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Romans and divine right

Yoo-hoo!
celandineb, darana, thanatos_kalos, and all you historians and anthropologists (aspiring ones such as erebrandir and yodge included): I have another question for you.

Did Roman emperors, who paid lip service to their own deification, rule by acknowledged divine right?

Again, I'll have to tell you later, in a running edit, why I ask.
Here's the gist of it: My father and I were having a discussion yesterday about why certain cultures seem to have a more ingrained tolerance for totalitarian rule.1 I conjectured that a long period of feudalism and in particular the principle of the "Mandate of Heaven" tended to foster this culture, whereas cultures that received the yoke later tended to throw it off sooner. It was a case of the damnable old frog-in-a-pot syndrome, I claimed. My dad didn't quite buy it, though.

So, I'm trying to get some real historians' viewpoints to corroborate or refute my hypothesis.

1 Yes, that's typical after-dinner conversation here. Does this surprise you? ;-)

--
Banazîr

Comments

banazir
Apr. 15th, 2004 02:29 am (UTC)
Re: I, on the other hand, know ONLY ancient history :)
I don't know if that is a 'long way into the imperial era', but by Diocletian (ca. 300 AD) all this was just poppycock and sillytalk.
:nod:

Julian, my favourite of the emperors, tried to introduce a singular pagan religion throughout the empire to back his divine right to rule, instead of Constantine's christianity, but it was too late by then)
Interesting.
Reminds me of the recent conflict between the Ra'elian cultists and the Georgia school board, wherein the GA school board wanted to replace the evolutionary science curriculum with a (Christian, nominally Judeo/Christian/Muslim) creationist one. "We believe in creation too!" said the Ra'elians, and the church who sponsored the bill backpedaled long and hard to distance themselves.

--
Banazir

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