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Common Features Of Empires In The Classical Period

The more the empires of the classical period grew in terms of size and population quantity, the more frequent were the conflicts based on competition for valuable resources. Certain empires expanded drastically primarily due to the objective being: wealth, gaining more land, and security. In order to support this massive and rapid expansion, administrative institutions and military machines were developed accordingly to the given empire’s needs, so that supervision over activities in far away provinces would be a distinctive possibility. Each classical empire had to face the issue of dealing with the relations within the empire between populations, which were culturally and ethnically diverse. Such issues created complicated difficulties of administrative kind, which could not be handled properly.

One of the most evident common features was family structure corresponding with the principles of patriarchy: akin to the valley civilizations (which preceded the Classical period) the classical empires also held male authority in high esteem not only within the boundaries of a family, but in most aspects of live. The economies of such empires were primarily agricultural-based: farming was the occupation, which was the easiest to find. Such excessive usage of farming resulted into considerable damage to the environment: artificial creation of deserts, deforestation, silted rivers, and soil erosion. Of all the profit received by the empire annually from the industry, too much wealth was concentrated in the hands of the wealthy elite.

Due to the aforementioned rapid expansions, the governments had to become too large and complex, and while they succeeded in keeping the land politically together. Together with the political expansion came the expanding trade base: objects governed were mostly important trade routes through land and sea. The overall system was complicated and its parts operated independently.

One of the cornerstone features, typical for all empires of the classical period, was slavery, which was even present in Greece, where democracy as we know it was born. In certain empires, like the Chinese, slavery was in use to a lesser extent that in the Roman, but slaves still remained the vital source of labor, particularly in the construction sphere.

Yet another important feature typical for all empires of the classical period was the culture of each respective empire and its influence on the various parts of the world through millennia. China, Greece and Rome can be most proud of the achievements in this aspect, since their cultures caused Renaissance (Greece and Rome) and introduced various inventions of cultural significance (China).

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