Are Drakons superior beings?

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AuthorTopic: Are Drakons superior beings?
Lifecrafter
Member # 6403
Profile #150
quote:
Originally written by Retlaw May:

Jewish people aren't huge fire breathing monsters that harbor unsatable greed and a need for control of everything. Not only this, but Jewish people also don't have the ability to shape which they use very freely without much thought of concequence.
Wait, we're not? :eek:

All of my work to become the most vile and dispicable monster in the world gone? Someone better warn Alec about this. :P

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??? ??????
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Posts: 883 | Registered: Wednesday, October 19 2005 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #151
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

A single-minded war machine cannot practice science. Saying the same thing over and over doesn't make it true.
Do Shapers make creations for pets? For company? No. Do they make creations to make life easier? No. Why do they make creations? War. And they don't even make tactical creations, like the Shapers (who have invented vast varieties for different situations), the only new creations the drakons have contributed are the unbound, designs for wanton destruction. They can shape new things, yes, but their only motive is destruction, and their new designed show this single-mindedness as well as a lack of creativity.
quote:
PC: "You really plan to destroy all life on Terrestia?";
Ghaldring: "Only all Shaper life. Of course, most of the rest of it will die. But our only other choice is losing this war. I suppose, from some perspectives, what we are doing is morally questionable. But it is the only choice."

This does not sound like a "single-minded machine" with "no depth."
What? Yes it does! They do have another choice, they could have hid themselves (this is not difficult) and lived like those peaceful serviles. But no, their programming would not allow it. They must destroy, they must conquor.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Canned
Member # 7704
Profile #152
Hum... drakons are superior to humans in many ways but inferior in other way to us. I consider that if something suffers and feel pain then it is equal to us because we know all to well how pain affect us and we are here in a way, to limit pain of others.
Therefore all beings have the same rights.
If you are obliged to kill to survive then it is not a proof of non respect and selfishness but in a way to preserve the ways of life that we all have, then it is in a sense a proof value and respect due to an other.

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You can jump off a bridge, fire a gun in your mouth, drink poison,or going in to the tiger's pit but you will still end up dead it's a mater of time and how .
Posts: 312 | Registered: Sunday, November 26 2006 08:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #153
Oh? Upon Mars, do you consider yourself equal to, say, an ant because it can feel pain? Or a paramecium, or a cat? The ability to feel pain is not a sign of equality, and the willingness to kill is no sign in one direction or the other. It is the reason to kill, and the reason to fight that matters. The Drakons fight not for equality, but for domination. They truly have no need to fight. They could have lived out the remainder of their lives on the Ashen Isle(The northern one, Nalyd forgets it's name). They fight meaninglessly and without reason.

ET-
quote:
Do Drakons make creations for pets? For company? No. Do they make creations to make life easier? No. Why do they make creations? War.
Really FYT, ET.

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May the fires of Undeath burn in your soul, and consume it.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 2245
Profile Homepage #154
Oh for goodness sakes, this is getting ridiculous.

This debate has pretty much degenerated to Emp and Retlew stressing over and over again that Drakons are mindless killing machines, to which Stillness and I reply "But they do X, Y and Z! That isn't exactly what you'd expect of a mindless killing machine!"

To which we are given the reply "BUT THEY ARE, BUT THEY ARE! BUT THEY ARE! THEY WERE CREATED THAT WAY! FINGERS IN EARS, LALALALA!"

And then this absurdity about the Drakons 'hiding'.

1. You can't hide forever. The serviles on Sucia demonstrate that concept. The Shaper Empire is far reaching, and it's only a matter of time before you are found, even if you are in Barred Territory. Added to which, a Drakon doesn't 'blend in' as well as a servile.

2. Why should they hide? Was 'hiding in the attic' the only moral option that the Jews could have employed during Nazi dominion?

This just gets more and more absurd. "The Drakons fight back against a race which would genocide them, hence they are single-minded and violent." What a load of garbage!

