Understanding the Royal Ghassanid family tree 

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Studying dynastic and nobility law is very common to realize that each dynasty has its own rules that govern succession.

Usually, in the Middle East, the Royal Houses follow what’s known as “agnatic rotation” meaning that any male descendants from the last ruler can compete for the succession. By this method, succession doesn’t go only “down” in the family tree, meaning to the sons and daughters like in Europe, but it may go “sideways” to brothers and cousins or even “up” to uncles, etc. Primogeniture is not a necessary rule like in Europe, therefore, the actual position in the family tree is utterly irrelevant as long as the successor can prove that he belongs to that particular family in male line.

To learn more about the Middle Eastern laws of succession please, click HERE 

The Royal Ghassanids and their lawful heirs, the Sheikhs El Chemor of Mount Lebanon, also followed the “agnatic rotation” system.

To learn more about the Ghassanid laws of succession please, click HERE  

Important to notice that the El Chemor family has this name from the last king of Ghassan, Chemor (or Shummar, Shemir, Shemar, etc) Jablah VI Ibn Aiham  (ruled 632-638 CE). Therefore, they were known as the “Chemori” or “the descendants of King Chemor”. King Jablah VI, has received the name “Chemor” from a tradition started by King Jabalah IV (ruled 518-528 CE) who was also known by the “kunya” or teknonymy of “Abu Chemor” (or “the father of Chemor“) referring to the eldest brother to King Al-Harith V, the most famous Ghassanid King of all times (ruled 529-569 CE).

It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to Al Jafna.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38)

“The refugees of Al Ghassani and bani Chemor who seeked refuge to Al ‘Aqoura turned into Maronites because the town now only has Maronites Christians and because Al Chemor tribe are the princes and children of kings, the Maronites reigned them over the land where the document states that: “… and Al ‘Aqoura is their own village from a long time, they can do as they wish…” and Al Chemori family could have taken over the throne due to their relentless efforts, money or battles, no one knows.” (ibid p.42)

“Conclusion
This is the history of the Chemor family Sheikhs who are feudal rulers, a genuine progeny of the sons of Ghassan kings of the Levant… one of the most decent, oldest and noblest families in Lebanon.” (ibid p.125)     

To learn more about the 1948’s book about the El Chemor family, please click HERE

To learn more about the book’s recent scholarly validation, please click HERE    

Also very important to notice that there are only two ancient families named Chemor/Shammar in the whole Middle East. One, has never set foot in Lebanese territory due to its background. They’re present in Iraq and the GCC countries, originating from the Tayy tribe and has Bedouin origin and is Muslim since its inception (its leader, Hatim Al-Tayy, have converted to Islam while Prophet Mohammad was still alive, therefore, before adopting the name “Shammar“). They have adopted to use the name Shammar/Shammari after the 14th century since they briefly inhabited the Jabal Shammar region. The El Chemor Sheikhs from Lebanon come from a sedentary Arab and Christian origin and it’s documented to use this name two centuries before the Bedouin tribe. When they’ve ruled the city of Akoura in 1211 CE they were already using the name Chemor/Shammar. There are no register of the Muslim Shammari family ever to even inhabited Mount Lebanon. Thus, by simple logic it’s easy to conclude that every family member of the El Chemor family belongs to the very same family and ancestry. The ramifications of the family only happened in the 18th and 19th centuries originating the Gharios, Habaki and Farhat families. So, there’s no need to be an expert genealogist or to hold a PhD in History to understand, again by simple logic, unless proven otherwise, that the legitimate members of these families can prove to belong to the El Chemor family by only evincing their connection to the last ancestor using the El Chemor last name, since going back to King Chemor Jablah it’s absolutely certain, since only his direct descendants that inhabited the Mount Lebanon – and none else – used this particular family name.

Usually, to claim a particular title of nobility, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler or bearer of the title. Always following the particular laws of succession pertinent to that title. For example, although meticulously documented, by simple logic, in order to fundament Queen Elizabeth’s legal claim to the British throne she had to prove her connection to the last lawful ruler, her father king George VI. It would be utterly unnecessary for her to prove her genealogical link to Queen Victoria since her great grandfather king Edward VII did that to ascend the throne after Queen Victoria’s passing in 1901.

