Grand, Great or Chief Župan (transl.Grand prince, Latin: magnus iupanus, Greek: ζουπανος μεγας, zoupanos megas) is the English rendering of a South Slavic title which relate etymologically to župan (originally a pater familias, later the tribal chief of a unit called župa) like a Russian Grand Prince to a Knyaz (rendered as Prince or Duke depending on administration).
A decorated silver cup with a Medieval Greek inscription attests to the use of the title in 9th-century Bulgaria. The inscription refers to a certain Sivin, who appears to have held that position at the time of Prince Boris I (852–889). Sivin was among the Bulgarian boyars who supported the official Christianization, as the subsequently added line "May God help" suggests.
In the Middle Ages, the Serbian Veliki Župan ruled a principality which had several "fiefs", thus the title describes the holder as supreme leader of all lands, with the title of Župan (2nd highest title) being given to brothers or other relatives (appanage). The most notable Grand Župan was Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty, that would continue the rule of Serbia through the first ruling house; the Vlastimirović dynasty.
Sources and references
- Бешевлиев, Веселин (1981). Прабългарски епиграфски паметници [Bulgar Epigraphic Records] (in Bulgarian). София: Издателство на Отечествения фронт. pp. 160–162. OCLC 8554080.
- Андреев, Йордан; Лазаров, Иван; Павлов, Пламен (1999). Кой кой е в средновековна България [Who is Who in Medieval Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). Петър Берон. p. 338. ISBN 978-954-402-047-7.