And then that nonsense about Drakons being 'created' to be killing machines, hence they MUST be killing machines. Huh? The Shapers created the serviles to be mindless, dependent on the Shapers, and unable to use magic. That sure worked out well, didn't it?

Just because the Shapers 'intend' for a trait to be present in their creation, does not mean that it will be.

[ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 14:16: Message edited by: Waylander ]

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VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Warrior
Member # 8165
Profile #155
Hiding is for cowards,that is how we think,so saying "they could have just hid" wow,what a sissy move,do you know how arrogant we are? What would make you think we would hide form shapers? We would rather die fighting than hiding and waiting,out of the question,for real.

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R.R
Posts: 179 | Registered: Friday, February 23 2007 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #156
No,Waylander, it is more you respond with "but X (which doesn't really supply good evidence) is why! Oh you made a point about Y and Z but I'll just ignore that."

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #157
Haze, you really aren't helping your case here. You're an incompetent and your gimmick is annoying at best. The point of the debate is whether Drakons are better or not. An unwillingness to hide isn't superiority.

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May the fires of Undeath burn in your soul, and consume it.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 2245
Profile Homepage #158
Retlew:
quote:

No,Waylander, it is more you respond with "but X (which doesn't really supply good evidence) is why! Oh you made a point about Y and Z but I'll just ignore that."

Whatever.

The Anti-Drakon argument pretty much contend that Drakons are mindless, selfish, killing machines.

Stillness and myself have pointed out time and time again that Drakons actually share many similiarities with the sapient servile/humans/drayks, and are in fact not simply violent killing machines. To summarize our arguments in support of this:

1. The Drakon's have a complex political structure, as observed in GF4. There are clear protocols (aka. Council meetings, and Greta mentioning that Drakon political procedure is very long-winded), there is a clear social ladder, and alliances form depending on the Drakonian's idealogy.

2. A sense of honour. The Drakon's disapprove of Salassdar's attempted assassination, despite the fact that they despise humans.
They prefer to fight honourable duels, even with their inferiors. They pay homage to dead rivals (Ghaldring to Salassdar). In GF3, the Drakon on the 5th island bowed to you out of respect as an equal before attacking.

3. A sense of humour. This is observed in the Council Meeting, where the Drakons laugh at Salassdar's humiliation.

4. The ability to be creative. I've pointed out time and time again that the Takers/Drakons have constructed numerous fantastic variations of existing creations, and were responsible for bringing the Gazer into being.

Emperor's response? "They haven't made as many new creations as the Shapers!" Given that the Drakon's have only been existence for a fraction of the time that the Shapers have, that isn't such a huge shock.

5. An inclination to be aesthetic. Drakon's clearly have some appreciation for art and jewellery.

6. Empathy for what they term as 'lesser species'. The Drakons as a species appear to have a maternal instinct to protect the serviles.

7. A sense of justice. Drakons are able to recognize that killing a creature merely for the crime of existing is unjust.

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VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #159
1- The Drakonic political structure is based mainly on, well, politics. It isn't useful at all in it's own right, and serves only to delay the war.

2- Well, you have this one. Honor isn't a viable emotion, though. It is a set of protocols defining what Drakons consider "fair play."

3- This is just sadism on the part of the Drakons.

4- This. . . is. . . wrong!!! What variations of new creations have the Drakons brought into being? The Unbound? All the creativity that required was "Ooh, let's make mindless killing machines even worse than us!"

5- They have no art. They wear jewelery because it's expensive and shows their power. Plus, they were modified from Drayks, who are natural hoarders.

6- They merely maintain this appearance for propaganda purposes. If they didn't, they would merely gain another enemy, albeit a weak one.

7- They think this only because they themselves are illegal. They would no sooner hesitate to commit mass genocide of one of their own rebellious experiments than the Shapers would. Note the cryodrayks that were attacked near Northforge.