“A Good Riddance”, cartoon from Punch vol. 152, June 27th 1917, commenting on the adoption of the “Windsor” family name and the King’s orders to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family

Still using the British Royal family as an example. It’s notorious that the family’s name was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1917. King George V has decided to change the family’s name due to the anti-German sentiment in the UK derived from the WWI. Their choice was the name “Windsor” given after the homonymous English castle. Let’s assume hypothetically, that 200 years from now the Windsor family members will exponentially grow. If no other “Windsor family” is created until then would be absolute and logic to state that all of the bearers of the Windsor family name will be lawful descendants of the British royal family, unless proven otherwise. Absolutely no need for them to prove their genealogical link with William the Conqueror!

If any of those Windsor family members in the future desire to claim the British throne, they have to prove their link to the last incumbent ruler in harmony with the British laws of succession, meaning, by descent, gender (for people born before October 2011), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign’s children or by a childless sovereign’s nearest collateral line.

Applying the very same principle, to claim the Ghassanid titles, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler Sheikh Yousef El Chemor of Zgharta (ruled until 1747 CE) in harmony with the particular Ghassanid laws of succession, meaning “agnatic rotation”. In theory, in the case of the El Chemor family, to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler would be even a luxury since, by pure logic, all the male family members bearing the last name have the same ancestry and therefore are somehow related to Sheikh Yousef in male line since the middle eastern women always adopt the husband’s family name giving that name to their descendants.

Also important to mention that the El Chemor Sheikhs proved to the absolute satisfaction of the historians and authorities in the past their blood link to King Chemor Jablah since there’s absolutely no historical register of contestation, doubt or even rumor regarding this fact neither during the almost 500 years of reign in Akoura and Zgharta nor in the 300 subsequent years until the present day. Not a single line was written against this fact!

It’s undisputed and documented that El Chemor Sheikhs ruled in Mount Lebanon as a princely (sovereign) family from 1211-1633 CE in Akoura and 1641-1747 CE in Zgharta-Zawye in northern Lebanon. In 1747 CE, it’s known that the Ottoman Empire deposed the El Chemor Sheikhs after a nefarious deal with the Daher Sheikhs installing them with all the El Chemor’s lands and possessions.  Hence, due to the persecution of the Ottoman Empire and the constant wars in Lebanon until 2006, some of the names and details of the first El Chemor rulers were lost or deliberately destroyed by the Druzes and by the “Young Turks’” regime under the orders of Jamal Pasha in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. However, as explained herein, there’s absolutely no possibility that every single El Chemor ruler doesn’t belong to the exact same family and ancestry!

To learn more about the Ottoman Empire/Jamal Pasha’s plan to erase Christianity from the Middle East, please click HERE   

Even in Europe, where the genealogical registers are a lot more complete and considerably easier to research, it’s known that’s extremely difficult to find genealogical evidence prior to the 1600’s.

Due to the persecution to Christians in Mount Lebanon that started in the end of the 19th century, where around 10,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes during inter-communal violence in 1860 through the horrors of WWI where over 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon have died of starvation during World War I, many descendants of the El Chemor family left Mount Lebanon specially to Brazil, although a very different culture and language for the Lebanese, it was a known safe haven for Christians. But the very few that stayed in Lebanon kept the titles and traditions. The most senior El Chemor’s genealogical line (in primogeniture) is the descendants of Sheikh Antonios Michael El Chemor (1910-1971), the honorary founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan. His eldest son Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, the heir of the El Chemor palace in Kferhata with his two brothers Prince Sheikh Khalil and Prince Sheikh Michel, is the current “honorary” head of the Royal House of Ghassan with Prince Gharios El Chemor, the “executive” head following the Roman-Byzantine “co-emperorship principle” adopted by the Ghassanid Kings centuries ago. Therefore, the Royal House has one head by the agnatic-rotation principle and the other by primogeniture with mutual recognition.

