I have been watching several historical movies/ series lately, and i did notice that both Roman and Islamic Empire have many similarities:
Religion: They both were the reasons that Christianity and Islam are now the biggest religions.
– Islamic Empire obviously spread Islam, the religion of the empire was adopted fast especially in conquered pagan cities.
– Roman Empire, was not a religion based empire, but the conversion of emperors to Christianity and then forcing it upon populations, had the exact same effect as above.
Peace through war: It might be difficult to understand for the modern day individuals that war may be needed to create peace, all the recent history wars have just created chaos and destruction, but at that time wars led to big empires that spread law and ended never ending clashes between tribes and cities, and helped population focus on something other than defending and attacking neighbors, being under the protection of an army meant the cities and the tribes can focus on more important things like learning, education, food production, processing, basic industries …. It also meant that there’s now a law applied to prevent stealing, crime, rape (all these could have been factors to wars in the past) …
– Islamic Empire united the thousands of fighting tribes in the Arabian peninsula, then spread to the rest of the middle east, the law was the Islamic sharia, which was also a huge factor in the conversions of the newly conquered cities/tribes, mainly due to the rules that pagans need to convert or leave the land.
– Roman Empire spread throughout Europe and reached the Middle East, it united the thousands of tribes and decreased barbaric invasions, even though many of native population were enslaved, still the outcome was much less small wars, and more time for society to focus on developing.
At this point i stop my analysis, but there’s many movies and tv series that can help give a realistic view of what historians think was the case at that time, my favorites would be:
Spartacus (amazing 2010 TV series – will give you an idea how the Roman Empire operated)
For Islamic Empire : a PBS Documentary : produced in 2000. “Islam: Empire of faith”
In both cases Religion was forced on people, and people had no choice but to adopt these religions.
I would like to reconsider my above statement that big empires might have been better for the populations, maybe development wise they were better, but i’m not sure if the same can be said about life conservation, as both these empires lead to the death of hundred of thousands, through the wars they waged on other tribes and empires.