The Info List - Caesar (title)

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


1 Sole Roman Emperor 2 Dynastic title 3 Late Empire

3.1 The Third Century Crisis 3.2 Tetrarchy 3.3 After the Tetrarchy

4 Byzantine Empire 5 Ottoman Empire 6 Legacy

6.1 Name 6.2 Historiography

7 See also 8 References 9 Bibliography

Sole Roman Emperor[edit] For political and personal reasons Octavian
chose to emphasize his relationship with Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
by styling himself simply "Imperator Caesar" (whereto the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
added the honorific Augustus, "Majestic" or "Venerable," in 27 BC), without any of the other elements of his full name. His successor as emperor, his stepson Tiberius, also bore the name as a matter of course; born Tiberius Claudius
Nero, he was adopted by Caesar Augustus on June 26, 4 AD, as " Tiberius
Julius Caesar." The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar." The fourth Emperor, Claudius, was the first to assume the name "Caesar" upon accession, without having been adopted by the previous emperor; however, he was at least a member by blood of the Julio- Claudian
dynasty, being the maternal great-nephew of Augustus on his mother's side, the nephew of Tiberius, and the uncle of Caligula. Claudius
in turn adopted his stepson and grand-nephew Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, giving him the name "Caesar" in the traditional way; his stepson would rule as the Emperor
Nero. The first emperor to assume the position and the name simultaneously without any real claim to either was the usurper Servius
Sulpicius Galba, who took the imperial throne under the name " Servius
Caesar" following the death of the last of the Julio-Claudians, Nero, in 68. Galba
helped solidify "Caesar" as the title of the designated heir by giving it to his own adopted heir, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus. Galba's reign did not last long and he was soon deposed by Marcus Otho. Otho
did not at first use the title "Caesar" and occasionally used the title "Nero" as emperor, but later adopted the title "Caesar" as well. Otho
was then defeated by Aulus Vitellius
who acceded with the name "Aulus Vitellius
Germanicus Imperator
Augustus." Vitellius did not adopt the cognomen "Caesar" as part of his name, and may have intended to replace it with "Germanicus" (he bestowed the name "Germanicus" upon his own son that year). Nevertheless, Caesar had become such an integral part of the imperial dignity that its place was immediately restored by Titus
Flavius Vespasianus ("Vespasian"), whose defeat of Vitellius
in 69 put an end to the period of instability and began the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian's son, Titus
Flavius Vespasianus became " Titus
Flavius Caesar Vespasianus". Dynastic title[edit] By this point the status of "Caesar" had been regularised into that of a title given to the Emperor-designate (occasionally also with the honorific title Princeps Iuventutis, "Prince of Youth") and retained by him upon accession to the throne (e.g., Marcus Ulpius Traianus became Marcus Cocceius Nerva's designated heir as Caesar Nerva Traianus in October 97 and acceded on January 28, 98 as "Imperator Caesar Nerva
Traianus Augustus"). After some variation among the earliest emperors, the style of the Emperor-designate on coins was usually Nobilissimus
Caesar "Most Noble Caesar" (abbreviated to NOB CAES, N CAES etc.), though Caesar (CAES) on its own was also used. Late Empire[edit] The Third Century Crisis[edit] The popularity of using the title Caesar to designate heirs-apparent increased throughout the third century. Many of the soldier emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century
Crisis of the Third Century
attempted to strengthen their legitimacy by naming heirs, including Maximinus Thrax, Philip the Arab, Decius, Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus
and Gallienus. Some of these were promoted to the rank of Augustus within their father's lifetime, for example Philippus II. The same title would also be used in the Gallic Empire which operated autonomously from the rest of the Roman Empire from 260 to 274, with the final Gallic emperor Tetricus I
Tetricus I
appointing his heir Tetricus II
Tetricus II
Caesar and his consular colleague for 274. Despite the best efforts of these emperors, however, the granting of this title does not seem to have made succession in this chaotic period any more stable. Almost all Caesars would be killed before or alongside their fathers, or at best outlive them for a matter of months as in the case of Hostilian. The sole Caesar to successfully obtain the rank of Augustus and rule for some time in his own right was Gordian III, and even he was heavily controlled by his court. Tetrarchy[edit] On March 1, 293, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus established the Tetrarchy, a system of rule by two senior Emperors and two junior sub-Emperors. The two coequal senior emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors, as Imperator
Caesar NN. Pius Felix Invictus Augustus ( Elagabalus
had introduced the use of Pius Felix, "the Pious and Blessed", while Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus "Thrax" introduced the use of Invictus, "the Unconquered"), and were called the Augusti, while the two junior sub-Emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors-designate, as Nobilissimus
Caesar. Likewise, the junior sub-Emperors retained the title "Caesar" upon accession to the senior position. The Tetrarchy
was quickly abandoned as a system (though the four quarters of the empire survived as praetorian prefectures) in favour of two equal, territorial emperors, and the previous system of Emperors and Emperors-designate was restored, both in the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East. After the Tetrarchy[edit] The title of Caesar remained in use throughout the Constantinian period, with both Constantine
I and his co-emperor and rival Licinius utilising it to mark their heirs. In the case of Constantine, this meant that by the time he died he had four Caesars, Constantius II, Constantine
II, Constans
and his nephew Dalmatius, with his eldest son Crispus
having been executed in mysterious circumstances earlier in his reign. In the event, Constantine
would be succeeded only by his three sons, with Dalmatius
dying in the summer of 337 in similarly murky circumstances. Constantius II
Constantius II
himself would nominate as Caesars his two cousins Constantius Gallus
Constantius Gallus
and Julian in succession in the 350s, although he first executed Gallus and then found himself at war with Julian before his own death. After Julian's revolt of 361, the title Caesar fell out of imperial fashion for some time, with emperors preferring simply to elevate their sons directly to the post of Augustus, as with Gratian. It would be revived only nearly three quarters of a century later when Theodosius II
Theodosius II
used it to mark his nephew Valentinian III
Valentinian III
before successfully installing him upon the western throne vacated by the boy's other uncle Honorius. Thereafter it would receive limited use in the Eastern Roman Empire, for example in the designation of the future Leo II in the final months of his grandfather's life. Byzantine Empire[edit] Main article: Caesar (Byzantine title)

