republika, links=no, ltg, Latvejas Republika, links=no, liv, Leţmō Vabāmō, links=no), is a country in the Baltic re ...

Latvia
where it is spelled ''Pajari'' or ''Bajārs/-a''.


Etymology

Also known as bolyar; variants in other languages include bg, боляр or ; rus, боя́рин, r=boyarin, p=bɐˈjærʲɪn; ; ro, boier, ; and el, βογιάρος. The title
Boila Boila ( Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgar and Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-101 ...
is predecessor or old form of the title Bolyar (the
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
word for Boyar). Boila was a title worn by some of the
Bulgar Bulgar may refer to: *Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least th ...

Bulgar
aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye) was a medieval Bulgar- Slavic and later Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

First Bulgarian Empire
(681–1018). The plural form of
boila Boila ( Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgar and Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-101 ...
("noble"), ''bolyare'' is attested in
Bulgar Bulgar may refer to: *Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least th ...
inscriptions9th century stone inscription from Bulgaria mentioning boyars
(
boila Boila ( Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgar and Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-101 ...
)
and rendered as ''boilades'' or ''boliades'' in the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
of Byzantine documents.Constantine Porphyrogenitus, de Cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae, II, 46–47
/ref> Multiple different derivation theories of the word have been suggested by scholars and linguists, such as it having possible roots from old Turkic: ''bai'' ("noble, rich"; ''cf.'' "
bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface ...

bay
"), plus
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
''är'' ("man, men").,Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary
(Russian)
or proto-Slavic "boj" (fight, battle). The title entered Old Russian as ''быля'' (''bylya'', attested solely in ''
The Tale of Igor's Campaign ''The Tale of Igor's Campaign'' ( orv, Слово о пълкѹ Игоревѣ, translit=Slovo o pŭlku Igorevě) is an anonymous epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem Narrative poetry is a form of poetry Poetry (derived f ...
'').


Bolyars in Bulgaria

The oldest form of ''boyar''—''bolyarin'', pl. ''bolyari'' ( bg, болярин, )—dates from the 10th century, and it is found in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, also popular as old
Bulgar Bulgar may refer to: *Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least th ...

Bulgar
title ''
boila Boila ( Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgar and Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-101 ...
'', which denoted a high aristocratic status among the Bulgars. It was probably built from ''bol''- meaning ''many'' and ''yarin, yarki''-meanng ''bright, enlightened''. In support of this hypothesis is the 10th-century diplomatic protocol of the Byzantine Emperor
Constantine VII Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus Traditionally, born in the purple (sometimes "born to the purple") was a category of members of royal family, royal families born during the reign of their parent. This notion was later loosely expanded to include ...
, where the Bulgarian nobles are called ''boliades'', while the 9th-century Bulgar sources call them ''boila''. A member of the nobility during the
First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire ( cu, блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, blagarysko tsesarystviye) was a medieval Bulgar- Slavic and later Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

First Bulgarian Empire
was called a ''
boila Boila ( Old Bulgarian: ; bg, боила; el, βοιλα; otk, 𐰉𐰆𐰖𐰞𐰀, Boyla) was a title worn by some of the Bulgar and Göktürk aristocrats (mostly of regional governors and noble warriors) in the First Bulgarian Empire (681-101 ...
'', while in the
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (Middle Bulgarian Middle Bulgarian language was the lingua franca and the most widely spoken language of the Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire ( bg, Второ българско царство, ...

Second Bulgarian Empire
, the corresponding title became ''bolyar'' or ''bolyarin''. ''Bolyar'', as well as its predecessor, ''boila'', was a hereditary title. The Bulgarian bolyars were divided into ''veliki'' ("great") and ''malki'' ("minor"). Presently in Bulgaria, the word ''bolyari'' is used as a nickname for the inhabitants of
Veliko Tarnovo Veliko Tarnovo ( bg, Велико Търново, Veliko Tǎrnovo, ; "Great Tarnovo") is a town in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred as the "''City of the Tsars''", Veliko Tarnovo ...

Veliko Tarnovo
—once the capital of the
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (Middle Bulgarian Middle Bulgarian language was the lingua franca and the most widely spoken language of the Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire ( bg, Второ българско царство, ...

Second Bulgarian Empire
.


Boyars in Serbia

In medieval
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 ...

