Has there been any studies on the average life expectancy of a monarch during different time periods? If there had been, can this be used as an indicator of relative peacefulness during the time?

Higher life expectancy => Less number of wars => Stability.

  • Hmm...even if there's a correlation (and I'm guessing there is), it's hard to draw a causal interpretation from that because less peace also could lead to lower life expectancy (assassinations and such) rather than vice versa. Also, length of rule (rather than life expectancy) could be a better metric.
    – Opt
    Feb 14, 2012 at 19:35
  • @rest_day why do you think there would be a correlation?
    – ihtkwot
    Mar 3, 2012 at 5:42
  • @ihtkwot as I mentioned, higher life expectancy (or length of rule) means there were relatively lesser number of wars. So this might imply a peaceful period.
    – rest_day
    Mar 5, 2012 at 5:54
  • @rest_day I get the point you are getting at, but there doesn't seem to be any reason why that should be the case. You could be a monarch for 50 years and go to war all the time if you had the resources.
    – ihtkwot
    Mar 5, 2012 at 15:41
  • @ihtkwot that is why I mentioned average life expectancy. I was more interested in what happened over a period of time for many number of rulers. Someone warring for 50 years and not getting killed can be considered as an exception, IMO.
    – rest_day
    Mar 5, 2012 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


There have been no studies that I am aware of and history seems to indicate that there is not a correlation between longevity and frequency of wars.

Whether or not a nation goes to war is dependent on many factors that have nothing to do with a given ruler's age. A decision to go to war can be based upon being attacked by another nation, desiring natural resources, desiring territory in dispute, an overabundance of resources in the home country, a lack of political stability, etc.

The point is that the external, and internal, factors that work against a ruler/nation exist regardless of the ruler's age. I suppose you could find examples that a young ruler would invite an attack from a neighboring country, and conversely a weak and sick ruler. However, these instances are probably the exception to the rule.

The society's rules of succession, or existing legal framework, are a much better indicator of its proclivity for war. If there are not clear rules for succession you are more likely to have civil war. Likewise, if the elections of a country are a source of controversy you are more likely to have a civil war. Looking at resources, if a country has all the resources it needs it will probably not go to war. If that country has an economic boom and needs new markets for its wares it is more likely to engage in war to seek out colonies to peddle its wares, etc.

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