1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hetman

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HETMAN (a Polish word, probably derived from the Ger. Hauptmann, head-man or captain; the Russian form is ataman), a military title formerly in use in Poland; the Hetman Wielki, or Great Hetman, was the chief of the armed forces of the nation, and commanded in the field, except when the king was present in person. The office was abolished in 1792. From Poland the word was introduced into Russia, in the form ataman, and was adopted by the Cossacks, as a title for their head, who was practically an independent prince, when under the suzerainty of Poland. After the acceptance of Russian rule by the Cossacks in 1654, the post was shorn of its power. The title of “ataman” or “hetman of all the Cossacks” is held by the Cesarevitch. “Ataman” or “hetman” is also the name of the elected elder of the stanitsa, the unit of Cossack administration. (See Cossacks.)