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Sticky Topic Topic: Titles, Ranks and Forms of Address  (Read 72762 times)
Reply #225
« on: October 08, 2009, 04:08:51 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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'Either the Russians addressed one another by titles - or the classic writers (or their translators) had it wrong. I have an acquaintance who is the member of a royal house. While she would never say so directly to a person, if anyone calls her "Princess" I am given to understand that this is a name best reserved for a spoiled cat. It is quite acceptable to call her by her first name when not in public, but where others can hear, it's "Your -- Highness". Period.'

In British usage a princess would never be addressed as 'Princess', though she would be referred to as 'Princess X' or 'the Princess'. Formally, it is 'Your Royal Highness' and, less formally, 'Ma'am.'

As far as Russian usage is concerned, I had better set my cards on the table. I am writing a novel set in 1916-17 of which the hero is a prince of ancient Rurikkid family. I have worked so far on the basis that those outside the immediate family circle call him 'Alexander Alexandrovich' and those rather more distant but still aristocratic whom he meets in society 'Prince Alexander Alexandrovich' or simply 'Prince'. He will also be referred to on occasions as 'Prince Surname'. He is a Captain in the Imperial Guard so, as I understand it, called 'your High Nobility' by subordinates in the military context. The servants will presumably refer to him as 'Prince Alexander Alexandrovich' but how will they address him?

The next question concerns married ladies, specifically widows. Is his widowed aunt 'Princess Vassili Surname' or 'Princess Maria Surname-a'? Is there a difference in usage between widows of princes and those whose husbands are still living? In traditional (and now old-fashioned) British usage, either a wife or widow is Mrs etc Husband's Name unless she has a more elevated title in her own right, hence Mrs Patrick Campbell, Lady Randolph Churchill, Princess Michael of Kent (the late Diana Princess of Wales was never 'Princess Diana'). However, an earl's daughter of my acquaintance who married a naval commander named Page is Lady Cecilia Page. Strictly speaking 'Mrs Christian Name Surname' is only owed by divorcees.

Thank you in advance for advice on this.
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Reply #226
« on: January 08, 2010, 11:03:48 PM »
Naslednik Norvezhskiy
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As far as Russian usage is concerned, I had better set my cards on the table. I am writing a novel set in 1916-17 of which the hero is a prince of ancient Rurikkid family. I have worked so far on the basis that those outside the immediate family circle call him 'Alexander Alexandrovich' and those rather more distant but still aristocratic whom he meets in society 'Prince Alexander Alexandrovich' or simply 'Prince'. He will also be referred to on occasions as 'Prince Surname'. He is a Captain in the Imperial Guard so, as I understand it, called 'your High Nobility' by subordinates in the military context. The servants will presumably refer to him as 'Prince Alexander Alexandrovich' but how will they address him?

They will adress him as Ваше сиятельство or Ваше Свeтлость, depending on whether he is an ordinary, illustrious prince or a serene prince (probably the first, if he is of ancient Rurikid stock), is my impression from "War and Peace". From there I also get the impression that such noble styles trumped the mere service ranks lik "Your High-Nobleness", even in the military.

Hope this helps you with your novel! It would be interesting to see how you'd render these styles, which have perfect equivalents in German, but can be so cumbersome or misleading in English.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 11:17:06 PM by Naslednik Norvezhskiy » Logged
Reply #227
« on: January 09, 2010, 03:11:42 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Naslednik

Many thanks for your information. Unfortunately, my Russian is non-existent, so how do the forms of address you mention translate?

Ann
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Reply #228
« on: January 09, 2010, 09:39:27 AM »
Naslednik Norvezhskiy
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Many thanks for your information. Unfortunately, my Russian is non-existent, so how do the forms of address you mention translate?
Ваше сиятельство = Vashe siyatelstvo = Your Illustriousness (less accurately: Illustrious Highness) = German: Euer Erlaucht
Ваше Свeтлость = Vashe svetlost = Your Serenity or less accurately Your Serene Highness = German: Euer Durchlaucht

For a more in-depth discussion see http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/royal-forums/14-the-romanovs/3934-correct-form-of-address?limit=6&start=6.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2010, 09:41:17 AM by Naslednik Norvezhskiy » Logged
Reply #229
« on: January 09, 2010, 09:48:07 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Many thanks. I will try that.

Ann
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Reply #230
« on: January 10, 2010, 05:18:59 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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That article was very helpful. I now have a vision of some poor soldier, faced with an officer he's never seen before, having to make an instant decision on whether this gentleman is an 'ordinary' Captain in the Guards and so 'your High Nobility' or in fact a Rurikkid prince and so 'your Illustriousness.'

One hopes that if Trooper Ivanov gets it wrong, the princely officer will not say 'Don't you know who I am?' and throw a hissy fit, but instead say something like, 'I am Prince So-and-So. In future you should call me your Illustriousness.'

