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By contrast, the comparative history of the largest agrarian empires of antiquity has attracted no attention at all.This deficit is only explicable with reference to academic specialization and language barriers.Unlike parallel demonstration, which tends towards repetition, and contrast history, which tends to be more descriptive than explanatory, macro-causal analysis obviates the need to provide coherent narratives and makes it possible to focus on what is needed to address specific explanatory problems.
They include a shift from city-states to territorial states and from military mass mobilization for inter-state warfare to professional armies for border control; the growth of a proto-bureaucratic civil service accompanied by functional differentiation of power; formal dichotomies in provincial organization undermined by intensified central control; the settlement and military use of foreign settlers in frontier zones; massive expansion of the money supply through standardized state-controlled minting; monetization of taxation; increasing state control of manufacturing and trade; great increases in iron production; census registration and formal status ranking of the general population; codification of law; the growth of markets in land and the gradual concentration of wealth among elites; the transformation of smallholders into tenants, coupled with the growing strength of private patronage ties superseding state authority; unsuccessful attempts at land reform; eventual rural unrest; ideological unification through monumental construction, religious rituals, and elite education; the creation of a homogeneous elite culture and corpora of classics; the emergence of court-centered historiography; ideologies of normative empire sustained by transcendent powers; religious change in late periods, leading to the formation of autonomous church systems; and a philosophical and religious shift in emphasis from community values to ethical conduct and individual salvation.
At the same time, cultural specifics mediated the formal expression of many of these developments: significant differences range from the Republican background of Greco-Roman civilization as opposed to the feudal-monarchical tradition in have been extremely rare (relative to the total amount of scholarship in either field) and moreover almost exclusively confined to the sphere of intellectual and philosophical history.
Expert knowledge is required for all elements of the comparison, not just for the cases the researcher is familiar with.
With regard to comparisons between the ancient Mediterranean and ancient In practice, historical comparisons inevitably rely on a mixture of different approaches.
Recent macro-historical work has highlighted independent parallel movements of socio-cultural evolution in different parts of the globe (Diamond 1998).
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More specifically, historians of the more recent past are showing great interest in comparative assessments of Europe and 2000).
Themes and questions serve as a framework for pointing out differences between cases, and emphasis is put on the historical integrity of each case and on the importance of specific historical configurations relative to the predictions of ideal types and theoretical models.
This approach helps define features of one system more sharply by comparison with conceptually or functionally equivalent features in another system.
Their third variant, macro-causal analysis, employs comparisons for the purpose of making causal 1979).
New theories are constructed from the convergence or absence of features and consequences.