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    * Bey *

    Beyk,Beyg

    بیگ


    Safavid_Ambassador_Persia_France_Louis_XIV.jpg
    Bey means sir in Turkish. (Wikipedia) - Bey For other uses, see Bey (disambiguation).
    This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2011)

    Bey (Ottoman Turkish: Bey, Arabic: بك‎ / Bek, Persian: بگ‎ / Beg or Beyg) is a Turkish and Altaic title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders (for men) of small tribal groups. The title for female royal families was Begum. Beg means as great. The regions or provinces where "beys" ruled or which they administered were called beylik, roughly meaning "emirate" or "principality" in the first case, "province" or "governorate" in the second (the equivalent of duchy in other parts of Europe). Today, the word is still used informally as a social title for men (somewhat like the English word "mister"). Unlike "mister" however, it follows the name and is used generally with first names and not with last names.

    Contents

    Etymology

    The word entered English from Turkish bey, itself derived from Old Turkic beg, which - in the form bäg - has been mentioned as early as in the Orkhon inscriptions and is usually translated as "tribal leader". The dialect variations bäk, bek, bey, biy, bi, and pig all derive from the Old Turkic form. The actual origin of the word is still disputed, though it is mostly agreed that it was a loan-word in Old Turkic. This Turkic word is usually considered a borrowing from an Iranian language. However, German Turkologist Gerhard Doerfer assessed the derivation from Iranian as superficially attractive but quite uncertain, and pointed out the possibility that the word may be genuinely Turkic.

    Three principal etymologies have been proposed by scholars:

  • the Middle Persian title bag (also baγ/beγ, Old Iranian baga; cf. Sanskrit भगवत् / bhagvan) meaning lord and master. It was one of the royal titles of the Sassanian kings. Peter Golden derives the word via Sogdian bġy from the same Iranian root. Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bhag- ("to spare, divide; to endow, give").
  • the Chinese title pö (the older form being pök or pak; according to Edwin Pulleyblank perjk), meaning older brother and feudal lord, often lower members of the aristocracy.
  • the Old Turkic nobility expression bay ("rich person, noble") as an alternative usage of the Old Turkic title bey. English scholar Harold Bailey considers bay (in the sense of "possessions") as a borrowing from Iranian, whereas Russian linguist Sergei Starostin assumes a derivation from Proto-Turkic *bāj ("rich, noble; many, numerous"), itself ultimately from a potential Proto-Altaic root *bēǯu ("numerous, great", cf. Old Japanese p(j)iida-/pui-). Within Turkic *bāj ("rich") in turn is probably hard to distinguish from *baj (~ -ń) ("holy; god; true, reliable, honest").
  • What is certain is that the word has no connections to Turkish berk, "strong" (Mongolian berke), or Turkish bögü, "shaman" (Mong. böge).

    Turkish and Azerbaijani beys

    The first three rulers of the Ottoman realm were titled Bey. The chief sovereign of the Ottoman Empire only came to be called sultan starting in 1383 when Murad I was granted this title by the shadow caliph in Cairo.

    The Ottoman state had started out as one of a dozen Turkish Ghazi Beyliks, roughly comparable to western European duchies, into which Anatolia (i.e., Asian Turkey, or Asia Minor) had been divided after the break-up of the Seljuk Sultanate of Ikonion (Konya) and the military demise of the Byzantine Empire. Its capital was Bursa. By 1336 it had annexed only the Beylik of Karasy, its western neighbour on the coast of the Sea of Marmara, but it began to expand quite rapidly thereafter.

    As the Ottoman realm grew from a Beylik into an imperial sultanate, the title "Bey" came to be applied to subordinate military and administrative officers, such as a district administrator and lower-level minor military governors. The latter were usually titled sanjakbey (after the term "Sanjak", denoting a military horsetail banner). Beys were lower in rank than pashas and provincial governors (wālis, usually holding the title of pasha), who governed most of the Ottoman vilayets (provinces), but higher than effendis.

