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Suzerain

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Suzerain

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:36 pm

• suzerain •


Pronunciation: su-zê-rên, su-zê-rayn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A state or sovereign that has control of political and international affairs of a vassal state, while allowing it control over its domestic policy. 2. A feudal overlord to whom vassals must pay a tribute.

Notes: Today's Good Word is one that we hear rarely now that feudalism has been mostly eliminated. The noun may be used as an adjective, as a suzerain power, which makes possible another noun, suzerainty, referring to the status of suzerain state. Suzerainty differs from hegemony in that while the suzerain controls only the international relations of the vassal state, the hegemonist has complete control. Speakers, however, seldom make this distinction. An alternative spelling is suzereign.

In Play: The Ottoman Empire was historically the suzerain of Moldova, Serbia, and Wallachia. For years China was a suzerain to Mongolia. More recently, China has been the suzerain to Tibet, allowing it a small amount of autonomy while controlling it politically. The relationship of the republics of the former Soviet Union to Russia was hegemonic, for the Russians allowed the republics no autonomy.

Word History: English borrowed suzerain from Old French suserain, from the adverb sus "up" by analogy with Old French soverain "sovereign". Sus is a contraction of Latin susum "upward", itself a contraction of a speculative word subsvorsum "turned upward". This word would have been a compound of sub(s) "under" + vorsum, neuter of vorsus, a variant of versus "turned", the past participle of vertere "to turn". (Are you still with me?) We can see both the original sub and vertere in the English borrowing subvert. The same Proto-Indo-European root that went into the making of Latin vertere produced English writhe and wreath, both involving turning or twisting. In Russian we see vertet' "turn, twirl" from the same source. (Today's Good Word was suggested last year by Dane Bounds, to whom we owe an extra debt of gratitude for his patience.)
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Re: Suzerain

Postby hanako » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:31 am

A closer example of Suzerainties would be the Channel Islands.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby gkovac » Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:47 am

Good choice of a word, especially with its Ottoman connotations. I would have mistakenly guessed the etymology sourced to Arabic or Turkish. I note that “caliphate,” another word linked to Ottoman history, has crept into the popular vocabulary lately with developments in Syria and western Iraq.

<<Suzerainty differs from hegemony in that while the suzerain controls only the international relations of the vassal state, the hegemonist has complete control.>>

"Hegemonist" is a perfectly correct word, but I would have gone for "hegemon," which, in this context, I think is an exact synonym. It is shorter, easier to pronounce, and its length and meter has a better parallelism with "suzerain," the word to which it is contrasted.

If the word to which it was compared was “imperialist” then I would have gone with “hegemonist.” Better sound match.

But hey, this is English, which gives us such choices as "normality" vs. "normalcy," or “certainty” vs. “certitude.” Sometimes the choice makes a substantive difference, sometimes it is just a matter of what sounds better.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:56 am

Hegemony and hegemon play heavily in
the four books by Orson Scott Card from
which last summer's very popular movie
"Ender's Game" was produced.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby misterdoe » Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:38 am

hanako wrote:A closer example of Suzerainties would be the Channel Islands.

Is that correct? My understanding is that the Channel Islands are not part of the United Kingdom, but that they are under the authority of the UK monarch as the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy, which for whatever reason France didn't seize when they took the rest of Normandy from the English kings who had ruled over it. Aren't they the queen's own personal fiefdom, more or less?
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:53 pm

That's kind of how I understood them. Their connection
to the crown is hard for us to understand here.
And what about the Isle of Man?
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Re: Suzerain

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:36 pm

Not sure I had heard the distinction relating to foreign affairs. I thought it just meant boss, ruler, even tyrant.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:25 am

Jersey and Guernsey are not part of the UK:

The Channel Islands (Norman: Îles d'la Manche, French: Îles Anglo-Normandes or Îles de la Manche[note 1]) are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, and are not part of the United Kingdom.[1] They have a total population of about 168,000 and their respective capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 16,488, respectively. The total area of the islands is 194 km2.
Both Bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century; each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (although in modern times, politicians from the islands' legislatures are in regular contact). Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Islands
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Re: Suzerain

Postby misterdoe » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:11 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Islands)

