Course Description

450.697 - All in the Family: Power, Scandal, and Fall

From the Roman Empire through today, ruling families have had a profound effect on the social, political, and cultural lives of their people. It was believed wealth, power, and nobility from birth formed the perfect formula to rule over the lower class. However, the rise of humanistic study, merchants, explorers, revolutions, and colonialism threatened and ultimately destabilized their wealth and power. As a result, the rise of the middle class, emerging political systems, and development of national identities gave way, arguably, to the dissolution of absolute power predominately in the Western world. We will consider the following ruling families: the Julio-Claudian, Ptolemaic, Ming, Hoehnstaufen, Habsburg, Medici, Aragon-Castille, Tutors, Capetian, Romonovs, and current House of Windsor.