Difference Between Dynasty and Empire

Dynasty and Empire are two terms that are used together with most often but they have a difference in their meaning.


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Dynasty means a line of rulers whereas an empire means a region or a territory that is ruled by an emperor or empress.

Since these two terms have got different meanings they have got some similarities too. Both dynasty and empire are the highest authority level in their area and both are meant to rule and govern.

It was in the history of the world when there used to be dynasties and empires in different parts of the world.

Dynasty vs Empire

The difference between a dynasty and an empire is that a dynasty denotes series of rulers who ruled from the family line whereas empire means a large territory that can have more than one kingdom and is ruled by an emperor or an empress.

Dynasty vs Empire

You might have studied in your sixth grade about the history of your country where there used to be dynasties and empires and rulers. But, I am sure that no one has ever taught you the difference between them.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDynastyEmpire
DefinitionDynasty means a series r line of rulers that came from the same family line.An empire means a large territory that may have more than one kingdom and was ruled by an emperor or an empress.
InheritanceThe rulers in a dynasty inherited power of ruling from the same family. Therefore the rule was supposed to be inherited by birth.An emperor or an empress might not have to be compulsorily from the same family line to rule in the case of an empire.
RulersIn the case of a dynasty, it is ruled by a line of rulers that had to come from the king’s family line (eg his eldest son).An empire, is supposed to be ruled by an emperor or an empress who not compulsorily may not belong to the same family.
ExamplesThe Nanda Dynasty of India.The Empress Catherine of Russia.

What is Dynasty?

Dynasty means the series or the line of rulers that came from the same family. In other words, if you are born in the family of the king then automatically you become the next rightful ruler and no one else until and unless you have your brothers or sisters.

Some of the famous and well-known dynasties in India were Nanda Dynasty, Maurya Dynasty, and many more other dynasties. However, other than the Indian country dynasties were present in other places of the world too.

Whenever a king and a queen used to have kids then it was one of the kids who was supposed to rule after the death of their parents.

And this way they used to have rulers ruling a particular territory for a long period of time from the same bloodline.

In today’s world, the alternative word for a dynasty is a family, house, clan, and many more. The term dynasty is a pretty historic term and was used mostly in our history textbooks.

Nowadays, alternative terms are used instead of a dynasty.

Dynasty and empire are two different words and terms and have a different meaning.

They have got certain differences too like the inheritance of a kingdom in the case of an empire because the emperor ruling an empire might not be from the same family.

The role of dynasties included the highest authority and it could not be ignored. It was the highest authority that had created the rules and laws of a particular territory and everyone had to follow and obey them.

If people did not follow them then there were certain punishments and could be executed also.

It is the inheritance that makes all the difference between an empire and a dynasty. In the case of an empire the existing emperor the empress could be thrown out and someone else could be the emperor.


What is an Empire?

An empire, on the other hand, is a large kingdom that was ruled by an emperor or an empress.

The emperor or the empress ruling a particular kingdom had the powers to make rules and regulations and everyone had to obey them. They were the highest level of authority at that point in time.

An empire might include different countries under its rule and it may not be close to the head of the kingdom but everything must be reported to the emperor or the empress ruling.

One of the famous is the British rule over the Indian subcontinent. The rule lasted for almost 200 years from 1858 until India’s and Pakistan’s independence back in 1947.

During that period under the British rule, British had taken all the power and possession of the company’s assets and had ruled directly in the country. You might have read in your history textbooks how the British people exported all the riches and spices and every other thing to other countries and gained huge profit out of that.


Main Differences Between Dynasty and an Empire

  1. A dynasty means a series of rulers coming from a family and not outside of the family line whereas an empire was a large kingdom that was controlled by an emperor or an empress.
  2. The inheritance in the case of the dynasty was by birth as the son or daughter of the ruler would be the future king after the death of their father or both their parents whereas an empire inheritance could be from outside the family line.
  3. Dynasty may be ruled by a series of rulers whereas an empire is ruled by an emperor or an empress.
  4. An example of a dynasty is the Maurya Dynasty of India and an example of the empire would be The Empress Catherine of Russia.
Difference Between Dynasty and Empire


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=sq_J0Vkxor8C&oi=fnd&pg=PP6&dq=dynasty+and+empire&ots=UmeWVSGTeF&sig=qwH-WpQ-VyIel-muSaauRv3XLkc
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