Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Ammianus Marcellinus was a Roman soldier and historian who wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from antiquity. His work, known as the Res Gestae, chronicled in Latin the history of Rome from the accession of the Emperor Nerva in 96 to the death of Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378, although only the sections covering the period 353–378 survive. Ammianus was born in the Greek-speaking East in Syria or Phoenicia, his native language was most Greek. The surviving books of his history cover the years 353 to 378. Ammianus served as a soldier in the army of Constantius II and Julian in Gaul and in the Roman–Persian Wars, he professes to have been "a former soldier and a Greek", his enrollment among the elite protectores domestici shows that he was of middle class or higher birth. Consensus is that Ammianus came from a curial family, but it is possible that he was the son of a comes Orientis of the same family name, he entered the army at an early age, when Constantius II was emperor of the East, was sent to serve under Ursicinus, governor of Nisibis in Mesopotamia, magister militum.
He returned with Ursicinus to Italy when Ursicinus was recalled by Constantius to begin an expedition against Claudius Silvanus. Silvanus had been forced by the false accusations of his enemies into proclaiming himself emperor in Gaul. Ammianus campaigned in the East twice under Ursicinus. On one occasion, he became separated from the officer's entourage and took refuge in Amida during the siege of the city by the Sassanids under King Shapur II; when Ursicinus was dismissed from his military post by Constantius, Ammianus too seems to have retired from the military. He accompanied Julian, for whom he expresses enthusiastic admiration, in his campaigns against the Alamanni and the Sassanids. After Julian's death, Ammianus accompanied the retreat of the new emperor, Jovian, as far as Antioch, he was residing in Antioch in 372 when a certain Theodorus was thought to have been identified the successor to the emperor Valens by divination. Speaking as an alleged eyewitness, Marcellinus recounts how Theodorus and several others were made to confess their deceit through the use of torture, cruelly punished.
He settled in Rome and began the Res Gestae. The precise year of his death is unknown, but scholarly consensus places it somewhere between 392 and 400 at the latest. Modern scholarship describes Ammianus as a pagan, tolerant of Christianity. Marcellinus writes of Christianity as being a pure and simple religion that demands only what is just and mild, when he condemns the actions of Christians, he does not do so on the basis of their Christianity as such, his lifetime was marked by lengthy outbreaks of sectarian and dogmatic strife within the new state-backed faith with violent consequences and these conflicts sometimes appeared unworthy to him, though it was territory where he could not risk going far in criticism, due to the growing and volatile political connections between the church and imperial power. He was not blind to the faults of Christians or of pagans, and he condemns his hero Julian for excessive attachment to sacrifice, for his edict barring Christians from teaching posts. While living in Rome in the 380s, Ammianus wrote a Latin history of the Roman empire from the accession of Nerva to the death of Valens at the Battle of Adrianople, in effect writing a continuation of the history of Tacitus.
He completed the work before 391, as at 22.16.12 he praises the Serapeum in Egypt as the glory of the empire. The Res Gestae was composed of thirty-one books, but the first thirteen have been lost; the surviving eighteen books cover the period from 353 to 378. It constitutes the foundation of modern understanding of the history of the fourth century Roman Empire, it is lauded as a clear and impartial account of events by a contemporary. Although criticised as lacking literary merit by his early biographers, he was in fact quite skilled in rhetoric, which has brought the veracity of some of the Res Gestae into question, his work has suffered from manuscript transmission. Aside from the loss of the first thirteen books, the remaining eighteen are in many places corrupt and lacunose; the sole surviving manuscript from which every other is derived is a ninth-century Carolingian text, Vatican lat. 1873, produced in Fulda from an insular exemplar. The only independent textual source for Ammianus lies in Fragmenta Marbugensia, another ninth-century Frankish codex, taken apart to provide covers for account-books during the fifteenth
The Thervingi, Tervingi, or Teruingi were a Gothic people of the Danubian plains west of the Dniester River in the 3rd and the 4th centuries. They had close contacts with the Greuthungi, another Gothic people from east of the Dniester, as well as the late Roman Empire or the early Byzantine Empire; the name Thervingi may mean "forest people". Evidence exists that geographic descriptors were used to distinguish people living north of the Black Sea both before and after Gothic settlement there, the Thervingi sometimes had forest-related names. History lacks evidence for the name pair Thervingi-Greuthungi earlier than the late 3rd century; the name "Thervingi" may have pre-Pontic, origins. The Thervingi first appeared in history as a distinct people in the year 268 when they invaded the Roman Empire; this invasion overran the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Illyricum and threatened Italia itself. However, the Thervingi were defeated in battle that summer near the modern Italian-Slovenian border and routed in the Battle of Naissus that September.
