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Thread: What ancient societies had Republics or Democracies?

  1. #1

    Question What ancient societies had Republics or Democracies?

    Greece
    Rome
    Carthage (hat tip R3v)

    Any others?


    If you know of any ancient equivalents of the Bill of Rights list those as well.
    Last edited by Swordsmyth; 01-20-2019 at 12:53 AM.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
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  3. #2

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by nikcers View Post
    He wanted an Empire.

    This thread isn't about what form of government is best, it is about what cultures developed certain forms.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Greece
    Rome


    Any others?


    If you know of any ancient equivalents of the Bill of Rights list those as well.
    Seems I remember Roman citizens having certain rights .
    Do something Danke

  6. #5
    Roman citizen rights included private property rights , legal contract rights , run for office and vote , death penalty avoidance with the exception of treason, rights to courts and appeals etc
    Do something Danke

  7. #6
    Republics (by which I assume is meant states without monarchs, whatever their other characteristics) were extremely rare prior to the late 18th century. In antiquity, they existed in the Greek world (i.e. both Greece proper and the colonies), non-Greek Italy (e.g. Rome), and Phoenicia and its colonies (e.g. Carthage). After the collapse of the Roman empire, they formed in parts of Italy (e.g. Venice) and the German-speaking lands (e.g. many cities of the Hansa). Republics were rare because, once formed, they tended to collapse in civil war, resulting in a dictatorship or foreign conquest. It is not coincidental that the greatest pre-modern practitioners of republicanism, the ancient Greeks, were also the first to theorize on its instability.
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken

  8. #7
    I think you guys misunderstand what 'Greece' looked like in antiquity. What you call Greece was a collection of Hellenic Polis-- and nearly all were Tyrannies or Oligarchies with the very peculiar exception of Athens--which would qualify as a democracy and definitely not a republic, equality under the law not-with-standing.

    I believe the United Provinces were a republic, which also reminds me of the Boer republics, and a bunch of modern day African Republics. The sad thing about republics is they almost invariably turn into empires. The Dutch, as mentioned. The Romans. The Athenians (Democracy). Hell, if you consider Parliamentarian gov. a republic, than even England had a phase!

    In so far as ancient equivalents of the Bill of Rights, you might look at the Magna Carta that English nobles forced King John 'Lackland', the sally bitch, to sign. The history of the Bill of Rights starts at least at Hammurabi.

    Lets not forget the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, which despite having a monarch saw that monarchs power kept in check by a legislature.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bv3 View Post
    I think you guys misunderstand what 'Greece' looked like in antiquity. What you call Greece was a collection of Hellenic Polis-- and nearly all were Tyrannies or Oligarchies with the very peculiar exception of Athens--which would qualify as a democracy and definitely not a republic, equality under the law not-with-standing.

    I believe the United Provinces were a republic, which also reminds me of the Boer republics, and a bunch of modern day African Republics. The sad thing about republics is they almost invariably turn into empires. The Dutch, as mentioned. The Romans. The Athenians (Democracy). Hell, if you consider Parliamentarian gov. a republic, than even England had a phase!

    In so far as ancient equivalents of the Bill of Rights, you might look at the Magna Carta that English nobles forced King John 'Lackland', the sally bitch, to sign. The history of the Bill of Rights starts at least at Hammurabi.

    Lets not forget the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, which despite having a monarch saw that monarchs power kept in check by a legislature.
    All good information but I was concerned with "ancient" societies not those that had Greece (Athens{I knew that but Athens is part of Greece}) or Rome or Carthage as historical examples to give them the idea.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    All good information but I was concerned with "ancient" societies not those that had Greece (Athens{I knew that but Athens is part of Greece}) or Rome or Carthage as historical examples to give them the idea.
    Yes, Athens is a part of Greece now but the Athenian empire was more Athenian than it was Greek. Ionic. What qualities would you say a republic must have, or is representative governance enough?

    Similarly, democracy. Legislative decisions being made by a voting public, unrestrained by any constitution? I mean, hell, Athens even had a caste system. Check it out: The four tribes.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bv3 View Post
    Yes, Athens is a part of Greece now but the Athenian empire was more Athenian than it was Greek. Ionic. What qualities would you say a republic must have, or is representative governance enough?

    Similarly, democracy. Legislative decisions being made by a voting public, unrestrained by any constitution? I mean, hell, Athens even had a caste system. Check it out: The four tribes.
    Athens was definitely part of Greece (Sparta was more different than Athens) and I am not trying to be hyperaccurate anyway, I am just interested in the broad strokes and if there are any examples that I didn't know about from the very ancient world, I had read about Carthage before but I had forgotten about them until R3v posted.

    I put both republics and democracies in the question because I am interested in any societies where the people at large were involved in government instead of being ruled by kings or chiefs etc.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment



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