Grand Prince

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Grand Prince

 

(velikii kniaz’, after 1533 usually translated as grand duke), in Kievan Rus’ and during the period of feudal fragmentation, the title held by the chief of all princes (from the tenth century, the grand prince of Kiev; from the 13th century, the grand prince of Vladimir) and from the 12th to 14th centuries, also by the rulers of the major principalities, which included within them vassal appanage principalities (the grand princes of Moscow, Tver’, Yaroslavl, Riazan’, Smolensk, Nizhny Novgorod, and others). After the creation of the centralized Russian state (late 15th and early 16th centuries), the title of grand duke was held only by the grand duke of Moscow; in 1547, it became part of the tsar’s title and in 1721, part of the emperor’s. In the Russian Empire members of the imperial family were called grand dukes. During the 14th to 16th centuries the feudal rulers of Lithuania also bore the title of grand duke. In 1569 the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania became part of the Polish royal title.

V. B. KOBRIN