View Poll Results: The Greatest Empire in History?

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  • Persian Empire

    0 0%
  • Roman Empire

    30 51.72%
  • Han Empire

    4 6.90%
  • Mayan Empire

    0 0%
  • Mongol Empire

    3 5.17%
  • Portuguese Empire

    0 0%
  • Spanish Empire

    0 0%
  • Russian Empire

    1 1.72%
  • French Empire

    2 3.45%
  • British Empire

    27 46.55%
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Thread: The Greatest Empire in History

  1. #71
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    As always, depends on how you define "great". Power? Culture? Influence? Reach? Economy? Durability? Morality? (kind of oxymoronic isn't it)
    I'd have to disqualify the Romans. I admire their history and culture yet it would be difficult to say that they were the greatest. They were only the 19th in size in history and to say they ruled most of the known world would be to dismiss China, India, Eastern Europe, and the likes as unknown, uncivilized places. The simple fact is that those parts of the world were certainly known. Whereas Roman battles involved tens of thousands, in China at the same time, there were battles involving hundreds of thousands. So no.
    I would have to say the British and the US. They were truly global empires in their reach and one may note that they were both modern empires-empires made possible in large part by modern technology. While ancient and old empires could only go so far in extending their reach, they were literally unlimited. One may also make another note from that fact that they are both the most recent ones. Due to the subjectivity of history, it is only natural to paint the most recent and therefore, the ones that have the most immediate impact on us in contemporary times, as being the greatest. They have much more influence on us which is why we tend to think of them as the "greatest".
    I still have a great problem with how a person would define "greatest"
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  2. #72
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonramen View Post
    To me it has to be the Han or Roman empires.

    Both created cultural legacies that last to this day. Eastern and Western culture owe a lot to those two empires. Picking between them is harder. I'd have to go with the Han empire because the assimilation under that empire was longer lasting. European nations talked about creating a new Roman empire for centuries but the Han empire is a major reason there is a China today. It fragmented over time and re-combined but ultimately it created a legacy and idea that present China was one large combined people.
    Technically it would be the Han Chinese. There's still 55 major ethnicities that are officially recognized in China and if one is observant of current Chinese issues, it would be obvious that ethnic divisions still exist. In fact there's many ethnic conflicts throughout Chinese history and they are very much fascinating.
    "The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all" - Joan Robinson
    "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries" - Winston Churchill

  3. #73
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Gathomas88 View Post
    For one, the elite body guard of the Byzantine Emperors was made up exclusively of Viking mercenaries and berserkers from northern Russia.

    Varangian Guard



    They were basically Roman Vikings. How freakin' cool is that?
    Very cool! I had heard of the Varangian Guard before, and in fact, it appears to be something of a common theme in the East, having Northern Europeans as body guards.

    Even the Ptolemaic Egyptians had the Galatian Guard, made up of Galatians, who were a Celtic tribe who had migrated to south-east Europe.

    But my understanding was that the Varangian Guard were not cataphracts -- or were they?

    If not, what makes cataphracts so cool?

  4. #74
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Grimm View Post
    The American Empire is the greatest in history. It's the only one that has ever truly been global.

    The entire world is more or less "Americanized" today.
    Haymarket's "support" of the 2nd Amendment, a right he believes we never had.
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    no. You cannot lose rights you do not have in the first place. There is no such thing as the right to have any weapon of your choice regardless of any other consideration. It simply does not exist.

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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    I think we're mixing up the objective-subjective context thing again. Remember that no one is denying that the firepower that the US commands is greater than any other nation in history. This is obviously and reasonably true -- technology has advanced. But imploring me to think of what 'Britain could do with aircraft carriers in the Pacific' makes me think you haven't taken this lesson to heart.

    At the height of the British Empire, the Royal Navy was overwhelmingly more powerful than any other navy in the world. The US Navy today is overwhelmingly more powerful than any other navy in the world, too, but not to the same extent.

    The Royal Navy was so powerful that after Britain decided to outlaw slavery, the RN policed the entire world's oceans to make sure the slave trade was really abolished. Their global reach was so pervasive that they passed a law and then just FORCED the entire world to follow it -- think of that!

    As well, I'm not sure what you mean by saying that Britain didn't have command of both the Atlantic and Pacific. It certainly did! British territory across the Pacific, some of which it still owns, included Australia, Pitcairn, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands.

    In the Atlantic, the British owned (and still own) Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Canada, Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, British Guyana, so much of Africa I don't even know where to start, and of course the British Isles themselves.

    In the Indian Ocean, Britain owned (and also somewhat still owns) India, Pakistan, Zanzibar, the Chagos Islands, Ceylon, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Africa.

    In the Southern Ocean, the British owned parts of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, Australia (again), and New Zealand.

    In the Arctic Ocean, Britain owned Canada, Orkney, and Shetland.

    So I'm not sure what you mean when you say Britain's reach didn't extend to two oceans.
    The United States had slavery until the 1860's, and the brazilians had it even longer.

    Will have to look up the stats later for naval power, I'm currently sitting on an airplane.

