How much do we know about Emperor Ashoka?

How much do we know about Emperor Ashoka?

A recent Indian television series is showing a detailed life characteristic of Ashoka's childhood. Though its a work of fiction, I would like to know how much of the show is based on fact. Furthermore, how much do we know about Emperor Ashoka?

  1. Was Chanakya alive and so active during Ashoka's childhood, that he was able to play a second king-making game?
  2. Was Bindusar's mother (the Greek Helena) so cruel and hatched a plot to kill him?
  3. Did a Persian friend called Mir Khurasan really came to Bindusar all the way from Persia and decided to stay on in Magadha? (Was Persian language even invented at ~300BC?)
  4. Did Mir Khorasan and Helena really hatch a plot to get hold of the Magadha empire? If so, how come they didn't succeed?

Since you like "rich media," you might wish to consult this recent (5 Feb 2015) discussion (audio here) on the BBC Radio 4 series "In Our Time." IIRC the guests (Naomi Appleton, Jessica Frazier, and Richard Gombrich) seem to have concurred that

  • the most reliable surviving sources on Ashoka are the Pillars, but…
  • as historical sources, even the Pillars have flaws, but…
  • other sources on Ashoka were written much later

Gombrich is particularly emphatic (starting ~9:30 in the audio) that "the only evidence we really have for Ashoka are his inscriptions, and all the stuff about his having been a violent young man and all this comes from many hundred years later. It's of course very typical of hagiography[… ]" When the interviewer (Melvyn Bragg) asks, "So you're casting [doubt] on everything that's been said so far?" Gombrich replies, "absolutely."

However Appleton is somewhat more equanimous in her blog: "Perhaps there has been too much of a tendency in intervening years to read the edicts in the light of the texts, rather than as an independent source. Yet I would hate to see the texts dismissed as irrelevant to the story of Ashoka."

  1. Was Chanakya alive and so active during Ashoka's childhood, that he was able to play a second king-making game?
    Yes, Chanakya lived till 87 while Chandragupta lived till only 40.

  2. Was Bindusar's mother (the Greek Helena) so cruel and hatched a plot to kill him?
    Yes. This was a common practice among queens to get the kingdom in favour of their sons.

  3. Did a Persian friend called Mir Khurasan really came to Bindusar all the way from Persia and decided to stay on in Magadha? (Was Persian language even invented at ~300BC?)
    Yes, the Persians were earlier defeated by Alexander and wanted revenge at any cost, so they became friendly with Maurya dynasty through marriage alliance.

  4. Did Mir Khorasan and Helena really hatch a plot to get hold of the Magadha empire? If so, how come they didn't succeed?
    Such plots were common, they did not succeed as Chanakya prevented them from doing it. Moreover Persians and Greeks never trusted each other and were often at war with each other.

Emperor Phokas’ Heady Proof Of Power At The Camp Of The Tribunal

Phokas (also known as Phocas) was a military officer in the employ of Emperor Maurice of Constantinople (r. 582-602). He was stationed in the Balkans, where Phokas became well-liked by the army grunts garrisoned there. This affection evidently derived from Phokas positioning himself as a champion of the common warrior, advocating for better working conditions and pay. Yet, although Phokas had the admiration of the average foot-soldier, he did not have much influence on the imperial military command. Instead, leadership figures such as the army in the Balkans’ lead general, Philippikos, saw Phokas as an agitator and a dangerous influence on the troops. While the work conditions and pay should have been addressed, the high officials were quite right to fear the charismatic activist, for when the unrest in the army escalated into mutiny and rebellion, Phokas became the leader of the revolt. With a sizable rebel army behind him, Phokas marched on Constantinople and successfully usurped power from Emperor Maurice in 602.

In the history of kingdoms and empires, overthrown monarchs too often meet unpleasant ends. Unfortunately for Emperor Maurice, he fell victim to that deadly trend, as did his family. When Phokas seized control of Constantinople and its empire, he was able to capture Emperor Maurice, his empress, Constantina, and at least eight of their children—five sons and three daughters. The women were put under house arrest, but Maurice and his male relatives were used to send a message. Phokas wanted the empire to undisputedly know that a new emperor was in power, and he did this by executing Maurice, his brother, and at least five of Maurice’s sons. Yet, death was not the end, as Phokas had the bodies deliberately mutilated. The heads of Maurice and his sons were put on display at a place called the Camp of the Tribunal—the headless bodies were reportedly dumped in the sea. The execution of Marice and his sons, as well as the public parading of their heads, was mentioned in the Chronographia of Theophanes (c. 750s-818), who wrote, “In November Phokas became Emperor. As we said before, the rebel killed Maurice and his five sons. He ordered their heads placed in the Camp of the Tribunal for a number of days. The inhabitants of the city went out to look at them until they began to stink” (Theophanes, Chronographia, entry for Annus Mundi 6095 (602-603 CE)). Although Maurice’s wife and daughters were initially placed under house arrest, they were not ultimately spared by the usurper. Emperor Phokas had them, too, executed around 606 or 607.