Over the next three years they were driven back over the Danube River in a series of campaigns by the emperors Claudius II Gothicus and Aurelian. Vandals Van of the Vanir Jervanni aka Jermanni, from First Man aka Van against Odin of the Assir, of Asia "Land of the Gods/Goths'; the division of the Goths is first attested in 291. The Thervingi are first attested around that same date, their mention occurs in a eulogy of the emperor Maximian, delivered in or shortly after 291 and traditionally ascribed to Claudius Mamertinus, which said that the "Thervingi, another division of the Goths" joined with the Taifali to attack the Vandals and Gepidae. The term "Vandals" may have been erroneous for "Victohali" because around 360 the historian Eutropius reports that Dacia was inhabited by Taifali and Thervingi. Gothic ruler Ariaric was forced to sign a treaty with Constantine the Great in 332 after his son Constantine II decisively defeated the Goths. After that time, substantial number of valuable Roman gold medallions was distributed in Gothic territories from Netherlands to Ukraine, have been discovered by archaeologists.
They demonstrate the Roman influence among the Goths. In 367, the Roman Emperor Valens attacked the Thervingi north of the Danube river. However, he was unable to hit them directly, because the bulk of the Goths retreated to the Montes Serrorum. Ammianus Marcellinus says that Valens could not find anyone to fight with and implies that all of them fled, horror-struck, to the mountains. In the following year, the flooding of the Danube prevented the Romans from crossing the river. In 369, Valens penetrated deep into the Gothic territory, winning a series of skirmishes with Greuthungi. A peace was concluded afterwards; the Thervingi remained in western Scythia until 376, when one of their leaders, appealed to the Roman emperor Valens to be allowed to settle with his people on the south bank of the Danube. The vision that there, they hoped to find refuge from the Huns, is today contested by historians, it is more that they settled because of peace negotiations following the first Gothic War. Valens permitted this.
However, a famine broke out and Rome was unwilling to supply them with the food they were promised nor the land. The Battle of Adrianople in 378 was the decisive moment of the war; the Roman forces were slaughtered. In time and geographical area, the Thervingi and their neighbors the Greuthungi correspond to the archaeological Sîntana de Mureş-Chernyakhov Culture. Chernyakhov settlements cluster in open ground in river valleys; the houses include sunken-floored dwellings, surface dwellings, stall-houses. The largest known settlement is 35 hectares. Most settlements are unfortified. Sîntana de Mureş cemeteries are better known than Sîntana de Mureş settlements. Sîntana de Mureş cemeteries show the same basic characteristics as other Chernyakhov cemeteries; these include both inhumation burials. Some graves were left empty. Grave goods include pottery, bone combs, iron tools, but never any weapons; the original religion of the Thervingi is Wodinism, though Saba or Sava's martyrology and Wulfila's bible translation may provide clues.
Some months and days were holy. Roman prisoners brought Christianity to the Thervingi; this spread fast enough that several Therving kings and their supporters persecuted the Christian Thervingi, as attested by the story of Wereka and Batwin, many of whom fled to Moesia in the Roman Empire. Wulfila translated the Bible into Gothic during this exile. Settled in Dacia, the Thervingi adopted Arianism, at the time in power in the Eastern Empire, a branch of Christianity that believed that Jesus was not an aspect of God in the Trinity, but a demigod; this belief was in opposition to the
A civil war known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country. The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region or to change government policies; the term is a calque of the Latin bellum civile, used to refer to the various civil wars of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC. A civil war is a high-intensity conflict involving regular armed forces, sustained and large-scale. Civil wars may result in the consumption of significant resources. Most modern civil wars involve intervention by outside powers. According to Patrick M. Regan in his book Civil Wars and Foreign Powers about two thirds of the 138 intrastate conflicts between the end of World War II and 2000 saw international intervention, with the United States intervening in 35 of these conflicts. Civil wars since the end of World War II have lasted on average just over four years, a dramatic rise from the one-and-a-half-year average of the 1900–1944 period.
While the rate of emergence of new civil wars has been steady since the mid-19th century, the increasing length of those wars has resulted in increasing numbers of wars ongoing at any one time. For example, there were no more than five civil wars underway in the first half of the 20th century while there were over 20 concurrent civil wars close to the end of the Cold War. Since 1945, civil wars have resulted in the deaths of over 25 million people, as well as the forced displacement of millions more. Civil wars have further resulted in economic collapse. James Fearon, a scholar of civil wars at Stanford University, defines a civil war as "a violent conflict within a country fought by organized groups that aim to take power at the center or in a region, or to change government policies". Ann Hironaka further specifies; the intensity at which a civil disturbance becomes a civil war is contested by academics. Some political scientists define a civil war as having more than 1,000 casualties, while others further specify that at least 100 must come from each side.
