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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

borgseawolf
Apr. 15th, 2004 02:51 am (UTC)
Re: It's all because of rice.
Thanks.
BTW, forgive my ignorance, but did you study history at uni?


Yes, but only for a year - only ancient period, hence the title of my next post :)

They had 'divine' or 'sacred' or 'augustus' as their titles, but it meant little - their rule was based on law and military power.

Yes, but so were the Chinese emperors'.


As a foundation of their rule, yes. But - didn't the Chinese emperors demand worship from their subjects? And weren't there various quasi-religious, widely recognized rules about opposing them, objecting them etc. (ie. 'You opposed the Emperor! That's a sacrilege!') ?
Early emperors had nothing of the sort. Sure, simple people worshipped them, or people who believed there was a profit in it (it were times when it was easy to worship a stone that fell from the sky, why not a powerful human being?) but the worship didn't automatically correspond to the Right to Rule. And it was not written in law.

(BTW, what's the title of this comment thread about?)
Oh, that's a vague reference to some old theory of mine, that compared types of crops grown in various regions of the world to the prevalent philosophical and social systems in those regions. Basically, it was sorgo=survival, wheat=individual, rice=social. That sort of thing.

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