Which monarch had the longest reign in world history?

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5th place: Mirian III of Iberia

Mirian III was the 22nd monarch and a king of Iberia or Kartli (Georgia). He was born around c. 277 into the house of Mihran, which was one of the seven great houses of Iran. He reigned from 284 – 361 (77 years) taking over from Aspacures I of Iberia. This was made possible by the Sasanians of the Sasnian dynasty in 284, after which the Mihranid rule was established. The dynasty lasted for more than six centuries.

In his early reign, he participated in the Sasanid war against the Roman Empire. Later on, in 298, Rome acknowledged their suzerainty over Armenia and Iberia under the 298 piece of Nisibis with Iran. Though Mirian III retained his crown, he adapted to this and even cemented his political stance by converting to Christianity around 334. He then declared Christianity as Iberia’s state religion in 337. This made him one of the first monarchs of the ancient world to adopt the new religion.

Mirian III got married to his first wife Abeshura, daughter of the last Arsacid Iberia King. She died without issue when Mirian was 15. Mirian then married his second queen Nana, from Pontus, daughter of Oligotos. She bore him two sons Rev and Varaz-Bakur and a daughter. He was succeeded by Sauromaces II of Iberia.

Mirian III of Iberia wiki, Mirian III of Iberia history, Mirian III of Iberia news

King Marian III of Iberia

The map of ancient kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia

The map of Iberia

4th place: Jangsu of Goguryeo

Standing on number 4 is the 20th monarch of Goguryeo (the northernmost of the three kingdoms of Korea), Jangsu. Born in 394, Jangsu was the eldest son of his father Gwanggaeto the great. He was made crown prince in 408, and he started to rule at the age of 19 after the death of his father in 413. Jangsu’s reign was from 413 to 491, 78 years of reign. Though he came into power when Goguryeo was a great power in East Asia, Jangsu was also very diplomatic. This helped him finish up most of the arrangements made by his father during his time. With his long reign, he was able to perfect Goguryeo’s political, economic and other institutional agreements.

During Jangsu’s reign, he was able to stabilize the empire, building on the great achievements by his father Gwanggaeto the great. He also built a magnificent 6-meter tall tombstone in respect of his father with all his achievements engraved on it. This tombstone is now known as the Gwanggaeto Stele.

During his reign, the kingdom expanded from Inner Mongolia to the current North ChungCheong Province of South Korea, South of the Han River basin.

He died at the age of 97 in 491. His child was crown Prince Juda. He was succeeded by Munjamyeong of Goguryeo.


Gwanggaeto Stele

               Goguryeo at its zenith c. 476.

Goguryeo around 476

3rd place: Ermanaric the Ostrogoth of Oium

Number 3 on our list of monarchs with the longest reign in history is Ermanaric of Oium. He was a Greuthungian Gothic king that reigned from 296 to 376, 80 years of reign. He ruled over a sizable part of Oium, a part of Scynthia inhabited mostly by Goths at the time. Though historians still argue about the size of his realm, Herwig Wolfram postulated that his realm was from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea as far eastward as the Ural Mountains.

The king was mostly referred to by Roman sources as “a most warlike king” and was seen by Germanic Legend as a powerful but perilous king.

Ermanaric died at the age of 110 following the wounds he incurred from the attack from the brothers of a woman whom he had cruelly executed for her husband’s revolt. The woman, sunilda, was killed using horses, as she was accused of infidelity. Some accounts have it that the brothers of the woman, Sarus and Ammius, severely wounded Ermanaric. This left him incapable of defending his kingdom from the Hunnic Invasion. He died in 370 and was succeeded by Vithimiris.

2nd place: Taejodae of Goguryeo

The second monarch who has reigned longest in the whole of history is the sixth monarch of Goguryeo, Taejodae. Sometimes called King Gukjo, he rose to the throne after king Mobon was assassinated. He ruled from 53 to 146, 93 years of ruling.

Taejodae was the grandson of Goguryeo and the son of Go jaesa of the house of Go, one of the five powerful houses of the royal court.

Under his rule, he centralized the kingdom by turning the five clans into five provinces and put persons from those clans as governors over the five provinces, they were all put under the control of the king. In doing that, he was able to control the military, economy, and politics. He conquered many states including Eastern Okjeo, Galsa, Jona and Juna. He fought on various occasions with China’s Han dynasty and disrupted much trade. He also launched a major attack in 146.

Taejodae died at the age of 118 after a 93 years rule. This made him the longest king in Korean history. He was succeeded by his son Chadae.

Goguryeo in 476 AD Goguryeo Layout

Longest Reign: Pepi II Neferkare

The king with the longest reign in the whole of history is Pepi II, king of Egypt or pharaoh of Egypt. He ruled in the sixth dynasty in Egypt’s old kingdom. He ruled from 2278 BC to 2184BC (he ruled for 94 years). He succeeded the throne at age six and had a name called “NeferKare,” which means beautiful is the Ka of Re.

