General History/history


Empires have been built throughout history.Apart from those that are built of religion, what would be the real reasons for their expansion?
1. Would it more material greed or more of noble visions of the leaders? For example to achieve unity amongst nations, to provide prosperity for humanity, etc?
2.To enhance the expansion, the conquerers have to enlist the conquered people as part of their army. How would they be sure of the loyalty of the soldiers?
3. in the particular case of the ransack of Baghdad, the Mongols basically destroyed the city and its people. What much benefits would be a destroyed city to the Mongols? Also the actions would bring much hatreed and enmity amongst the survivors. Would it not be much better to only attack the vital parts of the city?

Hi, and thanks for your question.
1. Most, probably all, empires were built for reasons of greed. Some empire builders talked themselves into believing that they were doing their subject peoples a favor by conquering them, but this was a form of self-delusion. If there had not been a material incentive, they would not have conquered those people.

2. There are several ways to ensure the loyalty of subject peoples: The conqueror could play one subject faction off against another, keeping the factions angrier at each other than they are with the conqueror. Where a strong warrior culture exists, the conqueror can offer the only avenue of a military career. The Americans did this with the Native Americans. Native American men did not want to settle down and become farmers -- that was women's work. The only way to be a warrior was to join the American Army as scouts and fight other Native American tribes. The English did this with the Scots, in India, and elsewhere around their empire. The Romans were excellent at bringing subject peoples into the Roman world. Historians even have a word for it: Romanization. Rome gave their subject peoples baths, Roman law, gladiatorial games, aquaducts, roads, etc. In the process they destroyed local culture and turned the people into Romans.

3. If a city surrendered quickly, the Mongols were always lenient. If a city resisted, the Mongols would punish the city as an example to other cities. I suspect that after Baghdad, all the other cities in the Middle East surrendered quickly. As Machiavelli said, "Love is fickle. It is more reliable to be feared than loved."

Hope this answers your questions,

General History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


C.M. Aaron


My interests are pretty diverse: military history, technology, and social trends for most historical eras, general U.S. history, European history, especially Roman and early medieval history but also the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, European colonialism in Africa, a little bit of Asian history, especially as it relates to European and American imperialism. I'm also pretty good with presidential history.


I've read hundreds of history books on various subjects. I've also been writing historical fiction for about twenty years. Story development drives my research. I am also a tour guide at a local museum.

Bachelor's degree in history and geography.

©2016 All rights reserved.