Written by C. Keith Hansley

Picture Attribution: (Solidus coin from the reign of Emperor Phocas (r. 602–610), [Public Domain] via Creative Commons and the MET).

Do we already know the Emperor's true name?

First, apologies if this has already been discussed. I’m a regular reader on here (though this is my first post) and I haven’t seen it mentioned.

I’ve recently got back into the hobby after an about 15-year hiatus and started catching up with the lore, particularly BL’s back catalogue. While I was reading through the HH series, a certain name jumped out at me. At the time I just thought ‘Hey, interesting retcon’ and kept reading.

Now I’ve just finished the Dan Abnett’s mind-fuck that is Penitent. The key motive of the big-bad, the Yellow King ( Valdor ), in that book is the search for the Emperor’s true name.

Now, back when I first got into the hobby in the early-90s, back when the Big E teleported into Horus’s command bunker to end the heresy, back when every character wore leather pants and had a mohawk, the Emperor had a name. That very name that jumped out at me in the HH series:

Before you ask, I’ve yet to find where this was in print. Rogue Trader? Nope. Realms of Chaos? Nope. An old WD maybe? If anyone knows, you’ll cure my brainworm!

Anyway, clearly GW aren’t above a retcon or two (see bunker incident above). But if it isn’t, if this is Abnett’s big reveal (and it would certainly be a nice payoff for long term fans), what do we think it means for 40k lore? Does it explain how one man in the Himalayas conquered Terra? Does it explain a certain ‘execution’? Half mad/half genius certainly fits the characterisation of the Big E we’re getting so far.

Thanks kmatshu, I think people have misunderstood what I'm asking. It's probably the way I asked.

My memory (which admittedly we're talking 30 odd years here), is that back in the early 90s, GW gave the Emperor's name. And that name was Nathan Dume.

I'm well aware that name has been reused for the tyrant of the Pan-Pacific, that's not in question.

What I'm asking is a) is this just a reuse of the ɼool name, no-one will remember we used it before' kind, or b) could it be a deliberate easter egg for people who've been playing that far back?

My guess is that it's a), GW aren't known for their internal consistency after all.

Admittedly, my question would be helped a lot if I could find the book it was published in. I'm thinking it must either be the 2nd edition rule book or the original Adeptus Titanicus rule book, or maybe as I said, a White Dwarf around issue 70-80. Sadly I don't have a spare £100 to track any of those down!

If anyone does have them knocking around and could take a flick though, youɽ have my undying long distance gratitude!

One can always spot an emperor by his haircut

Brand recognition is nothing new the use of image as an immediately identifiable expression of the power of the state was one perfected by the Roman emperors.

Today heads of state have a standard image: identical portraits of Queen Elizabeth II look down on courtrooms and public offices from Canada to the Cook Islands, from Australia to Antigua of the President of the United States from Alaska to Hawaii. Similarly at the peak of the Roman Empire, citizens and slaves alike would recognise the same portrait of the emperor from Spain to Syria, from Scotland to the Sahara. Like so much which is unmistakably Roman (gladiators, wine, the Colosseum) it was an idea borrowed from the Greek world.

Alexander the Great, British Museum

If Alexander the Great’s favourite sculptor and “spin doctor”, Lysippos had perfected the young, dynamic, studiedly casual, and carefully ruffled warrior, it was a model which Rome’s first emperor would emulate like Alexander, and unlike the Hellenistic kings which had preceded him, Augustus was clean-shaven and ever youthful.

Augustus of Prima Porta (detail), Vatican Museums

Perpetually about nineteen in his statues (though he died at the age of 76), Augustus is always identifiable by his “swallow-tail” fringe. The protruding ears and broadly spaced locks of the fringe are characteristic of the successors of the Julio-Claudian line. One might be tempted to seek a somewhat facetious correlation between the implosion of the mother of all dysfunctional families and the only ruler thus far to toy with facial hair, the famously mad, bad, and dangerous to know Emperor Nero.

After Nero met his sticky end, Rome was plummeted into the rocky “year of four emperors”, from which the solid general from Rieti, Vespasian, would emerge victorious.

Vespasian, National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

A salt-of-the-earth sort of chap, Vespasian used official portraiture as one of many tools to show the regime had changed. The effete aristocrat Nero had been replaced with a man of the people. Rugged and pock marked, Vespasian’s statues are carefully styled to tell us that this is a man too busy with matters of state to bother about his own image.

