Equinox Code Book

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

♠ Original name ♣ ♥ Generally same as the name of this page

♠ Alternative names ♣ ♥ Used in the historical literature; also supply the most common name used by the natives

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥ The period when the polity was at its peak, whether militarily, in terms of the size of territory controlled, or the degree of cultural development. This variable has a subjective element, but typically historians agree when the peak was.

Temporal bounds

The next three coding positions define the temporal bounds of the polity. These codes take into account that such temporal bounds may be fuzzy and allow us to capture this 'fuzziness.' For example, some polities such as the Medieval German Empire or China under the Zhou Dynasty began as reasonably coherent states, but with time gradually lost cohesion, the degree to which the center exercized control over regional subpolities. Because this process was gradual, there was no sharp temporal boundary. The 'Degree of centralization' variable allows to capture these transitions (by coding time periods when the polity transitions, for example, from a 'confederated state' to 'loose' and finally to 'nominal' degree of centralization. Similarly, polities may have a fuzzy starting date, if they originate as subpolities under a disintegrating overarching polity. These transitions are captured by the variable 'Supra-polity relations'.

♠ Duration ♣ ♥ The starting and ending dates covered by this coding sheet. Briefly explain the significance of each date. For example, the starting date could be the establishment of a long-ruling dynasty, while the ending date may be the year when the polity was conquered by an aggressive neighbor. In cases when starting and/or ending dates are fuzzy, as explained above, use the earliest possible starting date and the latest possible ending date. This approach will result in a temporal overlap, so that some NGAs for some periods will be coded as belonging to two polities simultaneously (e.g., to a disintegrating overarching polity and to the rising regional subpolity). Such overlap is acceptable, and will be dealt with at the analysis stage.

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ ♥ unknown/ quasi-polity/ nominal/ loose/ confederated state /unitary state

  • 'quasi-polity' = or 'none'. Use if, for example, the NGA is inhabited by many politically independent groups. There are four types of quasi-polity: archaeological, temporal, complex and dominant. Quasi-Polities: further information.
  • 'nominal' = regional rulers pay only nominal allegiance to the overall ruler and maintain independence on all important aspects of governing, including taxation and warfare. (example: Japan during the Sengoku period)
  • 'loose' = the central government exercises a certain degree of control, especially over military matters and international relations. Otherwise the regional rulers are left alone (example: European 'feudalism' after the collapse of the Carolingian empire)
  • 'confederated state' = regions enjoy a large degree of autonomy in internal (regional) government. In particular, the regional governors are either hereditary rulers, or are elected by regional elites or by the population of the region; and regional governments can levy and dispose of regional taxes. Use this category for the more centralized 'feudal states'.
  • 'unitary state' = regional governors are appointed and removed by the central authorities, taxes are imposed by, and transmitted to the center

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥ unknown/ none/ alliance/ nominal allegiance/ personal union/ vassalage/

  • 'alliance' = belongs to a long-term military-political alliance of independent polities ('long-term' refers to more or less permanent relationship between polities extending over multiple years)
  • 'nominal allegiance' = same as 'nominal' under the variable "Degree of centralization" but now reflecting the position of the focal polity within the overarching political authority
  • 'personal union' = the focal polity is united with another, or others, as a result of a dynastic marriage
  • 'vassalage' = corresponding to 'loose' category in the Degree of centralization

Supra-cultural relations

Below code cultural relations between the coded (quasi)polity and the preceding one, as well as those nearby. These codes are particularly useful for archaeologically known polities.

