The people who initially got control of economic resources immediately monopolized them. They could do anything they wanted thereafter provided that they remained a relatively homogenous and peaceful group. By and large they did remain homogenous and peaceful among themselves. They decided how to divide up the power, how to divide up the wealth, who should be king, and which family should become the royal dynasty. The instability in these societies usually came from external invasions by new peoples, who at various times pushed into these wealthy lands and gained control. Their control usually collapsed or was overthrown a few generations later by the old native aristocracy or by later invaders. But all invaders perpetuated the existing social structure, taking over the prerogatives of the old aristocracy.
June 20, 1998