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TIRH Prince Gharios and Prince Cheikh Selim, the executive and honorary heads of the Royal House of Ghassan
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The El Chemor Palace in Lebanon

One might argue the legitimacy of using the Ghassanid titles. That’s easily explained by the fact that the El Chemor Sheikhs were respected and ascended to the throne in Akoura in 1211 CE due to the Royal blood link with the Kings of Ghassan. Also, that this fact was universally accepted until the deposition in 1747 CE or it wouldn’t survive the test of time. It can be added that it’s perfectly permissible and accepted to Princes to use old titles, even outdated in usage like the head of the French Orleanist branch of the royal house of France, Prince Henry adopting the title of Count of Paris or the head of the Bourbon family, Prince Louis XX using the title of “Duke of Anjou”. Both titles were not of common usage for both heads of the French Royal branches.

According to one of the forefathers of international law, Emmerich de VattelThe Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, 1758 CE:

“BOOK 2, CHAPTER 3
Of the Dignity and Equality of Nations: of Titles and Other Marks of Honor

§ 42. Whether a sovereign may assume what title and honors he pleases.
If the conductor of the state is sovereign, he has in his hands the rights and authority of the political society; and consequently he may himself determine what title he will assume, and what honors shall be paid to him, unless these have been already determined by the fundamental laws, or that the limits which have been set to his power manifestly oppose such as he wishes to assume. His subjects are equally obliged to obey him in this as in whatever he commands by virtue of a lawful authority. Thus, the Czar Peter I., grounding his pretensions on the vast extent of his dominions, took upon himself the title of emperor.”

https://lonang.com/library/reference/vattel-law-of-nations/vatt-203/

The examples in the Middle East are also extensive where many sovereign Sheikhs have decided to use Royal titles like His Majesty King Abdullah I of Jordan who was originally the Emir of Transjordan and his ancestors were Sheriffs of Meca; or His Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was the 12th Hakim of Bahrain. His son, His Highness Sheikh Isa II bin Salman II Al Khalifa, changed the title to “Emir of Bahrain” in 1971 and his son, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has changed the title again in 2002 from Emir (prince) to Malik (king).   

The usage of the Arab title “Emir” or “Amir” (means “commander”, “general”, or “prince”) is a little different from the European use. A sovereign ruler using the title “Sheikh” or even “Hakim” is an “Emir” ‘per se‘ (intrinsically). In other words, even if the title is not openly used, it’s definitely implied. That tradition is what makes so natural for the aforementioned rulers to “update” their titles.  Actually in Lebanon, the word “Hakim” represented the “sovereign” or “semi-sovereign” status more than Emir. That being the reason why the rulers of Lebanon used the title “El-Emir El-Hakim” and not only “El-Emir.

Also, the title “Sheikh” is a royal (sovereign) title by definition. It’s only a noble title (not  royal) when bestowed by a higher authority. In other words, when a commoner family is elevated to nobility by a sovereign or semi-sovereign ruler. In Lebanon we have the example of the El-Khazen Sheikhs. The illustrious family have received the title from the Prince Fakhr-al-Din II in 1584 CE. That doesn’t apply to the El Chemor Sheikhs who were known as such by the Royal Blood link to King Chemor Jablah and for ruling sovereignly and semi-sovereignly the Sheikhdom (principality) of Akoura and Zgharta from 1211-1747 CE.

To learn more about the Ghassanid Imperial titles, please, click HERE   

We also have to add that the El Chemor, as the Ghassanid Kings, were absolute rulers. In other words, they didn’t have any constitutional obedience but the obligation of following the Christian religion. All the rules followed by the dynasty were originating from the pre-Islamic Arab tribal customs enriched by the Roman-Byzantine influence.

To learn more about the legal rights of the El Chemor/Gharios family, please click HERE

To learn more about the Royal House of Ghassan, please click HERE 

Official article from Lebanese Government validates book about El Chemor/Gharios family

NNA 2014

According to Press freedom’s Reporters Without Borders, Lebanon is not only a regional center of media production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world: “the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country“. Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is “at the core of a regional media network with global implications“.

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies. The most important of them is The National News Agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, launched in 1964. They’re an entity subjected to the Ministry of Information Lebanese Republic.

