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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

.This chapter compares empires contemporaneous with the Aztecs (Inca, Songhay, Ottoman, Safavid, Vijayanagara, Ming) to develop general perspectives on scale, military power, economic organization, ideology, and scope of political administration. The Aztecs built a less costly empire than many other empires, leaving local city-state institutions largely intact and investing less in infrastructure and administrative hierarchies. These characteristics invite the comparison of the Aztec Triple Alliance and the Delian League, a military alliance that led to a brief period of Athenian empire-building in the fifth century BC. Both cases demonstrate the limited potential for using shared cultural identity and political institutions to build imperial power. The chapter closes with a brief comparison of the Aztec Empire and the growing Spanish Empire that conquered it. In 1519, Aztec power compared favorably with that of Castile, and Spanish empire-building assumed a much more impressive tempo and scale after the conquest of Mexico.

Keywords: scale, indirect rule, political economy, ideology, heterarchy, resistance, colonializaiton

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