When Vespasian’s second son Domitian proved to be Nero mark two, the Flavian dynasty also came crashing to an end. The Senate put the relatively elderly and unmarried Nerva on the throne, the most important emperor no-one has ever heard of.

Nerva, National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

His portrait shows an ascetic and disapproving man, his brow furrowed with the concerns of state, furnished with an aristocratic nose which could open envelopes. Once again the official portrait was a clear expression that he was the anthesis of what had gone before.

With no natural heir, Nerva’s nominated successor was Trajan, the man who would rule over Rome’s greatest territorial expanse, always shown clean shaven with a pudding basin haircut and rather large ears.

Trajan, Capitoline Museums.

Trajan would also die without producing offspring, and his nominated successor was his distant cousin, Hadrian.

Bearded and with curly hair, Hadrian’s portrait was different to any of the emperors which had gone before, a sort of Greek philosopher look. He is always shown full-faced and, if we are to believe the busts, without a wrinkle until his death aged 62.

Hadrian also died without reproducing, and his chosen heir was Antoninus Pius. How better to show a continuity of the reign than to have the same haircut?

Antoninus Pius, National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

Antoninus and his wife Faustina had lots of children, although only girls survived beyond infancy, and once again a successor was nominated: Marcus Aurelius. Albeit slightly more bouffant, he is also in the bearded mould of his immediate predecessors.

Marcus Aurelius (detail), Capitoline Museums.

This run of what Machiavelli would term the “Five Good Emperors” – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius – would come to a screeching halt with the natural son of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus who, despite the previously successful beard and curly hair combination, would prove to be what Machiavelli might have termed a “Dreadful Emperor”.

Commodus as Hercules, Capitoline Museums.

The hubris encapsulated in showing the Emperor in the guise of Hercules would herald the long, but ultimately inexorable, decline of Empire a poor advertisement for hereditary rule if ever there were one.

A gallop through Imperial portraiture could be incorporated into a tour of the Capitoline Museums, the Vatican Museums, or the splendid and vastly under-visited National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

How much did a Chinese peasant know of the emperor?

I recall reading on this site some time ago a question on how much the average European peasant knew of their King with the answer being along the lines of 'somewhat'. Now, I want to know how much more/less the average Chinese peasant would have known about their lord during, say, the Ming or Qing dynasties did they know of his ministers/wives? What about his life in court? How/how fast did messages regarding succession spread across the countryside? Thanks.

Well, I can't really speak to the Ming or Qing dynasties, but I can speak to the Han dynasty. It's far before the Ming/Qing, but it might be interesting.

For starters, a bit about regnal names: when they took the throne, Chinese emperors effectively did away with their names. It became a rather huge faux pas to use the emperor's personal name in pretty much any form. This proscription went so far that people would change their names to avoid using the emperor's name.

It would, of course, be impossible to observe the imperial taboos unless you actually knew what was taboo. Which, in turn, required knowing the emperor's name before he ascended to the Dragon Throne.

When the emperor died, he was almost always given a posthumous name. The first emperor of a given dynasty might retroactively give their parent an imperial title, regardless of what post that parent held (Sun Quan of Wu somewhat famously gave his father, Sun Jian, an imperial title. about four decades after Jian's death). These posthumous titles always meant something. Qin Shihuangdi meant "First Emperor of Qin." "Wendi" meant "cultivated (cultured) emperor." "Andi" meant "Peaceful Emperor." The di character was shorthand for huangdi (emperor) the long-form is sometimes used instead (nobody's really going to flip tables if you refer to Liu Bang as Gao Huangdi instead of Gaodi. although that's not a great example because he's often known as Gaozu instead). Most of these posthumous names get the dynastic name added to the front for the sake of convenience. And the dynastic name can be the name of the family or of the state Shu-Han's dynastic name is Liu (after the family), whereas the Han's dynastic name was Han (the family was still Liu).

Additionally, emperors had regnal years. These years (which always began with the Chinese New Year are typically how you're going to see Chinese historians refer to events. The death of Liu Hong in 188 might be recorded as: "in the fifth year of Zhong Ping (Central Stability), Han Lingdi died." Zhong Ping, by the way, actually spanned three emperors -- Lingdi, Liu Bian (whose reign was so short he doesn't even get a posthumous name), and Xiandi. Emperor Xian proclaimed Chu Ping (Beginning Peace) on the first Chinese New Year after he ascended to the Dragon Throne.

You might also have noticed the extremely optimistic nature of regnal years. They're frequently named things like Radiant Harmony (Guang He), Commence the Revival (Jian Xing), and so forth. The average peasant would almost certainly have been familiar with these reign years Sanguo Yanyi mentions how the reign year was often proclaimed or announced. It's more historical fiction than a proper secondary source, mind, but it's usually pretty accurate on the cultural notes like that.