    I compare the British empire to the ancient Greeks, and the Americans to the Romans. Britain, like Greece, was a seafaring conglomerate of a number of nation states (Scotland, England, Wales...)

    Greece, like Britain, was celebrated for it's high art, literature, and contributions to the sciences.

    America was born of Britain as Rome was born of Greece. As Rome was a mechanized, streamlined, and ultimately powerful version of its predecessor, so America is a mechanized, amped up version of the British Empire on steroids.

    Like the Romans, Americans are pragmatic, valuing efficiency over beauty.

    I could go on with the comparisons, but I'll spare you.

    As the Romans had their republic phase, so America is going through a similar phase. One day, hopefully in the distant future, we will have our Julius Caesar and will be a true empire.

    I don't think that's for the best, but I think historical trends would suggest such a thing is in our nature as people.

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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_Captandum View Post
    Very cool! I had heard of the Varangian Guard before, and in fact, it appears to be something of a common theme in the East, having Northern Europeans as body guards.

    Even the Ptolemaic Egyptians had the Galatian Guard, made up of Galatians, who were a Celtic tribe who had migrated to south-east Europe.

    But my understanding was that the Varangian Guard were not cataphracts -- or were they?

    If not, what makes cataphracts so cool?
    Cataphracts were basically proto-Knights; the ancient world's heaviest cavalry back before the stirrup was invented.



    The Greatest Empire in History-armenian-cataphract-1-2nd-c-jpg

    They originated with the Persian Parthian Empire, were copied by the Greek Successor States to Alexander's kingdom, and then finally by the later Roman Empire. The Byzantines carried on the tradition, though they were honestly a bit outdated by that point in history. lol

    Some of the later Byzantine Cataphracts even doubled as horse archers, I believe.
    Last edited by Gathomas88; 06-03-14 at 08:56 PM.

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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by Gathomas88 View Post
    The Byzantine Empire (a.k.a. the Roman Empire's rotten stump of a rump state) was certainly long lived, and reasonably powerful in it's heyday.

    However, ultimately, they run into the same problems as the Chinese. They could be a real mess at times, and they didn't really accomplish much of anything. They were mostly only interested in preserving the status quo, and failed rather spectacularly in this goal at that.
    The byzantines did more than just preserve the status quo.

    The byzantines preserved the Roman tradition of being ahead of everyone else in every conceivable metric.

    war technology? They had freaking FLAMETHROWERS. Yeah, over 1000 years before they were reinvented during WW1.
    Greek fire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Not to mention they had bombs.

    Arhitecture and construction?
    They knew how to make 5 storey high flats. This was more difficult in the Byzantine empire because you need volcanic ash to mix with the mortar in order to make waterproof so that the building doesn't get too much water and collapse on itself, but they knew how to do it and they knew how to make concrete.

    Society?
    When an illiterate macedonian peasant, born in an unremarkable family who have been farmers their whole existence, can rise up and better himself so much so that he can become Emperor you know you have a society where people are valued according to their worth as people.
    Basil I - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The byzantine system of government is key to notions like semi-presidential republics (France, Russia, Romania, and others), to the notion of people who can pursue their dream in a land of opportunity, to always be able to improve oneself and reach as high as you can and so much more.

    Science and innovation?
    The islamic golden age of science and technology and innovation was during the ~800s to 1100s. About 300 years. Why? because islam conquered much of the north african (cairo, Alexandria) and middle eastern (Jerusalem, Damascus, Bagdad ) cities and territories of the byzantine empire where they had vast libraries with books and tomes of knowledge which arabic scholars grew fascinated with and studied and then improved upon until a given point.

    But there are areas where the Byzantine scientific progress has outpaced the rest of the world even with the loss of those important centers. Medicine for one. You had organized medicine in the same way we have them today. they had doctors, nurses and orderlies and they had clinics and hospitals. You had the knowledge of sanitization when dealing with the injured and when delivering babies.

    And ofc, the italian renaissance can trace it's origins to XIIth century Byzantine humanism which was an ideological movement that spawned because of all the war with the islamic caliphate and the betrayal of Venice.

    And many many more things.

    The varangians were mercenaries from outside the eastern roman empire. Germans, italians and a lot of scandinavians would join the varangian guard because it was a prestigious army set up by the byzantine empire to help them fill in the ranks against the ever increasing jihad. They, like the romans, didn't send untrained people to fight so because you had well armed, well trained professional armies, they'd always be outnumbered. They weren't the only mercenaries employed by the ERE. There were hunic cavalry and even mongolian mercenaries. Anyway, I'm not gonna go into more detail about the varangians. I made a whole post a while ago about Ukraine where I explained what they were and what they did, etc. I'll try and find it and link it to you.

    http://www.debatepolitics.com/europe...n-reach-6.html

    Post #56

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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Quote Originally Posted by sawyerloggingon View Post
    Empires confiscate, America liberates.
    lulz.................

  9. #79
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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    Roman Empire for sure.
    Envidia te mata !!!

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    Re: The Greatest Empire in History

    For me its a 3 way tie between Mongols, Romans and Alexander the Great's empire. If Alexander had lasted and made a proper line of succession his would be the greatest.

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