Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two States, One King (Divided Rule)

Two years ago last December, I completed my master's dissertation on the topic of dynastic unions. Specifically, I focused on the dynastic union of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands under King William III and the union of Great Britain (later the United Kingdom) and the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later Kingdom of Hanover) under Kings George I-IV and William IV. It was a daunting task with a strong emphasis on ruling two states at the same time. Yet these individuals were only the last British monarchs in a long series of rulers to preside over multiple states simultaneously. Indeed, for a while it was vogue for monarchs to try and collect states, as it were, in order to expand their empire. Some they would fold into their own "mother" state while others would remain under outside control.

England's Bouts of Duality
Let's start this little survey with a look at what Britain has controlled off-and-on throughout its existence. I've already mentioned two so let's chalk them up:
William III, King of England
& Stadtholder of the Netherlands
  • The Kingdoms of England, Scotland & Ireland, et al. with The United Provinces of the Netherlands (1689 – 1702)
    • Ruler: King William III who was also Stadtholder of the Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders & Overijssel (most of the Netherlands)
    • The Dutch Estates General ruled the Netherlands in his stead
    • The English Privy Council ruled Britain in his stead
    • How'd it start: William III conquered England (sort of) and deposed his father-in-law, thereby taking the crown. He was already stadtholder at the time.
    • Fate: Died leaving England in the hands of his sister-in-law Anne and Netherlands in the hands of nobody in particular
  • The Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland, et al. with The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Electorate of Brunswick (1714 – 1803, 1813 – 1832)
    • Rulers: Kings George I, George II, George III, George IV, and William IV who were also hereditary rulers of the region immediately around Hanover in Germany
    • The English Privy Council, the Queen, and/or the Prince of Wales ruled Britain in their stead
    • The Hanoverian Regency and/or the Prince of Wales ruled Hanover in their stead
    • Communication was via a special agency unaffiliated with the British government
    • How'd it start: To avoid another Catholic monarch, the British monarchy went to their 52nd choice in the line of succession: an elderly granddaughter of James I. She died and her German son inherited Britain.
    • The Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland became the United Kingdom in 1801
    • The Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg became the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814
    • Fate: Separate succession laws left Britain in the hands of Queen Victoria and Hanover in the hands of King Ernest Augustus
    • Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Note: Bremen, Verden, Osnabrück, and
      Lauenburg were also all dynastic unions. Brunswick -Wolfenbüttel was
      a separate possession of a younger branch of the House of Este-Welf.
These are rather late additions, so let's step back into time and see what other dynastic unions existed. Two have already been implied though not mentioned:
  • The Kingdom of England with The Kingdom of Ireland (1542 – 1651, 1659 – 1801)
    • Rulers: All English monarchs from Henry VIII onwards until 1801
    • The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland ruled in their stead
    • How'd it start: The Kingdom of Ireland replaced the semi-sovereign and often autonomous Lordship of Ireland which was also presided over by the Lord Lieutenant. Ireland had been partially conquered by Normans in the 12th century and Henry VIII finished the job...mostly.
    • Fate: Ireland had little independence in the union and Great Britain and Ireland finally formed a constitutional union in 1801
The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom
(Note: First and Fourth quarters represent England, the
second represents Scotland, and the third Ireland.)
  • The Kingdoms of England & Ireland with The Kingdom of Scotland (1603 – 1651, 1660 – 1707)
    • Rulers: All English monarchs from James I onwards until 1707
    • The Scottish Parliament and Privy Council ruled in their stead
    • How'd it start: Elizabeth I died leaving three possible heirs: the most senior—the Scottish king—or one of two squabbling heiresses who broke the queen's rules. She went with the Scotsman.
    • Fate: Scotland attempted to end the union but failed and were forced to enter into a constitutional union in 1707
There are dozens of other unions England had with other states throughout its medieval history. Most of these territories were in France. While England very briefly claimed true control over the French throne in the 15th century, I will gloss over that to focus on two other historically more important territories that England once controlled:
Map of France in 1154. Normandy is the pink bit in
the north. Aquitaine is the large peach part in the
middle and south. Note: Brittany (orange on left)
and Anjou (center red) were also dynastic unions.
  • The Kingdom of England with The Duchy of Normandy (1066 – 1087, 1106 – 1144, 1150 – 1204 [– Present])
    • Rulers: William I, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II, Richard I and John
    • A regent and/or Lord Lieutenant ruled Normandy in their stead
    • How'd it start: William I of Normandy invaded England and killed his predecessor, Harold II, and deposed the upstart, Edgar II.
    • Fate: Conflict with France over sovereignty in Normandy resulted in the French confiscation of Normandy in 1204.
    • Today: The Channel Islands, primarily Guernsey and Jersey, remain Crown Dependencies under the name "Duchy of Normandy" and are the last remnant of the once-great duchy. These islands are not a part of the United Kingdom though are administered by it. The Lieutenant Governor of each set of islands rules in the monarch's stead.
  • The Kingdom of England with The Duchy of Aquitaine ([1152] 1204 – 1362)
    • Rulers: Technically, Eleanor of Aquitaine ruled until 1204, but her husband, Henry II, and sons, Richard I and John, both ruled in her stead many times. Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III also ruled.
    • A Regent ruled in their stead.
    • How'd it start: Henry II married the Aquaitaine duchess, Eleanor, and took her lands for his own.
    • Fate: The French got fed up with England not respecting them, so reclaimed their fief. England countered by claiming the French crown. So began the Hundred Years' War. Neither side really could claim the title after that.
Finally, just as a fun aside, the British monarch is still technically in one last dynastic union (not counting the Commonwealth countries) with a tiny little island sitting in the Irish Sea:
The Kingdom of Mann was
once much larger and included
the Western Isles of Scotland
  • The Kingdom of England with The Lordship of Mann (1765 – Present)
    • Rulers: Every British monarch since George III
    • A Lieutenant Governor rules in their stead
    • How'd it start: In 1399, Henry IV conquered the Kingdom of Mann from its hereditary ruler. It had previously alternated between Norwegian, Scottish, and English control for centuries. It fell into the Stanley family and, in 1504, they renounced the title "King" in favor of "Lord". In 1765, the Baroness Strange sold the title back to the English crown.
    • Fate: Today, the monarch of the United Kingdom is also, separately, the Lord of Mann. It is administered separately as with the Channel Islands (see Duchy of Normandy).

