22/05/12 at 8:55 am
Both kings and dictators are autocrats- the domineering persons invested with absolute authority, but there is a subtle difference between them. Dictators usually snatch power by force without legal, social, religious or moral backing, whereas kings have a strong backing in all these factors. Therefore, kings are generally bound to behave and act in the best interest of their people.
Some of the great historical empires are the Roman, Mongol, Russian, British, Hans, Byzantine, Umayyad and Ottoman Empires. The British Empire was probably the greatest as it covered more than a 13,000,000 square mile area, which is almost a quarter of the planet Earth.
Hammurabi was born in Babylon in 1792 BC and died in Babylon in 1750. After the abandonment of his father Sin-Muballit, Hammurabi became the 6th king of the first dynasty of Babylonia which prevailed from 1792 BC to 1750 BC. He reigned over 42 years from 1792-1750 BC. He fought and won many wars with neighboring countries and extended Babylonian control all over Mesopotamia, but his successors could not retain it. He is best known for the set of laws, known as Hammurabi’s Code. They are one of the first written laws in recorded history. These laws were written on stelae or the stone tablets standing 2.4 meters or about eight feet. They were discovered in Persia in 1901 and have gained renown all over the world during recent times. The code consists of 282 laws relating to inheritance, divorce, paternity, matters of contract. It also deals with the wages of for example, of an ox driver or a surgeon and the liability of builder for a house that collapses or a property that is damaged when left in someone’s custody.
Tutankhamen was born to Akhenaton and his wife ‘The younger Lady’ in 1341 BC and died 1323 BC at the age of 18 years. The younger Lady is an informal name given to the mummy discovered in the valley of Kings by the archaeologist Victor Loret in 1898. It has been identified as the mother of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, through recent DNA tests and has been designated as KV35YL; YL standing for ‘Young Lady’. Commonly known as ‘King Tut’ this Pharaoh (King) of Egypt inherited the kingdom from his predecessor Smenkhare and was succeeded by Ay. He belonged to the 18th dynasty and became the king at the age of 9. He reigned from 1332 to 1323 BC. Howard Carter and 5th Earl of Carnaryon; George Herbert discovered the almost intact tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922. The king’s burial mask is a popular symbol present in the Egyptian museum and the artifacts from his tomb has been exhibited all over the world.
3. James VI and I
James VI and I was born to Henry Stuart; Lord Darnley and Mary; Queen of Scots in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland on June 19, 1566. He died in Theobalds House, England on March 27, 1625 at the age of 58. ‘James VI and I’ was King of Scots from July24, 1567 and King of England and Ireland from March 24, 1603 until his death. England and Scotland were separate sovereign states but both were ruled by James. He became the king at the age of 13. During his minority till 1578 four regents governed the state. In 1603 he succeeded the last Tudor Monarch of England and in Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Ι, who died without leaving any issue. He reigned from March 24, 1603 to March 27, 1625. This period of 22 years is known a Jacobean era which was an extension of the Golden Age of Elizabethan literature. Great writers like William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Johnson and Sir Francis Bacon contributed to a flourishing literary culture.
4. Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great was born in Pella, Macedon and died in Babylon on June 11,323 BC at the age of 32.He reigned from 336 to 323 BC. He was tutored by Aristotle until 16 years old. Alexander succeeded his Father King Philip II of Macedon. As King of Macedon, he developed one of the largest ancient empires, stretching from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. He fought many wars and remained undefeated. He had many titles including; Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic League, Shahanshah of Persia, Pharaoh of Egypt and Lord of Asia. He built more than 20 cities bearing his name, Alexandria of Egypt being one of them.
5. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan was born in Khientij Mountains, Mongolia in 1162 and died on August 1227 at the age of 65. His titles include; Dali Khaqan of the Great Mongol State, Khaqan of Khamaq Mongols, Lord of Four Colors and Five Tongues, and Son of Khan Tengri. After founding the Mongol Empire, he started invading Kara-Khitan Khanate, Caucasus, Khawarezmid Empire, Western Xia and Jin Dynasties. These invasions caused large scale massacres of civil populations notably in Khawarezmia.He accuquired vast lands of China and central Asia. He is known as brutal, successful and the most powerful leader in his time. He united many nomadic tribes.
6. Ashoka the Great
Ashoka the Great was born in Pataliputra, Patna, India in 304 BC and died in 232 BC at the age of 72 in Pataliputra, Patna, India. Ashoka was an Indian Emperor belonging to the Maurya Dynasty. From 269 BC to 232 BC he ruled whole the present day subcontinent. His empire, headquartered in Magadha (currently Bihar, India), included present Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Bangla Desh, Assam and Kalinga.
7. Joseph II
Joseph II was born to Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa of Austria in Schonbrunn Palace on March 13, 1741. He died in Vienna on February 20, 1790 at the age of 48. He was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790 and ruler of Habsburg from 1780 to 1790. He was the first ruler of Austrian Dominions, belonging to the House of Loraine. Like Catherine II of Russia and Fredrick II of Prussia, he has been considered as one of the high ranking enlightenment monarchs. He was educated by writings of Voltaire, Encyclopedistes and examples of King Fredrick II of Prussia. He reformed the legal system by abolishing brutal punishments, and the death penalty, imposing equal treatment for all offenders and by ending censorship of the press and theatre.
Belonging to ‘Imperial House of Japan’ Hiro Hito was born to Taisho and Teimei in Aoyama Palace, Tokyo, Japan. He died in Fulkiage palace, Tokyo on January7, 1989.Although more known as ‘Hirohito’ in the outside world, he was exclusively known by the name of his era as ‘Showa’ in Japan after his death. He was the 124th Emperor of Japan, which was a prosperous state when he took over. It was 9th biggest economy, 3rd most powerful naval force, and one of the five permanent members of the council of the League of Nations.
Nur-ud-din-Jahangir was born to the Moghul King Akber and Jodhabai in Fatehpur Sikri, India on September 20, 1569 and died in chingarhsiri, India on November 8, 1627 at the age of 58. He was one of the greatest Mughal Emperors and ruled from 1605 until his death. Jahangir is famous for the ‘Chain of Justice’ with 60 bells, hanging outside the palace. Anyone who pulled the chain was given person hearing by the emperor. He was a great king and an art lover too.
10. Haile Selassie I
Belonging to House of Solomon, Ras Tafari Makonnen, better known as Haile Selassie I was born to Ras Makonnen Woldemikael Gudessa and Weyziro, Yeshimebert Ali Abajifarin Ejersa Goro, Ethiopia on July12, 1892 and died in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on August 27, 1975 at the age of 83. He was Regent of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Haile Selassie I is one of the most important figures in the history of Africa and Ethiopia. He condemned the use of chemical weapons by Italy against its own people. It was by the dint of his positive and humane views that Ethiopia became a chartered member of UN. He is revered as an embodiment of Messiah among the members of the Rastafari Movement with an estimated following of 600,000 members.
Whereas a king is the most powerful person of his kingdom, he is simultaneously the most vulnerable person too. Kings are entitled to do anything but nothing is found worthy of being done by kings. Consequently it is almost always that the others do things for him and these ‘others’ include traitors, hypocrites and power thirsty people. Slightest deviation of the kings from the right track is taken by the courtiers as license to do wrong at the cost of the king’s repute and health of the kingdom in general.