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My Kingdom X is a great and prosperous nation, having a decent amount of natural resources. The kingdom's founding dynasty has stood the test of time for 1000s of years, until Kingdom Y launches a war against them.

The world is 25% the size of Earth for creative reasons, with Earth gravity. Kingdom X is located on a landmass 1/4th the size of Asia (scaled) and the only other landmass is Europe, on the other side of the world and unknown.

The world is Earth like and inhabited by humans. A form of magic will be involved, but I'll either put in later enough (aka when Kingdom Y attacks) or make it relatively balanced like guns are nowadays. Natural phenomena are the same, and so are humans biologically. Differences of education/deep-rooted thoughts may be changed, but I don't know how much that change anything.

How do I make this long dynasty (around 1000 - 2000 years) realistic? The only dynasty I can see is the Zhou dynasty (we'll ignore the differences in dynasties that conquer/unify vs those that rule for now), and even that only lasted around 800 years.

The kingdom has a group of people loyal to the king in the beginning, and it is relatively peaceful (aka no wars of aggression during this time period), but change is happening around them so I need for them to be able to resist outside and inside pressures/changes.

The kingdom is well-protected by a mountainous range, but there is a massive gap where opposing armies could get through. The original dynasty built a wall there, but we all know what happens when walls/the military fall into disarray.

The kingdom also is the only exporter of [insert natural resource here], which gives it great wealth but also make it an attractive target.

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    $\begingroup$ The Roman Empire lasted for 1400 years (though shrinking). $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 9 '18 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ Have you ruled out revisionist history? If you are the king and have absolute control of the education system, who is to say that your family line hasn't gone back 2000 years. If it is family policy to exaggerate the age of their dynasty, how many generations of executed dissenters would it take to make the true history too expensive a truth to keep. One generation after the last owner of that true history is put to death, the dynasty leaps directly to 2000, 5000 or even 10,000 years old. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 9 '18 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ Doesn’t need to suddenly add on a thousand years. Just exaggerate ten percent each fifty years. Start in year five hundred, and by a thousand, the “history” says 2600. $\endgroup$ – WGroleau Sep 10 '18 at 2:22
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn "The Roman Empire lasted for 1400 years" Yes, but hardly with a single dynasty. The most famous dynasty of that empire must be the Julian-Claudian, which lasted little over a century (if you include Caesar). You also mention absolute monarchy, but historic evidence shows that that is a good way to have dynasties considerably shorter than 1000 years. $\endgroup$ – oerkelens Sep 10 '18 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ The Yamato Dynasty in Japan goes back in recorded history at least to Kinmei in 539 CE, and the official story is that they've ruled since Jimmu in 660 BCE. 1479-2677 years easily covers your 1000-2000 range. Of course they've only been figureheads since WWII, and there were multiple periods in the past when they were closer to figureheads than absolute rulers, but they were never unseated. And they only had a few wars of aggression over that long history, and most of them are toward the later period (starting with the 16th Korean invasions and building to WWII). $\endgroup$ – abarnert Sep 10 '18 at 8:51

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It's nice to see someone acknowledging that maintaining a dynasty for more than a few centuries is a very, very difficult proposition: too many fantasy works casually write 'and the House of X has ruled Kingdom Y for 10,000 years' without considering how unparalleled this is in human history.

One thing to note that is if you want your specific dynasty (i.e. the actual same family) to continue in power for that long, you will need the right sort of social set-up (e.g. polygamy as practised in the Ottoman and Chinese empires, or an arrangement that allows the dynastic title to be transmitted to women or adopted children), as Western-style monogamous patrilineal dynasties almost invariably go extinct in the male line after a few hundred years; one family can't keep consistently churning out sons for generation after generation, unless you use some kind of fertility-magic as a fix for this.

Otherwise, you will need a political system which emphasises stability and perhaps has a special spiritual role for the royal family. The Yamato dynasty in Japan (the current longest-reigning dynasty in the world, having endured 1400 years and counting) have survived largely because for much of this time they have been symbolic leaders, regarded as quasi-divine beings but not entrusted with day-to-day power, thus preventing them from being brought down by the failings of the government of the day.

I would emphasise geography as the reason for not being conquered in external attacks; you mention mountains, and ruling over a country with large mountainous areas which they could use as a defence against invaders worked quite well for the Bagrationi dynasty, who held out in Georgia for nearly 1000 years. Even if invaders breach your wall, perhaps if the dynasty has strong enough support from the people it can resist from impregnable mountain bases until the attackers are eventually forced to cut their losses and withdraw.

Ultimately, however, there is no one 'right' answer to this question; if there was then more families would have managed it, since almost every dynast in history has wanted their family's rule to last for thousands of years!

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    $\begingroup$ You can churn out sons as every male alive today descends from an unbroken line of males. The issue seems to be nobility having fewer children than the commoners. There is also the issue that males in such a society are more likely to be killed in war and assassinations. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Sep 9 '18 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel: You're forgetting royal legitimacy. If illegitimate sons and all daughters are barred from inheritance, that means you have to reliably get the queen pregnant early and often enough to guarantee a son. And then you have to do it again, for hundreds of generations in a row. With medieval medial standards of care during childbirth. That is unrealistic. You can remarry, but sooner or later you'll have a Henry VIII situation with no surviving sons. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Sep 10 '18 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel That's only true when looking backwards / is survivorship bias. Unless a ruler is chosen by someone knowing the futuure there's no guarantee that the royal family would be one of the unbroken lines. $\endgroup$ – JohnLBevan Sep 10 '18 at 7:38
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    $\begingroup$ Another way to avoid extinction of the dynasty would be to have cognatic succession instead of only agnatic (male). This mean the dynasty only needs heirs of any kind, not just males. Inbreeding could still occur, though. $\endgroup$ – Chieron Sep 10 '18 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel sounds like you are falling prey to a fallacy called Survivorship Bias - yes, every one alive has an unbroken line of ancestors, but that doesn't mean that any given person in the past will have an unbroken line of descendants. $\endgroup$ – Benubird Sep 10 '18 at 13:57
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First, follow a modified Saudi Arabian model.

In a nutshell, royals are polygamous and have many children, but successors are chosen and announced as successors by the existing ruler not purely based upon birth order and descent, but instead, based upon competence from among the people who are eligible (i.e. adult royals). The existing ruler could change the successor at any time.