More Problems than an Oversized Chin
The Habsburgs of Austria had their own divided monarchy that, at times, remained divided for long periods of time, but every once in a while, they would recombined to become truly behemoth political entities that would span the breath of Europe. Three long-term unions and one amazingly brief union created a Habsburg empire that still boggles modern minds.
  • The Archduchy of Austria with The Kingdoms of Bohemia & Hungary (1438 – 1918)
    • Rulers: Various Habsburg monarchs until 1918
    • The Habsburg monarchs ruled Bohemia through various means, but rarely directly
    • How'd it start: Albert married the daughter of the previous king of both Bohemia and Hungary. He was crowned king of Hungary in 1438 and Bohemia six months later, but never ruled in the latter. The Habsburgs did not firmly establish themselves in either until 1526.
    • Fate: Hungary remained a part of Austria-Hungary until 1918 and the monarchy was officially ended on 1921. Bohemia was incorporated into the Austrian Empire in 1806 and became crown land in 1867. It later became half of Czechoslovakia after World War I.
Map of the Ethnic Composition of Austria-Hungary in 1910. Note: Only Austria, Hungary and Bohemia were legal
dynastic unions. Bosnia, Croatia, Dalmatia, Transylvania, Galicia, and Moravia were all artificial monarchies.
Map of the Iberian Peninsula, 1570. Note: Galicia (top left),
Aragon (top right), and Cordoba (bottom center) were all
in dynastic unions with Castile (Spain) during this period.
  • The Kingdom of Spain with The Kingdom of Portugal (1560 – 1640)
    • Rulers: Philip II of Spain, Philip III and Philip IV
    • A Viceroy of Portugal ruled in their stead
    • How'd it start: The last obvious heir to the Portuguese throne died leaving it vacant with the Spanish monarch, Philip II, in a prime dynastic, political, and military position to claim it.
    • Fate: Fed up with Spanish domination of politics and an obvious loss of their overseas empire, Portuguese revolutionaries deposed Philip IV and installed a native king.
A Map of the Burgundian Inheritance. The lands
dynastically unified to Spain in the Low Countries
were vast and spanned seven modern countries.
  • The Kingdom of Spain with The Duchy of Burgundy (1516 – 1555)
    • Ruler: Charles I of Spain, also known as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
    • Many different methods were used to rule his empire
    • How'd it start: First off, this dynastic union appears very mediocre for all the hype, so let's explain. The Kingdom of Spain at this time did not just include what we think of today as Spain. It also included all of Italy south of Rome and Sicily. He inherited all of this from his mom, though technically she was still alive until 1555. Next, Burgundy refers to a large area that today includes Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of Germany and France. It was on par in side to Portugal but with much more valuable land. He inherited this lot from his dad, Philip the Handsome, in 1506. In addition, Charles was also an Archduke of Austria, was elected Holy Roman Emperor (which technically means he was King of Italy and Germany), and he also ruled over all the new Spanish possessions overseas. So in literal size, his empire was quite large for a European monarch.
    • Fate: Inevitably, he tired of ruling such a large empire. He actually abdicated two years before his death. Spain, Italy, and Burgundy he left to his son, Philip II. The Holy Roman Empire he left to his brother, Ferdinand I.

Danes Among Us
Denmark has led a long history of dual monarchy. Stationed on the small peninsula that divides the North Sea from the Baltic Sea, it is in prime position to claim both the fjords of Norway and Sweden and the flats of Germany. And claim them it did, though not without significant resistance. Two long dynastic unions proved that a small country could still play it large.
  • The Kingdom of Denmark with The Kingdoms of Sweden & Norway (1397 – 1523)
    • Rulers: Margaret, Erik, Christopher III, Christian I, John and Christian II
    • Sweden and Norway maintained regencies in their stead (and sometimes against them)
    • How'd it start: Queen Margaret I of Denmark married King Haakon VI of Norway and their son, Olaf III, became king of both in 1380. In 1389, Margaret united Sweden to Denmark and in 1396, Erik of Pomerania was elected the first king of all three realms. The union was formalized the next year via the Treaty of Kalmar.
    • Fate: Almost immediately, the Swedes came into conflict with the Danes over Danish wars in northern Germany. Sweden elected an anti-king, Charles VIII, who was deposed and restored numerous times. Eventually Sweden would elect Gustav Vasa as king and secede from the union permanently, only to become involved in their own German wars.
The Kalmar Union. Note: Lower Finland was a dependency of Sweden while
Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Shetland Islands, and the Orkneys
were dependencies of Norway. Schleswig-Holstein in Germany was in a
dynastic union with Denmark throughout this time.
  • The Kingdom of Denmark with The Kingdom of Norway (1536 – 1816)
    • Rulers: All kings of Denmark until 1816
    • Norway maintained a regency in their stead
    • How'd it start: With the fall of the Kalmar Union (see above), Denmark retained Norway, though not without a fight. Denmark's dynastic claim over Norway was stronger, and Norway was unable to resist Danish domination to the same degree as Sweden.
    • Fate: Norway was traded to Sweden following the Napoleonic Wars and, after a brief war between Norway and Sweden, the two countries entered into their own dynastic union that lasted until 1905, when Norway finally became an sovereign kingdom once more.

Poling your Weight Around
Poland, too, was the senior partner in a long dynastic union. While Poland jumped in and out of other unions throughout its history, it's union with one partner withstood the test of time.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1618. The sheer size of this dynastic
union is unbelievable. Livonia (gray), Courland (greenish), and Prussia (peach)
were vassal states of Poland-Lithuania but not in dynastic union with it.
  • The Kingdom of Poland with The Grand Duchy of Lithuania (1382 – 1795)
    • Rulers: All kings of Poland until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1795
    • It is unknown how these monarchs ruled both realms
    • How'd it start: Grand Duke Ladislas II of Lithuania married "King" Hedwig of Poland. When she died, Ladislas became ruler of both. 
    • Fate: Sigismund II constitutionally unified the two lands in 1572, though both retained autonomy. The monarchy became elective after that date, though it stayed in the Vasa family of Sweden for many generations. The entire monarchy fell apart in the French Revolutionary Wars and its fractions were given to Russia, Prussia and Austria.

Almost every monarchic state in Europe at one time or another controlled another state. France was often the largest player, but its attachments were almost always geographically close to France and also geographically smaller. Spain ruled vast lands around the Mediterranean for many years, including much of southern Italy. Sweden and Denmark both had their hands on significant lands in Northern Germany for awhile. In the end, most dynastic unions have to come to an end. The junior partner either joins the senior partner in a constitutional union or the two separate permanently. Today, quasi-states such as Mann and the Channel Islands are exceptions rather than the rule.

Attempts to force dynastic unions, such as that of the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium) and United Provinces (Netherlands) after the Napoleonic Wars, generally fail. The Prussian and Sardinian technique of blatant conquest and monarchic overthrow, such as in the unifications of Germany and Italy, seem to work better. The other technique, largely used by France and Spain, of slowly marrying into title-holding families and inheriting the titles also works better.

Nonetheless, throughout history most monarchies have experienced periods of dynastic union and it is an interesting, albeit often overlooked, aspect of nation-building that I find absolutely riveting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tolkien's Historic Masterpiece (Middle-Earth)

Of the many works of literary art that grace history, few compare to the depth and detail of John Ronald Raoul Tolkien's world of Middle-Earth. As illustrated in such well-known books as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as other lesser known but more detailed books such as The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, Tolkien tells the tale of discovery, growth, and failure in a world all of his own making. In these tales, he spends copious amounts of time describing dynastic and monarchic politics, specifically of elves and humans. While he mentions and eludes to the dynasties of the dwarves and hobbits, other peoples of Middle-Earth, he does not spend nearly as much time on the details of these two groups. Elves and humans are his focus from the before the First Age all the way to the beginning of the Fourth Age.

If you have not read any of the books, I'd recommend beginning with the simple The Hobbit which tells of how a small-town boy helped a group of dwarves fulfill their destiny. Once that is done, venture on to the much richer (and more difficult to read) The Lord of the Rings, which tells how something the main character in The Hobbit found is actually something of much greater importance than first thought, and how everyone must band together to destroy it. If you are still daring, The Silmarillion tells of the First Age of Middle-Earth and how everything came to be. It also includes a short story called The Downfall of Numenor, which tells a perspective of the end of the Second Age. Finally, Unfinished Tales is sort of like the deleted scenes for The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion in that it includes many tales that were cut out of Tolkien's original publications because they were unnecessary or lacked the level of completion he sought. Other works by Tolkien may brush against his Middle-Earth saga but these four books form the foundation of it. The only exception is the book The Children of Hurin, which is an expanded version of a story found in both The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. I would not expect more works to be forthcoming as Tolkien died nearly forty years ago. But two films based on The Hobbit will be releasing in 2012 and 2013, and The Lord of the Rings has already been released on film a decade ago.

