What Is A Monarchy?
When most people hear the word “Monarchy”, the first image that comes to their mind is an elegant man (or woman) dressed up in fancy and expensive clothes, sitting on a throne and giving orders to everybody about everything that happens in the kingdom, without anyone daring to contradict what is ruled. Well, that vision is not far from the real monarchy governments throughout the history of mankind, but it might be surprising for you to find out that that is not the only and exclusive form of monarchy government that has existed or even exists today. Read on if you would like to know a little more about the origins of monarchy and monarchy definition, and the different facets that monarchy goverment has had as part of the political systems throughout the centuries in the different parts of the world.
Mainly, monarchy governments started in its original state in the ancient tribes of the beginning of civilization, in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Irak). The Kingdom of Babylon is one of the most famous ones in history, and it started a long succession of territories ruled by a single sovereign with absolute power and control over the people, in what is called absolute monarchy. This monarchy definition implies that the King could make the laws, decide when and where to go to war, and even decide on the life or death of somebody. His judgement was never questioned, since people believed that he (or she) was destined by the gods to be their ruler. And when the King died, he was succeeded by his older son, even though his firstborn was a woman. In many countries women could not be monarchs, but there have been examples of great female monarchs who did a lot to change their territories political systems, such as Queen Elizabeth I in England.
Examples of absolute monarchies as political systems are abundant. The Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian Emperors, the Egyptian Pharaoh, and most European monarchies were absolute ones. But of course, as time went by, people wanted to have more participation, and also the kings saw that a little help from qualified and wiser counselors would come in handy. That way, new forms of monarchy were born, and the ancient Greeks were the first to introduce the form of the Senate, a group of noblemen and philosophers who debated about all the important matters of the territory. They still had monarchs, who always had the last word about whether or not to approve the resolutions of the senate. This form of monarchy would be the precursor of what is known today as “Constitutional monarchy”, which is still present in some countries, like Spain or England. However, Kings in a constitutional monarchy do not have the last word nowadays, being only a representative figure of their countries.