Thus, someone in a cadet line could be named as successor by the existing ruler.

Also, cousin marriage would be prohibited for royals, to prevent inbreeding problems that have plagued, for example, the European aristocratic dynasties, as well as the sibling marriages that plagued the Egyptian dynasties.

This would solve the incompetent Crown Prince problem, the inbreeding problem, and the complacency issue of hereditary princes and princes having no incentive to perform competently or show loyalty to the current monarch.

An absence of incompetence and inbreeding would also help support for the institution of the monarchy generally (see, e.g. how the Papacy survived for about 2000 years without facing those issues).

The one problem with the Saudi Arabian model is that it generates too many royals since all descendants of the original founding monarch are eligible. But, narrowing the pool of eligible descendants to descendants of the current monarch's grandparents, for example, would fix that long run problem.

Birth order type priorities among eligible successors would apply only in rare cases where a successor did not have an opportunity to name a successor.

Patriarchal, matrilineal and gender neutral variations on this theme could all work.

Second, have a stable, "rent" based economy.

The transition from monarchy to constitutional monarchies and Republics typically arises when the monarchy can no longer fund the activities of government with revenues limited to the income from property-like assets that the monarchy owns personally.

Almost all of the remaining absolute monarchies are sustained by oil wealth. The European monarchies mostly transitioned to Republics or constitutional monarchies when merchants and manufacturers generated wealth that wasn't captured by rents on royally owned land (managed through a feudal hierarchy), and so the monarchs had to go to the economically powerful people and trade them power for tax revenues.

This same script played out, for example, in England, France, Spain and Afghanistan. Other places (like Northern Italy) lost their monarchies when they were conquered by newly formed Republics, or just out and out rebelled in taxation without representation driven revolutions (e.g. the American Revolution).

So, a long dynasty needs a source of revenue that is a dominant source of wealthy in the economy for thousands of years, that is "rent-like."

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There is no inherent reason why a dynasty needs to change after some time. Polygyny and Concubinage can help ensuring the survival of the family, and in history it was somewhat common to adopt the husband of a daughter into the family when the male line was under threat.

Assuming a dynasty doesn't die out, it can usually be replaced in two ways:

Either the polity and the dynasty are very closely knit together (like in China, Persia or the Islamic world), in which case the dynasty's rule ends when it falls behind its neighbours militarily or economically - which can be avoided by having the country be in a geographically and diplomatically favourable position. The Course of Empire is always going to be a problem, but the cycle can be slow, the decline can be dragged out, decadence can be subdued by religion, and even within a dynastic rule there can be minor renewals - or major ones if the ruling dynasty is separate from the government. There can be whole Civil Wars between Daimyos, Lords, chancellors or magnates that don't affect the Royal house at all. In any case, 2000 years are not unrealistic I think.

Or the polity and the dynasty are separate (like in Europe), in which case the dynasty's rule ends because the local estates (or whoever holds power) are not content with their rule. This can be avoided by making the dynasty's power base itself very strong (this is essentially like the first case, just on another level). It's also possible that the estates have high autonomy and simply don't care about who rules as long as they have low obligations towards the crown. In a fantasy world, there can of course always be the aspect of a bloodline being tied to rulership - like Elendil's heirs to the thrones of Gondor and Arnor.

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Part One of Three: What is a Dynasty?

The word dynasty is often used loosely.

a line of hereditary rulers of a country. "the Tang dynasty" synonyms: bloodline, line, ancestral line, lineage, house, family, ancestry, descent, succession, genealogy, family tree; More a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field. "the Ford dynasty" synonyms: bloodline, line, ancestral line, lineage, house, family, ancestry, descent, succession, genealogy, family tree; More

Even that definition seems a bit loose to me. I tend to use the word dynasty to mean rulers descended in the male line from father to son to grandson to great grandson, etc. That is called agnatic descent.

That doesn't mean that there would be no legal way for the crown to pass from one dynasty to another. Who gets to inherit depends on the succession laws.

In medieval and modern times there were two main succession rules in Europe.

One was agnatic primogeniture. That means the succession passed from father to oldest son to oldest grandson to oldest great grandson, etc., or to the closest agnatic (male lineage) man related to the old ruler if the old ruler had no sons. Sometimes that meant the throne would be inherited by a distant cousin of the previous ruler, with a common agnatic ancestor centuries earlier. That law ensured that the throne would remain within the agnatic dynasty of the original family as long as the dynasty lasted or wasn't overthrown.

The second main rule was male preference primogeniture, in which the crown would preferably pass to the oldest son of the oldest son of the oldest son forever. If a ruler's oldest son died before his father but left sons the oldest of those grandsons would inherit. If a ruler or someone in line for the throne died without sons but with daughters the oldest daughter would inherit the right to the throne. The daughter of the previous ruler was preferred to the brother, cousin, or other relative of the previous ruler. That was the main succession rule in most of medieval and modern Europe.

The founder of a dynasty might prefer agnatic primogeniture because that would keep the throne within his male lineage family down through the ages. Each successive king might prefer male preference primogeniture to keep the crown within his own descendants instead of it possibly passing to descendants of his brothers or cousins.

Because male preference primogeniture was probably the most common succession rule in medieval Europe, the kingdoms, principalities, and fiefs which practiced it often passed legally and peacefully from one dynasty to another when the heiress married a member of another dynasty.

In the last 40 years or so, in the lifetimes of some people who read this, most remaining European monarchies have adopted a new succession law, absolute primogeniture, which means that the oldest child of the monarch will inherit the throne, whether male or female. Since there are about equal numbers of males and females born, about 50 percent of the time the crown will be inherited by a woman, and if she marries and has children the throne will pass legally to a new dynasty.

There are many, many other succession rules used in Europe and other regions. Some of them require that the crown will remain within the same agnatic dynasty while others permit the throne to pass from one agnatic dynasty to another. In some monarchies the crown can only pass from one man to another man through a woman, meaning the new monarch will usually be the sister's son of the previous one and thus a member of a new agnatic dynasty, though in those countries the family and dynasty is usually defined as passing through the female line.

