PRESENTED in the following pages are a body of definitions, corollaries and rules which when carried out will yield two comparative historical samples, a general sample and a special sample.
Each of these samples considers a number of specified historical traditions or paideias. In each paideia, the sampling procedure seeks a decade from each century on which peace data or territorial change data is available concerning the largest state of the tradition and its principal rival at the time.
The general sample defines paideias culturally in terms of the societies making use of bodies of writing whose importance is evidenced by wide translation. In fact, such historical traditions involve the higher civilizations of the old world and by focusing on two Conspicuous Rivals at each given period we focus on the power politics of the leading military powers of the world. While the definition is silent on the relative military and economic importance of states belonging to the defined traditions and states not so belonging, in fact it will almost always be the case that the defined traditions include the states with the largest populations, the largest cities, the greatest collection of experts of all kinds, the greatest wealth, and the greatest military power. These are the great cultural traditions, the people who have created modern civilization collectively -- the Europeans and the people of the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and the Far East.
For many purposes such a sample would of course be far too restrictive: these great cultural traditions have had no monopoly on important inventions; they do not include representative samplings of art styles, value systems, kinship systems, religious systems, and so on. But in a study of power politics they are indicated for two reasons: first, they have been or include almost all the great powers or almost all the great states; and second, they have kept all the records of power politics of any importance which survive for study.
The special sample follows the fortunes of two European powers of special interest to this study, the Great Russian state and the Swiss Confederation. The