What was the most opulent royal court in history?

What was the most opulent royal court in history?

  • Ancient Egypt court under various pharaohs (eg, Amenhotep III)

    Votes: 6 15.4%
  • Gupta imperial court (especially under Vikramaditya)

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Ancient Babylonian imperial court

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Han dynasty imperial court

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Tang dynasty imperial court

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • Tokugawa shogunate, especially the Genroku era

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Court of the caliphate at Baghdad, especially Harun al Rashid

    Votes: 3 7.7%
  • Incan imperial court at Cusco

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Roman imperial court, from Augustus to Constantine

    Votes: 3 7.7%
  • Byzantine imperial court, from Constantine to the Angelid dynasty

    Votes: 4 10.3%
  • Persian imperial court, especially Xerxes I and Khusrow the Great

    Votes: 5 12.8%
  • Turkish sultanate court, especially Suleyman the Magnificent

    Votes: 6 15.4%
  • Ptolemaic royal court

    Votes: 4 10.3%
  • Papal court from Alexander VI through Innocent XII

    Votes: 4 10.3%
  • Habsburg imperial court

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Bourbon royal court

    Votes: 16 41.0%
  • Tudor/Stuart royal court, Henry VIII through Charles II

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian imperial court, especially Peter the Great through Catherine II

    Votes: 2 5.1%
  • Court of Venetian doge

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • Napoleonic imperial court

    Votes: 1 2.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 6 15.4%

  • Total voters
    39

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,339
U.K.
#11
Take a day to wander around the Palace of Versailles (yes, it'll take at least that long!), if it looks that magnificent after 400 years, just imagine what it would have looked like new.
 
May 2012
657
Los Angeles, California, USA
#12
Take a day to wander around the Palace of Versailles (yes, it'll take at least that long!), if it looks that magnificent after 400 years, just imagine what it would have looked like new.
Agreed. I always take the time to see Versailles when I visit Paris. Spending the extra money for the behind the scenes tour is well worth it.
 
Mar 2011
1,209
The Carolinas
#13
Tutenwatchacallit got 400 women for his 14th birthday.

I got a shirt...

Louis the XIVVXVIVIX or whatever number the sun king was in the late 1600s was also pretty extravagant. The rule of law was whatever he wanted and plenty of obscene rumours abound regarding the debauchery of Parisian high society. Almost like an early Hellfire Club.
Ever given this one a read? [ame="http://www.amazon.com/The-Affair-Poisons-Infanticide-Satanism/dp/0312330170/ref=pd_sim_b_38"]Amazon.com: The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide, and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV (9780312330170): Anne Somerset: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41gJdyovQWL.@@AMEPARAM@@41gJdyovQWL[/ame]


But I'd definitely throw my hat in for the Bourbons.
I'm surprised there is not more votes for Imperial Russia though, Anna Ivanovna was cruel as she was extravagant, especially in one wedding she planned:
The couple were presented with a fleet of carriages, each carrying a member of one of the empires races, each pulled by a different farm animal. The couple had to ride an elephant. Anna dressed them as clowns, and had them spend their wedding night naked in a specially constructed ice palace during the exceptionally harsh winter of 1739–40. This palace was 80 feet long, 30 feet high and 23 feet deep. It even had a stove. It cost 30,000 roubles and came with a bed, clock, Cupid, elephant, dolphins, cannon trees and plants: all were made of ice. The dolphins squirted naptha and the elephant squirted water. Somehow the couple survived their wedding night.
Elizaveta Petrovna was considered “the laziest, most extravagant and most amorous of sovereigns.”
Elizabeth is reported to have owned 15,000 dresses, several thousand pairs of shoes, and a seemingly unlimited number of stockings. She was known to never wear a dress twice and to change outfits anywhere from two to six times a day. Since the Empress did this, her courtiers did as well. It is reported that to insure no one wore a dress more than once to any ball or notably formal occasion, the Empress had her guards stamp each gown with special ink. Men at court were known to wear diamond buttons, own jeweled snuff boxes, and adorn their servants in uniforms made of gold. It was also during her reign that a great number of silver and gold objects were produced, the most the country had seen thus far in its history.
Elizabeth of Russia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-The Court of the Empress

And it only goes above and beyond from Ekaterina II and up to Nicholas II.
 

Clodius

Ad Honorem
Jun 2011
2,701
#14
I voted for Egypt. If you look at the artefacts from royal Egyptian tombs, everything was covered in gold. As will be my username after this, my 2,000th post.
 

Shaheen

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,499
Sweden
#15
No Mughal court on the list? The Red fort in Delhi, Shalimar gardens in Lahore, Taj Mahal in Agra, all the three capitals of the Empire were made beautiful by the Mughal Emperors. They loved their wine (brought by the infamous saqis), dancing girls and poetry (many of the Kings being very able poets themselves). They patronized musicians and intellectuals.

Navaratnas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Likes: M.S. Islam
May 2012
657
Los Angeles, California, USA
#16
No Mughal court on the list? The Red fort in Delhi, Shalimar gardens in Lahore, Taj Mahal in Agra, all the three capitals of the Empire were made beautiful by the Mughal Emperors. They loved their wine (brought by the infamous saqis), dancing girls and poetry (many of the Kings being very able poets themselves). They patronized musicians and intellectuals.

Navaratnas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You make a good point. I actually had the Mughal court on the list at first, then I think I switched it with the Turkish sultanate to keep an even 20 on the list. But you're right, the Mughal court was undoubtedly splendid. It probably should be on this list.
 

Guaporense

Ad Honorem
Mar 2011
5,045
Brazil
#17
I vote for the Song court ca. 1100 AD. They were the most opulent because they supported the greatest number of people: while they were not as decadent as the Bourbons, they spend an even larger resources to maintain a useless set of people living in luxury than the Bourdons did.

The Song government was the world's largest government before the 19th century in terms of tax revenues. Which tax revenues equivalent in value to total of 6 million tons of grain collected every year. These huge tax revenues were used to support massive capital cities which were actually courts inhabited by 1 million people.

Problem is that since Song Chinese cities were mostly made of wood, therefore their huge palace complexes didn't survive to this day. But they were probably on the same scale as Versailles.
 
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Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,553
Blachernai
#18
As much as I'd like to lean towards the Ottoman court, I can't help but feel that Orientalist views may overstate their case a bit.
 
May 2012
657
Los Angeles, California, USA
#19
As much as I'd like to lean towards the Ottoman court, I can't help but feel that Orientalist views may overstate their case a bit.
I dunno, they were pretty opulent. I see your point about Orientalists overstating things, but still, they enjoyed a prodigal lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on the Roman imperial court vs. the Byzantine court?
 
Mar 2010
512
Montréal
#20
I voted for the Abbasid court. I don't know the other courts as well as the Abbasid, but I would definitely say that the Abbasid are among the first 2 or 3 for the period of the Middle Ages.