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥ Name. This code is based on the core region of the current polity (not the NGA region). E.g. Achaemenid Empire's core region was Persia, where they were preceded by the Median Empire.
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥ Possible codes: continuity (gradual change), cultural assimilation (by another quasi-polity in the absence of substantial population replacement), elite migration (the preceding elites replaced by new elites coming from elsewhere), population migration (evidence for substantial population replacement). In the narrative paragraph explain the evidential basis for the code: what are the proxies for change? Examples include DNA data, isotope data, material (other than subsistence) culture, subsistence mode, symbolic culture (incl. burial practices), settlement patterns.
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ ♥ Name. Only name it here and don't code the nature of change (it's coded on the page of the succeeding quasi-polity). This code is based on the core region of the current polity (not the NGA region). E.g. Achaemenid Empire's core region was Persia, where they were succeeded by the Macedonian Empire.
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥ Name it. Our quasi-polity are often embedded within larger-scale cultural groupings of polities or quasi-polities. These are sometimes referred to as "civilizations". For example, medieval European kingdoms were part of Latin Christendom. During the periods of disunity in China, warring states there, nevertheless, belonged to the same Chinese cultural sphere. Archaeologists often use "archaeological traditions" to denote such large-scale cultural entities (for example, Peregrine's Atlas of Cultural Evolution). Note, 'supracultural entity' refers to cultural interdependence, and is distinct from a political confederation or alliance, which should be coded under 'supra-polity relations.'

In the narrative paragraph details the types of supracultural links between the coded polity and the supracultural entity: trade, religion, ritual, demographic (e.g., migration, colonization), artistic/symbolic, technological, spousal/marriage (especially between the elites)

♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared. An estimate of the area encompassed by the supracultural entity

♠ Capital ♣ ♥ The city where the ruler spends most of its time. If there were more than one capital supply all names and enclose in curly braces. For example, {Susa; Pasargadae; Persepolis; Ecbatana; Babylon}. Note that the capital may be different from the largest city (see below).

'Capital' may be difficult to code for archaeologically known societies. If there is reasonable basis to believe that the largest known settlement was the seat of the ruler code it as capital (and indicate uncertainty in the narrative paragraph). Archaeologists are able to recognize special architectural structures, such as a ceremonial centres and some kind of citadels or palaces. These features could be recognized with certainty after a careful study of the whole region and the settlement network. If such an inference cannot be made, code as 'unknown' (again, the largest settlement is coded elsewhere).

Language List the language(s) used polity-wide for administration, religion, and military affairs. Also list the language spoken by the majority of the population, if different from the above. The names of the language, family, and genus should be adapted from the World Atlas of Language Structures project, accessible here: http://wals.info/languoid. An example of a coded language tree for the Roman Principate (ItRomRg) would be ♠ Language ♣ Latin ♥ | ♠ Language Genus ♣ Romance ♥ | ♠ Language Family ♣ Indo-European ♥

♠ Language ♣ ♥

General Description

Provide a descriptive paragraph detailing the key features of the polity, which will help understanding the codes below.

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ ♥ in squared kilometers

♠ Polity Population ♣ ♥ Estimated population of the polity; can change as a result of both adding/losing new territories or by population growth/decline within a region

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ ♥ Note that this could be different from the capital (coded under General). If possible, indicate the dynamics (that is, how population changed during the temporal period of the polity). Note that we are also building a city database - you should consult it as it may already have the needed data.

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ ♥ levels. This variable records the hierarchy of not just settlement sizes, but also their complexity as reflected in different roles they play within the (quasi)polity. As settlements become more populous they acquire more complex functions: transportational (e.g. port); economic (e.g. market); administrative (e.g. storehouse, local government building); cultural (e.g. theatre); religious (e.g. temple), utilitarian (e.g. hospital), monumental (e.g. statues, plazas).

Example: (1) Large City (monumental structures, theatre, market, hospital, central government buildings) (2) City (market, theatre, regional government buildings) (3) Large Town (market, administrative buildings) (4) Town (administrative buildings, storehouse)) (5) Village (shrine) (6) Hamlet (residential only).

In the narrative paragraph explain the different levels and list their functions. Provide a (crude) estimate of population sizes. For example, Large Town (market, temple, administrative buildings): 2,000-5,000 inhabitants.

♠ Administrative levels ♣ ♥ levels. An example of hierarchy for a state society could be (1) the overall ruler, (2) provincial/regional governors, (3) district heads, (4) town mayors, (5) village heads. Note that unlike in settlement hierarchy, here you code people hierarchy. Do not simply copy settlement hierarchy data here. For archaeological polities, you will usually code as 'unknown', unless experts identified ranks of chiefs or officials independently of the settlement hierarchy.

