J.M. Roberts
The Pelican History of the World

The Romans had been able to post their laws on boards in public places, confidant that enough literate people existed to read them; far into the Middle Ages, even kings [in Europe] remained illiterate.

As well as a prudent step towards placating an angry God, therefore, iconoclasm represented a reaction of centralized authority, that of emperor and bishops, against local pieties, the independence of cities and monasteries, and the cults of holy men.

There were theoretical elements in the subjection of women and it is not possible to avoid the conclusion that a large contribution was made to them by the Church. In part this was a matter of its hostile stance towards sexuality.

Overall, the anarchy was the most creative of all periods of Japanese culture for in it there appeared the greatest landscape painting, the culmination of the skill of landscape gardening and the arts of flower arrangement, and the No drama.

Imperialism was genuinely popular among Athenians who would expect to share in its profits, even if only indirectly and collectively, and not to have to bear its burdens.

At the root of this [Athenian] constitution lay distrust of expertise and entrenched authority and confidence in collective common sense.

Speaking of the rise of absolute monarchy in Europe around 1500-1800 There were special reasons in almost every case, but

nearly everywhere monarchs raised themselves further above the level of the greatest nobles and buttressed their new pretensions to respect and authority with cannons and taxation.

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