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Thread: POTF 11 - Vote!

  1. #1
    Aexodus's Avatar Persuasion>Coercion
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    Default POTF 11 - Vote!

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    Roma_Victrix - Cleopatra's endgame: what did she really hope to accomplish with Mark Antony?
    Post 1
    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    I agree completely about the hesitations of Rome to add new territories to its empire, but I still believe that Cleopatra had no choice. The problem was that the circumstances had gradually changed every since the Marian reforms were implemented. As ambitious generals gained more power over their professional armies, the foreign policy of Rome evolved accordingly, even despite the objections of the Senate. Military commanders now enjoyed more freedom and were often allowed to pursue a more personal policy, not hesitating to casually provoke conflicts with neutral neighbors and annex new territories. The reasons for this shift of policy are exactly what you described above: As the Senators were afraid of the possibility of a governor accumulating too many resources, so were the generals motivated to expand their sphere of influence, by installing obedientl governors to recently conquered regions, by stabilising the throne of now completely dependent client-kings and by positioning friendly tyrants to nominally autonomous cities. Not to mention the fact that loot and military glory guaranteed the loyalty of their troops in times of need. All these assets would come very handy, when a civil war broke out and the Roman general attempted to usurp the ultimate power.

    Now, to come back to the subject, a series of semi-successful imperialist strongmen, from Marius and Sulla to Crassus, Pompey and Ceasar had indicated to Cleopatra that the good, old times of senatorial conservatism were over. Whoever emerged as the final victor from the second Triumvirate, Octavian, Mark Anthony, Lepidus or even Sextus "Pirate" Pompey, the days of an independent Lagid dynasty were few. Neutrality was frankly not an option, because it would have saved the kingdom, according to the most optimistic scenario, as long as the Roman Empire remained fragmented. Once the Empire was reunited (an inevitable result, in my opinion), the new dictator/emperor/Augustus would hardly hesitate to invade the wealthy Nile valley. It would have been an easy campaign, which would reinforce his prestige, restore the finances of the state and provide him with a precious basis of support for his fragile and precarious position as the "absolute monarch" of the empire. Cleopatra was obliged to join one of the two camps, in order to have a chance to save her royal career. Unluckily enough for her, she bet on the wrong horse.
    Do you think Cleopatra fully understood the intricacies of what was going on in Roman politics and generals gradually amassing more power since Marius and Sulla, at the expense of or despite the Senate? She certainly knew that Sulla was the power broker who brought her father's predecessor Ptolemy XI to the throne in Egypt by marriage to Berenice III. With the Romans installing her father twice to the throne without showing a huge interest in taking over the country, I don't think she would have figured they wanted direct rule. Well, at least not until it became clear that she and Antony were to fight a colossal war against Octavian, pitting two halves of the Roman world against each other.

    When Cleopatra was still alive I don't think it was quite clear to her and to every other client ruler that Rome would eventually gobble up their territories and transform them into fully controlled provinces. Right next door to her was Herod's kingdom of Judea and it was decades after Cleopatra's death that Herod's triad of successor kingdoms were fully taken over by the Romans. While the Romans took over the Kingdom of Numidia by 40 BC, they left others alone, like the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace, which lasted as a client state until 46 AD.

    Rome didn't really have some master plan when it came to expansion. Like the historian Klaus Bringmann (2002) says, it just kind of lurched from crisis to crisis, reacting to them instead of acting proactively, with big exceptions during the late Republic, of course, like Caesar's ambitious campaign in Gaul that used any little excuse and diplomatic faux pas to take over new territories. Sulla's war against Pontus and then Pompey's conquests of Anatolia and the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean would be another example, but even Sulla was reacting to the Asian Vespers and hostility against Romans and Roman allies by Mithridates. Rome had previously been extremely reluctant to take over new territories directly, case in point, the Kingdom of Macedonia, which the Romans tried to break apart into three different allied republics, but once the pretender Andriscus raised a revolt, it became clear that a directly controlled province was necessary.

