Ancient and Non-Western International Thought

Antony Black (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    In early and prehistoric times, human groups cooperated among themselves and competed viciously with other groups. Concepts of international relations, notably universal hegemony and exclusive nationalism, go back to the earliest recorded history. Only the ancient Greeks experienced inter-state relations somewhat analogous to those of modern Europe; and the first reflections on these may be found in Thucydides. The Greeks, and later the Romans, above all Cicero, developed a notion of cosmopolitanism. During the Latin Middle Ages, the papacy perpetuated the idea of universal hegemony. The principle of state sovereignty was also formulated. The pre-modern Chinese empire was held to rule 'all-under-Heaven'; Confucian ethics contributes the notion of humanity (ren) as the fundamental category. Muslims deepened the us-them distinction by claiming sole legitimacy for their religious community under the Caliph (Deputy of Muhammad). Today, Muslims veer between this and a more Western approach to international relations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-12
    Number of pages11
    JournalHistory of European Ideas
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2015


    • Cosmopolitanism
    • nationalism
    • Thucydides
    • Cicero
    • humanity (ren)
    • Islamic 'umma
    • caliphate


    Dive into the research topics of 'Ancient and Non-Western International Thought'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this