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

#72
I think this argument owes its origins to the late church debates, in which the "mystical" hesychasts ultimately won out against the humanists. This is the view from Europe: humanists like Barlaam of Calabria or Nikephoros Gregoras get shoved aside by the Athonite mystical tradition, which is somewhat anti-intellectual. In Byzantium, this was part of a much longer and more complicated struggle over what sort of monasticism is best, the respective authorities of the Hagia Sophia clergy and Mt Athos, and the imperial willingess to engage in church union with the Latins. There was plenty of mysticism in medieval Latin Christianity, and no shortage of it was mainstream or on the acceptable edges: Francis of Assisi, Beguines, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich.
To clarify, I didn't have an opinion on which version of Christianity was more mystical. I was more jumping in to comment on the notion of one being more conservative than the other (however we interpret 'conservative').
 
Oct 2011
273
Croatia
#74
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?
I think I'll just second this, though primary interest in Byzantine Empire for me is its resillience - it survived a lot of things that destroyed other empires. In fact, if I remember it right, most empires disintegrated after their first serious defeats. Even Ottoman Empire, once it started contracting, just kept on contracting. Byzantine Empire actually made several comebacks, against enemies often (initially) much more powerful than themselves. It is rather interesting to try and understand how they survived for so long.

In fact, considering this list:
Longest lived empires/states in history
Roman Empire is the second longest-lasting Empire (1377 years) and 5th longest-lasting state (2103 years) in history. Which, considering its shitty luck and geopolitical situation, is rather remarkable.
 
Aug 2014
1,249
pakistan
#75
The Byzantines certainly deserve credit for largely keeping the Muslims out of Europe. However, they were simply too far back; had they survived to the present-day, they might have been more fascinating for me. I'm more into modern history than more ancient history due to the fact that there was much more technological progress and prosperity in the modern era.
Is it more American thing that they are more into modern history and less into ancient history?
 
Likes: Futurist

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,840
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#78
I think I'll just second this, though primary interest in Byzantine Empire for me is its resillience - it survived a lot of things that destroyed other empires. In fact, if I remember it right, most empires disintegrated after their first serious defeats. Even Ottoman Empire, once it started contracting, just kept on contracting. Byzantine Empire actually made several comebacks, against enemies often (initially) much more powerful than themselves. It is rather interesting to try and understand how they survived for so long.

In fact, considering this list:
Longest lived empires/states in history
Roman Empire is the second longest-lasting Empire (1377 years) and 5th longest-lasting state (2103 years) in history. Which, considering its shitty luck and geopolitical situation, is rather remarkable.
The list of longest lasting empires in history may be a bit misleading. A lot of those lists have too many dubious decisions about the longevity of various states.

Here is a link to a thread on the subject: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

See my post number 40 on page 4: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post # 49 on page 5 where I criticize a number of proposed lengths for empires. What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post number 59 on page 6: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post # 69 on page 7: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

So depending on the precise definition a strong case can be made for the Roman Empire and/or the "Byzantine" empire to be the longest lasting state and/or empire in history.

The Galactic Empire.

Second, the pre-modern Japanese empire.
By "the Galactic Empire" do you mean the fictional Galactic Empire in Star Wars, or do you mean the fictional Galactic Empire in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, or some other fictional galactic empire?

Galactic Empire (Isaac Asimov) - Wikipedia
 
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Likes: Picard
Oct 2011
273
Croatia
#79
The list of longest lasting empires in history may be a bit misleading. A lot of those lists have too many dubious decisions about the longevity of various states.

Here is a link to a thread on the subject: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

See my post number 40 on page 4: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post # 49 on page 5 where I criticize a number of proposed lengths for empires. What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post number 59 on page 6: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

And see my post # 69 on page 7: What is the Longest lasting Empire in History?

So depending on the precise definition a strong case can be made for the Roman Empire and/or the "Byzantine" empire to be the longest lasting state and/or empire in history.
I see; thanks, quite interesting.

And just as an aside, word "Empire" comes from "imperium", which IIRC means "rule, authority". So going with Roman usage of the term, the Empire began the moment they started expanding outside the Apenine pennisula at latest.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
34,436
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#80
By "the Galactic Empire" do you mean the fictional Galactic Empire in Star Wars, or do you mean the fictional Galactic Empire in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, or some other fictional galactic empire?
Actually, in a way, both. The Star Wars Galactic Empire is based on the transition of the Roman Empire from a republic, and Asimov's Empire is based on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Coruscant, the capital of the Star Wars empire is based on Trantor, the capital of the Asimov empire.