Emperor

empressemperorsimperialSamratEmperor of Japanempress regnantImperial titleSovereign Principality of Elba(Imperatritsabadshah
An emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm.wikipedia
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Empire

imperialempiresimperial power
An emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm.
An empire is a sovereign state functioning as an aggregate of nations or people that are ruled over by an emperor or another kind of monarch.

Queen consort

Queenconsortempress consort
Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), mother (empress dowager), or a woman who rules in her own right (empress regnant).
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king (or an empress consort in the case of an emperor).

Monarch

kingSovereignkings
An emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Autokrator or Basileus : although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καῖσαρ, Kaisar) and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as Αὔγουστος, Augoustos or translated as Σεβαστός, Sebastos) these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name for the new type of monarchy, they used αὐτοκράτωρ (autokratōr, only partly overlapping with the modern understanding of "autocrat") or βασιλεύς (basileus, until then the usual name for "sovereign"). Autokratōr was essentially used as a translation of the Latin Imperator in Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks Autokratōr was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin dictator concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came to mean Emperor. Basileus appears not to have been used exclusively in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal designation of the Emperor in the Greek-speaking East.
Monarchs, as such, bear a variety of titles – king or queen, prince or princess (e.g., Sovereign Prince of Monaco), emperor or empress (e.g., Emperor of China, Emperor of Ethiopia, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of India), archduke, duke or grand duke (e.g., Grand Duke of Luxembourg), emir (e.g., Emir of Qatar) or sultan (e.g., Sultan of Oman).

Imperial, royal and noble ranks

ranknoble titlehigh nobility
Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings.
Emperor, from the Latin Imperator, meaning "commander" or "one who commands". In English, the feminine form is Empress (the Latin is imperatrix). The realm of an emperor or empress is termed an Empire. Other words meaning Emperor include:

Emperor of Japan

EmperorMonarchJapanese Emperor
The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as Emperor.
Currently, the Emperor of Japan is the only head of state in the world with the English title of "Emperor".

Tsar

czartzartsars
However, the Russian emperors are better known by their Russian-language title of Tsar even after Peter the Great adopted the title of Emperor of All Russia in 1721. Caesar (as, for example, in Suetonius' Twelve Caesars). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "Kaiser"; in certain Slavic languages it became "Tsar"; in Hungarian it became "Császár", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius Caesar's cognomen "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian dynasty had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of Caesar Augustus to Tsar Symeon II of Bulgaria's removal from the throne in 1946. In 913, Simeon I of Bulgaria was crowned Emperor (Tsar) by the Patriarch of Constantinople and imperial regent Nicholas Mystikos outside the Byzantine capital.
The term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, which was intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch)—but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.

Regalia

royal regaliacoronation regaliaroyal insignia
The importance and meaning of coronation ceremonies and regalia also varied within the tradition: for instance Holy Roman Emperors could only be crowned emperor by the Pope, which meant the coronation ceremony usually took place in Rome, often several years after these emperors had ascended to the throne (as "king") in their home country.
The term can refer to rights, prerogatives and privileges enjoyed exclusively by any sovereign regardless of title (emperor, grand duke, etc.) An example is the right to mint coins, especially with one's own effigy.

Habsburg Monarchy

HabsburgAustriaAustrian
Although technically an elective title, by the late 16th century the imperial title had in practice come to be inherited by the Habsburg Archdukes of Austria and following the Thirty Years' War their control over the states (outside the Habsburg Monarchy, i.e. Austria, Bohemia and various territories outside the empire) had become nearly non-existent.
Austrian Empire (1804–1867): This was the official name. Note that the German version is Kaisertum Österreich, i.e. the English translation empire refers to a territory ruled by an emperor, not just to a "widespreading domain".

Soviet Empire

Soviet sphere of influenceSoviet satellite statesSoviet expansionism
Sometimes this reference has even extended to non-monarchically ruled states and their spheres of influence such as the Athenian Empire of the late 5th century BC, the Angevin Empire of the Plantagenets and the Soviet and American "empires" of the Cold War era.
Though the Soviet Union was not ruled by an emperor and declared itself anti-imperialist and a people's democracy, critics argue that it exhibited tendencies common to historic empires.

Roman Empire

RomanRomansEmpire
The first period of the Roman Empire, from 27 BC – 284 AD, is called the principate for this reason.
It was ruled, not by emperors, but by annually elected magistrates (Roman Consuls above all) in conjunction with the senate.

Caesar (title)

CaesarKayser-i RûmCaesars
Caesar (as, for example, in Suetonius' Twelve Caesars). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "Kaiser"; in certain Slavic languages it became "Tsar"; in Hungarian it became "Császár", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius Caesar's cognomen "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian dynasty had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of Caesar Augustus to Tsar Symeon II of Bulgaria's removal from the throne in 1946.
Caesar (English pl. Caesars; Latin pl. Caesares) is a title of imperial character.

