Emperor

Emperor

Overview
Empress redirects here.


An emperor (through Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 empereor from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 imperator
Imperator
The Latin word Imperator was originally a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empreur...

) is a (male) monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, usually the sovereign
Sovereign
A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority within its jurisdiction.Sovereign may also refer to:*Monarch, the sovereign of a monarchy*Sovereign Bank, banking institution in the United States*Sovereign...

 ruler of an empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort) or a woman who rules in her own right (empress regnant). Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honor and rank
Royal and noble ranks
Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility is rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and between geographic regions , the following is a reasonably comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.-...

 than king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

s.

Currently, the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 is the only reigning monarch with the title.

Both kings and emperors are monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

s.
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Timeline

66   Emperor Nero creates the Legion I Italica.

69   Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of emperor.

221   Liu Bei, a Chinese warlord and member of the Han royal house, declares himself emperor of Shu-Han and claims his legitimate succession to the Han Dynasty.

364   Roman Emperor Valentinian I appoints his brother Flavius Valens co-emperor.

421   Constantius III becomes co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

455   Roman military commander Avitus is proclaimed Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

668   Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II is assassinated in his bath at Syracuse, Italy.

893   Simeon I of Bulgaria is crowned Emperor of the first Bulgarian empire

1203   Isaac II Angelus, restored Eastern Roman Emperor, declares his son Alexius IV Angelus co-emperor after pressure from the forces of the Fourth Crusade.

1204   Baldwin IX, Count of Flanders is crowned as the first Emperor of the Latin Empire.

 
Encyclopedia
Empress redirects here.


An emperor (through Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 empereor from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 imperator
Imperator
The Latin word Imperator was originally a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empreur...

) is a (male) monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, usually the sovereign
Sovereign
A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority within its jurisdiction.Sovereign may also refer to:*Monarch, the sovereign of a monarchy*Sovereign Bank, banking institution in the United States*Sovereign...

 ruler of an empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort) or a woman who rules in her own right (empress regnant). Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honor and rank
Royal and noble ranks
Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility is rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and between geographic regions , the following is a reasonably comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.-...

 than king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

s.

Currently, the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 is the only reigning monarch with the title.

Distinction from other monarchs


Both kings and emperors are monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

s. Within the European context, emperor and empress are considered the higher monarchical titles. However, monarchs heading empires have not always used the title—the British sovereign did not assume the title until the incorporation of India into the British Empire
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, and even then used it only in a limited context. Emperors were once given precedence
Order of precedence
An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments...

 over kings in international diplomatic relations; currently, precedence is decided by the length a head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 is continuously in office.

Outside the European context, emperor is a translation given to holders of titles who are accorded the same precedence as European emperors in diplomatic terms. In reciprocity, these rulers may accredit equal titles in their native languages to their European peers. Through centuries of international convention, this has become the dominant rule to identifying an emperor in the modern era.

Some empires, such as the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, derived their office from the authority of the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

s (translatio imperii
Translatio imperii
Translatio imperii, Latin for "transfer of rule", is a concept invented in the Middle Ages for describing history as a linear succession of transfers of imperium, that is of supreme power concentrated with a series of single rulers .-Origin:...

). The title was a conscious attempt by monarchs to link themselves to the institutions and traditions of the Romans as part of state ideology. Similarly, many republics have named a legislative chamber after the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

.

Historians have liberally used emperor and empire anachronistically and out of its Roman and European context to describe any large state and its ruler in the past and present. Empire became identified with vast territorial holdings rather than the title of its ruler by the mid-18th century.

Roman tradition


The title was first used as an honorific for a military leader in ancient Rome.

In the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 tradition a large variety in the meaning and importance of the imperial form of monarchy developed: in intention it was always the highest office, but it could as well fall down to a redundant title for nobility that had never been near to the "Empire" they were supposed to be reigning. Also the name of the position split in several branches of Western tradition, see below.

The importance and meaning of coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 ceremonies and regalia
Regalia
Regalia is Latin plurale tantum for the privileges and the insignia characteristic of a Sovereign.The word stems from the Latin substantivation of the adjective regalis, 'regal', itself from Rex, 'king'...

 also varied within the tradition: for instance Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

s could only be crowned emperor by the pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, which meant the coronation ceremony usually took place in Rome, often several years after these emperors had ascended to the throne (as "king") in their home country. The first Latin Emperors of Constantinople on the other hand had to be present in the newly conquered capital of their empire, because that was the only place where they could be granted to become emperor.

Early Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

s avoided any type of ceremony or regalia different from what was already usual for republican offices in the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

: the most intrusive change had been changing the color of their robe to purple. Later new symbols of worldly and/or spiritual power, like the orb
Globus cruciger
The globus cruciger is an orb topped with a cross , a Christian symbol of authority used throughout the Middle Ages and even today on coins, iconography and royal regalia...

 became an essential part of the imperial accessories.

Rules for indicating successors also varied: there was a tendency towards male inheritance of the supreme office, but as well election by noblemen, as ruling empresses (for empires not too strictly under salic law
Salic law
Salic law was a body of traditional law codified for governing the Salian Franks in the early Middle Ages during the reign of King Clovis I in the 6th century...

) are known. Ruling monarchs could additionally steer the succession by adoption, as often occurred in the two first centuries of Imperial Rome. Of course, intrigue, murder and military force could also mingle in for appointing successors; the Roman imperial tradition made no exception to other monarchical traditions in this respect. Probably the epoch best known for this part of the imperial tradition is Rome's third century
Roman Emperor (Crisis of the Third Century)
The role of the Roman Emperor changed during the Crisis of the Third Century , which marked the end of the Principate...

 rule.

Classical Antiquity


When Republican Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 turned into a monarchy
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 again, in the second half of the 1st century BC, at first there was no name for the title of the new type of monarch: ancient Romans abhorred the name Rex ("king"), and after Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 also Dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 (which was an acknowledged office in Republican Rome, Julius Caesar not being the first to hold it).

Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, who can be considered the first Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

, avoided naming himself anything that could be reminiscent of "monarchy" or "dictatorship". Instead, these first Emperors constructed their office as a complicated collection of offices, titles, and honours, that were consolidated around a single person and his closest relatives (while in the republic the "taking of turns", often in shared offices, had been the principle for passing on power). These early Roman emperors didn't need a specific name for their monarchy: they had enough offices and powers accumulated so that in any field of power they were "unsurpassable", and besides: it was clear who had supreme power. The supreme power could poison, exile, or try for treason any who did not obey.

As the first Roman Emperors did not rule by virtue of any particular republican or senatorial office, the name given to the office of "head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

" in this new monarchical form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 became different depending on tradition, none of these traditions consolidated in the early days of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

:
  • Caesar
    Caesar (title)
    Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

    (as, for example, in Suetonius
    Suetonius
    Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

    ' Twelve Caesars
    Lives of the Twelve Caesars
    De vita Caesarum commonly known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire written by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus.The work, written in AD 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, was the most popular work of Suetonius,...

    ). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "Kaiser
    Kaiser
    Kaiser is the German title meaning "Emperor", with Kaiserin being the female equivalent, "Empress". Like the Russian Czar it is directly derived from the Latin Emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar,...

    "; in certain Slavic languages
    Slavic languages
    The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

     it became "Tsar
    Tsar
    Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

    "; in Hungarian it became "Császár
    Nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary
    This article deals with titles of the nobility and royalty of the Kingdom of Hungary.-Earlier usage :Before the accession of the Habsburgs, the nobility was structured according to the offices held in the administration of the Kingdom...

    ", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

    's cognomen
    Cognomen
    The cognomen nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of Ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name in order to identify a particular branch within...

     "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian dynasty
    Julio-Claudian Dynasty
    The Julio-Claudian dynasty normally refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula , Claudius, and Nero, or the family to which they belonged; they ruled the Roman Empire from its formation, in the second half of the 1st century BC, until AD 68, when the last of the line,...

     had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of Caesar Augustus to Tsar Symeon II of Bulgaria
    Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
    Simeon Borisov of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Tsar Simeon II or Simeon II of Bulgaria is an important political and royal figure in Bulgaria...

