KNEES

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KNEES, in Russia; noblemen of the first class, who, however, have no more authority over their vassals than other landholders. A number of these nobles are descended from the former ruling families of particular provinces of the Russian empire. Of such families, there are 18, as the Dolgorucky, Repnin, Scherbatow, Wazneskoy, Labanow, who are all descended from the family of Rurik. The czar allows them to retain the arms of the provinces which their forefathers ruled. Individuals of these families have been illustrious in the civil and military service of their country. There are also some nobles of this class sprung from collateral branches of the family of Jagellons, which formerly ruled in Lithuania or Poland, and is extinct in its principal line. There are others, who claim a descent from independent Tartar khans. The last class of Knees consists of the descendants of noble members of Tartar tribes, who, after the subjugation of the tribes, embraced the Christian religion, and received the above title from the Russian sovereigns.