And some dynasties pass the throne from one woman ruler to another, usually her daughter, and these usually pass from one agnatic dynasty to another whenever a new woman succeeds.

So the founder of the dynasty should decide what he means by his dynasty when he tries to come up with a plan for it to last for thousands of years.

One obvious way for a dynasty to last for thousands of years is for the dynasty to actually be as divine as many dynasties claimed to be. If the dynasty actually is descended from gods, angels, elves, etc., they might be different from those who are fully human. Maybe they live ten times as long as normal humans, maybe they are far more intelligent, maybe they look super humanly beautiful, maybe they are bigger or smaller than ordinary humans, maybe they have magical powers, maybe they glow in the dark, etc., etc., etc.

Some dynasties believed in marrying sisters, half sister, aunts, nieces etc. to keep their supposed divinity concentrated within the family. But that was dangerous because marriages with first cousins or closer relatives can concentrate harmful recessive genes within future descendants. But if a family actually is divine and doesn't have any harmful genes, brothers can marry sisters for generation after generation and their descendants can be obviously superior to normal humans, while those members of the dynasty who intermarry with normal humans may produce more average and ordinary children.

If the members of your dynasty aren't really divine, semi divine, supernatural, etc., they will often seem like normal, ordinary people to other people. Thus those other people might believe that they are as good as the monarch and might plot to usurp the throne from the rightful heir or abolish the monarchy.

As far as I know, no real dynasty has been divine or supernatural, which explains the problems which many real dynasties have had with keeping the throne for centuries without dying out, being usurped, or being overthrown in favor of a republic.

So unless your dynasty is very supernatural or divine, you should try to find out which dynasties lasted the longest in real history and why they lasted that long.

Part Two of Three: A List of the Longest Lasting Dynasties

Studying tthe histories of long-lasting dynasties may show why and how they lasted so long.

For fun, here is a list of the allegedly longest lasting dynasties in history. Note that some historians exagereted the antiquity of their country's history, especially in medieval or ancient time when the history of those countries was much shorter than now.

1) The Dulo Dynasty supposed ruled the largely nomadic Bulgarians for 2,890 years, from 2137 BC to AD 753.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

According to Wikipedia the historical rule of the Dulo clan was from 632-668 in Old Great Bulgaria and from 681-753 in the first Bulgarian Empire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulo_clan 2

2) The Yamato Dynasty supposedly ruled Japan from 660 BC to the present, or about 2677 years.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

But the early Japanese rulers are generally considered legendary and mythical, and the first fully historical ruler of the dynasty is often said to be Kinmei, who ruled from AD 539 to 571 - his reign was thus from about 1479 to about 1447 years ago if the dates are correct. Kinmei was a son of Keitai who reigned about AD 507-531 and was allegedly a distant cousin in the male line of the previous ruler Buretsu (reigned about 498-506).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Emperors_of_Japan3

Cynical historians believe Keitai may have been a usurper unrelated to Buretsu. So the Yamato dynasty either began in AD 507 1511 years ago when Keitai usurped the throne, or else was a continuation of a dynasty going back a few centuries further.

3) The Hong Bang or Lac Dynasty of Vietnam supposedly ruled for 2,639 years from 2897 BC to 258 BC.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

According to Wikipedia there is no proof that the 18 lines of the Hong Bang Dynasty really existed. I note the 18 would have ruled for an average of about 146.6111 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Vietnam#H%E1%BB%93ng_B%C3%A0ng_Dynasty 4

4) The Gojosan Dynasty supposedly ruled Korea for 2,225 years from 2333 BC to 108 BC.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

As may be guessed from the dates, the Gojosan realm is considered to be a lot younger than that. Chinese records mention Gojosan from the 7th century BC. Furthermore, legends claim that Gija, refugee from China, founded a new dynasty in Gojosan about 1122 BC. And a historical Chinese immigrant, Wi Man, founded new dynasty in Gojosan in 194 BC.

Thus Gojosan seems to have been a state, not a dynasty, and to have had three separate dynasties that allegedly reigned for about 1,211 years, 928 years, and 86 years, and only the third period is fully confirmed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Korea#Family_tree5

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gojoseon6

5) The Champa Dynasty supposedly ruled Vietnam for 1,640 years from 192 BC to AD 1832.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html 1

But Champa was a state ruled by non Vietnamese in southern Vietnam, and according to Wikipedia it had 17 dynasties from AD 192 to AD 1832, which ruled for an average of 96.47 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Vietnam#H%E1%BB%93ng_B%C3%A0ng_Dynasty4

6) The Belle Dynasty or Balliol Dynasty of Flanders in Belgium has supposedly been in existence and reigning for 1,049 years from 960 to the present (thus "the present" should be 2009).

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

I don't know what this is supposed to be. A Balliol family were important Scottish nobles for centuries, and two members became kings of Scotland, but I know of no relationship of them with any dynasty reigning today that is close enough that someone would call them the same dynasty.

7) The Bagratuni Dynasty supposedly ruled Georgia for 997 years from AD from to 1810.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

And that is pretty much accurate, for once in this list. Adarnase, a Bagratuni noble from Armenia, fled to Georgia and gained the fief of Tao-Klarjeti. His son Ashot I the Great became Presiding Prince of Georgia in 813. His descendant Adarnase IV became the first King of Georgia in 888, so the Bagratunis were actually only kings for a "mere" 922 years.

I also have to admit that Georgia's mightiest medieval ruler was Queen of Kings Tamar who reigned from 1184 to 1213. Thus her descendants are actually descended from her second husband King Consort David Soslan in the male line. He was a prince from Alania who later chroniclers claimed was actually also a Bagratuni, the 4th Cousin of Tamar's father. Thus it is unknown whether the Georgian Bagratuni were one dynasty or two dynasties.

8) The Silla Dynasty ruled the kingdom of Silla in Korea for 992 years, from 57 BC to AD 935.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html 1

This is another case where this list is not so Silla. However, members of three different dynasties, the Pak, Seok, and Kim families, ruled the kingdom of Silla, so it wasn't ruled by one dynasty straight for 992 years.

9) Tonga was supposedly under the Tu'i Dynasty from AD 900 to 1865, or 965 years.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

As near as I can tell rulers with the title of Tu'i Tonga ruled Tonga from about 900 to about 1500 and reigned as priest kings from then until 1865 while other leaders ruled.