But, for the most part, the emperor didn't factor into the daily lives of the peasants. The peasants were far more affected by the local governors and such.

Of course, all bets are off when you start talking about things like the Imperial Examinations. It wasn't terribly uncommon for a peasant (once nominated as "filial and uncorrupt" or xiaolian) to be brought to the imperial capital and, if successful at the examinations, given an imperial posting. If said peasant happened to be given a posting in the imperial capital, the peasant-turned-bureaucrat would absolutely have learned a great deal more about the imperial family and the various ministers (especially if they received a posting directly under a minister).

Of course, it wasn't just peasants who took those exams. Nobles did, too. One of the more famous xiaolian was probably Cao Cao (perhaps the most interesting figure involved in the decline of the Han), who qualified for his first posting under the Han through the exam system.

6 Answers 6

His name was mentioned in :

Alan Dean Foster's A New Hope novelization in 1976:

Aided and abetted by restless, power-hungry individuals within the government, and the massive organs of commerce, the ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to be elected President of the Republic. He promised to reunite the disaffected among the people and to restore the remembered glory of the Republic. Once secure in office he declared himself Emperor, shutting himself away from the populace. Soon he was controlled by the very assistants and boot-lickers he had appointed to high office, and the cries of the people for justice did not reach his ears (George Lucas [Alan Dean Foster], Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (paperback New York: Del Rey, 1976), p. 1, ISBN 0-345-26079-1.)

The Emperor sat, regarding this view, as Vader approached from behind. The Lord of the Sith kneeled and waited. The Emperor let him wait. He perused the vista before him with a sense of glory beyond all reckoning: this was all his. And more glorious still, all his by his own hand.

For it wasn't always so. Back in the days when he was merely Senator Palpatine, the galaxy had been a Republic of stars, cared for and protected by the Jedi Knighthood that had watched over it for centuries. But inevitably it had grown too large - too massive a bureaucracy had been required, over too many years, in order to maintain the Republic. Corruption had set in.

It was also mentioned in 1998 Star Wars Visual Dictionary as per Wookieepedia, but I can't find a cite.

Palpatine was a name that was decided upon and used in the EU a long time ago.

The first name used in early notes is the ridiculous Emperor Ford Xerxes XII, quickly changed to Alexander Xerxes XII, because, as Jar-Jar Binks and "Imperial Centre" (Coruscant) prove, George Lucas is terrible at names.

The name Cos Dashit was also used in early scripts. While The Phantom Menace is the first time Palpatine's name is spoken on-screen, it was first mentioned in the novelisation of A New Hope, and confirmed in the novelisation of Return of the Jedi. Whether this is Palpatine's first or last name has never been established until The Sequel Trilogy, when his first name (Sheev) was revealed, but a popular fan theory at that time was that Palpatine was 'Cosinga Palpatine, Jr,' due to the mention of his hatred for his father and refusal to use "his name," in the book Darth Plagueis. His father was Cosinga Palpatine, apparently. I've not read that particular book, and Wookieepedia's article on Palpatine is, as you will see if you click on my above link, quite large. Skip to "Behind the Scenes" for the information I've provided.

There was still the chance, until Revenge of the Sith aired (or rather, when the novelisation of that film came out, since it came out before the film aired), that Lucas might pull an M. Night Shyamalan out of his hat and make Darth Sidious and Palpatine separate characters, but it didn't seem likely. Revenge of the Sith confirmed what old-school Star Wars fans like you and I had known for decades that the Emperor's name was Palpatine.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Emperor Palpatine

When George Lucas began working on Star Wars, back in the 1970's, no one could have foreseen just how big the franchise would become. For over 40 years, we have visited countless worlds, and been introduced to many characters. None have been as prolific as the Emperor Sheev Palpatine, aka. Darth Sidious. While he would not actually show up in person until Return of the Jedi, his presence was definitely felt throughout the first two films of the original trilogy. It was very clear he was the ultimate villain of this universe. Even Vader himself confirmed the emperor was "not as forgiving" as he.

At the time of the original trilogy, the world of Star Wars was still largely unknown. Fans were used to seeing lightsaber battles and some Force telekinesis. When Palpatine started shooting lightning from his fingers at our hero, we knew he was no ordinary villain. Then, the prequel trilogy came along in the late 1990’s, which introduced us to the Senator, later Supreme Chancellor, Palpatine, the man who would later become Emperor Palpatine. The newer films would document his rise to power along with Vader’s fall to the Dark Side. Through books, comics and even video games, we have learned more and more about one of cinema's most evil characters. Not all of it is common knowledge though. Today, we are going to look at 10 things you didn't know about Emperor Palpatine.

