Numerous legendary empires were built (and destroyed) in the course of history.
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From a political point of view, an empire is a state of great territorial extent that includes numerous ethnic groups and countries. Usually, empires are culturally and ethnically diverse.
Most legendary empires in history were established through conquests (that is, via the use of military force) or economic and political coercion. A common feature of these empires was that all of them were governed by a strong central power.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the eastern half of the previously divided Roman Empire continued to thrive. The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, became the successor of Rome.
It reached its greatest territorial extent in the 6th century, during the reign of Justinian I, who wanted to restore the Roman Empire to its former size with his successful conquests.
The Byzantine Empire gradually lost its provinces during the Middle Ages, and it finally fell to the Ottoman Empire, which captured Constantinople in 1453.
- It was founded in 762 by Al-Mansur, caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate. It soon became the new capital as well as the political, economic and cultural center.
The tribes of Arabia, united by the Prophet Muhammad, conquered large territories in the 7th century. The Arab Empire reached its greatest territorial extent under the rule of the Umayyad dynasty, which lasted from 661 until 750.
The Umayyad Caliphate became so large that its borders reached far beyond the Arabian Peninsula; it stretched from India to the Iberian Peninsula.
The unity of the empire was shattered in the 10th century, and new, sovereign caliphates were formed.
- It was the capital of the Frankish Empire as well as the favorite city of Charlemagne. Numerous Holy Roman Emperors were crowned here later in the course of history.
The Frankish Empire was established at the end of the 5th century, when Clovis I united the Frankish tribes. He managed to create a relatively unified empire with his conquests.
The heyday of the Frankish Empire was under the rule of the Carolingian dynasty, and it reached its greatest territorial extent during the reign of Charlemagne, King of the Franks who was also crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Frankish Empire became equal to the Byzantine Empire.
The empire weakened after the death of Charlemagne, and the Treaty of Verdun, signed in 843, divided the empire into three kingdoms.
The Mongol Empire was established in the beginning of the 13th century thanks to the conquests of Genghis Khan.
His descendants ruled over almost all of Asia and Eastern Europe. The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in world history with its area of 33 million square kilometers (12,741,371 square miles).
Before his death, Genghis Khan divided the empire among his sons, which in the second half of the 13th century disintegrated into khanates.
The Holy Roman Empire rose from the ashes of the Frankish Empire. Officially it was founded in 962 when Otto I the Great was crowned emperor. The Holy Roman Empire was not a truly unified empire, but rather a loose confederation of different kingdoms and states.
Nevertheless, the Holy Roman Empire, the strongest secular empire of the flourishing Middle Ages, ruled over central Europe and was a formidable adversary of the papacy.
Although the empire was already disintegrated into about 300 states, officially it was only dissolved in 1806, when Francis II resigned his title as Holy Roman Emperor.