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Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History Hardcover – 9 Aug 2001

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Distinguished scholars in anthropology, archaeology, history and classics discuss empires from Central and South America, the Mediterranean, Europe, the Near East, South East Asia and China. The book contains five themes: sources, approaches and definitions; empires in a wider world; imperial integration, imperial subjects; imperial ideologies; the afterlife of empires.

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In attempting to come to terms with the structure and dynamics of imperial polities, the contributors in this volume are hardly pioneers. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Lets you in on the debates 25 Feb 2010
By Listo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book begins with admissions that 1. the book was never meant to be 'the big book of empires,' and 2. some areas of the world (most notably SE Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) would not be covered. It is what it is: a compendium of essays on the subject of empire, specifically pre-modern empires. They explore ideology, imperial strategy, and the definitions of empire. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean in the 16th century, that attempted military control of pre-existing trade routes, is examined as are the interactions between Xiongnu and Han China, a re-examination of ancient Kush's relationship with Pharaonic Egypt, and a class-based analysis of Aztec ideology-- and these are only a few of the essays. Needless to say, it's a book that covers diverse ground. It also assembles authors from various academic backgrounds and differing ideas on what constitutes empire. If you're looking for strong, conclusive definitions and conclusions, don't look here! This book lets the reader in on the various ideas and disagreements on the subject, it lets us in on the debates going on in the disciplines of history and anthropology, debates which have been going on in some cases for decades.
If you are, say, a graduate student in history, this would doubtless be useful for your studies. Even if you aren't studying a society examined in one of these essays, the approach to them may be useful analytic tools. If you're an armchair historian, this may not be up your alley as much-- but then again, maybe it is! I rather enjoyed it, and despite being a thick sucker it went by fairly quickly.
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