Having won the Great Northern War in 1721, Peter the Great promoted himself from Tsar to Emperor. At the same time, he seems to have changed the title used by his daughters from Tsarevna to Tsesarevna. (By symmetry, it seems that he would have changed the title used by any son of his from Tsarevich to Tsesarevich, although by this point he had already had his last surviving son, Alexei, tortured to death.) What was his rationale for doing this?
My own best guess is that the change in his daughters' titles reflected the change in his own title; Tsarevna meant something like royal princess, whereas Tsesarevna meant something like imperial princess, at least in Peter's mind. According to this theory, the Tsesar- corresponds to the English/Latin Caesar, i.e. Emperor, and the -evna suffix, of course, means daughter. However, I can see two problems with this point of view:
- The word Tsar is itself derived from the title of Caesar.
- The Russian transliteration of Caesar is Цезарь, whereas the Russian spelling of Tsesarevna is Цесаревна; note that the former uses the letter з where the latter uses the letter с.
Can anyone shed any light on this?