    To be honest, if Cleopatra had just stayed quiet after Ptolemy XIII was killed and acted like an aloof monarch who didn't care about politics, how could Octavian have toppled her along with her son and heir Caesarion, who was his true target as an heir to Caesar? Cleopatra VII was a legitimately recognized client ruler. While Octavian held an enormous amount of power as one of Rome's triumvirs, he didn't yet possess the full absolute power and hadn't yet usurped nearly all meaningful constitutional powers, not until he became Augustus in 27 BC, three years after he conquered Egypt. Even his proposed war against Antony met with stiff resistance until he couched it in terms that a foreign queen, Cleopatra, was illegally funding the military operations of a private citizen without holding office.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diocle View Post
    Perhaps Cleopatra was hoping in getting a sister of Julian blood for Caesarion (Ptolemaĩos Philopátor Philométor Kaĩsar), to marry him and save her bloodless dynastic line ..
    Heh! That would be a very Ptolemaic move on her part. Bring on the incest!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Have to agree. I think local instability was a threat too: when Rome broke up Makedonia they caused chaos for the Southern Balkans as the bulwark against Thrakian and Gallic incursions was removed, and they were forced to create a (heavily militarised) province within a decade. Romans like provinces with easily conquerable tribes to farm VPs for the cursus honorum: Egypt was unfamiliar terrain: it had a theocratic economy with an alien elite planted on a sullen peasantry, hardly suitable for aspiring magistrates to cut their teeth.
    That's another excellent point and another reason why the Romans were more interested in receiving many economic benefits of linking itself to Egypt without actually having the headache of ruling it directly. To be honest, her kingdom was the only one that fell during Octavian's war against Antony. Even client kingdoms that sided with Antony at first but switched over to Octavian's side were spared, including that of Herod (Octavian was apparently very impressed with his speech and sense of loyalty that he let him keep his kingdom). If Cleopatra had kept herself distant from all of this and never bothered to build a relationship with Antony but sided with Antony as soon as the war started, there could have even been a chance that Octavian would have been lenient with her like he was with Herod!

    That's why I think she made the wrong decision to hitch her fortunes on Antony, who was admittedly a storied veteran commander under Caesar, but simply too much of a gamble.

    As a Ptolemaic princess she was playing the Game of Throne with the usual stakes: I think she had no quiet retirement option. Her options were to bang the warlords or not bang the warlords: she gave herself a better chance to keep her throne and even influence affairs if she was close to Caesar and Anthony.

    She may even have podded Anthony to something like the excesses Augustan propaganda insists. Obviously it was mostly crap but Rome was inclining to monarchy already and within two generations would see heritable monarchy established. Maybe Cleopatra just punted early and as we know on the wrong horse. The Hellenised Romans found the Hellenistic East intoxicating, a victorious Anthony may have been the agent for a Hellenised West and a less divided Empire.
    I think Cleopatra simply let her success in nabbing Caesar, the most powerful Roman general up until that point, and having a child with him go to her head, especially since Caesar largely ignored his official wife. Cleopatra literally thought she could have Caesarion named as his heir when she was living in Italy at Caesar's villa at the time of his assassination. Octavian being named the official heir was the reason she eventually fled Italy with Caesarion back to Egypt where the distance was obviously safer (the longer she stayed in Italy, the worse it made her look to the Roman people as a meddler in their affairs, and it would have given Octavian the excuse he needed to end her and her son's life then and there).

    If Cleopatra were a bit less ambitious, I think she and her son would have lived much longer lives but would have been rather irrelevant or marginal in terms of Roman historiography, and certainly not popular or noteworthy enough to warrant a play by William Shakespeare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
    I don't think there was one. The claims that Cleopatra was planning on manipulating Antony to take over Rome or whatever sounds completely made up. Octavian needed it to be true so that he could declare war on Cleopatra and thereby erode Antony's power base. Since he could not directly try to fight Antony as Antony was still too popular and had the support of the Republican faction. The Donations of Alexandria being cited as an example for debauchery but making client kings is hardly a case for this kind of corruption. Not at all different from what Caesar or Pompey would have done. Cleopatra was very much a Roman client.

    Antony was so under prepared for any conflict that he had to demobilize his legions of old veterans and recruit locally from Roman and Greek colonies, as well as native easterners. Something practically unheard of at the time. While Cleopatra's fleet was formidable Antony also had to pass emergency legislation in order to take ownership of the resources (so for example groves from temples) to expand his fleet and take additional measures to recruit laborers and ship crews. Antony was so much at a disadvantage that he tried to avoid a pitched battle.
    Yes, I think it was clever but rather transparent propaganda on Octavian's part to blow up the threat of Cleopatra beyond measure, as the eminent historian Ronald Syme argued (although he likewise downplayed her importance too much, I think). Cleopatra certainly had the funds to keep Antony afloat, her greatest asset being, well, her enormous assets ...and big...tracks of land (to quote Monty Python). The Latin poets during the reign of Augustus were sometimes sympathetic to her, showing that Augustus had not completely destroyed her image and that there were still a variety of opinions, but they generally painted a rather ridiculous picture of her as being an exotic sorceress who bewitched Antony with witchcraft and planned on toppling good honest Roman gods with animal headed ones, "furries" basically.

