ANTH 324
Empires of Antiquity Spring 2023
Division II
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Class Details

Cycles of rise and collapse of civilizations are common in our human past. Among the most fascinating cases are those of empires, conquest-based states that encompass a number of different ethnicities, polities and peoples. However, their rise and often rapid collapse begs an important question: how stable have empires been in human prehistory? Are they intrinsically unstable political forms? The course will address these questions by examining the major empires of the Old and New World in pre-modern history: Persian; Assyrian; Mongol; Roman; Qin Chinese; Ottoman; Aztec; and Inca empires. Using readings by political scientists, historians, epigraphers, archaeologists and political anthropologists, we will consider the causes of the expansion and collapse of these empires. We will also explore their sociopolitical and economic structures as mechanisms for their maintenance in order to provide a cross-cultural comparison of the differential success and final decline of all these empires.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3591
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: research paper, class presentation and active participation
Prerequisites: none; open to first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: ANSO majors
Distributions: Division II

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