Key Concept 2.2 The Development of States and Empires
As the early states and empires grew in number, size, and population, they frequently competed for resources and came into conflict with one another. In quest of land, wealth, and security, some empires expanded dramatically. In doing so, they built powerful military machines and administrative institutions that were capable of organizing human activities over long distances, and they created new groups of military and political elites to manage their affairs. As these empires expanded their boundaries, they also faced the need to develop policies and procedures to govern their relationships with ethnically and culturally diverse populations: sometimes to integrate them within an imperial society and sometimes to exclude them. In some cases, these empires became victims of their own successes. By expanding their boundaries too far, they created political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could not manage. They also experienced environmental, social, and economic problems when they overexploited their lands and subjects and permitted excessive wealth to be concentrated in the hands of privileged classes.
1. The number and size of key states and empires grew dramatically by imposing political unity on areas where previously there had been competing states.
Required examples of key states and empires (Student should know the location and names):
2. Empires and states developed new techniques of imperial administration based, in part, on the success of earlier political forms.
In order to organize their subjects, the rulers created administrative institutions in many regions (China, Persia, Rome, South Asia).
Imperial governments projected military power over larger areas using a variety of techniques.
Required examples of such techniques:
Developing supply lines
Building fortifications, defensive walls, and roads
Drawing new groups of military officers and soldiers from the local populations or conquered people
Much of the success of the empires rested on their promotion of trade economic integration by building and maintaining roads and issuing currencies
3. Unique social and economic dimensions developed in imperial societies in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas.
Cities (Persepolis, Chang'an, Pataliputra, Athens, Carthage, Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople,Teotihuacan) served as centers of trade, public performance of religious rituals, and political administration for states and empires.
The social structures of empires displayed hierarchies that included cultivators, laborers, slaves, artisans, merchants, elites, or caste groups.
Imperial societies relied on a range of methods(Corvee, Slavery, Rents and tributes, Peasant communities, Family and household production) to maintain the production of food and provide rewards for the loyalty of the elites.
Patriarchy continued to shape gender and family relations in all imperial societies of this period.
4. The Roman, Han, Persian, Mauryan, and Gupta empires created political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could not manage, which eventually led to their decline, collapse, and transformation into successor empires or states.
Through excessive mobilization of resources, imperial governments caused environmental damage(deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, silted rivers) and generated social tensions and economic difficulties by concentrating too much wealth in the hands of elites.