most opressive pre modern state or nation ?

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#31
but wasn't the Aztecs technically a loose confederation? Thus by definition a lot of its member states do have a high degree of internal autonomy despite the cruelty of Aztec sacrifices
so you are saying that political decentralization and autonomy is not oppressive but a source of freedom from oppression? That is not always true. As I remember, a number of states within the United States of America have been rather oppressive within the lifetimes of the older members of this forum, while in the same period other states within the USA were much less oppressive and more free. So local autonomy of a local government within a larger state is no guarantee that the local government will not be much more oppressive than the central government requires it to be.
 
#32
No I am saying its harder to be oppressive with a loose de centralized government, America before 1865 had a very loose central government, but the same cannot be said for each of the member states. There is not a lot of info on how each of the tribute states within the Aztec empire behaved it seems
 
Dec 2011
2,291
#35
I even found this mildly interesting vid asserting that Cleopatra's Egypt was a totalitarian state! Quite a bit of a hyberpole do you guys think?I mean definitely it was not a free country in anysense but totalitarian? that's a but too much
In what sense was it NOT totalitarian? When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt he, or his successors, the Ptolomies, introduced a planned economy, as described in the video. The entire country, basically, was owned by the Pharoah. Thus the working lives and material well-being of the vast majority of the people was directed by the Pharoah and his bureacracy.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#36
Does the situation of blacks in the slavery era Americas count?
it depends on how modern an era has to be in order to be too modern to count for this question about pre modern societies.

well i guess America decalred independence in 1776 and got it recongized in 1783 it does
I guess wigglywaffles was replying to Millennium's post. I wish they had quoted the post they were replying to. I hate having to take a second to figure out what post someone is replying to.

In my post number 31 above I pointed out that the era of oppression of blacks (and also of poor whites) in many southern states lasted past the abolition of slavery in 1865 and into the lifetimes of some users of this forum and so eventually became too modern to count for this question about oppressive pre modern societies.

Most societies have limits on good and how bad individual persons and groups f person can behave, and the more decentralized a society is the wider those limits are, and the easier it is to be better or worse than the average in the society is.
 
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#37
In what sense was it NOT totalitarian? When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt he, or his successors, the Ptolomies, introduced a planned economy, as described in the video. The entire country, basically, was owned by the Pharoah. Thus the working lives and material well-being of the vast majority of the people was directed by the Pharoah and his bureacracy.
Well because they didn't have the infrastructure to control people in a totalitarian fashion and indoctrination you would find in a totalitarian state has not yet developed I think authoritarian would be better term
 
#38
There were certainly considerable limits on the control of Roman emperors. As you pointed out, @wigglywaffles, the fact that Christian emperors had to repeat their religious legislation multiple times attests to the problems of enforcement in a pre-modern society. Indeed, the earlier persecutions of Christians by pagan emperors had done so little to quell Christianity that it became the religion of Constantine only a year after the Great Persecution had ended. Similarly, Diocletian had famously failed to institute price controls via the prices edict of AD 301, and papyri from Panopolis in Egypt, again from the reign of Diocletian, attest to the serious trouble that middle- and low-level administrators had in trying to make town councils supply the requisite grain in anticipation of an imperial visit.
 
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Likes: wigglywaffles
#39
I read in an article that the Assyrians themselves were possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the unspeakable atrocities they committed. Truly the most violent society in recorded history, yet they can hardly be blamed considering how efficient their ferocity has been.
That's interesting. What evidence does the article use?

Although I only know a little bit about the Assyrians, I do question the efficiency of their approach. I mean, yes they created the largest empire that the world had yet seen, but it seems to me that the Assyrians spent an awful lot of time putting down rebellions. Maybe there was too much stick and not enough carrot in their approach?
 
#40
There were certainly considerable limits on the control of Roman emperors. As you pointed out, @wigglywaffles, the fact that Christian emperors had to repeat their religious legislation multiple times attests to the problems of enforcement in a pre-modern society. Indeed, the earlier persecutions of Christians by pagan emperors had done so little to quell Christianity that it became the religion of Constantine only a year after the Great Persecution had ended. Similarly, Diocletian had famously failed to institute price controls via the prices edict of AD 301, and papyri from Panopolis in Egypt, again from the reign of Diocletian, attest to the serious trouble that middle- and low-level administrators had in trying to make town councils supply the requisite grain in anticipation of an imperial visit.
I will add the fact that, although Roman historians generally did not write about the emperor under whom they were writing, probably because they understood that they could not provide an accurate account of the living emperor without the potential for incurring imperial ire and risking their patronage and lives (histories were not meant to be panegyrics), nevertheless, there were writers who leveled criticisms against the living emperor. For example, the bishops Athanasius of Alexandria, Lucifer of Cagliari and Hilary of Poitiers all wrote invective against Constantius II for his support of the homoousians, and they went so far as to declare him the Anti-Christ! It has been argued that Lactantius wrote On the Deaths of the Persecutors while living under Licinius, a text whose chief villain is Galerius, the emperor who appointed Licinius in the first place. The historian and polemicist Eunapius slandered the emperor Constantine and Christianity, and although he did not write under Constantine, he wrote under the more oppressive Christian emperors Theodosius I, Arcadius and Theodosius II. The historian Zosimus wrote under Anastasius I, and likewise he slandered Christianity and Christian emperors, blaming the decline of the empire on Christianity. Procopius slandered Justinian and Theodora when, under Justinian's rule, he wrote the Secret History, going so far as to claim that Theodora had had a goose eat seeds out of her vagina. No doubt, some of these works were not intended for widespread dissemination, but sought a more private audience. But the ability to level such criticisms without suffering execution attests to the limits of imperial control.
 
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