The Heritage of the Ghassanid Sovereignty in the treatment of “Royal Highness” by Expert Carmelo Curro’ Troiano

The subject of the sovereignty of the Ghassanian Principality is very similar to that raised for numerous other states which arose in Europe and Asia and which developed or became extinct during the Renaissance period. There are numerous Italian examples. It will be enough to mention the Farnese states (Parma, Piacenza, or Castro), those of Romagna, the Savoy possessions (Piedmont), and the Medici ones (Florence and then almost all of Tuscany). At the beginning of the transformation of the imperial or pontifical dominions into ever more autonomous dominions, eventually independent in fact, there were long periods of interregnum, disorganization, of local weakness on the part of the sovereign states, namely the Papacy and the Empire, whose less attention to government affairs in peripheral possessions favored the development of a mercantile, military or administrative social class capable of occupying government spaces in major cities and therefore of transmitting this temporary power to their children or grandchildren. The rebellions in Germany, the schism that divided the Catholic Church, and the interference of the Kings of France in the events of the Pontificate, represented elements of exceptional importance that allowed local families to be able to assume ever greater power in their regions.

It is clear that when the strengthening of sovereign power succeeded in imposing itself again on the entities that were within the domains recognized to them, the end of these brief lordships was general (the Bentivoglio in Bologna, the Baglioni in Perugia, and many others). In fact, it should not be forgotten that our ancestors were essentially legalists, and therefore the return of a state or a feudal state to the ancient lord was considered normal, even after a very long time from the end of his dominion; while in other cases the impossibility of intervening without dangers and without economic expenditure or the diplomacy of balances advised sovereign governments not to intervene directly, safeguarding only rights that were becoming more and more random and solvent. This is the case of Florence where the Empire continued for a long time to maintain a garrison during the principality of Cosimo but where in reality the Prince of Casa Medici ruled with his own ministers, often in hostility or in suspicion of the government of Charles V.

In these cases, one should not speak of half-sovereign sovereign states, since often the definitions within which we want to tighten the facts do not have a real comparison with reality.

When, for example, the Medici House was able to maintain control over Tuscany (and this lasted until Italian unity), without heavy imperial interventions, especially when Spain withdrew its garrisons from Florence and Livorno, we can speak of sovereignty; before being able to exercise this power (that is, until the Lord of Florence was subjected to imperial approval for every act of his) there is no valid and recognizable entity of International Law. Even if the Emperor will subsequently proclaim his high sovereignty over Florence (as over other Italian states), the Medici state will remain a body of international law, being able to control its territory and oppose any imperial actions by force. In short, sovereignty on paper remains on paper and not in practice, as Spanish or Sicilian sovereignty on the island of Malta will no longer be valid, once the Knights of Malta manage to control their own state by themselves and even reject the terrible assaults of the Turkish fleet, becoming, in fact, an independent state and no longer a vassal of the Kingdom of Sicily (Cf. C. CURRO ‘, The royal abuse in Catanzaro against the Jerusalemite Knights: the eighteenth-century intrusiveness in

It must therefore be said that only true and false states exist since it is possible to include in this second group all those public entities to which the state title has been attributed to a political fiction in the course of history but which in reality cannot be considered as such, as they are not they had effective control over their population and territory and survived only thanks to the support of the troops of an occupying Power. This is the case of the self-styled Italian social republic that the Germans established in 1943 in Northern Italy, of the Slovak state, of the occupation governments installed in the territories conquered during the Second World War (Cf. R. QUADRI, Public International Law, Naples 1973, p. 434).

The same applies to the states protected by the Turkish Empire such as Moldavia or Wallachia, whose prince was appointed by the Sublime Porte but who could not become independent, so much so that the Ottoman government was able to depose them, imprison them, exile them, demonstrating that have full control of the territory of these principalities and that the Prince was just a kind of governor.

In the case of the Ghassanid states, we can associate the events of other European states such as northern Albania and Montenegro. Or the events of other territories in the Middle East, such as the vast, almost depopulated areas of the Arabian Peninsula and Libya, only officially placed under the authority of the Turkish government, where the founders of the most rigid Muslim religious brotherhoods founded seats for their schools, which in practice became autonomous from the central power and then authentic sovereign states.