And they seem to have been a single dynasty as far as I can tell.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu%CA%BBi_Tonga7

10) The Zhou Dynasty is said to have ruled China for 790 years from 1046 BC to 256 BC.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

And this is pretty accurate. However, certain historical dates in Chinese history begin in 841 BC. Earlier dates are uncertain. Many different dates have been suggested for the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty by the Zhou Dynasty.

I may have more to write later about long lasting dynasties which may serve as model for fictional long lasting dynasties.

Added Sept 11-2018.

Part Three of Three: A Fairly Accurate Llist of 20 Long Lasting Dynasties

Here is a more plausible list of long lasting dynasties. Figuring out how they managed to keep their thrones for so long may influence someone wanting to write about fictional long lasting dynasties. Note that there is considerable uncertainty about the length of many of those dynasties. I expect that there are a few other dynasties that should be on this list, for example Irish dynasties whose legendary history goes back for thousands of years, and which ruled for about a thousand years in more or less accurate history.

Note that many dynasties still exist as families decades, centuries, or millennia after losing their kingdoms.

For example, the "House of Aberffraw" ruled the Kingdom of Gwynedd and claimed to be kings of the Britons from about 825 to the conquest of Gwynedd by Edward I in 1282/83. Merfyn Frych became king of Gwynedd through descent through his mother from the "House of Cunedda" that ruled Gwynedd from the time of Cunedda about 400 AD. Merfyn's father Gwriad was descended from Coel the Old, who lived about 400 AD. The ancestry of both Cunedda and Coel is traced back to Beli Mawr who would have lived about 100 BC.

A few Welsh families trace their descent back to Cunedda or Coel or other 5th century rulers and to Beli Mawr. Evan Vaughn Anwyll of Tywyn (b. 1943) is considered the heir of the "House of Aberffraw" and the "House of Cunedda".

Similarly there is a Kung clan in China tracing their ancestry back over 2,500 years to Confucius, whose ancestry is traced in turn to the Shang Dynasty that was overthrown over 3,000 years ago.

Dynasties listed in ascending order of maximum real or alleged duration:

20) 650 years and counting. Sultanate of Brunei, 1368 to present.

19) 677 years. Shirvanshahs of Shirvan. The longest lasting Islamic dynasty ruled Shirvan as a sometimes vassal and sometimes independent realm for 677 years from 861 to 1538. Note they sometimes claimed to be descended from the Sassanid dynasty that ruled Iran from 224 to 651.

18) 850 or 805 years. The Capetian Dynasty. Various branches of the Capetian Dynasty ruled France for 805 years straight from 987 to 1792. Also for 10 years from 888 to 898, 1 year from 922 to 923, and 34 years from 1814-1815, and 1815-1848, for a total of 850 years during a span of 960 years. They are sometimes divided into separate dynasties like direct Capetians, Valois, Bourbon, and Orleans.

17) 866 or 790 Years. The Zhou Dynasty. Many different dates for the Zhou Dynasty overthrow of the Shang Dynasty have been proposed. Liu Xin about 1 AD calculated that the Shang Dynasty ruled 644 years from 1766 BC to 1122 BC, the "Bamboo Annals" indicate the Shang ruled for 520 years from 1566 to 1046 BC, and the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project calculated that the Shang Dynasty ruled for about 554 years from c. 1600 to 1046 BC, among other calculations.

The Zhou Dynasty traditionally ended in 256 BC when King Nan of Zhou was killed and his state conquered by Qin. The last Zhou holdouts were defeated 7 years later in 249 BC. The Sui Dynasty that ruled from 581 to 618 and reunited China claimed to be descended from the Zhou Dynasty.

16) 997 years or 922 years, or 802 years or 400 years or 325 years or 205 years. The Bagrationi Dynasty of Georgia was founded by a Bagratuni noble from Armenia. His son Ashot I the Great became Presiding Prince of Georgia in 813, Adarnase IV became King of Iberia in 888, and Bagrat III united all Georgia in 1008. King Solomon II of Imereti was deposed by Russia in 1810.

Thus the Bagrationi Dynasty ruled Georgia for 802 years since 1008, or 922 years since 888, or 997 years since 813.

But Queen of Kings Tamar (reigned 1184-1213) was followed by her son King of Kings George IV Lasha (1213-1223) whose father was Tamar's second husband David Soslan from the royal family of Alania. It has been claimed that David Soslan was himself a Bagrationi, being the 4th cousin of Tamar's father George III. If so, the Bagrationi Dynasty ruled Georgia for 802, or 922, or 977 years. If David Soslan was not a Bagrationi the Bagrationi Dynasty only ruled George for 205, or 325, or 400 years until 1213, and a new dynasty descended from David Sosalan ruled for 597 years from 1213 to 1810.

15) 1,029 or 764 or 508 years. The Abbasid Caliphs at Baghdad reigned, and sometimes ruled, their usually shrinking realm for 508 years from 750 to 1258. A branch of the Quraysh tribe. A line of nominal Abbasid Caliphs with nominal authority reigned at Cairo during the time of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt for 256 years from 1261 to 1517. the Nawabs of Bahawalpur ruled as vassals of various rulers for 265 years from 1690 to 1955, and their Abbasi tribe claimed descent from the Abbasid Caliphs. Thus various branches of the Abbasids may have ruled various places for a total of 1,029 years.

[added Mar. 06 2019. Years ago surfing the internet I landed on a page describing a family vacation which seemed pretty ordinary and boring except that the two young sons had the title of "Emir". Reading further, I found that the family claims be be descended from the Abbasids.]

14) 1,050 or 957 or 817 or 724 years. Various Sharifs, descendants of the prophet Muhammed, were Emirs of Mecca, usually under various overlords, from about 964, when Jaafar al-Musawi was appointed. His descendants were appointed to rule Mecca until about 1201 when Qatada ibn Idris, another Sharif, became the founder of a dynasty that ruled Mecca for 724 years until 1925 and continue to rule in Jordan for a total of 817 years. I don't know if Qatada ibn Idris was descended from Jaafar al-Musawi or was a very distant cousin.

Sharif Hussein ibn Ali proclaimed himself King of the Hejaz in 1916, but the kingdom was conquered by Nejid in 1925. His descendants were Kings of Iraq for 35 years from 1923 to 1958 and emirs and kings of Jordan for 97 years from 1921 to the present.

13) 1,065 years. The Rassid dynasty of Imans ruled parts of Yemen for about 1,065 years from 897 to 1962. Since they claimed descent from Muhammed they are part of the Qurash. They were divided into various clans that competed and fought for the imanship, though.

12) 1,118 years or up to 950 years. The Tu'i Tonga Dynasty of Tonga. The first Tu'i Tonga monarch could have ruled as early as 900. Tonga was very powerful from about 1200 to 1500. From around 1470 the Tu'i Tonga Kau'ulufonua ceded political power to the first Tu'i Ha'atakalaua, his brother. The last Tu'i Ha'atakalaua ruled about 1800 or so.

The line of Tu'i Tonga continued until the death of Lafilitonga in 1865. The 6th Tu'i Ha'atakalaua, Mu'ongatonga, created the position of Tu'i Kanokupolu for one of his sons, Ngata.

The 19th Tu'i Kanokupolu (from 1845) eventually conquered all and united the warring states of Tonga in 1852 and was crowned King George Tupou I of Tonga in 1875, the ancestor of the kings and queens to the present.

As far as I can tell the various leaders are all one dynasty, the line of Tu'i Tonga for possibly as long as 965 years, the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua, the Tu'i Kanokupolu, and the Kings from 1875 to the present all seem to be branches of one dynasty which may have ruled for as long as 1118 years.

11) 1,130, or 1,009 or 944 years. Various branches of the Capetian Dynasty ruled France for 805 years straight from 987 to 1792. Also for 10 years from 888 to 898, 1 year from 922 to 923, and 34 years from 1814-1815, and 1815-1848, for a total of 850 years during a span of 960 years. Other branches of the Capetians ruled other Kingdoms like Spain from 1700-1808, 1813-1868, 1874-1931, and since 1975, Portugal from 1139-1910, and the grand duchy of Luxembourg from 1964 to the present. So various branches of the Capetians have ruled various monarchies for 944 straight years from 987 to 1910, and for a total of 1,009 years spread over a span of 1,130 years. They are sometimes divided into separate dynasties like direct Capetians, Valois, Bourbon, Orleans, Avis, & Braganza.

10) 1,411 or 1,211 years. The Shang Dynasty. Many different dates for the Zhou Dynasty overthrow of the Shang Dynasty have been proposed. Liu Xin about 1 AD calculated that the Shang Dynasty ruled 644 years from 1766 BC to 1122 BC, the "Bamboo Annals" indicate the Shang ruled for 520 years from 1566 to 1046 BC, and the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project calculated that the Shang Dynasty ruled for about 554 years from c. 1600 to 1046 BC, among other calculations.

Shang descendants ruled the vassal state of Song until Dai Tcheng usurped the throne in 355 BC. Dai Tcheng was a "distant relative" of the ruler but I don't know if he was descended from the Shang Dynasty.

9) 1,417 or 1,213 years. The Dynasty of Mewar or Udaipur. The state of Mewar was said to have been founded about 530 or 734, and was ruled by the Guhilot clan and then the Sisodia branch of the Guhilot clan until 1947.

8) 1,422 or 1,302 years. The Chera Dynasty of southern India. The Chera dynasty supposedly ruled various parts of south India for 1,422 or 1,302 years from some time during the 3rd century BC to AD 1102 or 1122.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chera_dynasty8

One source claims the Chera Dynasty ruled for 1,500 years from 300 BC to 1200 AD.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html 1

I am not very familiar with the dynasties of south India and I am not certain about how much the Cheras were a single dynasty.

7) 1,538 years. The Quraysh tribe of Mecca could be considered to be a dynasty that has ruled for at least about 1,538 years.

Among long lasting dynasties the Quraysh tribe of Mecca could be considered one of the longest ruling. The members are supposedly descended from Fihr ibn Malik, whose 6th generation descendant Qusayy united the Quraysh and took control of Mecca and the Kaaba. From that time to the present at least one member or alleged member of the Quraysh, and often many at the same time, has been a prominent leader in Meccan, Arabian, and/or Islamic society.

The prophet Muhammed is believed to have lived from about 570 to 632. He was the son of Abullah (born c. 530-550), son of Abdul-Mattalib (b. c.490-530), son of Hashim (founder of the Hashimite branch) (b.c.450-510), son of Abd Manaf (b.c.410-490), son of Quasyy (b. 370-470) - wikipedia says Quasyy lived from about 400 to about 480. So various members have the Quraysh have been more or less hereditary leaders of various societies for at least about 1,538 years since about 480.

Some people may consider the Quraysh more like a bunch of related and shorter lived dynasties than like one single dynasty ruling for all those 1,538 years.

6) 1,579 or 1479 years. The Chola Dynasty is said to have ruled in parts of south India for 1,479 to 1,579 years between some time in the 3rd century BC to AD 1279.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chola_dynasty 9

It has been claimed the Cholas ruled for 1,557 years from 278 BC to AD 1279.

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html 1

I am not very familiar with the dynasties of south India and I am not certain about how much the Cholas were a single dynasty.

5) 1,876 years. The Celestial Masters of the Zhengyi Dao branch of Daoism or Taoism claim to be descended from Zhang Daoling who founded the Daoist religion about AD 142, 1,876 years ago. That is not a political dynasty but it is a dynasty of religious leaders alleged to be 1,876 years old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Celestial_Masters 10

4) 1,938 or 1,914 years. The Ningthouja Dynasty of Manipur in south India. The Ningthouja Dynasty is said to have ruled for 1,914 years from AD 33 to 1947 when Manipur became part of India, or according to some for 1,938 years until 1971 when India abolished the privileges of the royal families.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ningthouja_dynasty 11

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html 1

I am not very familiar with the dynasties of south India and I am not certain about how much the Ningthouja Dynasty was a single dynasty.

