Exile as signal

I’ve been doing some reading about exile lately, and it strikes me that the traditional language is backwards: one doesn’t drive one’s opponents into exile as a way of seizing power. For the physical location of a ruler is largely irrelevant to his power. Rather, one drives one’s opponents into exile as a way of signaling the fact that one has already successfully seized power — making it clear that one has enough control over things like the army to make an exile stick. And thereby creating the sort of common knowledge that disobedience will be punished and everyone else will be obeying that’s necessary for ruling.


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