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December 9, 2013 7:42 PM Subscribe
Other than right of conquest or inheritance, how does one become a king? I'm particularly interested in people who became kings by election or acclaim. Historical examples, please!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Law & Government (46 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This question occurred to me as I was reading a history book: So one can become king by having the largest army and conquering places into submission. Authority can also be bestowed on you by somebody higher up the pecking order -- an Emperor creating a King, perhaps, or (in medieval Europe), the Pope declaring you had a divine right worked pretty well.
But what about places where the king wasn't decided by having the biggest army or handed down from someone on high? What about elections by lesser lords? What about kings by acclamation? How does that all come about, that everyone decides to choose a particular guy as a king? Particularly after the breakup of an older empire or kingdom. Specific examples?
I'm fairly casually curious, wikipedia links are fine. I realized that I know how modern democracies and military dictatorships organize themselves into a political unit, but I don't really know how kings did it "in the olden days" if their mandate came from below and not from above. When I studied history in school it was enough that so-and-so was king, I didn't worry too much about how he got that way, but obviously that's a very interesting question!
It's okay if they do some conquering on the way to being king, like I'm sure sometimes a guy conquers SOME places and everyone nearby is like "Oh, yeah, let's just make him king so he quits conquering people." But I'm most curious about a more bottom-up example of king-making. Doesn't have to be European or medieval; doesn't have to be a "king" per se, just a ruler of some sort who probably gets to pick his own successor.