    You know, Anubis, Horus, and the like.

    Basically the Romans didn't want the furries and otherkin to take over.

    Those are great points about Antony desperately trying to even the odds with Octavian in terms of armed forces. Also, Antony's fleet at Actium in 31 BC might have been larger, but his crews were largely inexperienced compared to Octavian's naval fleet of veteran marines and professional sailors. In comparison Antony acquired a lot of arguably unreliable ones from merchant ships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    You're saying a Western ruler made up false claims about an Eastern ruler preparing an attack and used it as justification to start a war?

    Octavian brought the furry animal-headed Egyptian terrorists to justice.

    Dick Cheney. - Cleopatra's endgame: what did she really hope to accomplish with Mark Antony?
    Post 2
    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Octavian brought the furry animal-headed Egyptian terrorists to justice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    You're saying a Western ruler made up false claims about an Eastern ruler preparing an attack and used it as justification to start a war?
    Woah.. hey now (lol), Plutarch does say Cleopatra helped fund Antony's expedition into Parthia, a goal of which was to establish thrones for Caesarion and Alexander. And despite having a weak hand, Egypt was still the #1 power left that could challenge Rome (though we should also acknowledge Parthia). In any case, I'm still trying to formulate my opinion on Cleopatra.. I'll let you know when I find any WMD.


    I'll argue Cleopatra was motivated by power, with the ultimate goal of securing an independent Egypt. She grew up in Ptolemaic court, which afforded her a life of luxury and a series of royal and religious titles, including emperor-god king status when she proclaimed herself to be the re-incarnation of Isis. In addition, her divine status shaped her public actions, and allowed her to compete with or appeal to men in power (including Caesar and Antony). Her public participation in the burial of the Buchis bull gave her legitimacy as well as Alexander like confidence. She spoke several different languages –may or may not have been physically attractive- performed lavish banquets and ceremonies in front of world leaders, built monuments, raised armies, funded military campaigns, ruled cities of great agricultural and economic importance, and adopted the title king of kings. Her personality cult is like the Egyptian pharaohs of old – in that they believed Egypt was strong when the ruler was strong, yet she also followed Alexander, believing herself to be at the center of a world empire.

    After securing power by defeating her brother (who had also sought an independent Egypt by slaying Pompey) she went on a long royal tour of the kingdom. Though she was accompanied by Caesar (apparently on a pleasure cruise), she was also accompanied by an army, which sent a powerful message of strength and stability to Egypt’s people and its enemies, like Ethiopia. She regained Cyprus from Rome, got Caesar to acknowledge her as the sole ruler of Egypt, and got him to leave without asking for tribute, therefore she acted in Egypt’s sovereign interests and not as Caesar’s puppet. The birth of Caesarion was probably a miscalculation, though she interestingly proclaimed her son to be the son of Amon, thus foiling any prestige and parentage Caesar might have gained and elevating Caesarion to Alexander like status (also the son of Amon per Swia). This was a gamble and clearly a threat to Rome and eventually Octavian. Egypt, under Cleopatra it seems, was meant to be a world power.

    Cleopatra never let up that she needed and desired power, which explains her later relationship to Antony. More than saying Antony influenced and controlled Cleopatra, an argument can be made that she controlled and influenced him, which explains the Parthian invasion –done partly in Egypt's name and interests- and the Donations of Alexandria, in which Roman lands were distributed to Cleopatra’s heirs, a complete reversal in tradition where past Ptolemaic rulers gave tributes and territories to stay on Rome’s good side. Octavian however, being threatened by Caesarion, and seeing the opportunity to slander Antony for becoming “more Egyptian,” took his case to the Senate and ran with it. Deciding not to renew the triumvirate, Rome now had to choose a side between Octavian and Antony, and in the end this choice made all the difference.

    What was Cleopatra’s endgame? In my view, it can be interpreted in her suicide rather than surrender to Octavian. She chose to save face and protect her power and personality cult at all costs, choosing to die from the bite of an Asp, a symbol of both royalty and divine presence. Thus, even in death Cleopatra sought to her elevate power. And given her fame and martyrdom, she succeeded.

    Abdülmecid I - What were Napoleon's mistakes in the battle of Waterloo?
    Post 3

    I don't disagree with your main point, as there's no doubt that Napoleon's selfishness and opportunism eventually costed France dearly. However, I think you overestimate the territorial losses inflicted upon the French Kingdom after Waterloo. In 1814, the Allies may have been relatively lenient, but there was never a possibility of France maintaining her 1796 borders. They could never allow France to control the economic powerhouse of Flanders. Instead, what they proposed was the 1790 border, which essentially consisted of Savoy, Saarbrücken and the surrounding region. At least, the Bonapard dynasty recompansated for the former, thanks to the treaty of Turin.