3) 2,250 or 1,950 pr 1,945 or 1,545 years. The Pandyan Dynasty reigned in southern India for a very long time. Apparently they reigned on and off in various parts of south India for about 1,545 to 1,950 years from the 3rd century BC to 1345 and 1650 in various regions. Some sources say the Pandya Dynasty reigned for 1,945 years from 600 BC to 1345 or about 2,250 years from about 600 BC to 1650.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandyan_dynasty12

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/12/top-10-dynasties-in-world-that-reigned.html1

I am not very familiar with the dynasties of south India and I am not certain about how much the Pandyas were a single dynasty.

2) 2,678 years, or 1,511 years, or 1,479 years, or 1,447 years. The Yamato Dynasty of Japan.

The traditional beginning of the Yamato Dynasty of Japan was in 660 BC. But Kinmei, the earliest ruler considered totally historical, reigned from about 539 to 571 AD, from about 1,479 to 1,447 years ago. Kinmei was the son of Keitai who supposedly reigned from AD 507 to 531, beginning 1,511 years ago.

Keitai was allegedly a 4th cousin of the previous ruler Buretsu (reigned c. 498-507), both being descended in 5 generations from the legendary Ojin who supposedly reigned from about AD 270 to 310. But skeptical historians wonder if Keitai was an usurper unrelated to Buretsu. If so, that would make the Yamato dynasty only 1,511 years old since 507. If Buretsu and Keitai were actually members of the same dynasty then it's history would go back generations before 507, but probably would begin centuries after 660 BC.

1) 2,880 years, or 2,544 years, or 1,830 years, or 1,494 years, or 1,421 years, or 660 years, or 654 years or 581 straight years. The Solomonic Dynasty.

The Solomonic Dynasty ruled and/or reigned as Kings of Kings of Ethiopia for 581 years from AD 1270 to 1851 when Yohannes III (c. 1797-1873) was deposed at the end of his third reign. Tewodros II (1855-1868) claimed, very doubtfully, to be a member of the Solomonic Dynasty. Tekle Giyorgis II (1868-1871) claimed to be descended from the Zagwe Dynasty that ruled from about 900 to 1270. Yohannes IV (1871-1889) claimed to be descended from the Solomonic Dynasty. Menelik II (1889-1913) was a member of the Solomonic Dynasty. All later monarchs until 1975 were descended from the Solomonic Dynasty only through female lines except for Zewditu (1916-1930) who was Meneleik's daughter. So if all claimed membership of the Solomonic Dynasty was true it would have ruled for 598 years from 1270-1868 and for 42 years from 1871 to 1913 and for 14 years from 1916-1930, for a total of 654 years spread over a span of 660 years.

But the Solomonic Dynasty claimed to be a restoration of the dynasty that ruled the Auxumite Kingdom from about AD 100 to 940 when it was overthrown. So that adds about another 840 years to the claimed duration of the Solomonic Dynasty, extending it to 1,421, or 1,494 years spread over about 1,830 years.

But there's more! The Solomonic Dynasty claimed to be descended in the male line from King Solomon, who traditionally reigned from c. 970 BC to 931 BC, and the Queen of Sheba, through their son Menelik I who became the first monarch of Ethiopia. Therefore the claim of the Solomonic Dynasty is that it ruled Ethiopia for about 1,890 years since about 950 BC to about 940 AD, and again for 598 years from 1270 to 1868 AD, and for 42 years from 1871 to 1913, and for 14 years from 1916 to 1930, for a total of about 2,544 years spread over a span of about 2,880 years.

Believe it or not.

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    $\begingroup$ you have a typo - saying 7900 where it should be 790 (in the Zhou Dynasty near the end) $\endgroup$ – Ister Sep 11 '18 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Ister I corrected the typo and added a list of 20 long lasting dynasties, most of which allegedly reigned for over 1,000 years. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Sep 12 '18 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ Both halves of this answer - the initial discussion and then the list of long-lived dynasties are interesting! Thanks! $\endgroup$ – davidbak Sep 12 '18 at 17:03
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  1. Make sure the kings have sons. Polygyny (only for the king and his children, since widespread polygyny means there are a lot of young men without wives, and that leads to violence and instability).
  2. Don't intermarry too tightly. (EDIT: so that you don't get many weak and feeble.)
  3. Weed out the weak and feeble that do occur.
  4. Buy the loyalty of the aristocracy, civil service and army without taxing the peasantry too hard.
  5. Transition to a constitutional monarchy so that there's no burning desire on the part of powerful aristocrats to overthrow the monarch.
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There are two primary roadblocks for a continued rule by a single hereditary line, both of which boil down to natural selection:

  1. Genetics. Over time, a select hereditary line, however careful, is going to accumulate genetic deficiencies that will eventually render its members incapable of continuing their duties as rulers. King Tut and Tsarevich Alexei are notable examples.

  2. Since dynasty members are born into power rather than choose it on their own will, there's going to be an inevitable fluctuation in their ability and willingness to wield it.

As such, you're going to somehow counter these factors. These are the ways tried out in history, with varying degrees of success:

  • Somehow look out for people capable of and willing to take the lead and adopt them (countering the genetic trap by making heritage in-name-only). The main trapping here is that selection was generally done from nobility rather than everyone -- which, if becoming a closed caste, still opens itself to degradation by inbreeding.

  • Limit/distribute the power of the monarch thus eliminating them as a single point of failure, reducing the load of responsibility on and thus ability requirements for them. This was tried out in Japan where for many centuries emperors were figureheads.

You may notice that this both is exactly what more democratic regimes are doing...

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    $\begingroup$ the Genetics point can be bypassed easily with non kinsman marriages (king Tut was very inbred) incest was present in most western royal lines. if you make succession elective then the best family member with the best traits will inherit over one who doesn't. $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon Sep 10 '18 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @CreedArcon Electing from the family will only reduce the risk. As long as you have the same genes, you're in danger of those genes turning out bad. $\endgroup$ – ivan_pozdeev Sep 10 '18 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ sorry that did not get across well, i said that if they don't engage in incest AND use elective succession then you can get rid of the poor heath and the born into power problem in one go. and maybe if the family has some sort of divine blood line or something like that (like Japan or China) they could stay in power longer. so NO incest pro elective succession and a bit of God blood can go a long way $\endgroup$ – Creed Arcon Sep 10 '18 at 2:56
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I suggest you to allow your king to adopt the best man in your kingdom like the roman empire in III B.C., it allow you to ever have a strong king on the throne; to ensure that your king can't choose someone not suitable for the job, the heir have to do a some kind of "cursus honorum" (he had to serve in the military and in public position), so he would be prepared for rule a kingdom; therefor your dynasty will remain intact for a long time, because the adopted heir would inherited not only the throne but also the dynasty surname and all the wealth of the family.

