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Warfare and Violence in Ancient Times Exploratory Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2020

Introduction

Political economy is vital to existence and expansion of any country. This is evident in ancient empires, which used political economy to strengthen their grip on colonies. For instance, Imperialism, which is currently utilized in United States, was developed by Assyrians. Moreover, use of electric batteries, flush toilets, paved roads and locks were used in Assyria before modernization.

Furthermore, their farming techniques were advanced with irrigation forming a major part of cultivation. These were great advancements at the time. No wonder they are considered among the greatest civilizations of ancient times. Their ability to unify cities in times when war was the order of things was exemplary.

This brings to focus the importance of good administration and political economy. This paper will discuss civilization as conveyed by ancient empires such as Egyptians, Assyrians, Macedonians, Aztecs, Incas and the Maya (Gascoigne 1).

Among the ideologies brought forth in ancient times, none has matched Assyrians. Their excellent and evolutionary political skills as well as administration were very important in world revolution. Other empires also helped shape the world. These included Egyptians, Incas, Aztecs, Macedonians and the Maya. For instance, Egyptians contributed to writings as well as Assyrians.

Incas on the other hand, were well organized with division of labor and specialization being the major benefits from their culture. Maya on the other hand were very good at influencing their neighbors without use of violence. Moreover, they contributed greatly to philosophy, astronomy and literature among others. This is same with Aztecs, who were very crucial in alliances and political studies.

Macedonians were so powerful that enemies trembled at their feet. Moreover, they had well trained soldiers with witty leaders such a Philips II, among others. It is also important to note the artifacts and architecture seen in Aztecs and Mayan times. These were very influential to modern world (Ancient Military 1).

The Egyptians

Egyptian empire was great in the ancient times. It conquered several other empires and was victorious in many occasions. However, its popularity was mainly on its contribution to civilization inn agriculture, medicine, literature and mathematics, among others.

Egyptian people settled in Northern part of Africa around the banks of River Nile. They cultivated land near river Nile and used very sophisticated canals in irrigation systems. River Nile provided water for the rich valley in which they cultivated their crops. Egyptians were ruled by hereditary kings known as the Pharaoh.

The peak of their civilization coalesced in 3,150 BC, during time of first Pharaoh. Its contributions to civilization during these periods included storage pyramids for grain, techniques for medicine and algebraic mathematical systems, which are still utilized to day. Other contributions to civilization included writing, architecture and embalming, among others.

However, the Roman Empire conquered and reduced it to a province by 31 BC. Their political ideology was on absolute power by the King who dictated moral values. Pharaoh had his general, ministers and wise men as advisors (Tyldesley 1).

The Assyrians

Assyria extends from west of Euphrates to North of Haran, and Lake Urmi in Iran. This civilization covered four current nations in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. It had two great rivers that passed between it namely Euphrates and Tigris. The rivers supplied water for irrigation and other uses. The Language spoken in Assyria was Akkadian, which was written in cuneiform.

They were Semitic people who were indigenous to Mesopotamia. Their writings wee at first based on tablets and clay, however, by 750 B.C.; they had started writing on papyrus. Assyrian Empire was at its greatest between 900 and 600 B.C. They developed several ideologies such as universal empire and deity, among others. These were adopted by Arameans, among others neighbors they influenced.

They adopted Aramaic due to their interaction with them although it was infused with Akkadian language. Their most influential period began in 2371 B.C., when Akkad established his Assyrian Kingdom.

In 1813 B.C. The kingdom was firmly established by Shamshi-Ada, who united Nineveh, Arbel, Ashur and Arrapkha. Of great importance during this period to modern civilization was his political skills and administrative efficiency that enabled him to unite the cities (BetBasoo 1).

In the 900 A.D., Assyria rose again and experienced great administrative efficiency and economic boost through Ashur-dan II. During tis period, they recorded huge harvests of grain in Mesopotamia. They defeated Arameans and controlled them during this time. Assyrian control expanded to southern Lebanon as well as Zagross mountain, among others.

