Serbian titles

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The Serbian royalty and nobility have assumed several titles throughout time, including:

Main royal titles[edit]

Prince of Serbia[edit]

  • Archon of Serbia/Archon of the Serbs (ἄρχων Σερβλίας)
ἄρχοντες was used by the Byzantines when describing a Prince.[1] It is the only royal title that is known to have been used by and for Serbian monarchs during the rule of the Vlastimirović dynasty. The title in Serbian is rendered as knez.[2] Byzantine historians usually described foreign rulers as archontes.[3]
  • Župan of Serbia
  • Knez of Serbia

Grand Prince of Serbia[edit]

  • Great/Grand Župan of Serbia
Used after 1102 when the Serbian regions were subsequently re-unified.

King of Serbia[edit]

  • King of Serbia (synonym. King of Serbs)

Emperor of Serbia[edit]

  • Emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks ("Emperor and autocrat of Serbs and Romans", Bασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτoκράτωρ Σερβίας καὶ Pωμανίας)

Despot of Serbia[edit]

  • Lord of the Serbs, Despot. [4]
Used after 1402. Initially Despot was a honorific title of Byzantine origin, used alongside that of the Lord of the Serbs, but eventually it became synonymous with the Serbian monarchy, as well as its claimants in exile.

Individual titles[edit]


The Nemanjić dynasty ruled the Serb lands between ca. 1166 up to 1371. All Serbian rulers after Stephen the First-Crowned added the name Stefan before their birth names after ascending the throne as a manner of honoring the first ruler of their dynasty, Stefan Nemanja. The name Stefan is derived from Greek Stephanos, meaning crowned with wreath.

Vukašin Mrnjavčević[edit]

  • Lord of the Serbian Land, of the Greeks, and of the Western Provinces (господинь зємли срьбьскои и грькѡмь и западнимь странамь).[5]
  • Župan of Prilep (noble)

Lazar Hrebeljanović[edit]

  • Autokrator of All Serbs (самодрьжць вьсѣмь Србьлѥмь)[6]
Autocrator, "self-ruler" in Greek, was an epithet of the Byzantine emperors. The Nemanjić kings adopted it and applied it to themselves in its literal meaning to stress their independence from Byzantium, whose supreme suzerainty they nominally recognized.[7]
  • Knez of Serbia (Prince)
Although he in reality had the title of Knez, he would be recognized as a Tsar (Emperor) in Serbian epic poetry.

Vukan Nemanjić[edit]

  • In an inscription dating to 1202-1203, Vukan is titled as Grand Župan Vukan, Ruler of all Serbian land, Zeta, maritime towns and land of Nišava.[8]
  • Veliki Knez of Duklja, Travunija, Hvosno and Toplica
  • King of Duklja

Medieval noble titles[edit]

In the periods of the Serbian Kingdom and Serbian Empire, several Byzantine titles and honorifics were adopted, such as sevast, protosevast and sevastokrator.[9]

  • Župan - County lord or Duke
The title would be given to a family member or 'important' court member that would govern a region/fief.
Military commander, duke (dux)
  • komit
Equivalent of Latin comes
either prince or less commonly duke
Literally meaning "head", derived from Greek kephalē (κεφαλή). Civil and military governor of a territorial administrative unit.
treasurer, equivalent of camerarius (chamberlain).
It was given to the educators of younger nobles in the royal court, comes curialis, and other court members, ranging in importance from the 13th to 15th century.
Literally meaning "lord".
Court title. Literally meaning "head". It was of a higher rank than stavilac.[10]
Court title. Literally meaning "placer". It had a role in the ceremony at the royal table, though he could be entrusted with jobs that had nothing to do with court ritual. The title of stavilac ranked as the last in the hierarchy of the Serbian court. It was, nevertheless, quite prestigious as it enabled its holder to be very close to the ruler.[10]
  • sevast
from Byzantine sebastos, honorific title[9] meaning "venerable" (equivalent to Roman Augustus)
  • protovestijar, sr. veliki kaznac
from Byzantine protovestiarios, minister of finance, holders include Nikola, Petar, Ivan, Marin
  • despot
from Byzantine despotes
  • protosevast
from Byzantine protosévastos, holders include Hrelja
  • kesar
from Byzantine kaísar (καῖσαρ), in turn derived from Latin caesar, holders include Grgur Golubić,
  • domestik
from Byzantine domestikos
  • logotet
Financial, from Byzantine logothetes
  • vitez

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fine 1991, p. 102
  2. ^ Fine 1991, p. 141
  3. ^ Aksum: an African civilisation of late antiquity By Stuart C. Munro-Hay Page 145 ISBN 0-7486-0209-7
  4. ^ Veselinović, p. 45
  5. ^ Miklošič 1858, p. 180, № CLXVII.
  6. ^ Fine 1994, p. 393
  7. ^ Mihaljčić 2001, pp. 78–115
  8. ^ Konstantin Jirecek, Geschichte der Serben 1, Gotha 1911,p.289
  9. ^ a b Stanoje Stanojević (2000). Narodna enciklopedija: srpsko-hrvatsko-slovenačka. Budućnost. p. 432. U Srbiji se udomaćilo, naročito u kraljevsko i carsko doba, nekoliko bizantskih titula i činova, kao sevast protosevast i sevastokrator. Sevasti (sebastos, augustus) nisu činovnici, nego je to odlikovanje. Sevastokrator ili protosevast mogli bi ... 
  10. ^ a b Mihaljčić 2001, pp. 15–28


  • Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994), The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0-472-08260-4 
  • Mihaljčić, Rade (2001) [1984], Лазар Хребељановић: историја, култ, предање (in Serbian), Belgrade: Srpska školska knjiga; Knowledge, ISBN 86-83565-01-7 
  • Veselinović, Andrija (2006) [1995], Држава српских деспота (in Serbian), Belgrade: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, ISBN 86-17-12911-5