10. He Was Based On A Real Person

There were many comparisons between the Empire and the Nazis throughout the original trilogy. Naturally, many fans assumed Palpatine was a representation of Hitler. However, he was actually based on U.S. President Richard Nixon. This was not a surprise as the Watergate Scandal and Nixon’s subsequent resignation were happening around the same time Lucas began writing Star Wars. In a side-by-side comparison, we could see many similarities between Palpatine and Nixon. Both rose to power as demagogues off the back of an orchestrated war (Palpatine with the Clone Wars, and Nixon with the Vietnam War). Both curtailed freedoms while attacking enemies through very shady, illegal dealings. It was a shame there was no version of David Frost in the Star Wars universe. What an interview that would have been!

9. Ultimate Insult

As a master of manipulation, and subterfuge, Palpatine he was able to wipe out almost all of the Jedi Order. To add insult to injury, he decided to make one final example by turning the sacred Jedi Temple into his new palace. It made practical sense considering the Jedi Temple housed archives with millenia worth of Jedi knowledge and history. In doing so, he could destroy or hide any information he deemed a threat to his new empire.

It was also worth noting that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant was built on top of an old Sith shrine to contain and hide its dark power. From Palpatine’s point of view, he may just be taking back what was already his.

8. He Had Backups For Vader

The Rule of Two, set out by Darth Bane years before the events of the prequel trilogy, encouraged the Sith Apprentice to turn on the Master, and then take on their own apprentice. A more powerful Sith would emerge with each generation, thus strengthening the dark order. We saw this happen a few times throughout the franchise. Darth Maul and Count Dooku were training Savage Opress and Asajj Ventress during the events of The Clone Wars. Darth Vader made the same offer to Luke in Empire Strikes Back. Having killed his own Master, Darth Plagueis, Papatine was fully aware that Vader would do the same.

He began seeking out Force-sensitive children, and trained them in the Dark Side as Inquisitors. Fans of the show Rebels would remember this group aiding Vader in hunting down rebels and Order 66 survivors. However, Palpatine would also keep them close by to defend him if Vader were to turn on him. The presence of other skilled Dark Side users would also ensure Vader’s loyalty, and keep him in line.

7. His Name Is A Nod To An Old Friend Of George Lucas

George Lucas has many famous director friends like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese to name a few. It was no surprise he included them in some of his films. The name Palpatine was a wink to the politician named Palantine in Scorsese's Taxi Driver. The scene where Palpatine drew his lightsaber from his sleeve was also another reference to Robert De Niro's character doing the same with his gun in Taxi Driver.

6. Ordered The Destruction Of His Homeworld

With the release of the sequel trilogy, some of Palpatine’s atrocities were removed from canon. According to Legends video game Star Wars: Battlefront II, Palpatine became concerned for his safety and that of the Empire after the destruction of the first Death Star. He devised the deadly Operation Cinder to ensure the Sith maintained control of the galaxy in the event of his death, and punished those who failed to prevent his demise. The Empire would begin spreading rumors that he survived whatever event allegedly killed him. Then, several climate disruption satellites would be set up over several planets, resulting in orbital bombardment, and total destruction of said planets. In the game, Operation Cinder was set into motion mere moments after the Battle of Endor and the destruction of the Second Death Star. One of the targeted planets was Palaptine’s own homeworld Naboo. Had the Rebel Alliance not stepped in and destroyed the satellites, thousands of lives would have been lost.

5. He Was Almost Canonically Anakin's "Father"

In The Phantom Menace, Anakin’s mother Shmi Skywalker stated that there was no father. To this day we have yet to receive a legitimate answer as to Anakin’s paternity. Early drafts of the script for Revenge of the Sith included a scene where Palaptine explained to Anakin that he had chosen Shmi as a host, and used the Force to conceive him. By revealing himself as Anakin’s father, he hoped to tempt him to the Dark Side. Lucas decided against this plot twist, and instead left it open to interpretation. The idea would crop up again in Marvel’s canon Darth Vader comic series, where Vader had a vision of this particular scene. It was not clear whether vision was what the Emperor wanted Vader to see or if it really was the truth. It has been clarified that Palpatine being Anakin’s father was not the intention of the comic book writer Charles Soule.

4. His Lightsaber Form

Palpatine saw lightsabers as tools of the Jedi, and so preferred to utilize his Dark Side powers. However, he was also very proficient in the lightsaber Form VII (also known as Juyo), which required the user to channel the Force with every movement and strike in order to fuel its ferocious attacks. Many Jedi avoided Form VII as it made users more susceptible to the Dark Side (obviously not a restriction for him), although Mace Windu was a practitioner of the Form VII variant Vaapad. In addition, Palpatine was extremely adept at both single and double lightsaber combat, making him one of the most dangerous people in the galaxy with a lightsaber.

