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Old July 20th, 2010, 10:40 PM   #1
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On dynasties...


How do they begin? How do they keep their power? How do they usually end?

For example, how did the Habsburgs became the dynasty they were. How did they maintain their power for so much time? How do dynasties usually end?
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Old July 21st, 2010, 02:07 AM   #2

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Re: On dynasties...


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Originally Posted by lokariototal View Post
How do they begin? How do they keep their power? How do they usually end?

For example, how did the Habsburgs became the dynasty they were. How did they maintain their power for so much time? How do dynasties usually end?
The early Habsburgs expanded their power slowly in the area of Baden, North Switzerland.

The castle Habichtsburg at the river Aare, in the canton Aargau was built by Count Radbot or Radbout around 1020-1030. For 250 years this was the seat of Habsburg power.

In 1276 Radbot's descendant Rudolph moved the capital to Austria.

The Habsburg are famous for their dynastic policies. They married into wealth and possession often.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 02:49 AM   #3

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Re: On dynasties...


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Originally Posted by lokariototal View Post
How do they begin? How do they keep their power? How do they usually end?

For example, how did the Habsburgs became the dynasty they were. How did they maintain their power for so much time? How do dynasties usually end?
The first logic answer is that the beginning of dynasties in the modern European aristocratic sense, is a simple matter of a certain group in society becoming the nobility. Nobility has many features, one being the hereditary transmission through blood, in that sense (and nobility has many facets of course, this is just one), dynasties are defined by the simple succession of noble generations. Not all dynasties have to be flashy, small time nobles also have "dynasties", though of course in mainstream history the attention goes to those dynasties at the head of state, who's dynastic interests provoked many wars.

It is safe to say that dynasties begin obscure, take the Capeting royals of France, who began as the weakest noble house in the medieval period to grow continuously to become the dominating force in France (through the branches of Valois and Bourbon), the same can be said of the Habsburgs. Dynastic evolution of course is not de facto lineair, there is the factor of dynastic luck, of which Habsburg is a prime example (the unification of Spain and Austria/Burgundy) but Bourbon as well (the acquisition of Spain and the sudden death of 3/4 of all royal heirs in France). Maintaining dynastic power is a matter of political balancing and a good marriage policy, if not the existence of the dynasty can become endangered (see below).

Dynasties can simply become extinct, which was the fate of many noble houses who failed to reproduce male heirs (though they sired more children then average, infanticide remained high), and thus died out. This is generally the way a dynasty ends: death. A second way, also not uncommon, is the loss of noble status, in early modern Europe the examples are legio, being a noble brought certain demands in status and expense, not meeting those ends, could lead to the loss of noble status, dishonourable actions (treason) or marriage with common folk could also lead to the loss of status.


Apart from the concept of a dynasty related to hereditary transmission and nobility, the word can also be used in a more broad sense to point out a succession of certain individuals from, not necessarily related.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 02:58 AM   #4
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Re: On dynasties...


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How did they maintain their power for so much time? How do dynasties usually end?
1. Money.
2. By Jeb being exiled to St. Helena, I hope.
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Old July 21st, 2010, 07:32 AM   #5

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Re: On dynasties...


I'm not too knowledgeable on Habsburg specifics but what I have seen of dynasties historically they begin dramatically (and often with a lot of blood) and end in a similar fashion.

Take the Tudors, founded at the end of the wars of the roses when Henry VII, one of the better political kings' married the enemies daughters. Hereafter ensues the Tudor obsession of having children manifest in Henry VIII (was it ever!) and Mary. Also it can be seen in the designs of many in the rule of Elizabeth with constant emphasis that she must marry, concerns over her ability to still bear children later in the reign and so forth.

Maybe the Tudor dynasty did not end in blood per se but I am not too sure how well received the whole King of Scotland, King of England thing was, I haven't read much about James only Charles I.

I do know James was obsessed with witchcraft, wrote his own book on it and upped the witch hunting fervor. Also Guy Fawkes tried to blow him up but that was arguably on religious ground which is a whole different ball park.

I kinda strayed away from the point of this thread, my apologies, I ramble!
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 12:39 AM   #6

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Re: On dynasties...


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Maybe the Tudor dynasty did not end in blood per se but I am not too sure how well received the whole King of Scotland, King of England thing was, I haven't read much about James only Charles I.
James I had no particular problems with the English or any other subjects, despite also having an autocratic agenda. Charles I similarly had the same ambitions, a bit more hotheaded and straightforward, drew his nation in a civil war BUT at the end of the day he won when his head was chopped off (well, he won for the royalist cause, not his life itself ).
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Old July 22nd, 2010, 05:24 AM   #7

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Re: On dynasties...


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Originally Posted by gaius valerius View Post
The first logic answer is ...
Nice post, gaius.
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