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May the fires of Undeath burn in your soul, and consume it.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00
Warrior
Member # 8165
Profile #160
Okay,i see you all have these different things to say about Us,and they all seem to be negative,are there any positive things you can say about us Drakons? At all?
Anything? :confused:

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R.R
Posts: 179 | Registered: Friday, February 23 2007 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #161
Yay another ally in the fight against the evil Drakons!

1. Politicians are the lowest of life forms, most of the people who should lead don't have the stomach to become a bottom feeder. This also only highlights their fights for power.

2. How much of it was actually honor and how much of it was pure embaressment for being made fools of?

3. Like the other guy said, if that is their sense of humor I'd rather not see them laughing even if I was one of them.

4. Again they based all their new stuff off of inovations of Barhzal (they may have made the Rotghroth but I'm not sure) and even the new creations are based off of original Shaper designs. Shapers have also made new and impressive creations in the last couple years.

5. Again, like the other guy said, I believe (though I will say noone can say for certain) that they value them as a display of wealth and power. This is more hording than anything else in my eye.

6. Ummm the Drakons don't really seem that empathetic to the serviles to me. They constantly declare marshal law over their towns and treat serviles like their own creations. Even the fanatic servile rebels constantly mention this to you.

7. Once again, like the other guy said, Drakons wouldn't appose it if it benefitted them without too much reprocussions. Any group of species that would deny them dominance would likely be taken out.

I'm not saying that Drakons are mindless , I'm saying that their minds are quite devishly twisted. They are quite selfish if you follow their history in the games. Their not so much killing machines as they are the factories of killing machines with great firepower.

Also, you constantly refer to the same one or two Drakons who actually seem to have some sanity. But that is like refering to the few sociopathic psychos that are among humans.

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Warrior
Member # 8165
Profile #162
Oh yeah,and about the incompetent thing,so you're basically calling me stupid?

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R.R
Posts: 179 | Registered: Friday, February 23 2007 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #163
Well, it did take a while for you to process it...

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #164
quote:
Originally written by Waylander:

The Drakon's have a complex political structure, as observed in GF4. There are clear protocols (aka. Council meetings, and Greta mentioning that Drakon political procedure is very long-winded), there is a clear social ladder, and alliances form depending on the Drakonian's idealogy.
A dictatorship? Yeah, real complex. In the animal world, Ghaldring would be what we call an 'alpha male.' Salissar challenged the alpha male for leadership of the pack, and lost. Behold the complex political structure.
quote:
A sense of honour. The Drakon's disapprove of Salassdar's attempted assassination, despite the fact that they despise humans.
Their system of honor is based on ritualized duels, another element taken from the animal world. Goats duel, too, you know. The assasination attempt was a sign of weakness, and for animals that value strength above all else, of course they would disaprove. Humans realize that there is more to it than brute strength, the drakons do not.
quote:
A sense of humour. This is observed in the Council Meeting, where the Drakons laugh at Salassdar's humiliation.
I suppose this, at least, counts as some kind of emotion. Whether or not it marks drakons as superior being I can't say.
quote:
The ability to be creative. I've pointed out time and time again that the Takers/Drakons have constructed numerous fantastic variations of existing creations, and were responsible for bringing the Gazer into being.

Emperor's response? "They haven't made as many new creations as the Shapers!" Given that the Drakon's have only been existence for a fraction of the time that the Shapers have, that isn't such a huge shock.
In the time since the drakons have come into existence, the humans have come up with five (if your not counting Barzahl's, then still no less than three) all new creation types. You keep harping on the fact that the drakons are so much better than humans at shaping, then where are the products of this genius? The unbound? Bigger and shinier drakons? Please.
quote:
Empathy for what they term as 'lesser species'. The Drakons as a species appear to have a maternal instinct to protect the serviles.
Of course you want to protect a source of labor. This is common sense, not empathy. Their treatment of serviles at Khima shows that they have no empathy what so ever.
quote:
A sense of justice. Drakons are able to recognize that killing a creature merely for the crime of existing is unjust.
Hmm, yet they kill the unbound when they are finished with them. So just.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 2245
Profile Homepage #165
Emp:
quote:

A dictatorship? Yeah, real complex.