Moving on. Fiction dynasties can be just as complex, if not more so, as factual dynasties. Just as the mythical genealogies of the ancient Greeks and Germans involved incest, affairs, and half-breeds, so too did Tolkien include in his world ancestral marriages, affairs and illegitimacy, and half-breeds of elves and humans. Tolkien was obsessed with perfecting his genealogies of Middle-Earth and, to a large degree, succeeded in wrapping them all up before he died. As a fun dynastology near years-end, I will guide you through six of the dynasties he created and describe just how Tolkien not only understood the concepts behind dynastology, but used them to construct his own ideal long-term plan of succession. I hope you enjoy the ride. If nothing else, you should have a greater appreciation for Tolkien's work than ever before after this.

The High Kings of the Nõldor (Elves)
The elves of Tolkien's legendarium divided almost immediately into different groups based on ancestry and place of dwelling. Of them, many ventured westward and crossed the seas to the land of Valinor, often known as the Undying Lands. Elves are immortal, so a land inhabited entirely by immortal beings is by its very nature immortal less someone kills through weaponry. Morgoth, the predecessor of Sauron of the Second and Third Ages, invaded Valinor in the early years of the First Age and took three jewels, the Silmarils, back with him to Middle-Earth. The creators of the jewels were the Nõldor, one of the races of elves that had settled in Valinor. The Nõldor pledged to reclaim their jewels and marched eastward. During their progress, they attacked and killed many Teleri, a race of elves that were shipwrights. Thus blood was finally spilt on Valinor. The Nõldor were shunned and barred from returning and became exiles in Middle-Earth.

The chief among them, Fëanor, was the son of the patriarch, Finwë. Fëanor led the revolt and exile out of Valinor. He was the creator of the Silmarils and the eldest son so it fell to him to lead his people. His father was the first High King of the Nõldor, but Finwë was killed by Morgoth at the gates of the Nõldoran capital and Fëanor took his place. Not all the Nõldor departed, though. Some refused to join the revolt and stayed behind where Finarfin, his brother, remained as the High King of the Nõldor of Valinor.

Fëanor was killed by a group of balrogs, demons of Morgoth, soon after arriving in Middle-Earth and the High Kingship passed to Maedhros, his son. Maedhros, as amends for the crimes committed by his father against the other Nõldor, nobly declined the kingship and granted it to Fingolfin, the eldest half-brother of Fëanor. The family of Fingolfin would retain the kingship for two ages.
A Map of Beleriand
Hithlum was the realm the High Kings initially ruled. It was a region in the far north of Middle-Earth surrounded by mountains and directly west of Morgoth's stronghold of Angband. Due to its location, it was often the target of attacks. To counter these attacks, the elves under Fingolfin's leadership held a 400-year-long siege of Angband during which time Morgoth was quiet. But Morgoth finally broke out in the Battle of Sudden Flame and Fingolfin challenged him to single combat. Fingolfin, not unsurprisingly, lost the battle and Hithlum quickly declined as orcs and trolls invaded from all sides.

Fingon, Fingolfin's son, led the retreat out of Hithlum but himself stayed behind with a mixed army of elves and Edain, men loyal to the elves. The battle was a massive defeat for the Nõldor. Fingon was killed and the humans were made into slaves. Morgoth began his slow conquest of Beleriand, the region where most of the peoples of the west resided, soon after this battle.

Meanwhile, the next High King of the Nõldor was Turgon, brother of Fingon, who remained hidden in a secret stronghold called Gondolin deep in the mountains. For 500 years the city had remained hidden, but only thirty years after the battle where Finrod fell, treachery from within led Morgoth to the gates of Gondolin and they were torn down. Morgoth's army conquered Gondolin and killed Turgon in a tower. Tuor, an Edain, led the survivors out of the city and southward to the havens where they made their final stand against the dark power of Morgoth.
Gil-Galad as depicted in The Lord of the Rings
Ereinion, known as Gil-Galad, was the last of the Nõldoran High Kings. He was the son of Fingon and led the Nõldor of Middle-Earth through all the transformations of the end of the First Age and through the Second Age. He helped the Edain when they returned to Middle-Earth (see Numenor below) and he fought with them and many elves in the War of the Last Alliance against Sauron. He finally met his fate in the siege of Barad-dûr, dying at the hands of Sauron himself. He was the last of the High Kings of the Nõldor. Following his death, the rights and claims passed to Elrond, but he did not take up the title.

The Kings of Númenor (Dünedain/High Humans)
The Dünedain were the humans that survived the last battle against Morgoth. They were rewarded with their own kingdom on the newly-raised island of Númenor. The first King of Númenor was not entirely human at all, though he chose to bear the Doom of Men. It was Elros, the brother of Elrond. They were both considered half-elven in that they descended from both human and elvish families. In Elros, the blood of Bëor, Haleth, and Hador—the three families of the Edain—ran thick but so too did the blood of the Nõldoran and the Sindarin elves. Elros and his descendants were granted decreasingly long lives, a trait that was still common among them into the Fourth Age with their descendant Aragorn II Elesser, King of the United Kingdom of Arnor & Gondor.
Map of Númenor
For the first generations, a standard descent pattern emerged where a king would resign his throne to his male heir and die peacefully after a few years of retirement. In the reign of Tar-Elendil, a daughter was born first, Silmariën, but she was passed over in favor of a son. The descendants of Silmariën later became the Kings of Gondor and Arnor in Middle-Earth. Meanwhile, another female many years later, Tar-Ancalimë inherited the throne becoming the first ruling queen. She had no siblings and so was the default. New laws were passed that also established that the eldest child, rather than eldest son, would inherit the throne.

Despite a grand total of four ruling queens, the royal line continued in the same dynasty. Ruling queens would marry their distant cousins in most cases, ensuring both that the blood of Elros would continue and that there was never any contest for the throne. Trouble came when Sauron's power became strong in Middle-Earth. The Númenorians were mariners and sailed often to the old world. There they came into contact with the corruption of Sauron and it leaked back to Númenor. Tar-Alcarin was usurped by his non-royal father until he reached an age enough to overthrow him. Alcarin's son, Tar-Calmacil, began the use of Adûnic, the vulgar tongue, in Númenor even in formal circles. Around the same time, the kings ceased their policy of resignation prior to death and began to serve life terms as reigning monarch.

Sauron's corruption became manifest when he was brought to Númenor in the troubled reign of Ar-Pharazôn, a king who usurped the throne from his wife, Tar-Míriel. The wrath of the gods was incurred and Númenor was destroyed. A small group of mariners led by the descendants of Silmariën fled to Middle-Earth, but the island was destroyed forever. And so ended the line of the Kings of Númenor.

