Prince: origin of the word, meaning, interesting facts

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Prince: origin of the word, meaning, interesting facts
Prince: origin of the word, meaning, interesting facts

Everyone has different associations with the word "prince". Someone will remember the great Russian princes, such as Yaroslav the Wise or Yuri Dolgoruky. Someone will come up with images of imperial balls, at which the heir to the throne was presented by the upper classes: counts, dukes, princes. And some even immediately present a map of the world and the tiny Monaco or Liechtenstein indicated on it - the last principalities of the Earth.

The origin of the word "prince" is very vague. On the one hand, there are popular versions recognized by many historians. On the other hand, there are so many of these theories … Which one is correct? Nobody gives a definite answer to this question. Let's try to take a closer look at some versions.

Version one. Prince=king

In German, there is a word "König", which means king. Scholars believe that the word "king" was derived from the name of Charlemagne. Proponents of this version interpretthe origin of the word "prince" just from the word "king". In defense, its adherents cite almost the same meaning of the titles "king" and "prince".

royal crown

There are some scientists who deny that the Slavs borrowed this word from the Germanic language. In their opinion, everything was exactly the opposite - the word was originally Slavic, and it was the Germanic tribes who borrowed it into their language.

Version two. Knight's move

This is one of the most controversial options. Ardent adherents of this version are the researchers of the Old Russian language. The origin of the word "prince" in Russia, in their opinion, is connected with the horse. A horse in Russia is a rarity, we alth, luxury, allowed only to the elite. Only warriors could ride on horseback. Not peasants - they, as a rule, did not have a horse at all; and if there was, then the tiller moved not on horseback, but in a cart. Not merchants - seats were prepared for them in the wagon. The warriors had the right and opportunity to ride.

Rider on horseback

Supporters of this version argue as follows: the word "prince" can be conditionally divided into two parts: "kn" and "ide", where "kn" means a horse, and "ide" is interpreted as "I am, I will be". Accordingly, the "prince" is someone on horseback, a warrior, a rider. But not just a rider, but the main rider.

Those who consider this theory untenable point to a discrepancy in the main: the ancient form of the word "horse" sounded like "koban".

Version three. Ancestral

Supporters interpret her originthe word "prince" from the Russian word "kon". “Kon” is a word that means several concepts at once, such as “beginning”, “basis”, “something important”. That is, the "prince" literally in this interpretation is the founder, the ancestor.

The word "kon" also denoted another concept, the closest in meaning to today's expression "to live according to one's conscience." In the interpretation of such a translation, the prince is a person who lives in accordance with truth and order; a person who maintains order.

Version four - Scandinavian. How the letter "Z" "G" replaced

The origin of the word "prince" in Russian is associated with an error in the translation of chroniclers! This is exactly what the supporters of the "Scandinavian" version think.

Pen and inkwell

"The Tale of Bygone Years" sins with many errors and inaccuracies. Especially the ancient chroniclers liked to replace the letter "G" with the letter "Z". The Varangians magically transformed into Varangians in this chronicle, the word "others" for unknown reasons turned into "friends". The origin of the word "prince", according to historians, is due to such a replacement.

The Scandinavians had a military rank - king. When replacing one letter, it already began to sound like “konunz”. Well, here it’s not far from the “prince” either.

Princes in Russia

Variant of the princely coat of arms

There were many ways to get a princely title in our country. The three most common were:

  1. Due to kinship with the ruling dynasty. In Russia, it was the Rurik dynasty, most of whose descendantsbore princely titles.
  2. Sometimes the government itself elevated some particularly pleasing surname to a princely title. To do this, it was necessary to distinguish themselves by services to the Fatherland or simply to be to the liking of the ruling monarch. The initiative to "give" the title belonged to Peter the Great. Examples of such “granted” princes are the Menshikov and Lopukhin families.
  3. Be a representative of a foreign princely family who has taken the Russian oath.

Who exactly from the historical figures was the prince? Many surnames of the nobles of the past are well known. The most famous are, perhaps:

  • Rurikovichs.
  • Bagrations.
  • Barclay de Tolly.
  • Volkonsky.
  • Vorotynsky.
  • Belskie.
  • Golitsyns.
  • Vyazemsky.
  • Obolenskys.
  • Orlovs.
  • Menshikovs.
  • Razumovsky.
  • Trubetskoy.
  • Yusupovs.

Rurikovichi - the founders of the princes of Russia. Interesting Facts

Cap of Monomakh - a symbol of princely power

The very first family, which then gave almost all Russian princes, is the oldest family of Rurikovich. Probably, only ardent lovers of history will be able to remember all the representatives, but the majority will name only the most memorable names. But it was the descendants of Rurik who became the first princes among the Slavs. So, the Russian language partly owes them the origin of the word "prince" in Russia before Christianity (after all, the first Ruriks were pagans).

So, what did we not know about the first ruling family in our country?

  • Rurikovich ruled for 748 years - a huge period,which is larger only at the Japanese imperial house. By the way, the most famous royal dynasty of England at the moment rules less in time.
  • The first annals in Russia began to be compiled only 200 years after the death of Rurik.
  • One of the representatives of the family, Prince Yaroslav the Wise, thoroughly confused history with his will, where he introduced a new order of succession to the throne - according to him, after the death of the Grand Duke, the state was headed not by his eldest son, but simply by the eldest in the family. Most often it was a brother or uncle.
  • Distant descendants of the Ruriks were such famous historical figures as Otto von Bismarck, Alexander Dumas, George Washington, George Bush (senior and junior), Lady Diana and Winston Churchill.

Monarchs in our country began to be called kings, not princes after the decree of Ivan the Terrible in 1574. At the same time, the kings retained the title of prince.

As the princes were also called

Let the origin of the word "prince" even after centuries cause controversy among scientists, it is known for certain how the subjects of their princes were called. They were addressed: “Your Grace”, “Your Excellency”, “Most Gracious Sovereign”. Later, when referring to the great princes of the imperial blood, it was allowed to use the treatment “Your Highness.”

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