midterm questions. Please Read Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History (Princeton, 2010)

Rome and China

The Roman Empire consisted or a region that covered part of the Middle East and the Whole of Europe. The empire was vast and rich in art and culture and expanded through slavery and taxation (colonization). The Qui/Han imperial repertoire was based mainly on the trade existence between cities and states making up the empire.The models for these empires were based on the power of the empire to divide territories and establish a city-state rule in the conquered areas. It was also based on the military power to control the population and instill the kind of rule required.

The legitimacy of any empire is gained through the struggle for recognition. Without established administrative institution in the 8th century BC, empires had to go to war to claim territories and allies. The Chinese empire, having been founded almost twenty years before the Roman empire enjoyed massive popularity in the East and depended greatly on the allied empires such as Parthia and Kushan to legitimize its power and ability. Later, the Roman Empire was also formed west of the Red Sea and used the vastness of its land area to claim legitimacy. For the Chinese empire; each man owed time to the state by working in the military as well as in the infrastructure development. This ensured that all people became militarized for conquering new territories and also in keeping the rule strong against invasion. The Romans also had strong armies that manned the expansion and slavery of the citizens.

The adopted models in these empires were defined by the military and economic power of the empires and the influence of the rulers.Economically, the two empires depended on the Silk Road to trade with other empires in the region. Slavery and taxation inflated the economic powers to run the systems of the empires. Romans hand a single emperor with subsidiaries in all states conquered. The Chinese Empire, on the other hand, had a King, the King’s Law and under them the rest of the society that was manned and controlled by the military and local officials.

For the two empires, the elites occupied a very special position and enjoyed massive benefits. From free labor offered by the slaves to a front-line consultation in decision making. However, the poor were made to depend on the empire for almost everything, and this ensured continued loyalty. The two empires differed in the traditions and religious alignments. While the Chinese Empire was guided by religious law, the Romans did not have an official religion until the advent of Christianity. However, the two empires were the same on the structure of the rules, the economic and political models as well as the militarization of expansion. The strengths of these empires were on the ability to manipulate people and use military power to conquer and control. However, a major weakness was the segregation of the people which always created internal conflicts that were supported by the external enemies.

The Religious Empires

The Byzantine are an empire that seeks to emulate the Roman Empire. This relationship is reflected by the structure of leadership and the militarization of operations. However, the Byzantines did not believe in exclusions and inclusions as the control formula but rather on integration.

The Sassanians were an important part of the empires history because they were the refuge of those people who seemed not to belong to either the Roman or the Byzantine empires. Their empire was defined by great religious tolerance. The conflict between the two empires allowed the expansion of rival empires such as the Roman Empire. War and disaster, therefore, led to their weakening due to lack of proper frameworks for sustainability.

The Muslim and Carolingian empires were based on strong religious beliefs that shaped and governed the relationship between people. Holy books and teachings provided the model for governance, politics and economic activities. In addition, the inclusion and exclusion were also based on these teachings and shaped the power structures in the empires. These two empires differed in their religious beliefs but were similar in the exercise of rewards and punishment as well as in the power structures. They used religion to legitimize their rule.

The Mongols

The Mongolian imperial repertoire was based on their barbaric acts and intentional killing of neighbors instead of capturing them. Their model was based on their characteristic patronizing power whenever they settled. They used this barbaric threat to legitimize their rule as an empire. This implies that their military power greatly influenced the rule in the Mongolian Empire.

Systems of the rule, barbaric conquests, and patronage of trade and art are the systems that shaped and defined the model of the rule in Mongol. The major aim for conquest was the trade power and the ability to increase their wealth and expand the empire. They used wars to show their might and deal with their status as outsiders.

The collapse of Mongolian Empire began in 1294 when the empire was fractured, and four separate Khanates were established with each pursuing its ideologies and interests. This collapse was rather inevitable since the original Empire lacked adequate ideologies to bring people together.

Ottomans, Habsburgs and Overseas Empire

The Ottomans were secret Muslims in Europe who sought to force Islam to nearby empires including the Byzantines. The Habsburgs, on the other hand, were offshoots of the larger Roman Empire that had already fractured, they subscribed to Christianity and were great rivals to the Ottomans. For the two empires, the models of power were based on religious beliefs and military power. Their faith and subscription to either of the religious groups legitimized the empires and controlled their political, economic and social interactions.

The issues of inclusion and exclusion in these empires were based on the Holy guidelines and the concepts of rewards and punishment for sins and mistakes. However, as capitalism set in in the empires, segregation based on economic and financial statuses also emerged although the initial rulers, the Devshirme and the Habsburg Kings differed with such exclusions.

The main similarity between the two empires is their ability to use religion as the system controller and defending their religiosity from the rest of the world by the sword. However, the difference is also based on the religious beliefs. The Ottomans were practicing and defenders of Islam while the Habsburg were Christians of Roman descent. This difference shaped their individual practices and systems. Since these two were among the last empires on earth, their end was facilitated by the advent of colonial era which instituted new boundaries and rules all over the world and hence affected the connectivity and relationships within the empires.

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