    's removal from the throne in 1946.
  • Augustus
    Augustus (honorific)
    Augustus , Latin for "majestic," "the increaser," or "venerable", was an Ancient Roman title, which was first held by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus , and subsequently came to be considered one of the titles of what are now known as the Roman Emperors...

    was the honorific
    Honorific
    An honorific is a word or expression with connotations conveying esteem or respect when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term is used not quite correctly to refer to an honorary title...

     first bestowed on Emperor Augustus: after him all Roman emperors added it to their name. Although it had a high symbolical value, something like "elevated" or "sublime", it was generally not used to indicate the office of Emperor itself. Exceptions include the title of the Augustan History
    Augustan History
    The Augustan History is a late Roman collection of biographies, in Latin, of the Roman Emperors, their junior colleagues and usurpers of the period 117 to 284...

    , a semi-historical collection of Emperors' biographies of the 2nd and 3rd century. Augustus had (by his last will) granted the feminine form of this honorific (Augusta
    Augusta (honorific)
    Augusta was the imperial honorific title of empresses. It was given to the women of the Roman and Byzantine imperial families. In the third century, Augustae could also receive the titles of Mater castrorum and Mater Patriae .The title implied the greatest prestige, with the Augustae able to...

    ) to his wife. Since there was no "title" of Empress(-consort) whatsoever, women of the reigning dynasty sought to be granted this honorific, as the highest attainable goal. Few were however granted the title, and certainly not as a rule all wives of reigning Emperors.
  • Imperator
    Imperator
    The Latin word Imperator was originally a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empreur...

    (as, for example, in Pliny the Elder
    Pliny the Elder
    Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

    's Naturalis Historia
    Naturalis Historia
    The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

    ). In the Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

     Imperator meant "(military) commander". In the late Republic, as in the early years of the new monarchy, Imperator was a title granted to Roman generals by their troops and the Roman Senate
    Roman Senate
    The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

     after a great victory, roughly comparable to field marshal
    Field Marshal
    Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

     (head or commander of the entire army). For example, in AD 15 Germanicus
    Germanicus
    Germanicus Julius Caesar , commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Rome, Italia, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle...

     was proclaimed Imperator during the reign of his adoptive father Tiberius
    Tiberius
    Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

    . Soon thereafter "Imperator" became however a title reserved exclusively for the ruling monarch. This led to "Emperor" in English and, among other examples, "Empereur" in French and "Mbreti" in Albanian. The Latin feminine form Imperatrix only developed after "Imperator" had taken on the connotation of "Emperor".
  • Autokrator
    Autokrator
    Autokratōr is a Greek epithet applied to an individual who exercises absolute power, unrestrained by superiors. In a historical context, it has been applied to military commanders-in-chief, and to Roman and Byzantine emperors as the translation of the Latin title imperator. Its connection with...

    (Αὐτοκράτωρ) or Basileus (βασιλεύς): although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καίσαρ, Kaisar) and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as , Augoustos or translated as , Sebastos
    Sebastos
    Sebastos was an honorific used by the ancient Greeks to render the Roman imperial title of Augustus. From the late 11th century on, during the Komnenian period, it and variants derived from it formed the basis of a new system of court titles for the Byzantine Empire. The female form of the title...

    ) these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name for the new type of monarchy, they used (autokratōr, only partly overlapping with the modern understanding of "autocrat") or (basileus
    Basileus
    Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. It is perhaps best known in English as a title used by the Byzantine Emperors, but also has a longer history of use for persons of authority and sovereigns in ancient Greece, as well as for the kings of...

    , until then the usual name for "sovereign
    Monarch
    A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

    "). Autokratōr was essentially used as a translation of the Latin Imperator in Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks Autokratōr was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin dictator
    Roman dictator
    In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

    concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came to mean Emperor. Basileus appears not to have been used exclusively in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal designation of the Emperor in the Greek-speaking East.


After the turbulent Year of the four emperors
Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian....

 in 69, the Flavian Dynasty
Flavian dynasty
The Flavian dynasty was a Roman Imperial Dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian , and his two sons Titus and Domitian . The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 reigned for three decades. The succeeding Nervan-Antonian Dynasty, ruling for most of the 2nd century, stabilised the Empire. This epoch became known as the era of the Five Good Emperors, and was followed by the short-lived Severan Dynasty
Severan dynasty
The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235. The dynasty was founded by the Roman general Septimius Severus, who rose to power during the civil war of 193, known as the Year of the Five Emperors....

.

During the Crisis of the 3rd century, Barracks Emperor
Barracks emperor
A Barracks emperor was a Roman Emperor who seized power by virtue of his command of the army. Barracks emperors were especially common in the period from 235 through 284, during the Crisis of the Third Century. There were approximately fourteen barracks emperors in 33 years, producing an average...

s succeeded one another at short intervals. Three short lived secessionist attempts had their own emperors: the Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
The Gallic Empire is the modern name for a breakaway realm that existed from 260 to 274. It originated during the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century....

, the Britannic Empire
Britannic Empire
The Britannic Empire was a short-lived breakaway state of the Roman empire in the late Roman Period. It was formed as a result of the revolt by the naval commander Carausius. It ended when Carausius's usurper, Allectus, was defeated by the Emperor Constantius I in 296....

, and the Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
The Palmyrene Empire was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor....

 though the latter used rex more regularly. The next period, known as the Dominate
Dominate
The Dominate was the "despotic" latter phase of government in the ancient Roman Empire from the conclusion of the Third Century Crisis of 235–284 until the formal date of the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476. It followed the period known as the Principate...

, started with the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 installed by Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

.

Through most of the 4th century, there were separate emperors for the Western
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 and Eastern part of the Empire. Although there were several dynastic relations between the Emperors of both parts, they also often were adversaries. The last Emperor to rule a unified Roman Empire was Theodosius
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

. Less than a century after his death
Roman Emperor (Late Empire)
The office of Roman Emperor underwent significant turbulence in the fourth and fifth centuries, after assuming the trappings of Eastern despotism during the Dominate. In the West, its holders became puppets of a succession of barbarian kings...

 in 395, the last Emperor of the Western half of the Empire was driven out.

Prior to the 4th Crusade


Historians generally name the eastern part of the Roman Empire the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 after its capital Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, whose ancient name was Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 (today's Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

). After the fall of Rome to barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 forces in 476, the title of "emperor" lived on in rulers of Constantinople (New Rome
New Rome
The term "New Rome" has been used in the following contexts:* "Nova Roma" is traditionally reported to be the Latin name given by emperor Constantine the Great to the new imperial capital he founded in 324 at the city on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, known as Byzantium until then and...

).

The Byzantine Emperors completed the transition from the idea of the Emperor as a semi-republican official to the Emperor as a traditional monarch when Emperor Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 retained the title of Basileus
Basileus
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. It is perhaps best known in English as a title used by the Byzantine Emperors, but also has a longer history of use for persons of authority and sovereigns in ancient Greece, as well as for the kings of...

, already a synonym for "Emperor" (but which had earlier designated "King" in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

) in the first half of the seventh century. A specifically Byzantine development of emperor's position was cesaropapism, position as leader of Christians.

In general usage, the Byzantine imperial title evolved from simply "emperor" (basileus), to "emperor of the Romans" (basileus tōn Rōmaiōn) in the 9th century, to "emperor and autocrat of the Romans" (basileus kai autokratōr tōn Rōmaiōn) in the 10th. In fact, none of these (and other) additional epithets and titles had ever been completely discarded.

The Byzantine empire also produced three powerful empresses who effectively reigned as an emperor, in the form of a regent: the Empress Irene
Irene (empress)
Irene Sarantapechaina , known as Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian was a Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802, having previously been empress consort from 775 to 780, and empress dowager and regent from 780 to 797. It is often claimed she called herself "basileus" , 'emperor'...

, and powerful consorts: the Empresses Zoe
Zoe (empress)
Zoe reigned as Byzantine Empress alongside her sister Theodora from April 19 to June 11, 1042...

 and Theodora
Theodora (11th century)
Theodora was a Byzantine Empress. Born into the Macedonian dynasty that had ruled the Byzantine Empire for almost two hundred years, she was co-empress with her sister Zoe for two months in 1042 and sole empress from 11 January 1055 to after 31 August 1056...

