Well, Knez is borowed Proto-German *kuningaz, it is etymologicaly King. Being somewhere between feudalism and tribal system Slavs have somewhat confusing societies ;D There was elements of democracy, oligarchy, autocracy etc. SImilar patter could be traced among Germanic tribes. But basically, your political might was derived from your military record. If you bear weapon you got your share of political influence.
Most common differentitaion was Knez ruler, military and politicial leader, core military units and tribal leaders, embrionical nobility, free men available for conscription, this was most people, they participated in skupštine and veća. Also there were slaves, women children, foreigners etc.

I dont think it is so confusing. Common folks more precisely average farmers had their own communal semi democratic system since farming and village management needs cooperative labour. Warriors on the other hand need discipline and order with strong hierarchy. Since wars were constantly happening among Slavic tribes or against others our Slavic ancestors evolved permanent warrior class which needed some privileges in order to operate efficiently. Thanks to this evolution first glimps of nobility rose from warriors. Despite evolution of nobility village communities however never lost their communal rights nor charachter. Or at least not in Slovene lands.


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