Charles I of England and his son, the future James II

A dynasty (UK: i/, US: i/) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,[1] usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in elective republics. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house",[2] which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital", etc., depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of many sovereign states, such as Ancient Egypt, the Carolingian Empire and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties. As such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which the family reigned and to describe events, trends, and artifacts of that period ("a Ming-dynasty vase"). The word "dynasty" itself is often dropped from such adjectival references ("a Ming vase").

Until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to increase the territory, wealth, and power of his family members.[3] The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC.

Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter usually established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house. This has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For example, the House of Windsor is maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, similarly with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant. The earliest such example among the major European monarchies was in Russia in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through a non-ruling female.

In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance. Less frequently, a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multidynastic (or polydynastic) system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession.

Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Modern examples are the Vatican City State and Principality of Andorra. Throughout history, there were monarchs that did not belong to any dynasty. Non-dynastic rulers include King Ptolemy Keraunos of Macedon, King Arioald of the Lombards, and Emperor Phocas of the Byzantine Empire.

The word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is also extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team.[1]


The word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia (δυναστεία), where it referred to "power", "dominion", and "rule" itself.[4] It was the abstract noun of dynástēs (δυνάστης),[5] the agent noun of dynamis (δύναμις), "power" or "ability",[6] from dýnamai (δύναμαι), "to be able".[7]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Dynastie
العربية: سلالة حاكمة
azərbaycanca: Sülalə
تۆرکجه: خاندان
Bân-lâm-gú: Ông-tiâu
башҡортса: Династия
беларуская: Дынастыя
български: Династия
Boarisch: Dynastie
bosanski: Dinastija
brezhoneg: Tierniezh
català: Dinastia
čeština: Dynastie
dansk: Dynasti
Deutsch: Dynastie
eesti: Dünastia
español: Dinastía
Esperanto: Dinastio
euskara: Dinastia
فارسی: دودمان
français: Dynastie
galego: Dinastía
한국어: 왕조
हिन्दी: वंश
hrvatski: Dinastija
Bahasa Indonesia: Wangsa
íslenska: Konungsætt
italiano: Dinastia
עברית: שושלת
қазақша: Династия
Kiswahili: Nasaba
Кыргызча: Династия
Latina: Dynastia
latviešu: Dinastija
lietuvių: Dinastija
magyar: Dinasztia
മലയാളം: രാജവംശം
Bahasa Melayu: Dinasti
Nederlands: Dynastie
日本語: 王朝
norsk: Dynasti
norsk nynorsk: Dynasti
occitan: Dinastia
پنجابی: شاہی خاندان
polski: Dynastia
português: Dinastia
română: Dinastie
русский: Династия
Scots: Dynasty
shqip: Dinastia
Simple English: Dynasty
slovenčina: Dynastia
slovenščina: Vladarska rodbina
کوردی: خانەدان
српски / srpski: Династија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Dinastija
svenska: Dynasti
тоҷикӣ: Сулола
Türkçe: Hanedan
українська: Династія
Tiếng Việt: Triều đại
Winaray: Dinastiya
粵語: 朝代
Zazaki: Xanedani
中文: 朝代