The Kings of Arnor & Gondor (Dünedain)
Add caption

The small group that survived the voyage to Middle-Earth became the Dünedain of Middle-Earth. There, Elendil, their leader, established the Kingdom of Arnor & Gondor. He ruled from Annúnminas in Arnor, while his son, Isildur, ruled Minas Arnor (later Minas Tirith) and his other son, Anárion, ruled Minas Ithil (later Minas Morgul). One hundred years later, Sauron attacked and Isildur fled north. Gil-Galad and Elendil, along with Isildur, returned soon after with a large host and fought the Battle of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men at the gates of Mordor and in the Dark Lands itself. Gil-Galad, Elendil, and Anárion all died in the battle, but Isildur cut off the One Ring from Sauron's hand and temporarily defeated the Dark Lord. With the defeat of Sauron, Isildur and his descendants began a long build-up of the west of Middle-Earth.
Isildur, High King of Arnor & Gondor
The fate of Arnor came much faster than that of Gondor. Isildur died before ever returning to Arnor, having been waylaid by a group of orcs in the Gladden Fields and losing the One Ring. His son, Valandil, was the first true ruler of the north of Isildur's line. For seven more generations the descendants of Isildur ruled the Northern Kingdom before strife came in. Three sons split the kingdom in 861. The eldest line continued in the Kingdom of Arthedain, while Cardolan and Rhudaur fragmented under pressure from the Witch-King of Angmar who had established is realm just north of Arnor. Arthedain, too, struggled until Arvedui was forced to abandon the kingdom entirely, though Angmar was defeated soon after.
Aragorn II Elessar, King of Arnor & Gondor
The claim of Isildur's heirs over Gondor originate with Arvedui, who married the daughter of one of the last kings of Gondor. The line of Arthedain continued with the Chieftains of the Northern Dúnedain, of which Aragorn II was the last. He reclaimed the crown of Arnor and Gondor in 3019 and his heirs continued to rule until the end of Tolkien's legendarium.
Anárion, Co-King of Gondor
In Gondor, the pattern was largely the same. Gondor survived, unlike Arnor, but became much diminished because of the rising power of Mordor, Umbar, and the Easterners. Meneldil, the fourth child of Anárion, founded the ruling house of Gondor. They ruled almost unbroken for nineteen generations until Castamir usurped the throne. Eldacar, the rightful king, reclaims it and his family continued to rule for another nine generations until Ondoher died in battle leaving no heirs. Fíriel, the wife of Arvedui of Arthedain, should have become queen, but instead the thrown was given to a distant relative, Eärnil II. Eärnil challenged the Lord of Minas Morgul to battle and never returned. Gondor fell into decline. No king was chosen to replace Eärnil and rule was taken up the the House of Húrin, stewards to the kings.
Denethor II, 26th Ruling Steward of Gondor
Twenty-six stewards ruled in succession beginning with Mardil Voronwë. While the family was related to the royal family, it was of a non-royal descent. The family took names from the heroes of the First Age. Denethor II was the last Ruling Steward of Gondor. He committed suicide during the Siege of Minas Tirith in 3019 leaving the leadership to his son, Faramir. Faramir never served as ruling steward, though, because Aragorn II soon after took the throne as Elessar, thereby reuniting the north and south kingdoms once again. He was a descent of Arvedui and Fíriel and married the elf Arwen, the daughter Elrond, thereby renewing the life and vigor of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain.

The Line of Durin (Dwarves)
The Line of Durin is the line of the senior dwarves. Dwarves were technically created before humans, though humankind is known as "Those Who Came After". Dwarves, after creation, were put to sleep in the mountains and were envisioned by the god Aulë from the image he received from Eru, the Creator. Durin I was the eldest and first to awake of the seven dwarves (pun not intended). He founded the dwarf city of Khazad-dûm deep beneath the Misty Mountains. Khazad-dûm remained a place of renown throughout the First and Second Ages until it became desolate in the Third Age.
Durin III, King of Khazad-dûm
For two and a half ages, Durin's folk lived in Khazad-dûm where they mined for Mithril, a hard iron ore. During the second age, Durin III came into possession of a dwarf ring, one of the seven, but he was killed by a dragon soon after. Durin IV came to aid in the War of the Last Alliance and survived it. His descendants used Durin's ring to make Khazad-dûm strong, but it was all for naught. During the time of Durin IV, the Balrog known as Durin's Bane was awakened. Durin died by the balrog and his son, Nain I, succeeded but died the following year in Third Age 1981. The remainder of the people fled Khazad-dûm.
The Lonely Mountain (Erebor) by JRR Tolkien
They soon settled in Erebor near the human city of Dale. Thráin I led the migration and established his kingship under the Lonely Mountain with the title "King Under the Mountain". Thorin I, his son, abandoned the Lonely Mountain to make a home in the Grey Mountains and Durin's Folk remained there for five generations before returning to Erebor. One of these kings, Náin II, was ruling when the dragons appeared out of the north. They would continue to harass the dwarves until nearly the end of the Third Age.

With the reign of Thrór, the dwarves abandoned the Grey Mountains and returned to Erebor. Grór founded his own colony in the Iron Hills immediately north of Erebor while Thrór sent a mission to Khazad-dûm in the hope that the balrog had departed. Meanwhile at Erebor, Smaug the dragon had taken an interest to the wealth of the dwarves and conquered the mountain, Thrór, his son, Thráin, and grandson, Thorin, fled. Thrór later led a mission of his own into Khazad-dûm but was killed. Thráin II ruled next and led a war against the orcs and goblins of the Misty Mountains. After the war, the remnant of Durin's Folk that still followed Thráin settled in the Blue Mountains at the far west of Middle-Earth. They grew and became populated again until Thráin became restless and departed without warning. He died in the dungeons of Dol Guldur with the last of the dwarves rings taken from him.
Thorin II Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain
Thorin II Oakenshield came next. He with the help of Gandalf the Grey Wizard, a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, and twelve dwarves, set out on a mission to reclaim Erebor from the dragon. They succeeded magnificently but the Battle of the Five Armies afterwards was Thorin's undoing. His greed for the treasure killed him and Thorin's cousin, Dáin II Ironfoot became the next King Under the Mountain. Dain helped rebuild the Kingdom of Erebor and the nearby human Kingdom of Dale. Dain died while fighting in the local chapter of the War of the Ring in 3019. His son, Thorin III Stonehelm, began the slow recolonization of Khzazad-dûm that had been foretold. Legend has it that seven Durins would rule the dwarf world ending with Durin the Last and that Durin the Last would lead his people back to Khazad-dûm and repopulate the dwarf race. Thorin III's son was thought to be this Durin. It was also implied that he would be the last King of Durin's Folk before the end of the dwarf race.

