of these articles treats king in the sense of monarch, further meanings under king (term clarifying)
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King in the front Orient, with the Romans and other peoples, holy Roman realm of German nation
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The title king is derived from the word kon or konr, which means elegantly generosus and. The term has to do thus nothing with the function, but with the status thatFamily. The king is thus first a man from distinguished family.

With it corresponds lat. genus, ahd. kuni and mhd küne, which means as much as “sex, dynasty, family, trunk”. The king is word by word someone, which of a certain (to the rule with priorityqualified) family descends.

Later the king title designates the monarchischen dignitary sovereigns of a state highest after that of the emperor. In Europe of the Middle Ages and the early modern times the king was usually highest sovereign of its country: Head of the government, highest judge and legislator in a person. Beyond that he noticed the function of a religious head in some states - for example in England -. In modern monarchies the king is usually a head of state with representative and ceremonies tasks.

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king with the Wikingern


In the sources a whole set of different kinds of kings are specified: Kings, small kings, army kings and sea-kings. The latters did not possess rule area.

The sources of the early time are silent themselves over position and function of the king out. Alsodoes not know one, how one became originally king. However much speaks for the fact that at the beginning a Wahlkönigtum existed. It is to be accepted that persons from the most distinguished families and finally the family of the predecessor were always available, so thatgradually a Erbkönigtum developed. During this procedure played apart from the creation of a Zentralkönigtums by Harald Hårfagre the church a special role, by it king Olav Haraldsson to the holy one explained, which transfers its göttlich legitimized king welfare to its descendants.

Harald Hårfagre descended from a small king, could become however an upper king. It is unknown whether these kings created their Königtum on the family trunk or on their military strength. Harald built anyhow particularly on its military power. Those was complexto maintain, why he expropriated farmers to large extent. Torbjørn Hornklove seals over Harald:

I believe, you know the king/on the ships live/the gentleman of the north men/masters over deep ships/with blood-sprayed frames/and red Schilden,/GET ores rudders/and a tent from Gischt.

That is the description of a typical Wikingerkönigs. Obviously models it had brought stranger to the fact that it wanted to be another kind of king. So could also ona Gerichtskönigtum been meant its. Torbjørn Hornklove calls opponents in the Glymdrápa Haralds hlennar = thieves, which a reference to the attempt could be interpreted to implement right and order. The expression becomes however rather only one reduction of the enemiesmean.

The king had to maintain a large number at ships and crews. In addition it needed different kinds of an income. One of it were the king yards which were lined up at the coast and originated from expropriations. These places paid their “tax”because they accommodated the king with crew for a certain time with food and Logis. Thus a Reisekönigtum concerned. That corresponds completely to the kind, like the remaining Wikingerkönige e.g. in Ireland proceeded. The advantage of the farmersit was that the king kept other robbers away, so that the load was distributed on many farmers visible.

The function of the king was limited to the agency of the total state outward, to the army nature and the administration, so far it for thoseWhole was necessary.

other king definitions

the small king was rather a chieftain in a closely limited area, which did not around-pull therefore, but its incomes to its seat delivered got.

The Unterkönig, also Skattkönig (tax king) mentioned,was a mediatisierter king, who possessed large sovereignty in its sphere of influence, but an upper king to recognize had, who was he delivery requiring and who protected the realm unit and was responsible for the total defense.

The army king and the sea-king were actually field gentlemenin our sense. They collected ships and crew around itself and took off to plundering courses. They were however bound at certain rules in their command authority. In particular it admitted itself unwritten laws over the distribution of the booty, to ithold had. That applied by the way also to the Frankish kings in the early time.

The army king was during the people migration time identification figure at the same time. The Germanic towards width units were quite multi-ethnical in today's opinion. They received their identity by the affiliation tooa certain army king and its family, at whose side they fought and whose traditions it took over. The earlymedieval ethnical terminology is not culturally, linguistic or geographical, but militarily and politically. The Ethnie was thus not an objective category with oneprecise definition, but a subjective process, by which itself the individuals themselves and also the other defined, in certain situations, particularly in connection with conflict and war. The ethnical groups changed therefore fast and defined themselves alsoaround with astonishing speed.