Serbia
, the rank of the boyars ( sr, Боjари, bojari, label=none) was equivalent to the rank of the
baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of th ...

baron
; meaning "free warrior" (or "free man" in general), it was the first rank after the non-free
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
s or
serf Serfdom was the status of many peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revoluti ...
s. The etymology of the term comes from the word ''battle'' ( sr, бој, boj, label=none); the boyars of Serbia were literally "men for the battle" or the warrior class, in contrast to the peasants; they could own land but were obliged to defend it and fight for the king. With the rule of 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 ...
after 1450, the Ottoman as well as the
Austro-Hungarian Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a writte ...
terms exchanged the Serbian one. Today, it is an archaic term representing the aristocracy ( sr, племство, plemstvo, label=none).


Boyars in the lands of Kievan Rus' state

From the 9th to 13th century, boyars wielded considerable power through their military support of the Kievan princes. Power and prestige of many of them, however, soon came to depend almost completely on service to the state, family history of service and, to a lesser extent, land ownership. Boyars of Kievan Rus were visually very similar to knights, but after the Mongol invasion, their cultural links were mostly lost. The boyars occupied the highest state offices and, through a council (
duma A duma (дума) is a Russian assembly with advisory or legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind ...

duma
), advised the
grand duke Grand Duke (feminine: Grand Duchess) is a European hereditary title, used either by certain monarchs or by members of certain monarchs' families. In status, a Grand Duke traditionally ranks in order of precedence below an emperor, king or archd ...
. They received extensive grants of land and, as members of the Boyars' Duma, were the major legislators of
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
. After the Mongol invasion in the 13th century, the boyars from central and southern parts of Kievan Rus' (modern Belarus and Ukraine) were incorporated into Lithuanian and Polish nobility (
szlachta The ''szlachta'' (Polish: , ) were the in the , the , and the who, as a , had the dominating position in the state, exercising . Szlachta as a class differed significantly from the of . The estate was officially abolished in 1921 by the . ...
). In the 16th and 17th centuries, many of those Ukrainian boyars who failed to get the status of a nobleman actively participated in the formation of the
Cossack The Cossacks * russian: казаки́ or * be, казакi * pl, Kozacy * cs, kozáci * sk, kozáci * hu, kozákok, cazacii * fi, Kasakat, cazacii * et, Kasakad, cazacii are a group of predominantly East Slavic languages, East Slav ...
army, based in the south of modern
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
.


Boyars in Old Russian Muscovy or Muscovite Rus'

During the 14th and 15th centuries, the boyars of Moscow had considerable influence that continued from the
Muscovy Muscovy is an alternative name for the Grand Duchy of Moscow The Grand Duchy of Moscow, Muscovite Russia, Muscovite Rus' or Grand Principality of Moscow (russian: Великое княжество Московское, Velikoye knyazhestvo Mosk ...
period. However, starting with the reign of
Ivan III Ivan III Vasilyevich (russian: Иван III Васильевич; 22 January 1440, Moscow – 27 October 1505, Moscow), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Duchy of Moscow, Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Names of Rus', Russ ...

Ivan III
, the boyars were starting to lose that influence to the authoritative
tsars , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate East and South Slavic monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mi ...
in Russia. Because of Ivan III's expansionist policies, administrative changes were needed in order to ease the burden of governing Muscovy. Small principalities knew their loyal subjects by name, but after the consolidation of territories under Ivan, familial loyalty and friendship with the boyar's subjects turned those same subjects into administrative lists. The face of provincial rule disappeared. Boyar membership, until the 16th century, did not necessarily require one to be Russian, or even Orthodox, as historians note that many boyars came from places like
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
or the
Nogais The Nogais ( Nogai: Ногай, , Ногайлар, ) are a Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disa ...
, and some remained
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
for a generation after the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to the Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia an ...

