Originally, the title Czar (derived from Caesar) meant Emperor in the European medieval sense of the term, that is, a ruler who claims the same rank as a Roman emperor, with the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch). Occasionally, the word could be used to designate other, non-Christian, supreme rulers. In Russia and Bulgaria the imperial connotations of the term were blurred with time and, by the 19th century, it had come to be viewed as an equivalent of King.
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