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Forum LockedDiagram: Growth and Decline of Empires from 600 BC to 600 AD

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Imperator Invictus View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20-Mar-2006 at 19:45
While browsing some journals, I came across a very interesting article with a very unique diagram. It shows the geographic size of civilizations from 600 BC to 600 AD.


The diagram shows the geographic size of the empires through the time period. According to the diagram, the largest empires from 600 BC to 600 AD were:

1. Islamic Caliphate
2. Xiong Nu Empire
3. Han Empire
4. Gokturk Empire
5. Achaemenid Empire
6. Tang Empire
7. Alexander's Empire
8. Roman Empire

The article is 24 pages long and includes data tables on expansion and growth, so if anyone disputes these, I can post more information.

The most surprising result is the size of the Xiong Nu Empire, which the author admits is very difficult to calculate. However, the author states that the size of the Xiong Nu was at least 6.5 million sq meters, with an upward estimate reaching 9 million.

Source:

Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.
Rein Taagepera
Social Science History > Vol. 3, No. 3/4 (1979), pp. 115-138

(Article available on JSTOR, if you have access permission to that site)


Edited by Imperator Invictus
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2006 at 23:13
But it's not just size what matters... quality does too: controlling a zillion square kilometers of desert or semi-desert is not worth much. Controlling a fraction of that size in fertile and peopled regions is what gives true power to the empire. This is what makes China and Rome the most important empries in history: they have size but they also have value in that size and that gives them continuity. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Mar-2006 at 23:38
I know that. Maybe pure size shouldn't be overemphasized here. However, what's neat about the chart is that it depicts the change in size.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ramin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 01:04
well it shows 'absolute power' divides between nations as time passes. nice chart.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 01:09

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

But it's not just size what matters... quality does too: controlling a zillion square kilometers of desert or semi-desert is not worth much. Controlling a fraction of that size in fertile and peopled regions is what gives true power to the empire. This is what makes China and Rome the most important empries in history: they have size but they also have value in that size and that gives them continuity. 

you do know that the richest provinces of rome were the ones that were in the middle east right?

the european provinces were poor, expecially italy.



Edited by prsn41ife
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 02:20

It is interesting to compare Achaemenid Empire with the other empires in the same period, in fact it was the only supreme international empire in the history, other ones were just some regional powers.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 03:49
Originally posted by prsn41ife prsn41ife wrote:

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

But it's not just size what matters... quality does too: controlling a zillion square kilometers of desert or semi-desert is not worth much. Controlling a fraction of that size in fertile and peopled regions is what gives true power to the empire. This is what makes China and Rome the most important empries in history: they have size but they also have value in that size and that gives them continuity. 

you do know that the richest provinces of rome were the ones that were in the middle east right?

the european provinces were poor, expecially italy.



I just meant that nomadic empires that control lots of steppe and desert are worth little.

Trade richess is important but most important then was agricultural richess. And that in Rome was mostly in Sicily and Africa. Eastern richess were derived from their role in trade specially.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote azimuth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 03:57

whats your list Maju? the richness one.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote azimuth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 04:04

Imperator  i dont think the Caliphate was that significant in 600 AD, it didnt start untill about 620 AD when the prophet travelled from makkah to madina.

that diagram says its from 650 BC to 700 AD,  700 AD is good date for the rise of the Caliphate and reached their hight at around 750 AD.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Mar-2006 at 19:47
Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

Originally posted by prsn41ife prsn41ife wrote:

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

But it's not just size what matters... quality does too: controlling a zillion square kilometers of desert or semi-desert is not worth much. Controlling a fraction of that size in fertile and peopled regions is what gives true power to the empire. This is what makes China and Rome the most important empries in history: they have size but they also have value in that size and that gives them continuity. 

you do know that the richest provinces of rome were the ones that were in the middle east right?

the european provinces were poor, expecially italy.



I just meant that nomadic empires that control lots of steppe and desert are worth little.

Trade richess is important but most important then was agricultural richess. And that in Rome was mostly in Sicily and Africa. Eastern richess were derived from their role in trade specially.

no, the east was always richer. havent you noticed that the richness of europe died with teh roman empire? but the middle east and asia has always been rich.

think about it, how many empires did europe see? two, rome and byzantium.

how many empire has asia seen, too much to count! i cant believe your actually trying to argue this fact.

even romans agreed that the richest provinces were the ones in what is today the middle east.

this explains the dark age europe went through, while the seemingly continuous advancement took place in the east till the european renaissance.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 01:03
Quote no, the east was always richer. havent you noticed that the richness of europe died with teh roman empire?


No, it didn't die with the Roman Empire.

Quote think about it, how many empires did europe see?

Macedonian Empire
Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
Frankish Empire
Caliphate of Cordoba
Holy Roman Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Russian Empire
French Empire
British Empire
Portuguese Empire
Spanish Empire
German Empire


Edited by Imperator Invictus
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 08:31
Polish Empire
Swedish Empire
Dutch Empire

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 09:21
I don't think the Caliphate of Corboda counts as a european empire, neither would the Ottoman Empire.

What's the Polish Empire? The Republic of the Two Nations? That's not exactly an empire either.

I would add though, the Danish Empire, the one in northern atlantic and the older one built by Canute the Great.

The Belgian Empire (Congo & Rwanda).

France is a more complicated issue, officialy there was two French Empire (Premier Empire & Second Empire) under the Napoleons but that doesn't include the colonial empires.

Italy had a colonial empire too in Ethopia.

The Khazar Empire can also count as a European empire I would say.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 09:40
Originally posted by azimuth azimuth wrote:

whats your list Maju? the richness one.



I didn't made any list but maybe a good measure would be not just the height in the graphs (extension) but the area comprised by those curves (extension x duration)... that gives a better idea of the solidity of an empire.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 09:45
Originally posted by Exarchus Exarchus wrote:

I don't think the Caliphate of Corboda counts as a european empire, neither would the Ottoman Empire.


Otoman may be more arguable but Cordoba is 100% European. Another thing is wether it can be considered as an empire at all... it was a little small to count as an empire in my opinion - and it lasted for very little time as Caliphate: Abd el-Rhaman (Caliph) and Al Mansur (dictator with Hisham II as Caliph)... that was all. With Al-Mansur it had some imperial projection over North Africa - maybe that brief expansion can be considered as an empire... not sure.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 10:27

i left a loop hole for you guys.

i meant before the european renaissance, like "ancient" empires.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 12:23
Even with that, there were still many Empires in Europe:

Macedonian Empire, Carthaginian Empire, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Caliphate of Cordoba, Frankish Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Angevin Empire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 13:07

Originally posted by Imperator Invictus Imperator Invictus wrote:

Even with that, there were still many Empires in Europe:

Macedonian Empire, Carthaginian Empire, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Caliphate of Cordoba, Frankish Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Angevin Empire.

carthaginian empire was african that had land in spain. you cannot claim them as european.

and macedonian empire, again, was more based in asia, with a little bit of land in europe.

but still, you cannot compare those with the empires in asia.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Exarchus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2006 at 15:22
The Macedonian Empire was definately European. I ruled over large part of Asia but wasn't Asian.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bashibozuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2006 at 11:47

Quote Macedonian Empire
Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
Frankish Empire
Caliphate of Cordoba
Holy Roman Empire
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Russian Empire
French Empire
British Empire
Portuguese Empire
Spanish Empire
German Empire

Don't you think you forgot to mention one of the most important ones of its history ever? (Ottoman Empire, of course) What makes them less European than the Byzanthine Empire?

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