Pepi II was the son of Pepi I and was born late in his father’s reign. He succeeded from his half-brother and stepfather, Merenre, who died at a very young age (after getting married to Pepi’s mother). His mother, Ankhesenpepi II, served as Queen as queen regent for a number of years alongside the old group of officials serving the royal family. They maintained stability in the kingdom during this period.

The reign of Pepi marked a sharp decline of the Old Kingdom. This brought the rise of the nomarchs into a considerable position of power, and the power of the pharaoh was eroded. This opened doors for local nobles to raid each other’s territory since there was no central power left after his reign.

Ankhnesmeryre II and her Son 3

Ankhesenpepi and Pepi II


Sculpture of Pepi II


Many historians have it that Pepi carried on the traditions of his predecessor and continued with most of its foreign relations. He also expanded his trade links into Southern Africa. There was also one record of trade expedition to Punt. Records also exist of diplomatic missions to Byblos in Palestine. Copper and Turquoise mining were undertaken at Wadi Maghara, while alabaster was quarried from Hatnub both in Sinai.

Expeditions were also recorded into Nubia involving Harkhuf. And towards the end of his reign, a lot of foreign relations were observed to be broken. This points more to the disintegration of Central rule.


Pepi, though he had a long life, he also had a lot of wives. His wives are:

Neith: Neith was the mother of Merenre, Pepi’s successor. Some historians think that she may be a daughter of Ankhesenpepi I and thus be Pepi’s cousin and half-sister.

I put II: she was also a half-sister of Pepi II and got married to him and was the daughter of Merenre.

Ankhesenpepi III: also a daughter of Merenre and a granddaughter of Pepi I

Ankhesenpepi IV: History books say she was the mother of King Nefekare II. By the time Ankhesenpepi IV died no pyramid was built for her, due to dwindling resources. Her sarcophagus had to be made from re-used limestone.

Her titles were: King’s Mother of Ankh-djed-Neferkare (mwt-niswt-‘nkh-djd-nfr-k3-r’), Mother of the Dual King (mwt-niswt-biti), King’s Wife of Men-ankh-Neferkare (ḥmt-niswt-mn-‘nḫ-nfr-k3-r’), King’s Wife, his beloved (ḥmt-niswt mryt.f), This God’s Daughter (z3t-nṯr-tw), Foster Child of Wadjet (sḏtit-w3ḏt)

Udjebten: she was also a daughter of Pepi I.

It was easy for Pepi II to get married to female family members owing to the fact that incestuous royal marriage was allowed in that time, and in fact preserved the royal blood line.

Family Tree

The effect of him marrying plenty wives was seen in the wars of succession caused by his many children during the First Intermediate Period.

This played a part in the disintegration of the Old Kingdom.

Pyramid Complex

Pepi II’s pyramid complex was originally known as ‘Pepi’s Life is Enduring,’ it was located in Saqqara close to other Old Kingdom Pharaohs. It was originally 78.5 meters high but was reduced to about 52 meters due to erosion and relative poor construction.

Pepi’s pyramid was at the center of a sizable funerary complex, complete with a separate mortuary complex and a small eastern satellite pyramid. This pyramid was flanked by two of his wives’ pyramids: one to the north and north-west, and also by one to the south-east. The ceiling of the burial chamber is decorated with stars, the walls lined with passages from the pyramid texts. The Pepi’s pyramid contains over 670 texts and utterances and magical spells which are designed to protect the dead.

The pyramid was thought of by historians to have been completed around the thirtieth year of his reign. No notable funerary constructions of note happened again for at least 30 to 60 years owing to the fact that Pepi had a very long time of reign.

Some features of the pyramid include:

A core made of limestone and clay mortar. The pyramid was encased in white limestone.

As noted earlier, the burial chamber had a ceiling, a gabled ceiling covered by painted stars.

Another feature is the walls that consisted of large granite slabs.

There was also a sarcophagus made of black granite and inscribed with the king’s names and titles.

And finally, a canopic chest was sunk in the floor.

The pyramid was made from small, local stones and infills, covered with a veneer of limestone. The causeway was approximately 400 meters long, and the valley temple was on the shores of a lake, which has been long gone.


The very first investigation on the complex was by John Shae Perring, but it was Gaston Maspero who entered it first in 1881. Gustav Jequier investigated in more detail between 1926 and 1932.

Most historical write-ups attribute Pepi as the last king of the 6th dynasty. But some still claim that he was succeeded by his son Merenre II.


Pepi’s pyramid complex

               Close up of the pyramid complex of Pepi II taken from a 3d model

3D model of Pepi’s pyramid complex

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Which monarch had the longest reign in world history?

by Editorial Team time to read: 7 min