.

Latin emperors


In 1204, the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 captured Constantinople, and soon established a Latin Empire of Constantinople under one of the Crusader leaders. The Latin Empire was, however, unable to consolidate control of the whole of the former territories of the Byzantine Empire. Driven out of Constantinople in 1261, some territories in Greece still recognized their authority for some time. Eventually, the Imperial title became redundant and did not even contribute any longer to the prestige of the noblemen in their own country: it remained dormant after 1383. It produced three reigning empresses, two of which reigned outside of the city in the remnants of their empire.

After the 4th Crusade


In Asia Minor, after being driven out of Constantinople, relations of the last pre-Crusader emperors established the Empire of Nicaea
Empire of Nicaea
The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade...

 and the Empire of Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

. Similarly, the Despotate of Epirus
Despotate of Epirus
The Despotate or Principality of Epirus was one of the Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire that emerged in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It claimed to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire, along with the Empire of Nicaea, and the Empire of Trebizond...

 was founded in the Western Balkans (the rulers of the latter took the title of Emperor for a short time following their conquest of Thessalonica in 1224).

Eventually, the Nicaean Emperors were successful in reclaiming the Byzantine imperial title. They managed to force Epirus into submission and retake Constantinople by 1261, but Trebizond remained independent. The restored Byzantine empire finally fell to Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 invasion in 1453. The Trapezuntines
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

 produced three reigning empresses before they too were defeated by the Ottomans in 1461.

Holy Roman Empire



The Roman of the Emperor's title was a reflection of the translatio imperii
Translatio imperii
Translatio imperii, Latin for "transfer of rule", is a concept invented in the Middle Ages for describing history as a linear succession of transfers of imperium, that is of supreme power concentrated with a series of single rulers .-Origin:...

(transfer of rule) principle that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, a title left unclaimed in the West after the death of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos was Western Roman Emperor de facto from 474 to 475 and de jure until 480. Some historians consider him to be the last Western Roman Emperor, while others consider the western line to have ended with Romulus Augustulus in 476...

 in 480.

From the time of Otto the Great
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

 onward, much of the former Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 kingdom of Eastern Francia
Eastern Francia
East Francia , also known as the Kingdom of the East Franks or Francia Orientalis, was the realm allotted to Louis the German by the 843 Treaty of Verdun...

 became the Holy Roman Empire. The various (German) kings such as the king of Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia e.g. elected one of their peers as "Kaiser" of the Germans
Kingdom of Germany
The Kingdom of Germany developed out of the eastern half of the former Carolingian Empire....

 before crowned by the pope
. The Emperor could also pursue the election of his heir (usually a son) as King, who would then succeed him after his death. This junior King then bore the title King of the Romans
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

. Although technically already ruling, after the election he would be crowned as emperor by the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. The last emperor to be crowned by the pope was Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

; all emperors after him were technically emperors-elect, but were universally referred to as Emperor.

Austrian Empire



The first Austrian Emperor was the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. In the face of aggressions by Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, Francis feared for the future of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. He wished to maintain his and his family's Imperial status in the event that the Holy Roman Empire should be dissolved, as it indeed was in 1806 when an Austrian-led army suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

. After which, the victorious Napoleon proceeded to dismantle the old Reich by severing a good portion from the empire and turning it into a separate Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

. With the size of his imperial realm significantly reduced, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor became Francis I, Emperor of Austria. The new imperial title may have sounded less prestigious than the old one, but Francis' dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 continued to rule from Austria and a Habsburg monarch was still an emperor (Kaiser), and not just merely a king (König), in name.

The title lasted just a little over one century until 1918, but it was never clear what territory constituted the "Empire of Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

". When Francis took the title in 1804, the Habsburg lands as a whole were dubbed the Kaisertum Österreich. Kaisertum might literally be translated as "emperordom" (on analogy with "kingdom") or "emperor-ship"; the term denotes specifically "the territory ruled by an emperor", and is thus somewhat more general than Reich
Reich
Reich is a German word cognate with the English rich, but also used to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is " sovereign state." It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history...

, which in 1804 carried connotations of universal rule. Austria proper (as opposed to the complex of Habsburg lands as a whole) had been an Archduchy since the 15th century, and most of the other territories of the Empire had their own institutions and territorial history, although there were some attempts at centralization, especially during the reign of Marie Therese and her son Joseph II and then finalized in the early 19th century. When Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 was given self-government in 1867, the non-Hungarian portions were called the Empire of Austria and were officially known as the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council (Reichsrat)". The title of Emperor of Austria and the associated Empire were both abolished at the end of the First World War in 1918, when German Austria
German Austria
Republic of German Austria was created following World War I as the initial rump state for areas with a predominantly German-speaking population within what had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire, without the Kingdom of Hungary, which in 1918 had become the Hungarian Democratic Republic.German...

 became a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 and the other kingdoms and lands represented in the Imperial Council established their independence or adhesion to other states.

Emperors of Eastern Europe


Byzantium
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

's close cultural and political interaction with its Balkan neighbors Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and with Russia (Kievan Rus', then Muscovy) led to the adoption of Byzantine imperial traditions in all of these countries.

Bulgaria


In 913 Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I of Bulgaria
Simeon I the Great ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe...

 was crowned Emperor (Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

) by the Patriarch of Constantinople
Patriarch of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople – New Rome – ranking as primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox communion, which is seen by followers as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church....

 and imperial regent Nicholas Mystikos
Nicholas Mystikos
Nicholas I Mystikos or Nicholas I Mysticus was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from March 901 to February 906 and from May 912 to his death in 925. His feast day in the Orthodox Church is May 16.Nicholas was born in the Italian Peninsula and had become a friend of the Patriarch Photios...

 outside of the Byzantine capital. In its final simplified form, the title read "Emperor and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Romans" (Tsar i samodarzhets na vsichki balgari i gartsi in the modern vernacular). The "Roman" component in the Bulgarian imperial title indicated both rulership over Greek speakers and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans (represented by the "Roman" Byzantines).

Byzantine recognition of Simeon's imperial title was revoked by the succeeding Byzantine government. The decade 914–924 was spent in destructive warfare between Byzantium and Bulgaria over this and other matters of conflict. The Bulgarian monarch, who had further irritated his Byzantine counterpart by claiming the title "Emperor of the Romans" (basileus tōn Rōmaiōn), was eventually recognized, as "Emperor of the Bulgarians" (basileus tōn Boulgarōn) by the Byzantine Emperor Romanos I Lakapenos in 924. Byzantine recognition of the imperial dignity of the Bulgarian monarch and the patriarchal dignity of the Bulgarian patriarch
Patriarch of All Bulgaria
The Patriarch of All Bulgaria is the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Bulgarian patriarchate was re-established in 1953.-History:...

 was again confirmed at the conclusion of permanent peace and a Bulgarian-Byzantine dynastic marriage in 927. In the meantime, the Bulgarian imperial title may have been also confirmed by the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. The Bulgarian imperial title "Tsar" was adopted by all Bulgarian monarchs up to the fall of Bulgaria under Ottoman rule. 14th century Bulgarian literary compositions clearly denote the Bulgarian capital (Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province. Often referred to as the "City of the Tsars", Veliko Tarnovo is located on the Yantra River and is famous as the historical capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, attracting many tourists...

) as a successor of Rome and Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, in effect, the "Third Rome".

It should be noted that after Bulgaria obtained full independence from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1908, its monarch, who was previously styled "Knyaz", i.e. Prince, took the traditional title of "Tsar", but was recognized internationally only as a King.

Serbia



In 1345 the Serbian King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself Emperor (Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

) and was crowned as such at Skopje
Skopje
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre...

 on Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 1346 by the newly created Patriarch of Serbia, and by the Patriarch of Bulgaria and the autocephalous Archbishop of Ohrid. His imperial title was recognized by Bulgaria and various other neighbors and trading partners but not by the Byzantine Empire. In its final simplified form, the Serbian imperial title read "Emperor of Serbs and Greeks" (car Srba i Grka in the modern vernacular). It was only employed by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan and his son Stefan Uroš V in Serbia (until his death in 1371), after which it became extinct. A half-brother of Dušan, Simeon Uroš
Simeon Uroš
Simeon Uroš Nemanjić, nicknamed Siniša , also known in Greek as Symeōn Ouresēs Palaiologos , was the Despot of Epirus from 1359 to 1366, and of Thessaly from 1359 until his death in 1370. He governed Epirus and Acarnania under his half-brother Emperor Dušan the Mighty Simeon Uroš Nemanjić,...

