Ancient Empires Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1893 Words
Date:  2022-10-06


An empire refers to any political construct characterized by one state dominating over other state or even a series of states. Empires are ruled by emperors. The earliest states were formed by taking control and dominating neighbors1. In an empire, there is an unequal relationship where the less powerful state (s) is taken advantage of by the dominating state. Control over a less powerful state may mean political or military occupation, economic or cultural influence7. Economic pressure was used frequently in the ancient empires as a tool towards manipulation of states by others. Humans created societies, states, and empires from the late Neolithic period to 1500 CE in order to grow complex societies shaped by the environment, to develop class and gender structures, to establish intellect and religious structures and also to develop economic and political structures.

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The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire is one of the empires that had a humble beginning. The region that has the modern day Rome was initially occupied by farmers in the 750 BCE. The indigenous settlers were later replaced by a northern tribe that overran them. The northern tribe was the Etruscans4. The northern tribe manipulated the land through various ways including draining swamps which greatly helped to improve the land. The Etruscans also built excellent roads in the areas they settled in. They also established trade and developed new techniques of architecture including the arch. Around 509 BCE, the Etruscans and their king were driven away by the Romans and the Romans established a Republican form of government rather than a monarchy6. The elected representatives were meant to run the government and they served in the Roman Senate. In Rome, however, there was no a well-defined democratic system as only the powerful and the wealthy class of the land could serve in the Senate.

Rome soon grew more powerful and started ruling over the neighbors. The conquered neighbors included the Greeks occupying Southern Italy, and then the Hannibal and the Carthaginians from Northern Africa. Additional provinces were from France, the Middle East, and Britain. The Romans were able to rule the occupied states very well to their own advantage7. The effective ruling was aided by a unified set of rules, there was also a skilled civil service and a well-organized and disciplined army. The Romans also ensured that roads were constructed to connect every part of the republic2. Peace was established throughout the territory and lasted for many years. The peaceful era was called the Pax Romana or the Roman Peace. The peace, however, did not last. There were powerful army generals who could control elections, manipulate the results, defeat their rivals and become the sole rulers of Rome. Such saw the emergent of a long line of emperors and the death of the old republic state.

Ancient Egyptian Empire

Ancient Egypt was another civilization founded by the Egyptians of the Nile River valley. The Nile waters were very essential and made the development of the empire an easy task2. The Nile River is the longest in the world and each year there is heavy flooding in the valley that enriches the area with salt and minerals. The fertile black soils made the growth of a variety of foods one of the main economic activities for the Egyptians of the valley6. The rulers lived a luxurious life and built places to show off their wealth and would later adopt the name Pharaoh, which meant 'big house.' The pharaohs used slave labor to built massive tombs which were called pyramids. The rulers were buried in the pyramids. The largest tomb was built in 2530 BCE and was called the Great Pyramid.

The Egyptian Empire came to power between c.1570-c.1069 BCE during the period of the New Kingdom. The period was characterized by great wealth for the country and the leaders, international prestige and great might for the military1. The Egyptian Empire stretched from what is now Syria in the north to present-day Sudan in the south, the Jordan region in the east and Libya to the west3. The empire rose and fell during the period of the New Kingdom and historians call the dynasty the New Kingdom or the Egyptian Empire concurrently.

The Persian Empire

The Persian Empire was a series of dynasties established in Persia and Iran from the 6th century BC to the 20th century AD. The first Persian Empire was formed by Cyrus the Great around 550 BC7. The empire became one of the largest in history and stretched from Europe's Balkan Peninsula located in the West to the Indian's Indus Valley located in the East. The Iron Age dynasty was a rich, global hub of religion, science, culture, art, and technology for over a period of 200 years2. The empire later was attacked by the armies of Alexander the Great and fell.