The Ministry of Information consists of the General Directorate of Information and several other directorates including:  Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications, The National News Agency and  The Lebanese Broadcasting Directorate  Auditing Department (Diwan).  The Ministry includes other departments and sections.  It was organized by legislative decree no. 6830 released on June 15, 1961.

In other words, whatever is published or stated via any of the entities subjected to the Ministry of Information is considered and recognized as “official information from the Lebanese Government.

Please CLICK HERE  for the official 2014’s article (in Arabic) from the The National News Agency  (Lebanese Government News’s Agency – Ministry of Information) quoting the book about the El Chemor princely family (recognizing the titles and citing some family members) and validating Father Ignatios El Khoury’s 1948’s book as an official source.  

Please, click below of the Sworn English legal translation of the article

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Please click below for the Sworn English legal translation of the book

https://royalblog.org/2016/11/28/royal-house-of-ghassan-provides-english-legal-translations-of-1948s-historical-scientific-research-about-the-family/

Coptic Bishop Angaelos receives the Order of Saint Michael Archangel in London

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His Grace Bishop Angaelos receiving the Order from HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor  

During his last trip to London, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor has bestowed upon the His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church for the United Kingdom, the rank of knight commander of the Order of Saint Michael Archangel. 

His Grace is widely recognized for his extensive advocacy work. As a result he was conferred with the honor of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen, for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom’. He has also been conferred with the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Coventry Cross of Nails for Reconciliation. With a pastoral ministry spanning two decades, Bishop Angaelos also specializes in youth ministry and travels extensively around the world to speak at youth conferences and conventions.

More about His Grace Bishop Angaelos:

http://copticcentre.blogspot.com/p/hg-bishop-angaelos.html

More about the Order of Saint Michael Archangel:

http://www.michaelarchangel.org/

Prince Gharios El Chemor attends Coptic Orthodox service in London

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HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor with His Grace Bishop Angaelos

Last Tuesday, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan has attended the annual Nayrouz service at St Margaret’s Church (Westminster’s) in London invited by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

Nayrouz or Neyrouz is a feast when martyrs and confessors are commemorated within the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Feast of Neyrouz also marks the first day of the Coptic year.

Joining members of the Coptic community at the service were international royalty, members of the House of Lords, the Office of the Prime Minister, House of Commons, the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the Diplomatic Corps, the Home Office, humanitarian and advocacy organisations, and various ecumenical, and inter-religious guests. Also, several bishops and priests from different denominations have helped Bishop Anagelos to celebrate the service.

Messages from Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, were read.

Addresses were also delivered by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, The Lord Alton of Liverpool, The Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales and The Right Honourable Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Minister of State for International Development.

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Prince Gharios El Chemor at the “prima fila” (VIP row) at Westminster (St Margaret’s Church) in London

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More about the event at http://copticcentre.blogspot.com/2017/10/report-at-annual-coptic-nayrouz-service.html

 

HIRH Prince Cheikh Antonios El Chemor The Honorary Founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan

Born in 1910 Cheikh Antonios El Chemor spent his early years between Kferhata his home town and his boarding school at the prestigious Aintoura one of the best schools of that time in Lebanon.
Once school finished, he was sent to Marseille, France to continue his education. Meeting with other Lebanese Fellows and discussing business in Africa he decided to move to Lagos, Nigeria and start his career in trading and commerce. He spent around 15 years and was very successful in trading with meat and clothes for the army.

Back to Lebanon in the mid-forties he became involved in the political and social life in Beirut and Kferhata.
The north was a very poor area and lacked of water, electricity, roads, hospitals etc…
The first project he invested in was to create a grid of potable water for the area. He made a mega project from his own money and distributed water to 48 villages and still used to this day.
He invested in roads for several villages helped financing churches, mosques, hospitals etc… and all these projects on a personal level.
Cheikh Antonios had a very good relationship with all political and business people in Lebanon and around the world.

He got married to the Her Royal Highness Princess Laudy Chehab in 1953 and had 3 children:

HIRH Prince Cheikh Selim El Chemor 1954
HIRH Prince Cheikh Michel El Chemor 1956
HIRH Prince Cheikh Khalil El Chemor 1960

As for social life his wife the Princess Laudy made a big difference in the North as she was directly involved in many humanitarian and tourism project such as helping the red cross acquiring different vaccines for the children, the Ehden Festivals as president, Tripoli old city as president of tourism in the North and she was the one how brought the Nazareth sisters school to Kferzaina for girls. All these projects executed with the help and blessing of her late husband.

