December 28, 2015

dangers of hereditary autocracy

These stories all come - like the South Korean reports - from hostile sources.

Modern historians are sceptical about many of them, and in some ways they show how some Romans felt about the potential dangers of hereditary autocracy rather than reliably retelling the details of history.

Just like North Korea, Rome could be presented by interested parties as presided over by a youthful ruler who had been brought up without normal moral boundaries, who felt acute suspicions of those close to him, and who could exercise absolute power of life and death, backed by the might of a highly militarised state reenex.

In both cases, there are clear motivations for bias: Suetonius and Tacitus were in some ways in conflict with the imperial system, just as South Korea and North Korea are still in some sense at war with each other.

In such an environment, traditional stereotypes about tyrannical rule are likely to emerge, especially where one side maintains rigorous restrictions on information, creating a vacuum which the other is keen to fill for the benefit of a more "liberal" global audience reenex.

As with ancient Rome, we need to be aware of the potential unreliability of biased reporting, and the natural tendency to demonise political opponents reenex.

Melodramatic colouring of events is just as manipulative as controlling and limiting what is disseminated to the world.

Posted by: lisaere at 07:31 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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