3. His Appearance After Revenge of the Sith Was Probably His True Self

When he was first introduced in Return of the Jedi, Palpatine appeared old and somewhat deformed. However, he looked normal and vibrant in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. We would not see his transformation until Revenge of the Sith when Mace Windu deflected his Force Lightning back on him. It appeared the change was caused by his own dark power being reflected back upon him. However, we have seen numerous characters attacked by Force Lightning, and had no change in appearance. It has since been confirmed that continued use of the Dark Side could warp the user’s physical appearance, which lined up with how long Palpatine had been using the Dark Side at this point. Ian McDiarmid, who played the character, agreed that Palpatine was merely masking his appearance and chose that precise moment to let it fall. After all, it also strengthened his claim of being attacked by the Jedi.

2. He May Have Killed Padme

This one is more of a fan theory, but it is interesting to consider. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Padme apparently died from a "broken heart." She was shown to survive being Force choked by Anakin/Vader and there was no physical reason for her rapid decline in health. The theory was that Palaptine used the Force to kill her to ensure that Anakin fully gave in to the Dark Side. Two main reasons made this theory plausible. First, Palpatine was able to sense Vader on Mustafar while still on Coruscant, showing that he was able to reach through the Force from an extreme distance. Second, when Vader asked about Padme, Palpatine confirmed her death. How could he be certain if he did not have a hand in her death?

1. In Legends, He Was Not The Only Sith Master In The Phantom Menace

Fans of the films would think that Darth Sidious was the master and Darth Maul the apprentice during the events of The Phantom Menace. However, the Legends novel Darth Plagueis posited that Palpatine did not kill his master Darth Plagueis until around the time he became Chancellor. Both characters were celebrating the news of Palpatine being elected Chancellor, and Plagueis fell asleep after drinking too much. Palpatine then murdered the weakened Plagueis, and became the Master.

We all know the emperor has no clothes

After serving for a few years as ambassador of the United States to Lebanon, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman has finally recognized one of the many common denominators among Arab people. But he doesn’t actually know what to do with the information. Based on his new-found knowledge, he has leveled accusations against some important Arab personalities. Since he has become an expert in Middle Eastern affairs, whose opinion counts in Washington not only as far as Lebanon is concerned but as far as all the Arabs are concerned, I am going to help him out.

Responding to a question about an interview in “Le Monde” conducted with the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Parliament Member General Michel Aoun, Feltman described the interview as “amusing” and added “Had I seen what was said in this interview without knowing who said it, I would have thought it was said by Bouthaina Shaaban in “Tishreen” (a Syrian newspaper) or something of that kind and I wouldn’t have thought it was said by a Lebanese MP who fought for the independence of Lebanon for years.”

Mr. Feltman is right. The interview could have been ascribed to any Arab writer or politician who truly cares about the future of Lebanon and the unity of Lebanon. What General Aoun said in that interview is similar, in essence, to what is said by so many Arabs from Morocco to Kuwait, who all agree that the United States is trying to destabilize Lebanon just as it did Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, as part of its announced plan for “creative chaos” in the Middle East. Had Mr. Feltman been a reader of Arabic, he would have read similar statements to what General Michel Aoun said about the role of the U.S. in Lebanon in many Arab papers, both inside and outside the Arab world. But because Mr. Feltman sits with only one Lebanese group and listens only to this group, he mistakenly thinks that only this group represents Lebanon and anything else, said by anyone else, is a sign of foreign influence and interference. I hope no one ever thinks that the role of Mr. Feltman is a clear sign of foreign interference, as he seems to consider himself part and parcel of the Lebanese political matrix! Upon hearing Feltman’s statement, a Lebanese friend of mine called me and said if the U.S. were to tap our telephones and listen to our conversations at home, as they have done to Americans since 9/11, they would discover how much we loathe their policies towards Lebanon and the entire Arab world.

How does an ambassador to a country dare criticize an important public figure in that country? Feltman’s statement is proof that he behaves as a high commissioner to Lebanon rather than an ambassador and is yet more evidence of what Gen. Aoun said in his interview: that the U.S. is working hard to divide the Lebanese ranks and prevent them from reaching agreement.

How could Mr. Feltman possibly understand the depth of the many factors that make the Arabs one people? When he and his secretary of state were giving Israel extra time to kill more Lebanese, the Syrian people went to the borders to receive, with love and compassion, their Lebanese brothers and sisters fleeing criminal Israeli attacks using American arms and bombs.