For the religion i suggest you to be inspired by Asian religion or Greek and Latin paganism, because they are more like philosophy; the people subjugated from your kingdom will more likely embrace this kind of religion.

This empire can't stretch to much but he have to rule in his cultural region like Chinese and Japan empire.

Or if your world is fantasy you can use something like the dragons in game of thrones to keep cohesive your kingdom, indeed a threat like this can certainly keep your empire strong and your dynasty live easily 1000-2000 years.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that the dynasty in A Song of Ice and Fire only lasted a few hundred years. $\endgroup$ – Wildcard Sep 11 '18 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, because the dragons died $\endgroup$ – Alessandro di Tocco Oct 21 '18 at 12:27
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You could use a shared identity or common enemy as a way to unite the people in favor of their country, and that could easily distract the average citizen from any mistakes the government makes, which would lower the chances of rebellion or major social change.

That could also make the dynasty resistant to external forces because nationalism would increase interest in fighting and defending for their country.

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Japan's Yamato dynasty traces its origins back to 660, making it the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world. (Source)

That's almost 1,400 years.

  • Rules of inheritance/heredity that produce an ordered transition of power within the dynasty should the monarch not have children. For example: oldest child of the monarch (and each child in turn), then oldest sibling of the monarch (and each sibling in turn), then oldest aunt/uncle (and each aunt/uncle in turn), then oldest child of oldest sibling (then each in turn for each sibling in turn). Frankly, that ruleset alone guarantees the dynasty.

  • Require spouses (and, therefore, children) to take the name of the dynasty.

  • Have tons of loyalty & firepower.

I should think if you successfully have all three rules one would keep any dynasty alive forever.

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I would turn the question around, to start with. The question to ask is, what causes a dynasty to end. My presumption is that dynasties succeed and endure by avoiding the many causes of failure, rather than by targeting causes of success.

There are also some protective factors, which seem to be much more limited in scope.

Protective factors

  • How the rulers are seen by the populace. Think of Japan's near godlike but apolitical position on emperors, or the sanctity given by Thais and Muslims even towards images of their king and Prophet respectively.
  • The supporting structures available to the rulers. Think of nobility, priestly castes, law, military, or trading classes (plutocrats), who may provide much of the stability behind the throne.
  • Resources available to the throne. If the ruler dominates some types of resources or rights, or has some kind of ability or power (technogical or magical).
  • External/survival threats. These tend to bring people together. Interestingly they could be natural as well as human. For example, ongoing threats from natural forces (sea, volcano, famine etc) may push revolt into second place behind survival.
  • Power structure - this is separate from supporting structures. Think of a slavery based classical society, these were often quite stable, even though to us, slavery is abhorrent, because enough people benefited and were placed in a position of power, to the extent that they had a vested interest in perpetuating it. Slave revolts occurred, but the rest of the society largely repressed them.
  • Satisfaction of population. If the population feels broadly happy/content, the public motivation to support a change of status quo diminishes. This could relate to ignorance of alternatives, or knowledge, or living standards, or population pressure, if they feel their voices are heard (somehow), etc.
  • Fears of populace or of supporting groups. If some extreme fear exists in the minds of either the populace or the supporting classes, this can readily inhibit efforts towards change. This might relate to the ruler's reputation for discovering plots, the fate of rebels and their families, the extent of informers within society (ease of trust) - this could be spies but could be as simple as a religious confession ritual, fear of divine retribution (in this life or the afterlife), "vanishing" of people, etc.
  • Beliefs of the society, and how they interpret and act on these, and how seriously breach is taken. For example, is "kindness" felt by (almost) everyone as a core value that is essential to live by ("walk the talk")? What about concepts like "honour"? "Power"? "Generosity"? "Faith"? "Family"? ...

    Causes of failure

History lists quite a few obvious answers, and beyond that there are probably also meta-observations. This can't ever be a complete list, and there's no "best way" to categorise these. The list is probably huge, but this is where I would begin. I wouldn't be surprised if historians have formally written books or papers analysing this. They would do a far better job than I could.

One meta-feature I would add is to consider flexibility vs. rigidity: Assuming a dynasty that has shown it can last for centuries, does that dynasty have a better chance of extending its rule to millennia, if it (and its society) is rigid, or if it is flexible/adaptable, or some combination?

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Choose the right king at the right time

Each lord chooses an apprentice who will take control before the king dies. An apprentice as others have commented reduces the danger of the first male being incompetent or unwilling to rule. The importance of the king passing control over before his death is so he does not grow too frail to lead and so the powerful ruler is still able to return from retirement until people have got used to the new ruler and he has learned how to rule well.

Don't allow lords real power

Each lord should have only part of the power of a province. One controls food and natural resources, one controls military, one controls the money, one controls the navy. This would make it difficult for a province to rebel without unanimous support of the lords as each lord would be powerless alone. You could further the divide of powers by having each type of lord learn a different language from birth and be banned from learning others so they are only able to communicate through randomly assigned translators. That way the lords would not be able to communicate with each other in secret. Alternatively you could have each province only allowed to train one type of soldier. Province 1 and 2 have infantry 3 and 4 have cavalry, 5 and 6 have archers and 7 and 8 have canon, then if there was a rebellion of fewer than half the provinces the rebels would have an army very reliant on a particular set of tactics giving a huge disadvantage, in addition to having to trust the other rebels to a greater degree. The king could keep control of a personal force which covers all arms so the king will never be without a tactical option.

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    $\begingroup$ You realize how hard it would be for your lords to communicate when fighting an outside threat? $\endgroup$ – Efialtes Mar 6 at 23:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Elfialtes I honestly don't realise that, other than face to face conversations being a little slower and some translation problems I don't see an issue. $\endgroup$ – PStag Mar 9 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm.. maybe they could use like a guild of morse code operators to communicate. $\endgroup$ – Efialtes Mar 10 at 0:30
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Ancient Egypt was well protected from invaders by the deserts surrounding it. If you have a logical reason that invaders would not be able to get to the country in sufficient numbers to invade it, you can justify an absurdly long dynasty. The problem is your gap in the mountains. If the mountains are treacherous enough, they can stop potential invaders, but the gap lets anyone just waltz in and take over.

