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Imperial, royal and noble ranks in West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia, and North Africa
A sultan's turban helmet
Emperor: Caliph, King of Kings, Shahanshah, Padishah, Sultan of Sultans, Chakravarti, Chhatrapati, Samrat, Khagan
High King: Great King, Sultan, Maharaja, Beg Khan, Amir al-umara, Khagan Bek
King: Malik, Emir, Hakim, Sharif, Shah, Shirvanshah, Raja, Khan, Dey
Grand Duke: Khedive, Nawab, Wāli, Nizam
Crown Prince: Shahzada, Mirza, Nawabzada, Yuvraj, Vali Ahd, Prince of the Sa'id, Mir
Prince / Duke: Emir, Sheikh, Ikhshid, Pasha, Thakur, Babu Saheb, Sardar, Rajkumar, Şehzade, Sahibzada, Nawabzada
Earl/Count: Mankari, Dewan Bahadur, Rao Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Khan Bahadur, Beylerbey, Atabeg
Viscount: Zamindar, Khan Sahib, Bey, Baig/Begum, Begzada
Baron: Lala, Agha, Hazinedar

Padishah (Master King), sometimes rendered as Padeshah or Padshah (Persian: پادشاه‎, Turkish: padişah) is a superlative sovereign title of Persian origin, composed of the Persian pād "master" (or pati from Old Persian) and the widespread shāh "king".[1] It was adopted by several monarchs claiming the highest rank, roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of "The Great" or "Great King", and later adopted by post-Achaemenid and Christian Emperors.

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Historical usage

The rulers on the following thrones – the first two effectively commanding major West Asian empires – were styled Padishah:

Suleiman the Magnificent, Padishah of the Ottoman Empire. Portrait attributed to Titian c.  1530
Suleiman the Magnificent, Padishah of the Ottoman Empire. Portrait attributed to Titian c.  1530

The paramount prestige of the title padishah in Islam and beyond becomes clearly apparent from the Ottoman Empire's dealings with the (predominantly Christian) European powers. For example, one of the terms of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774 was that the defeated Ottoman Empire refer to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, and all other Russian monarchs after her, as a "Padishah" in all official correspondence (including in the treaty itself). This was a symbolic acknowledgement that Christian emperors were in all diplomatic and corollary capacities the equal of the Turkish ruler, who by his religious paramount office in Islam (Caliph) had a theoretical claim of universal sovereignty (at least among Sunnites).

The compound Pādshah-i-Ghazi ("Victorious Emperor") is only recorded for two individual rulers:

  1. Ahmad Shah Durrani, Emperoror of the Durrani Empire (r. 1747–1772)
  2. H.H. Rustam-i-Dauran, Aristu-i-Zaman,  Asaf Jah IV, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Farkhunda 'Ali Khan Bahadur [Gufran Manzil], Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Ayn waffadar Fidvi-i-Senliena, Iqtidar-i-Kishwarsitan Muhammad Akbar Shah Padshah-i-Ghazi, Nizam of Hyderabad (r. 1829–1857)

Note that like many titles, the word Padishah was also often used as a name, either by nobles with other (in this case always lower) styles, or even by commoners.

Modern usage

There is a large family of Turkish origin using the surname Badi in modern-day Libya. They were originally called "Padishah" due to their Military rank in the Ottoman Army, but the part "shah" was dropped after the Ottoman landing in the North East Libyan town of Misrata, and the pronunciation of "Padi" became "Badi" from the Arabic pronunciation, as there is no p in Arabic.

In 2008, a professional cricket team, the Lahore Badshahs, was founded.

In India, Padishah is often a Muslim surname, from the above-mentioned trend of adopting titles as names by both royalty and commoners.

In popular culture

In Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune, the titular head of human space is styled "Padishah Emperor of the Known Universe". In the Pathfinder role-playing game, the ruler of the Empire of Kelesh is styled "Padishah Emperor".

See also


  1. ^, s.v. "pasha" Archived 2013-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Countries Ab-Am".

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2020, at 14:40
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