Fall 2019

The Ancient Empires

, 3 pts, GU4001


The principal goal of this course is to examine the nature and histories of a range of early empires in a comparative context. In the process, we will examine influential theories that have been proposed to account for the emergence and trajectories of those empires. Among the theories are the core-periphery, world-systems, territorial-hegemonic, tributary-capitalist, network, and IEMP approaches.  Five regions of the world have been chosen, from the many that could provide candidates:


Rome (the classic empire), New Kingdom Egypt, Qin China, Aztec Mesoamerica, and Inka South America. These empires have been chosen because they represent a cross-section of polities ranging from relatively simple and early expansionist societies to the grand empires of the Classical World, and the most powerful states of the indigenous Americas.


There are no prerequisites for this course, although students who have no background in Anthropology, Archaeology, History, or Classics may find the course material somewhat more challenging than students with some knowledge of the study of early societies.  There will be two lectures per week, given by the professor.

Section Number
Call Number
Day, Time & Location
TR 11:40AM-12:55PM To be announced
Terence N D'Altroy