Ann
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Reply #231
« on: January 10, 2010, 06:18:41 AM »
Mike Offline
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Ваше сиятельство = Vashe siyatelstvo = Your Illustriousness (less accurately: Illustrious Highness)
It's not less accurate, it's just wrong. This form of address applies to princes (other than royal and serene) and counts, while Highness [Высочество] applies to royal and sovereign princes and dukes.
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Reply #232
« on: January 10, 2010, 05:07:17 PM »
Naslednik Norvezhskiy
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Ваше сиятельство = Vashe siyatelstvo = Your Illustriousness (less accurately: Illustrious Highness)
It's not less accurate, it's just wrong. This form of address applies to princes (other than royal and serene) and counts, while Highness [Высочество] applies to royal and sovereign princes and dukes.
You are right, it's a most unfortunate and misleading translation sometimes used in English. I would recommend Kalafrana to translate it as Your Lordship/Ladyship or perhaps even Your Grace in an English-language novel.
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Reply #233
« on: January 11, 2010, 03:04:06 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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'Your Illustriousness' sounds splendidly archaic, as well as OTT, so I will use that.

Many thanks

Ann
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Reply #234
« on: January 19, 2010, 03:16:00 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Cards on the table once more.

The hero is a fictitious Dolgoruky. His aunt (nee Dolgorukaya) is the widow of a Golitsyn, and his cousin and best pal is also a Golitsyn.

Any traps there?

Regards

Ann
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Reply #235
« on: January 22, 2010, 01:26:18 AM »
Naslednik Norvezhskiy
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Cards on the table once more.

The hero is a fictitious Dolgoruky. His aunt (nee Dolgorukaya) is the widow of a Golitsyn, and his cousin and best pal is also a Golitsyn.

Any traps there?

I think they are all straightforward siyatelstvo, unless your Golitsyns are male-line descendants of the general Prince Dmitriy Vladimirovich Golitsyn from the Napoleonic Wars, who also was governor-general of Moscow for 25 years, and was raised from the rank of a mere prince to a serene prince for his services. Though he had only one son, Prince Boris Golitsyn.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 01:49:24 AM by Tainyi sovetnik » Logged
Reply #236
« on: January 22, 2010, 02:32:55 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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Thank you.

My Golitsyns are 'ordinary' Golitsyns.

Ann
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Reply #237
« on: January 30, 2010, 04:32:01 AM »
Kalafrana Offline
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One more for the experts among you! Or rather two!

My princes will obviously have cards and give them out from time to time. Will the card simply state 'Prince Alexander Dolgoruky', 'Prince Anton Golitsyn', or something more elaborate? And will they have coats or arms on?

When one of them is out visiting, the butler or whatever will presumably announce him as 'Prince Alexander Dolgoruky', but what if he is a more informal setting and needs to introduce himself? Will he say 'Prince Alexander Dolgoruky', or simply 'Alexander Dolgoruky', secure in the knowledge that any listener will know that any Dolgoruky is bound to be a prince? He is 25 and not particularly snobbish (as a Rurikkid prince he doesn't need to be!)

Ann

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Reply #238
« on: January 30, 2010, 08:42:24 AM »
Naslednik Norvezhskiy
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One more for the experts among you! Or rather two!

My princes will obviously have cards and give them out from time to time. Will the card simply state 'Prince Alexander Dolgoruky', 'Prince Anton Golitsyn', or something more elaborate? And will they have coats or arms on?
I am sure Mike can give a more comprehensive answer than I can, but it seems to me that titles were in quite widespread use on visiting cards. See this card of a Russian count for sale on e-Bay

I don't think it was usual to have coats of arms on private visiting cards. It would be very interesting to see more visiting cards of different types to compare.

Here is one of those chinovnik cards....

.....which Donald Mackenzie Wallace wrote about in "Russia":

"Thus rank or tchin is a necessary condition for receiving an appointment, but it does not designate any actual office, and the names of the different ranks are extremely apt to mislead a foreigner.
We must always bear this in mind when we meet with those imposing titles which Russian tourists sometimes put on their visiting cards, such as "Conseiller de Cour," "Conseiller d'Etat," "Conseiller prive de S. M. l'Empereur de toutes les Russies." It would be uncharitable to suppose that these titles are used with the intention of misleading, but that they do sometimes mislead there cannot be the least doubt. I shall never forget the look of intense disgust which I once saw on the face of an American who had invited to dinner a "Conseiller de Cour," on the assumption that he would have a Court dignitary as his guest, and who casually discovered that the personage in question was simply an insignificant official in one of the public offices."


Speaking of putting titles on visiting cards. Imagine picking up this (apparantly genuine) card from your bowl when checking who has called on you:

Translates as:
Wilhelm
German Emperor and King of Prussia
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 08:44:54 AM by Tainyi Sovetnik » Logged
Reply #239
« on: January 30, 2010, 10:31:05 AM »
Mike Offline
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Usually a Russian business card would mention the title (if any) and the full name, including patronimic. If a person was an officer, the name of his regiment appeared below the name. If he had a court rank, it also appeared on the card. No coats of arms were usually used. For example:

Князь Александр Владимирович Долгорукий
Л.-Гв. Семеновского полка
Флигель-адъютант Е.И.В.

In a language other than Russian the patronimic was usually omitted:

Prince Alexander Dolgoruky
of Life Guards Semenovsky Regiment
Aide-de-Camp of H.I.M.

When a titled person was announced by a butler or introduced to somebody by a third party, the title was always mentioned. However, when such a person introduced himself, especially to a lady, the title was customarily omitted.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 10:35:38 AM by Mike » Logged
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