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Re: Descent from Charlemagne

>I have not yet studied your chart on Charlemagne.  The point I was trying to 
>make is that if one is climbing his family tree and suddenly connects with 
>say a medieval king, he should not jump to the conclusion that he is 
>automatically descended from Charlemagne.

Was someone jumping to such a conclusion?

>The Germanic tribes that replaced the Roman Empire in Western Europe had a 
>rather democratic idea of electing their chiefs, somewhat like the Indians of 
>the Great Plains in the US such as the Sioux or Apaches.
>This practice existed not only in the Holy Roman Empire but elsewhere as 
>well.  It persisted in Poland until Poland disappeared from the map in the 
>late 18th cent.

Poland was notorious for, at least at one point in its history, permitting
any single elector of the king to veto the election.  The Poles were also
not Germanic.  For that matter, the Germanic tribes weren't uniform.

>Likewise, the early kings of France were elected

Interesting.  I'm not sure how that fits with the Merovingian dynasty
followed by the Carolingian dynasty.

> and their throne fought over,

That happens a lot even in primogeniture societies.  See for example
the Wars of the Roses.

> and indeed, the French monarchy barely existed up until the time of the 
>Norman Conquest of England  in 1066.

Sometimes it was stronger than at other times.

>There were about 30 great feudal princes who paid little attention to the 

The number varied over time.  For example, Louis VII (1137-80)
picked twelve:

>  The Carolingian kings tried unsuccessfully to hold onto the throne.  
>But in 887 the French nobility elected a new family, the Robertians.  Odo was 
>elected king but upon his death the French nobility gave the crown back to 
>the Carolingians.  When the last Carolingian king died in 987, the nobles 
>elected Huge Capet as king, starting a new dynasty.

New dynasties usually start when the last claimant of the old dynasty dies.
In this case, it was after 8 Carolingian kings of France, starting with
Charles II the Bald.  As dynasties go, an almost unbroken series of 8
kings over 172 years (9 including Charlemagne, 10 including Charles Martel,
in which case it was more than 250 years) seems like a success story.
Neither William the Conqueror nor Robert Bruce did as well with dynastic

>Dane Bowen in Alexandria, Va., researching Bowen, Bacon, Carlton (Carleton), 
>Luker, Sanders (Saunders), Chaudoin (Chaudoins), Maverick, Richey (Ritchie, 
>Richie, Ritchey), Spence, Sumner, Way, and Wells families.

John S. Quarterman <jsq@quarterman.org>
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