Order vs Chaos

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,935
Canary Islands-Spain
#1
In History, there seem to be periods of chaos and order; this is not really true, because in some areas situation is on turmoil, while in others can be calm. However, this happens to many states, that after a period of chaos they enter one of stabilization, and chaos again

In periods of chaos, smaller political entities exist, they compete between themselves, warfare is intense, there's a variety of politics, innovation speed up, but states are short of resources, mostly lacking of long lasting infrastructure and achievements

Examples: Sumerian cities, Eygptian Intermediate periods, Greek poleis, Roman Republic, Barbarian Invasions, Feudal Europe, Italian city states, Sengoku Jidai in Japan, Warring States in China, Mahajanapadas in India, First French Republic etc

On the other hand, in periods of stabilization building is extensive, conditions are peaceful, but competition is lacking, as well as innovation; warfare is external, and politics are uniform. They form majestic empires, destined to mature and fall

Examples: New Egyptian Empire, Assyrian Empire, Persian Empire, Roman Empire, Han-Tang-Song-Ming Dynasties, Maurya Empire, Carolingian Empire, Tokugawa Shogunate, Ottoman Empire, Napoleonic Empire etc

Which of the periods do you prefer to study?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,381
Dispargum
#2
Chaotic times are far more interesting. The human brain is geared more toward stories than facts. Conflict is inherently dramatic. Order is boring.
 
Oct 2011
3,738
the middle ground
#3
Robert G. Wesson wrote a pair of books examining this very dynamic: The Imperial Order in 1967 and State Systems in 1978. He comes to the same conclusions Chlodio outlines above. I suspect he deliberately made the first one a 600-page repetitious slog and the second a lively-prosed page turner half the length of the first to emphasize the points!

I prefer to 'study' the pattern itself, i.e. what happens when state systems succumb to greater power and in turn when empires collapse. But I guess times of transition are still on the chaotic side.
 
Aug 2012
1,469
#5
Order provides the more inspiring areas of history, I find. When times are peaceful, we have better and more accurate records, and get a greater sense of the mind of these historical figures by seeing how they dealt with domestic issues. As much as the likes of Caesar or Napoleon were military geniuses, I am far fonder of the stories of them as just people attempting to do the best for those they ruled.
Picking up a sword or firing a musket is one thing, but creating an effective legal system or winning an election is quite another!
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,381
Dispargum
#6
Order provides the more inspiring areas of history, I find. When times are peaceful, we have better and more accurate records, and get a greater sense of the mind of these historical figures by seeing how they dealt with domestic issues. As much as the likes of Caesar or Napoleon were military geniuses, I am far fonder of the stories of them as just people attempting to do the best for those they ruled.
Picking up a sword or firing a musket is one thing, but creating an effective legal system or winning an election is quite another!
You do realize Caesar and Napoleon were trying to create order out of the chaotic times they lived in?
 
Mar 2018
478
UK
#7
You do realize Caesar and Napoleon were trying to create order out of the chaotic times they lived in?
It's probably little bit more honest to say they were trying to use the chaos around them to improve their situation. Once they were at the top, however, it obviously became in their personal advantage for things to become more orderly. But Caesar did not cross the rubicon to make the world a less chaotic place.
 
Aug 2012
1,469
#9
You do realize Caesar and Napoleon were trying to create order out of the chaotic times they lived in?
But both had domestic agendas and a clear vision for the society they wanted to create. The warlike times they lived in allowed their ascent, certainly, but they tried to make the most of peace when they could find it.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,551
Blachernai
#10
Which of the periods do you prefer to study?
Given that my work seems to cluster on 7th and 11th century Byzantium, I think that's pretty evident: chaos.

I'm not sure I'd use chaos as a term, though. Something more eloquent but "imperial stress and its consequences" would perhaps define this more clearly.