    Regarding the 4th front, I doubt Spain's involvement would have seriously affected the outcome of the war. With the exception of a very small number of elite units, the Bourbon Army was in complete disarray and practically incapable of launching offensive operations. The war in the Pyrenees would have probably resulted into a stalemate, with commanders in either side ordering almost purely symbolic raids. After all, Ferdinand VII was hardly interested in Napoleon, as he had much bigger fish to fry. Not only was he busy trying to convince the South American and Mexican rebels to recognize his authority, but he also faced many troubles with the Cortez of Cadiz. Although many officers had adventurously abandoned their former comrades and joined the king in his effort to abolish the Constitution, the loyalty of the forces was never guaranteed. Until the Revolution of 1820, Spanish history is flooded with obscure or dangerous insurrections from Galicia to Andalusia, which could seriously threatened the Desired's throne.

    But that's just pedantry, overall I agree that France, unless a Second Miracle of the House of Bradenburg occured, was doomed, as she could not resist against the massive quantitative advantage of the coalition. Napoleon's gamble failed the moment the participants of the Congress of Vienna clarified that they would not tolerate a Bonapartist restoration.

    Dante Von Hespburg - Brexit - Time to scrap it and start again?
    Post 4
    A fantastic and easy to digest guide to why FPTP is a nightmare when it comes to any polling on vote share being realized:

    It goes into how such things as:

    -Labour's advantage over the Conservatives in 'Super-majorities'. Essentially the Conservatives do not have them. Which means potentially even if Labour were trailing massively in the polls (18% or less), they would surprisingly actually come out rather well (hence why current polling, even with the brexit party having a higher vote share, seats wise potentially Labour will be the ones to 'form a government' through coalition).

    -Knife-edged Conservatives- As conservative 'safe seats' compared to Labour are essentially no such thing, their vote is far more volatile. However as they have more 'breadth' than most other parties, it means that their vote share, even at its lowest might still under FPTP return them as the second, or even first largest party, despite the Brexit parties vote share being higher currently- what it would mean is that the Conservatives lack significant majorities in their constituencies... something that their actually quite used to. Its the difference between 'building tall' and 'building wide' for those Paradox players .

    -inefficient voting which vote share polling cannot model well in FPTP- The lib-dems and Brexit party- neither's vote share, even being so high in the polls, may translate well into seats thus under FPTP (Must as UKIP found), they may find their higher vote shares being squandered on the walls of unnecessarily large Labour 'strongholds', or engaged in a bitter battle of breadth with the Tories where literally it could be on a knife edge whether the Conservatives sink into oblivion or indeed come out with very few seats lost, majorities diminished, but intact for another 5 years.

    This is why FPTP is very undemocratic, but also how it to a large extent props up political stability by given an advantage to the two big 'invested' parties and why new-comers find it difficult.

    An example though of a party who did break the mold, was the SNP- they are actually the most efficient party in terms of turning vote share into 'effective' votes. However, the extent the Scottish specific context could be replicated for lib-dems or the Brexit party is up in the air. Its by no means impossible that we'll see a radical break, but it is difficult.

    It also is why though polling currently is A) so volatile, but B) could lead to a big shock for voters who either expect the Brexit party or Lib-dems to turn that vote share into seats, or indeed for the current establishment (Though again this is mostly at the Conservatives expense due to lacking any 'real' 'safe' seats unlike Labour). Add to this my framework of a GE (Domestic alongside brexit) and you get a very messy picture in which potentially 'vote share' for the brexit party or lib-dems can get a clear lead, and yet it not actually have that much of an impact upon the Westminster arithmetic.

    What is for sure though is indeed as the author states, the next Conservative leader will want to try and avoid a GE at all costs.

    An interesting point raised by the author too is this-

    Conveniently, there will be a by-election in Peterborough that could serve as an indicator as to whether the mooted realignment in British politics is real. The simple model outlined above predicts that the Brexit Party will win the seat with 25%, with the Lib Dems second on 24%, Labour on 23% and the Tories on 21%. Should all four parties be within touching distance then it could serve as an indicator that the next general election could be an unpredictable free-for-all.
    So everyone await the outcome of tomorrow, it'll be an interesting one potentially.

    Sar1n - Why Religion Cannot Be Measured by Modern Rationality - A Critique of Rationalism, Scientism and Post-Modern Metaphysics
    Post 5
    Now I have time and mood for a proper reply here.