They had well-organized military that ensure success in conquering and securing new footholds. Through their advanced political skills, they managed to rule over Egypt, Cyprus, Caspian and Anatolia, among other. They brought together both barbaric and nomadic people in these regions and civilized them. Things like locks and keys were invented in Assyria.

These fundamentals occur in our daily lives. Moreover, it is in Assyria that keeping time was developed. It is also quite important to note that paved roads, which are used today, were first developed in Assyria. Others include use of iron, magnifying glasses, libraries, plumbing, guitars, flush toilets, electric batteries, arches and aqueducts, among others.

Various ideologies also came from Assyria these included imperial administrations, breakdown of ethnic barriers, cultural unification, spread of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, among others. It is therefore quite clear that Assyria contributed greatly to modern civilization (BetBasoo 1).

The Greece-Macedonia

Macedonians lived in Northern Greece and enjoyed a stable dynasty around 700 A.D. The word Macedonia is believed to have originated from Makednos, which means tall. Macedonians had a powerful army that conquered those around them. They engaged potential captives in war and secured all their regions.

Through this, they conquered those regions. They had a stable dynasty in the 7th century B.C. However, after there centuries, they became so powerful that they had ability to dominate Greek. Their society was feudal where the King and his nobles would do as they chose.

Their accession and civilization began in 356BC when Philip II took power. He used bribes and military genius as well as skillful diplomacy to conquer his neighbors. He defeated several powers in Greece like Athens and Thebes, among others. He went on to convince Greece into a treaty to conquer Persia although this failed when he was murdered in His daughter’s wedding.

His son Alexander the great took over and kept with fight to conger his neighbors. He managed this successfully until his death in 323. His death brought a sharp division in Macedonia as his family members fought for power.

Olimpias her mother went on a coup but failed. This signified the end of Macedonian conquer as Rome took over and reduced it to a province. Warfare was an integral part of their part in conquering neighbors. However, they only managed this for a short while (Gascoigne 1).

The Maya

The Maya, like Aztecs are Mesoamerican civilization. They developed language spoken in pre Columbian America. They are also known for mathematical systems, architecture and art as well as astronomical systems. They are known to have established their empire between 2000BC to 250 A.D. This period was known as classic period and it witnessed they best state of development.

Like the Aztecs and Incas, Maya were destroyed by Spanish. They had numerous contact and cultural diffusion with Mesoamerican civilization. For instance, they developed their own calendar through civilization. Their influence was vast in Northern El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras as well as central Mexico.

They had highly skilled artists who made sculptures and ceramics. Most of their images were decorated in wood and stones. They also had geometric figures as well as hieroglyphs. In addition, they offered ceramics to the dead. The Maya people never disappeared even after Spanish Conquest.

Currently they form sizable populations across Maya area. They have unique sets of beliefs and traditions that resulted from both post and pre Columbian cultures and ideas. In fact, some of their languages are still spoken such as Rabinal Achi, among others. In 2005, this language was recognized by UNESCO in a play as the Intangible and oral Heritage of humanity.

The Maya had hereditary rulers as their heads, they were known as ajaw. The ajaws ruled over cities. In general, Maya people civilized people through their influence unlike other civilizations. Like Aztecs and Incas, the Maya believed in many gods. They also offered human sacrifices like the Aztecs (Coe 31).

The Aztecs

Aztecs dominated many parts of Mesoamerica between 1400 and 1600 A.D. Their civilization period lasted about two centuries. They came from large groups that spoke Nahuatl as their language. Due to diversity, Aztecs did not have a particular culture although their civilization was based on Mesoamerican culture.

Their population was over 20 million. Tenochtitlan was their capital and it was build at the centered in an island of Lake Texcoco. Aztecs were very powerful as they ruled through alliances. However, they also ruled through fear as was witnessed in their downfall at the hands of Spanish emperor Cortes. Aztecs are known for irrigation systems and mass maize production as well as use cacao bean in food.