The Roman emperor
Roman emperor
the Great, mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople

In the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, Caesar (Greek: Καῖσαρ) continued in existence as a title marking out the heir-apparent, although since the time of Theodosius I, most emperors chose to solidify the succession of their intended heirs by raising them to co-emperors. Hence the title was more frequently awarded to second- and third-born sons, or to close and influential relatives of the Emperor: thus for example Alexios Mosele was the son-in-law of Theophilos (ruled 829–842), Bardas
was the uncle and chief minister of Michael III
Michael III
(r. 842–867), while Nikephoros II
Nikephoros II
(r. 963–969) awarded the title to his father, Bardas
Phokas.[1][2] An exceptional case was the conferment of the dignity and its insignia to the Bulgarian khan Tervel by Justinian II
Justinian II
(r. 685–695, 705–711) who had helped him regain his throne in 705.[2] The title was awarded to the brother of Empress Maria of Alania, George II of Georgia
George II of Georgia
in 1081. According to the Klētorologion of 899, the Byzantine Caesar's insignia were a crown without a cross, and the ceremony of a Caesar's creation (in this case dating to Constantine
V), is included in De Ceremoniis I.43.[3] The title remained the highest in the imperial hierarchy until the introduction of the sebastokratōr (a composite derived from sebastos and autokratōr, the Greek equivalents of Augustus and imperator) by Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos
(r. 1081–1118) and later of despotēs by Manuel I Komnenos
Manuel I Komnenos
(r. 1143–1180). The title remained in existence through the last centuries of the Empire. In the Palaiologan period, it was held by prominent nobles like Alexios Strategopoulos, but from the 14th century, it was mostly awarded to rulers of the Balkans
such as the princes of Vlachia, Serbia and Thessaly.[2] In the late Byzantine hierarchy, as recorded in the mid-14th century Book of Offices of pseudo-Kodinos, the rank continued to come after the sebastokratōr. Pseudo-Kodinos further records that the Caesar was equal in precedence to the panhypersebastos, another creation of Alexios I, but that Emperor
Michael VIII Palaiologos
Michael VIII Palaiologos
(r. 1259–1282) had raised his nephew Michael Tarchaneiotes to the rank of prōtovestiarios and decreed that to come after the Caesar; while under Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
(r. 1282–1328) the megas domestikos was raised to the same eminence, when it was awarded to the future emperor John VI Kantakouzenos
John VI Kantakouzenos
(r. 1347–1354).[4] According to pseudo-Kodinos, the Caesar's insignia under the Palaiologoi were a skiadion hat in red and gold, decorated with gold-wire embroideries, with a veil bearing the wearer's name and pendants identical to those of the despotēs and the sebastokratōr. He wore a red tunic (rouchon) similar to the emperor's (without certain decorations), and his shoes and stockings were blue, as were the accouterments of his horse; these were all identical to those of the sebastokratōr, but without the embroidered eagles of the latter. Pseudo-Kodinos writes that the particular forms of another form of hat, the domed skaranikon, and of the mantle, the tamparion, for the Caesar were not known.[5] Ottoman Empire[edit]