    Ego cogito, ergo sum. One's own mind is the beginning of knowledge. Even though formal logic wasn't, at his time, advanced enough to formulate coherently the underlying concepts, Desartes vaguely understood the problems of completeness and axioms. Axioms, assertions that are unprovable within the logical system that sems from them, are necessary for any reasoning system. But from their unprovable nature stem issues. Asserting superfluous axioms leads to errors and can lead to invalidating the entire system, if some axioms prove to be contradictory. Therefore it is desirable to reduce axioms to minimum. The principle, often paraphrased as cogito ergo sum, is reduction to a single axiom.

    From there, it's deduction. Contents of one's mind-memories, sensory experiences, etc..., are data points. They are not axioms, they are considered neither unprovable, complete or inherently true. This has one, incredibly important implication, one that few philosophers truly understand, and one that gives science unique position that lifts it over philosophy.

    Whenever extrapolating from incomplete and/or possibly inaccurate data, it's inherent that there are multiple possible conclusions, or that the entire reasoning was invalid from the beginning. The only possiblity how to decide which one is correct, or at least more correct than other possibillities presented, is through testing and application. The domain of science. Revelationist philosophies, the ones relying on authority and/or extrasensory, and therefore inherently unverifiable, experience, cannot provide, due to their nature, such feedback.

    So the scientific advancements are very relevant to philosophy. Not just due to improvements to quality of life, but due to feedback they provide that reinforces the relevance of deductive, "cartesian" philosophy that Marie Louise von Preussen discards here as irrelevant. In fact, I find it hypocritical from both you and basics how you use scientific advancements to preach their irrelevance.

    Without feedback, philosophies fall into what I call "philosopher's trap". They pursue one line of thinking, without heeding the fact that from their incomplete data and often superfluous axioms, multiple conclusions could be drawn, and their deductions, fenced by their own prconceptions, hopes and beliefs, are thus mere leaps of faith, and thus, without a reliable feedback, they merely present only one out of infinite number of possibilities. I mentioned at least one such instance when, in another thread, I picked apart one chapter from oft-referenced Feser.

    It can be noted that, as of yet, science cannot explain everything. While that is true, it must be also noted that science grows. Questions that, centuries ago, seemed beyond reach or were not even thought of are now explained. It is not inconcievable that even things that now seem out of its scope, like qualia, will eventually be explained. So whenever contemplating any such question, be aware that you can either wait for science to catch up with it, or reach for some answer that might bring you solace, but will be inherently unverifiable. But know that such answer, be it platonistic, aristotelian, divine revelation or any other non-scientific pathos, is merely one of infinite number of possibilities. It might be worth contemplating as possibility, but it's definitely not worth preaching, being treated as truth or killing for.

    Katsumoto - The Putin - Trump Controversy: Here to Stay - Links between Trump and Russia are being officially investigated by the FBI
    Post 6
    The fact that obstruction of justice doesn't need an underlying crime for it to be obstruction is such a basic concept that it doesn't even warrant addressing. You can obstruct justice to hide embarassing information for example. In regards to collusion, this is the summary that continues to ring true:

    To me, the salient facts from this section are the following:

    *> Trump was willing to do business with and seek favors from the Russian state even as it was attacking the country for whose presidency he was running—and he was willing to lie about doing so.
    > His campaign’s senior leadership was eager to benefit from that country’s efforts to dish dirt on his opponent and was willing to meet with people it knew to represent that country in order to receive such information.
    > Multiple campaign staff and advisers engaged in conduct in relation to that country that legitimately gave rise to counterintelligence scrutiny.
    > Multiple campaign staff and advisers lied to investigators about their dealings with Russian officials or intermediaries to such officials in a fashion that gave rise to criminal charges or other actions.

    I don’t know the right word for this pattern of conduct. It’s not “collusion,” though it may involve some measure of collusion. It’s not “coordination” or “conspiracy.” But in Clinton, Democrats, and liberals, the Trump campaign saw a sufficiently irreconcilable enemy that it looked at Vladimir Putin and saw a partner. To my mind, anyway, that’s the story Mueller told in this section. It may not be a crime, but it is a very deep betrayal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sukiyama View Post
    Political violence wasn't started or popularized by Nazis, nor is there any association between the two. The fact that Antifa violently respond to far-right movements is a sign of a healthy and responsible polity, not authoritarian groupthink. Indeed, political violence is often the most effective and most responsible method to prevent normalization of abhorrent ideas.

  2. #2
    Flinn's Avatar ehhhhh.. You don't say???
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