The Classical Empires - Persia, Rome, China

  1. Empires as a Reflection Expanding Trade

    1. Expansion of long-distance trade enables and is a product of empire-building

    2. The Monsoonal Winds

      1. Late first millennium BCE sees active sea trade in Indian Ocean (may have begun much earlier)

      2. Helped by fact that winds run west and south in winter, north and east the rest of the year

      3. Allows for Africa-Arabia-Persia-India trade route in the western part of the Indian Ocean

      4. Binds together Bay of Bengal in the east, connecting India to southeast Asia and Indonesia

    3. The Silk Road(s)

      1. series of trade routes connecting China to the Mediterranean

      2. links Persia, India,  and Central Asia as well

      3. trade on the Silk Road routes develops by first millennium BCE

      4. becomes extensive after c. 200 BCE, with rise of Rome and Han Dynasty China

      5. China established a number of garrisons in central Asia to defend these routes

      6. Roman Empire had little to trade

        1. imported silk from China, spice and incense from India, Persia and Arabia

        2. exported mostly gold and silver - also glass and some metals

    4. Mediterranean and Black Seas

      1. Greek and Phoenician traders have established extensive trade routes in the region by the early first millennium BCE

      2. builds on earlier networks established by Minoans, Egyptians, and many others

      3. links the entire basin together and to both the Silk Road network and the Indian Ocean networks

  2. The Persian Empire

    1. Cyrus the Great (mid-500s BCE) expands on old Persian heartland (Iran) to build major empire

      1. initially an empire of conquest and loot

      2. needed to expand in order to pay for expansion

      3. in time becomes more trade based

      4. connected into monsoonal, Mediterranean, and central Asian trade routes (Silk Road)

      5. invested heavily in roads and communications, canals

    2. Toleration as empire-building tool

      1. left many local laws and customs in place

      2. promoted local religions, helping to build and maintain temples

      3. this promoted loyalty, discouraged rebellion

    3. The Greco-Persian Wars

      1. Persia expanded into Greek region in order to control trade routes and gain tribute

      2. In rare display of unity, peninsular Greeks fight back

        1. Athens triggers Persian attack by aiding rebels in Anatolia (modern Turkey)

        2. But Persia is defeated in two invasion attempts in 490 BCE and 480 BCE

      3. Athens attempts to impose empire on Greeks, sparking the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BCE)

      4. Weakened by these wars, peninsular Greece in conquered by Phillip on Macedon (also called Macedonia) in 338 BCE

    4. Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE)

      1. Inherits Macedonian throne when Phillip is assassinated in 336 BCE

      2. Begins immediate path of conquest in Persian lands

      3. Conquers Persian Empire, Egypt - pushes into central Asia and India/Pakistan region

      4. Death in 323 BCE leads to collapse of empire

      5. Hellenistic Kingdoms

        1. Alexander's empire dissolves into a set of Greek-ruled kingdoms

        2. the farther from Greece, the sooner Greek control fades (though in eastern Mediterranean remain in control in most areas until rise of Rome)

        3. spreads Greek culture and language in a broad area moving east from the Mediterranean

  3. Rise of the Roman Empire

    1. The Kingdom of Rome (mid-8th century BCE to 510 BCE)

      1. Rome founded in 8th century BCE

      2. originally a set of Latin-speaking villages

      3. consolidated into a city-state by Etruscans (from northern Italy) and ruled by a monarchy

    2. Roman Republic (510 BCE-27 BCE)

      1. overthrow of monarchy in 510 BCE leads to foundation of Republic

      2. governed by a set of assemblies, the Senate being the most important

        1. two consuls handled day-to-day executive power

        2. tribunes served as representatives of the people

        3. some voting, but democracy fairly limited

      3. Senate made up of patricians

        1. families of large landowners, particularly those who were powerful at the time the Republic was founded

        2. power depended on a patronage and the patron-client relationship

          1. as patrons, gave money, jobs, and other assistance to clients, less powerful people

          2. in exchange, these clients supported their patrons with loyalty

      4. Why does the Republic expand?

        1. competition between Senators and other leading patricians for power lead them on personal campaigns of conquest

        2. need for security

        3. need for resources

      5. Why is the Republic successful in its conquests?

        1. builds roads, ports, fortification to consolidate power

        2. incorporates conquered people into process of conquest, allowing them to join in the spoils

        3. by 146 BCE defeats Carthage, last major rival for power in the Mediterranean

    3. Imperial Rome (27 BCE-476 AD)

      1. Instability of late Republic leads to civil wars

      2. Augustus, victor of the civil wars, becomes first emperor in 27 BCE

        1. established power through military conquest

        2. "imperator" - head of the military

        3. government will depend on the relationship between the emperor and the army

      3. Acculturation as empire-builder

        1. accelerates with Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE), who promoted an active policy of colonization

