Dynastic rule

The emperor as ruler of heaven and Earth

Geography, climate, economics and nationalism are often seen as decisive forces in history. In this dynamic, original and convincing book Dominic Lieven considers emperors and their dynasties as motors of events. Defying constrictions of time and space, ranging from Sargon of Akkad, the ruler of what is now northern Iraq (r. 2334-2279 BC), to the Emperor Hirohito of Japan (r. 1926-89), he believes that ‘for millennia, hereditary sacred monarchy had been the most desirable and successful form of polity on Earth’. (Inhabitants of city states, from Athens to Venice, might not have agreed.) Emperors could create and extend states more easily than impersonal forces, as Lieven shows in chapters on