Note: Often there are more than one concurrent administrative hierarchy. In the example above the hierarchy refers to the territorial government. In addition, the ruler may have a hierarchically organized central bureaucracy located in the capital. For example, (4)the overall ruler, (3) chiefs of various ministries, (2) mid-level bureaucrats, (1) scribes and clerks. In the narrative paragraph detail what is known about both hierarchies. The machine-readable code should reflect the largest number (the longer chain of command).

♠ Religious levels ♣ ♥ levels. Same principle as with the previous variable. Start with the head of the official cult (if present) = level 1 and work down to the local priest.

♠ Military levels ♣ ♥ levels. Again, start with the commander-in-chief = level 1 and work down to the private.

Even in primitive societies such as simple chiefdoms it is often possible to distinguish at least two levels – a commander and soldiers. A complex chiefdom would be coded three levels. The presence of warrior burials might be the basis for inferring the existence of a military organization. (The lowest military level is always the individual soldier).


♠ Professional military officers ♣ ♥ Full-time specialists absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ ♥ Full-time specialists absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ ♥ Full-time specialists absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ ♥ Full-time administrative specialists absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. Code this absent if administrative duties are performed by generalists such as chiefs and subchiefs. Also code it absent if state officials perform multiple functions, e.g. combining administrative tasks with military duties. Note that this variable shouldn't be coded "present" only on the basis of the presence of specialized government buildings -- there must be some additional evidence of functional specialization in government.

♠ Examination system ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. The paradigmatic example is the Chinese imperial system.

♠ Merit promotion ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown Code present if there are regular, institutionalized procedures for promotion based on performance. When exceptional individuals are promoted to the top ranks, in the absence of institutionalized procedures, we code it under institution and equity variables

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. These buildings are where administrative officials are located, and must be distinct from the ruler's palace. They may be used for document storage, registration offices, minting money, etc. Defense structures also are not coded here (see Military). State-owned/operated workshop should also not be coded here.


♠ Formal legal code ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. Usually, but not always written down. If not written down, code it 'present' when a uniform legal system is established by oral transmission (e.g., officials are taught the rules, or the laws are announced in a public space). Provide a short description

♠ Judges ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. This refers only to full-time professional judges

♠ Courts ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. Buildings specialized for legal proceedings only.

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown.

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

'Polity-owned' includes owned by the community, or the state

♠ irrigation systems ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown
♠ markets ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown
♠ food storage sites ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

Transport infrastructure

built and/or maintained by the polity (that is, code 'present' even if the polity did not build a road, but devotes resources to maintaining it).

♠ Roads ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. This variable refers to deliberately constructed roads that connect settlements or other sites. It excludes streets/accessways within settlements and paths between settlements that develop through repeated use.
♠ Bridges ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown
♠ Canals ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown
♠ Ports ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown These include river ports. Direct historical or archaeological evidence of Ports is absent when no port has been excavated or all evidence of such has been obliterated. Indirect historical or archaeological data is absent when there is no evidence that suggests that the polity engaged in maritime or riverine trade, conflict, or transportation, such as evidence of merchant shipping, administrative records of customs duties, or evidence that at the same period of time a trading relation in the region had a port (for example, due to natural processes, there is little evidence of ancient ports in delta Egypt at a time we know there was a timber trade with the Levant). When evidence for the variable itself is available the code is 'present.' When other forms of evidence suggests the existence of the variable (or not) the code may be 'inferred present' (or 'inferred absent'). When indirect evidence is not available the code will be either absent, temporal uncertainty, suspected unknown, or unknown.