Mehmed II
Mehmed II
and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

In the Middle East, the Persians and the Arabs continued to refer to the Roman and Byzantine emperors as "Caesar" (in Persian: قیصر روم‎ Qaysar-i Rūm, "Caesar of Rûm", from Middle Persian kēsar). Thus, following the conquest of Constantinople
in 1453, the victorious Ottoman sultan
Ottoman sultan
Mehmed II
Mehmed II
became the first of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
to assume the title "Caesar of the Roman Empire" (Ottoman Turkish: قیصر روم‎ Kayser-i Rûm). After the Fall of Constantinople, having conquered the Byzantine Empire, Mehmed took the title Kayser-i Rûm, claiming succession to the Roman imperium.[6] His claim was that by possession of the city, he was emperor, a new dynast by conquest, as had happened previously in the Empire’s history.[7] Contemporary scholar George of Trebizond wrote "the seat of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
is Constantinople
... and he who is and remains Emperor
of the Romans is also the Emperor
of the whole world".[8] Gennadius Scholarius, a staunch antagonist of the West because of the Sack of Constantinople
committed by the Western Catholics and theological controversies between the two Churches, had been enthroned the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople-New Rome
with all the ceremonial elements and ethnarch (or milletbashi) status by the Sultan himself in 1454. In turn, Gennadius II recognized Mehmed as successor to the throne.[9] Mehmed also had a blood lineage to the Byzantine Imperial family; his predecessor, Sultan
Orhan I
Orhan I
had married a Byzantine princess, and Mehmed may have claimed descent from John Tzelepes Komnenos.[10] Ottoman sultans were not the only rulers to claim such a title, as there was the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in Western Europe, whose emperor, Frederick III, traced his titular lineage from Charlemagne
who obtained the title of Roman Emperor
when he was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800, although he was never recognized as such by the Byzantine Empire. Legacy[edit] Name[edit]

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

Danish: Kejser & Kejserinde; Dutch: Keizer & Keizerin; German: Kaiser
& Kaiserin; Icelandic: Keisari & Keisaraynja; Faroese: Keisari & Keisarinna; Norwegian: Keiser & Keiserinne (bokmål) / Keisar & Keisarinne (nynorsk); Swedish: Kejsare & Kejsarinna Old English: cāsere

Baltic languages:

Latvian: Ķeizars & Ķeizariene;

Slavic languages:

Belarusian: Цар & Царыца ( Tsar
& Tsarytsa) Bulgarian: Цар & Царица ( Tsar
& Tsaritsa); Croatian: Car & Carica (c is read ts); Czech: Císař & Císařovna; Macedonian: Цар & Царица ( Tsar
& Tsarica Ц is read ts) Polish: Cesarz & Cesarzowa; Russian: Царь & Царица, Czar & Czaritza (archaic transliteration), Tsar
& Tsaritsa (modern transliteration); however in the Russian Empire (also reflected in some of its other languages), which aimed to be the "third Rome" as successor to the Byzantine Empire, it was abandoned (not in the foreign language renderings though) as imperial style — in favor of Imperator and Autocrator — and used as a lower, royal style as within the empire in chief of some of its parts, e.g. Georgia and Siberia

In the United States and, more recently, Britain, the title "czar" (from the Russian title) is a slang term for certain high-level civil servants, such as the "drug czar" for the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and "terrorism czar" for a Presidential advisor on terrorism policy. More specifically, a czar refers to a sub-cabinet-level advisor within the executive branch of the U.S. government.

