As Home of the Dragon nears its HBO premiere, its narrative will embody an early model of the Recreation of Thrones Kingsguard, elite warriors assigned to guard the King/Queen of the Seven Kingdoms: the fabled Kingsguard is a fictional unit however its kind and performance parallels many historic regiments of royal bodyguards (When Cersei Lannister took the throne, the unit was renamed the “Queensguard.”)
Theoretically consisting of the seven best knights in Westeros, the Kingsguard usually put on white cloaks and gold armor with white enameling. Finishing up the ruler’s needs with out query, the ethics of the Kingsguard are inclined to mirror these of the occupant of the Iron Throne. Well-known members of this unit embody formidable characters together with Arthur Dayne, Barristan Selmy, Jaime Lannister, Gregor Clegane (the Mountain), and Brienne of Tarth, matching them up favorably with the true royal guards of historical past.
10 The Persian Immortals (Achemenid Empire)
The Persian Immortals have been a unit of 10,000 elite warriors devoted to the security of the King and his entourage in addition to forming the skilled spine of the Persian Military (550-330 BCE). Within the time of the Greek historian Herodotus, the Immortals serving as Xerxes I’s Imperial bodyguard have been led by the highly effective commander Hydarnes the Youthful.
The identify “Immortals” was given to the unit as a result of it was all the time stored at a power of precisely 10,000 males, with all casualties being changed instantly. As veteran heavy infantry just like the Kingsguard, the Military contingent of the Immortals fought in lots of battles, most notably at Thermopylae towards the Spartan 300 throughout the Greco-Persian Battle. Though information of the Immortals are sparse, their closeness to the royal equipment, just like the Kingsguard, makes it probably they have been concerned in political intrigues, particularly because the Persian Empire slowly collapsed.
9 The Praetorian Guard (Historical Rome)
Maybe probably the most well-known private guard in historical past, the Praetorian Guard (Latin: Cohortēs praetōriae) was created to guard the Emperor of Historical Rome and his senior officers. Created in 27 BC, Emperor Caesar Augustus handpicked the unit from Military veterans as Rome shifted from a Republic to Empire. Starting as a loyal pressure of devoted and formidable Roman troopers, the Praetorian Guard deteriorated over the centuries, ultimately changing into a harmful energy participant in Roman politics.
By the late Empire, the Praetorians frequently assassinated Emperors who displeased them and changed them with new Emperors beholden to the Praetorians’ needs. One may see the likes of Meryn Trant taking such a task in occasions of political turmoil, if the Recreation of Thrones villain wasn’t so incompetent.
8 The Varangian Guard (Byzantine Empire)
As one of many oddest and most fascinating navy models in historical past, the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Empire served because the King’s elite bodyguard from tenth to the 14th centuries. First fashioned by King Basil II in 988, the Guard was composed of Norse and Scandinavian mercenaries who had lengthy hair, pink rubies glowing of their left ears and dragons sewn into their chainmail armor. Although the thought of hiring overseas mercenaries to guard a King appears counterintuitive at first, the follow was adopted by quite a few different international locations as nicely.
Since Byzantine guardsmen had a bloody file of changing into concerned in palace intrigues, Basil II discovered extra safety in a loyal pressure of well-paid mercenaries who had no stake within the energy hierarchies of the empire. Had Recreation of Thrones‘ “Mad King” of Westeros, Aerys II, employed a politically apathetic mercenary guard just like the Varangians, the “Kingslayer” won’t have been in place to kill him.
7 The Kheshig (Mongols)
The Kheshig served because the Imperial Guard for Genghis Khan and the ruling class throughout the Mongol Empire. Organized into two teams, the “Day Guard” and the “Evening Guard,” the Kheshig’s solely goal was to guard the management and they didn’t struggle on the battlefield. Given excessive honors, rank, privileges and excessive pay, the Kheshig had each purpose to stay loyal to the Khan.
Like Recreation of Thrones, the early Mongolian political scene was embroiled in struggles for energy leading to conspiracies, betrayals and assassinations, together with the poisoning of Genghis Khan’s father. Royalty was susceptible, particularly as a result of the nomadic Mongols slept in tents that have been simply breached. With partitions like that, the Mongols wanted bodyguards as honorable as Recreation of Thrones‘ characters Brienne of Tarth and Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard.
