The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Kaiser

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Edition of 1920. See also Kaiser on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

KAISER, kīzėr, a title, the German equivalent for emperor. The Romans added the name of Cæsar to their own kings in honor of the “divine Julius.” Diocletian first made it a distinctive title, and in 395 A.D., on the division of the empire, the title was borne by both the Eastern and Western emperors. It lapsed in 476 A.D. with the last emperor, but was revived in 800 A.D. by Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor of the West at Rome in that year, after which the title was associated with the king of the Franks and after 962 with the Germans, whose kings became emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The kings continued to be crowned by the Roman pontiffs at Rome, or at least in Italy, until 1530, when Charles V was crowned at Bologna. On the fall of Constantinople in 1453 the sultan assumed the title, but his claim was not recognized by the Holy Roman emperors until 1718. In 1721 the title of czar was assumed by Peter the Great of Russia. In 1806 the title of Holy Roman emperor was dropped by Francis II of Austria, who retained that of emperor of Austria. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 William I of Prussia assumed the title of German emperor, and this title is distinct from the older title of emperor of Germany. See Cæsarism; Czar; Emperor.