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This period saw the rise of Rome as a dominant force in Europe, but Persia and China also experienced expansion and dominance in their own areas of the world. The Indian subcontinent and Greek areas became fractured, with the Greeks eventually subjugated by the Romans.

After Alexander the Great, the Greeks became highly compartmentalized and were overextended with many city states and shifting rivalries. The Greeks were pioneers of many modern legal codes and some of their language and literature influences cultures to the present day. The idea of citizenship as free male adults was pioneered in Greece. That said, Greek nobles owned the best land and controlled the government. A lack of farmland caused a great deal of friction among the city states, opening the door to Roman domination as the Greeks did not present a unified front. 

The Romans were more centralized. During the Republic years they were usually ruled by two consuls for a set term. Often the consuls would receive a pro-consulship after their term to conquer additional lands. At times one man become dictator, like Sulla and Caesar. Eventually Rome used an Imperial model with an Emperor as ruler. The Romans adopted much of the Greek culture and you can see influences in their pantheon of Gods a similarities between stories like the Aeneid as compared to the Odyssey.

Persia stabilized and largely fended off the Romans in the west. The Parthians dominated this period, though they borrowed some of the administrative techniques of the Seleucid government that they replaced. The Parthians also took advantage of Greek discord in the west, absorbing some of what the Romans did not. This led to their court adopting some Greek practices. The Persians allowed a level of autonomy for Greek city sates in their empire.

The Indian subcontinent experienced much strife during this era, with the Tocharians moving out of Central Asia and moving into the area we call Pakistan today. The Maurya and Pushyamitra vied for control in the Ganges Valley. One unique government to take root was the Brahmin-led Sunga Dynasty. In the south, the Deccans became distinct from the rest of the continent. Buddhism flourished, especially sculpture during this era. The Deccan's in particular became highly influenced by Buddhism in art and in government.

In China, the Han came to power under Wu-Ti. China's government made use of bureaucracy, influenced by Confucian principles. They developed a military conscription requirement, criminal code, and currency system that kept the central government strong in comparison to their neighbors. Chinese population growth was massive during this era, nearing 60,000,000 by the 1st millennium CE's dawn. Buddhism made its way into China during the first millennium adding its influence, art, and written works to Chinese culture.

1. J.E. Maxwell, A Comprehensive Outline of World History, (Houston, Rice University, 2009), 218-250.

2. "The Rise of Rome," Penn State On Topic. 2017.

3. Bamber Gascoigne, "History of Greece - The Greek identity: From the 8th Century BC," From 2001.

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