The rise and expansion of ancient empires reveal unanimity in factors that influenced the coming together of people. Besides economic trades, the presence of superior religion, perfect geographical location and diplomacy assisted by military campaigns were essential ingredients for the establishment of the great ancient empires. The superiority of economic, military and political reforms allowed them to exercise dominance and expand their territory. This essay analyses the nature and consequences of strategies used by the Roman and Egyptian empires to create, expand, maintain and defend their rule.
Overview of the Roman Empire
The empire began following the series of civil wars, and internal conflicts experienced by the Roman Republic reigned over the Italian Peninsula. Unrest between two opposing factions pitting Julius Caesar against Gnaeus Pompey aggravated the political and military conflict into war. The former would emerge victorious in 44 BC and declaring himself a perpetual dictator (Keppie, 1998). Mark Antony assisted by Octavian forces would suppress the assassins at the Philippi Battle. They would split with Octavian forces defeating Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. The termination of the triumvirate led the Senate of Rome makes Octavian, named Augustus Caesar, the first emperor in 27 BC (Andrews, 2015). The Augustus reign initiated full-scale political, fiscal and military reforms. They would become the founding pillars of the empire that became the political and social structure in western civilization lasting over 500 years.
Strategies Used by the Roman Empire
The creation and sustenance of Roman Empire rode on the military conquest campaigns. The organized military campaigns allowed Julius Caesar overcome the republican rule, Etruscan towns, and tribal neighbors. Octavian would utilize his military prowess to win the Actium Battle, where he destroyed the enemy fleet (Ott, 2009). The threefold purpose of the military in securing borders, exploiting peripheral regions through imposed tributes and maintaining order and internal peace facilitated the domination of the Mediterranean region. The pursuit enabled the military blend counter-offensive approach with expansionist territorial campaigns resulting in territorial gains towards the East by overcoming Germania lands (Bernardini, Vinci, & Horvat, 2015). Although it suffered huge losses, the Roman army prioritized winning the war by establishing military bases to eliminate rebellion and defend against incursions from enemies.
The Roman Empire used the consolidated constitutional machinery to realize internal organization and governance. The constitution permitted the Senate to grant the emperor power to initiate full-scale political and fiscal reforms. It enabled Augustus to establish governance machinery through consolidation of powers in Republican offices. The creation of consular imperium in the constitution allowed the emperor veto the assembly's actions (Svyantek, 1999). Besides, it allowed him to exercise tribunal authority to supervise public morals and scrutinize laws within the public interest. Additionally, the constitution granted sole imperial power to the emperor bringing the armed forces under sole authority unlike when controlled by prefects (Svyantek, 1999).
The sole authority extended to override governor's decisions and interfere with provinces. Furthermore, the reclassification of provinces as either imperial or senatorial eased the central governance. It supported fiscal reforms where taxes collected from imperial provinces funded the emperor's activities while revenue from senatorial provinces went to the state treasury. The constitution allowed the emperor to demobilize conquered areas with questionable loyalties (McEvoy, 2010). The creation of special cohorts facilitated the maintenance of peace while control stimulated loyalty of legions to the emperor through payment of taxes. It empowered the subordinate generals to expand the possessions in Asia Minor and Africa region.
Diplomacy and Political Flexibility
The pursuit of peace and stability as the empire extended across large areas proved necessary to blend military campaigns with diplomacy strategy. Although a militaristic society, the Roman emperor offered the defeated enemies some citizenship for their loyalty. Rome reformed its political institutions to make them more resilient and adaptable being integral to accommodate diverse populations (Ajdini, 2014). It became necessary to negotiate with surrounding city-states and regions conquered by allowing them to retain their political and cultural institutions for their loyalty. In exchange, the Romans required the defeated enemies to provide soldiers during military campaigns (Ajdini, 2014).
The conquered enemies granted Roman citizenship enjoyed full voting rights. Extending the voting rights to conquered population had no drastic political influence given the mandatory requirement for physical presence in Rome during voting (Ajdini, 2014). Nevertheless, offering citizenship to the former foes build a shared identity and belonging that nurtured loyalty to Rome. Lastly, Rome created formal provinces in the new territories and appointing former political officeholders enabled Rome to eliminate power vacuum. The appointments bridged the distance from the central administration in Rome since the officeholders exercised considerable power and flexibility in local issues (Ott, 2009). However, the Romans remained watchful to prevent the governors from using their influence to challenge the emperor's authority.
