In your opinion, what were the greatest Middle Eastern Empires ever?

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Hittites?
Sure, as an example of a very early empire they are considerable and impressive, but aside from incidentally being one of the earliest empires of history, what makes them more impressive than later Middle Eastern empires?
 
Feb 2019
477
Thrace
No one is able to list an Ancient Empire of Anatolia?


Where did you get this percentage (44%) ? Can you point me to some sources? Do also point out demographic sources and estimates that you mention. I find these figures highly unlikely.
It took that number from the Guinness World Records Books.
 
Mar 2016
806
Antalya
Sure, as an example of a very early empire they are considerable and impressive, but aside from incidentally being one of the earliest empires of history, what makes them more impressive than later Middle Eastern empires?
That's what I am asking and wanting to learn, if someone can list bunch of reasons why Ancient Anatolian Empires are impressive.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,941
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
At its peak, the Achaemenid Empire is the largest empire ever by share of population(44% of the World), and according to estimates, they could raise a bigger army than the Ottomans could even if they precede them by almost 2000 years. Not to mention the cultural impact via Zoroastrianism which heavily influenced both the West and the East is enormous. I don't know by what metric do the Ottomans compare with them.
No one is able to list an Ancient Empire of Anatolia?


Where did you get this percentage (44%) ? Can you point me to some sources? Do also point out demographic sources and estimates that you mention. I find these figures highly unlikely.
It took that number from the Guinness World Records Books.
There was a thread with a number of posts listing empires by their percentage of the world's population.

Empire that ruled the largest % of world population

The figure of 44 % for the Achaemenid empire was debunked, and a list of empires with more reliable percentages of the world's population was given. See posts # 12, 15, & 16.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2019
23
Amsterdam
There many different aspects to look and greatest in my eyes might not be so in yours. However, here is a list of mine with reasoning why they should be included into the greatest list.

Babylonian Empire - I am including this empire for 2 reasons. They have achieved two things that had an everlasting impact. One on the cultural level and second on the artistic level. On the cultural level it would be the Code of Hammurabi, a system of laws that represent the first attempt to record all laws. His Code contained 282 laws arranged under headings such as trade, family, labor and real estate. While from the artistic side it would be the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon”. These were a series of terraces cut into a 75-foot hill which were planted with beautiful trees and plants to remind the wife of Nebuchadnezzar of her homeland. And ofcourse for the sake of it for the period of one generation, it was a powerful military empire.

Persian Empire - could be named the greatest empire ever. Simply for their contribution in almost all aspect of the known life. They have contributed to the modern day Algebra in a form of mathematics. Their painting styles have been praised as one of the most influential to date. Furthermore, they have created the very first bill of rights and they had a fixed legal system and a constitution of a nation. While their military accomplishments need no tribute.

Arab Empire - With the introduction of a new religion, Islam, to the world by the Prophet Mohammed united numerous warring Arab tribes. With their new found religious fervor, Arab armies march forth to spread the word of Islam. Arab invasions of surrounding lands resulted in the establishment of one of the largest empires in history, the Arab Empire. They spanned from the North Africa, to Pakistan, and Spain. One of the largest empires ever. One of the most notable achievements would be the establishment of the banking system and the spread of Islam.
 
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
Persian Empire - could be named the greatest empire ever. Simply for their contribution in almost all aspect of the known life. They have contributed to the modern day Algebra in a form of mathematics. Their painting styles have been praised as one of the most influential to date. Furthermore, they have created the very first bill of rights and they had a fixed legal system and a constitution of a nation. While their military accomplishments need no tribute.
actually algebra comes from jabir ibn hayyan who was an arab, not a persian and lived during the ummayad period, an arab and not persian empire, the persian painting was not very much influential outside persia, infact persian painting got influenced by lots of other traditions.

their legal system and constitution is blown out of proportions, every country had one during achaemenids, the babylonians are credited for it but not the persians.what achaemenids are sometimes mistakenly credited for is their human rights in their constitution a.k.a cyrus cylinder, but that claim is also misrepresented.

regards
 
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Jun 2017
2,971
Connecticut
There many different aspects to look and greatest in my eyes might not be so in yours. However, here is a list of mine with reasoning why they should be included into the greatest list.