The Thains of the Shire (Hobbits)
As a final little dynasty in Middle-Earth, the hobbits maintained their own leadership within the Shire. The title "Thain" was established during the reign of Arvedui, the last king of Arthedain. The thain was to rule the Shire for the king, though the kingship ceased soon after the title was created. The position was not initially hereditary, but quickly fell into the Oldbuck family of hobbits.
Map of the Shire
The first hereditary Thain was Bucca of the Marish. Ten Oldbucks ruled in succession after him and took their name after "Bucca". A branch of this family later became the Brandybuck line from which Meriadoc (Merry) Brandybuck, a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, belonged. In Third Age 2340, Gorhendad Oldbuck colonized Buckland and surrendered the Thainship. It was given to Isumbras Took (I) and remained in the prominent Took family until the end of Tolkien's legendarium. Gerontius Took, known popularly as The Old Took, was the 26th Thain of the Shire and was a recent ancestor of Frodo Baggins, Merry, and Peregrin "Pippin" Took.
Peregrin Took, Prince of the Halflings
His grandson, Paladin Took II, was Thain of the Shire during the War of the Ring and organized a resistance against Lotho Sackville-Baggins and Saruman when they took control near the end of the war. Pippin was the next Thain and received the title Prince of the Halflings by King Elesser of Arnor & Gondor. He held the position for 50 years before retiring in Gondor with Merry. His son, Faramir Took, became the 33rd and last known Thain.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Idea of the Day

Dynasties survive through various means. Their success, however, is directly related to five specific goals of a dynasty:

  • The ability to retain inherited titles;
  • The ability to expand and elevate titles;
  • The ability to produce male heirs;
  • The ability to maintain lines of male heirs; and 
  • The ability to remain high in the public conscience.
If any of these goals fail, the future of the dynasty is in doubt. A monarch incapable of retaining inherited titles loses public face and thus encourages challengers (e.g., War of the Roses). A monarch incapable of expanding or elevating titles threatens stagnation and a lack of public respect for the monarch (e.g., the Kingdom of Hanover). A monarch incapable of producing male heirs will pass the dynasty on to a rival line, one that may not be of the same dynasty (e.g., Stuart succession). A monarch incapable of maintaining male lines threatens the success of the dynasty if the senior line fails (e.g., Bourbon succession). And a monarch incapable of remaining high in the public conscience, even if all other factors are retained, may still be overthrown simply due to a lack of respect.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

His Highness's Royal Opposition (Anti-Monarchs)

An interesting breed of pretender has plagued certain types of monarchical governments over the years. While succession wars can break out between various claimants, it is generally rare for a title to go to two separate people legally. Yet the specific system of electoral monarchies—such as those of the Roman Catholic Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire—is often wrought with difficult-to-determine successions. During the Investiture Crisis of the 12th and 13th centuries and the Western Schism of the 14th and 15th centuries, antipopes and antikings became commonplace within the papacy and Holy Roman Empire. The two crises, indeed, aided in the Protestant Reformation and the dissolution of imperial power in Germany. So today, we shall look at some of these colorful individuals to determine just what makes a pope or king...anti.

The UnElect
To become an antipope one has to split the College of Cardinals down the middle. In the earliest days of the papacy, the College did not exist so a popular candidate for pope would just have to make a ruckus and have the populace elect him. If that didn't work, get the Byzantine Emperor—technically the secular head of the church at the time—to elect him. Felix II, Laurentius, and John XVI were all antipopes elected by Byzantine Emperors. Antipopes who claimed popular election, though, were often guilty of election fraud.

They also sometimes were guilty of nothing other than being the victims of court intrigue. Many early antipopes were popularly elected by either died before being able to do anything or were undermined by a local secular power. In the former case, the successor would brand his predecessor an antipope, thereby strengthening his own position. In the latter, the secular power may or may not have motives in denying the pope power, but without it, the pope becomes nothing and the clergy or College choose another.

Once the College of Cardinals was formed, things should have become simpler. The College convenes and votes until a single candidate wins. Majority rules! But sometimes the College is divided or members are not able to attend and another candidate gets an equal or strong second to the winner. In these cases, that second candidate may choose to forego the status quo and seek the papacy regardless of canon law. Support by a strong patron, such as the Holy Roman Emperor, may also lead a strong papal contender to challenge the incumbent. Whereas in monarchies, it is generally a pretender or usurper who attempts to claim another's title, with the papacy it is generally one who had strong support buy failed in the last round of voting.

With the Holy Roman Empire, a similar situation arose. Squabbles between imperial candidates was common but the College of Electors generally had the final say. Being only seven members, it was hard to not have a majority. But it was not unheard of. Like the papacy, electors could be absent or abstain their vote, thereby leading to ties and challenges. Papal support often encouraged imperial candidates to seek the throne, violently if necessary. This could result in antikings. They are antikings because the Holy Roman Emperor does not gain that title until he is crowned by the pope (or, in later days, acknowledged by the pope). Prior to that coronation, they are simply the King of Germany.

The Investiture Controversy
I will not go into details of the crisis, but in summary, the role of the Holy Roman Emperor over clerical appointments (investitures) was in question and the Empire and the Papacy were butting heads. In 1075, Pope Gregory VII issued a statement saying that only the papacy could appoint bishops and only the pope had the power to depose monarchs. Emperor Henry IV responded by denouncing Gregory VII. Gregory countered by excommunicating Henry and deposing him as King of Germany. In 1077, Rudolf, duke of Swabia, was elected by a group of German nobles to replace Henry.
Emperor Henry IV requesting mediation.
Henry IV, meanwhile, sought forgiveness and apologized to the pope. His country was in rebellion and another man was parading around as Holy Roman Emperor. Rudolf threw a cog in Henry's plans and the true emperor subsequently had his own pope elected, Clement III, in 1080. He then invaded Italy. Gregory called on the Normans of Sicily to help—and help the Normans did!—but Gregory was nonetheless defeated and died soon after.
Antipope Clement III (center) with Henry IV (left)
The crisis did not end for another generation. Herman of Salm succeeded Rudolf as Antiking but did not last long. He was weak and Henry's military was growing. Herman's death in 1088 secured the Empire for three decades. The papacy, however, was not as secure. Clement III remained the predominant antipope to the legitimate popes until he died in 1100. Two lesser antipopes, Theodoric and Adalbert, followed after but both were quickly deposed by the legitimate pope Paschal II.

The papacy continued to struggle against Imperial-supported antipopes until 1122. Sylvester IV and Gregory VIII were supported by Emperor Henry V, the son of Henry IV. Both were deposed by the legitimate popes and placed in monasteries after all their followers had dissolved. In 1122 the Investiture Controversy was finally put to rest.

The Hohenstaufen Plight
A brief schism occurred in the late 12th century soon after the rise of the House of Hohenstaufen to the Imperial throne. The issue was over supremacy: was the pope superior to the emperor, or vice versa? What resulted was a whole slew of antipopes. Victor IV was the first of these popes, followed by Paschal III and Callixtus III. None of them did much in the way of papal work and were seen largely as Imperial pawns. Emperor Frederick Barbarossa finally came to terms with the legitimate pope, Alexander III, and most was forgotten for the time being. Interestingly, though, the Imperial antipapacy continued with Antipope Innocent III, a feeble man who was soon arrested and incarcerated for the rest of his life by the true pope. For 150 years, the papacy finally had peace in its succession.
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen
The Hohenstaufens had a different problem, though. Considering the issues that developed between Emperor Frederick II and the papal states, it is interesting to note that Frederick first became Holy Roman Emperor via election by the pope in opposition to the true emperor, Otto IV. Nonetheless, Frederick II fought the papacy, mostly over land, so frequently that he was excommunicated four times, called the Antichrist by one angry pope, and had not one but two people rise against him as antikings. Between 1246 and 1247, Henry, landgrave of Thuringia, fought a losing battle against Frederick II. He was elected in opposition following one of Frederick's many excommunications and died quickly as a rebel and traitor.
Antiking William of Holland
William, count of Holland, lasted much longer. William was elected Holy Roman Emperor following Henry of Thuringia's death. He was not a strong emperor but he had resources and options. He fought against first Frederick, then his son Conrad IV, and then his grandson Conrad V. In the end, he achieved little. The Hohenstaufen line ended somewhat abruptly and a power vacuum developed. William of Holland was long dead by that point.