, and then his son Jovan Uroš, claimed the same title, until the latter's abdication in 1373, while ruling as dynasts in Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

. The "Greek" component in the Serbian imperial title indicates both rulership over Greeks and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans (represented by the "Greek" Byzantines).

Russia



In 1472, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Sophia Palaiologina
Sophia Paleologue
Zoe Palaiologina , later changed her name to Sophia Palaiologina , Grand Duchess of Moscow, was a niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI and second wife of Ivan III of Russia. She was also the grandmother of Ivan the Terrible.- Biography :...

, married Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

, grand prince of Moscow, who began championing the idea of Russia being the successor to the Byzantine Empire. This idea was represented more emphatically in the composition the monk Filofej addressed to their son Vasili III
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

. After ending Muscovy's dependence on its Mongol overlords in 1480, Ivan III began the usage of the titles Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 and Autocrat (samoderzhets ). His insistence on recognition as such by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 since 1489 resulted in the granting of this recognition in 1514 by Emperor Maximilian I
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 to Vasili III. His son Ivan IV emphatically crowned himself Tsar (Tsar) on 16 January 1547. The word Tsar derives from Latin Caesar, but this title was used in Russia as equivalent to King; the error occurred when medieval Russian clerics referred to the biblical Jewish kings with the same title that was used to designate Roman and Byzantine rulers - Caesar.

On 31 October 1721 Peter I was proclaimed Emperor by the Senate - the title used was Latin "Imperator", which is a westernizing form equivalent to the traditional Slavic title "Tsar". He based his claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from Maximilian I to Vasili III, in which the Holy Roman Emperor used the term in referring to Vasili. The title has not been used in Russia since the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 on 15 March 1917.

Imperial Russia produced four reigning Empresses, all in the eighteenth century.

Ottoman Empire


Ottoman rulers held several titles denoting their Imperial status. These included:

Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 (given name) Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

, Sovereign of the Imperial House of Osman
Ottoman Dynasty
The Ottoman Dynasty ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1299 to 1922, beginning with Osman I , though the dynasty was not proclaimed until Orhan Bey declared himself sultan...

, Sultan of Sultans
Sultan of Sultans
"Sultan of Sultans" is the literal English translation of the original Turkish Sultan es-Selatin or Sultan us-Selatin. It is similar to the title Great Sultan, which is translated from Arabic....

, Khan of Khans, Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 and Jerusalem, Emperor of The Three Cities of Constantinople
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Adrianopole
Edirne
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

 and Bursa, and of the Cities of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, of all Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, of the Magris, of Barka, of Kairuan, of Aleppo, of Arabic Iraq and of Ajim, of Basra, of El Hasa, of Dilen, of Raka, of Mosul, of Parthia, of Diyarbakır, of Cicilia, of the Vilayets of Erzurum, of Sivas, of Adana, of Karaman, Van, of Barbary, of Abyssinia, of Tunisia, of Tripoli, of Damascus, of Cyprus, of Rhodes, of Candia, of the Vilayet of the Morea, of the Marmara Sea, the Black Sea and also its coasts, of Anatolia, of Rumelia, Baghdad, Kurdistan, Greece, Turkistan, Tartary, Circassia, of the two regions of Kabarda, of Georgia, of the plain of Kypshak, of the whole country of the Tartars, of Kefa and of all the neighbouring countries, of Bosnia and its dependencies, of the City and Fort of Belgrade, of the Vilayet of Serbia, with all the castles, forts and cities, of all Albania, of all Iflak and Bogdania, as well as all the dependencies and borders, and many other countries and cities.

After the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453, the additional title of Kaysar-i Rum (Emperor of the Romans) was used.

France


The kings of the Ancien Régime and the July Monarchy
July Monarchy
The July Monarchy , officially the Kingdom of France , was a period of liberal constitutional monarchy in France under King Louis-Philippe starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848...

 used the title Empereur de France in diplomatic correspondence and treaties with the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 emperor from at least 1673 onwards. The Ottomans insisted on this elevated style while refusing to recognize the Holy Roman Emperors or the Russian tsars because of their rival claims of the Roman crown
Translatio imperii
Translatio imperii, Latin for "transfer of rule", is a concept invented in the Middle Ages for describing history as a linear succession of transfers of imperium, that is of supreme power concentrated with a series of single rulers .-Origin:...

. In short, it was an indirect insult by the Ottomans to the HRE and the Russians. The French kings also used it for Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 (1682) and Persia (1715).

First French Empire




Napoleon Bonaparte, who was already First Consul of the French Republic (Premier Consul de la République française) for life, declared himself Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French
The Emperor of the French was the title used by the Bonaparte Dynasty starting when Napoleon Bonaparte was given the title Emperor on 18 May 1804 by the French Senate and was crowned emperor of the French on 02 December 1804 at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, in Paris with the Crown of...

(Empereur des Français) on 18 May 1804, thus creating the Empire of the French
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 (Empire des Français).

Napoleon relinquished the title of Emperor of the French on 6 April and again on 11 April 1814.
Napoleon's infant son, Napoleon II
Napoleon II of France
Napoléon II , after 1818 known as Franz, Duke of Reichstadt, was the son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria...

, was recognized by the Council of Peers, as Emperor from the moment of his father's abdication, and therefore reigned (as opposed to ruled) as Emperor for fifteen days, 22 June to 7 July 1815.

Elba


Since 3 May 1814, the Sovereign Principality of Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

 was created a miniature non-hereditary Monarchy under the exiled French Emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon I was allowed, by the treaty of Fontainebleau with (27 April), to enjoy, for life, the imperial title. The islands were not restyled an empire.

On 26 February 1815, Napoleon abandoned Elba for France, reviving the French Empire for a Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

; the Allies declared an end to Napoleon's sovereignty over Elba on 25 March 1815, and on 31 March 1815 Elba was ceded to the restored Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence...

 by the Congress of Vienna. After his final defeat, Napoleon was treated as a general by the British authorities during his second exile to Atlantic Isle of St. Helena. His title was a matter of dispute with the governor of St Helena, who insisted on addressing him as "General Bonaparte", despite the "historical reality that he had been an emperor" and therefore retained the title.

Second French Empire



Napoleon I's nephew, Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

, resurrected the title of emperor on 2 December 1852, after establishing the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

 in a presidential coup, subsequently approved by a plebiscite. His reign was marked by large scale public works, the development of social policy, and the extension of France's influence throughout the world. During his reign, he also set about creating the Second Mexican Empire
Second Mexican Empire
The Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under the regime established from 1864 to 1867. It was created by Napoleon III of France, who attempted to use the Mexican adventure to recapture some of the grandeur of earlier Napoleonic times...

 (headed by his choice of Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

, a member of the House of Habsburg), to regain France's hold in the Americas and to achieve greatness for the 'Latin' race. Napoleon III was deposed on 4 September 1870, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

. The Third Republic
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 followed and after the death of his son Napoleon (IV), in 1879 during the Zulu War, the Bonapartist movement split, and the Third Republic was to last until 1940.

Iberian Peninsula


The origin of the title Imperator totius Hispaniae
Imperator totius Hispaniae
Imperator totius Hispaniae is a Latin title meaning "Emperor of all Spain". In Spain in the Middle Ages, the title "emperor" was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157...

(Latin for Emperor of All Spain
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

) is murky. It was associated with the Leonese monarchy perhaps as far back as Alfonso the Great (r. 866-910). The last two kings of its Pérez Dynasty
Pérez Dynasty
The Beni Alfons or Banu Alfonso were the family of kings which ruled in Asturias, Galicia, and León from the succession of Alfonso the Catholic, son of Peter of Cantabria in 740. For the next century, rule shifted between Alfonso's descendants and those of his brother Fruela...

 were called emperors in a contemporary source.

King Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III of Navarre
Sancho III Garcés , called the Great , succeeded as a minor to the Kingdom of Navarre in 1004, and through conquest and political maneuvering increased his power, until at the time of his death in 1035 he controlled the majority of Christian Iberia, bearing the title of rex Hispaniarum...

 conquered Leon in 1034 and began using it. His son, Ferdinand I of Castile also took the title in 1039. Ferdinand's son, Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI , nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was King of León from 1065, King of Castile and de facto King of Galicia from 1072, and self-proclaimed "Emperor of all Spain". After the conquest of Toledo he was also self-proclaimed victoriosissimo rege in Toleto, et in Hispania et Gallecia...

 took the title in 1077. It then passed to his son-in-law, Alfonso I of Aragon in 1109. His stepson and Alfonso VI's grandson, Alfonso VII was the only one who actually had an imperial coronation in 1135.

The title was not exactly hereditary but self proclaimed by those who had, wholly or partially, united the Christian northern part of the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, often at the expense of killing rival siblings. The popes and Holy Roman emperors protested at the usage of the imperial title as a usurpation of leadership in western Christendom. After Alfonso VII's death in 1157, the title was abandoned.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the legitimate heir to the throne, Andreas Palaiologos
Andreas Palaiologos
Andreas Palaiologos titular Byzantine emperor and Despot of Morea from 1465 until his death in 1502.-Biography:He was the nephew of Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople...

, willed away his claim to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1503. This claim seems to have been forgotten or abandoned quietly for the last 300 years.

Britain



In the late 3rd century, by the end of the epoch of the barracks emperors in Rome, there were two Britannic Emperors, reigning for about a decade. After the end of Roman rule in Britain, the Imperator Cunedda
Cunedda
Cunedda ap Edern , was an important early Welsh leader, and the progenitor of the royal dynasty of Gwynedd.-Background and life:The name Cunedda derives from the Brythonic word , meaning good hound. His genealogy is traced back to Padarn Beisrudd, which literally translates as Paternus of the...

 forged the Kingdom of Gwynedd
Kingdom of Gwynedd
Gwynedd was one petty kingdom of several Welsh successor states which emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in the Early Middle Ages, and later evolved into a principality during the High Middle Ages. It was based on the former Brythonic tribal lands of the Ordovices, Gangani, and the...

 in northern Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, but all his successors were titled kings and princes.

England


There was no set title for the king of England before 1066 and monarchs chose to style themselves as they pleased. Imperial titles were used inconsistently beginning with Athelstan in 930 and ended with the Norman conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

. Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda
Empress Matilda , also known as Matilda of England or Maude, was the daughter and heir of King Henry I of England. Matilda and her younger brother, William Adelin, were the only legitimate children of King Henry to survive to adulthood...

 (1102–1167) is the only British monarch commonly referred to as "emperor" or "empress", but acquired her title through her marriage to Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry V was King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor , the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor...

, and had little legitimacy as Queen of England.

During the rule of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 an Act of Parliament
Statute in Restraint of Appeals
The Statute in Restraint of Appeals – short title Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 – was an English parliamentary Act of 1533, considered by many historians to be the key legal foundation of the English Reformation....

 declared that 'this realm of England is an Empire...governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown
Imperial crown
An Imperial Crown is a crown used for the coronation of emperors.- Imperial Crowns with Mitre :-Legal usage:Throughout the Commonwealth Realms, The Crown is an abstract concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government...

 of the same'. Hence England and, by extension its modern successor state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is in fact an Empire ruled by a King endowed with the imperial dignity. However, this has not led to the creation of the title of Emperor in England or in the United Kingdom itself.

United Kingdom



In 1801, George III
George III of the United Kingdom
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of these two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death...

 rejected the title of Emperor when offered. The only period when British monarchs held the title of Emperor in a dynastic succession started when the title Empress of India
Emperor of India
Emperor/Empress of India was used as a title by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II, and revived by the colonial British monarchs during the British Raj in India....

 was created for Queen Victoria
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

. The government led by Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Benjamin Disraeli
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure. Starting from comparatively humble origins, he served in government for three decades, twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...

, conferred the additional title upon her by an Act of Parliament, reputedly to assuage the monarch's irritation at being, as a mere Queen, notionally inferior to her own daughter (Princess Victoria
Victoria, Princess Royal
The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert. She was created Princess Royal of the United Kingdom in 1841. She became German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III...

 was the wife of the reigning German Emperor
Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl known informally as Fritz, was the only son of Emperor William I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service...

); the Indian Imperial designation was also formally justified as the expression of Britain succeeding as paramount ruler
Paramount Ruler
The term Paramount Ruler, or sometimes Paramount King, is a generic description, though occasionally also used as an actual title, for a number of rulers' position in relative terms, as the summit of a feudal-type pyramid of rulers of lesser polities in a given historical and geographical context,...

 of the subcontinent the former Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 'Padishah
Padishah
Padishah, Padshah, Padeshah, Badishah or Badshah is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian pād "master" and the widespread shāh "king", which was adopted by several monarchs claiming the highest rank, roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of "The Great" or "Great King", and...

 of Hind', using indirect rule through hundreds of princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s formally under protection, not colonies, but accepting the British Sovereign as their suzerain. That title was relinquished by the last Kaisar-i-Hind George VI
George VI of the United Kingdom
George VI was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death...

 when India was granted independence on 15 August 1947.

Two decades earlier the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927
The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 [17 & 18 Geo. 5 c. 4] was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that authorised the alteration of the British monarch's royal style and titles, and altered the formal name of the British Parliament, in recognition of much of Ireland separating from...

 had stated that the United Kingdom and the dominions were "equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

". Along with the Statute of Westminster, 1931 this changed the way the British parliamentary monarchy ruled the overseas dominions, moving from a colonial British Empire towards a new structure for the interaction between the Commonwealth Realms and the Crown.

The last Empress of India was HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

German Empire



Under the guise of idealism giving way to realism, German nationalism rapidly shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848 to Prussian
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 prime minister Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

's authoritarian Realpolitik
Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...

. Bismarck wanted to unify the rival German states to achieve his aim of a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to convince German people to do this: the Second war of Schleswig
Second War of Schleswig
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...

 against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 against Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 against the Second French Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

 in 1870–71. During the Siege of Paris
Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....

 in 1871, the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

, supported by its allies from southern Germany
Southern Germany
The term Southern Germany is used to describe a region in the south of Germany. There is no specific boundary to the region, but it usually includes all of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, and the southern part of Hesse...

, formed the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 with the proclamation of the Prussian king Wilhelm I as German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

, to the humiliation of the French, who ceased to resist only days later.

After his death he was succeeded by his son Frederick III
Frederick III, German Emperor
Frederick III was German Emperor and King of Prussia for 99 days in 1888, the Year of the Three Emperors. Friedrich Wilhelm Nikolaus Karl known informally as Fritz, was the only son of Emperor William I and was raised in his family's tradition of military service...

 who was only emperor for 99 days. In the same year his son Wilhelm II became the third emperor within a year. He was the last German emperor. After the empire's defeat in World War I the empire ceased to exist.

Post-Columbian Americas



Brazil


When Napoleon I ordered the invasion of Portugal in 1807 because it refused to join the Continental System
Continental System
The Continental System or Continental Blockade was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France in his struggle against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars. It was a large-scale embargo against British trade, which began on November 21, 1806...

, the Portuguese Braganças moved their capital to Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 to avoid the fate of the Spanish Bourbons (Napoleon I arrested them and made his brother Joseph
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

 king). When the French general Junot
Jean-Andoche Junot
Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.-Early life:...

 arrived in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, the Portuguese fleet had already left with all the local elite.

In 1808, under a British naval escort, the fleet arrived in Brazil. Later, in 1815, the Portuguese Prince Regent (since 1816 king D. João VI
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

) proclaimed the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve, as a union of three kingdoms, lifting Brazil from its colonial status.