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ ♥ absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown


Writing System

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ ♥ For example, tallies
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ ♥ Records that are more extensive than mnemonics, but don't utilize script. Example: quipu; seals and stamps
♠ Script ♣ ♥ As indicated at least by fragmentary inscriptions (note that if written records are present, then so is script)
♠ Written records ♣ ♥ These are more than short and fragmentary inscriptions, such as found on tombs or runic stones. There must be several sentences strung together, at the very minimum. For example, royal proclamations from Mesopotamia and Egypt qualify as written records
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ ♥ this refers to the kind of script
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ ♥ this refers to the kind of script

Kinds of Written Documents

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ ♥
♠ Calendar ♣ ♥
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ ♥ Sacred Texts originate from supernatural agents (deities), or are directly inspired by them.
♠ Religious literature ♣ ♥ Religious literature differs from the sacred texts. For example, it may provide commentary on the sacred texts, or advice on how to live a virtuous life.
♠ Practical literature ♣ ♥ Texts written with the aim of providing guidance on a certain topic, for example manuals on agriculture, warfare, or cooking. Letters do not count as practical literature.
♠ History ♣ ♥
♠ Philosophy ♣ ♥
♠ Scientific literature ♣ ♥ Mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences
♠ Fiction ♣ ♥ Include poetry here

Note for the next Codebook version: we will separate "Fiction" into two separate codes: "Poetry" and "Fictional Prose Narrative"


Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown (we are mainly interested to know which is the most sophisticated form of money)

♠ Articles ♣ ♥ items that have both a regular use and are used as money (example: axes, cattle, measures of grain, ingots of non-precious metals)
♠ Tokens ♣ ♥ unlike articles, used only for exchange. unlike coins are not manufactured (example: cowries)
♠ Precious metals ♣ ♥ non-coined silver, gold, platinum
♠ Foreign coins ♣ ♥
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ ♥
♠ Paper currency ♣ ♥ Or another kind of fiat money. Note that this only refers to indigenously produced paper currency. Code absent if colonial money are used.

Postal System

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Couriers ♣ ♥ Full-time professional couriers.
♠ Postal stations ♣ ♥ Specialized buildings exclusively devoted to the postal service. If there is a special building that has other functions than a postal station, we still code postal station as present. The intent is to capture additional infrastructure beyond having a corps of messengers.
♠ General postal service ♣ ♥ This refers to a postal service that not only serves the ruler's needs, but carries mail for private citizens.

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

Military Technologies

Military Technologies A military technology should be coded 'present' if there is concrete evidence that it was used in warfare (e.g. metal in armor or weapons, spears used in warfare and not only in hunting, etc) and 'inferred present' if there is evidence that the polity used the technology (e.g. for hunting, as an ornamental or ceremonial item, in jewelry), but no concrete evidence that the metal was specifically used in warfare (explain in comment).

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ ♥ Bronze is an alloy that includes copper, so a polity that uses bronze in warfare is familiar with copper technology and probably uses it to at least a limited extent. Consequently, if a culture uses bronze in warfare and there is no mention of using copper then 'inferred present' is probably best.
♠ Iron ♣ ♥
♠ Steel ♣ ♥ Steel is an alloy that includes iron, so a polity that uses bronze in warfare is familiar with copper technology and probably uses it to at least a limited extent. Consequently, if a culture uses steel in warfare and there is no mention of using iron then 'inferred present' is probably best.


Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Javelins ♣ ♥ Includes thrown spears
♠ Atlatl ♣ ♥
♠ Slings ♣ ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ ♥ This is a bow made from a single piece of wood (example: the English/Welsh longbow)
♠ Composite bow ♣ ♥ This is a bow made from several different materials, usually wood, horn, and sinew. Also known as laminated bow. Recurved bows should be coded here as well, because usually they are composite bows. When there is evidence for bows (or arrows) and no specific comment about how sophisticated the bows are then 'inferred present' for self bows and 'inferred absent' for composite bows is generally best (along with brief notes indicating that it is best to assume the less sophisticated rather than the more sophisticated technology is present).
♠ Crossbow ♣ ♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ ♥ For example, catapult, onager
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ ♥ E.g., trebuchet, innclude mangonels here
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ ♥ For example, cannon, mortars.
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ ♥ E.g., muskets, pistols, and rifles

Handheld weapons

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown. Materials is not important for coding (but mention materials in notes). For example, daggers and swords can be wooden. Nonmilitary implements used in warfare (e.g., pitchforks, scythes) should be coded in the “other” category.