The Unexpected Interregnum
The centuries of fighting since the fall of the Carolingians in 911 had caused the only real interregnum in the empire's history. Conrad IV died in 1254. Conrad V was young and never was recognized as Holy Roman Emperor or even King of Germany despite his numbering. For two years, from 1254 to 1256, William, count of Holland, was the only Holy Roman Emperor in Germany, though most did not recognize his legitimacy.
Antiking Alfonso of Castile
William's successor was the unlikely Richard, earl of Cornwall, a Crusader and brother of King Henry III of England. Richard purchased the election from four of the Electors, while Alfonso X, king of Castile, purchased the other three Electors. What resulted was a political stalemate that lasted almost 15 years. Richard only went to Germany four times during his career as King of Germany. Alfonso preferred to work through his Italian contacts and never traveled north of the Alps. This pretentious war continued until 1272 when Richard died, Rudolf von Habsburg was elected, and Alfonso renounced his titles. The Holy Roman Empire was restored again and never again would it see such a crisis within the College of Cardinals.

The Pope's Last Infight
The Papacy was not so lucky. The Western Schism developed in 1378 over the election of a successor to Pope Gregory XI. The French and Italian groups within the College of Cardinals had grown to dangerous levels. When Gregory died, the Roman populace demanded a Roman pope. Thus Urban VI, not Roman but still Italian, was elected. The French cardinals rebelled and elected Clement VII. Since he was in opposition to the majority, Clement VII had to flee and settled at the papal estates in Avignon, France. When Urban died, instead of electing the already-chosen Avignon pope, the remaining cardinals elected Boniface IX. Meanwhile, the successor of Clement was Benedict XIII. Boniface died and Innocent VII and then Gregory XII succeeded him.
The Western Schism divided the Catholic world

At this time, in 1409 the Council of Pisa was called which sought to reunify the papacy. Instead, the leader of the movement was elected Pope Alexander V, a role he hoped would bring unity to the papacy. Instead, it just added a third claimant to the papal seat. Alexander died within the year and John XXIII was chosen as his successor. The Pisan popes are considered antipopes but retain some legitimacy within Catholic circles, as opposed to the Avignon popes which are universally regarded now as antipopes. In any case, Pope Gregory XII and Antipope Benedict XIII agreed to renounce their claims to the papacy in favor of a shared successor. Gregory lived on for two years, during which time no successor was named and no pope sat on the papal throne. In 1417, Gregory finally died and Martin V was elected to succeed him. The Pisan Pope John XXIII renounced his titles. The Avignon Pope Benedict XIII, however, did not. While the Western Schism was officially over and the Catholic Church was united again, a small splinter group of the Avignon papacy lived on for a few years yet
Pope Martin V
Benedict XIII moved into the Pyrenees for protection. He died in 1423 and three of his loyal cardinals elected Clement VIII as the Avignon successor. But a fourth cardinal, who was absent at the election, chose instead Benedict XIV. Upon his death in 1429, the cardinal, Jean Carrier, elected himself pope and used the same regnal name and number, Benedict XIV, as his predecessor. Carrier died in captivity and the Avignon papacy finally came to an inglorious end.

The history of the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire is rife with examples of pretension and intrigue, but the role of the antipope and antiking to history is fairly unique to elective monarchies. Where in most countries there is little doubt to the legal successor, in elective monarchies things can be doubted, ballots can be forged, and strings can be pulled. For three centuries, the Catholic Empire in Central Europe was being continuously shaken by these intrigues and that led to the decline en masse of Catholic control over Europe. In other words, Martin Luther was only making obvious what four hundred years of history had already pointed out.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Have a Son (Henry VIII and the Tudors)

Today we discuss one of history's most tragic dynasties: the Tudors. Dying off after only three generations and barely a century of rule, indeed, hardly constitutes a dynasty at all. Had not Mary and Elizabeth ruled, I'd go so far to say that the Tudors were simply a ruling house—an interregnum between the successful Plantagenets and the somewhat successful Stuarts. In any case, no 118 period in English history was more turbulent than the Tudors, though the War of the Roses preceded it and the English Civil War came soon after.

The dynasty began with hope and ended with a long defeat. But the major error the the dynasty was the failure to arrange successful marriages. From Henry VIII's failed six marriages to Edward VI's and Elizabeth I's lack of marriages, the Tudors failed in the marriage game miserably. Their only success was in the marriages of those who never themselves became rulers. The failure of the Tudors to establish successful marriages doomed the dynasty within the first generation. Thus, despite Henry VII's triumphant victory over Richard III at Bosworth Field, which heralded the end of England's medieval experience, England did not enter the new area with a secure dynasty.

The Lancastrian Inheritance
Henry Tudor, 2nd earl of Richmond (later King Henry VII) was the son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort. Neither of these people had a claim to the English throne. The Tudors were an upstart Welsh family that only achieved fame through the affair and marriage of Owen Tudor to Catherine of Valois, the French widow of King Henry V. This placed their son, Edmund, in the curious position of having no claim to the English throne but being the legitimate half-brother of King Henry VI. His Lancastrian loyalty when the War of the Roses broke out was through this.
Henry VII Tudor, king of England
Meanwhile, the Beaufort family was equally from a strange background. The House of Lancaster descended from John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of King Edward III. His son, Henry IV, deposed King Richard II and claimed the throne for himself despite others having a stronger claim. The Beauforts were half-siblings of Henry IV through John of Gaunt's affair with Catherine Swynford, a Flemish Lady. Although the entire family was later declared legitimate, they were barred from inheriting the English throne due to their ancestry. Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII, was the daughter of John Beaufort, duke of Somerset, the son of John Beaufort, the earl of Somerset. She was the only child of the eldest line of the Beauforts and, therefore, the most senior member of the House of Lancaster, although that claim was through an illegitimate line of descent.

Thus Henry VII officially had no claim to the throne against Richard III, who he deposed, especially considering that Richard III descended from the senior-most line of Edward III. Sure there were people with a better claim than Richard (Edward, earl of Warwick, was his nephew through an elder brother. Edward had a sister, Margaret, as well.), but Richard was the eldest among them if nothing else.
Elizabeth of York, queen consort of England
The Reign of Henry VII
Henry VII negotiated his succession by marrying the Yorkist heiress Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of King Edward IV. Officially, this was his only legitimate claim to the throne, but he downplayed her status throughout his reign. The marriage was loveless at best. It was arranged between Henry, Margaret, and Elizabeth Woodville, the girl's mother. It was fruitful, though. Henry and Elizabeth produced four surviving children, two sons and two daughters. His eldest, Arthur, died at the age of fifteen only six months after marrying Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. After Arthur died, Catherine insisted that the marriage was never consummated, a statement that justified her marriage to Henry, Arthur's brother, eight years later.
Catherine of Aragon, queen consort of England and Ireland
The marriage of Arthur to Catherine was part of a strategy to ally with Spain against French aggression. Meanwhile, Henry VII attempted to pacify the Scottish by marrying his eldest daughter to King James IV in 1503. James was killed in battle ten years later, leaving Margaret in charge of the young James V. Margaret abandoned her position as regent when she married Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, the next year. With Archibald, Margaret produced a daughter, Margaret Douglas, who will enter into this story later.