After the fall of Napoleon I and the Liberal revolution
Liberal Wars
The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers, or Miguelite War, was a war between progressive constitutionalists and authoritarian absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834...

 in Portugal, the Portuguese Royals returned to Europe (1820). Prince Pedro of Bragança (King D. João's older son) stayed in South America acting as regent of the local kingdom, but, two years later in 1822, he proclaimed himself D. Pedro I
Peter I of Brazil
Dom Pedro I of Brazil , nicknamed "the Liberator" and "the Soldier-King", was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil and also King of Portugal as Pedro IV, having reigned for eight years in Brazil and two months in Portugal.-Birth:Pedro was born on 12 October 1798, around...

, first Emperor of Brazil. He did, however, recognize his father, D. João VI, as Titular Emperor of Brazil —a purely honorific title—until D. João VI's death in 1826.

The empire came to an end in 1889, with the overthrow of Emperor D. Pedro II
Pedro II of Brazil
Dom Pedro II , nicknamed "the Magnanimous", was the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he was the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of...

 (D. Pedro I's son and successor), when the Brazilian republic was proclaimed.

Haiti


Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 was declared an empire by its ruler, Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution. Initially regarded as Governor-General, Dessalines later named himself Emperor Jacques I of Haiti...

, who made himself Jacques I, in 20 May 1805. He was assassinated the next year. Haiti again became an empire from 1849 to 1859 under Faustin Soulouque.

Mexico


In Mexico, the First Mexican Empire
First Mexican Empire
The Mexican Empire was the official name of independent Mexico under a monarchical regime from 1821 to 1823. The territory of the Mexican Empire included the continental intendencies and provinces of New Spain proper...

 was the first of two empires created. Agustín de Iturbide, the general who helped secure Mexican independence from Spanish rule, was proclaimed Emperor Agustín I in 12 July 1822, but was overthrown by the Plan of Casa Mata
Plan of Casa Mata
The Plan of Casa Mata was formulated to abolish the monarchy in Mexico and to establish a republic.In December 1822, Antonio López de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria signed the Plan de Casa Mata on February 1, 1823, as a start of their efforts to overthrow Emperor Agustín de Iturbide.In May...

 the next year.

In 1863, the invading French, under Napoleon III (see above), in alliance with Mexican conservatives and nobility
Mexican nobility
Mexican nobility refers to the titled nobles and untitled gentry families of Mexico. Most of the descendants of these families still live in Mexico today, but some can be found in Europe and other countries....

, helped create the Second Mexican Empire
Second Mexican Empire
The Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under the regime established from 1864 to 1867. It was created by Napoleon III of France, who attempted to use the Mexican adventure to recapture some of the grandeur of earlier Napoleonic times...

, and invited Archduke Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine
House of Lorraine
The House of Lorraine, the main and now only remaining line known as Habsburg-Lorraine, is one of the most important and was one of the longest-reigning royal houses in the history of Europe...

, younger brother of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of...

, to become emperor Maximilian I of Mexico. The childless Maximilian and his consort Empress Carlota of Mexico
Charlotte of Belgium
Charlotte of Belgium is remembered today as Carlota of Mexico as empress consort of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, ex-Archduke of Austria.-Princess of Belgium:The only daughter of Leopold I, King of the Belgians by his second wife,...

, daughter of Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I was from 21 July 1831 the first King of the Belgians, following Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. He was the founder of the Belgian line of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

, adopted Agustín's grandsons Agustin and Salvador as his heirs to bolster his claim to the throne of Mexico. Maximilian and Carlota made Chapultepec Castle their home, which has been the only palace in North America to house sovereigns. After the withdrawal of French protection in 1867, Maximilian was captured and executed by the liberal forces of Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

. This empire led to French influence in the Mexican culture and also immigration from France
French Mexican
A French Mexican is a Mexican citizen of full or partial French ancestry. Mexicans of French descent make up the second largest European descended group in Mexico, after the Spanish....

, Belgium, and Switzerland to Mexico.

Pre-Columbian traditions


The Aztec and Inca traditions are unrelated to one another. Both were conquered under the reign of King Charles I of Spain who was simultaneously emperor-elect of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 during the fall of the Aztecs and fully emperor during the fall of the Incas. Incidentally by being king of Spain, he was also Roman (Byzantine) emperor in pretence through Andreas Palaiologos
Andreas Palaiologos
Andreas Palaiologos titular Byzantine emperor and Despot of Morea from 1465 until his death in 1502.-Biography:He was the nephew of Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople...

. The translations of their titles were provided by the Spanish.

Aztec Empire


The only pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 North American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the Hueyi Tlatoani of the Aztec Empire (1375–1521). It was an elected monarchy chosen by the elite. Spanish conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 slew Emperor Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc
Cuauhtémoc was the Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521...

 and installed puppet rulers who became vassals for Spain. Mexican Emperor Maximilian built his palace, Chapultepec Castle, over the ruins of an Aztec one.

Inca Empire


The only pre-Columbian South American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 (1438–1533). Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

, conquered the Inca for Spain, killed Emperor Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

, and installed puppets as well. Atahualpa may actually be considered a usurper as he had achieved power by killing his half-brother
Inca Civil War
The Inca Civil War, the Inca Dynastic War, the Inca War of Succession, or, sometimes, the War of the Two Brothers was fought between two brothers, Huáscar and Atahualpa, sons of Huayna Capac, over the succession to the Inca throne. The war followed Huayna Capac's death in 1527, although it did not...

 and he did not perform the required coronation with the imperial crown mascaipacha by the Huillaq Uma (high priest).

Persia


In Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, from the time of Darius the Great, Persian rulers used the title "King of Kings
King of Kings
King of Kings is a title that has been used by several monarchies and empires throughout history. The title originates in the Ancient Near East. It is broadly the equivalent of the later title Emperor....

" (Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

anshah
in modern Iranian) since they had dominion over peoples from India to Greece. Alexander the Great probably crowned himself shahanshah after conquering Persia, bringing the phrase basileus toon basileoon to Greek. It is also known that Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great was emperor of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House...

, king of Armenia, was named as the king of kings when he made his empire after defeating the Parthians
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

.

The last shahanshah was ousted in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution refers to events involving the overthrow of Iran's monarchy under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the...

. Shahanshah is usually translated as king of kings or simply king for ancient rulers of the Achaemenid, Arsacid, and Sassanid dynasties, and often shortened to shah for rulers since the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century.

Indian subcontinent


The Sanskrit word for emperor is Samrāṭ or Chakravarti (word stem: samrāj). This word has been used as an epithet of various Vedic deities, like Varuna, and has been attested in the Holy Rig Veda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

, possibly the oldest compiled book among the Indo-Europeans. Chakravarti refers to the king of kings. A Chakravarti is not only a sovereign ruler but also has feudatories.

Typically, in the later Vedic age, a Hindu king (Maharajah) was only called Samrāṭ after performing the Vedic Rājasūya sacrifice, enabling him by religious tradition to claim superiority over the other kings and princes. Another word for emperor is sārvabhaumā. The title of Samrāṭ has been used by many rulers of the Indian subcontinent as claimed by the Hindu mythologies. In proper history, most historians call Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya , was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Chandragupta succeeded in conquering most of the Indian subcontinent. Chandragupta is considered the first unifier of India and its first genuine emperor...

 the first samrāṭ (emperor) of the Indian subcontinent, because of the huge empire he ruled. The most famous Buddhist  emperor was his grandson Ashoka the Great. Other dynasties that are considered imperial by historians are the Kushanas
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

, Guptas
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

, Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

, Hoysala
Hoysala Empire
The Hoysala Empire was a prominent South Indian Kannadiga empire that ruled most of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the Hoysalas was initially located at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu....

 and the Cholas
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

.

After India was invaded by the Mongol Khans and Turkic Muslims, the rulers of their major states on the subcontinent were titled Sultān, In this manner, the only empress-regnant ever to have actually sat on the throne of Delhi was Razia Sultan. For the period from 1877 to 1947 when British Emperors ruled colonial India as the pearl in the crown of the British Empire, see above.

Ethiopia



In Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, the Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
The Solomonic dynasty is the Imperial House of Abyssinia. Its members claim lineal descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the latter of whom tradition asserts gave birth to the first King Menelik I after her Biblically described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem .-Overview:The dynasty, a...

 used, beginning in 1270, the title of "" which is literally "King of Kings". The use of the king of kings style began a millennium earlier in this region, however, with the title being used by the Kings of Aksum, beginning with Sembrouthes
Sembrouthes
Sembrouthes was a king of Axum. He is known only from a single inscription in Greek that was found at Deqemhare or Deqqi Mehari in modern Eritrea, which is dated to his 24th regnal year. He is the first known ruler in the lands later ruled by the Emperor of Ethiopia to adopt the title "King of...

 in the 3rd century. Another title used by this dynasty was "Itegue Zetopia".

"Itegue" translates as Empress, and was also used by the only female reigning Empress, Zauditu
Zauditu of Ethiopia
Zewditu was Empress of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930. The first woman head of an internationally recognized state in Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries, she was noted for opposing the reforms of Tafari Makonnen and for her strong religious devotion.-Early...

, along with the official title Negiste Negest (Queen of Kings).

In 1936, the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
Victor Emmanuel III was a member of the House of Savoy and King of Italy . In addition, he claimed the crowns of Ethiopia and Albania and claimed the titles Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania , which were unrecognised by the Great Powers...

 claimed the title of Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of Ethiopia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1974. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country...

 after Ethiopia was occupied by Italy during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire...

. After the defeat of the Italians by the Ethiopians who were assisted by soldiers from Britain in 1941, Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia
Haile Selassie I , born Tafari Makonnen, was Ethiopia's regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974...

 was restored to the throne but Victor Emmanuel did not relinquish his claim to the title until 1943.

The Rastafari claimed Selassie as God incarnate before and even more so after the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (see Rastafari movement
Rastafari movement
The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

) because of his bravery in The Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire...

, the way he saved his country and his amazing speech to the people of The United Kingdom. Subsequently, therefore, the word Emperor came to be used by its members as an honourific of exclusive usage for their divine king, as personified by the late Emperor of Ethiopia.

Central African Empire


In 1976, President Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Jean-Bédel Bokassa , a military officer, was the head of state of the Central African Republic and its successor state, the Central African Empire, from his coup d'état on 1 January 1966 until 20 September 1979...

 of the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

, proclaimed the country to be an autocratic Central African Empire
Central African Empire
The Central African Empire was a short-lived, self-declared autocratic monarchy that replaced the Central African Republic and was, in turn, replaced by the restoration of the republic. The empire was formed when Jean-Bédel Bokassa, President of the republic, declared himself Emperor Bokassa I on...

, and made himself Emperor as Bokassa I. The expenses of his coronation ceremony actually bankrupted the country. He was overthrown three years later and the republic was restored.

China



The East Asian tradition is different from the Roman tradition, having arisen separately. What links them together is the use of the Chinese logographs 皇 (huáng) and 帝 () which together or individually are imperial. Because of the cultural influence of China, China's neighbors adopted these titles or had their native titles conform in hanzi.

In 221 BC, Ying Zheng
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

, who was king
Chinese sovereign
Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.-Emperor Title:...

 of Qin
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 at the time, proclaimed himself shi huangdi (始皇帝), which translates as "first emperor". Huangdi is composed of huang ("august one", 皇) and di ("sage-king", 帝), and referred to legendary/mythological sage-emperors living several millennia earlier, of which three were huang and five were di. Thus Zheng became Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

, abolishing the system where the huang/di titles were reserved to dead and/or mythological rulers. Although not as popular, the title 王 wang (king or prince) was still used by many monarchs and dynasties in China up to the Taipings
Taiping Rebellion
The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, who, having received visions, maintained that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ, against the ruling Manchu-led Qing Dynasty...

 in the 19th century. 王 is pronounced vương in Vietnamese, ō in Japanese, and wang in Korean.

The imperial title continued in China until the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 was overthrown in 1912. The title was briefly revived from 12 December 1915 to 22 March 1916 by President Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai was an important Chinese general and politician famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty, his role in the events leading up to the abdication of the last Qing Emperor of China, his autocratic rule as the second President of the Republic of China , and his short-lived...

 and again in early July 1917 when General Zhang Xun
Zhang Xun (Republic of China)
Zhang Xun was a Qing-loyalist general who attempted to restore the abdicated emperor Puyi in 1917. He supported Yuan Shikai during his time as president....

 attempted to restore last Qing emperor Puyi
Puyi
Puyi , of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan, was the last Emperor of China, and the twelfth and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty. He ruled as the Xuantong Emperor from 1908 until his abdication on 12 February 1912. From 1 to 12 July 1917 he was briefly restored to the throne as a nominal emperor by the...

 to the throne. Puyi retained the title and attributes of a foreign emperor, as a personal status, until 1924. After the Japanese occupied Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 in 1931, they proclaimed it to be the Empire of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

, and Puyi became emperor of Manchukuo. This empire ceased to exist when it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 in 1945.

In general, an emperor would have one empress (Huanghou, 皇后) at one time, although posthumous entitlement to empress for a concubine was not uncommon. The earliest known usage of huanghou was in the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

. The emperor would generally select the empress from his harem
Harem
Harem refers to the sphere of women in what is usually a polygynous household and their enclosed quarters which are forbidden to men...

. In subsequent dynasties, when the distinction between wife and concubine became more accentuated, the crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 would have chosen an empress-designate before his reign. Imperial China
Early Imperial China
Early Imperial China begins in the Iron Age with the unification of China by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. It ended five centuries of feudal warfare, similar to that of Western Europe, that plagued the Eastern Zhou dynasty. The short-lived Qin introduced centralized government under the absolute...

 produced only one reigning empress, Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian , personal name Wu Zhao , often referred to as Tian Hou during the Tang Dynasty and Empress Consort Wu in later times, was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant...

, and she used the same Chinese title as an emperor (Huangdi, 皇帝). Wu Zetian then reigned for about 15 years (690-705 AD).

Japan



In ancient Japan, the earliest titles for the sovereign were either ヤマト大王/大君 (yamato ōkimi, Grand King of Yamato), 倭王/倭国王 (waō/wakokuō, King of Wa, used externally), or 治天下大王 (amenoshita shiroshimesu ōkimi, Grand King who rules all under heaven, used internally). As early as the 7th century the word 天皇 (which can be read either as sumera no mikoto, divine order, or as tennō, Heavenly Emperor, the latter being derived from a Tang Chinese term referring to the Pole star around which all other stars revolve) began to be used. The earliest attested use of this term is on a wooden slat, or mokkan, that was unearthed in Asuka-mura, Nara Prefecture in 1998 and dated back to the reign of Emperor Temmu
Emperor Temmu
was the 40th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Temmu's reign lasted from 672 until his death in 686.-Traditional narrative:...

 and Empress Jitō
Empress Jito
was the 41st emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession.Jitō's reign spanned the years from 686 through 697.In the history of Japan, Jitō was the third of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant. The two female monarchs before Jitō were Suiko and Kōgyoku/Saimei...

. The reading 'Tennō' has become the standard title for the sovereign of Japan up to and including the present age. The term 帝 (mikado, Emperor) is also found in literary sources.

Japanese monarchs placed themselves from 607 on equal footing with Chinese emperors in titulary terms, but rarely was the Chinese-style "Son of Heaven
Son of Heaven
Son of Heaven may refer to:* Emperor of China* Emperor of Japan* Emperors of Vietnam* Son of God* Son of Heaven , book on Guangxu Emperor by Princess Der Ling...

" term used. In the Japanese language, the word tennō is restricted to Japan's own monarch; kōtei (皇帝) is used for foreign emperors. Historically, retired emperors have kept power over a child-emperor as de facto Regent. For a fairly long time, a shōgun
Shogun
A was one of the hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents , were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor...

 (formally the imperial generalissimo, but made hereditary) or regent
Sessho and Kampaku
In Japan, was a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress. The was theoretically a sort of chief advisor for the emperor, but was the title of both first secretary and regent who assists an adult emperor. During the Heian era,...

 wielded actual political power. In fact, through much of Japanese history, the emperor has been little more than a figurehead.

After World War II, all claims of divinity were dropped (see Ningen-sengen
Ningen-sengen
is an imperial rescript issued by the Emperor Shōwa as part of a New Year’s statement on January 1, 1946 at the request of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers...

