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Political Authority in Second-Wave Civilizations

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Megan Hammond

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Political Authority in Second-Wave Civilizations

Athenian Democracy
Pericles was the most prominent Athenian leader in the 5th century B.C.E.

He described Athenian Democracy as an example to its neighbors, and no matter what social status a citizen may be, they can still benefit their country.
Pericles' argument for democracy is derived from fundamental principles, such as human quality, in that he says "There is no exclusiveness in our Public life, and in our private intercourse we are not suspicious of one another, nor angry with our neighbor if he does what he likes."
Pericles believes that Athenian Democracy produces "lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in tastes" and that the government cultivates the mind without losing manliness. Critics said he was a populist, an imperialist, and a manipulator with the only goal being to enhance his own power.
Athens lost the Peloponnesian War, and although his philosophy was good in theory, in action it seemed to fail the test.
Roman Empire
Aelius Aristides is a widely traveled member of a wealthy family, who spoke to the emperor about the praises of Rome.

Aristides believed the unique features of Rome included no local authorities fighting against one another as if they had no king, no division between cities, and all everywhere were equal subjects. The unity gave legitimacy in the eyes of its peoples. The powerful military would also have contributed to Roman authority.
When Aristides called the empire the "common democracy of the world" he was referring to his belief that the government was like a mixture of all institutions (democracy, aristocracy, monarchy).
As an outsider Aristides see the Roman Empire as "the first harmonious government which has embraced all men".
His oration provides evidence to Greco-Roman culture because he is Greek and respects the Romans at such a level, saying "it is now possible for both Greek and Barbarian to travel easily where he wishes."
Both Pericles and Aristides were praising, but Pericles was praising Athenian Democracy while Aristides was praising an imperialistic empire.
Chinese Empire
Han Fei was a legalist member of the Qin Dynasty during Shihuangdi reign.

To Han Fei an effective government requires strong conformers to the law, his philosophy was called legalism because he believed the law was above the people.
The two handles of his philosophy were chastisement and commendation (punishment & reward).
Han Fei believes his measure should apply to everyone underneath the rule, that all men should turn to the law.
Han Fei believes humans look to the people that enforce the handles for authority, and not to the ruler that declared it be done.
Indian Empire
Ashoka was a ruler of India's Mauryan Dynasty & a converted Buddhist.

Ashoka's philosophy of state was the Dhamma.
Han Fei believed much more in the power of humankind and punishment by death, while Ashoka felt no human beings should be slaughtered.
Ashoka changed the killing of hundreds of animals and people, he changed medical treatment, and the inspection of royal officers.
When Ashoka was a murderer he would have been feared but not appreciated as a ruler, as a peaceful man he was respected and adored. He did not abandon his measures because the Dhamma still had rules.
The outcome of India, competing regional states, proves that Ashoka became too soft for an effective regime.
When too much philosophy is allowed in a political system the system will fail in longevity and effectiveness with the people.

Political Authority in Second-Wave Civilizations
Behistun Inscription
Darius sought to convey his power and dominance in his rule.
It represents the source of political authority by showing Darius as the largest figure in the image.
The Farhavar (image hovering over the people) represents the spiritual aspect of Persian life in the inscription.
The Greeks would disagree with this authority because they believed in democracy and the power of the people as opposed to sole rule
Harmodius and Aristogeiton
These statues show people overthrowing a tyrant, as opposed to the tyrant himself. This shows the value of the citizens.
The nudity is does necessarily mean anything sexual since it was normal in Athenian sculpture.
The willingness to celebrate the male lovers shows the liberal Athenian policy with sexuality.
Athenians transformed the personal quarrel into a political statement to show the similarity of small conflicts to large scale political quarrels.
Qin Shihuangdi Funerary Complex
Qin Shihuagndi thought the function of the Terra cotta army was to make his empire an eternal realm, with political authority in the afterlife.
The complex was invisible to the living, and this changes the function because it appears to be a parallel society underground.The Chinese may have though this construction was a project for the gods because of the geographic features believed to be home to spirits.
This project shows Han Fei's concept of political authority because Shihuagndi was the sole ruler even in his death, but it contradicts his ideas because all citizens that died during construction were buried with the emperor, showing appreciation for his subjects.
The religious thinking reflected in this complex is shown through the cemeteries, demons, and spirits built through statues and luxurious objects in the tomb.
Megan Hammond and Erynn Baker
The statue suggests Augustus was a triumphant leader, that the war was over, and to expect peace in the future of Rome.
Augustus refused to be seen as divine but his breastplate if filled with religious imagery, this shows he apparently drew his power from his religion, whether he wanted to be associated with the gods or not.
Augustus' face seems to be a realistic portrayal, while his body and posture seems over exaggerated and forced.The artist is trying to convey a sensibility of a powerful yet humble man.
Aristides would respond to this statue as yet another successful Roman achievement and the embodiment of Roman power and standards.
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