In a pluralist appreciation of the political world, the displacement of borders is not motivated or characterized in the same way that it is in a centralist ideology. Every state certainly aims to extend its control into surrounding areas, in order to satisfy its prestige or the glory of its gods – and to ensure a greater income. But this objective is challenged and balanced by similar ones on the part of neighbouring states, the ideal result being a stable territorial equilibrium.
We have already seen (Chapter 3) that in the centralist ideology borders should always be moving outwards. Non-expansion is considered a failure on the part of the king, a symptom of an inadequacy produced by incapacity, illegitimacy, impiousness or criminality that has resulted in his abandonment by the gods. Such a circumstance is never a feature of the present, that is during the reign of the king who is the author of the document. However, it might have occurred in the past and is now recalled in order to underline by contrast how the present king (who is legitimate, pious, clever and righteous) was able to restore the correct relationship with the gods and consequently the correct situation on the borders – one which sees them moving outwards. Tutankhamun refers to the ‘heretical’ Amarna period when recalling that ‘If an army was sent to Djahi in order to enlarge the boundaries of Egypt, it did not meet any success’. 1 And Telipinu refers to the parricide Ammuna, the lowest point reached by Hittite kingship in morality, distance from the gods, and military success: ‘Wherever his army went to battle, it did not come back victorious.’ 2
In pluralist ideology, ideally the border is fixed but in practice it fluctuates in both directions according to the balance of forces between adjacent states. At any one time the actual border may be the product either of diplomacy or war, but in either event it is evidence of an agreed