Tsaritsa

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Tsaritsa Marfa Apraxina, Peter the Great's sister-in-law
One of the young wives of Ivan the Terrible. Painting by Nikolai Nevrev, 19th century

Tsaritsa (Bulgarian: царица; Russian: цари́ца), formerly spelled czaritsa is the title of a female autocratic ruler (monarch) of Bulgaria or Russia, or the title of a tsar's wife. In English it is often erroneously rendered as tsarina or czarina, by the addition of the Russian feminine suffix to the German tsarin, which already carries a feminine suffix. For tsar's daughters see tsarevna.

"Tsaritsa" was the title of the female supreme ruler in the following states:

Russia[edit]

Since 1721, the official titles of the Russian male and female monarchs were Emperor (Russian: император, imperator) and Empress (Russian: императрица, imperatritsa), respectively, or Empress Consort. Officially the last Russian tsaritsa was Eudoxia Lopukhina, Peter the Great's first wife. And Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse), the wife of Nicholas II of Russia - was the last Russian Empress.

Eudoxia Lopukhina was sent in monastery in 1698 ("divorce"), and died in 1731. In 1712 Peter married in church Catherine I of Russia. The Russian Empire was officially proclaimed in 1721, and Catherine become Empress by marriage. After Peter's death she become ruling Empress by her own right. In following centuries the title "tsaritsa" was in unofficial informal use - kind of "pet name" for Empresses - ruling queens[1] and queen-consorts. ("Mother dear-tsarina" (матушка-царица) was only Catherine the Great, most popular). For list of Russian empresses in 18-19th centuries see Empress of Russia.

Tsar Alexis of Russia choosing his bride in 1648. Painting by Grigory Sedov, 19th century

De jure tsarinas in Russia existed since 1547 until 1721. Among the most famous tsarinas of this period - 6 or 7 wives of Ivan the Terrible, who have been poisoned by his enemies, killed or imprisoned by him in a monasteries. However, only the first 4 of them were "crowned" tsarinas, as the later marriages were not blessed with the Orthodox Church and considered as cohabitation. Polish noblewoman Marina Mnishek also became tsarina of Russia by her marriage to an impostor False Dmitry I and later with the False Dmitri II.

Many wives have been chosen on the Bride-show (custom of beauty pageant, borrowed from the Byzantine Empire), when hundreds of poor but handsome noblewomen where gathered in Moscow from all the regions of Russia, and then tsar chosed the most beautiful. This deprived Russia of dynastic connections with European monarchs, but protected from inbreeding and degeneration, and also of the political influence of foreign princesses (Catholic or Protestant). The only foreign wife of Russian tsar (except Mnishek) is Maria Temryukovna, Circassian princess, who converted in Orthodoxy.

Ivan Zabelin's book "The Domestic Life of Russian Tsarinas" (1872) in detail describes the subject.

Bulgaria[edit]

The last Bulgarian tsaritsa was Giovanna of Italy, the wife of Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria.

Serbia[edit]

The first Serbian tsaritsa was Helena of Bulgaria, sister of Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander and wife of Tsar Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia. She was the empress consort of Serbia from 1346 until Dušan's sudden death in 1355. The second, and the last, Serbian tsaritsa was Ana Basarab, from the Wallachian noble house of Basarab. She married Dušan's son, Tsar Stephen Uroš V of Serbia somewhere between 1356 and 1360, and ruled until the Serbian empire's demise in 1371.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Several "tsaritsas" in 18th century were the rulers of Russia, including empresses Catherine I (reigned 1725–27), Anna (1730–40), Elizabeth (1741–62), and Catherine the Great (1762–96).