Even as Mr. Feltman is finding the virtual agreement in opinion between a prominent Lebanese leader and a Syrian writer “amusing,” American forces continue to kill 30.000 Iraqis every month (“The Lancet,” the most prestigious British medical journal, October 12, 2006). Juan Cole, an American Middle East scholar, summarized the “Lancet” study in a particularly vivid comment: “The U.S. misadventure in Iraq is responsible, in a little over three years, for setting off the killing of twice as many civilians as Saddam managed to polish off in 25 years.”

Yet the U.S. has offered refuge to less than a thousand Iraqi refugees, whereas Syria has welcomed almost two million Iraqis with whom we share our schools, hospitals, food and houses, because we are one people, share the same life and look forward to a better future together.

I don’t expect Mr. Feltman to feel what we feel when we see a Palestinian man fatally wounded by an Israeli bullet, crawling with his blood trailing behind him while crying for his youth, or to have any of our feelings when we watch an American soldier standing with his boots on the bed of an Iraqi woman trying to cover herself as a stranger has violated the sanctity of her home only to see her daughter killed in front of her eyes. If Mr. Feltman wants to know more about the behavior of American occupation forces in Iraq, I advise him to read the study entitled: “Is the United States killing 10.000 Iraqis every month? Or is it more? by Prof. Michael Schwartz in Global Research, August 13, 2007. If he wants to know how the 30 billion dollars given to Israel will be spent he should look at the Israeli B’tselem website to have an inkling of Israel’s apartheid regime against Palestinians and the genocide against Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

Snoke's Motivation and Twisted History Revealed in The Last Jedi

Andy Serkis opens up about Snoke's own personal history and why he's so angry at the Resistance and his apprentice Kylo Ren in Star Wars 8.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is only a few weeks away. Motion capture maestro Andy Serkis has taken some time to talk about Supreme Leader Snoke in a new interview that gives us some insight into what fuels the mysterious villain. Even as the release date for the movie gets closer, there's still a whole lot about Snoke that we do not know and director Rian Johnson has said that we won't get much of a backstory for him in The Last Jedi, citing that Star Wars fans didn't know Emperor Palpatine's history until the prequels came out. While we might not be getting the entire history of Snoke in the upcoming movie, Andy Serkis has provided us with the best insight into the character so far.

Andy Serkis recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss his Snoke character and what drives the villain in The Last Jedi. As it turns out, the deformed Supreme Leader Snoke has suffered injury, which we already knew about from all of the scarring, and is very vulnerable and "wounded" according to Serkis. These wounds offer a personal hatred to the battle against the Resistance, which he is bringing in full force (no pun intended). Serkis had this to say.

The 9-foot tall alien/humanoid is reportedly also not very satisfied with Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) work so far as Andy Serkis points out. A lot of Snoke's anger is directed at Kylo Ren because Snoke does not respect the weak. Serkis had this to say.

This is more than likely where the test for Rey comes into play in The Last Jedi. Daisy Ridley has said in the past that Supreme Leader Snoke is the ultimate test for Rey, who may even be stronger in the ways of the Force than Kylo Ren.

Since Snoke only appeared as a giant hologram in 2015's The Force Awakens, this will be the first time that we will see him in real-life, so to speak. Andy Serkis says that we'll be able to see the physical damage and how it affects the character. He explains.

To play the character just right, Serkis taped down one side of his mouth to mimic one of the facial wounds that Snoke has. Serkis says that they used tape to restrict the left side of his jaw to reenact Snoke's mauled jaw. According to Andy Serkis, most of Snoke's, "deformity is very much based on injuries from the First World War, from the trenches."

This is the most information that we have seen on Supreme Leader Snoke thus far, but there's still a lot more to learn about the mysterious and intriguing character. Andy Serkis also hinted at some "flamboyance" and a taste for the "finer" things in life for Snoke, which are shown off in his throne room and golden robes, but one has to wonder where exactly that comes from. Maybe we'll get more of an explanation in Episode 9, but until then, check out more of what and Serkis had to say about Supreme Leader Snoke courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

ONTD Political

The world was watching when Japanese Emperor Akihito took to the airwaves earlier this month to address his people. Akihito&rsquos recorded response to the natural disasters that have ravaged his country was his first-ever televised speech. And though it was short and simple, it earned Akihito praise in Japan, where the emperor is still widely popular as a symbol of the nation&rsquos royal past.

But in the United States, we don&rsquot hear much about Emperor Akihito because, let&rsquos face it, the reserved Japanese royal family is no headline-grabbing House of Windsor. But we wanted to know more about Japan&rsquos low-profile emperor and the imperial line from which he descends.

