Serbian royal titles

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The Serbian monarchs and royalty have assumed several regnal titles and styles throughout history.

Middle Ages[edit]

Regnal titles[edit]

Prince of Serbia / the Serbs
Archon of Serbia/Archon of the Serbs (ἄρχων Σερβλίας). ἄρχων (archon, plural ἄρχοντες, archontes) was used by the Byzantines as a generic title for "prince", "ruler".[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]
Grand Prince of Serbia / the Serbs
The Serbian veliki župan (велики жупан) was the supreme chieftain in the multi-tribal society. The title signifies overlordship, as the leader of lesser chieftains titled župan.[3] It was used by the Serb rulers in the 11th and 12th centuries.[4] In Greek, it was known as archizoupanos (ἄρχιζουπάνος, "chief župan") and megalos zoupanos or megazoupanos (μεγάλος ζουπάνος and μεγαζουπάνος, both meaning "grand župan").[4]
King of Serbia / the Serbs
Great King of Serbia / the Serbs
The title was introduced in the 13th century. Stefan the First-Crowned, likely Stefan Uroš I, Stefan Dečanski and Stefan Dušan had the title.[5]
Emperor of the Serbs (Цар Срба)
Emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks ("Emperor and autocrat of Serbia and Rhomania", Bασιλεὺς καὶ αὐτoκράτωρ Σερβίας καὶ Ῥωμανίας)
Despot of Serbia
The rulers of the Serbian Despotate were often mentioned as Lord of the Serbs, Despot.[6] Used after 1402. Initially Despot was a honorific title of Byzantine origin (δεσπότης, despotes), 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.

Regnal styles of individual rulers[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.
Vukan Nemanjić
In an inscription dating to 1202-1203, Vukan is titled as Grand Župan Vukan, Ruler of all Serbian lands, Zeta, maritime towns and land of Nišava.[7]
Vukašin Mrnjavčević
Lord of the Serbian Land, of the Greeks, and of the Western Provinces (господинь зємли срьбьскои и грькѡмь и западнимь странамь).[8]
Lazar Hrebeljanović
  • Autokrator of All Serbs (самодрьжць вьсѣмь Србьлѥмь)[9] Autokrator, "self-ruler" in Greek, was the title of the senior Byzantine emperor. 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.[10]
  • "Prince of the Kingdom of Rascia" (in Hungary).[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fine 1991, p. 102
  2. ^ Fine 1991, p. 141
  3. ^ Francis William Carter; David Turnock (1999). The States of Eastern Europe. Ashgate. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-85521-512-2. 
  4. ^ a b Сима Ћирковић; Раде Михальчић (1999). Лексикон српског средњег века. Knowledge. p. 73. ВЕЛИКИ ЖУПАН - 1. Титула српског владара у XI и XII веку. Гласила је велнм жупднк и била превођена одговарајућим терминима, грчки арџ- ^огтагот, игуа^огтауге, цеуаХа? ^огтожх, латин- ски те^ајирапиз, та§пиз ... 
  5. ^ Svetislav Mandić (1986). Velika gospoda sve srpske zemlje i drugi prosopografski prilozi. Srpska književna zadruga. p. 60. Велики краљ 
  6. ^ Veselinović, p. 45
  7. ^ Konstantin Jirecek, Geschichte der Serben 1, Gotha 1911,p.289
  8. ^ Miklošič 1858, p. 180, № CLXVII.
  9. ^ Fine 1994, p. 393
  10. ^ Mihaljčić 2001, pp. 78–115
  11. ^ Jovan Ilić (1995). The Serbian question in the Balkans. Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade. Prince Lazar is for Hungary the "Prince of the Kingdom of Rascia" 


  • 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 [State of the Serbian Despots]. Belgrade: Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva. ISBN 86-17-12911-5. 
  • Šarkić, S. (2012). "Vladarske titule u srednjovekovnoj Srbiji" [Monarch's titles in Mediaeval Serbia] (PDF). Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta, Novi Sad. 46 (2): 23–35.