Henry VII attempted to marry his younger daughter, Mary, off to many different individuals but died before she was even betrothed. In 1514, the fifth year of Henry VIII's reign, Mary was wedded to Louis XII of France as part of a peace settlement. He was thirty years her senior and died three months after the wedding. Mary returned to England and resumed her courtship by Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. They married in secret in March 1515 and publicly, after paying a hefty fine, in May. Their marriage was more fruitful. The couple had two surviving daughters, Frances and Eleanor. Frances was married to Henry Grey, later duke of Suffolk. This family, too, will reenter the story later.

Henry VIII and his Many Wives
In England, Henry VII passed leaving the throne to Henry VIII. The new Henry was young and rash. He married his brother's widow reluctantly and was haunted by fears that Catherine of Aragon had consummated her marriage to Arthur. Still, the couple produced one daughter, Mary, in 1516. Meanwhile, Henry began a long life of adultery and intrigue. Mary became little more than a political tool throughout his life, much to her and Catherine's dismay.
Henry VIII, king of England and Ireland
His first public affair was with Elizabeth Blount, the daughter of a knight. This affair proved fruitful in proving that Henry was, in fact, capable of producing a son. His illegitimate son, named Henry FitzRoy, was publicly recognized and created duke of Richmond and Somerset. He lived to the age of seventeen before dying of an unknown sickness.

Henry's affair with Mary Boleyn soon after received much more attention. Mary, too, was the daughter of a knight, though a more prestigious one. Henry and Mary's affair lasted for nearly a decade and may have produced up to two children, Catherine and Henry Carey, though both were never acknowledge and both accepted as children by William Carey, Mary's husband at the time. In any case, the most important aspect of Henry and Mary's affair was his introduction to Anne, Mary's sister, which singlehandedly destroyed the Tudor dynasty.
Anne Boleyn, queen consort of England and Ireland
Although a devout Catholic, Henry strongly sought an annulment from his wife, Catherine of Aragon, since she had failed to provide him with sons and he had ceased being attracted to her. The pope at the time, Clement VII, refused his requests leaving Henry with few options. Henry, therefore, broke ties with the Catholic Church, was excommunicated by the pope, divorced Catherine of Aragon, and married his long-time love interest. The couple married in January 1533 before receiving formal clearance of divorce from the new head of the Church of England, Thomas Cranmer. Anne was pregnant within days and when the baby was born in September of that year, it was a girl. For another two years the couple attempted to produce a son, but Henry had grown tired of Anne and her tricks and began an affair with another young courtier, Jane Seymour. Meanwhile, Catherine of Aragon died, leaving all taint of illegality behind him. Another stillbirth by Anne finalized Henry's plans to annul the marriage. He accused Anne of adultery and incest (with her brother) and treason. These charges required the death penalty. Anne was beheaded on 19 May 1536, leaving a daughter, Elizabeth.
Jane Seymour, queen consort of England and Ireland
Henry moved fast to marry Jane Seymour. Within months of their marriage, Jane conceived and nine months later a son was born and Jane was dead by childbed. The son, Edward, remained a sickly child his whole life and, although he outlived his father, he never got a chance to truly rule England.
Anne of Cleves, queen consort of England and Ireland
Henry was out another wife. He decided to arrange a marriage rather than pursue another courtier. He found himself attracted to a portrait of Anne of Cleves, a German princess, during his research. He had her sent to England and, when they met, he found her less-than-appealing. They were forced to wed but apparently Anne also lacked skills in the bedchamber as they never consummated their marriage. The marriage was annulled six months later with Anne being awarded a generous settlement.
Catherine Howard, queen consort of England and Ireland
Again he sought and found a wife in the beautiful Catherine Howard, an English noblewoman. Catherine came from a Catholic family and it is possible that her family manipulated her into catching the eye of Henry in order to restore a Catholic status to England. In any case, it failed. Catherine was pregnant by the time Henry's marriage to Anne was annulled. They were married within a week afterwards. Henry was no longer attractive, however, and the young Catherine became repulsed. She began an affair with another courtier. Through a two-year intrigue, it became known to Henry and he promptly brought charges of adultery and treason against his wife. He annulled his marriage with Catherine Howard in November 1541 and she was executed for a law passed ex post facto in February of the next year.
Catherine Parr, queen consort of England and Ireland
Henry waited a whole year before finding his final wife, Catherine Parr. Yet another noblewoman, he finally found someone with the ability to outlive him. Catherine never produced a child by the king but stayed with Henry to the end of his days and then silently passed into history, the last of Henry VIII's six wives.
Edward VI, king of England and Ireland

The Failure of the Tudor Dynasty
The last four monarchs of the Tudor dynasty all failed in their bid to continue the dynasty. Three were the surviving children of Henry VIII while the fourth was one of Henry VII's great-granddaughters. England fell to the regency of Edward VI which was headed first by his uncle, Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset, but later by John Dudley, duke of Northumberland. During this time, the descendants of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's younger sister, sought a dynastic union.  Mary's daughter, Frances, was too old to rule and already married, but her youngest daughter, Jane Grey, was just slightly older than Edward VI. The plan fell apart, however, when Edward Seymour was removed from the council and replaced with John Dudley. To make things worse, Edward VI was dying. John, seeing an opportunity, married his son, Guildford Dudley, to Jane, thereby placing his own son as, if nothing else, the head of a future English dynasty. Edward approved a writ disinheriting his sisters from the throne and soon after died in 1553. The stage was set for one of the shortest-lived royal coups in history.
Jane, queen of England and Ireland
Jane was proclaimed queen of England by the regency council but many quickly turned to Mary I, the eldest surviving daughter of Henry VIII. By the thirteenth day, Jane was arrested by Mary and placed in the Tower of London. She remained there for a year until her father with others staged the Wyatt Rebellion targeting Jane as their preferred royal candidate. With little other choice, Mary had her cousin beheaded, thereby stabilizing the English throne under her rule. The Suffolk claim to the English throne continued through first Jane's youngest sister and then through the line of her aunt, but never came to fruition. Fate had other plans for the English succession.
Mary I, queen of England and Ireland
Mary I ruled England for five years from 1553 until 1558. In that time Catholicism was resorted and Protestantism pushed out of the limelight. She was unwed and nearly 40-years-old at the time of her succession. She found a husband in her first cousin-once removed Prince Philip of Spain (king from 1556 to 1598). Philip, who was eleven years her junior, proved to be unloving, distant, and uninterested in his new wife. Philip, nonetheless, was crowned king of England & Ireland, the only king consort in the history of England. Even still, Philip returned to the continent and visited rarely. Her inability to conceive a child forced her to accept the inevitable and acknowledge Elizabeth as her heir. Mary died, Protestantism returned, and Philip found a "reasonable regret" that his wife had died.
Elizabeth I, queen of England and Ireland
Indeed, Philip actually saw opportunity. The younger and more attractive Elizabeth was approached soon after her coronation by a delegation from Spain seeking her hand for King Philip II. Elizabeth I rejected this request multiple times over the next few years and the relationship between England and Spain soured. Elizabeth eventually ceased seriously considering suitors entirely, leaving the entire Tudor succession in doubt.