1. I'd argue that the form of government we observe in the Drakonian society is an oligarchy.

2. You seem to imply that dictatorships aren't complex. How are democracies, oligarchies, or aristocracies more or less complex than a dictatorship?

The mere existence of a dictatorship is not concrete proof that the political system is not complex. Ancient Rome was a dictatorship for at least 3 times in its history, including the rule under Caesar, and during the time of Hannibal. Yet I doubt you'd postulate that the political system of Ancient Rome during those times was 'not complex'.

quote:

In the animal world, Ghaldring would be what we call an 'alpha male.'

In the animal world, Caesar would be what we call an 'alpha male'. In the animal world, Cromwell would have been what we call an 'alpha male'.

You're pretty much saying that since a society has a leader, it can't be complex. What a load of crock. Your arguments get weaker by the second.

quote:

Salissar challenged the alpha male for leadership of the pack, and lost. Behold the complex political structure.

Salissar attempted to garner support from his fellow Drakons in the Council meetings. Ghaldring, through subtle manipulations, not only regained leadership in the eyes of the Drakons, but also managed to depose his younger, and stronger rival.

In the wild, the younger, stronger male usually becomes alpha male. However, in Drakonian society, we see the exact opposite. Ghaldring, a much older, wiser, and politically educated Drakon, is able to hold sway.

quote:
Their system of honor is based on ritualized duels, another element taken from the animal world.
Goats duel, too, you know.

And? What's your point? The difference is that goats do not possess introspection, whereas Drakons do. Drakons don't duel because it is some sort of ingrained animalistic behaviour. They do so because they have a rigid code of honour, where it is proper to meet your opponent, one on one.

Also note that animals don't 'pay their respects' to defeated rivals. Yet we see Ghaldring do exactly that with Salassdar. Also, the dead Drakons remains are borne out of the room with respect by his fellow Drakons.

Have fun trying to demonstrate that such behaviour exists in 'dumb animals'.

quote:

The assasination attempt was a sign of weakness,

Perhaps. But it was clear from the comments of the Drakon council that they condemned Salassdar's attacks because they were impolite. Otherwise they wouldn't have sought to compensate you.

quote:
In the time since the drakons have come into existence, the humans have come up with five (if your not counting Barzahl's, then still no less than three) all new creation types.

The Takers and Drakons have invented numerous creation types. Once again, check out the Taker dumping grounds. And if you try to claim that they were all based on pre-existed models, I'd merely reply with the observation that so were the Wingbolt, Kyshakk and War Trall.

quote:

Their treatment of serviles at Khima shows that they have no empathy what so ever.

No. What is does show is that the Drakons can sometimes put the priority of 'winning a war' above the comfort of the serviles. All great leaders of wars and revolutions sometimes need to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

I've put forward numerous examples which clearly demonstrate that Drakons do indeed feel empathy for others, which you have conveniently ignored. You can cite as many 'nasty' action of the Drakons are you want... the mere existence of even one expression of empathy by the Drakons invalidates your argument.

quote:

Hmm, yet they kill the unbound when they are finished with them. So just.

We've already been over this. The Unbound aren't sapient. The Unbound apparently fit your own description of 'violent killing machines' who kill without rational thought. You might as well claim that chicken farming is genocide.

Why do you continue to repeat the same old BS arguments ad nauseum, when they have already been addressed?

[ Wednesday, March 21, 2007 20:20: Message edited by: Waylander ]

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VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #166
Originally by Emperor Tullegolar:

quote:
You keep harping on the fact that the drakons are so much better than humans at shaping, then where are the products of this genius? The unbound? Bigger and shinier drakons? Please.
You do realize that one of the Barzite plans for defeating the Shapers involved making a bunch of drakons, right?

