High king

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A high king is a king who holds a position of seniority over a group of other kings, without the title of Emperor; compare Great King and King of Kings. A high king is a king superior to other kings

Rulers who have been termed "high king" (by their contemporaries or by modern observers) include:

The Bretwalda was essentially the high king of the Anglo-Saxons, though the name is rarely translated as such.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (literally Supreme Lord) in Malaysia could probably be seen as a "high king", as he is elected from among nine Malay rulers of the states (seven Sultans, a Raja, and a Yang di-Pertuan Besar-literally Great Lord) by the Conference of Rulers (through informal agreement, on a rotational basis). In practice, however, the term "high king" is rarely applied to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, rather "King".

The "maharaja" (Indian) could possibly be rendered as "high king", although the literal meaning is closer to "great king".

"Taewang," meaning "greatest of kings," was used by the later rulers of the Korean kingdom of Koguryo (and Silla, albeit to a rarer extent) to rank themselves as equals to the Chinese Emperors or to express suzerainty over surrounding states, particularly during the Three Kingdoms Era. "Daewang" ("great king") was used by rulers of other kingdoms and subsequent dynasties, including Baekje, whose king assumed the style of "Daewang Pyeha" ("His Imperial Highness the Great King") by the reign of Kimg Mu (600-640 AD) at the latest. However, after the Mongol Invasions of Korea, these rulers remained technically subordinate to the Mongol Empire and later China until King Gojong declared the Korean Empire in 1897 and assumed the title of "Hwangje," or Emperor (the Korean rendition of the Chinese "huang di").

The title "King of Kings" also expresses much the same concept as "high king" – it was used at various times by the Emperor of Persia (shahanshah) and the Emperor of Ethiopia.

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  1. ^ Dawson, Doyne. The First Armies. London: Cassell & Co. 2001, p. 80.