The Bloodiest Dynasties in History

#22
I'm not only talking about the English here; rather, the Capetians also fought with other royal houses. Also, Yes, there was shared ancestry between the Capetians and various other European royal houses.
If you want to list the deaths of Capetians in battle against Plantagenets, Italian houses, Spanish houses, etc, you're welcome to do so. It would be interesting. I suppose the act of doing so brings up the question of how one actually defines a dynastic house. When all these European houses were engaged in dynastic alliances with one another, it reveals the subjectivity of the concept.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#23
Waiting for someone to put all these figures to shame with some Chinese dynasty :lol:
Shouldn't you better express it as "Waiting for some Chinese dynasty X to be put to shame by the fact that the dynasties already mentioned were less bloody than the Chinese dynasty X"? A family can be put to same by being more bloody but can't be put to shame by being less bloody.



If you want to list the deaths of Capetians in battle against Plantagenets, Italian houses, Spanish houses, etc, you're welcome to do so. It would be interesting. I suppose the act of doing so brings up the question of how one actually defines a dynastic house. When all these European houses were engaged in dynastic alliances with one another, it reveals the subjectivity of the concept.
In most societies the definition of a dynasty is pretty simple. In most societies, certainly most European and Asian societies, the most desired royal succession is from father to son. So in those societies there is a simple basic definition of a dynasty: "A dynasty consists of the agnatic (male lineage only) descendants of the dynastic founder, as well as the daughters of members of the dynasty but not the descendants of those daughters." Many specific dynastics have had dynasticl laws or rules specifying excatly who counts as a member of the dynasty and how dynastic status can be lost. If a daughter or a descendant of a daughter inherits the throne, that is a new dynasty. However the OP mentions many murders of in-laws and other persons not strictly members of the Constantinian Dynasty, so including in-laws and other relations might be OK.
 
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#24
In most societies the definition of a dynasty is pretty simple. "A dynasty consists of the agnatic (male lineage only) descendants of the dynastic founder, as well as the daughters of members of the dynasty but not the descendants of those daughters." If a daughter or a descendant of a daughter inherits the throne, that is a new dynasty. However the OP mentions many murders of in-laws and other persons not strictly members of the Constantinian Dynasty, so including in-laws and other relelations might be OK.
I wasn't aware of this more limited definition. Who/what are you quoting?
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#25
I wasn't aware of this more limited definition. Who/what are you quoting?
I am quoting myself. I put the quote marks to show that it was a formal definition, not to claim that it was a definition from a dictionary or other source.

In the context of most European and most Asian societies the most desirable succession is succession by the oldest son of the previous monarch. If the dynasty last forever, which the members would consider the most desirable fate, and if the most desirable succession happens every single time for all eternity, obviously the throne will remain in the original agnatic lineage forever.

What happens if a monarch has no sons and no sons of sons, but has daughters and/or children of daughters? In that case there is a conflict of interest between the dynastic founder and the current monarch. The dynastic founder would want the throne to remain within his agnatic lineage forever, and so would desire that succession be restricted to his agnatic descendants and thus to agnatic collateral relatives of the current monarch. But a current monarch would wish for the throne to remain in his descendants forever and so desire that it pass to daughters and daughters' descendants instead of his brother, nephew, uncle, cousin or other nearest agnatic relative. Thus there are different succession rules for when a monarch dies without sons or sons's sons.

There have been many thrones where a daughter could inherit and become queen regnant and pass the throne to her descendants. And you will notice that in the Wikipedia family trees of those royal lines the different dynasties that inherited that throne through females are usually color coded.

See: Kings of Jerusalem family tree - Wikipedia

Kings of Hungary family tree - Wikipedia

Kings of Sicily family tree - Wikipedia

Kings of Naples family tree - Wikipedia

Kings of Navarre family tree - Wikipedia

Family tree of the German monarchs - Wikipedia


Note that sometimes different branches of a dynasty are listed as different dynasties.

Here: List of All the Rulers of France, From 840 Until 2017 The Valois, Bourbon, and Orleans are listed as separate dynasties, despite being merely branches of the Capetian dynasty.

Here: List of kingdoms and royal dynasties - Wikipedia Lancaster and York are listed as separate dynasties despite being mere branches of the Plantagenet dynasty.

here is a definition of dynasty:

Definition of dynasty

1: a succession of rulers of the same line of descent (see DESCENT sense 1a)a dynasty that ruled China for nearly 300 years
2: a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable timeborn into a powerful political dynastya baseball dynasty
Definition of DYNASTY
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#26
Waiting for someone to put all these figures to shame with some Chinese dynasty :lol:
Shouldn't you better express it as "Waiting for some Chinese dynasty X to be put to shame by the fact that the dynasties already mentioned were less bloody than the Chinese dynasty X"? A family can be put to same by being more bloody but can't be put to shame by being less bloody.

The Tang Dynasty of 618-907 might be a good choice. In 626 two of the Emperor's son were killed, allegedly trying to assassinate their brother Li Shimin though quite likely they were assassinated by him. The emperor abdicated and Li Shimin became Emperor. The ten sons of his brothers were put to death for the alleged crimes of their fathers.