). The Diet acquired all prerogative powers of the Crown, reverting the latter to a ceremonial role. By the end of the 20th century, Japan was the only country with an emperor on the throne.

As of the early 21st century, Japan's succession law prohibits a female from ascending the throne. With the birth of a daughter as the first child of the current Crown Prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

, Naruhito, Japan considered abandoning that rule. However, shortly after the announcement that Princess Kiko
Princess Akishino
, formerly is the wife of Prince Akishino, the second son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko of Japan. The daughter of a university professor, she became the second commoner to marry into the imperial family; her mother-in-law, the Empress, was the first in 1959...

 was pregnant with her third child, the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law
Imperial Household Law
is a statute in Japanese law that governs the line of imperial succession, the membership of the imperial family, and several other matters pertaining to the administration of the Imperial Household.-Passage of the Law:...

 was suspended by Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Junichiro Koizumi
Junichiro Koizumi
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party , he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the...

. On 3 January 2007, after the birth of her son, Prince Hisahito, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe
was the 90th Prime Minister of Japan, elected by a special session of the National Diet on 26 September 2006. He was Japan's youngest post–World War II prime minister and the first born after the war. Abe served as prime minister for nearly twelve months, before resigning on 12 September 2007...

 announced that he would drop the proposal.

Currently, many believe the new prince of Japan will ascend the throne, as the law defines. Historically, Japan has had eight reigning empresses who used the genderless title Tennō, rather than the female consort title kōgō (皇后) or chūgū (中宮). There is ongoing discussion of the Japanese Imperial succession controversy
Japanese imperial succession controversy
The Japanese imperial succession controversy refers to desires to change the laws of succession to the Japanese Throne, which is currently limited to males of the Japanese imperial family.- Overview :...

.

Although current Japanese law prohibits female succession, all Japanese emperors claim to trace their lineage to Amaterasu
Amaterasu
, or is apart of the Japanese myth cycle and also a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is the goddess of the sun, but also of the universe. the name Amaterasu derived from Amateru meaning "shining in heaven." The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great August kami who...

, the Sun Goddess of the Shintō
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

.

Korea


The rulers of Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 (37 BCE-668 CE) used the title of Taewang
Taewang
Taewang, meaning "The Greatest of all Kings", was the title used by the rulers of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, since the reign of Gwanggaeto the Great....

(Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: 태왕, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

:太王), literally translated as the Greatest of the Kings. Also some Silla
Silla
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

 (57 BCE-935 CE) rulers including Beopheung
Beopheung of Silla
King Beopheung was the 23rd monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was preceded by King Jijeung and succeeded by King Jinheung....

 and Jinheung
Jinheung of Silla
King Jinheung was the 24th monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.He followed King Beopheung and was followed by King Jinji . Jinheung was the nephew of King Beopheung. King Jinheung was one of the greatest kings of Silla, and was responsible for expanding Silla territory immensely...

 used this title for their declaration of independence from the influence of Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

. However, it does not signify emperor itself.

The rulers of Balhae
Balhae
Balhae was a Manchurian kingdom established after the fall of Goguryeo. After Goguryeo's capital and southern territories fell to Unified Silla, Dae Jo-yeong, a Mohe general, whose father was Dae Jung-sang, established Jin , later called Balhae.Balhae occupied southern parts of Manchuria and...

 (698-926) internally called themselves the emperor, and it was first used in Korea. In 10th century, Gwangjong of Goryeo
Gwangjong of Goryeo
Gwangjong was the fourth emperor of Goryeo.Goryeo met the time of change by ascending of Gwangjong. At his early stage as ruler, he maintained a passive attitude to nobles. However, he became more and more drastic. Choi Seung-Ro said that his regime can be divided into three parts. First is the...

 took the title of emperor himself as a means of enhancing the prestige of the monarchy. Many Goryeo sovereign alternately used both supreme king and emperor. After the Mongolian invasions
Mongol invasions of Korea
The Mongol invasions of Korea consisted of a series of campaigns by the Mongol Empire against Korea, then known as Goryeo, from 1231 to 1270...

 (1231-1258), however, Korea was relinquished imperial title.

The rulers of the Joseon Dynasty
Joseon Dynasty
Joseon , was a Korean state founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul...

 (1392-1897) was still used the terms; "King of the Joseon" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: 조선국왕, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 朝鮮國王). In 1895, Korea declared its total independence from Chinese influence. However, King Gojong used term of "His Majesty the Great Monarch" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: 대군주폐하, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 大君主陛下) not officlal imperial title.

In 1897, King Gojong proclaimed the founding of the Korean Empire
Korean Empire
The Greater Korean Empire was an empire of Korea that succeeded the Joseon Dynasty.In October 1897, Emperor Gojong proclaimed the new entity at Gyeongungung Palace and oversaw the partially successful modernization of the military, economy, land system, education system, and various industries...

 (1897-1910), and became emperor of Korea. Emperor Gojong declared the new era name
Korean era name
Korean era names were used during the period of Silla, Goguryeo, Balhae, Taebong, Goryeo, Joseon, and the Korean Empire. Dangun-giwon, the era name originating from the foundation of Gojoseon is also widely used in Korea as an indication of long civilisation of Korea.-Goguryeo:#Yeongnak Korean era...

 "Gwangmu" (Hangul
Hangul
Hangul,Pronounced or ; Korean: 한글 Hangeul/Han'gŭl or 조선글 Chosŏn'gŭl/Joseongeul the Korean alphabet, is the native alphabet of the Korean language. It is a separate script from Hanja, the logographic Chinese characters which are also sometimes used to write Korean...

: 광무, Hanja
Hanja
Hanja is the Korean name for the Chinese characters hanzi. More specifically, it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated into the Korean language with Korean pronunciation...

: 光武, Warrior of light). Korean Empire maintained their state until 1910.

Mongol


The title Khagan
Khagan
Khagan or qagan , alternatively spelled kagan, khaghan, qaghan, or chagan, is a title of imperial rank in the Mongolian and Turkic languages equal to the status of emperor and someone who rules a khaganate...

 (khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 of khans or grand khan) was held by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, founder of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in 1206. After 1271, the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 also took the Chinese title huangdi, or Chinese emperor
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

. Only the Khagans from Genghis Khan to the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 are normally referred to as Emperors in English.

Vietnam


Although the Vietnamese rulers acknowledged the supremacy of China, and were known to the Chinese emperors as simply King of Annam (An Nam quốc vương) but some of them still proclaimed the title hoàng đế (Emperor) such as Lý Bí (Lý Nam Đế, lit. Emperor Ly of the South), Nguyễn Huệ
Nguyen Hue
Nguyễn Huệ, also known as Emperor Quang Trung , born in Bình Định in 1753, died in Phú Xuân on 16 September 1792, was the second emperor of the Tây Sơn Dynasty of Vietnam, reigning from 1788 until 1792...

 (Quang Trung hoàng đế, lit. Emperor Quang Trung) ; and many other rulers used this title domestically and they was often given this title by their successors posthumously. This practice is one of many indications of the idea "Vietnam's equality with China" which is remained intact up to twentieth century.

In 1806, Vietnam took on a full Chinese-style imperial regalia domestically and have inconsistently used the title hoàng đế for a century. Axis
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

-occupied Vietnam was declared an empire
Empire of Vietnam
The Empire of Vietnam was a short-lived puppet state of Imperial Japan governing the whole of Vietnam between March 11 and August 23, 1945.-History:...

 by the Japanese in March 1945. The line of emperors came to an end with Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

, who was deposed after the war, although he later served as head of state of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

 from 1949 to 1955.

Oceania


The lone holders of the imperial title in Oceania
Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

 were the heads of the semi-mythical Tu'i Tonga Empire
Tu'i Tonga Empire
Some early European commentators have propagated the notion of a pre-historic "Tui Tonga Empire" or "Tongan Empire" in Oceania.This idea has long been a source of cultural pride among some Tongans even though it has been seriously challenged and generally discounted by modern archaeologists,...

.

Fictional uses


There have been many fictional emperors in movies and books. To see a list of these emperors, see Category of fictional emperors and empresses.

External links