Some of their inventions are still utilize by modern world. They also had well structured educational systems that emphasized on literature, philosophy, astronomy and history, among others. Their numeric system was based on the number twenty with calendars based on their leaders and gods. It is also quite important to note that Aztec sacrificed human captives in order to continue their civilization.

This was grave in that they took out captives hearts when still alive. It has been shown that tens of thousands of people hade been sacrificed at the great pyramid of Tenochtitlan.

Just like the Incans, land was controlled and given to commoners for cultivation at a fee. In most cases, people would be enslaved to cultivate land, which was owned, by kings and nobles. At the peak of their rule, Spanish army led by Cortes conquered them (Clendinnen 20).

The Incas

The Incas ruled its South America Empire for about three centuries. They were a small tribe but conquered a great part of South America during their time. The areas included in their rule were parts of Bolivia, Chile, north Argentina as well as Ecuador. Their mode of rule was by conquering and assimilating. Whenever they conjured an area, they would teach inhabitants their way of life and expect them to follow.

For instance, they used to take sons of their leader’s sons and made them rulers over them. However, they had to rule the Inca way. Their government system was in form of a pyramid with Sapa Inca at the top. Sapa Inca, which meant unique Inca, was believed to have come from the sun god.

He therefore commanded respect from the Inca people. This pyramid started with Sapa, through to Nobles, then curacas, after which craftsmen and farmers. The Empire was well organized with tasks divided to each group of people. Andres mountain inhabited most of the Incas with their cities well fortified. Every person in Inca was organized with a role to play in life. Sapa Inca owned all the land.

He would give some to farmers for cultivation in return for work. Although they did not invent writing, the Incas used a device known as quipu to keep records. Their civilization began by the capture of Moche culture in central Peru. This went on for more centuries although they were later destroyed by Spanish conquests (Lambert 1).

Conclusion

There are various similarities between ancient and modern civilization. Some of which include study of philosophy, astronomy, literature and history, among others as seen in the Aztecs.

Food production and irrigation can also be traced back to these ancient societies with utilized crude but capable systems to irrigate their farms. It is also quite important to note that both Aztecs and Maya shared various practices like study of astronomy and history, among others. While Aztec land was owned by nobles and kings that of Incas was owned by their leader known as Incas.

The Incas conquered people and assimilate them into their way of life. On the other hand, Aztecs conquered and sacrificed as well as enslaved their captives. It can also be noted that the Incas were more organized and structured than Aztecs. The Maya, like Aztecs sacrificed people to their gods. The Incas, Maya and Aztecs both had religious calendars that were inspired by religious cynics.

While Maya used their influence to conquer neighbors, Macedonia on the other hand used warfare with skillful tactics, bribery and well trained military. This was witnessed in Philips’ tactics during the invasion of Greece. Assyria can be considered as the most influential empire in ancient world. This is mainly because of the contributions it brought to its colonies as well as to modern civilization.

While other empires like Aztecs exploited their captives, Assyrians taught them how to live a civilized life with modernized lifestyles. Like Egypt, they focused on political economy, which produced large grains. Besides, United States is ruled through imperial system of government where various governors report to the federal government, this was adopted from Assyrians.

To crown it all, use of electric batteries, flush toilets, paved roads, among other were very significant in those periods. Besides, even the modern world took time to understand these concepts (Ancient Military 1).

Works Cited

Ancient Military. “”. ancientmilitary.com. AM. Web.

BetBasoo, Peter. (2007). “”. aina.org. Aina. Web.

Clendinnen, Inga. Aztecs: An Interpretation. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Print.

Coe, Michael. The Maya (6th ed.). New York: Dante Reed, 1999, p. 31.

Gascoigne, Bamber. “”. historyworld.net. History World. Web.

Lambert, Tim. “”. localhistories.org. Local Histories, 2008. Web.

Tyldesley, Joyce. “”. www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. Web.

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