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Tsar, Czar, King, Emperor, Caesar.....

Posted by ESC on January 13, 2003

In Reply to: Tsar, Czar, King, Emperor, Caesar..... posted by Bruce Kahl on January 13, 2003

: : We're looking for definitions and origins that will show us the difference in the meanings and use of the terms: Tsar, Czar, Emperor, King, Chancellor.....Anyone out there who can help, we appreciate....

: Any of the Roman emperors succeeding Augustus Caesar were called caesar (uncapitalized)--which means powerful leader.
: Tzar, Czar and Kaiser are derived from caesar.

"During the Middle Ages, democracy was unknown to most of the world. Whoever had land had wealth, the wealthy had armies, and the armies were allied under rulers of different kinds.

A 'king' (or 'queen') is the hereditary head of a kingdom, a state or nation that recognizes his or her right to wield authority over them. This recognition may have been earned at swordpoint, through wisdom, or by a combination of both, but the end result is the same.

An 'emperor' is the supreme ruler of an empire, which is a group of nations, clans, or even kingdoms. It, too, is a hereditary title. (In Russia, emperors were called 'czars.')

The terms 'monarch' and 'sovereign' are synonymous and describe either a king or an emperor. However, monarch is usually used in conjunction with 'limited' or 'absolute.' Absolute is self-explanatory, while limited means that the ruler exercises powers under constitutional restrictions, like the present-day Queen of England.

A 'potentate' can be a monarch or sovereign, but the term also describes any powerful, unelected ruler, such as an emir or a khan."

From "What's the Difference? A Compendium of Commonly Confused and Misused Words" by Jeff Rovin (Ballantine Books, New York, 1994).