Military Annexation and Settlement Formation
The great empires rested on the ability to exploit the process
of military annexation and the formation of settlements to become
agricultural centers. The relative peace they brought encouraged
international trade and notably the growth of the Silk Road.
They also faced common problems such as those associated with
maintaining huge armies and the support of the bureaucracy. These
costs fell most heavily on the peasantry, whilst land-owning
magnates were increasingly able to evade centralized control.
The pressure of barbarians on the frontiers hastened the process
of internal dissolution. The Han empire fell into civil war in
220 while its Roman counterpart became increasingly decentralized
and divided around the same time.
The Age of the Kingdom Begins to Develop
Throughout the temperate zones of Eurasia and North Africa, large
empires continued to rise and fall.
The breakup of the Roman Empire around the 5th century AD coincided
with the spread of Christianity westward from the Middle East.
The western part of the Roman Empire fell under the domination
of various Germanic tribes in the 5th century, and these polities
gradually developed into a number of warring Catholic states. The
remaining part of the Roman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean
was henceforth known as the Byzantine Empire. Centuries later a
large part of western Europe became the Holy Roman Empire comprising
a number of states in what is now Germany and Italy.
In China dynasties would similarly rise and fall. The most remarkable,
if short lived, of these was the Mongol Empire which seized almost
all of Eurasia's landmass, missing only western Europe and Japan.
Islam, which began in Arabia in the 7th century AD, was also one
of the most remarkable forces growing from only a few followers
to become the basis of a series of large Empires in India, the
Middle East, and North Africa.
Technological Developments and Developed Societies
This period was marked by slow, but steady, technological improvements
with developments of extreme importance such as the stirrup,
the mouldboard plough, and the printing press arriving every
Vast societies also began to be built up in Central America at
this time with the Inca in the Andes and the Maya and the Aztecs
in Mesoamerica being the most notable. In India rise and fall of
two major dynasties occurred mainly the Guptas and Mayurian Empires
at the north and three prominent Tamil kingdoms grown stably, CherasCholas