Babylonian Empire - I am including this empire for 2 reasons. They have achieved two things that had an everlasting impact. One on the cultural level and second on the artistic level. On the cultural level it would be the Code of Hammurabi, a system of laws that represent the first attempt to record all laws. His Code contained 282 laws arranged under headings such as trade, family, labor and real estate. While from the artistic side it would be the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon”. These were a series of terraces cut into a 75-foot hill which were planted with beautiful trees and plants to remind the wife of Nebuchadnezzar of her homeland. And ofcourse for the sake of it for the period of one generation, it was a powerful military empire.

Persian Empire - could be named the greatest empire ever. Simply for their contribution in almost all aspect of the known life. They have contributed to the modern day Algebra in a form of mathematics. Their painting styles have been praised as one of the most influential to date. Furthermore, they have created the very first bill of rights and they had a fixed legal system and a constitution of a nation. While their military accomplishments need no tribute.

Arab Empire - With the introduction of a new religion, Islam, to the world by the Prophet Mohammed united numerous warring Arab tribes. With their new found religious fervor, Arab armies march forth to spread the word of Islam. Arab invasions of surrounding lands resulted in the establishment of one of the largest empires in history, the Arab Empire. They spanned from the North Africa, to Pakistan, and Spain. One of the largest empires ever. One of the most notable achievements would be the establishment of the banking system and the spread of Islam.
Persia besides the Caliphate is the only empire to rule the entire Middle East and ruled it far longer when the region was harder to conquer(four different great powers). Persia's empire consisted of almost half of the human population and created the trappings of much of western society pre industrialization. They had a monotheistic god, that IMO regardless of the god not being real teached the best moral lessons of any of the major religions including slavery being wrong. They allowed their regions autonomy in a near federalist style system and their unification of the Middle East largely remained intact until WWI(Iran and Egypt notwitstanding), had roads and connected most of the civilized world via roads. Also even when Alexander conquered them most of the empire remained largely intact through the Seleucids and the Persians as later as the Arab era(with some instability in between those two).

Arabs are up there and along with Egypt and Persia is one of three places in the Middle East with a Euro style national identity from the ancient identity. Territoriality speaking Islam conquered more land but ruled a smaller share of the global population than the Middle East did. It also took much less time for the empire(and religion) to fracture with the Shia and Sunni division happening just a few decades after Muhammand's death and the Abbasids taking over about a century later who didn't take long to become religious puppets for various secular rulers from the East. Things that count against the Arabs is they conquered the Middle East based largely on timing, the Persians and Byzantines had just fought perhaps the closest thing to a world war between two superpowers in human history and were ripe to be defeated. The Arab world not only split pretty quickly but Persians, Egyptians and Turks would be the ones to dominate it and the Arab location and symbolic remained all that remained similar to the Roman Church being all that remained of the Roman Empire. Ottomans in 1500s took that away too as the Italians later would to the Pope. They are up there but the Persians have to come first because of the timing of their conquest and succumbing to internal divisions almost right away.

Babylon-IMO shouldn't be considered. The Code is a nice staple for the time but remember Egypt already was considerably more advanced and the old Babylonians were quite brutal. They also fell to invaders and did so quite constantly regardless of the era. Per the Neo version of the Empire, if has not been confirmed that the Hanging Gardens are real we're relying on what amounts to hersay from a Greek guy centuries later because we don't have much of a choice. It's also possible if they existed they were not actually Babylonian/weren't there idea(we'll never know because the Baghdad, Babylon, Selucia, Ctesiphon area has been chewed up by warfare so thoroughly over the millennia by people with no connection to them I don't think real evidence existing is possible barring time travel being invented) and were Assyrian recall someone found proof of similar gardens existing in Ninevah(which given the timeline means the idea could have been hijacked by the Babylonians who were the ones who conquered Ninevah during the reign of Nebuchadnezzer's father). Also remember the Gardens were supposedly made to made Nebuchadnezzars Median wife(the grand aunt of Cyrus) feel more at home. This implies the Median Empire an Empire we know EVEN LESS about(pretty close to nothing barring it's supposed interactions with factions further West and being were Cyrus's ancestors ruled it) had something similar the gardens were emulating. Despite knowing almost nothing about Media we know it was large and it probably was considerably greater than the Babylonians and was origin story of Persia.

