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" width="8" height="8"/> Who was the most benevolent leader in history?, Help me out...
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JLord
post Jan 12 2006, 06:57 PM
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I have no clue on this one, but I would like to know who you think was the most benevolent leader and why? Do not consider any leaders from recent history. I am looking for benevolent leader from about 500 years ago or more. If there were any...
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Dakyron
post Jan 12 2006, 07:08 PM
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By benevolent, do you mean for their own people, or the world as a whole, or either one?
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JLord
post Jan 12 2006, 07:13 PM
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I guess I mean either one. If somenoe was benevolent to their own people but wicked towards everyone else, you could still mention him.
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Molimo
post Jan 12 2006, 10:08 PM
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Genghis Khan.

Wait, definitely wrong thread. I dunno, you never hear much about the benevolent leaders.
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Arilou
post Jan 12 2006, 11:01 PM
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Ashoka? (big conqueror, converted to Buddhism and went all pacifist)
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Sushi Bar
post Jan 13 2006, 12:27 AM
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Gandhi
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Bar-Aram
post Jan 13 2006, 12:48 AM
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Emir Fakhr al-Deen II, ruler over the Mount Lebanon (as a semi-independent vassal of the Ottoman empire) in the 1600s. This guy was far ahead of his time, and a wonder of intelligence, tolerance, benevolence, modesty, honor, and foresight. To bad the Ottomans executed him after having executed all of his kids, while he was made to watch, right before.
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necrolyte
post Jan 13 2006, 04:02 AM
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Its hard to say, the identities and actions of most historical leaders have not been recorded.

Asoka is up there though.
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Wolfenstein
post Jan 13 2006, 05:01 AM
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I guess Solomon was supposed to be benovelent...
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necrolyte
post Apr 8 2006, 04:57 PM
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ROnald Reagan LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!111!one....

This is actually fairly hard to judge. Benevolent leaders are more likely to be forgotten as time passes. There are many pragmatically benevolent leaders like Cyrus of Persia who could still be very brutal when they had to. But really, benevolence brings little historical attention as it is either "less interesting" or because it often does not result in widescale migration, war, and the other things that make history books. The reason we remember Asoka is because he converted to Bhuddism, not because he was a pacifist (to my knowledge, correct me if I'm wrong).

Also, there is a good chance that some of the more benevolent leaders in history ran African or Native American nations where there was no textual historical recordings.

This post has been edited by necrolyte: Apr 8 2006, 04:58 PM
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Demosthenes
post Apr 8 2006, 05:47 PM
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I'd put Akbar for his religious tolerance right up there.
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Christian
post May 7 2006, 01:10 AM
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Saladin ? (he was very tolerant towards religion)
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necrolyte
post May 7 2006, 02:28 AM
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QUOTE(Christian @ May 7 2006, 01:10 AM)
Saladin ?  (he was very tolerant towards religion)
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Maybe, but he wasn't too benevolent when he chopped the heads of the PoWs off.

He was more benevolent than his contemporaries in Europe maybe...
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Kished
post May 11 2006, 03:47 AM
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Akbar definitely.
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Demosthenes
post May 14 2006, 08:05 AM
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QUOTE(Kished @ May 10 2006, 09:47 PM)
Akbar definitely.
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he would be considered very progressive even today. Learned about him in EU2 :)

For those who care to learn :)