6 The Imperial Guard (Napoleonic France)
Initially a small pressure of veteran troopers chosen by Napoleon himself to function his bodyguard, the famed Imperial Guard shortly grew in dimension with models serving as elite tactical reserves on the battlefield.
Napoleon’s Imperial Guard advanced from the Consular Guard, a thousand-man-strong bodyguard for the leaders of the French Republic. Just like the Kingsguard, this unit was thought of the most effective of the most effective, acquired higher pay, quarters, and rations than the common soldier, and it was mentioned that its members may even grumble within the presence of their Emperor. Different French troopers usually referred to the Outdated Guard as “The Immortals.”
5 The Huskarl (Medieval Scandinavia, England)
The huskarls (also “Housecarl”) have been veteran warriors who served as family bodyguards in medieval northern Europe. Although originating among the many Norsemen, the function was later taken up by the Anglo-Saxons of England. Early Scandinavian huskarls developed into the hird, the acquainted cadre of armed males who accompanied the king (or highly effective lord) and his household and sometimes have been a part of his court docket.
Although not courtiers, the Kingsguard was very important to royal safety always, and just like the Huskarl, it was a grievous offense for anybody to take the lifetime of certainly one of these males.
4 The Somatophylakes (Alexander the Nice)
The Somatophylakes have been the elite bodyguards of kings in historic Greece and Macedonia, probably the most well-known models having supplied safety for Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Nice. The Somatophylakes of each Philip and Alexander consisted of seven excellent members of the king’s elite cavalry unit of nobles, referred to as the “Companions.”
The Somatophylakes, just like the Companions, got the most effective horses, armor and weaponry, identical to the fictional Kingsguard, who numbered seven as nicely. And, just like the Kingsguard, the Somatophylakes weren’t good: Philip was assassinated, and Alexander was most likely murdered as nicely, by poison. These tragic histories are mirrored in Recreation of Thrones, the place few characters survive to the top.
3 The Forbidden Troops (China)
The Forbidden Troops have been the respect guard of the Imperial Tang Dynasty of China, initially manned by loyal elite troopers and probably the most succesful sons of distinguished households. The Forbidden Troops served because the King’s royal bodyguard and in addition had regiments serving Imperial capitols and forts throughout the empire.
Their bloodline was vital, for membership was solely obtainable to males who may hint their household line again to ancestors who served within the Tang dynasty founder Li Yuan’s first Imperial Guard. As time went on and the fabled unit fell right into a dishonored state, it took half in political coups very like the Roman Praetorians as a result of like in Recreation of Thrones, everyone deserves the throne.
2 The Haras (Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates)
Working in varied types over the centuries, maybe probably the most formal unit of the Haras was raised throughout the reign of Muawiyah (r. 661-680) after an assassination try.
Serving as the private bodyguards of the caliph for over 6oo years, the Haras have been mentioned to guard the caliph as he slept, attended to prayers on the mosque and sat in on personal conferences, all the time guarding the royalty as does the Kingsguard. Just like the Varangians, the 300 members of the Hara have been chosen from mawali (non-Arabs) within the perception that guardsmen with out tribal allegiances have been much less more likely to interact in conspiracies towards the caliph.
1 The Medjay (Historical Egypt)
Historical Egypt had many Pharaohs, and certain there have been many unrecorded bodyguards there to safe the royals all through the centuries. Probably the most well-known identified guard models consisted of a bunch of nomads referred to as the Medjay. The Medjay have been initially a nomadic clan of Nubians who possessed excellent preventing and scouting talents.
Recruited into the Egyptian Military, the Medjay have been instantly acknowledged as elite, and solely the most effective Egyptian troopers may be a part of their ranks, as solely the most effective may serve within the Recreation of Thrones‘ Kingsguard. Curiously, the Medjay have been used to patrol the farthest areas of the Pharaoh’s realm and to function his intimate family bodyguard. The Medjay additionally served because the royal family firm, securing all royal palaces and sacred tomb complexes.
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