        2. also begins to significantly expand citizenship to non-Romans

        3. Augustus continues this policy

        4. although this helps to bind people together, failure to include Germanic people left empire vulnerable

      4. Engineering as empire-builder

        1. Romans copied Greeks in much of art, literature

        2. real advances were in engineering

        3. built massive road system for army, which facilitated trade

        4. ability to make strong cement, which had the added advantage of setting underwater, fostered harbor building

        5. this cement also make it possible to build aqueducts, allowing for larger cities, as well as fortification and massive public works

        6. all of this lead to a highly interconnected system of trade

        7. different regions being to specialize, depending on other regions for things they don't produce

  4. China under the Qin and the Han

    1. Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE)

      1. The Qin state was the western most of the Warring States

      2. Strong cavalry, and a tightly organized state based on Legalist principles, enables steady conquest of other states

      3. Unsed that power to break the power of local nobles

        1. nobles forced to abandon lands and live in the capital with Shi Huangdi

        2. Qin instead depended on bureaucrats and professional soldiers, loyal to the emperor, to run the country

      4. Under the ruler Shi Huangdi (259-211 BCE), conquest of China complete by 221 BCE

      5. Enforced conformity as empire builder

        1. Shi Huangdi pursued a number of policies designed to bind

        2. imposed a single currency for all the empire

        3. imposed a standard system of weights and measures

        4. imposed a single writing system (that of the Qin) for standard use, particularly by the bureaucracy

        5. required all axles on all vehicles to be the same length

        6. demanded ideological conformity

          1. the Qin state was officially Legalist

          2. in 213 BCE, Shi Huangdi ordered the burning of all non-Legalist books

          3. scholars who did not comply where burned along with their books

        7. collectively, these policies promoted trade and cultural cohesion

      6. Engineering as empire builder

        1. The Great Wall

          1. Shi Huangdi ordered that a number of fortification along the northern frontier be linked together, forming the fist Great Wall

          2. this wall served to protect China from northern invaders, and to define who was who was not Chinese

        2. Irrigation

          1. Shi Huangdi ordered massive irrigation projects and canals built along the Yellow River

          2. These reduced flooding, enabled more land to be farmed, and facilitated travel

          3. later rulers were add to these, eventually connecting the Yellow and Yangtze rivers in a system called the Grand Canal

      7. Collapse of the dynasty

        1. Shi Huangdi relied on heavy taxation and corvee labor to build massive public works, many palaces, and a fantastic tomb

          1. corveee labor is labor as taxation - instead of paying tax, one gives labor to the state

          2. the massive numbers of people brought into the corvee system helped to bring people together from all over China

          3. but it also resulted in high death tolls

          4. along with the high taxation, this resulted in growing unrest

        2. Shi Huangdi death resulted in a bloody succession crisis that rapidly dissolved into civil war

        3. however, the tools he used to unify China remained largely in place

    2. Continuity and Expansion under the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)

      1. founded by Liu Bang (d. 195 BCE), victor of the chaotic fighting at the end of the Qin Dynasty

      2. Liu Bang continued many of the policies of Shi Huangdi

      3. significant change begins under Han Wudi (Emperor Wu of the Han) - 156-87 BCE

        1. expanded empire south, into Korea, and into Central Asia
        2. established trading contacts with South Asia
        3. the Silk Road
          1. Wudi established settlements in the far west
          2. sent diplomatic and military expedition well beyond the western frontier
          3. these policies lead to expanded trade with the Central Asia, India, and Rome - the real beginnings of the Silk Road
      4. Under the Han, China saw expanded trade and development of industries
        1. importation of new strain of rice from Vietnam expanded food production, and thus population
        2. Shipped silk, iron, furs, to the West, imported glassware and silver, gold
        3. Buddhism introduced into China by trade routes
        4. Invention of paper, compass, many other things
        5. Wealth from trade also produced a flourishing in the arts  
      5. Bureaucracy as empire builder
        1. Wudi promoted Confucianism as official ideology of the realm
          1. used a civil service exam to hire government officials
          2. established an academy to train these officials
          3. Confucianism itself will increasingly become the central focus of these exams and training
        2. A scholar-gentry begins to emerge
          1. trained in academies, well versed in Confucianism, selected for work (mostly) on the basis of exams
          2. forms a class of educated government officials who provided continuity to Chinese society as dynasties rise and fall