The Solution
Legally, the line of Suffolk had the best claim to the throne after Elizabeth, but Elizabeth refused to validate that claim and even imprisoned the heiress when she wed another claimant from a parallel line without permission. The Catholic world supported Mary I, queen of Scots, the only child of James V, the son of Margaret Tudor. Mary solidified her claim by marrying Henry Stewart, the son of Margaret, the daughter of Margaret Tudor through her second marriage to Archibald Douglas. Thus Mary and Henry shared the first and second senior-most claim to the English throne. Scottish politics proved to be Mary's undoing when a Protestant consortium forced her to abdicate after she arranged the death of Henry Stewart. Her infant son, James VI, became king. Mary continued to pursue her claim to the English throne through intrigue while imprisoned in England. This frustrated Elizabeth I to the point that she had Mary executed. James VI, thereby, became the prime heir, a Protestant with a senior and double claim, and no ghosts in his past. Though the law of Henry VIII's denied his elder sister's line from inheriting the English throne, politics at the time of Elizabeth I's death in 1603 said otherwise. James's succession would bring about a new era in English politics, uniting England once and for all with its northern rival Scotland.
James VI & I, king of Scotland, England and Ireland
A long but interesting story of intrigue and plotting by the best known, but least dynastically important, English royal family. The Tudors act as a bridge between a two-hundred year span of dynasties that failed to leave a strong dynastic impact on English history. The Tudors passed their claims through an eldest daughter of the first monarch of the dynasty just as the Stuarts passed the claim through a younger daughter of the first monarch of the dynasty. It was not until the House of Hanover that things became straightforward again in English dynastic politics.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rebirth of the Disney Empire (Disney Films: Part III)

I've waited quite a while since the first two posts, much like the gap between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, but it's finally time to finish up my dynastological view of the last decade of Disney animated features. While it was not a strong decade for monarchical films, it also could have been much worse. In any case, the past three years especially have shown that the monarchical tendencies of Disney continue to this day. Let's move on...

40. The Emperor's New Groove (2000) – Disney's first monarchical film of the new millennium tells the tale of the young Incan emperor, Kuzco, who is turned into a llama by his chief advisor. Despite starring an emperor as its main character, there is very little in the way of monarchical commentary in this film other than a glaringly obvious one: greed. Kuzco is a very greedy and wealthy emperor and he wants to build a new summer retreat on the site of a peasant's home. The peasant, Pancha, and the emperor-turned-llama then go on a long adventure to turn the emperor back into a llama and humble him a bit. Again, not a lot on the way of monarchical commentary. The emperor turns out to be a better man in the end and everyone lives happily ever after, except the chief advisor. There is no mention of parents, marriage, or children, and even discussion over the empire itself is kept to a minimum. In other words, this is a fun Disney comedy with little in the way of dynasticism.

41. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) — In contrast, Atlantis proved to be all about monarchy. Like The Emperor's New Grove, Atlantis takes place in an empire, albeit an underwater one. Atlantis is ruled by an ancient king who has lived since the empire sank beneath the waves. "Empire" is a loose term in this film since Atlantis is no larger than a volcanic island in the middle of a molten sea far beneath the Earth's surface. Still, the king's daughter, Kida, helps an expedition that discovers Atlantis. She and the expedition's chief scientific advisor, Milo, fall in love and Milo helps decipher Atlantean text so the lost knowledge of Atlantis can be relearned. In the process, though, the militant contingent of the expedition turns greedy and tries to use the knowledge to become rich. Kida becomes an imprisoned heir, trapped within an ancient jewel. Milo, with the help of some of the expedition members and the now-ailing king, rescues the imprisoned princess and restores Atlantis to its former glory. The story has many twists and, though it seems at times like a damsel-in-distress story, it proves to be quite different. It is the heiress, imbued with the power of her ancestors, who saves Atlantis. The king lives on, but it is strongly implied that his daughter and heir, Kida, will be the one that restores the glory of Atlantis, and Milo will be there all along the way as the royal consort to the Queen. A rich film with dynastic depth, Atlantis: The Lost Empire is perhaps one of Disney's best animated features though it is also one of its darkest.

49. The Princess and the Frog (2009) — The first Disney princess film since Beauty and the Beast, this unique biography of a 1920s New Orleans African-American waitress is interesting all on its own. Tiana has a dream to create her own restaurant along the riverfront. Meanwhile, Prince Naveen of Maldonia is a penniless, unskilled daydreamer seeking to find a wealthy bride in the American South. Where Maldonia is is never stated, but it is said that his father does not want a beggar for a son. Like most Disney movies, Tiana becomes a princess through marriage. Naveen is the true-born prince, the son of the King of Maldonia. When the film nears its conclusion, the couple are still frogs who miss their chance to kiss at midnight, thereby remaining frogs. Their failure to kiss seems to suggest that their love and marriage at the end of the film will be rather Shrek-like. Yet upon their marriage kiss, Tiana "becomes" a princess and the curse finally lifts. I found this a bit anticlimactic because they had decided they were content with being frogs yet they still were cured. Sure that meant Tiana and Naveen could open their own restaurant, but the underlying message—"be content with who you are or become"—seems lost. Also, while it is never entirely clear if Naveen is the heir, it seems certain that he will never become king since he remains in New Orleans, the co-owner of a popular restaurant. Nevertheless, this film ends up being a rather fun twist on the usual princess formula, while still following the standard dynastic patterns of Disney films.

50. Tangled (2010) — Returning back to the roots of Disney, Tangled, formerly known as Rapunzel, tells the tale of a true-born princess stolen by an evil woman while still an infant. The reason she was taken was a special property in her hair which allowed her to heal the sick and injured. To maintain this power, though, Rapunzel could never cut her hair. The woman, Gothel, imprisoned the princess in a tower and raised Rapunzel as her own daughter, never telling her of her parents. Meanwhile, her parents annually hold a festival of mourning during which they release thousands of lighted candles into the air in the hope that Rapunzel may one day see them and return to her parents. Rapunzel can see these from her tower and wishes to see them up close, not knowing their purpose, but Gothel refuses. After a long story known as the plot, Rapunzel loses her hair but saves her new boyfriend, Flynn. She is reunited with her parents, who seem to have not produced any other children other than Rapunzel. The film then jumps ahead a number of years to show Rapunzel and Flynn getting married, thereby making Flynn the prince-by-marriage. Disney did some unusual things in this film. First, it is only the second film where there is a prince-by-marriage. In all the other films where there is a true-born princess except Aladdin, the true-blood princess ends up finding a true-blood prince. The only other formula thus far was the non-royal woman marrying the true-blood prince. Secondly, the woman has a magical power. To my knowledge, no other Disney princess has a magical power, except perhaps Pocahontas who can talk to nature. In other respects, the film is fairly similar to Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with a princess-in-exile not knowing her parents. This film was definitely an interesting flick with new songs and decent graphics.

As for other films during this time, there is not much in the way of monarchy. Like Oliver & Company, Disney's Treasure Planet (2002) does not take place in a monarchical universe but derives from a story written in a monarchical universe, namely Hanoverian Great Britain. The author of the original story, Robert Louis Stevenson, wrote during the reign of Queen Victoria, but the story takes place during the reign of King George II in the mid-1700s. Disney's other films produced during the 2000s—Fantasia 2000 (1999), Dinosaur (2000), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Brother Bear (2003), Home on the Range (2004), Chicken Little (2005), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Bolt (2008), Winnie the Pooh (2011), Wreck-It Ralph (2012)—all lack any obvious connection to monarchies. Dinosaur contains some latent paternal tribalism, but nothing more serious. Disney's 2013 film, The King of the Elves, suggests that Disney has not yet given up on its monarchical aspirations and is progressing in a similar vein as it has for the past eighty years. Thus monarchies remain an important and even integral part of the animators' and story-tellers' canon.


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