Mongols
were ousted. What is interesting about the boyars is their implied duties. Because boyars were not constitutionally instituted, much of their powers and duties came from agreements signed between princes. Agreements, such as one between Ivan III and Mikhail Borisovich in 1484 showed how allegiances needed to be earned and secured, rather than implied and enforced. Instead of the grand prince personally overseeing his lands, he had to rely on his captains and close advisors to oversee day-to-day operations. Instead of the great voice the boyars had previously in their advisory roles, they now had less bargaining power and mobility. They answered questions posed by the grand prince, and Ivan III even made sure to get their approval on special events, such as his marriage to Zoe Paleologa, or the attack on
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
. This was to ensure the boyars and their military power remained loyal to the tsar. The
grand duke Grand Duke (feminine: Grand Duchess) is a European hereditary title, used either by certain monarchs or by members of certain monarchs' families. In status, a Grand Duke traditionally ranks in order of precedence below an emperor, king or archd ...
also made sure that peasants could not leave the princes’ lands, or from one place to another, in the mid-1400s, effectively establishing
serfdom Serfdom was the status of many peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism, and similar systems. It was a condition of debt bondage and indentured servitude with similarities to and differences from slavery, which developed ...
. The boyars gained rewards and gifts as well. Some boyars were sent to regions as governors, and could “feed off” the locals in this way. Still, by the end of the 15th century, boyar membership had declined, and merit rather than belonging to the family decided who became a boyar. Then
Ivan IV Ivan IV Vasilyevich (russian: Ива́н Васильевич; 25 August 1530 – ), commonly known in English language, English as Ivan the Terrible (from , Romanization of Russian, romanized: , Literal translation, lit. "Ivan the Formidable ...
became the tsar, and more radical changes were implemented. Ivan IV became the grand prince of all Moscovie' in 1533 at the age of three, but various boyar factions tried to compete for control of the regency. When Ivan IV came to power in 1547, much more of the boyar's independent political power became obsolete. The independence and autonomy experienced by the princes of the regions in Moscovie was abolished under Ivan IV by the end of the sixteenth century, making them “the prince’s sons”, or just simple boyars serving the Grand Prince. Ivan IV divided Moscovie' into two parts in 1565, and in the private part, the terror began. The boyars attempted to band together and resist, but instead of constitutionally establishing their role in government, Ivan IV ruthlessly crushed the boyar opposition with the use of the
oprichnina shows the execution of the conspirator I. P. Fedorov (right) after a mock coronation. The oprichnina (russian: опри́чнина, ) was a state policy implemented by Tsar Ivan the Terrible Ivan IV Vasilyevich ( rus, Ива́н Васи́ ...
terror. Land grants were also given to subjects that provided military service, and soon this type of land grant became the more common compared to inherited land among the boyars. Ivan IV consolidated his power, centralized royal power, and made every effort possible to curb the influence of the princes. After Ivan IV, a time of troubles began when his son Fedor, died without an heir, ending the
Rurik Rurik of Ladoga (also Ryurik or Rorik; orv, Рюрикъ ''Rjurikŭ'', from Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic la ...

Rurik
dynasty. The boyar
Boris Godunov Boris Fyodorovich Godunov (; russian: Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в; possibly 1551 ) ruled the Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, translit=Russkoye tsarstvo, ...

Boris Godunov
tried to proclaim himself tsar, but several boyar factions refuse to recognize him. The chaos continued after the first False Dmitriy gained the throne, and civil war erupted. When the
Romanovs The House of Romanov (also transcribed Romanoff; rus, Рома́новы, Románovy, rɐˈmanəvɨ) was the reigning imperial house of Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning ...
took over, the seventeenth century became one filled with administrative reform. A comprehensive legal code was introduced, and a merging of the boyars into the elite bureaucracy was beginning to form. By the end of the
Time of Troubles The Time of Troubles (russian: Смутное время, ), or Smuta (russian: Смута), was a period of political crisis during the Tsardom of Russia The Tsardom of Russia or Tsardom of Rus' (russian: Русское царство, tran ...
, the boyars had lost nearly all independent power they had. Instead of going to Moscow to gain more power, the boyars felt defeated, and felt compelled to go to Moscow to maintain a united and strong Russia. Second, the boyars lost their independent principalities, where they maintained all their power, and instead governed districts and regions under the grand prince of the time. Boyars also lost their advisory influence over the grand prince with tools such as the duma, and instead the grand prince no longer felt compelled to listen to the demands of the boyars. Finally, the tsar no longer feared losing their military support, and unification of Moscovie became paramount in importance. With
Peter the Great Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈp ...

