Dystopian Pre Industrial Societies/States

I don’t think the Aztecs were that dystopian. It was the other nations around them who were dystopian since they had to deal with their irresistibly powerful neighbour engaging in constant wars against you to gain sacrifices, and this neighbour honestly thinks they’re doing everyone, sacrifices included, a real favour.
 
Which is deeply enmeshed in an industrialized region and trade network, hence proving my point.

The potato disaster. Sort of similar to the Antebellum South situation - integration into industrialized economies' trade networks allows policy effects to be carried out through control of few coastal cities.
Not until the mid 1800s they weren't. Industrialisation made them worse, but they were still godawful before that. And it was definitely because of intent, rather than neglect or inability. I mean ffs, they took people's very humanity away, not because they had to, just because it was convenient (slaves have existed lots of places without being turned into chattel)
 
I don’t think the Aztecs were that dystopian. It was the other nations around them who were dystopian since they had to deal with their irresistibly powerful neighbour engaging in constant wars against you to gain sacrifices, and this neighbour honestly thinks they’re doing everyone, sacrifices included, a real favour.
I mean, is Panem dystopian?
The Aztecs were pretty much the mexican stone age Panem in that regard
And I'd say they are one of the few societies where, as another commenter said,
the horror reaches all of it
I mean they took pride on the fact they sacrificed people by the thousands and ali of their civilisation was based on the religion that promoted that in order to appease the Sun's thirst for blood
Even the people who never saw a sacrifice were deeply aware of it and the justification that if that many people werent killed the sun god would murder them all, living knowing that must have been terrifying
 
I mean, is Panem dystopian?
The Aztecs were pretty much the mexican stone age Panem in that regard
And I'd say they are one of the few societies where, as another commenter said,
the horror reaches all of it
I mean they took pride on the fact they sacrificed people by the thousands and ali of their civilisation was based on the religion that promoted that in order to appease the Sun's thirst for blood
Even the people who never saw a sacrifice were deeply aware of it and the justification that if that many people werent killed the sun god would murder them all, living knowing that must have been terrifying
I think that’s highly reductive. Aztec society did not solely or mainly revolve around human sacrifice. Other than human sacrifice - that doesn’t affect the vast majority of people and isn’t any more violent than public executions or death by war common in other parts of the world - it’s not particularly worse than most other pre-industrial civilizations.
 
There were times that were post-apocalyptic in the pre-industrial era.
Bronze Age collapse for sure
Immediately post-Roman Britain?
Not sure if they are dystopian though.
 
There were times that were post-apocalyptic in the pre-industrial era.
Bronze Age collapse for sure
Immediately post-Roman Britain?
Not sure if they are dystopian though.
Since dystopian implies some sort of stable, continuous horror, perhaps a state of war could count as "a dystopian situation", but not "a dystopian country".
Not until the mid 1800s they weren't. Industrialisation made them worse, but they were still godawful before that. And it was definitely because of intent, rather than neglect or inability. I mean ffs, they took people's very humanity away, not because they had to, just because it was convenient (slaves have existed lots of places without being turned into chattel)
I said they were integrated and enmeshed into (emphasis since I did not say this before but I thought it was obvious) other industrialized societies. You know, mid-19th century global industrial powerhouse Great Britain-levels of industrialization was behind the Irish potato famine getting as bad as it did. The Vikings probably can't do it since they didn't even manage to conquer all of Ireland.
 
Since dystopian implies some sort of stable, continuous horror, perhaps a state of war could count as "a dystopian situation", but not "a dystopian country".

I said they were integrated and enmeshed into (emphasis since I did not say this before but I thought it was obvious) other industrialized societies. You know, mid-19th century global industrial powerhouse Great Britain-levels of industrialization was behind the Irish potato famine getting as bad as it did. The Vikings probably can't do it since they didn't even manage to conquer all of Ireland.
Instead of shouting, why don't you explain what industrialized societies the chattel slave economies were enmeshed in during the 1600s and 1700s (i.e before industrialization)
 
I'm my opinion, to talk about a pre-industrial society being "dystopian" is to talk the negative side of said society, and I'll throw my hat with this.

- Aztec Empire (If you're a prisoner of war, you're going to be sacrificed.)
- Greece / Rome (If your a slave.)
- Medieval/Reformation Europe (If your especially being accused of Witchcraft.)
 
Probably Sparta.

Even if you were a member of the ruling minority, your life sucked from the moment you had to leave your family and begin your military training, to the moment you got to leave the military, in middle age. And even then, Ares forbid you stepped out of line. Joseon Korea might count, too - even if you were not a peasant or slave, you had to abide by the rules of a caste system that made that of today's North Korea seem tame.

Up to and including sentences according to which entire families were made to answer for the crimes of a single member.
 