The Correlates of War, a dataset used by scholars of conflict, classifies civil wars as having over 1000 war-related casualties per year of conflict. This rate is a small fraction of the millions killed in the Second Sudanese Civil War and Cambodian Civil War, for example, but excludes several publicized conflicts, such as The Troubles of Northern Ireland and the struggle of the African National Congress in Apartheid-era South Africa. Based on the 1,000-casualties-per-year criterion, there were 213 civil wars from 1816 to 1997, 104 of which occurred from 1944 to 1997. If one uses the less-stringent 1,000 casualties total criterion, there were over 90 civil wars between 1945 and 2007, with 20 ongoing civil wars as of 2007; the Geneva Conventions do not define the term "civil war". This includes civil wars; the International Committee of the Red Cross has sought to provide some clarification through its commentaries on the Geneva Conventions, noting that the Conventions are "so general, so vague, that many of the delegations feared that it might be taken to cover any act committed by force of arms".
Accordingly, the commentaries provide for different'conditions' on which the application of the Geneva Convention would depend. The conditions listed by the ICRC in its commentary are as follows: That the Party in revolt against the de jure Government possesses an organized military force, an authority responsible for its acts, acting within a determinate territory and having the means of respecting and ensuring respect for the Convention; that the legal Government is obliged to have recourse to the regular military forces against insurgents organized as military and in possession of a part of the national territory. That the de jure Government has recognized the insurgents as belligerents; that the insurgents have an organization purporting to have the characteristics of a State. That the insurgent civil authority exercises de facto authority over the population within a determinate portion of the national territory; that the armed forces act under the direction of an organized authority and are prepared to observe the ordinary laws of war.
That the insurgent civil authority agrees to be bound by the provisions of the Convention. According to a 2017 review study of civil war research, there are three prominent explanations for civil war: greed-based explanations which center on individuals’ desire to maximize their profits, grievance-based explanations which center on conflict as a response to socioeconomic or political injustice, opportunity-based explanations which center on factors that make it easier to engage in violent mobilization. According to the study, the most influential explanation for civil war onset is the opportunity-based explanation by James Fearon a
Gothic persecution of Christians
Two main outbreaks of persecution of Christians by the 4th-century Gothic authorities are recorded, in 347/8 under Aoric and between 367 and 378 under Aoric's son, the iudex Athanaric. The persecution of Christians under Athanaric shows that Christians were still a minority among the Tervingi in the 370s, but that they had become numerous enough to be considered a threat to Gothic culture, it is remarkable that Athanaric did not persecute Christians in general, but converted Goths, while Christian foreigners were left alone. Athanaric's motive was thus the protection of the Gothic nation and its gods and not the persecution of Christianity as such; the Terving ruler Athanaric opposed the spread of Christianity among the Goths, fearing that the new faith would destroy Gothic culture. According to the historiographer Sozomenos, Athanaric appointed Winguric to eradicate the Christian faith from the Gothic lands. In Crimea, Winguric placed an idol in a chariot and paraded it before a tent used by Christians for their church service.
A total of 308 people died in the fire. This happened in or close to the year 375. A few years during the reign of Valentinian and Theodosius, the widow of a peer of Winguric's, her daughter Dulcilla gathered the remains of twenty-six martyrs and with he help of some priests and a layman named Thyellas transferred them to Cyzicus; the martyrs who died under Athanaric's persecution known by name are 18 laypeople. To this are added the four children of Wereka and Batwin, plus an anonymous man who came to the tent and confessed Christ as Winguric was about to burn it and was martyred together with the others, to arrive at the number of "twenty-six martyrs" whose remains were transported by Gaatha; the 21 martyrs known by name are recorded with multiple variants in manuscript tradition: Werekas, a papa or priest, Batwin, a bilaifs Arpulas, a monk, eleven laymen: Abippas, Ruias, Eskoes, Sigetzas, Swemblas and Philgas, seven laywomen Anna, Baren, Kamika and Anemais,The list includes Syrian and Phrygian names though the victims were all Goths.
This may reflect the Christian practice of assuming a new "Christian name" at baptism, in any case documents the close connection of the Gothic church with those of Asia Minor. The "26 Gothic martyrs" are commemorated in Orthodox Christianity on 26 March, but in the Gothic calendar fragment on 29 October; the same fragment for 23 October proscribes remembrance of "the many martyrs among the Gothic people, of Fridaric", Fridaric being an otherwise unknown Gothic martyr. Eastern Orthodox martyrologies enumerate "Twenty-six Martyred Goths", listing the 21 names given above, but adding one Constans as a twelfth layman, plus queen Gaatha along with her daughter Dulcilla and her son Agathon. Sabbas the Goth was martyred in 372 in. Nicetas the Goth was martyred in 372. Gothic paganism Gothic Christianity Germanic Christianity Peter Heather, John Matthews, "Martyrs and Martyrologies" in: Goths in the Fourth Century, 96-123. Herwig Wolfram, Thomas J. Dunlap, History of the Goths, 81-83. Holweck, F. G. A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints.
St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co. 1924. Lives of all saints commemorated on March 26
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; 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. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", 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 numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
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 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 instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. 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 a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic 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. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; 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 extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who