Fenen, Radiant College:

quote:
question = "How have you improved drayks?";
text1 = "_We have made drayks into drakons, of course. Soon, with the use of the incubation vats, we will make many drakons, and they will defend us from the Shaper Council._"
Dikiyoba.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Warrior
Member # 8165
Profile #167
took me a while to process it?
I knew what he was trying to say from the start,i just forgot to put it in the post,i should have just edited it...
But if you're going to call soemone something,why not just say the word,instead of going all the way around and using a totally different word that someone wouldn't think it would mean the word you're trying to say?
incompitent
stupid...
just say "stupid" in this case.

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R.R
Posts: 179 | Registered: Friday, February 23 2007 08:00
Cartographer
Member # 995
Profile #168
I'm personally enjoying how the anti-Drakon arguer keeps dismissing things as ruses or lies by the Drakons. The argument seems to go that we have to accept every other quote in the game as a fact, except the ones inconvenient to his argument. If you open up the "game quotes aren't evidence because they might be lies" can of worms, it applies both ways. Then we don't know if Barzhal created anything ever, or if he just claims to. We don't know if the serviles built Khima, or if they just claim to. Suddenly, we don't know anything anymore, it might ALL be lies. It completely dissolves the ability to quote the game for _either side_ to start dismissing _some_ quotes, but not others, as lies.
Posts: 206 | Registered: Thursday, April 18 2002 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 8073
Profile #169
Have you ever tried to create art & culture while someone was trying to wipe you off the face of the earth?

I think maybe I will stop to paint a mural while the War Trall throws a boulder at my head and the Artilla shoots acid at me.

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Lt. to the Supreme Lord of the Noobs
Posts: 32 | Registered: Tuesday, February 13 2007 08:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #170
quote:
Originally written by Waylander:

1. I'd argue that the form of government we observe in the Drakonian society is an oligarchy.
2. You seem to imply that dictatorships aren't complex. How are democracies, oligarchies, or aristocracies more or less complex than a dictatorship?
1. No, the Rebellion ceases to function when its leader is challenged. Only when the challenger was dead could bussiness proceed. They can't seem to operate smoothly without a single driving force to guide them.
2. Stop asking stupid questions. Of course non-dictatorships are more complex than a dictatorship, that's what makes them so much less efficient.
quote:
In the animal world, Caesar would be what we call an 'alpha male'. In the animal world, Cromwell would have been what we call an 'alpha male'.
Caesar came to power by gaining the love of the people, often by forgiving his political enemies. He then had to juggle both the Senate to remain legitimate as well as the triumvirate. The man was a political genius. Ghaldring came to power by being the biggest, strongest drakon. There really is no comparison. Cromwell came to power by using the parliament. Again, no comparison. Worst analogy ever.
quote:
In the wild, the younger, stronger male usually becomes alpha male. However, in Drakonian society, we see the exact opposite. Ghaldring, a much older, wiser, and politically educated Drakon, is able to hold sway.
You think Salisaar is stronger than Ghaldring? Wrong again. "You come face to face with Ghaldring. Now, at last, you can see that his disinterest and confusion was just an act. He radiates awesome power. It's almost painful to be near him."
quote:
Drakons don't duel because it is some sort of ingrained animalistic behaviour. They do so because they have a rigid code of honour, where it is proper to meet your opponent, one on one.
You can't keep saying you make supported claims and then turn around and post this crap.
quote:
The Takers and Drakons have invented numerous creation types. Once again, check out the Taker dumping grounds. And if you try to claim that they were all based on pre-existed models, I'd merely reply with the observation that so were the Wingbolt, Kyshakk and War Trall.
To bad we were arguing about creativity here. Are you saying that three different kinds of drakons is more creative than three all new strains of creation?
quote:
I've put forward numerous examples which clearly demonstrate that Drakons do indeed feel empathy for others, which you have conveniently ignored.
Would you be kind enough to remind me of these 'numerous examples?' None of the things in this thread prove anything, they've all been times when it was to the drakon's direct benefit to help the serviles. Don't confuse helping serviles out of the goodness of their hearts with helping temselves to preserve a work/fighting force. Drakons simply do not go out of their way to help anyone like, say, Guardian Kantor did.
quote:
The Unbound aren't sapient.
It matters not. You said that drakons do not kill things for the crime of existing. You were wrong.
quote:
You might as well claim that chicken farming is genocide.
I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain that the point of chicken farming is to make sure the species thrives. I take back my earlier statement, this is the worst analogy ever. I can't believe I dignified it with a response.

