The quote above, from Plato’s Apology, was purportedly spoken by the ancient philosopher-sage Socrates just prior to his condemnation to death by the men of Athens. His crime? According to Plato, Socrates was condemned to death for the unforgivable offense of ‘corrupting the youth’ of the august city-state through his teachings, philosophy, and exhortations to greater self-knowledge. The resolve with which Socrates met his death and the stand he took for his principles have been celebrated throughout the ages as defining examples of political and philosophical courage. One of the historical eras which was typified by its fascination with the ideas and history of the ancient Greco-Roman world was the period of the late Enlightenment just prior to the French Revolution. The story of Socrates and his principled stand in the face of a hostile state was extremely resonant for French intellectuals in this period; one such intellectual was the famed painter Jacques-Louis David, who crafted a masterpiece depicting the moments before Socrates drank the hemlock that would kill him. David’s masterwork, The Death of Socrates, is a powerful visual representation of a literary and historical event as well as being an exemplar for an Enlightenment attitude – the value of defending one’s principles even to death – that would resound throughout the French Revolution.
Note: This is the first academic paper of many that will be posted to this blog. Please check out our Brief Update for more info. Fair warning, this is not a short read. Enjoy!
One of the most peculiar episodes of sixteenth-century Russian history revolved around a Christianized Tatar prince, Simeon Bekbulatovich. His brief reign as Grand Prince of All Rus’ from 1575 to 1576, during an abdication by Ivan IV, was seen as controversial at the time and has only become more contentious over the centuries. The significance of Bekbulatovich’s time as Grand Prince, Ivan’s rationale for Simeon’s elevation, and the merits of that decision remain up for debate. This paper undertakes a historiographical analysis of the perspectives of various historians on the Bekbulatovich affair, from the initial sixteenth-century accounts through those of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. I explore the contemporaneous evidence from Bekbulatovich’s reign, including writings by foreigners in Muscovy at the time who discussed the issue with Ivan IV. An assortment of historical views on Bekbulatovich, from those of early scholars like Soloviev and Kluchevsky to those of more modern historians including B.A. Uspenskij, Charles Halperin, Ruslan Skrynnikov, Donald Ostrowski, and Isabel de Madariaga, are presented and analyzed. I argue that the defining aspect of the controversy over Bekbulatovich’s rule was Ivan’s attempt to reestablish an oprichnina-like system to further cement his own autocratic power.
We’ve finally made it: the Geopolitical World Cup Final is here! Our version of the quadrennial global soccer competition took a geopolitics-oriented view to determine which nation would come out on top in a no-holds-barred contest on all dimensions of power: economic, military, population, geography, development, and more.
We’ve made it all the way to the Quarterfinal round of our 2018 Geopolitical World Cup! If you’ve missed any of the action to this point, be sure to check out our Group Stage (Part I, Part II) and Knockout Stage (Part I, Part II) rundowns to catch up with the Quarterfinal nations.
Welcome back to the action-packed Geopolitical World Cup here at Rational Policy! In Part II of our Knockout Stage breakdown, we’ll be discussing the match-ups between Saudi Arabia & Spain, Argentina & Australia, Germany & Brazil, and Japan & Belgium.