All these king designations might secondarily and only in the Wikingerzeit have originated in, thus in 8. Jh. The term “king” for a ruler in an area is however obviously older. Probably sons of kings have,to the Wikingern took off, the king title for their army travel accepted.

successor to the throne-successfully

as soon as the king title had become, was hereditary obviously its male descendants equally appointed as the follow-up, either, by it together governed or divided the realm or bythe government alone took over, which other one was compensated with fortunes. The majority to the rule generally becomes on 12. Lebensjahr set. The Königtum was property and hereditary property of the governing house. In the Norway of the Christian Middle Ages it was 15.Lebensjahr.Eric Magnusson still stood 1280 with 12 years under the guardianship of the realm advice.

For women there was a “latent” succession to the throne authorization. They could not become even ruler inside, but them actually coming requirement for rule on their married man or sonpass on. The Ynglinga had childless died saga (no historiography, but a mirror of the knowledge of the authors of certain social structures) reported that king had inherited Eysteinn Halfdánarson Vestfold, as his father-in-law, king Eiríkur Agnarsson. King Halvdan Svarte, the father HaraldHårfagres is to have inherited only a part of Agdir of king Haraldur granrauði, its grandfather mütterlicherseits and then also still Sogn over its son Harald of its mütterlichen grandfather Harald gullskegg. That was also with the normal vomits compatible.Afterwards women could inherit a basic rule, exercise however the rule not personally.

Copied with the succession to the throne the normal vomit. Thus the closer degree of relationship closed the further completely out. However not by the deceased king was out counted, but ofMaster father, from whom the Königtum was derived. Thus the son excluded the grandchild. But if the deceased king had a son and a daughter, then the sons of the son and their sons were equal. With the succession ina property yard applied: The male descendants excluded the female, did not take to them however not the latent right of succession. With two sisters that, which had a son, displaced the sister, who had only one daughter, of the yard. Had in the nextGeneration the son only one daughter and the sister daughter a son, then displaced these turned around the daughter. This is everything so in the Gulaþingslov regulated. How far these rules were applied also to the succession to the throne, cannot be determined. Anyhow gaveit a difference: While after the civilian succession regulation illegitimate sons could inherit only after the brothers and sisters children, except-conjugal children were easily succession to the throne-entitled.Håkon that property was illegitimate son of Harald Hårfagri, Magnus that property was illegitimate son of Olavthe holy one. Most kings were illegitimate at that time.

At the common government of several brothers the son of a deceasing king did not follow his father, but its king rule closed up the remaining kings.

Harald Hårfagre tried, by house law the successionto regulate for the first time deviating, by determining that its sons should divide the realm, but the Oberkönigtum should hold. Everyone should be Königtum in the man trunk to leave. The sons of daughters should receive - likewise it paled - the Jarlswürde, with whata smaller rule, which king was subordinated, designated. With the help of the Oberkönigtums a unit of the realm should remain outward protected despite the division of the rule.

Königtum in Scandinavia in the Christian Middle Ages

the function of the Königtums changeditself in the Christian Middle Ages, in particular around 1300, gradually. Under Eric II. and particularly under its successor Håkon Magnusson got the king a role unknown in early Scandinavia as highest legislators and highest judges. At this time the king mirror became inold-Norwegian language writes, which the position of the king justifies exclusively Biblically. Here the continental currents of on the right of and political sciences come to carrying.

king in the modern times

of the king titles becomes in most countries of Europe by hereditary course afterthe death of the predecessor transfer. In the hereditary monarchies the male Erstgeburtsrecht in former times nearly always applied. Successor thus always became the oldest male inheritance of the deceased of king. Most European monarchies have the succession in the last years in favor of of theoldest physical inheriting - indifferent whether man or woman - changed.

Some kingdoms, as for instance Poland and today still Malaysia and the Vatikanstaat (Pope), were against it choice monarchies. In them a fixed circle of voters determined - in Germany was thisthe cure princes - the successor of a deceased or a set off king.

The formal assumption of office of a king takes place in the context of a solemn coronation/culmination, like in England or in a Huldigungszeremonie, like in the Netherlands.

See also: Monarchy

work on []

King lists of monarchies

see also

Wikiquote: King - quotations
Wiktionary: King - word origin, synonyms and translations


  • Aschehougs Norges history. Oslo 1995, Bd. 2, ISBN 82-03-22013-4
  • Lotte Hedeager: “Scandza”, Folkevandingstidens nordiske oprindelsesmyte. In Nordsjøen - trade, religion og politikk. Karmøyseminaret 94/95 Hrg. Karmøy municipality, S. 9, ISBN 82-7859-000-1.
  • Konrad bricklayer: Lectures on Altnordi historical jurisprudence Bd. I: OldNorwegian public law and Gerichtswesen. Deichert' publishing house, Leipzig 1907.

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