Peter the Great
, the final nail in the coffin happened for the boyar's power, and they would never recover from his administrative reforms. Peter the Great, who took power in 1697, took it upon himself to westernize Russia, and catch it up with the modern world. After the revolt of the streltsy regiments in 1698, Peter the Great returned to Russia, forcing government officials and those that were financially able to have clean shaven faces and wear Western clothing. Peter also reformed the judicial system, and created a senate with members appointed by him, replacing the old council of boyars that originally advised the tsar. This move he made was one of many that dismantled the powers and status the boyars previously possessed. Peter was driving out the conservative and religious faction of the boyars out of the courts, and instead using both foreign and Russian officials to fill the administrative system. Several boyars, as well as other nobility, spoke out against these reforms, including historian Mikhail Shcherbatov, who stated that the reforms Peter made helped destroy Russian tradition, and created people that tried to “worm their way up, by flattering and humoring the monarch and the grandees in every way.” Still, the reforms continued, as by this point, the tsar possessed too much power, and Russia became an absolute monarchy more and more with each ruler.


Boyars in Galicia

Being part of
Ruthenia Ruthenia (; la, Rut(h)enia) is an exonym, originally used in Medieval Latin as one of several designations for East Slavs, East Slavic and Eastern Orthodox regions, and most commonly as a designation for the lands of Rus' (region), Rus' ( orv, ...

Ruthenia
(also known as
Kievan Rus Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation of East Slavs, East Slavic, Galindians, Baltic and Finnic peoples in Eastern Europe, Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century ...
), the Galician nobility originally were called boyars. With the annexation of Galicia by the
Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland "Kingdom of Poland" ( Polish: ''Królestwo Polskie'', Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...

Kingdom of Poland
as the result of the Galicia-Volhynia wars, local boyars were equated since 1430 in rights along with Polish nobility (
szlachta The ''szlachta'' (Polish: , ) were the in the , the , and the who, as a , had the dominating position in the state, exercising . Szlachta as a class differed significantly from the of . The estate was officially abolished in 1921 by the . ...
). A great number of boyars fled to the lands of
Great Duchy of Lithuania The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state that lasted from the 13th century to 1795, when the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire t ...
in
Volhynia Volhynia (; uk, Волинь, Volyn'; be, Валынь (); pl, Wołyń ), is a historic region in Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central r ...
and
Podolia Podolia or Podilia ( uk, Поді́лля, Podíllia, ; russian: Подо́лье, Podolʹje; tr, Podolya; pl, Podole; german: Podolien; lt, Podolė) is a historic region in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe ...
.Szlachta
Encyclopedia of Ukraine The ''Encyclopedia of Ukraine'' ( uk, Енциклопедія українознавства, translit=Entsyklopediia ukrainoznavstva) is a fundamental work of Ukrainian Studies created under the auspices of the Shevchenko Scientific Society ...

Encyclopedia of Ukraine


Boyars in Wallachia and Moldavia

In the
Carpathian The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians () are a range of mountains forming an arc throughout Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe Central Europe is the central region ...

Carpathian
regions inhabited by Romanians, the boyar () class emerged from the chiefs (named ("leader") or ("judge") in the areas north of the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
, and south of the river) of rural communities in the
early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
, initially elected, who later made their judicial and administrative attributions hereditary and gradually expanded them upon other communities. After the appearance of more advanced political structures in the area, their privileged status had to be confirmed by the central power, which used this prerogative to include in the boyar class individuals that distinguished themselves in the military or civilian functions they performed (by allocating them lands from the princely domains).


The boyar condition

The Romanian social hierarchy was composed of boyar, , and . Being a boyar implied three things: being a land-owner, having serfs, and having a military and/or administrative function. A boyar could have a state function and/or a court function. These functions were called or . Only the prince had the power to assign a boierie. Landowners with serfs but no function were categorized as but were still considered to be of noble origin (, which translates literally as "of boyar bones"). Small landowners who possessed a domain without distinction () or serfs were called . According to some historians, they were descendants of mazil landowners.


