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

Jun 2017
Byzantines really beat Sassanids? Sorry, but this is something kind of new for me.

My understanding all this while was that neither side was strong enough to defeat the other. But they more like battered each other into near complete exhaustion. Kind of a mutual destruction.
Okay "won". Given that a year earlier Persia was going to win yeah mutual exhaustion is very easy to argue but they still technically won both in the sense they won the war and the sense they weren't totally destroyed by the Muslims(at least not for another 800 years) while the Persians were.
Likes: Futurist
In terms of prime you might be correct. Issue is how brief that state of affairs was. The Assyrian Empire was gone less than 20 years after Ashurbanipal died. Not gone as in split up and one part is still most of it like with Alexander gone as in, wiped from the face of the earth.
But is it fair to say that the Assyrians were pretty supreme on the battlefield even before Ashurbanipal? I don't know much about the Assyrians, but before Ashurbanipal there were great warrior kings like, for example, Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II and Sennacherib.
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Jun 2017
But is it fair to say that the Assyrians were pretty supreme on the battlefield even before Ashurbanipal? I don't know much about the Assyrians, but before Ashurbanipal there were great warrior kings like, for example, Tiglath-Pileser III, Sargon II and Sennacherib.
Yes but the Assyrian Empire didn't get into Egypt before the reign of his father and even at their best were considerably smaller. Will agree the Neo-Assyrian era as a whole(of which every king you've cited was part) was superior and they clearly were similar but Ashurbanipal(and his father depending on if you consider his invasion a success) were the first Middle Eastern people to unify those two river valley's. I'd give that last portion the best chance of success given the other Assyrians military endeavors were not as successful(for example not being able to conquer Judea nm Egypt).


Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
The Assyrian Empire under Ashurbanipal was an unstoppable force. While the Persians were quite powerful, I think if the Assyrian and Persian Empires faced off against each other while each were in their prime, I would give an edge to the Assyrians simply due to their sheer ruthlessness on the battlefield.
What good is Assyrian ruthlessness against superior Persian tactical and strategic abilities? American Indian warriors were usually more ruthless than US soldiers, but they are generally considered to have won only one war against the USA.
Jun 2017
The Assyrians appear to have been much more vulnerable to internal revolts, but I don't know enough about the topic to understand why that was the case.
Well the Persians like most large empires owed their size to giving the groups they ruled autonomy so they wouldn't revolt. Some did anyway, Egypt, Ionians etc but for the most part things were stable and Persia was many times larger than any empire that came before it.

Assyria prior to Persia was the largest empire the world had ever seen(maybe Akkadia was larger?) and was the limit maybe beyond the limit of how much you could conquer through brutality. The Assyrians means to get around this was to deport populations from their home and integrate them into other parts of the empire stripped of their identity(10 of the 12 Jewish tribes met this fate) and it was more effective than ordinary brutality but there was a limitation to how large the empire could grow with this method for example couldn't realistically do this with larger groups like Chaldeans or Egyptians who couldn't even be directly ruled and ended up rebelling.

But per getting conquered technically the people who beat them were external satellites. At least the Medes maybe the Babylonians were satellites(they were earlier by now Bablyon might have been directly controlled though they had their own King) and they were the ones who rose up and beat the Assyrians. The Egyptians successfully rebelled too though they rebelled against Persia too so not sure that's a disadvantage.

Would favor Persia militarily in terms of tactics just because it's a later era and the Persians rule all the same territory's and would have all the knowledge obtained in that next 100 years. Persia's main component were the Medians who were the ones who mainly beat Assyria(and who beat Babylon later on). So I'd favor the Persians on that front as well cause they were just a more numerous version of those who'd beaten Assyria. Assyria would be more ruthless but there's a limit to how much good that does.
Mar 2012
Q: Heavenlykaghan, how much do you think that the increased centralization and establishment of unified Chinese dynasties from the Qin onwards were important ingredients for population growth? I'm wondering if there's any clear pattern of increased centralization fueling a certain percentage of population growth. That might make India's situation a tiny bit more clear?
The Han certainly saw population growth because of roughly 2 centuries of peace. However, we must keep in mind that early Han's population was very low because of the devastations of the Qin-Han transition, which Ge thinks caused the population of China to drop by some 70-80 percent.
Han population at the beginning of the dynasty was estimated by Ge Jianxiong to be 15 to 18 million and he assumed an annual growth rate of 7.12 percent. This figure has been almost universally accepted by demographic historians of the early Han. By Han Wudi´s time, the population probably reached 36 million. Although Hanshu claimed that the population during his reign dropped by 50% due to incessant wars of conquest and famine, the real decline was probably much less significant, while millions died, the natural growth rate of the empire probably only saw the population dropping to 32 million, which is still a lot considering that Wudi reigned 53 years and we saw negative population growth.

Ge also assumed that the late Warring States population actually slowly dropped because of the destructiveness of war. It was at a rough equilibrium from the late 4th century BC onwards because although the casualty was high in war, it was spread out for a century. This lasted until the Qin started conquering the other states from 232 BC onwards. The population of China dropped from roughly 45 million to 40 million by the time the Qin unified China in 221 BC (the population dropped since violence was spread out for a much shorter duration; only a decade). Population under the Qin was also at a rough equilibrium because of the frequent wars and large building projects Qin Shihuang was engaged in. Then Chen Sheng and Wuguang's peasant rebellion followed by the Chu-Han wars saw a drop of China's population from 40 million to just around 15-18 million by the beginning of the Han in 200 BC. Also please continue this in the other thread as I don't want to hijack this thread to an unrelated topic.
Likes: Yuyue

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