This post has been edited by Demosthenes: May 14 2006, 08:08 AM
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Bar-Aram
post May 14 2006, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE(Demosthenes @ May 14 2006, 10:05 AM)
url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akbar]For those who care to learn :)[/url]
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QUOTE
On November 5, 1556 Akbar's Mughal army defeated the numerically superior forces of General Hemu at the Second Battle of Panipat, fifty miles north of Delhi, thanks to a chance arrow into Hemu's eye. Hemu was brought before Akbar unconscious, and was beheaded. Some sources say that it was actually Bairam Khan who killed the man, but Akbar certainly did use the term "Ghazi", a term used by both Babur, his grandfather, and Timur when fighting the Kafir (non-Muslims) in India. Hemu's head was sent to Kabul while his body was displayed on a type of gallows speccially constructed to display this dead body. Even more gruesomely Akbar followed an old Khanate tradition, one which pre-date even Genghis Khan, and constructed a "victory pillar" made from the heads of the dead soldiers.
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necrolyte
post May 15 2006, 02:42 AM
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They might have meant Ashoka. Now HE was progressive.
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RightWing
post May 15 2006, 08:25 PM
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Bull crap he is, he always attacks me Civ 4.
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Cerian
post May 15 2006, 09:16 PM
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Pericles? Thucydides thought he was pretty hot shit.
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ro4444
post May 15 2006, 10:28 PM
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Asoka was hardly more benevolent than Akbar. He may have been a devout Buddhist and devoted his time to spreading the faith in the latter part of his reign, but one must always take into consideration his destructive war with Kalinga and the fact that, even after his conversion to Buddhism, he did nothing to help the people displaced by that war.

As for Akbar, his execution of a highly ranked polical and military leader can hardly be considered a large blemish on his reputation, especially given the fact that this was 500 years ago. Considering that individuals are products of their times, benevolence should be measured in terms of how benevolent a ruler was in comparison to his contempories. In that case Akbar and Asoka would be considered benevolent. In comparison to modern-day Western leaders, neither of them would qualify.

This post has been edited by ro4444: May 15 2006, 10:31 PM
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necrolyte
post May 15 2006, 11:03 PM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ May 15 2006, 10:28 PM)
Considering that individuals are products of their times, benevolence should be measured in terms of how benevolent a ruler was in comparison to his contempories.
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That sounds like cultural reletavism to me :P (or at least some variant that only values temporal differences in culture, not other differences). While you have a point that it should be considered, I think to measure it in terms of historical comparison alone doesn't work. I think its more interesting as a method to figure out WHY they are benevolent. For instance, to simplify it a lot, what made Jimmy Carter more benevolent than Emperor Marcus Aurelius?

I think judging it in terms of motive is the most critical part. Cyrus arguably was benevolent out of pragmatism, Ashoka was out of religion. If they both acted the same, do we value one's benevolence more than the other's? Cyrus the Great may have not had a benevolent personality, and could very well have been benevolent for the sake of loyalty amoung the Satraps.
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ro4444
post May 15 2006, 11:26 PM
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QUOTE
That sounds like cultural reletavism to me


There is a gigantic difference between cultural and historical relativism. I thought that was obvious.
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necrolyte
post May 16 2006, 02:33 AM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ May 15 2006, 11:26 PM)
There is a gigantic difference between cultural and historical relativism. I thought that was obvious.
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Hardly. Either way, its their culture thats giving them their morality. People's morality is not decided by when they live at all, its decided by their enviroment, most largely their culture. How many years before or after Jesus was born has nothing at all to do with their morality.

By the way, saying something is "Obvious" is not an argument.
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Bar-Aram
post May 17 2006, 11:32 PM
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QUOTE(ro4444 @ May 16 2006, 12:28 AM)
Asoka was hardly more benevolent than Akbar. He may have been a devout Buddhist and devoted his time to spreading the faith in the latter part of his reign, but one must always take into consideration his destructive war with Kalinga and the fact that, even after his conversion to Buddhism, he did nothing to help the people displaced by that war.

As for Akbar, his execution of a highly ranked polical and military leader can hardly be considered a large blemish on his reputation, especially given the fact that this was 500 years ago. Considering that individuals are products of their times, benevolence should be measured in terms of how benevolent a ruler was in comparison to his contempories. In that case Akbar and Asoka would be considered benevolent. In comparison to modern-day Western leaders, neither of them would qualify.
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How about the "victory pillar"? I understand that it's part of Mongol tradition, but I can cite Emir Fakhr el-Deen II from Mount Lebanon who was from about the same time, was more religiously tolerant and did not commit those kinds of massacres.
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ro4444
post May 24 2006, 06:20 PM
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QUOTE(necrolyte @ May 15 2006, 10:33 PM)
Hardly. Either way, its their culture thats giving them their morality. People's morality is not decided by when they live at all, its decided by their enviroment, most largely their culture. How many years before or after Jesus was born has nothing at all to do with their morality.

