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blog Building Systems of Tanistry

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Black Dragon, May 24, 2020.

  1. Featured Author

    Featured Author Scribe

    featuredauthor submitted a new blog post:

    Building Systems of Tanistry

    This article is by Seán Gray, and is presented by Worldbuilding Magazine.


    Fiction is overflowing with kings and queens, galactic empires, and bloodlines bursting with hidden power. History, too, is replete with important lineages and conquerors who spawned mighty dynasties. This article aims to explore an often neglected succession system that helped create several such titans and how it can be applied to your own worldbuilding.

    Originally found in Gaelic Ireland, tanistry is a method of succession where the nobility elect a ruler from their own number. Each member of the nobility is eligible to become monarch. While named for the Gaelic version of this system, tanistry has also been used as a system of succession in the Ottoman and Xiongnu empires.

    Tanistry in History

    First, let’s look at a few historical examples of succession systems similar to tanistry. We’ll start with the Gaelic version of tanistry because it offers us clues as to how the system emerged. In this method of succession, the heir would be selected from a pool of potential noble candidates while the king still lived. This assembly, all of whom shared a common patrilineal ancestor, would choose an heir known as the tainist.

    With so many potential candidates for the throne available, the...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

    Thank you for sharing! I found this article really interesting for my WIP considerations.
  3. Aldarion

    Aldarion Sage

    Similar system was used in medieval Hungary. In fact, most kings of Hungarian-Croatian kingdom - e.g. Wladislaus Jagellon, Matthias Corvinus - were elected.

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