Background on the concept of empire

Investigate he difference between "Culture", "Civilisation", and "Empire"

  1. change and continuity
  2. cause and consequence
  3. technology and society
  4. conflict
  5. global connections

The Great Empires of the Ancient World

The Development of States and Empires (600 BCE - 600 CE)
  • Increased size
  • improved administration
  • economic development
  • The Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions
  • Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange

Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)

The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium (Oxford Studies in Early Empires)

Roman Empire

"The Romans were the first nation to invent and embody the concept of empire in their two mandates: to wage war & to make and execute laws."

The Roman World

Rome: interesting pre-made activity sheets here....

Qin Empire of China

The Rise and Fall of the Quin Dynasty

Lesson plans
Students will
a) find out about the sequence of events which led to the unification of China by the Qin
b) discover the reasons why it was Qin, and not some other state,which unified China
c) analyze the measures the First Emperor and his ministers took to impose their will upon the whole of China
d) determine the motives behind these policies
e) evaluate the effectiveness of the First Emperor's policies
f) place the achievements of the First Emperor within the broad sweep of Chinese history
g) research the subject using the Timemaps Dynamic History Map of Ancient China and other sources
h) synthesis the information retrieved into coherent statements

Support the argument that the Qin Dynasty, though short-lived, was one of the most important periods of China's Classical Age
  • The leader of the victorious Qin state established the Qin Dynasty and recast himself as Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor of China.
  • The Qin Dynasty was one of the shortest in all of Chinese history, lasting only about 15 years, but was also one of the most important, marked by a strong sense of unification and crucial technological and cultural innovation.
  • Shi Huangdi standardized writing throughout the empire, built expansive infrastructure such as highways and canals, standardized currency and measurement, conducted a census, and established a postal system.
  • Shi Huangdi also built the Great Wall of China, roughly 1,500 miles long and guarded by a massive army, to protect the nation against northern invaders.
  • The Qin Dynasty collapsed after only 15 years. There was a brief period of chaos until the Han Dynasty was established.
Source: Boundless. “The Rise and Fall of the Qin Dynasty.” Boundless World History I: Ancient-1600. Boundless, 01 Oct. 2014. Retrieved 18 Apr. 2015 from

Discovering China - The Qin Dynasty—China's First Dynasty

Published on Aug 13, 2012
The Qin Dynasty from 221 to 206 BC is considered China's first dynasty. Although China did have three ancient dynasties: the Xia, Shang and Zhou, Qin's ruler was the first to declare him self an emperor. He united China after centuries of division and ruled over an estimated population of twenty million people. and

Persian Empire

"The successful, extensive, and multi-cultural Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), also known as the first Persian Empire, absorbed Mesopotamia, Egypt, parts of Greece, Thrace, the Middle East, much of Central Asia, and Pakistan, until it was overthrown and replaced by the short-lived empire of Alexander the Great."

Expansion of the Achaemenid Empire into the Subcontinent (c. 520 BCE)

National Geographic | Persian Empire History channel bbc Documentary

Mauryan Empire


Origin Of Civilizations P2: India - The Empire of the Spirit
The second episode in Michael Wood’s series moves on to the revolutionary years after 500BC - the Age of the Buddha and Mahavira. Travelling by rail to the ancient cities of the Ganges plain, by army convoy through Northern Iraq, and down Pakistan’s Khyber Pass, he shows how Alexander the Great’s invasion of India inspired her first major empire in the form of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.

Buddha and Ashoka: Crash Course World History #6

Published on Mar 1, 2012
In which John relates a condensed history of India, post-Indus Valley Civilization. John explores Hinduism and the origins of Buddhism. He also gets into the reign of Ashoka, the Buddhist emperor who, in spite of Buddhism's structural disapproval of violence, managed to win a bunch of battles.

Chandragupta Maurya | The Mauryan Empire History | Chanakya Niti Education Video

Video for background

Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Cities (History Documentary)

Published on Feb 11, 2014
Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Cities (History Documentary)
As the concept of society grew and developed, the first great cities of the ancient world came to prominence. This episode from the Secrets of Ancient Empires collection investigates the realities behind everyday life in the city including law and order, education, taxation and the surprising truth behind early class systems. The program also looks at the incredible legacies of the great civilizations of Greece and Rome.

Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Armies (History Documentary)

Published on Feb 11, 2014
Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Armies (History Documentary)
This episode of Secrets of Ancient Empires collection features stunning re-creations and reconstructions as it tells the powerful story of the origins of organized warfare. The program reveals the truth behind the savagery of ancient battle; how weapons were made and developed; how sophisticated tactics were introduced and how great warriors made their reputation as they fought to win glory and protect their lands from foreign invasion.

Secrets of Ancient Empires - The First Merchants (History Documentary)

Published on Feb 11, 2014
Secrets of Ancient Empires - The First Merchants (History Documentary)
The common thread that joined all great ancient powers was the need to trade. This episode of Secrets of Ancient Empires explains how trade was carried out across continents long before a single road was constructed. Nor was it only raw materials that were common currency,the program reveals how luxury items such as honey, jewelry and opium were bought and sold across the world via a complex network of trade routes.

Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Beliefs (History Documentary)

Published on Sep 1, 2014
Secrets of the Ancient Empires - The First Beliefs (History Documentary)
The bloody act of human sacrifice combined with bizarre ritualized acts formed the backdrop to ancient organized religious systems. This powerful episode of the Secrets of Ancient Empires collection peers into the darker side of life in the ancient world, where acts that appear immoral to the modern eye were an integral part of temple life.

The Flow of History site: