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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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The title "Grand Duke" in history

Nicholas Zharkikh

Our rapid review of the evolution of the title "Grand Duke" shows the following stages:

1. 11 – 12 cent. – an honorary epithet;

2. Late 12 – early 14th cent. – episodic use to designate the senior prince in the genus or land;

3. 2nd quarter 14 – mid-16th cent. – systematic and compulsory use (as the proper title) to designate the elder in his own genus and land, the chief of the partial princes, the politically independent ruler; only one great prince in the principality;

4. Beginning (middle) 16 – end of the 18th century. – The disappearance of the title as an independent and transformation into an attribute of the tsar’s (imperial, royal) title; the title of Grand Duke stressed the role of the king as the administrator of the corresponding principality; only one great prince in the whole state;

5. 1797 – 1917 years. – The restoration of the title as an independent and distribution to all members of the ruling house (many grand dukes and princesses); simultaneous deprivation of any importance in the administration;

6. 1917 – until our time. Nostalgic use of the title by representatives of the German dynasty Gottorp (which is often, but unfoundedly called "Russian" and "Romanov"). "Grand Duke" – the subject of patriotic toasts of a few representatives of Russian monarchism. The beginning of the self-attribution of the title by various individuals who like to play "historical relics."

In general, the title "Grand Duke" worked well throughout his life cycle and fully deserved the resignation "for long service".

Kiev, September 22, 2017.