Princeps

princeps iuventutisfirst citizenprinceps civitatis
One of these offices was princeps senatus, ("first man of the Senate") and became changed into Augustus' chief honorific, princeps civitatis ("first citizen") from which the modern English word and title prince is descended.
Princeps civitatis ("First Citizen") was an official title of a Roman Emperor as the title determining the leader in Ancient Rome at the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Emperor of Austria

EmperorAustrian EmperorEmperors of Austria
However, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of the French in 1804 and was shortly followed by Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, who declared himself Emperor of Austria in the same year.
Emperor of Austria,

Kaiser

German EmperorEmperorGerman Kaiser
Caesar (as, for example, in Suetonius' Twelve Caesars). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became "Kaiser"; in certain Slavic languages it became "Tsar"; in Hungarian it became "Császár", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius Caesar's cognomen "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian dynasty had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of Caesar Augustus to Tsar Symeon II of Bulgaria's removal from the throne in 1946.
Kaiser is the German word for "emperor".

Prince

princesprincelysovereign prince
One of these offices was princeps senatus, ("first man of the Senate") and became changed into Augustus' chief honorific, princeps civitatis ("first citizen") from which the modern English word and title prince is descended.
While this meant that offices, such as emperor, king, and elector could only be legally occupied by one dynast at a time, holders of such other titles as duke, margrave, landgrave, count palatine, and prince could only differentiate themselves by adding the name of their appanage to the family's original title.

Imperator

Roman imperatorBerengariaImp.
An emperor (through Old French empereor from Latin imperator) is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm.
The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empereür.

Autokrator

strategos autokratorautocratautocrator
Autokrator or Basileus : although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καῖσαρ, Kaisar) and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as Αὔγουστος, Augoustos or translated as Σεβαστός, Sebastos) these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name for the new type of monarchy, they used αὐτοκράτωρ (autokratōr, only partly overlapping with the modern understanding of "autocrat") or βασιλεύς (basileus, until then the usual name for "sovereign"). Autokratōr was essentially used as a translation of the Latin Imperator in Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks Autokratōr was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin dictator concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came to mean Emperor. Basileus appears not to have been used exclusively in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal designation of the Emperor in the Greek-speaking East.
In modern Greek, it means "emperor", and the female form of the title is autokrateira (αὐτοκράτειρα, autokráteira, "empress").

Translatio imperii

Roman Empiresuccessor
The Emperor of the Romans' title was a reflection of the translatio imperii (transfer of rule) principle that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, despite the continued existence of the Roman Empire in the east.
Translatio imperii (Latin for "transfer of rule") is a historiographical concept, originating in the Middle Ages, in which history is viewed as a linear succession of transfers of an imperium that invests supreme power in a singular ruler, an "emperor" (or sometimes even several emperors, e.g., the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Holy Roman Empire).

Julius Nepos

Nepos
The subdivisions and co-emperor system were formally abolished by Emperor Zeno in 480 AD following the death of Julius Nepos last Western Emperor and the ascension of Odoacer as the de facto King of Italy in 476 AD.
However under Roman law, Leo was the sole legitimate Emperor and had the right to select a new western counterpart.

List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire

SultanOttoman SultanSultans
Ottoman rulers held several titles denoting their Imperial status.
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed II, Ottoman sultans came to regard themselves as the successors of the Roman Empire, hence their occasional use of the titles Caesar (قیصر Qayser) of Rûm, and emperor, as well as the caliph of Islam.

Simeon I of Bulgaria

Simeon ISimeonSimeon the Great
In 913, Simeon I of Bulgaria was crowned Emperor (Tsar) by the Patriarch of Constantinople and imperial regent Nicholas Mystikos outside the Byzantine capital.
Halfway through his reign, Simeon assumed the title of Emperor (Tsar), having prior to that been styled Prince (Knyaz).

Great King

Such pre-Roman titles as Great King or King of Kings, used by the Kings of Persia and others, are often considered as the equivalent.
Alternatively, a more idiomatic style may develop into an equally prestigious tradition of titles, because of the shining example of the original – thus various styles of emperors trace back to the Roman imperator (strictly speaking a republican military honorific), the family surname Caesar (turned into an imperial title since Diocletian's tetrarchy).

Monarchy

kingdommonarchieskingdoms
When Republican Rome turned into a de facto monarchy in the second half of the 1st century BC, at first there was no name for the title of the new type of monarch.
Common European titles of monarchs are emperor or empress (from Latin: imperator or imperatrix), king or queen, grand duke or grand duchess, prince or princess, duke or duchess (in that hierarchical order of nobility).

Coronation

crownedaccessioncoronations
The importance and meaning of coronation ceremonies and regalia also varied within the tradition: for instance Holy Roman Emperors could only be crowned emperor by the Pope, which meant the coronation ceremony usually took place in Rome, often several years after these emperors had ascended to the throne (as "king") in their home country.
His son Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor in Rome in 800, passed as well the ceremony to the Holy Roman Empire, and this tradition acquired a newly constitutive function in England too, with the kings Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror immediately crowned in Westminster Abbey in 1066.

Emperor of the French

EmperorFrench EmperorEmperor of France
However, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of the French in 1804 and was shortly followed by Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, who declared himself Emperor of Austria in the same year.
His Imperial and Royal Majesty Napoleon I, By the Grace of God and the Constitution of the Republic, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, Mediator of the Swiss Confederation and Co-Prince of Andorra.