Difference between titles "tsar" and "emperor"

Nov 2012
766
Is there a significant difference between these two titles, apart from the geographical one?

In Serbian language, we use the same word ("car" derived from the latin word "caesar") for both titles, so I might not be seeing something obvious (?)

The title of emperor was used for the rulers of Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Great Britain, even Japan... but not for rulers of Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia etc, who also proclaimed empire out of their kingdoms.
Was "tsar" only designed for Eastern European emperors? If that is the case, why are we not saying (in English) Tsardom of Russia (for example) but Russian Empire?
And why was the title of emperor extended to Asiatic rulers, but no to orthodox christian ones?
 
Jan 2013
256
Duchy of the Archipelago
but not for rulers of Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia etc, who also proclaimed empire out of their kingdoms.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_of_Bulgaria"]Samuel[/ame]'s title was czar.
As for Serbia, wasn't Stephen Uroš IV Dušan called a czar when he crowned himself emperor of the Serbs?

And why was the title of emperor extended to Asiatic rulers, but no to orthodox christian ones?
The title of all orthodox christian byzantine rulers was Emperor of the Romans (Αὐτοκράτωρ Ῥωμαίων)
 
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Zeno

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
13,691
♪♬ ♫♪♩
I don't think there is a significant difference between meaning of the terms. In so far as the word emperor itself can have varying meanings.

It's interesting that in the romance world and in England the derivations of imperator are more common (emperor, empereur, imperatore, imperator) whereas in the germanic and slavic world the derivations of Caesar are more common (Czar, Kaiser, Keizer, Kejsare).

I suppose if people were familiar enough with the title in its native tongue, they used that. So a Czar remained a Czar and a Sultan a Sultan, but a Chinese "sovereign overlord" became an emperor as did a Japanese "ruler of all under the heaven".
 
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Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
Tsar originates from Caesar.

Emperor originates from Imperator.


imperator [ˌɪmpəˈrɑːtɔː]
n
1. (Historical Terms)
a. (in imperial Rome) a title of the emperor
b. (in republican Rome) a temporary title of honour bestowed upon a victorious general
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a less common word for emperor



cae·sar also Cae·sar (szr)
n.
1. Used as a title and form of address for Roman emperors.
2. A dictator or autocrat.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
In modern English, we write "Tsar". Older books often write "Czar". The German "Kaiser" is from the same root, "Caesar".
 
Jan 2013
256
Duchy of the Archipelago
It didn't skip Mehmed II the Conqueror's attention, either. After the conquest of Constantinople, he called himself Kaiser-i-Rum, Caesar of the Romans. :zany:
 
Oct 2012
10
The title of emperor was used for the rulers of Holy Roman Empire, Germany, Great Britain, even Japan... but not for rulers of Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia etc, who also proclaimed empire out of their kingdoms.
Was "tsar" only designed for Eastern European emperors?
The rulers of the HRE, Germany and Austria are also known by the German version of "Caesar", as "Kaiser"

If that is the case, why are we not saying (in English) Tsardom of Russia (for example) but Russian Empire?
The word "Empire" is used more to designate a state with certain perceived characteristics, rather than as a formal title.So Tsardoms, Sultanates, Khanates, even republics can be called "Empires" if they fit the criteria.

And why was the title of emperor extended to Asiatic rulers, but no to orthodox christian ones?
What do you mean? Byzantine, Bulgarian and Russian rulers are all known as "Emperors" in modern historiography.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,491
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Well, the title of "Emperor" derives from the latin word "Imperium", or the right to command - the person who held the power of imperium was known as an imperator. One of the ways through which Augustus Caesar obtained and exercised power over the state was through various types of imperium granted to him. Both titles, Tsar/Kaiser and Emperor ultimately derive from the same historical source.
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
The Byzantine Emperors were known as Basileus, from the Greek "Basileis", a title which applied to several monarchs and rulers, but which was also applied to the Roman emperors when the seat of the Empire moved from Rome to Byzantium. For example, Constantine was known by the locals as Basileus and this was a title used by Alexander the Great.

It became completely confusing by the time of the middle ages, because both the Orthodox and the Catholics often referred to each other as the Romans. The former because of the re-location of the seat of the Roman empire to Byzantium, and the latter for the obvious reason that Rome was the seat of Catholicism.
 
Nov 2012
766
I guess that I wasn't clear. I will try to be clearer this time.

Why is historiography, when writing about emperors of Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia, using the word "tsar" (or "czar") and not emperor? It's after all the same title. I was wondering if it was a religious or geographical thing, maybe more of a etymological thing, or something else.

I was originally wondering why using different name for the same function? It makes no sense to me. That's why I wondered if there is some other meaning behind it.

I hope I was clear this time.