Hey Mr. Bear,
I wondered if the concept of the Mantle of Responsibility was influenced by the Chinese Mandate of Heaven. The Mantle talks about the idea of Living Time and how it is only a temporary time for the Forerunners to rule before passing down the Mantle to another species. Likewise, the Mandate talks about how an old, aging dynasty would pass on responsibility to a new dynasty.
Sounds pretty similar.
From: Greg Bear
Interesting thought! Wonder what the Precursors would have to say?
They;d probably look at us and go "Copy cats".