Anyway the Neo-Babylonian Empire lasted less than 100 years and was geographically tiny compared to even it's peers, it needed allies to defeat the Assyrians and it took years to defeat Tyre and Judea(which were not much more than city states). But righting down rules in the 2nd millenia BC isn't groundbreaking it's likely been granted overstated overimportance because we know about it in detail and the history of the Gardens of course and who deserves credit is unclear at best. Among Middle Eastern Empires, the Assyrians and most Islamic era Middle Eastern Empires would rank above the Babylonians. Heck the Babylionians peers the Medes created modern money!
 
Jun 2017
2,971
Connecticut
I've claimed this before as well because of the Guinness world record books, but I got proven wrong.
Read through that. The specific Guinness claim can't be verified but it can't be debunked either and is entirely plausible. Persia at it's height controlled most of the large scale settlements on the planet.Today the four most populated countrys are that percentage despite there being large scale industrialized populations existing throughout the globe. Persia had no such competition the 44% number is plausible, it can not be verified it would be naive to think it could be. But that doesn't mean it's wrong I've been studying ancient populations long enough to know something isn't possible and this number is. It's even possible it's wrong in the other direction and it's higher than 44%(though I'm not confident in that at all).

Several issues with the "debunking" cited above it depends on estimations from one scholars, one consistent thing about demography from the BC's is there's usually multiple figures that are pretty different even with just one city, never mind the planet. Persia is the most accurate part of that count not the least the evidence for the rest of the world is a great deal less reputable but then again because the rest of the world especially when we take out India and China and account for all four major river vally's had almost no major cities.

Now second the poster's debunking depends on disputing their own source for undercounting India and China(the part of the would be other 56% we are the most able to make a guess based on) while at the same time not disputing their world or Persian population figure as undercounted. To me this logic on India and China seems to be "there's no way it could have been that low(given there large population today). If you look at how quick populations can change 30 million for India is plausible and I'd say more likely to be accurate than the higher figures. Both the USA and Brazil(countries that today have 200-350 plus million people) went from basically 3-5 million in the span of 220 years. Now I know that's industrial era population growth but just shows how massive population of countries can grow from development and 500 BC predates the largest Chinese and Indian Empires.

To put how fast populations grow in perspective, in 1700 China had about 200 million people and India about 160(spitballing from wiki). In 1500 2000 years after time we're discussing China had 125 million and India with the largest estimates has less than 100 million people. In 1000 1500 years later China is down to about 75 and the listed Indian dynasties(that in 1500 didn't make up most to all of India like the later) was already down to 30 the supposed low count from centuries pre Maurya. China in the year 1 during the Han era had about 60 million people(rounded up) a figure that is going to be considerably higher than what was there in 500 BC. The Qin about half way between 500 and 0 had about 20-25(rounding up to give benefit of doubt). Now I know Indian and Chinese populations might have at times dipped close to or even below 500 BC levels as the other river valley have in the interim(though they were coming from peaks in that era, China and India WERE NOT) but based on this in 500 BC China and India both probably have much less than 50 million people in 500 BC, that would be a better guess for the 2 combined. Let's address both regions. .

First there's India. India being below 30 million is not only plausible but I'd be suspicious of higher figures and my instinct is to write off the 55 and 70 figures more so than the 25-30 million(they said less than 30 assuming it's there). At the height of the Maurya Empire the figure I'm seeing on wiki is 50 million, the 500 BC figure is going to be considerably south of that. If anything 25-30 could even be an overcount as well though it's a pretty plausible guess in my book. 55 and 70 though make no sense and are the radical counts there not the 25-30.

Per their China figure 40-45 million in 500 BC is less outrageous than 55 and 70 for India but still insane. In 0 the Han Dynasty's population was like 55 million(to put 55 million in perspective that's the aggregate of Rome at the time only makes the India 55 and 70 500 BC numbers seem more insane) and you'd expect a steeper rise than that in 500 years. The highest figure I found from the Classical China is the Zhou period immediately before Qin which was 30-38 million which was in the 3rd millenia BC. The Qin Dynasty the first unified China on wikipedia is at 20 million(population dip can be attributed to war). For that estimate to right China's population would have needed to slightly decrease from 500 BC-275 BC more likely went the opposite direction. Not far off but still seems like an overcount. My guess would be 20-30 million around the same as India(agree with them that India might have been higher at this point but if they were that puts the China numbers even further down).

Going to break down further next post.
 
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