Cheikh Antonios spent most of his life helping the poor the unprivileged and the people in need at all level, in creating small businesses for them or helping them find work in Lebanon and abroad in the private and governmental sector.

Unfortunately, life was not fair to him as he died at a young age 1971 leaving behind a long and lasting legacy and still remembered to this day.

For his unprecedented humanitarian legacy and his dedication in studying and promoting the Royal family’s heritage, he’s revered and recognized as the Honorary Founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan. His oldest son HIRH Prince Cheikh Selim El Chemor is the current Honorary Head of the Sovereign Imperial and Royal House of Ghassan.   

The Middle Eastern Laws of Succession

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Just as an example, how the Saudi succession follows the ancient tribal system of “agnatic rotation”

The Royal laws of succession are different from country to country. In Europe, most of monarchies apply the succession system based on primogeniture, meaning, the firstborn son or daughter inherits the throne. However, even in a very homogeneous continent where the royal families are all related by blood ties, the laws of succession are still different from nation to nation.

For example: Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth II couldn’t not reign by the French system.  Since the Frankish times (circa 500 CE), French monarchies apply what’s called “Salic law” (Lex Salica), which main tenet  is the principle of exclusion of women from inheritance of thrones, fiefs and other property.

By the Italian Laws of succession (House of Savoy), neither King Felipe of Spain could reign nor Prince William could be in line for the British throne. The Royal House of Savoy excludes princes who entered in what’s called “morganatic marriages”, (sometimes called a left-handed marriages) meaning a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband’s titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage. Since both the King of Spain and the British prince had married commoners, they couldn’t succeed by the Italian Law.

“Competence of International Law:

From time to time questions have arisen concerning the succession to various crowns, dignities, and hereditary rights. These questions are primarily juridical and ought to be resolved through the correct application of each family’s Dynastic Laws.” (From the essay “Resolution of Monarchical Successions under International Law” (The Augustan, Vol. XVII, number 4, p. 977 by Professor Stephen P. Kerr y Baca)

Based on the known laws of Succession of European Monarchies, many people are unaware of how the Middle Eastern, especially Arab Monarchies, effectively work. The Succession in the Middle East is very different from Europe but each nation has its own system.

Middle Eastern monarchical systems have established various methods of choosing which among the eligible princes will rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 27)

Since the time of the ancient Arab tribes, we see a system called “rotation”. Usually, the heir to the throne was selected from among the King’s male descendants for his qualities, such as: physical force, nobility (if the prince was descended from another Royal line from his mother, it would make him more fit for the throne: even the King’s direct sons could come from different mothers) and also the most intelligent and popular prince among the people.

In succession based on “rotation”, all (male) members of the dynasty are entitled to the monarchy.

“In Europe, where dynasties flourished, succession was once determined by a show of strength among a ruler’s sons.  In time, however, it reverted to primogeniture, in which a ruler’s oldest male descendant acceded to the throneFor a variety of reasons, chiefly because of religious and tribal traditions,  Primogeniture has not developed among Arabian dynasties in quite the same way, because under Shariah law,  all sons of a man are equal and legitimate, even if they were born from illegitimate marriages.  Moreover, in pre-Islamic tribal norms, while the throne could have passed from one generation to the next within a particular family,  it was not necessarily passed from father to son.  Rather the authority also fell to a ruler’s brother, uncle, or cousin, depending on which of these oldest male relatives was  seen to possess ‘ the qualities of nobility; skill in arbitration; hazz or ‘good fortune’;  and leadership ’ “. (Joseph A. Kechichian, “Succession in Saudi Arabia”, 2001, p.10)

 

No firm principle specified which member of the ruling family had the right to rule.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 22)

The same principle was not only limited to the Arab Dynasties, but also the great majority in the Middle East.