By the way, saying something is "Obvious" is not an argument.
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You seriously see no difference?

Your culture can only excuse so much. It all depends on the standard that the bulk of the world around you uses. For example, a thousand years ago it was standard practice to sack a city if taken by force. Doing so might piss people off, but unless you or your troops conducted the sack in a particularly brutal manner, it was hardly an affront to civilization. On the other hand, the Byzantines' harsh practices of facial mutilation, such as rhinokopia or, more famously, blinding, were considered brutal and terrible by almost everyone around them. You'll notice that modern-day historians don't judge rulers badly based on whether they sacked a city or not; in fact, rulers that decided not to conduct a sack and "merely" demanded a large ransom from a city's populace (see Saladin) are often called "magnanimous." On the other hand, historians frequently cite the facial mutilation practices of the Byzantines as proof of their savagry, even though the Byzantines thought it to be an acceptable punishment or method of preventing individuals from seizing the throne (although to be fair, the Byzantines have never been looked upon positively by most historians).

The reason that historians don't look down on behavior that today would earn a ruler a label like "mass murderer" is because there was barely any precedent at the time for them to act any better. Sure, there was in the Christian world an ideal, but that was an ideal that was rarely fully followed and was rather impractible much of the time. Ideals are always nice, but you can't judge a society as a failure simply because the ideal was not matched. It would be ideal if we today could forgo jail time for most of our prisoners and instead rehabilitate them, but we are hardly a failure for not attempting to do so. In today's world, there are many imperfections in Western societies, imperfections which no doubt will be removed some time in the future, but future historians will hardly judge us so harshly simply because of those imperfections. On the other hand, they will hardly hesitate to judge the actions of Serbs in Bosnia, or Hutus against Tutsis, as disgusting, even though those actions were slightly more acceptable in those areas of the world than in the suburbs of California. Simply put, the ultimate difference between historical relativism and cultural relativism is this: historical relativism forgives actions that are no longer acceptable now by the majority of the world, but were acceptable by the majority of the surrounding world back then, while cultural relativism forgives actions that are no longer acceptable now by the majority of the world, but are conducted today anyway.

QUOTE(Bar-Aram @ May 17 2006, 07:32 PM)
How about the "victory pillar"? I understand that it's part of Mongol tradition, but I can cite Emir Fakhr el-Deen II from Mount Lebanon who was from about the same time, was more religiously tolerant and did not commit those kinds of massacres.
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Well he might be a more benevolent leader then. I'm not that familiar with Lebanese history, so I really couldn't judge.
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Telum
post May 25 2006, 02:56 AM
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I would think that battlefield actions would have no effect on the benevolence of a leader. Benevolence is towards the subjects, not foreign nations.
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necrolyte
post May 25 2006, 04:05 AM
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Rolly-here's where I disagree with you. I think that whats acceptable according to surrounding states is part of the culture.

QUOTE
On the other hand, the Byzantines' harsh practices of facial mutilation, such as rhinokopia or, more famously, blinding, were considered brutal and terrible by almost everyone around them.


But if they found that disguisting, would that not be a part of the culture? Basically, instead of looking at the culture of the state, you're looking at the cultures of the surrounding states. But one can use that argument today. Certain New Guinean tribes which practice warfare cannibalism do so to a large part because they have had barely any access to the New World. Like the Arabs of Saladin, new modes of morality have not had a chance to enter the public discussion.

So its not that I disagree with what you're saying in essence, its just I'm saying that it can also be applied in a cultural context. Which is why I think both are factors, but not to be taken into account alone.

Ideally, what I think of as cultural reletavism accepts that our society may full well be as imperfect as others. Ultimately, it should excuse-or at the least prevent us from condemning-evils that can not be argued to be evil in the context of that society. I just think with the lack of contact and ideas in some parts of the world, its inevitable that some people are going to have as much contact with new, stricter codes of moral behavior as Asoka did.

And Rolly, this is an interesting discussion, lets not let it descend into a flame war :P

This post has been edited by necrolyte: May 25 2006, 04:05 AM
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RightWing
post May 30 2006, 02:10 PM
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