    Eventually the chiefs of the former Ottoman capitals Bursa and Edirne (formerly the Byzantine Adrianople) in Turkish Thrace both were designated "Bey."

    Over time the title became somewhat devalued, as Bey was even used as a courtesy title (alongside Pashazade) for a pasha''s son. It also came to be attached to officers and dignitaries below those entitled to be pashas, notably the following military officer ranks (still lower ranks were styled efendi):

    Oddly, the compound Beyefendi was part of the title of the husband (full style Damad-i-Shahyari (given name) Beyefendi) and sons (full style Sultanzade (given name) Beyefendi) of an Imperial Princess, and their sons in turn were entitled to the courtesy title Beyzade (literally "Son of a Bey". For the grandsons of an imperial princess, the official style was simply Bey after the name.).

    By the late 19th century, "Bey" had been reduced in the Ottoman Empire to an honorary equivalent of the English-speaking address (not the British courtesy title) "Sir", somewhat akin to the contemporary Cockney usage of "guv''nor." While in Qazaq and other Central Asian Turkic languages, бай remains a rather honorific title, in modern Turkish, and in Azerbaijan, the word "bey" (or "bay") simply means "mister" (compare efendi) or "sir" and is used in the meaning of "chieftain" only in historical context. Bay is also used in Turkish in combined form for certain military ranks, e.g. albay, meaning colonel, from alay "regiment" and -bay, and yarbay, meaning lieutenant colonel, from yardim "assistance" and -bay (thus an "assistant albay").

    As with most Turkish titles, it follows the name rather than precedes it as in western languages, e.g. "Ahmet Bey" for "Mr. Ahmet". When one speaks of Mr. Ahmet, the title has to be written with a capital (Ahmet Bey), but when one addresses him directly it is simply written without capital (Ahmet bey). Bey may combine with efendi to give a common form of address, to which the possessive suffix -(i)m is usually added: beyefendim, efendim.

    Beyefendi has its feminine counterpart: hanımefendi , used alone, to address a woman without her first name. And with the first name: Ayşe Hanım or Ayşe hanım, for example, according to the rule given above about the use of the capital letter.

    Beys elsewhere

    The title Bey (Arabic: بيه‎; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: ) could be maintained as a similar office within Arab states that broke away from the High Porte, such as Egypt and Sudan under the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, where it was a rank below pasha (maintained in two rank classes after 1922), and a title of courtesy for a pasha''s son.

    Even much earlier, the virtual sovereign''s title in Barbaresque North African ''regency'' states was "Bey" (compare Dey). Notably in Tunis, the Husainid Dynasty used a whole series of title and styles including Bey:

    In the Mani Peninsula, in times of the Ottoman conquest of Greece, the de facto sovereign country of the Maniots in the southern Peloponnesus, had as head of state a chieftain which combined both military command and judiciary activities who was entitled as Bey following the Turkish influence over conquered areas, especially in the Balkans. It was usual to add the title to their own given names, therefore the most renowned Bey of Mani, Petros Mavromichalis was simply known as Petrobey.

    Other Beys saw their own Beylik promoted to statehood, e.g.:

    Bey or a variation has also been used as an aristocratic title in various Turkic states, such as Bäk in the Tatar Khanate of Kazan, in charge of a Beylik called Bäklek. The Balkar princes in the North Caucasus highlands were known as taubiy (taubey), meaning the "mountainous chief".

    Sometimes a Bey was a territorial vassal within a khanate, as in each of the three zuzes under the Khan of the Kazakhs.

    The variation Beg, Baig or Bai, is still used as a family name or a part of a name in South and Central Asia as well as the Balkans. In Slavic-influenced names, it can be seen in conjunction with the Slavic -ov/-ović/ev suffixes meaning "son of", such as in Kurbegović, Izetbegović, Abai Kunanbaev.

    The title is also used within the Moorish American community / membership of the Moorish Science Temple of America as a tribal honorific which denotes an Islamic governor along with the pre-word El.

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