♠ War clubs ♣ ♥ Includes maces
♠ Battle axes ♣ ♥ Axes designed for military use.
♠ Daggers ♣ ♥ Bladed weapons shorter than 50 cm. Includes knives. Material is not important (coded elsewhere), thus flint daggers should be coded as present.
♠ Swords ♣ ♥ Bladed weapons longer than 50 cm. A machete is a sword (assuming the blade is probably longer than 50 cm). Material is not important (coded elsewhere), thus swords made from hard wood, or those edged with stones or bone should be coded as present.
♠ Spears ♣ ♥ Includes lances and pikes. A trident is a spear.
♠ Polearms ♣ ♥ This category includes halberds, naginatas, and morning stars

Animals used in warfare

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown If an animal is used as a supply animal for war then it should be coded as present (but clearly state in notes that it is used as a pack animal).

♠ Dogs ♣ ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ ♥
♠ Horses ♣ ♥
♠ Camels ♣ ♥
♠ Elephants ♣ ♥


Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown Materials for shields, helmets, breastplate, and limb protection can be made of any material, as long as they provide protection. For example, a soft cloth cap would not be a helmet, but a tough leather cap would be a helmet.

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ ♥ For example, leather cuirass, quilted cotton armor
♠ Shields ♣ ♥
♠ Helmets ♣ ♥
♠ Breastplates ♣ ♥ Armor made from wood, horn, or bone can be very important (as in the spread of the Asian War Complex into North America). Leather and cotton (in the Americas) armor was also effective against arrows and warclubs. Breastplate refers to any form of torso protection (in fact, we might rename this variable 'torso protection' at a later date). In the vast majority of cases you will probably find that if a culture has wooden armor, leather armor, chainmail armor, or scaled armor that breastplate should be coded as present because this is the most common location for armor. However, in theory, it is possible to have armor that doesn't protect the torso (for example, a culture might use armor that protects the limbs only).
♠ Limb protection ♣ ♥ E.g., greaves. Covering arms, or legs, or both.
♠ Chainmail ♣ ♥ We’re using a broad definition of chainmail. Habergeon was the word used to describe the Chinese version and that would qualify as chainmail. Armor that is made of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.
♠ Scaled armor ♣ ♥ Armor consisting of many individual small armor scales (plates) attached to a backing of cloth or leather. The scaled don't need to be metal (i.e. they could be particularly rigid bits of leather, horn, bone, etc).
♠ Laminar armor ♣ ♥ (also known as banded mail, example: lorica segmentata). Armor that is made from horizontal overlapping rows or bands of sold armor plates.
♠ Plate armor ♣ ♥ Armor made of iron or steel plates.

Naval technology

Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ ♥
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ ♥
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ ♥ (such as galleys and sailing ships)


Code the variables below as absent/present/inferred present/inferred absent/uncoded/unknown With defensive fortifications, what matters is not what is inherited but what techniques are used for building in the current period, so be careful not to use fortifications from earlier periods - focus on new fortifications (but mention that old fortifications in notes if you're coding absent because there aren't any new fortifications).

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ ♥ Settlements in a location that was clearly chosen for defensive reasons. E.g. on a hill top, peninsula.
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ ♥
♠ Moat ♣ ♥ Differs from a ditch in that it has water
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ ♥ Camps made by armies on the move (e.g. on a campaign) that which could be constructed on a hill top or in the middle of a plain or desert, usually out of local materials.
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ ♥ When there are two or more concentric walls. So simply a wall and a donjon, for example, is not enough.
♠ Long walls ♣ ♥ km. These are fortifications that were used not to protect a specific city or town, but a large territory. Examples include the Great Wall of China. Provide an estimate in km of the extent of the longest of such fortification systems. If not present, enter '0'. Very large circular walls protecting a settlement are not long walls - long walls are fairly linear and protect whole areas from incursions. If a polity inherits a stone wall from a previous one and continues to use and repair it, then we should probably code it as present.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ ♥ used after the introduction of gunpowder, e.g., trace italienne/starfort.

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

These codes refer to an explicit or defined right for some group to constrain the activity of the executive in some way, typically through a legal code, but other ways are imaginable (explain in paragraph if other mechanisms found). When coding ‘present’ for each of the below codes, provide explanation and give examples of the constraints being used, or note that the constraints were formalized but are no known instances of its use in practice.