Overview of the Egyptian Empire
The Egyptian Empire emerged between 1570 BC and 1069 BC to realize vast wealth, military dominance and international prestige. It occupied modern-day Syria, Sudan and extending to Jordan and Libya to its east and west respectively (Mark, 2017). The empire interchangeably referred to as the New Kingdom began during the Second Intermediate Period. Like the establishment of Roman Empire, Kind Ahmose of Thebes city fought disunity in Egypt by triumphing over Hyksos and Nubian to restore central governance (Mark, 2017).
Strategies Used by the Egyptian Empire
The establishment of the Egyptian Empire arose from the military interventions initiated by Theban king Ahmose I. Thoughtful military strategizing allowed the king to defeat the Nubians and the authoritative Hyksos (Mark, 2017). The early military campaigns extended beyond quelling internal conflict to creating buffer states to eliminate breaches of its borders by foreign powers such as the Hyskos. Besides, the conquest policy empowered Ahmose to strengthen the army and pursue the Hyksos survivors into the Levant and Syria territories (Mark, 2017). The triumph brought Thebe prestige to march south and fight the Nubians.
The adoption of modernized weapons strengthened the Egyptian army particularly after adopting the war chariot, curved sword, and composite bow. The Egyptians replaced the nomarchs that remained loyal to the home-ruler by establishing the professional chain of command. It placed the army within the King's authority to oversee extensive training and equipping warriors and mercenaries - Medjay (Mark, 2017). The unified army would fight for the entire kingdom under centralized management, thereby winning seventeen campaigns that Thutmose III fought. The coordinated military campaign facilitated the expansion of Europe beyond its traditional borders (Mark, 2017). The installation of buffer states to the conquered land allowed Ahmose and Thutmose III enlarge the empire's territory in the north, east, and south including the profitable Levant region.
Diplomatic relations proved an integral besides the extensive military campaigns to bring peace, stability and vast territory for Egyptian Empire. Firstly, Hatshepsut blends the extensive military campaigns with making peaceful contacts with the land of Punt (Mark, 2017). The contact enforced trade and flow of luxury products. Again, the diplomatic policies enacted by Thutmose III facilitated the expansion of Egypt borders, economic stability, and an enriched international reputation. The brilliance administration of Amenhotep III reflected through diplomatic shuttles through Amarna letters to the kingdoms towards Near East (Jonsson & Hall, 2003). Diplomatic dialogues through large scarabs distributed across its provinces placed Egypt among the great powers of Babylonia, Mitanni, Hittites, and Assyria through peaceful relations. Diplomacy established peace with Egyptian neighbors, thereby allowing foreigners to seek gold and trade favors from Amenhotep III. Lastly, Amenhotep initiated diplomatic marriages with Babylon to boost their ties (Mark, 2017). It allowed Egypt to amass considerable strength and wealth through the formidable alliances derived beyond its borders.
Egypt Empire had a developed public administration featuring central governance supported by the local structure. The administrative hierarchy featured a pyramid structure with the King exercising primary authority and chief justice role in appellate jurisdiction (Ajdini, 2014). Viziers had general supervision roles supported by administrative staff in treasury, army, agriculture and public works department. Similar to the consolidated constitutional machinery in Rome, Egypt adopted centralization principle and control exercised by Pharaoh. However, a dominant politico-religious identity would emerge as the identity of its economic, social and public administration (Ajdini, 2014). The law made Pharaoh the supreme military leader and appointing authority of viziers heading different departments. The police force assisted by a developed court system ensured sustenance of peace, order, and equality.
The combination of powerful military campaigns with consolidated constitution machinery, political flexibility and diplomacy earned the Romans a powerful empire. It allowed the Roman Empire to expand beyond the Mediterranean region towards Asia. The creation of provincial government enabled the emperor to manage and eliminate power vacuum across its territories. Egypt Empire deployed similar strategies including military conquest to create, protect and expand their rule beyond its territories. Centralized public administration ensured stability, peace, and order while diplomacy dialogues won the empires loyalty.
Ajdini, S. (2014). Public administration in ancient Rome and Egypt. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3(6). doi:10.5901/ajis.2014.v3n6p385
Andrews, E. (2015, August 28). 6 Civil Wars that Transformed Ancient Rome. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.history.com/news/6-civil-wars-that-transformed-ancient-rome
Bernardini, F., Vinci, G., & Horvat, J. (2015). Early Roman military fortifications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(13), 1520 - 1529. doi:10.1073/pnas.1419175112
Jonsson, C., & Hall, M. (2003). Communication: An essential aspect of diplomacy. International Studies Perspectives, 4(2), 195-210.
Keppie, L. (1998). The making of the Roman army: From republic to empire. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
Mark, J. J. (2017, September 25). Egyptian Empire. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://www.ancient.eu/Egyptian_Empire/...
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