How to mind the gap

However, using magic, you can protect the gap area. The first things that come to mind is a force field to stop people from crossing there. The problem with a boundary is that it cuts off trade. If your country will be self-sufficient, I would recommend not having trade, as hiding from the rest of civilization will make your country less of a target to potential invaders. If you have to trade, though, a semi-permeable force filed would work. Remember, a couple bad guys sneaking in is not a big threat, and anyone who is determined enough can scale the mountains. You just have to protect yourself from big armies.

The force field

The force field can be made from a magic item, it can be a force of nature, or it could be maintained by a group of wizards who take turns maintaining it.

If you hide away (you don't engage in trade), there is no logical reason for your force field to go down, and you will not need a military. If an army somehow manages to invade though, you will not have any weapons to fight with and you will just be throwing rocks at the invaders. Probably not the most convincing or interesting story line.

If you don't hide, that is a good reason why your force field would go down and also a good reason why you would have a military and weapons- to fight the bad guys who sneak in over the mountains or stow away in incoming shipments or pose as merchants. One of them could take out one or all of the wizards maintaining the field so that the larger army can come in and attack. Keep in mind that this option still leaves the option of exactly what you are trading and the details of your magic open, you might need the ability to choose the specifics later on.

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    $\begingroup$ You'll note that Ancient Egypt didn't really have long dynasties. Outside invasion is probably the least concern of dynasties lasting. Egypt had several instances of the three/four generation problem (the grandson of the strong leader isn't a good leader and the decline starts). $\endgroup$ – pboss3010 Sep 10 '18 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ @pboss3010 I have no idea how that can be prevented, do you? That would appear to be a fundamental problem of dynasties. You could let the people elect strong leaders, but then it wouldn't be a dynasty anymore. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 10 '18 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it's a huge issue for dynasties that insist on the oldest surviving son inheriting the throne. There isn't a good way, unfortunately. Invariably, you're going to have a terrible ruler supported by sycophants or the treasury in charge (any sort of competence test will get ignored at some point) and your dynasty will fall. $\endgroup$ – pboss3010 Sep 10 '18 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ Egypt didn't always follow primogeniture. We don't know what the laws were at every point in their long history, but it seems pretty clear that in the New Kingdom they were doing something different, what with the multiple cases of female Pharaohs, younger sons inheriting, brothers inheriting instead of sons, etc. (That's also the period with the longest native dynasty—but we're still talking 248 years, not thousands.) $\endgroup$ – abarnert Sep 11 '18 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @pboss310 What if you made the ruling line big enough that there were a lot of cousins, brothers, second cousins, etc. and when you needed a new ruler, everyone voted for one. That would give you democracy and a dynasty. You also avoid anyone killing off their relatives because they won't be gaurenteed the throne. If people found out, no one would vote for them. $\endgroup$ – John Locke Sep 11 '18 at 10:51
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I think it's a fool's errand to try to design an institution of monarchy that cannot fail -- history is full of unknown unknowns ("black swans") that cannot be planned for, and you cannot prepare for everything. Instead, try to establish resiliency such that your dynasty will keep coming back no matter how many times it is overthrown, deposed, exiled, or what have you.

One thing that you have, by virtue of being a thousand year dynasty, is legitimacy in the eyes of at least some of your subjects. Any temporary political party or military junta may have power but not legitimacy -- they'll only keep power as long as they can fight for it. But your descendants can "bless" these short-term rulers by claiming that they rule in your name. This is a win-win; it keeps your dynasty relevant and gives your descendants at least some limited power to make demands, and for the short-term powers it gives their own dynasties a longer lifespan. When they inevitably fall, your descendants give their blessing to the new power.

Your dynasty's power may seem very little, if it's limited to a purely ceremonial role, but that's only when viewed from the perspective of a single lifetime. In a single century, a figurehead royalty cannot do much, but if they have the cunning and the patience to shape affairs over millennia, and the (admittedly bizarre) personality that allows them to view things from that perspective, they may be able to do quite a lot of shaping of their nation's future.

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You need cognatic sucession, to avoid extinction due to lack of males, polygamy, to avoid extinction due to lack of children, to forbid close kin marriage to avoid a Charles II of Spain, the hability to jump to cadet branches like the modern Saudis or the old Japanese did, a religous role to the emperor that can be detached from the politics (like in Japan).

Also you must have a way to get rid of the excess of royals that your system will generate. You should avoid marriages with your dukes and with neighbours, to prevent claims and wars of succession. Maybe you could send your excess royals to die fighting in the outside world as mercs or conquerors. Maybe you could sacrifice them to gods in pyramids - that would link with the religious role that your dinasty has.

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I'd try to be original and also attempt to lean on the coup d'etat tradition in some Near East countries.

A rule to change the dynasty

It might be quite hard to have a dynasty in the actual power, with somewhat usual inheritance rules (male children, all that), and for a longer period of time. Even harder it is to make it survive coups and dictatorships. What about insane kings? Pretenders? Habsburg-level incest?

So, in a sense, an easier way is to fix not a dynasty as such. But a rule to change the king/dynasty can be fixed. Let it be some kind of Divine Mandate (hello, China) or the traditional gist and upbringing of army generals. In the latter case: if the ruler does not satisfy the long-standing traditions, he is... well, replaced. And traditions can be enforced quite easily, such structures as tradition-infusing military academy survive for centuries.

So, you basically need some vehicle to pronounce a new king a true one. It might be a really existing creature (hello, "Twelve Kingdoms"!) or just some kind of a superstition, such as "who has the larger army and yeniçeri support wins". Or "who was chosen by the people".

An example when a chain of rulers is not related by blood is the Pope election or-- yeah, a democracy.

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    $\begingroup$ While this is all true, and good statesmanship, it doesn't answer the -- reasonable -- question. (Sometimes there are unreasonable questions for which the answer is "don't do that!") $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 10 '18 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ You think a democracy can last 10,000 years? Maybe, but it hasn't happened on Earth yet. $\endgroup$ – Wildcard Sep 11 '18 at 18:07

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