Grand Župan

Grand, Great or Chief Župan (Serbian: Велики жупан/Veliki župan, Latin: magnus iupanus, Greek: ζουπανος μεγας, zoupanos megas) is the English rendering of a South Slavic Serbian title which relate etymologically to Župan (originally a pater familias, later the tribal chief of a unit called župa).


A decorated silver cup with a Medieval Greek inscription attests to the use of the title in 9th-century Bulgaria. The inscription refers to a certain Sivin, who appears to have held that position at the time of Kniaz Boris I (852–889). Sivin was among the Bulgarian boyars who supported the official Christianization, as the subsequently added line "May God help" suggests.[1][2]


In the Middle Ages, the Serbian veliki župan (велики жупан) was the supreme chieftain in the multi-tribal society. The title signifies overlordship as the leader of lesser chieftains titled župan.[3] It was used by the Serb rulers in the 11th and 12th centuries.[4] In Greek, it was known as archizoupanos (ἄρχιζουπάνος), megazoupanos (μεγαζουπάνος) and megalos zoupanos (μεγάλος ζουπάνος).[4]

In the 1090s, Vukan became the veliki župan in Raška (Rascia).[5] Stefan Nemanja expelled his brother Tihomir in 1168 and assumed the title of veliki župan,[6] as described in the Charter of Hilandar (и постави ме великог жупана).[7] A Latin document used mega iupanus for King Stefan the First-Crowned (Stephanus dominus Seruie siue Rasie, qui mega iupanus).[8] Afterwards, it was a high noble rank with notable holders such as Altoman Vojinović (fl. 1335–59).

It was used in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1922–29) as a governmental title for the head of the oblast (an administrative division),[9] the state being divided into 33 oblasts.


  1. ^ Бешевлиев, Веселин (1981). Прабългарски епиграфски паметници [Bulgar Epigraphic Records] (in Bulgarian). София: Издателство на Отечествения фронт. pp. 160–162. OCLC 8554080.
  2. ^ Андреев, Йордан; Лазаров, Иван; Павлов, Пламен (1999). Кой кой е в средновековна България [Who is Who in Medieval Bulgaria] (in Bulgarian). Петър Берон. p. 338. ISBN 978-954-402-047-7.
  3. ^ Francis William Carter; David Turnock (1999). The States of Eastern Europe. Ashgate. p. 252. ISBN 978-1-85521-512-2.
  4. ^ a b Сима Ћирковић; Раде Михальчић (1999). Лексикон српског средњег века. Knowledge. p. 73. ВЕЛИКИ ЖУПАН - 1. Титула српског владара у XI и XII веку. Гласила је велнм жупднк и била превођена одговарајућим терминима, грчки арџ- ^огтагот, игуа^огтауге, цеуаХа? ^огтожх, латин- ски те^ајирапиз, та§пиз ...
  5. ^ John Van Antwerp Fine (1991). The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. University of Michigan Press. pp. 225–. ISBN 0-472-08149-7.
  6. ^ Paul Stephenson (29 June 2000). Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204. Cambridge University Press. pp. 267–. ISBN 978-0-521-77017-0.
  7. ^ Jovo Radoš (2000). Počeci filozofije prava kod Srba. Prometej.
  8. ^ Radovi. Vol. 19. 1972. p. 29.
  9. ^ Yugoslavia. (1922). Stenografske beles ke Narodne skups tine Kraljevine Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca: Redovan saziv. p. 29.

Further readingEdit

  • Ćirković, S. (1999) Veliki župan 1. in: Ćirković S.i R.Mihaljčić [ed.] Leksikon srpskog srednjeg veka, Beograd, str. 73
  • Mihaljčić, R. (1999) Veliki župan 2. in: Ćirković S.i R.Mihaljčić [ed.] Leksikon srpskog srednjeg veka, Beograd, str. 73