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Governmental officials (i.e. judiciary/legislature) can veto or overturn executive decision (including removing a political appointment), or withhold cooperation (e.g., refuse to provide funds or allow raising troops), regardless of whether or not these limits were actually practiced. Explain in paragraph
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Non-governmental organization (elite, social group, community organization, economic group, etc.) can veto or overturn executive decision (including removing a political appointment), or withhold cooperation (e.g., refuse to provide funds or allow raising troops), regardless of whether or not these limits were actually practiced. Explain in paragraph. Note: this does not include religious groups (Church leaders, Buddhist monks, etc.), since that is coded elsewhere)
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. There is a legal mechanism for removing and replacing the head of state

Social Mobility


Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Members of the ‘elite’ inherit their status and positions. If the ruler position is inherited most of the time, then these are sufficient grounds to code this variable as present

Religion and Normative Ideology

Deification of Rulers

(‘gods’ is a shorthand for ‘supernatural agents’)

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. For example, rulers are blessed by gods; the institution of kingship is ordained by heaven

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown.

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

These codes refer to acts undertaken without direct compulsion from or out of adherence to a religious system (religious aspects of prosociality are coded below)

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Religious doctrine, philosophical statements, or practice makes claims about equality. For instance, explicit statements by religious groups or influential philosophers that all humans are equal

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Religious doctrine, philosophical statements, or practice makes claims about engaging in activity for the benefit of a wider community, for instance Christian traditions of alms-giving or Islamic sadaqah

♠ production of public goods ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Public Goods refer to anything that incurs cost to an individual or group of individuals, but that can be used or enjoyed by others who did not incur any of the cost, namely the public at large. They are non-excludable and non-rivalrous goods. Examples are roads, public drinking fountains, public parks or theatres, temples open to the public, etc.

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Moralizing religion is described as ‘primary’ when the principal moral concerns of supernatural agents or forces pertain to cooperation in human affairs. It is coded as absent when the primary concern is the behavior of humans towards the supernatural realm, e.g. by discharging ritual obligations such as performing sacrifices, laying out offerings, etc.
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This variable reflects the predictability of supernatural punishment for transgression or reward for ethical behavior. A code of absence here could result from a variety of characteristics of supernatural agents: if they are fickle or capricious, if they can be bought off or tricked, or, alternatively, if they are not independently concerned about human morality and need to be persuaded or induced to punish transgressions.
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This reflects how many aspects of morality deities care about and enforce. It is coded as absent when moralizing supernatural punishment/reward pertains to only very narrowly circumscribed domains, for example, kin-based moral precepts punishing incest or rewarding hospitality rather than enforcing moral norms across a broad range of social situations.
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This reflects whether punishment and rewards are targeted specifically at culpable individuals. It is coded as absent when the whole group is punished rather than just the individual transgressor. This reflects whether punishment and rewards are targeted specifically at culpable individuals. It is coded as absent when the whole group is punished rather than just the individual transgressor.
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This reflects whether supernatural forces or agents punish/reward rulers for their antisocial/prosocial behavior. It can be absent where such punishment is present generally, but rulers remain exempt.
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This reflects whether elites of the polity subscribe to a religion with moralizing elements. In some cases, only a vocal segment of the elites advocated a particular moralizing religion (for example, early Buddhists, some Christians, Confucians) but not entire elite populations.
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. This reflects the extent to which beliefs in a moralizing religion are adopted by the masses. A typical situation in which this variable is coded absent is when the state religion professed by rulers and elites, and endorsing beliefs in supernatural punishments and rewards, is different from the popular religion which lacks or professes only much weaker beliefs in supernatural enforcement. On the other hand, this variable might be coded as present, even while the Elites variable is coded absent, for example when popular religion emphasizes supernatural enforcement, but the religion of rulers and elites does not.
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Reflects whether punishment is delayed until after the death of the transgressor
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Reflects whether punishment occurs during transgressor's lifetime
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ ♥ absent/present/unknown. Reflects whether punishment/reward is administered by a supernatural agent, such as a deity or spirit (as opposed to being administered by an impersonal supernatural force, such as karma).