Li Jiancheng - Wikipedia

Li Yuanji - Wikipedia

Later Empress Wu Zetian (624-705) ruled in the name of the emperor from at least 683, and deposed her son and ruled as Emperor of the Zhou Dynsty from 690-705. Wu killed many of her opponents who were members of the Tang Dynasty, as well as their children and grandchildren etc.

In 904 the powerful warlord Zhu Quanzhong who controlled the government had Emperor Zhaozong (b. 867) of Tang dynasty killed. Zhu Quanzhong made Zhaozong's son Li Zuo or Li Chu (892-908) Emperor Ai. In 905 Zhu Quanzhong killed 9 of the new Emperor Ai's brothers. Emperor Zhaozong of Tang - Wikipedia Zhu Quanzhong deposed Emperor Ai in 907 and founded the Later Liang Dynasty. Ex Emperor Ai was poisoned at the age of 15 years, 4 months, and 28 days in 908, 41 years after his father was born. Emperor Ai was only 13 years old in 905 when 6 of his older brothers and 3 of his younger brothers were killed.

And a number of other Tang princes and princesses were killed in various intrigues at other times.
 
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#27
Shouldn't you better express it as "Waiting for some Chinese dynasty X to be put to shame by the fact that the dynasties already mentioned were less bloody than the Chinese dynasty X"? A family can be put to same by being more bloody but can't be put to shame by being less bloody.
Speak for yourself. I'm genuinely ashamed on behalf of the Constantinians that they were so decisively out-competed by the Tang in the great game of intra-dynastic blood-letting. I guess I'm sadistic.
 
Jun 2013
493
Connecticut
#28
Wow! Reading this thread the Europeans seem like pussy cats compared to the Romans and Eastern kingdoms. Now we're probably going to hear much more about the Chinese.

I was always facinated by Roman civil wars. I don't think anyone ever came up with an accurate count of how many civil wars were carried on. Many say they were small affairs - a couple thousand to about 10,000. But think of the logistics? Try feeding 3000 cavalry. Think of the destructive repercussions on the defeated family and household and generations and land and possessions and slaves...............
 
May 2011
2,928
Rural Australia
#29
Speak for yourself. I'm genuinely ashamed on behalf of the Constantinians that they were so decisively out-competed by the Tang in the great game of intra-dynastic blood-letting. I guess I'm sadistic.
In that case what if one were to add to the intra-dynastic blood-letting, the state blood-letting of the populace in general?

I am not up with the Tangs, but working backwards through the Constantinians ... 359 CE: First attested state Inquisition of all Christian history
Ammianus Marcellinus (Book 19,CH 12) - "numbers without end" - (how is this to be quantified?)
 
#30
Wow! Reading this thread the Europeans seem like pussy cats compared to the Romans and Eastern kingdoms. Now we're probably going to hear much more about the Chinese.

I was always facinated by Roman civil wars. I don't think anyone ever came up with an accurate count of how many civil wars were carried on. Many say they were small affairs - a couple thousand to about 10,000. But think of the logistics? Try feeding 3000 cavalry. Think of the destructive repercussions on the defeated family and household and generations and land and possessions and slaves...............
Indeed. Not only that, think of the poor towns, cities and officials who sided with the claimant who ended up losing. Often one needed to make a choice, and defeat could mean purges and sackings, especially if the losing claimant chose the city as a base of operations. City councils could feel obliged to make such a choice quickly lest a rival city wins the special favour of the eventual winner by an earlier show of loyalty, and the longer a civil war dragged on the more city councils would need to pick a side anyway.

As for logistics, it's notable that even during a time of relative peace, Gordian III was petitioned by the citizens of the village of Skaptopara in Thrace, who were suffering due to the requisitions imposed on them by soldiers travelling trough the town, which happened to be along one of the main roads of communication. They threatened the emperor that they were on the verge of abandoning their village, and would thus cease to be a tax-paying population. If it really was that bad, imagine what it would have been like during, say, the reigns of Gallienus, Aurelian and Probus, when imperial units were moving back-and-forth across the empire on a regular basis to deal with frequent usurpations and foreign incursions.

Civil wars could also drag out with terrible consequences. Note for example that the war between Constantius II and Magnentius lasted from 350 to 353, to the extent that Magnentius was unable to spare enough troops to properly deal with the Frankish and Alemannic invasions of Gaul and Raetia, which collapsed the Rhine frontier and led to incursions as far as central and southern Gaul (they apparently invaded on the invitation of Constantius, who had hoped to disperse Magnetius' military manpower and undermine his authority in Gaul). By the time Constantius had defeated Magnentius and got around to dealing with the problem of the German invasions, the Romans on both sides had lost so much experienced military manpower through civil war that his Caesar Julian was badly outnumbered when it came to actually recovering Gaul, which led to close-run affairs like the Battle of Strasbourg.

So civil wars definitely had destructive repercussions!
 
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