How Were Kings Chosen in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, the process of selecting a king was quite different from what we know today. The monarch’s position was not necessarily inherited by birthright, and the selection process varied from society to society. In this article, we will explore how kings were chosen in ancient times.

Elective Monarchy

One way of selecting a king was through an elective monarchy. This was a system where a group of people would choose their leader based on various criteria such as intelligence, bravery, and leadership skills.

The most famous example of an elective monarchy is probably that of the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor was chosen by a group of electors who represented different regions within the empire.

Hereditary Monarchy

Another way that kings were selected in ancient times was through hereditary monarchy. This system involved passing down the title and position of monarch from one generation to another within a particular family or dynasty. This meant that the eldest son or daughter would become the next ruler upon the death or abdication of their predecessor.

Divine Right Monarchy

The concept of divine right monarchy emerged during medieval times when it became widely accepted that kings and queens ruled by God’s will. This system held that monarchs had been chosen by God himself to rule over their subjects, and therefore they were accountable only to Him. The idea behind this system was to give rulers absolute power while also tying them to religious principles.


In some cases, kings were selected through conquest. This involved using military force to take control of a territory and then proclaiming oneself as king. This method was often used during periods of instability or when there was no clear successor to the previous ruler.


In conclusion, there were several ways that kings were chosen in ancient times – from elective monarchy to hereditary monarchy, divine right monarchy and conquest. Each system had its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

However, over time, the concept of hereditary monarchy became more widespread and is still in use today in many parts of the world. The selection process may have changed, but the position of a king or queen remains as one of the most powerful roles in society.