20 April 2023

What is a vizier? – Find out what the function and powers of a vizier are

By Donald

The figure of the vizier is one of the oldest positions that exist in government structures, which evolved depending on the country where the work was carried out. In that sense, he was a mandator subservient to a king, but who had tasks as keeper of the sovereign’s tomb and head of the pasha army. So, in this article, it is explained what a vizier is and what were the attributions of this character.

Concept and definition of vizier

The form of government with which it was governed in Ancient Egypt has many similarities with what the monarchy is. The most important difference was that the pharaoh was considered a special being, almost like a god. In this sense, in the structure of the government there were positions or positions of command in which other individuals apart from the maximum leader participated. One of these positions was that of the vizier, an important figure for running a country.

In the Middle East and some parts of Asia it was quite common to find people who held the position of vizier. This word was the term used to name the individuals who held the position of advisers to the pharaoh or king and those who ran the government. In several countries the word vizier was also used to refer to the chamber of ministers, while in others it only designated the prime minister.

In Ancient Egypt, the official with a minor position to the pharaoh was the prime minister, so he only responded to him. To the individual who held this position he was called chatty word that also alludes to the charge. So, vizier has origins in Muslim-type kingdoms. Today, the word vizier is used in Ancient Egypt to speak of an anachronism about the position of a prime minister of the past.

What is the role of a vizier?

One function of the Vizier was to make any decision in the mandate of the kingdom, since he spoke in the name of the pharaoh, king or sultan. So, the chaty or vizier had to ensure the safety and maintenance of both the royal family and the rest of the population. This character had among his powers the creation of public works, so he handled the economic data, the search for materials, employees and construction monitoring.

The chaty or vizier had to have knowledge in accounting, since one function of his job was to control finances. Therefore, the person who held the position was responsible for the wealth or poverty of society, he also had to render his balance before Pharaoh from time to time. Justice was another work of the vizier, since he had to choose and appoint the judges.

However, the most important function of the vizier was the organization and creation of the tomb of the pharaoh or sultan. In this sense, it must be remembered that the pharaohs used to build their tomb room inside a pyramid, as is the case with the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was the most relevant work of the vizier’s mandate, since he had to please his lord with a great structure in honor of a god.

What is the difference between a vizier and a caliph?

The caliph in Muslim culture is the person who acts as the ruler in a monarchy. Although, the term refers to a successor to Muhammad, but without the title of prophet. However, the caliph does not take the powers of command, since he entrusts them to his vizier. So, the caliph is a more spiritual figure who guides the people in religious matters.

For his part, the vizier has the responsibility of fulfilling a large number of tasks. First, he must keep the king out of government business and away from all possible reproaches from the people, to preserve your reputation. So, the vizier assumes the blame and the consequences in case the monarchy or government does not guide the people well.

Who was the first vizier?

It is unknown who was the first vizier in history, since there is no document that expresses the moment in which he began to use the term. There are some scrolls that prove that the prime minister existed in Ancient Egypt and that he responded to the pharaoh, however, on most occasions his figure was called chaty. With the advent of the Abbasid Caliphate in 750 AD, the term vizier became popular alluding to the king’s or sultan’s assistant, being a person of great power and with many functions under his responsibility.

The most famous vizier is Nizam al-Mulk, since he went down in history for his outstanding work as the assistant to a very young Turkish king. In this sense, King Malik Shah took over at a very young age and his vizier took over the government, for which he is remembered as very wise, as well as a father figure.

In the Caliphate of Córdoba, what is present-day Spain, there was also the mandate of the vizier. In it great Ottoman Empire, He also had the powers of the pasha, commander of the army, so the pasha vizier was a very powerful person. Although he always respected his sultan, who also worked as prime minister, this same ruler being the only one who could remove him from office. The post disappeared when Istanbul fell to the British and French in World War I.