The Persian Empire was initially a collection of semi-nomadic tribes who reared sheep, cattle, and goats in the Iranian plateau. Cyrus the Great built the empire by conquering the nearby kingdoms which included the Media, Babylon and Lydia6. The conquered provinces were joined under one rule. The Achaemenid Empire was the first empire that Cyrus formed in 550 BC. The empire would later become the world's greatest superpower and brought together three important sites of early civilization4. The sites of human civilization brought under one government by Cyrus included Egypt's Nile Valley, Mesopotamia, and the Indian's Indus Valley. The Persians established the first routes of communication between Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Reasons for Formation of Ancient Empires

The Structure of Complex Societies

One of the reasons why empires were established in the ancient days was to grow complex societies. Complex societies are also known as civilizations and they refer to a large concentration of people7. The people share several characteristics such as religious beliefs, a common government, systems of law and order, and also social classes. In the ancient day's rulers and the powerful people in the societies had the main aim of taking control over different and diverse populations of people, states and provinces5. In the Roman Empire, for example, the ancient Greeks of Southern Ital were conquered and the Roman rulers ensured that common sets of rules were established to ensure that the governing of the people could be carried out using a common form of government3. The states conquered by Cyrus the Great were also placed under one rule. So the formation of empires as one of the ways of bringing societies together under a common government is one of the reasons why they could not be avoided in the ancient days.

The environment was a contributing factor towards the formation of complex societies. People would later accumulate in the fertile lands that favored agriculture and other economic activities1. The Nile Valley is one such example of an environment that favored the growth of the Egyptian Empire. The valley experienced flooding that accumulated the black, silt soil that was essential for agriculture4. The Indian Indus Valley favored the establishment of the Persian Empire especially because the Indus River would flood with nutrients twice in a year and most people took advantage of the favorable climate down the valley.

The societies formed structures that enabled the peaceful coexistence, population growth, economic growth and formation of democratic governments. Such structures are common forms of government, written languages, highly developed cultures, common religious systems and ruled by under common sets of law and rules6. The empires would not have been successfully established if such common structures were not present3. Such are some of the techniques the rulers used to ensure they easily controlled all the conquered states and their people.

Class and Gender Structures

Another core reason why empires were established was to develop class and gender structures. Social classes were one of the defining factors in the development of the early empires in history7. The social classes were determined by power and wealth. The rulers who conquered other states and their neighbors were mainly characterized by powerful leaders who had amassed numerous wealth and could easily manipulate the less powerful provinces. The need to show social class and gender power was one of the reasons why the empires grew3. The social classes were differentiated by educational and economic status. The pharaohs in the ancient Egyptian Empire were powerful people in the society and manipulated slaves for their own economic advantage. The pharaohs were mostly men and would thus use their authority to show masculinity and power.

The class and gender structures led to manipulation of the less powerful people like the slaves in the ancient Egyptian Empire were slaves were used to build tombs for the pharaohs4. Some of the structures led to the collapse of some dynasties like the Roman Empire that was brought down by the powerful people in the army. Class and gender structures were determinants of a person's ability to participate in their states or empires. Only the power of the land could be easily be allowed to dominate over their people and the conquered states also5. Wealth also affected one's ability to rule in their empire. An example is in ancient Egypt were only the wealthy people, the Pharaohs, could rule over slaves who were conquered from the neighboring provinces.

Intellectual and Religious Structures

The ancient empires and states were also established to create new forms of technology and architecture. There was the invention of tools that were used in the different economic activities that the complex societies were engaged in4. The writing was also invented in the empires especially in ancient Egypt and was used to record and communicate information related to government and religion7. The differences in the intellectual and the religious structures resulted from the different geographical areas the communities came from which defined the tools and machines, and also the architecture they were familiar with. Tools and machines were developed through the advances in engineering. Such tools included axes, chisel, and gouges, drills, saws, and planes.

Economic and Political Structures

The early empires were also meant to establish the economic and political structures among the complex societies. The complex societies were involved in economic activities that shaped the growth of the empires. They settled in the valleys that were rich in fertile soils and abundant rains5. Farming and other economic activities could easily be carried out in such regions. Major settlements were established by different communities including the ones that had been conquered. Such enabled the growth of economies of the ancient empires. Political systems were also developed by the rulers by having different classes of people governed using common sets of rules5. The political trends that favored the development of the interactions are slavery, political wars, and dictatorship. Such are the forces that saw most of the states easily conquered by the empires. The development of economic and political interactions meant that other regions could easily grow their economies through trade and the development of agriculture.

Historical Perspective

Global networks were significant factors towards the growth of early civilizations. Through the established transport and communication networks, the interactions were made easier. Movement of people and goods was also enhanced and such was one way that the complex societies were developed2. Economic growth was also realized through the enhanced trade by the various forms of transport. Roads were a concern in most empires and contributed greatly to help people settle in specific areas6. Co...

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