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The Great Empires of the Ancient World

Thomas Harrison


The compelling story of the world’s greatest ancient powers

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The ancient world saw some of the mightiest civilizations ever known, from Rome and Athens in the west through Persia and India to China in the east. From 1600 BC to AD 500 a series of powerful regimes dominated continental politics and their subjects’ daily lives alike.

Here a distinguished team of scholars surveys the key events, rulers and social trends that shaped ten great empires, and how they in turn profoundly influenced imperial ambitions in modern times. The compelling narratives and insights that emerge do not end with their physical demise but continue in the power politics of China and the United States today.


New Kingdom Egypt • The Hittites • Assyria and Babylonia
Persia • Athens • Alexander the Great and his Successors
The Parthian and Early Sasanian Empires • The Roman Empire
The Early Empires of South Asia • The Early Empires of China

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 38

Publication date: 29 April 2021

ISBN: 9780500295885

Contents List

Introduction: New Visions of Ancient Empires by Thomas Harrison • 1. The Empire of New Kingdom Egypt 1539–1069 BC • 2. The Hittite Empire 1650–1200 BC • 3. The Empires of Assyria and Babylonia 900–539 BC • 4. The First Persian Empire 550–330 BC • 5. The Athenian Empire 478–404 BC, 378–338 BC • 6. The Empire of Alexander and his Successors 338–60 BC • 7. The Parthian and Early Sasanian Empires c. 247 BC–AD 300 • 8. The Roman Empire 27 BC–AD 476 • 9. The Early Empires of South Asia 323 BC–AD • 10. The Early Empires of China 221 BC–AD 220

About the Author

Thomas Harrison is Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of many books on the ancient world, most recently Interpreting Herodotus and Writing Ancient Persia.