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A Plea for Help...

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JMillar View Drop Down
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  Quote JMillar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A Plea for Help...
    Posted: 17-Jan-2011 at 07:21
Hello to all reading...
 
This is a plea of help from a rather lost girl. I have got an essay to write, but have no idea where to start. The question is 'What, if anything, do all empires have in common?'
 
I was thinking of considering the following:
1) what is an empire?
2) Case studies of different empires
       - Roman Empire
       - Ottoman Empire(?)
       - British Empire
3) Discuss similarites/difference etc.
 
Let me know what you think about this rather bare-boned plan of mine. The main issue for me is what is an empire. As more of a social historian, if you can call me that, the political/military side of things isn't of great interest to me, however, I feel it may be inevitable to stray down that route to answer this question.
 
The essay title is not set in stone, as I have 45 titles to choose from, (Choosing the questions hard enough, let alone writing the essay!) so if this comes up cold, then I might have a second look at my list.
 
Any advice/help/general comments would be amazing, as I think I need a bit of a kick up the backside to get me going on this adventure of sorts.
 
Thanks,
Jen
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medenaywe View Drop Down
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jan-2011 at 09:24
Empire is idea of common huge market with one market currency,tax system and governmental structures
implemented  on territories of more than one civilizations with domination of only one.Let us start here.
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opuslola View Drop Down
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jan-2011 at 14:29
This may be a difficult and/or complex response, but you wrote above;

"The main issue for me is what is an empire."

While I cannot speak for the "experts", my simple opinion could easily be stated as "Empire- a collection of lands and peoples by a society once restricted in size, etc., that thru negotiation, warfare, purchase, etc., expands in such a manner as to encompass numerous other lands, and peoples who are forced or mandated to change their ways of life, religion, language, and their allegiance to another group of people and lands, that may be far from them!"

The most successful of this type of Empire must be the Empire of Great Britain! Which has to a degree been merged with that of America! Although physical control has been relenguished, the control of commerce, and language, has not!

But perhaps my words are a bit too simplistic?

Regards,

Edited by opuslola - 17-Jan-2011 at 14:30
http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/history/
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  Quote LordBlades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2011 at 02:33
What is an empire?
 
That's an interesting question. While I'm nothing more than an amateur when it comes to history(so my opinion bears no authority or the like), for me, in order to be classfied as 'empire' a country would have to have the follwing characterstics:
 
-comprise territories with people/cultures of different ethnicity than the empire's own . note that in some cases, if the empire lasts long enough, these people tend to adopt the empire's dominant culture
-has been established by force of arms. 
 
 
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JMillar View Drop Down
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  Quote JMillar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2011 at 08:27
Wow, thanks everyone, this should give me some inspiration to start writing, even if its just the introduction...
 
What is suprising is that I never thought of an empire in the trade sense, even though its one of the most important aspects...oh dear, not a good start I feel.
 
I'm pretty much set on Roman and British Empires, but I'm not sure about the Ottoman. I know very little about it, and of course, that should be a reason to want to go and find out more, but I wondered if you had any other suggestions?
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Van_Möck View Drop Down
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  Quote Van_Möck Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2011 at 15:17
I also can't think of any stable empire without a central authority, be it king or emperor or Sultan.

The idea of an empire with an egalitarian population seems quite ridiculous to me, and in every empire I can think of the majority of the people were seen as subordinates.

And although you don't concentrate on military, it also had a social impact, and in most empires the subordinates were not of homogenous military rank but there was some kind of warrior caste. An empire would also avoid internal military conflicts by having a central command structure.


An exception to some of these points might be the Holy Roman Empire (roughly Germany, Austria and northern Italy) where the emperor shared a lot of his power with the feudal Prince-Electors (Kurfürsten), who reigned their individual countries of which some have become the modern states of Germany.
This empire even struggled with internal military clashes for a long time, as the Prince-Electors did as they pleased in case the emperor was weak or abroad.

Maybe it helps to ask: How did the Holy Roman Empire differ from for example France?

One important factor is their claim on religious hegemony over the entire christian world. This was supported by electing the "king" to be an emperor with the legitimation by the pope ( or optionally one or more antipopes). The Holy Roman Empire would have never allowed any bordering state to take the same right for themselves.
And this shows how there can't really be multiple empires in one region, as they both would claim their right on domination.
So they definitely have some kind of ideology or legitimation which provides them superiority and entitlement in comparison to other regional powers.

Well, Im not shure if anything of this helps you at all, but I hope it gave you at least some new ideas...
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