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All Slavic languages: wojewoda

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by biala, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. biala Junior Member

    hebrew
    Dear friends,

    I'm interested in Estern-European languages and history, and trying to learn Slavic languages. Reading a bit Polish and Russian history (adapted for children's level... that's all I can understand...), I met the word "wojewoda" for an ancient leader. If I understood correct, in the Russian context it was a military leader, derived from the word "war", Война; However in the Polish context - again, if I understood correct - the meaning was civil (something like a regional governor). First, I would like to know if that's correct, are these kind of "false friends" or did I misunderstand; Second, I'd appreciate more information about this word, also in other Slavic languages.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  2. marco_2 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Hello biala, the word "wojewoda" and all its Slavic versions comes from two words: wój, which former meant soldier, warrior and the verb wodzić which in Polish meant to lead, hence wojewoda was a military leader in his province, in Poland called województwo. Nowadays, the meaning of this word in Polish is, as you noticed, civil - wojewoda in Poland is a kind of governor of a province. However, in other Slavic languages (I know it about Russian and Bulgarian) воевода / войвода is an old, obsolete word and it preserved its former meaning as a military leader.
     
  3. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Whatever
  4. biala Junior Member

    hebrew
    thank you!
     
  5. Eunos New Member

    Bulgarian
    marco_2 told you about the etymology of the word in Bulgarian. The word first have been used during the Second Bulgarian country (1187-1396) and it was used as a military title given to the commanders of military units. The title was given during war. There was also <<Velik voevoda>> who even replaced the monarch in managing the army.
    When Bulgaria became under Ottoman slavery, the word was used in a bit different way. <<Voevoda>> was called every man who has gathered and is commanding a small group of patriotoc men in resistance against the Ottomans.
     
  6. Learner19 New Member

    Chinese
  7. ilocas2 Senior Member

    Czech:

    vévoda
     
  8. Apollodoros

    Apollodoros Junior Member

    In Slovak there are two rather similar terms vojvoda and vojvodca, probably coming from the same source or the latter could be a neologism. Both are composed from voj- (which means literally a row of the warriors in a formation, but can be extended to mean vojna=war). The second part voda/vodca is derived from the verb 'viesť' = to lead and means the performer of the action described by this verb, -vodca being the proper noun in standard Slovak which mens leader and can be used on its own in this meaning, whereas -voda feels a bit outdated, cannot be used as a standalone word in Slovak and seems to be related to a similar compound found in Slovak -vod used for example in lodivod (a 'ship driver').

    I don't know the exact reason for the split but it is also attested in Czech vévoda/vojevůdce, not sure about other Slavic languages. It can be possibly ascribed to the different function of both, vojvoda being a civil title and vojvodca military term.

    Vojvoda/vévoda = Duke (Lat. Dux, German Herzog, Italian Duce) is an aristocratic title of a very high rank coming from medieval feudal times and means a certain rank of rulers that that ruled in their respective realms (vojvodstvo - duchy) as sovereigns. It can be compared in rank to the title Prince (Knieža, Kníže, Fürst). There was also a modification (or magnification) of this title > veľkovojvoda/velkovévoda = Grand Duke (Grossherzog) for a ruler of Veľkovojvodstvo = Grand Duchy. Specific title of the ruler of the Austrian lands was arcivojvoda/arcivévoda = Arch Duke and Austrian lands were Arcivojvodstvo = Arch Duchy. Up until our times a Grand Duchy of Luxembourg exists as an independent state ruled by Grand Duke of Luxembourg (Luxemburské veľkovojvodstvo - veľkovojvoda luxemburský).

    Vojvodca/vojevůdce - is a term meaning the leader/commander of a major military formation in a battle or even in general in times of peace as one's (main) occupation. E. g. Alexander the Great was a 'vojvodca'. This term does not say anything of one's status of nobility. It may be a simple free man or any nobleman not necesarilly vojvoda. E. g. the famous Austrian military commander Prince Eugene of Savoy (vojvodca knieža Eugen Savojský).

    Apologies for a long post... Just wanted to be snappy and descriptive at the same time :)
     
  9. biala Junior Member

    hebrew
    And you definitely were. Thanks!
     

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