“In the Ottoman Empire after 1617 the eldest living male of the dynasty succeeded, though this was not formalized legally.” (Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty”, 12-13. J.C. Hurewitz reviews succession across the Middle Eastern empires in “Middle East politics: the military dimension”, 18-27)

The only Arab monarchy that uses primogeniture is the Al-Khalifa Dynasty of Bahrain.

Alone among the Gulf ruling families, the Al Khalifa pass the succession according to a fixed rule. The constitution specifies that the eldest son of the ruler shall succeed him.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 132)

But even in Bahrain, the Constitution says that:

“… the Amir (ruler), during his lifetime, can appoint a different son as Crown Prince [successor] (Section 1, Article 1).

That’s in perfect harmony with the standards of the Arab monarchies.

Many defend that’s preferable when there’s a clear and fixed law of succession (as in Europe) once there is only one Prince to be the lawful heir. According to Montesquieu:

“When the succession is established by a fundamental law, only one prince is the successor, and his brothers have neither a real nor apparent right to dispute the crown with him. They can neither pretend to nor take any advantage of the will of a father. There is then no more occasion to confine or kill the king’s brother than any other subject.” (Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of Laws, Book V)

But looking back in history, it’s easy to see that a fixed system of succession based on primogeniture was not able to prevent the assassinations and criminal plots of people in line to the thrones.

In the Middle East, however, the institution of royal murder was notorious.

A ruler had to worry even about his own sons, who like the rest of his family threatened his power, and who might anticipate his death in their efforts to seize it. As a mirror for [Arab] princes once put it: ‘One obedient slave is better than three hundred sons; For the latter desire their father’s death, The former his master’s glory.’  (Nizan al-Mulk, The Book of Government or Rules for Kings, p.117)”

The infamous Law of Fratricide enforced the principle: the sultan, on coming to power, had legal sanction to murder all of his male relatives, and sometimes in fact did so; in 1595, on the accession of Mehmed III, nineteen of his brothers proceeded from the palace in coffins, murdered on orders of the new Sultan” (Alderson, “The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty”, 23-31)

As with many Arab ruling dynasties, the lack of a generally accepted rule of succession was a recurrent problem with the Rasheedi rule. The internal dispute normally centered on whether succession to the position of Amir [Prince] should be horizontal (ie to a brother) or vertical (to a son). These internal divisions within the family led to bloody infighting. In the last years of the nineteenth century six Rasheedi leaders died violently.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamar

“The Dynasties of Arabia do not resolve their disputes because they are families, bound by ties of affection. In the days before oil, family bonds did not prevent fratricide, patricide, and other varieties of intrafamily murder.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 45)

In the Arabic system, you may have dozens, even hundreds of lawful eligible princes, as in the Al-Saud Dynasty in Saudi Arabia.

“Sons of Abdul Aziz (Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state) have been, thus far, the only eligible candidates allowed to serve as King or Crown Prince. As a result of the aging of this pool (there are an estimated 22 surviving sons, the oldest being in his mid-80s and the youngest in his 60s); a decree by King Fahd expanded the candidates to include the male progeny of King Abdul Aziz’s sons. This decree has expanded the pool to over 150 eligible candidates, though consensus and competency would limit this number.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Saud

Again, that’s a common pattern for all the Middle East.

In vain would it be to establish here the succession of the eldest son; the Prince [King] might always choose another as every Prince of the royal family has an equal capacity to be chosen, hence it follows that the Prince who ascends the throne strangles immediately his brothers [once they all compete equally for the succession], as in Turkey; or put out their eyes, as in Persia; or bereaves them of their understanding as in the Mogul’s country,” (Nathan J. Brown, Constitutions in a nonconstitutional world: Arab basic laws, p.12 citing Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1748), The Spirit of Laws, Book V)

In Arabia [Arabic monarchies], all males within the ruling sublineages of the families have a theoretic right to the rulership. In practice, the succession generally goes to those whose fathers ruled (though not necessarily to the sons of the most recent ruler). These general guidelines leave a large number of shayks [Sheikhs] and princes eligible, especially if, as in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait [as in Ghassan], the succession has moved laterally to brothers and cousins instead of directly to the ruler’s sons.” (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 26, 27)

Although the Arabic system might create conflict, it also has its advantages. In the book “The Social contract” Rousseau commented the dilemmas of various methods of choosing Kings:

