April 25, 2008

Joan's Mad Monarchs This is an old site, but it's a good 'un, and I've never seen it here on MoFi.

It features peculiar plutocrats all the way from Nabonidus of Babylon (c. 539 BC) to Farouk of Egypt (1920-1965).

  • Many fascinating stories there! And the writing style is humorous but sympathetic. Bookmarked for much later perusal. I keep finding myself in operettas where the ubuiquitous prince is played by the ubiquitous clumsy, tongue-tied tenor. "It's the inbreeding" quickly becomes a catchphrase in rehearsal.
  • It is so interesting that countries seemed to have little or no means (interest?) in removing monarchs regardless of their ability to do their jobs. That had to be a pretty big flaw in the system.
  • Heck, here in the present-day U.S. we HAVE procedures in place for it, and we still don't do it. It's that whole rather-bear-those-ills-we-have-than-fly-to-others-that-we-know-not-of, all-experience-hath-shewn-that-mankind-are-more-disposed-to-suffer-while-evils-are-sufferable-than-to-right-themselves-by-abolishing-the-forms-to-which-they-are-accustomed bugaboo.
  • I think it was lodged in the medieval mind that monarchy was inevitable as well as just. Even armed rebellions used to profess loyalty to the very King they were fighting, and claim they merely wanted to appeal to him, or free him from bad counsellors. It dawned on people very slowly that you could actually be against the King. The Swiss turned out to be able to do without their feudal overlords, then the Dutch; then the English found out more or less accidentally that you could actually kill the King, and without crowning a new one too. The rest is history.
  • Outstanding! Fun reading.
  • I suppose you could say that the medieval assumptions about monarchy are like US assumptions about the Constitution - even people who seem objectively to be against the Constitution have to pretend they are all for it and merely want to amend it, or bring out the true intentions behind it, or whatever. Nobody can say; yes, I am against the Constituion, let's just get rid of it, just as nobody in the Middle Ages could say 'I'm against the King, let's get rid of monarchy altogether'.
  • In most monarchies the King was either seen and worshipped as a god, or was legitimized by God (as is/was the case with English/British monarchs). In either case, it was an act of heresy to oppose the crown.
  • King George III: "Bravo. You know, my son, for the first time in my life I have a real fatherly feeling about you. People may say I'm stark raving mad and say the word Penguin after each sentence, but I believe that we two can make Britain Great - you as the Prince Regent and I as King Penguin."
  • These people aren't just mad, they're just plain crazy!
  • I see you trollage Pleg and raise you: Speaking of royal insanity, I see there is a move to change the succession laws to give royal daughters the same place in line to the British throne that sons have. The irony of that amused me, that they are worried about P.C. gender equality when the entire system is a dictionary definition for nepotism. Isn't that like putting a sprinkle of sugar on rat poison? "...some watery tart hands you a scimitar - what basis for a system of government is that..." Good job that Presidents' sons and wives don't get easier access to the job of ruling in the US, eh?
  • No, I sort of agree: if you're going to tinker with the system you might as well get rid of it. If we could just drop the monarchy, or leave it as a constitutional fiction uninhabited by an actual monarch, I'd be happy: but I fear that if the Queen/King was done away with the politicians would foist a President on us, and you only have to think of who it might be to realise that that would not be a turn for the better.