From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. [...] Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, 'What do you mean by seizing the whole earth; because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor'."--The City of God (5th century) by St. Augustine
From earliest historical times, with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as in reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion, the king held sacral functions directly connected to sacrifice or was considered by their people to have divine ancestry. In Germanic antiquity, kingship was primarily a sacral function. The king was directly hereditary for some tribes, while for others he was elected from among eligible members of royal families by the thing. The role of the Roman emperor as the protector of Christianity was conflated with the sacral aspects held by the Germanic kings to create the notion of the "divine right of kings" in the Christian Middle Ages. The Japanese and Nepalese monarchs continued to be considered living Gods into the modern period.
Polybius identified monarchy as one of three "benign" basic forms of government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy), opposed to the three "malignant" basic forms of government (tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy). The monarch in classical antiquity is often identified as "king" or "ruler" (translating archon, basileus, rex, tyrannos, etc.) or as "queen" (basilinna). Polybius originally understood monarchyTemplate:NoteTag as a component of republics, but since antiquity monarchy has contrasted with forms of republic, where executive power is wielded by free citizens and their assemblies. In antiquity, some monarchies were abolished in favour of such assemblies in Rome (Roman Republic, 509 BCE), and Athens (Athenian democracy, 500 BCE).
Monarchy has been challenged by evolving parliamentarism e.g. through regional assemblies (such as the Icelandic Commonwealth, the Swiss Landsgemeinde and later Tagsatzung, and the High Medieval communal movement linked to the rise of medieval town privileges) and by modern anti-monarchism e.g. of the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England in 1649, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789. One of many opponents of that trend was Elizabeth Dawbarn, whose anonymous Dialogue between Clara Neville and Louisa Mills, on Loyalty (1794) features "silly Louisa, who admires liberty, Tom Paine and the USA, [who is] lectured by Clara on God's approval of monarchy" and on the influence women can exert on men. Advocacy of the abolition of a monarchy or respectively of republics has been called republicanism, while the advocacy of monarchies is called monarchism.
Much of 19th-century politics featured a division between diverse republicanism (such as anti-monarchist radicalism) and conservative or reactionary monarchism. In the following 20th century many countries abolished monarchy and became republics, especially in the wake of World War I and World War II. Monarchies today continue to exist often as so-called crowned republics and survived particularly in small states.
- Abolished monarchy
- Family as a model for the state
- Family dictatorship
- Federal monarchy
- King of Kings
- Monarchy in Ancient India
- Order of succession
- Personal union
- Royal and noble ranks
- List of current monarchs
- List of living former sovereign monarchs
- List of monarchies
- List of monarchs by nickname
- List of subnational monarchs
- List of usurpers