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History Discussions on all aspects of history, including specialist subforums - discuss everything from ancient to mediaeval empires, weapons and armour, war, peace, people and society.

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Old 8th November 2011, 07:51 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

Surely the (Western) Roman Empire could?

I like Byzantium, and the weird absence of knowledge about it is perplexing. Read John Julius Norwich's three-part history? I really liked it, and prior to reading it had no idea about Byzantium. Terrible shame it ended up falling.
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Old 10th November 2011, 12:03 AM   #107 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

It was Norwich's books that really got me interested. His other books are well worth reading as well, though I'd recommend getting the Norman books separately if possible. The compendium is so big it's almost impossible to read.
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Old 29th November 2011, 12:33 PM   #108 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

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I will second the Han Dynasty.
I love the Han dynasty as well.
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Old 5th January 2012, 10:02 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

I have always liked all the Greek/Macedonian/Roman empires along with the various Persian, Indian, and Chinese dynasties that had flourished alongside them. Interesting how the silk road had so much of an impact for so many years on all those civilizations. But I'm more interested in the Mongol and Byzantine empires mainly because I know the least about them. I think it kind of sucked for the Byzantines that after the crusades, their political/military influence was weak at best by that time. And the Mongol empire became divided within a generation or two after Genghis Khan died. But yeah, cool idea for a thread for sure.
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Old 16th February 2012, 12:56 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

I suppose it depends what you mean by "greatest". Certainly, I don't think any empire has left such an endearing mark on human civilisation as Ancient Rome. People often talk of their military prowess, their engineering feats, and the sheer scale of their empire, but people sometimes forget that Rome also introduced what is the bedrock of western civilisation; the concept of universal rights, the concept of rule of law, and the concept of "the people" as sovereign.
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Old 17th February 2012, 03:53 PM   #111 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

I'm not sure I'd go along with "introduced", or with the idea that the Roman people were sovereign. The Greeks came up with democracy and a much more obvious sovereignty of the people. In the Greek city-states that had democracy the people could vote to get rid of their leaders. That was never the case in Rome; the only way to oust an unpopular leader was by force.
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Old 6th March 2012, 07:48 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

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I have a soft spot for the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, especially during the reign of Cyrus the Great to Darius the Great (559 B.C.-486 B.C.). The Empire stretched from some parts of Greece in the west, the Russian border in the north, northern Africa in the south and parts of India in the east. A "Royal Road" spanned the entire length of the empire and connected the Silk Road of China and the Middle East to the Mediterranean Sea, and an ancient day Suez Canal was built to facilitate trade with their African colonies. One of the most profound characteristics of the Persian Empire, though, was its tolerant and accepting nature. Every kingdom conquered by the Persian Empire was permitted to retain their administrative, cultural and religious establishments, along with the benefits they reaped from being under the protection of Persian rule. Similarly, the Persians integrated the various cultural influences of their conquered colonies into their own, creating a unique multi-cultural style which permeated through all aspects of Persian life: from religion and system of administration to art and architecture.
I highly agree with La Susanna, the wonderful Golden Age of Iran which continued it's tolerance of other cultures and people of the world and which blossumed before the arrival of the prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), then went further after the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) introduced Islamic belief.

Iran has such an amazing history spanning thousands of years, bringing great knowledge of art, poetry, mathmatics, architecture, book binding etc. etc. etc. throughout the world.

I would have loved to live in such a wonderful time in such a beautiful part of the world. Truely, Iran is an astonishing country, rich with a fantastic history.

For me, the Persian Empire was the greatest on the planet Earth.
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Old 8th April 2012, 04:02 PM   #113 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

This is a hard one I'm between the Egytian Empire (always been a huge fan) and the Khmer Empire in the south east region of Asia.
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Old 31st May 2012, 06:17 PM   #114 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

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I suppose it depends what you mean by "greatest". Certainly, I don't think any empire has left such an endearing mark on human civilisation as Ancient Rome. People often talk of their military prowess, their engineering feats, and the sheer scale of their empire, but people sometimes forget that Rome also introduced what is the bedrock of western civilisation; the concept of universal rights, the concept of rule of law, and the concept of "the people" as sovereign.
All of that was already present in Ancient Greece, indeed much of Rome's greatness is basically cultural incorporation of other regions they conquered, look at their architecture, their naval technology, their legal traditions, their pantheon, they can all be traced back to older or contemporary civilizations like Greece and Carthage.

Also, the first code of human-rights was established in the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great, and the alphabet originates with the Phoenicians. I also doubt Ancient Rome left a more endearing mark than the more contineous successive Chinese dynasties that influenced our science, culture, art, literature, warfare, etc with some of the greatest inventions and innovations in history.

West -- Western World -- Western Civilization -- are modern terms that can't be applied to ancient history, considering a Roman man in Rome had more in common with a man in ancient Syria than he had with a man in proto-Ireland.
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Old 31st May 2012, 06:24 PM   #115 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

My favourite empire is the Byzantine Empire, because it just wouldn't die for more than a millennia after Rome fell to various hordes. It reconquered Rome, then survived the Sassanid Empire, survived the all-conquering Arab empire, survived the gigantic Mongol Empire, survived the Crusades and lived on for several more centuries.....until the Ottomans came....

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Old 31st May 2012, 07:16 PM   #116 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

Yeah, it was gunpowder more than anything else than did for Byzantium.

Ironically, the rampaging psychopath Tamerlane saved the city (incidentally) when he happened to be marauding in the area and obliterated an Ottoman army that was poised to take the city a few decades before it actually fell.
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Old 12th August 2012, 03:58 AM   #117 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

Not exacly 'ancient'. More like 16th -17th century 'recent' but nonethless my favorite. The British Empire controlled the oceans & such a vast far reaching span of land mass & peoples that the saying was indeed true: The sun never sets on the British Empire!
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Old 6th February 2013, 10:07 AM   #118 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

I think i'll go with Alexander the Great and king David
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Old 14th June 2013, 06:38 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

My favourite is the Indus Valley Civilization. Ancient Indian culture that practiced dentistry, produced copper, tin, and lead. It's believed they established trade -certainly with Iran- but possibly as far as Mesopotamia and maybe even to Egypt.

A fantastically diverse culture with a wealth of information to be mined by willing writers.

Cheers!

~Mike
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Old 14th June 2013, 07:06 PM   #120 (permalink)
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Re: Which was the greatest ancient empire?

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Originally Posted by Yog-Sothoth View Post
My favourite empire is the Byzantine Empire, because it just wouldn't die for more than a millennia after Rome fell to various hordes. It reconquered Rome, then survived the Sassanid Empire, survived the all-conquering Arab empire, survived the gigantic Mongol Empire, survived the Crusades and lived on for several more centuries.....until the Ottomans came....

I won't attempt to answer greatest, but I will say that the Byzantine empire is my favorite as well. Of course, until the end, they considered themselves to be a true continuation of the Roman Empire (to give an example, they called themselves romans).
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