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Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Emperor John VI View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Jul 2009 at 04:20
My discussions about my love for empires in the Byzantine section led to one of my personal heroes Tokugawa Ieyasu.  I was also glad to see that a few of my fellow Byzantinists admired Tokugawa.

Praetor brought up a few interesting points which has led me to start this thread in the hopes that he would elaborate.

Firstly, in what way can Tokugawa be considered a Japanese Augustus?

Secondly, if Tokugawa's successors had pursued his policy of actively engaging the west but on his terms, what would have happened?


Heaven may ordain, but men must achieve. -Yang Hu
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Praetor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2009 at 17:36
Sorry for the late reply, I see I am now required to justify my passing remark in the Medieval forum in a thread contained within the East Asia forum, an area in whose history I would most certainly not deign to call myself an expertEmbarrassed Well here goes:

well It was meant to be seen as a rather superficial comparison but both Augustus and Tokugawa put an end to a protracted period of internal disorder and protracted civil war that was tearing the Roman empire and Japan (respectively) apart, issuing in an era of internal peace and prosperity (well at least comparatively) that lasted for centuries. The system of government these two leaders established also endured relatively unchanged for centuries.

Both men came to and maintained power more through their superior statesmanship and political abilities then through their prowess on the battlefield (though this applies more so to Augustus than to Ieyasu who seems to have been a talented general), and both seemed to possess admirable patience and self control and though certainly not cruel by the standards of their societies they could be ruthless when they thought it to be to their advantage. Both were preceded by two key individuals with whom they could claim some affiliation, whose "work" in unifying the state/forming an effective dictatorship they built upon.

With Ieyasu these two men are clearly Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who together with him are known as the three unifiers of Japan. Oda seems to have been an aggressive military man of minor nobility who rose to great power through his abilities as a general and military reformer. Summed up so succinctly one could easily confuse him for the Roman general Gaius Marius who was the uncle (by marriage) of Gaius Julius Caesar who became the second man to set himself up by military force as Rome's dictator and the first and the only one to become officially dictator for life.

He was brilliant and ambitous, perhaps overly so, naturally considering my comparison of Oda Nobunaga to Marius and Ieyasu to Augustus I must complete the picture by comparing Caesar to Hideyoshi, in truth they never struck me as as similar as the other two even superficially, both men were talented generals and highly ambitous, Hideyoshi proved overly so with his invasions of Korea and Caesar's proposed expeditions against Parthia etc to the east of Rome could be accused of something similar (his assasination however makes it difficult to tell). Similarly both men attained the essential power of a Japanese Shogun or Roman Princeps but did not assume the title and as such are not counted amongst their number. finally both Ieyasu and Augustus (then Octavius or Octavion) had eventually to end the life's of Hideyoshi's and Caesar's young sons in order to feel secure in their own power.

Of course the differences far outweigh the similarities as you would expect with men living in very different times, regions and cultures but as a Romanophile who loves to make comparisons and discover patterns (however indistinct) this one certainly crossed my mind a few times.

Regards, Praetor.

Edit: My apologies I forgot to reply to your second questionEmbarrassed I'm not sure how to be honest as its very difficult to respond in depth in a manner worthy of a scholar to such a question, sure is an interesting one though, I should at least comment on it later.


Edited by Praetor - 25 Jul 2009 at 17:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2009 at 21:26

For me, the political genius that's hidden into the character of Tokugawa Ieyasu in his manouvering for power through the decades, is what makes him as good a Roman as any (I suppose one should rather compare him to Claudius then though).

Sorry on the short reply.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emperor John VI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2009 at 11:11
Praetor,

That was an excellent exposition on the similarities between Tokugawa and Augustus.  Clap  Beer

Truly I would never have thought to link Marius, Caesar and Augustus to Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Tokugawa.  I agree that the time and place the men lived in were different and of course no two people are alike, but if we indulge ourselves in our need to discover patterns, I concur with your opinions on these men.

I look forward in anticipation to your answer to my second question when you are ready to do so. Wink

Rider

I can see why you chose to compare Tokugawa to Claudius.  Given Tokugawa's political skill and his ability to see the big picture, I have no doubt he would make a good a Roman as any as well.


Thank you both for enlightening me with your views.  Big smile


Edited by Emperor John VI - 26 Jul 2009 at 11:14
Heaven may ordain, but men must achieve. -Yang Hu
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2009 at 11:21

I'll happily enlighten you at any time. Wink But I doubt I'll ever bother (due to lazyness and lack of knowledge) to post as much as Sam (Praetor).

In any case, Claudius wasn't just any random Roman. Claudius survived for decades while lesser men perished.. Claudius also (and this is what I like the most about him) wrote a damned long history on the Etruscans (a pity it's all lost now Ouch). While Emperor, Claudius did a good job (in my opinion) and he managed to help forward the social situation of the people (if even by a little). Granted, I've yet not made it to Claudius in the 'Twelve Emperors' where I don't expect to see much good about him... but he was a great man.
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