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A World History of Ancient Political Thought$
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Antony Black

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281695.001.0001

Themes: Similarities and Differences Between Cultures

Chapter:
(p.227) 12 Themes: Similarities and Differences Between Cultures
Source:
A World History of Ancient Political Thought
Author(s):

Antony Black (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281695.003.0013

The most widespread ideal was sacred monarchy, with very considerable variations. Several cultures produced an idea of the state. Greece, India, and China produced theories of the origin and purpose of the state. Justice was proclaimed everywhere, with widely different meanings, but usually including equal treatment of poor and rich before the law. The well-being of all the people was universally a governmental duty. But only in Greece, Rome, and Israel were the people given a decisive role, and only Greece and Rome valued liberty. Women were everywhere ignored. Only the Israelites identified the state with the nation. Classes were everywhere distinguished, but only China and India gave them moral meaning. Political beliefs were arrived at in different ways, from scientific argument as well as from divine revelation. The conflict between might and right was everywhere a problem; solutions depended on one's metaphysical system.

Keywords:   sacred monarchy, the state, justice, the people, liberty, nation, classes, argument, revelation, might and right

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