Which empire in history do you consider to be the most interesting?

Sep 2015
1,805
England
#31
Not necessarily the greatest or most impressive, or even necessarily successful, but something you find has qualities or features that are fascinating and unique to you.

For me it's the Byzantine Empire (as much as I prefer not to call it "Byzantine" since it's anachronistic), specifically in the period of the 8th century to the 11th century. I like the unique hybrid of Western and Eastern culture, the prominence of Greek language and Orthodoxy, the direct succession from the old Roman Empire, the large variety of enemies they fought - from Bulgarians to Huns to Normans to Arabs - and the unpredictable and bloody political system. It feels like a distinctly Eastern empire in many ways, but without being Muslim, thus giving it a uniqueness. It has this other-wordly and almost mythical quality to it, I find. Reading about Medieval Europe can be occasionally boring for me because of how small scale and repetitive the inter-dynastic feuding becomes after a few centuries, but the Byzantine Empire never feels dull because something new and interesting is always happening. They very rarely had any extended periods of peace and stability, being an enemy to both Christian and Muslim states, as well as facing uncountable civil wars and rebellions. While Europe languished in its semi-Dark Age, Byzantium's preservation of knowledge, science and culture was remarkable.

Anyway, that's my pick. What about you guys?
There's also analogy's and similarities to be found, here and there, if you've the patience! As well as contradictions that needs some thinking - about why, or is it how? Apparently tolerance and compromise are things we are familiar with, that the Byzantines, at least in the time of Anastasius were less inclined towards! But can we really be that tolerant and prepared to compromise?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,029
SoCal
#32
I really hate this argument, as if a thousand-year-long phase of state already a thousand years old at that point is nothing more than a footnote to the later rise of Europe. Yet they are one of the most long-lived and stable polities in all of human history.
Oh, the Byzantines certainly deserve credit for surviving and being stable for as long as they were. This is especially true considering that they bordered hostile neighbors in the east. Of course, I haven't heard the Byzantine Empire being a particular center of innovation. Was it? I mean, I know that they created Greek fire and they did have some manuscript production but were later overtaken by Western Europe in regards to this. What else did they invent or are famous for?
 
Mar 2019
23
Amsterdam
#33
There is nothing more spectacular than the largest empires prior to the telegraph. Simply because it is extremely difficult to sustain the country and ensure the smooth functioning of a country when a simple order takes ages before it is received by the recipient.

So the empires that at this moment sound the most interesting are:

Mongol Empire - The Mongol Empire was history's largest contiguous land empire, reigning throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. The empire whose greatest extent was during the 1280 CE emerged from the amalgamation of nomadic tribes found in Northeast Asia. The vast empire extended from the steppes of Central Asia covering all the way to central Europe and as far as to the Sea of Japan. To the northern part, it extended as far as Siberia, while to the southwards and eastwards into Iranian plateau, Indochina, and the Indian subcontinent. To the westwards, it stretched as far as Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. The empire covered an area of 12,750,000 square miles the Mongol Empire is the second largest in human history.

Qing Dynasty - Officially known as the Great Qing, the Qing dynasty is also referred to as the Qing Empire, and it was China's last imperial dynasty existing between 1644 and 1912. The Qing Empire was preceded by the Ming Empire and eventually the Republic of China. The greatest extent of the dynasty existed during the late 1700s CE covering an area of 5,000,000 square miles. The Qing legacy leaves behind a rich history in literature, culture, cuisine and arts.

Umayyad Empire - The Umayyad Caliphate was among the four great caliphates founded after Mohammad's death. The Umayyad Caliphate was concentrated on the Umayyad dynasty originating from Mecca. During the caliphates greatest extent in 700 CE, it covered an area of about 5,800,000 square miles and swayed over 29% of the population in the world equivalent to 62 million people. The caliphate's legacy was marked by mass conversions into Islam, the use of Arabic as the administrative language and the construction of popular buildings.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#34
Mongol Empire - The Mongol Empire was history's largest contiguous land empire, reigning throughout the 13th and 14th centuries. The empire whose greatest extent was during the 1280 CE emerged from the amalgamation of nomadic tribes found in Northeast Asia. The vast empire extended from the steppes of Central Asia covering all the way to central Europe and as far as to the Sea of Japan. To the northern part, it extended as far as Siberia, while to the southwards and eastwards into Iranian plateau, Indochina, and the Indian subcontinent. To the westwards, it stretched as far as Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. The empire covered an area of 12,750,000 square miles the Mongol Empire is the second largest in human history.
By 1280, the Mongol Empire was no longer a single entity, but had already fractured into multiple smaller states, such as the Yuan dynasty of China (led by Kublai), the Ilkhanate in Persia, the Golden Horde in Russia, etc. There was no Mongol khan that directly ruled over the entire empire as it's misleadingly shown on a lot of maps. As far as the practical reality on the ground was, each sub-region of the Mongol Empire was its own mini-empire independent in all except name from the others.
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,866
Iowa USA
#37
Why should we do that?
In educational psychology there is a fundamental concept of effort optimism. Roughly speaking, it is better for fostering an interest in a subject to always emphasize the accurate part of a vague or "guessing" effort from a student. Lacking emphasis on the correct part, the student won't reply in the future.

Since we are "rebuilding" our membership, why not do that, then?
 

Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,866
Iowa USA
#39
Because it is 100% incorrect.
Because?

You surprised me with such a snappy response, too.

Maybe you were always the brightest person in your class and don't have good feelings about effort optimism?

My reply was saying that the idea wasn't particularly accurate if you read carefully, too.