These territories, located in mountainous or desert areas, and difficult to reach or control, were only nominally under the dominion of the Turkish Empire. It was uselessly said that Turkish high sovereignty would persist over states such as Yemen or Egypt. In reality, if the Treaty of London of 1840 still recognized the Ottoman Empire as having a prevalence of intervention in foreign policy and in the military field, in fact, Egypt was rapidly becoming independent, since nominal sovereignty in practice is insignificant compared to sovereignty. effective (Cf. F.F. DE MARTENS, La question égyptienne et le droit international, Brussels 1882). As for Yemen, there was talk of suzerainetè (Oberhoeit) of Turkey during the nineteenth century; but it is clear that this was a political and diplomatic fiction, very interesting for states like Germany which at that time were actively working to increase their influence in the Empire, since the South Arabian state, in its almost perfect isolation (and perhaps thanks to this condition) it was actually an independent political entity (Cf. R. QUADRI, L’ile de Camaran, in Revue égiptienne de Droit international, 1957, spec. 22 et seq.).

Montenegro managed to remain independent in a large part of its Orthodox bishopric and in vain the Government of Constantinople tried to implant its power there, eventually giving up and accepting the fait accompli of a state that had been able to maintain itself independent with its new dynasty.

In the long and alternating period of decline of the Byzantine Empire, while numerous Christian populations of the Middle East preferred to submit to Muslim rule rather than remain under that of Byzantium, in their truly oppressive eyes, there was no lack of autonomy and therefore of sovereignty for local potentates. , in particular when the prestige of some of their authoritative exponents made it impossible for the Byzantines or Arabs to control the territory.

The Ghassanid States, located along the border of the ancient Roman Empire, had been considered independent entities for centuries, thanks to the need for Rome to engage in long and difficult disputes with the Persian Empire and eagerness to maintain a peaceful hinterland along which to pass their military communication routes. This is the reason that kept public opinion, writers, and historians, in the belief that the ancestors and founders of the successive Ghassanid political entities were authentic kings (Cf. ). The facts can in fact be interpreted under the dynastic point of view, according to the widespread custom in the world, whereby if territorial sovereignty collapses, depending on the situation on the ability of the most powerful Empires to extend their power over them, it does not fail instead. the real dignity which is fixed on certain families. In fact, there is a general opinion that even in the absence of sovereign status, the royal status cannot be diminished, despite political and military changes.

Let’s take the case of the Bourbons: in France, this family was deposed by the revolution of 1789 which established the republic; and in 1802 the Bonaparte family ascended to the throne in his place. However, no one has ever thought that the Bourbons had lost their royal status forever, so much so that in 1815 they were called to the throne again; and today, despite the Bonapartes and the republic having succeeded them again, neither public opinion nor the law disputes their royal status, and their use of having the Head of the Dynasty confer noble titles on the members of the Family. Even the Bourbons-Spain, supplanted by the Savoy, by the republic, by a Francoist monarchy without a sovereign, have always been considered characters to be honored and mentioned with the title of Royal Highness, until the establishment of the constitutional monarchy which gave them back the precise privileges of the Crown. Same situation in Italy. Here the ancient ruling families (Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Bourbon-Parma, Austria Este, Habsburg Lorraine), despite being replaced and exiled by the Savoy with Italian unity, and therefore by the republic, continue to maintain their royal status, their components are called “Royal Highnesses” (Imperial and Royal for the Habsburgs), the Heads of the Dynasties confer titles of chivalry (today recognized by the ceremonial of the republic), and in some cases noble titles.

At this point, we can consider that while for the rulers of Moldavia or Wallachia it should not be considered that we are in the presence of royal houses, due to their impossibility of controlling the governed states, for Montenegro or for the Ghassanids cohabiting with the Roman Empires and Byzantine, we can instead think favorably of the existence in a more or less long time, of the sovereign characteristics fixed in their houses, since there was a period of perfect sovereignty over territory and subjects, during which families reigned without external interference, allowing the descendants of the Princes to be defined Royal or Imperial Highnesses (due to their relatives), and not to be compared to nobles of important feudal vassal states.

Therefore, the royal dignity has not been exhausted for the simple reason of territorial conquest and absorption. Indeed, the presence of vast fiefdoms, large places of political and military influence even within other states, constitutes the demonstration of a power that has been transformed, adapted, as if to protect the personal dignity handed down to people even if in times different.

Carmelo Curro’ Troiano was born in Salerno (Italy) where he lives. Graduated in Political Science, International Law, and Modern Literature. He is a historian and journalist (registered in the professional register). He is an expert in Genealogy and Heraldry; his family trees are among the most crowded and complete that have been made in Italy. As a cultural popularizer, he is engaged in television broadcasts and numerous conferences throughout the country. He collaborates with high-level newspapers and periodicals (including Focus, Il Mattino, Roma, Cronache del Mezzogiorno, Cuadernos de Ayala). He has written many books and scientific publications on behalf of public bodies, municipalities, and parishes.

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