Origin

Although functions could only be accorded by the prince and were not hereditary, land possession was hereditary. The prince could give land to somebody but could not take it from its possessor except for serious reasons such as treason. Therefore, there were two kinds of boyars: those whose ancestors, as chiefs of the ancient rural communities, had held land before the formation of the feudal states, such that the prince merely confirmed their preexisting status as landowners; and those who acquired their domain from a princely donation or who had inherited it from an ancestor who acquired it through such a donation (''cf.'' the distinction between ''
Uradel ''Uradel'' (, German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German langua ...
'' and ''
Briefadel ''Briefadel'' (in German language, German) or ''brevadel'' (in Danish language, Danish, Norwegian language, Norwegian, and Swedish language, Swedish) are persons and families who have been ennobled by letter patent, letters patent. The oldest kno ...
'' in the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
and in its feudal successor regimes). During the
Phanariot File:Constantinople Fener 1900.jpg, upright=1.2, Another view of the Phanarion quarter, ca. 1900. In the forefront: the Bulgarian Orthodox Bulgarian St. Stephen Church, Church of St. Stephen; atop the hill: the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Phan ...
régime, there were also boyars who had no land at all, but only a function. This way, the number of boyars could be increased, by selling functions to those who could afford them.


Hierarchy

The close alliance between the boyar condition and the military-administrative functions led to a confusion, aggravated by the Phanariots: these functions began to be considered as noble titles, like in the Occident. In fact, this was not at all the case. Traditionally, the boyars were organized in three states: boyars of the first, second, and third states. For example, there was a first or a grand postelnic, a second postelnic, and a third postelnic, each one with his different obligations and rights. The difference of condition was visible even in the vestimentation or physical aspect. Only the boyars of the first state had the right, for example, to grow a beard, the rest being entitled only to a mustache. Within the class of the boyars of the first state, there was the subclass of the "grand boyars". Those were great landowners who also had some very high functions, such as the function of great
vornic Vornic was a historical rank for an official in charge of justice and internal affairs. He was overseeing the Royal Court. It originated in the Slovak Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia (''Slovenská repu ...
. Above those grand boyars was only the prince.


The prince

Usually a prince was a boyar before his election or appointment as prince, but this was not an absolute condition. Initially, only princely descendants could be elected princes. During the Phanariot epoch, however, any man could be a prince if appointed by the
sultan Sultan (; ar, سلطان ', ) is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phone ...

sultan
(and rich enough to buy this appointment from the
grand vizier Grand vizier ( fa, وزيرِ اعظم, vazîr-i aʾzam; ota, صدر اعظم, sadr-ı aʾzam; tr, sadrazam) was the title of the effective head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the ...
). During the
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
suzerainty, and especially during the Phanariot régime, the title of Prince became an administrative function within the imperial Ottoman hierarchy, and thus the ultimate form of boyardness. The title of Prince of Wallachia or Moldavia was equivalent in dignity to that of a pasha with two horse-tails.


Cultural references

Norwegian composer
Johan Halvorsen Johan Halvorsen (15 March 1864 – 4 December 1935) was a Norwegian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music in any ...

Johan Halvorsen
wrote a march entitled "Bojarenes inntogsmarsj" (" Entry March of the Boyars"), known in Norway as the signal tune for the radio programme ''Ønskekonserten''.
Edvard Grieg Edvard Hagerup Grieg ( , ; 15 June 18434 September 1907) was a Norwegian composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical music ...

Edvard Grieg
arranged it for solo piano.
August Strindberg Johan August Strindberg (, ; 22 January 184914 May 1912) was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter.Lane (1998), 1040. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four de ...

August Strindberg
requests that this piece be played during his play ''The Dance of Death, Part One''.


See also

*
Magnate A magnate, from the late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally ...
*
Okolnichy Okolnichy (russian: око́льничий, ) was a Russian ''boyar A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Russian, Boyars of Wallachia and Moldavia, Wallachian, Moldavian, and later Romanian, Lithuanian ...
*
Russian nobility #REDIRECT Russian nobility The Russian nobility (russian: дворянство ''dvoryanstvo'') originated in the 14th century. In 1914 it consisted of approximately 1,900,000 members (about 1.1% of the population). Up until the February Revolut ...


References


External links

{{EB1911 poster, Boyar * Yaroslav Padokh, Andrii Yakovliv
Boyars in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).

Wallachian and Moldavian noblemen (late sixteenth century)
Noble titles This category works on a broad definition of nobility, including ruling houses of true monarchies, peerage or equivalents and lower aristocracy or gentry. Please note that this page is unlikely ever to list ''all'' 'noble' titles discussed in Wikipe ...
Kievan Rus society Serbian nobility