Dikiyoba: You missed the point. We were arguing about which species was more creative when I made that statement. Since Barzahl created the drakons, I give him more credit than the drakons, who only really made bigger drakons.

Silver: I only made a comment about lying twice, and both times I was dead right. The first time when I called Ghaldring a liar, it turned out that someone had misquoted him. The second time when I called those gazers liars, it turned out that they were, in fact, lying. What they were saying was false. Proven so with game evidence. Go back and read if you didn't get it. Otherwise, if you can prove as ironclad as I did that someone is lying, be my guest.

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You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Cartographer
Member # 995
Profile #171
(just as a historical side-note: in Caesar's Rome, 'dictator' was a specific title granted by the Senate with specific duties and responsibilities -- while the word is the root of the modern word 'dictator', it meant Significantly different in nuance then than it does now).
Posts: 206 | Registered: Thursday, April 18 2002 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #172
As a quick addition: In Latin, dictator just means speaker. It was, as noted, a fairly normal position, but Julius Caesar got himself appointed dictator for life, which was unheard of, and that was the reason that he became unpopular enough with the senatorial class to get executed.

Julius Caesar was a pretty good politician (and a pretty good general), but Augustus Caesar was a far better politician and not a bad general himself. He did, of course, have his adopted father's experience to draw on, but Julius Caesar could've learned from Sulla, Catalina, and the others who had attempted to become king before him and failed.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #173
I think slightly more moderate than ET, and I guess this is why Waylander ignores posts like mine and Nalyd's... It is inconvienient for him to address us, he keeps with the more extreme version which he finds much easier to disclaim (which he isn't even doing a good job with that). The whole notion of what dictator means in latin and in english should not be an issue, it is a language argument.

And what is with Waylander's claim that if we say the energized things in G2 aren't creative than neither are the Wingbolt, Khyshack, and War Trall aren't creative? I'd like to first say that the things in there weren't all from the Takers, the other sects dumped their mad creations there too. And another thing is that the new creations the Shapers made weren't based off earlier creations like the ones in G2's dumping ground for crazy powerful creations.

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #174
Actually, that's something I've wondered about for some time. How did Augustus pull it off, turning a republic into an empire in republican form? As I understand it, he was not dictator. The dictatorship was an emergency measure Rome had used on rare occasions for centuries, and it had a very short term. Asking to be made dictator for life was too obvious, apparently. Rather, what I remember is that the only civil powers Augustus got the senate to confer on him were the 'tribunician' powers, namely personal immunity from prosecution plus a veto over any new proposed laws. All his other titles and offices -- including the title of 'Augustus' by which Octavian Caesar is better known -- were just honorific.

The office of tribune had been created a century or two before Augustus, in response to a sort of general strike by the entire working and middle classes. Several of them were elected for fixed terms, by the common people, whose interests they were supposed to defend. The tribunate was probably the first exercise in republican checking and balancing of powers. Evidently it was a bit too heavy handed. It checked the senate all right, but it was the means by which the republic became the empire. Especially once Octavian got himself appointed tribune for life.

What I'm fuzzy on is just how Octavian succeeded, where Marius, Sulla, Pompey and his uncle C. Julius before him all failed. All were generals whose troops were prepared to obey them against the government. Was Octavian just the last man standing, with everyone exhausted enough to prefer a stable dictatorship in a republican mask, rather than endure another decade of civil war? Was his military situation somehow superior to the others? Or was he clever in fashioning his republican mask out of the tribunate, instead of going for the dictatorship?

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
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