Longest generational string of "greatness"

While listening to a history podcast, it struck me that three figures from early European history, Charles “The Hammer” Martel, Pepin the Short, and Charlemagne, are all legitimately “great” historical figures/leaders. Each had accomplishments or conquests that would earn them places in the history book. And they are Father-son-grandson.

Which got me thinking… are there longer strings of consecutive parent-child-grandchild-etc where each member of the chain was a “great” historical figure? Presumably there are plenty of long chains of reigning monarchs, but plenty of monarchs (even of powerful kingdoms) are, of course, fairly medicore, if not downright poor.

There could also be answers in fields other than history… are there 4 successive generations of great success in the entertainment industry, for instance?

That will be hard to match.
The Barrymore clan perhaps, in USA movies/TV.
Lionel, John, and Drew

In USA politics, the Adams had two POTUS’s and it can be argued that both were quite extraordinary, especially the elder.
I could add the Buses, but my gorge rises upon doing so.

Again, nothing like your example.

I lack the historical knowledge to add otherwise.

So… why did I bother posting, right?

ETA: Charles “The Hammer” Martel sounds like a really great wrestling name.

Screw that Pepin the Short. He was only like a foot tall. And there was nothing great about Charlemagne. I read he smelled like feet.

My point is, why is this in the pit?

I reported this because it doesn’t seem like it should be in the pit.

Nothing else to add.


Genghis Khan founded the great Mongolian empire in1206 that lasted until 1368 with the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty in China. If you take it out further, both Mongolia and the Khanates lasted as much as centuries longer. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m sure that the leaders of at least some of the various 'Stans (Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, etc) trace their lineage back to Genghis. So, that gives you 162 years as the greatest empire of the World at the time, plus *centuries * that cover modern day Inner and Outer Mongolia, and most of Central Asia.

Tamerlane could chime in here as this is an area of expertise for him.

John and John Quincy Adams, then Charles Adams, a great diplomat (kept the Brits out of the US Civil War) and his son in turn, Henry Adams, a great writer.

Let’s not forget the Kim family in North Korea. If the state media are to be believed, they’ve had some outstanding or even superhuman achievements.

Nitpick, because it’s one of those “The La Brea Tar Pits” things unpleasant arseholes like me enjoy pointing out at parties to feel all smugly edumacated about theyselves: you can call him either Charles the Hammer, or Charles Martel, but not both. Martel already means “the Hammer”.

Dan Carlin fan, are we?

It was his best show in a while, IMO.

Sure, but I don’t think that’s what the OP is looking for. Where all the leaders of that empire historically great in their own right? I know they weren’t all directly descended from each other. Often power passed to a brother, nephew, or cousin rather than a son.

Certainly Genghis and Ogedei were notable, but Guyuk broke that string.

I think it is like wealth. It rarely survives the third generation.

Possibly the Ottomans - Osman I, Orhan I, Murad I, Beyezid I - all lasted a long time (Beyezid only 13 years, the others held the throne for 20+), expanded their empire and were generally successful. Beyezid did pick the wrong guy to pick a fight with in Tamerlane but there you go.

Three direction generations of the Mortimer family, a medieval baronial family of the Marches, were sort of possessed by the spirit of Cassius 1.

Roger Mortimer I killed Hugh le Despenser on the field of Evesham in 1265, sparking a blood feud that would come to fruitition two generations later.

Edmund Mortimer, his son, ambushed and murdered his cousin Llywelyn the Last, the last independent prince of Wales, in 1282.

Roger Mortimer II, THE Roger Mortimer, son of Edmund, was first the friend and then mortal enemy of King Edward II, became the lover of Edward’s queen, Isabella of France, had Edward’s lover Hugh le Despenser 2 brutally executed, and then probably had Edward II whacked in secret.

  1. Lucius and Gaius Cassius Longinus, assassins of Julius Caesar, and Cassius Chaerea, assassin of Caligula.
  2. The grandson of the first Roger’s murder victim!

How many generations of Borgias were there? At least two.

Oh yeah, the Kennedy clan, starting with old Joe, and then his sons, and a generation since. While it’s arguable whether any of the newer generation would have been in a position to make history had they not been in the clan, they have made some history, and will be in some history books of the future.

OP’s chain of three Leaders of the Franks can be extended to four:
Martel’s father Pepin of Herstal was more important than Martel’s son, Pepin the Short.

The following chain of seven English monarchs may qualify:
William the Conqueror
Henry I
Matilda the Empress
Henry II
John (or Richard I)
(Henry III)
Edward I

AFAIK, although he called the first Parliament, the main claim to “greatness” for Henry III was just his long 56-year reign. If he is excluded we still get a chain of five Monarchs: William, Henry I, Henry II and John (or his brother Richard) are all among the most important of England’s Kings. Since Matilda led the civil war against Stephen that put her son Henry II on the throne, her own historical importance was also great.

Whoops, meant to put this in GD (although maybe GQ would be better) :frowning:

Moving to GD.

You know, if I had a name like Llywelyn the Last, I would be looking over my shoulder every single waking moment. Or at least change my dang name! Sheeesh. What kind of parents name their kid that? It is a setup for failure, I tell you! <shakes fist>

I would say the England’s string of Henry VII, his son Henry VIII, and granddaughter Elizabeth I would all qualify as “great” rulers.