Open main menu

Senapati (Sanskrit: सेनापति sena- meaning "army", -pati meaning "lord") is a title in ancient India denoting the rank of military commander or general of the army.[1]

It was a hereditary title of nobility used in the Maratha Empire. During wartime, a Sardar Senapati or Sarsenapati (also colloquially termed Sarnaubat) functioned as the Commander-in-Chief of all Maratha forces, coordinating the commands of the various Sardars in battle.

Ranking under the heir-apparent crown prince and other hereditary princes, the title Senapati most closely resembles a British Duke or German Herzog in rank and function. On occasion, the title Mahasenapati (Sanskrit: महा maha- meaning "great") was granted; this best equates to a Grand Duke or a German Großherzog.

Unlike Sardar, Senapati is a primogeniture hereditary title that passes on to the eldest son. There are several royal Senapati families alive today, including the Ghorpade and Dabhade families.


Outside of IndiaEdit

In ancient Philippines, this title was used as sang pamegat senāpati di Tundun used by Jayadew, which mentioned in the Laguna Copperplate Inscription circa 900 CE.[2] other than Rajah Gangbang in 12th century CE.

In Indonesia, the term senapati has been absorbed into Old Javanese and eventually Javanese language to refer to "general" or "army commander". In Javanese it can be rendered as Senapati or Senopati. For example, the title of Sutawijaya, the founder of 16th century Javanese Mataram Sultanate, was Senapati ing Alaga, which means "general of battle".[3]


Other peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Senapati". Sanskrit Dictionary.
  2. ^ a b Morrow, Paul (2006-07-14). "The Laguna Copperplate Inscription". Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  3. ^ Muzaffar Husain Syed, Syed Saud Akhtar, B D Usmani (2011). Concise History of Islam. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. p. 336. ISBN 9789382573470.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)