What are in your opinion the greatest Asian empire ever, not counting the Middle East?

Mar 2016
727
Australia
#22
My favourite - not necessarily the "greatest" - is either the Mughal Empire, or the Tang Dynasty of China. Both saw an extended period of stable political order, cultural and intellectual flourishing, and general prosperity for all classes. The Mughals were also extraordinarily religiously tolerant for the time, although not entirely out of altruism, but because practically speaking they simply could not hope to oppress the Hindu majority and try to force-convert them to Islam.

I know that the Mongol Empire is a popular choice, but I find them to be frankly somewhat dull to read about. It's basically a laundry list of "Went here, conquered this, moved on". The Mongols left almost no unique cultural legacy of their own; they mostly just assimilated into their conquered regions and disappeared by the mid-to-late 14th century. Their successor states (e.g. Muscovy, Ming China, the Timurids) are often more interesting than they are. As much as I do like military history, I find the history of the Mongol conquests to just be uninteresting. I need more than just a series of conquests and wars to get me to have an interest in an empire, and my above choices certainly fulfill that criteria, while the Mongols do not.
 
Apr 2019
67
United States
#23
My favourite - not necessarily the "greatest" - is either the Mughal Empire, or the Tang Dynasty of China. Both saw an extended period of stable political order, cultural and intellectual flourishing, and general prosperity for all classes. The Mughals were also extraordinarily religiously tolerant for the time, although not entirely out of altruism, but because practically speaking they simply could not hope to oppress the Hindu majority and try to force-convert them to Islam.

I know that the Mongol Empire is a popular choice, but I find them to be frankly somewhat dull to read about. It's basically a laundry list of "Went here, conquered this, moved on". The Mongols left almost no unique cultural legacy of their own; they mostly just assimilated into their conquered regions and disappeared by the mid-to-late 14th century. Their successor states (e.g. Muscovy, Ming China, the Timurids) are often more interesting than they are. As much as I do like military history, I find the history of the Mongol conquests to just be uninteresting. I need more than just a series of conquests and wars to get me to have an interest in an empire, and my above choices certainly fulfill that criteria, while the Mongols do not.
I agree about the Mughals and Tang and that the Mongols were dull but their military prowess is just undeniable.
 
Apr 2019
67
United States
#24
The Mongols.
The Chinese dynasties didn't conquer beyond China, or similar ethnic groups to the Han.

The WWII Japanese attacked and won against weaker foes, or those who were ill-prepared. Singapore was supposedly impenetrable, and once the Allies pushed them back they were on the back foot in Burma, China, and the Pacific.

If not the Mongols, then the Mughals, or the Khmer Empire.
The Chinese were very passive but all of the Mongol achievements were military while the Han was a cultural, economic, and scientific gold age. We're not just talking about military power. Han China also lasted 400 years, over 4 times that of the Mongols.
 
Oct 2013
4,467
Canada
#25
The Mongols conquered China, which was numerically sttronger.

The British didn't conquer France, but their defeat in the Seven Years War was a major reason why the British Empire reached the prominence it did.

Few Chinese dynasties ever were expansionist.
I've addressed this claim of "China never expanded" and I never seen a reply from you.

If Rome survived today, then Rome never expanded outside of Rome. Right?

China exists because a small bunch of people annihilated, conquered, and forcefully assimilated almost everyone else from one impassable barrier in the North (endless steppes and tundra) to the South (Himalayas and jungles) and from the East (Pacific Ocean) to the West (Himalayas and desert), and over two millennia forced everyone in that rough geographic area who aren't part of the conquering force to accept being belonging to a single race with one supranational identity and with one language.

No one else managed this. Every other Empire either died off because they cannot hold onto what they conquered and regress back into a smaller state around where they started out (ex: Achaemenids) or even worse weren't strong enough because not only weren't they powerful enough to hold onto conquered lands, they couldn't survive themselves (ex: Rome).
 
#27
mauryan empire covered bigger area even compared to british raj and mughal empire, secondly mauryan empire controlled its vast expanse for two hundred years compared to mughals who expanded and shrunk rapidly, the gupta empire did that under chandragupta 2 and had the same fate as the mughals, in his period his empire reached from afghanistan to tamil nadu. Thirdly mauryan empire influence reached much deeper and much more durable, their artifacts have been discovered from as far as thailand, bactria probably eastern iran as well etc.

for indian empires i would rate these empire

mauryan empire
mughal empire
gupta empire
nanda empire
dehli sultanate
maratha empire
satavahana empire
harsha empire
pala/rashtrakuta/gurjara
vijayanagar empire
chola empire
kushan empie/debated as they were non indian and primarily based outside india
chalukya empire

1555483232132.png

List of largest empires in India - Wikipedia

i would not include british raj as they were based in london

asian empires including middle eastern empires i would rate as follows according to their contemporary dates dates

assyrian empire
babylon empire/ median empire
achaemenid empire/ nanda empire i think date for nanda empire is 450 BC but its disputed /chola empire
maurya empire/ han empire
parthian empire/satavahana empire
gupta empire/ sassanid empire
tang empire/ umayyad caliphate/ abbasid caliphate
ghaznavid empire/ Gurjara or bhoja empire or chola empire/ seljuk empire/ sri vijaya empire
mongol empire/ dehli sultanate/ vijayanagar empire/ yuan empire
ottoman/ safavid empire/ khmer empire/ majapahit empire
mughal empire/ ming empire/ ottoman empire
Qing empire/japanese empire/maratha empire/ ottoman empire

regards
 
Last edited:
Jun 2015
5,618
UK
#28
I've addressed this claim of "China never expanded" and I never seen a reply from you.

If Rome survived today, then Rome never expanded outside of Rome. Right?

China exists because a small bunch of people annihilated, conquered, and forcefully assimilated almost everyone else from one impassable barrier in the North (endless steppes and tundra) to the South (Himalayas and jungles) and from the East (Pacific Ocean) to the West (Himalayas and desert), and over two millennia forced everyone in that rough geographic area who aren't part of the conquering force to accept being belonging to a single race with one supranational identity and with one language.

No one else managed this. Every other Empire either died off because they cannot hold onto what they conquered and regress back into a smaller state around where they started out (ex: Achaemenids) or even worse weren't strong enough because not only weren't they powerful enough to hold onto conquered lands, they couldn't survive themselves (ex: Rome).

for Mr Chinese civilisation is overrated.
 
Apr 2018
690
Upland, Sweden
#29
China, in any form really.

India is interesting too, and so is Japan and Korea but since we are talking "Greatest Empires"... I think the Chinese just win by default. If I had to choose a particular one I like the Song dynasty, partially because I have a book about it at home making all sorts of interesting claims about them (I think the author, some German guy, claims that they "might have industrialized" but I'm not sure) that I've been meaning to start reading for a year now...
 
Jul 2014
1,474
world
#30
The Mongols conquered China, which was numerically sttronger.

The British didn't conquer France, but their defeat in the Seven Years War was a major reason why the British Empire reached the prominence it did.

Few Chinese dynasties ever were expansionist.
Han and Tang empire held huge territory in central and north asia. Mongol yuan were quite expansionist. Ming dynasty invaded and absorbed southern China. Qing dynasty got Tibet ( invited) and Xinjiang (invaded) into China.
 

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