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Recent cross-disciplinary work on quantifying historical dynamics has made major contributions to scholarship. However, efforts to specify relationships between scale and information-processing always run a risk of shoehorning messy realities into overly rigid categories. In the case of the first-millennium BCE “Axial Age” in the Old World, networks of collective computing were structured more by cultural systems than by polities, and to understand the relationships between political scale and collective computational abilities, scholars need categories flexible enough to clarify the complementarities between political and cultural systems.


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Scale, Information-Processing, and Complementarities in Old-World Axial Age Societies

Show Author's information Ian Morris1( )
Department of Classics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2145, USA

Abstract

Recent cross-disciplinary work on quantifying historical dynamics has made major contributions to scholarship. However, efforts to specify relationships between scale and information-processing always run a risk of shoehorning messy realities into overly rigid categories. In the case of the first-millennium BCE “Axial Age” in the Old World, networks of collective computing were structured more by cultural systems than by polities, and to understand the relationships between political scale and collective computational abilities, scholars need categories flexible enough to clarify the complementarities between political and cultural systems.

Keywords:

scale, information-processing, Axial Age, ancient Greece
Received: 05 August 2021 Revised: 01 March 2022 Accepted: 03 March 2022 Published: 01 June 2022 Issue date: June 2022
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Publication history

Received: 05 August 2021
Revised: 01 March 2022
Accepted: 03 March 2022
Published: 01 June 2022
Issue date: June 2022

Copyright

© The author(s) 2022

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank Darcy Bird, Tim Kohler, and David Wolpert for their patience and encouragement, as well as thanking them and anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments.

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The articles published in this open access journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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