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Sparta was quiet horrible place, even if you wasn't Helot. If you was a male, your whole life since early childhood was just total military practise. Females' only purposes were making clothes, food and birth new Spartans. Life was really harsh even with standards of the time. It almost looked like proto-nazi state.

Qin Era China was really dystopic place.

Roman Republic during its last 100 years wasn't really nice place. If there wasn't civil wars, theen there was political riots and military dictatorships.

Aztecs happily waged wars for sacrifices.

Spain in 16th century was ratherly ultra-religious intolerant police state.

Tudorian England wasn't ncest places on the Earth.

Ivan the Terrible's Russia was ratherly proto-stalinist state.
 
I mean, if you believe the chronicles, then Tepes' Wallachia could probably be considered fairly dystopic. All powerful ruler, harsh justice, paranoia, powerful enemies threatening the state. And, you know, the impalings.
 
I never said it was solely that
You did say that the "horror reaches all of it," though.
It kinda did, it stopped the whole world from ending to them
Yes, but there were other religious rites that had to be practiced as well. You might as well say that Aztec society revolved around putting all fires out because they had to do it for the New Fire ritual, or revolved around swimming croaking like frogs because of the rituals done for Chalchiuhtlicue.
I politely disagree
People disagree, I'm convinced, because they believe that human sacrifice is, in and of itself, worse than working someone to death, just executing them to make a point, killing someone because they're a heretic, or murdering someone for revolting against poor living conditions.

I'd rather not get into an ethical argument about this, but I would like to point out that the people of Mesoamerica would not have agreed with this, including the ones who were being sacrificed. They would not have looked at human sacrifice with more terror than people in medieval Europe would look at getting killed during a war. Indeed, given that human sacrifices were considered to reach desirable afterlives and being a sacrifice was considered to be somewhat honorable, they probably viewed it with relatively less horror.
 
You did say that the "horror reaches all of it," though.

Yes, but there were other religious rites that had to be practiced as well. You might as well say that Aztec society revolved around putting all fires out because they had to do it for the New Fire ritual, or revolved around swimming croaking like frogs because of the rituals done for Chalchiuhtlicue.

People disagree, I'm convinced, because they believe that human sacrifice is, in and of itself, worse than working someone to death, just executing them to make a point, killing someone because they're a heretic, or murdering someone for revolting against poor living conditions.

I'd rather not get into an ethical argument about this, but I would like to point out that the people of Mesoamerica would not have agreed with this, including the ones who were being sacrificed. They would not have looked at human sacrifice with more terror than people in medieval Europe would look at getting killed during a war. Indeed, given that human sacrifices were considered to reach desirable afterlives and being a sacrifice was considered to be somewhat honorable, they probably viewed it with relatively less horror.
Fully agreed. I don't really see human sacrifice as ethically any worse, than say, the death penalty. The former is just considered more aesthetically creepy by most, probably owing to a Western-dominated point of view. I'm sure the Aztecs would've viewed the burning of heretics at the stake in medieval/early-modern Europe with equal horror.
 
I would also question how much influence that the state in premodern times has over the lives of the average Joe. How much is a farmer in what is now southern France going to be affected by what lets say Caligula does in Rome?
 
Well, once upon a time a small city-state on the edge of the Mediterranean world slowly but surely conquered their environs, razed their rival's capital to the ground, and eventually conquered the entire "lake" in the pursuit of more and more profit. In Europe, they founded numerous settler-colonial towns, enslaving many of the local Celts in Iberia, Gaul and Britain and assimilating the surviving elites. Their urban culture featured a wasteful culture of public spectacles in which the enslaved and the free fought themselves and animals to the death. The luxury economy of this bloated imperium was ecocidal centuries upon centuries before industrialization, and the lack of a solid state bureaucracy created a culture of constant civil wars between ambitious generals.

Eventually, these civil wars eliminated even the patrician republic, leading to the elevation of Caesars -- who passed from power with surprising rapidity. Civil wars were interspersed with ocassional periods that actually allowed for peace and prosperity. The senatorial elites became parasitic landowners the rival of even our modern billionaires, if not even more wealthy in comparative terms. As the possibilities of conquest were blunted by overreach, civil wars and the Persians, the imperial elites civil wars grew even more intense, and the empire was nearly split.

When it was eventually split, latifundias degraded into out-and-out feudalism as controlled by the Germanic auxiliaries that overthrew the rotting carcass of the Western empire. In the East, the Roman national sport of fratricidal civil wars between generals and their landowner backers would continue for another thousand years, Christianity's reforms to their culture aside.

It may not have been "dystopian" in the classic 20th century novel sense, but a slave-heavy extractive economy that featured the practice of humans fighting to the death for the amusement of the imperial metropolis comes pretty close. Rome could absolutely be spun in a Huxleyan sense.
 
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