“Thrones have been made hereditary within certain families, and an order of succession has been established to forestall dispute when a king dies. The risk of having children, monsters, or imbeciles for rulers has been deemed preferable to the conflicts involved in choosing a good king.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, p. 63)

Like most fixed rules of succession primogeniture makes the selection of the ruler a lottery of birth. Efforts may (or may not) be made to form the character of the man, but the raw material is a given, and often it is found that gold cannot be made lead. The [Arab] Dynastic Monarchies, by contrast, avoid both sides of Rousseau’s dilemma. They chose, among themselves, Kings who are qualified (not children, monsters, or imbeciles”) (Michael Herb, All in the family: absolutism, revolution, and democracy in the Middle Eastern Monarchies, p. 237, 238)

 The Ghassanid hereditary succession was similar (but a little different) to what we see in the past and present Middle Eastern Monarchies. The succession also “borrowed” the principle of “co-ruler” from the Roman and Byzantine Empire. The only mandatory law is that the sovereign has to be a male descendant of the last ruling monarch, although, as in Rome and Byzantium, adoptions were perfectly legal.

There’s no “hermetic” Salic Law (or Agnatic Succession, which is the limitation of inheritance to a throne or fief to heirs descended from the original titleholder through males only, excluding descendants through females, although the male claims from female lines have lesser value than the male’s) and definitely no Agnatic primogeniture, also “patrilineal primogeniture” which is inheritance according to seniority of birth among the sons of a monarch or head of a family, with sons and their male issues inheriting before brothers and their issues, and male-line males inheriting before females of the male line.

Here’s how the system of rotation worked for the first Ghassanid Kings:

The first Ghassanid King Jafnah I ibn Amr ruled 220-265, his successor was his son Amr I ibn Jafnah that ruled 265-270. His successor was his son Tha’labah ibn Amr ruling from 270 till 287. His successor was his son Al-Harith I ibn Th`alabah and ruled 287-307. His successor was his son Jabalah I ibn al-Harith I ruling 307-317. King Al-Harith II ibn Jabalah “ibn Maria” that ruled 317-327 and his successor was his son Al-Mundhir I Senior ibn al-Harith II ruling 327-330. His successor was his brother King Al-Aiham ibn al-Harith II and his heir was his brother King Al-Mundhir II Junior ibn al-Harith II and ruled from 327 to 340 and his Co-rulers was his brothers Al-Nu`man I ibn al-Harith II and Amr II ibn al-Harith II succeeded by his brother Jabalah II ibn al-Harith II succeeded by his nephew King Jafnah II ibn al-Mundhir I ruling from 361 till 391 with his brother Al-Nu`man II ibn al-Mundhir I as co-ruler. His cousin Al-Nu`man III ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Mundhir I succeeded him ruling from 391-418 and his son King Jabalah III ibn al-Nu`man succeeded him. His cousin King Al-Nu`man IV ibn al-Aiham ruled with his brother King Al-Harith III ibn al-Aiham from 434 till 456 with his son Al-Nu`man V ibn al-Harith. His son succeeded him, the King Al-Mundhir II ibn al-Nu`man ruled 453-472) with his brother King Amr III ibn al-Nu`man as co-ruler. His successor was his brother King Hijr ibn al-Nu`man. His successor was his son King Al-Harith IV ibn Hijr ruling from 486 till 512. His successor was his son King Jabalah IV ibn al-Harith ruled 512-529. His successor was his cousin King Al- Amr IV ibn Machi (Mah’shee) (529) and his successor was his cousin King Al-Harith V ibn Jabalah ruling from 529 till 569. His heir was his son King Al-Mundhir III ibn al-Harith that ruled 569-581) and his successor and part co-ruler was his brother King Abu Kirab al-Nu`man ibn al-Harith. From 581 till 583 the successor was his cousin King Al-Nu’man VI ibn al-Mundhir ruling from 581 till 583. Succeeded by his cousin King Al-Harith VI ibn al-Harith and his heir was his son King Al-Nu’man VII ibn al-Harith Abu Kirab. Succeeded him his cousin King Al-Aiham ibn Jabalah ruling until 614 succeeded by his brother King Al-Mundhir IV ibn Jabalah succeeded again by a brother, King Sharahil ibn Jabalah. Other brother succeeded him, King Amr IV ibn Jabalah ruling until 628. Succeeded by his cousin King Jabalah V ibn al-Harith ruled 628-632 and succeeded by his cousin King Jabalah VI ibn al-Aiham as the last ruler from 628 till 638.

