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Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History Hardcover – August 27, 2001

1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0521770200 ISBN-10: 0521770203 Edition: 1st

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Book Description

Empires were the largest political systems of the ancient and early modern world. Empires have 'risen' and 'fallen' in all parts of the globe over several millennia, yet there has been surprisingly little comparative analysis of them. This book is designed to fill that gap by bringing together distinguished scholars in anthropology, archaeology, history, and the classics. The empires discussed are drawn from Central and South America, the Mediterranean, Europe, the Near East, South East Asia, and China, ranging from the first millennium BC to the early modern era.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (August 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521770203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521770200
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,216,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Listo on February 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book begins with admissions that 1. the book was never meant to be 'the big book of empires,' and 2. some areas of the world (most notably SE Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) would not be covered. It is what it is: a compendium of essays on the subject of empire, specifically pre-modern empires. They explore ideology, imperial strategy, and the definitions of empire. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean in the 16th century, that attempted military control of pre-existing trade routes, is examined as are the interactions between Xiongnu and Han China, a re-examination of ancient Kush's relationship with Pharaonic Egypt, and a class-based analysis of Aztec ideology-- and these are only a few of the essays. Needless to say, it's a book that covers diverse ground. It also assembles authors from various academic backgrounds and differing ideas on what constitutes empire. If you're looking for strong, conclusive definitions and conclusions, don't look here! This book lets the reader in on the various ideas and disagreements on the subject, it lets us in on the debates going on in the disciplines of history and anthropology, debates which have been going on in some cases for decades.
If you are, say, a graduate student in history, this would doubtless be useful for your studies. Even if you aren't studying a society examined in one of these essays, the approach to them may be useful analytic tools. If you're an armchair historian, this may not be up your alley as much-- but then again, maybe it is! I rather enjoyed it, and despite being a thick sucker it went by fairly quickly.
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