Kinda supports the idea of the Queen being suzerain over Guersey and Jersey, though not as Queen but as Duke of Normandy (not Duchess :shock:)
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:47 pm

She is also Duke of Lancaster.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:14 am

Why duke and not duchess?
And what's with the "bailiwick"? Gotta look that up.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:48 am

The Duchy of Lancaster continues to exist as a separate entity from the Crown Estate and currently provides income for the British monarch.
It is customary at formal dinners in Lancashire and in Lancastrian regiments of the armed forces for the Loyal Toast to the crown to be announced as "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster." In addition, in Lancaster it was quite common as late as the second half of the twentieth century to hear the national anthem sung as "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Duke," but this is a tradition that has no constitutional warrant, and the British monarch is not styled legally so within either the County Palatine of Lancashire nor the Duchy of Lancaster in any official capacity (for example, Letters Patent or Acts of Parliament), merely as a sign of local, 'Lancastrian' loyalty.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Lancaster

(Other than some oddity in tradition, I have no idea. We
need someone familiar with British Royalty to explain.)
*****

A bailiwick /ˈbeɪlɨwɪk/ is usually the area of jurisdiction of a bailiff, and once also applied to territories in which a privately appointed bailiff exercised the sheriff's functions under a royal or imperial writ. The word is now more generally used in a metaphorical sense, to indicate a sphere of authority, experience, activity, study, or interest. A bailiwick (German: “Ballei”) was also the territorial division of the Teutonic Order. Here, various “Komtur(en)” formed a Ballei province.
The term survives in administrative usage in the British Crown dependencies of the Channel Islands, which are grouped for administrative purposes into two bailiwicks—Jersey (comprising the island of Jersey and uninhabited islets such as the Minquiers and Écréhous) and Guernsey (comprising the islands of Guernsey, Sark, Alderney, Brecqhou, Herm, Jethou and Lihou). A Bailiff heads each Channel Island bailiwick.

Origin[edit]
The term originated in France (bailie being the Old French term for a bailiff). Under the ancien régime in France, the bailli was the king's representative in a bailliage, charged with the application of justice and control of the administration. In southern France, the term generally used was sénéchal (cf seneschal) who held office in the sénéchaussée. The administrative network of baillages was established in the 13th century, based on the earlier medieval fiscal and tax divisions (the 'baillie') which had been used by earlier sovereign princes. (For more on this French judicial system, see bailli, prévôt and Early Modern France.)
In English, the original French bailie combined with '-wic', the Anglo-Saxon suffix (meaning a village) to produce a term meaning literally 'bailiff's village'—the original geographic scope of a bailiwick. In the 19th century, it was absorbed into American English as a metaphor for a sphere of knowledge or activity.
§
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailiwick

bailiff
Syllabification: bail·iff
Pronunciation: /ˈbālif/
Definition of bailiff in English:
noun

1A person who performs certain actions under legal authority, in particular.

1.1North American An official in a court of law who keeps order, looks after prisoners, etc.
{"Bailiff, escort the prisoner from the court".}
1.2chiefly British A sheriff’s officer who executes writs and processes and carries out distraints and arrests.

1.3British The agent or steward of a landlord.http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/de ... sh/bailiff

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/de ... sh/bailiff
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Re: Suzerain

Postby gwray » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:24 pm

In law, a bailment is a situation where one person (the bailee) has care and custody of the property of another (the bailor). This happens all of the time - often informally or unwittingly. When I take a suit to the drycleaners, borrow a lawnmower, or store some stuff at a friend's place, a bailment is created.

Contracts focus on the exchange promises and require that both parties get some benefit. Bailment focuses on the custody of property and may be more one-sided. I believe that a bailiff was originally an official charged with the care of property within a certain defined scope. The scope could be quite large e.g. several islands or comparatively small e.g. a bailiff of the court.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:58 pm

Interesting. Thanks. Never heard bailor before.
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Re: Suzerain

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:04 am

If one owns property, one can have an unofficial bailiwick of her/his own. I call my domicile my bailiwick. She who must be obeyed, my lovely wife, pretty much runs this bailiwick.

Someone asked about the Isle of Man. It is an internally self-governing Crown dependency. It has no army nor currency, depending on the UK for both. I have ancestors from said island. People and cats from this island are called Manx.
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