1. They don&rsquot call him Akihito.

In Japan, the emperor doesn&rsquot go by his given name. Emperor Akihito was raised as Prince Tsugu and is now officially referred to as &ldquoHis Majesty the Emperor&rdquo or Tennō Heika, meaning &ldquoheavenly emperor.&rdquo

After a Japanese emperor&rsquos death, he is referred to by the name of the era over which he reigned. The emperor we call Hirohito is referred to in Japan as Emperor Shōwa. Akihito will go down in history as Emperor Heisei, which, loosely translated, means &ldquoestablishing peace.&rdquo

2. His position is mostly symbolic.

Hirohito, or Emperor Showa the 124th emperor, after his enthronement ceremony in 1928.

Since the end of World War II, Japanese royalty has been almost powerless. After the war, the American military forced Emperor Hirohito to renounce his claim to divinity. Then the 1947 Japanese Constitution, written under pressure from the American government, demoted the emperor to a &ldquosymbol of the state and of the unity of the people&rdquo and stripped the position of all &ldquopowers related to government.&rdquo Unlike royalty in other countries, the emperor of Japan is not even the nominal head of state.

Akihito&rsquos actions are tightly constrained by the Imperial Household Agency, the bureaucratic apparatus that manages the affairs of the royal family. He makes only occasional public appearances, spending most of his time within the grounds of the Imperial Palace hosting important visitors and presiding over official events.

3. He is a member of the oldest royal family in the world.

The Japanese imperial family claims descent from the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami through Emperor Jimmu, the legendary first emperor of Japan, who is said to have begun his rule on February 11, 660 BC. Historians have not been able to determine whether Jimmu was a real historical figure or a composite.

Emperor Komei, the 121st emperor of Japan, reigned from 1846 to 1867. He died when he was only 35.

The Imperial Household Agency has been reluctant to allow archaeologists into the imperial tombs, which are sacred sites where the emperor&rsquos envoys pray and conduct ritual ceremonies every year. There are tombs in Japan attributed to each of the 124 emperors preceding Akihito, including Jimmu, but at present the tombs&rsquo contents remain a mystery. Imperial officials may also be worried that excavations could confirm rumors that early Japanese rulers were of Chinese or Korean ancestry.

Emperor Akihito made history and upset some Japanese nationalists when he acknowledged a Korean ancestor during a 2001 press conference.

According to Japanese tradition, the 77-year-old Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor in an unbroken line of hereditary succession which dates back to the reign of Emperor Jimmu. His wife, Empress Michiko, is the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and, because of the relaxation of imperial household laws after World War II, the first-ever commoner to marry into the imperial family. The emperor&rsquos son, Crown Prince Naruhito, is the heir to the Japanese throne.

4. He has been a groundbreaker in the Imperial Palace.

When the Japanese surrendered to the Allied powers at the end of World War II, Emperor Hirohito delivered a famously obtuse speech in which he declared that &ldquothe war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan&rsquos advantage.&rdquo

Akihito&rsquos buttoned-up predecessors spoke a highly stylized Japanese incomprehensible to Japanese commoners. In his message to the victims of the tsunami and earthquake, the Emperor spoke formally but in modern Japanese.

In some ways, Akihito&rsquos modern persona was decided for him. As the first new emperor to ascend to the throne since Japan&rsquos defeat in World War II, he is the first emperor who has never been worshipped or given political power. He is the first emperor who has been allowed to marry a commoner, though it speaks to his modern mindset that he was also the first to do so.

When Akihito was crown prince, he married Michiko Shoda, a commoner, in 1959.

But Akihito has gone beyond his predecessors in his efforts to connect with the Japanese people and to serve as an ambassador to the rest of the world. In 1995, he donned a sweater and windbreaker to personally comfort victims of the Kobe earthquake. He has offended some Japanese hard-liners by offering apologies to countries wronged by Japan in the past, including those that suffered under his father&rsquos rule during World War II.

5. He is a part-time ichthyologist.

Though Emperor Akihito studied political science at Tokyo&rsquos Gakushuin University (briefly &mdash he didn&rsquot graduate), he better is known for his work in biology. As of 2007, Akihito had published 38 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals including Science and Nature. He is an honorary member of London&rsquos prestigious Linnean Society and has been awarded the Royal Society&rsquos King Charles II Medal, an honor for &ldquoforeign Heads of State or Government who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering scientific research in their country.&rdquo His work with the tiny goby fish (The Times called him a &ldquoworld authority &ndash perhaps the only authority &ndash on classifying the goby fish&rdquo) was recognized in 2006 when two researchers named a new species of goby Exyrias akihito. Akihito had collected specimens of the fish and sent them to the researchers for identification.

The emperor is also listed as a collaborator on the book Fishes of Japan with pictorial keys to the species and, according to the Imperial Household Agency&rsquos website, managed to attend &ldquothe monthly meeting of the Fish Systematics Seminar&rdquo six times last year.

Watch the video: The Entire Emperor Palpatine Story Explained (December 2021).

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