(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents. An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6314.htm)
Monarchies originally formed the apex of feudal systems, exerting what Max Weber described as “traditional authority” in his lecture Politics as a Vocation. Some claimed a religious mandate, or even claimed that they themselves were divine, to increase their legitimacy and strengthen their hold on the people; in these situations the religious authorities and the monarchies supported each other in an exercise of joint power.
Monarchies which have been installed more recently, by successful dictators attempting to set up dynasties, can only justify their rule by being seen to govern well. The Saudi Arabian government is now starting to modernise, but Prospect Magazine has asked the question: Can Mohammed bin Salman really save Saudi Arabia?