How did Roman expansion compare and contrast with that of the Assyrians, China's Han Dynasty, and New Kingdom Egypt?

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When comparing the expansions of Rome, Assyria, the Han Dynasty, and the New Kingdom, you will find that each civilization will have its own unique history. Generally speaking, in all cases, expansion will be achieved primarily through war and military conquest, but ultimately, the deeper you look into these comparative...

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When comparing the expansions of Rome, Assyria, the Han Dynasty, and the New Kingdom, you will find that each civilization will have its own unique history. Generally speaking, in all cases, expansion will be achieved primarily through war and military conquest, but ultimately, the deeper you look into these comparative histories, the more you will find that the divergences between these different historical contexts tend to exceed any general similarities.

One element that immediately stands out is the degree to which, relative to the other civilizations in this comparison, Rome tends to appear relatively young from a cultural perspective. Rome had its origins as an Italian city-state, with its founding generally assigned to around 750 BCE (though this is an approximation, and much of its early history has been mythologized). Over the centuries, it gradually consolidated power through various campaigns against its Italian neighbors, gaining hegemony within Italy, after which point it began to expand outwards into the larger Mediterranean world. (The key moment in this transition can be found with the Punic Wars against Carthage, the first of which began in 264 BCE.)

In contrast, both the Han Dynasty and the New Kingdom built heavily off of various preceding dynasties stretching further into the past. In the case of the New Kingdom, it was founded by Ahmose I, who reunited Egypt after the second intermediary period. From there, you can delve further back in time toward the Middle Kingdom and further still into the Old Kingdom. This is not to say, of course, that the various periods within Egyptian History were perfect equivalents to one another, but there remains a certain sense of progression across the various Egyptian dynasties.

A similar quality can be observed with the Han, who were immediately preceded by the Qin Dynasty, who had previously unified China, bringing an end to the Warring States Period of the late Zhou. From there, you can look further back toward the Zhou Dynasty and the Shang Dynasty.

Generally speaking, there are points of comparison you can make between specific empires. For one thing, both Rome (especially as it expanded beyond Italy) and the Han were contemporaneous with one another, even as the Assyrians and the New Kingdom were both more ancient by comparison. On the other hand, you might draw a comparison between Rome and Egypt: while Egypt had been historically tied together by control of the Nile River, Rome tended to rely on the Mediterranean Sea to tie together its core provinces in a much similar manner.

The Assyrians, by contrast, were based much further inland in Northern Mesopotamia, with their power expanding across Mesopotamia and into Anatolia and Egypt. Meanwhile, the Han expanded upon the earlier boundaries held by the Qin Dynasty, making significant territorial conquests along its southern border. It would also conquer part of Korea and extend its power further west into Central Asia.

Generally speaking, the deeper you look into the histories of these various civilizations, the more complicated your comparisons will become.

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