The great majority of the Arab Monarchies, past and present, follows the “rotation”. Good and recent examples are: the Kingdom of Jordan, the Emirate of Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and the Sultanate of Oman.

According to the book “World Royal Families” (2008) from Edward Riley, Sandra Forty and Judith Millidge:

Jordan (pages: 240, 241, 242, 243, 244 and 245) For most of his reign, King Hussein I (1935-1999) designated as his successor his younger brother, “at the time” Crown Prince Hassan (1947- ), but shortly before his death, he changed his will in favor of his son, the current King Abdullah II. This is a perfect example of the rotation.

Kuwait (pages: 246, 247, 248, 249, 250 and 251) This is a classic example of the rotation. Emir Mubarak I (1837-1915) had 12 children, including his successor, Emir Jaber II (1860-1917). After his reign, younger brother Emir Salem I (1864-1921) ruled. His successor wasn’t his older son but his nephew Emir Ahmed I (1885-1950). Ahmed’s successor was his cousin Emir Abdullah III (1895-1965). Abdullah’s successor was his youngest brother Emir Sabah III (1913-1977). Sabah’s successor was his 3rd degree cousin Emir Jaber III (1926-2006) who by the way was the 3rd oldest son. His successor was his cousin Emir Saad (1930-2008) and his heir was Emir Sabah IV (1929- ). Although he has 3 sons, his successor is his 3rd youngest brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf (1937- ).

Saudi Arabia (pages: 252, 253, 254, 255, 256 and 257) King Ibn Saud (1876-1953) founded the kingdom in 1932 and ruled until 1953. His successor was his son King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz (1902-1969). After him, his brother King Faisal (1904-1975) reigned until his assassination. His brother Khalid (1913-1982) succeeded him and after him, his other brother Fahd (1921-2005) ruled. The current King is Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz (1924- ) and his heir is his youngest brother, Crown Prince Sultan (1926- ). The 1992 Basic Law of the government states that the King must be a male descendant of King Ibn Saud. Recently, by a Royal decree of October 2006, future Saudi Kings will be selected by a committee of Saudi Princes. This is a revival of the Arab tribal custom of selection as above cited.

Qatar (pages: 264, 265, 266, 267, 268 and 269) The Sheikh Hamad Al Thani made his successor his youngest son, Sheikh Khalifa, deposed by his own son in 1995.

Dubai (pages: 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 and 275) Sheikh Maktoum (1943-2006) ruled Dubai from 1990 until 2006. His successor was his brother Sheikh Mohamed (1949- ) and although having other brothers, indicated as his successor, his son, the Hereditary Prince Hamidan (1982- ).

Abu Dhabi (pages: 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 and 275) Sheikh Sultan (1881-1926) ruled from 1922-1926, and his successor was his brother Sheikh Saqr (1887-1928). His successor was his nephew Sheik Shakhbut (1905-1989). Shakhbut’s successor was his brother Sheikh Zayad (1918- ) and his successor was his son Sheikh Khalifa (1948- ). His heir was already selected, his brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed (1951- ).

Oman (pages: 276, 277, 278, 279, 280 and 281) Sayyid Turki (1832-1888) was the Sultan of Oman from 1871 till 1888 and his successor was not his older son but Sultan Sayyd Faisal (1864-1913).

It’s extremely easy to see that the Laws of Succession in the Middle East are completely different from the ones in Europe.

Prince Gharios El Chemor receives U.S. Special Congressional Recognition

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Diploma of Prince Gharios’ US Congressional Special Recognition

In 2014, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor has received his first U.S. Special Congressional Recognition by the initiative of the Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman (California). Last month, by the initiative of the Honorable Congressman John Yarmuth (Kentucky), Prince Gharios has received the second award from the U.S. Congress due to his humanitarian and volunteer work.