Serbian: Цар & Царица / Car & Carica (pronounced Tsar & Tsaritsa) or Kesar/Кесар Slovak: Cisár & Cisárovná; Slovene: Cesar & Cesarica or Car & Carica; Ukrainian: Цар/Царь & Царина (archaic transliteration: czar & czarina), Tsar
& Tsaryna (modern transliteration)

Afro-Asiatic languages:

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

Indo-Iranian languages:

Persian: Ghaysar‎ قيصر Urdu: Qaysar قيصر used in the title "Kaiser-i-Hind" (" Emperor
of India") during the British Raj

Kartvelian languages

Georgian: კეისარი (Keisari)

Turkic languages:

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

Uralic languages:

Estonian: Keiser & Keisrinna; Finnish: Keisari & Keisarinna or Keisaritar; Hungarian: Császár & Császárnő;

Austronesian languages:

Bahasa Indonesia: Kaisar;


Albanian: Çezar & Qesarinë;


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

Romance languages

Romanian, Cezar, used as a first name. Spanish, Portuguese and French, César: commonly used as first or second name. Italian, Cesare, used as a first name.

In various Romance and other languages, the imperial title was rather based on the Latin
(in fact a military mandate or a victory title), but Caesar or a derivation is then still used for both the name and the minor ranks (still perceived as Latin) There have been other cases of a noun proper being turned into a title, such as Charlemagne's Latin
name, including the epithet, Carolus (magnus) becoming Slavonic titles rendered as King: Kralj (Serbo-Croat), Král (Czech) and Król (Polish), etc. However certain languages, especially Romance languages, also commonly use a 'modernized' word (e.g. César in French) for the name, both referring to the Roman cognomen and modern use as a first name, and even to render the title Caesar, sometimes again extended to the derived imperial titles above. Historiography[edit] Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
used the term, Caesarism, in his book, The Decline of the West. See also[edit]

Augustus (honorific) Caesaropapism Khosrow (word)


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


Pauly-Wissowa – Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft Bury, John B. (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century – With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. Oxford University Publishing.  Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.  Verpeaux, Jean, ed. (1966). Pseudo-Kodinos, Traité des Offices (in French). Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. 

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On the order of the palace offices, after pseudo-Kodinos

Despotes Sebastokrator Caesar Megas domestikos Panhypersebastos Protovestiarios Megas doux Protostrator Megas logothetes Megas stratopedarches Megas primmikerios Megas konostaulos Protosebastos Pinkernes Kouropalates Parakoimomenos
tes sphendones Parakoimomenos
tou koitonos Logothetes tou genikou Protovestiarites Domestikos tes trapezes Epi tes trapezes Megas papias Eparchos Megas droungarios tes vigles Megas hetaireiarches Megas chartoullarios Logothetes tou dromou Protasekretis Epi tou stratou Mystikos Domestikos ton scholon Megas droungarios tou stolou Primmikerios tes aules Protospatharios Megas archon Tatas tes aules Megas tzaousios Praitor tou demou Logothetes ton oikeiakon Megas logariastes Protokynegos Skouterios Ameralios Epi ton deeseon Koiaistor Megas adnoumiastes Logothetes tou stratiotikou Protoierakarios Logothetes ton agelon Megas diermeneutes Akolouthos Krites tou phossatou Archon tou allagiou Protallagator Megas dioiketes Orphanotrophos Protonotarios Epi ton anamneseon Domestikos ton teicheon Prokathemenos of the koiton Prokathemenos of the vestiarion Vestiariou Hetaireiarches Logariastes tes aules Stratopedarches
of the monokaballoi Stratopedarches
of the tzangratores Stratopedarches
of the mourtatoi Stratopedarches
of the Tzakones Prokathemenos of the Great Palace Prokathemenos of the Palace of Blachernae Domestikos of the themata Domestikos of the eastern themata Domestikos of the western themata Megas myrtaïtes Protokomes Papias Droungarios Sebastos Myrtaïtes Prokathemenoi of the cities according to their importance

(unknown rank) Epi tou kanikleiou (unknown ran