This page contains maps of three Empires that came after the end of the Roman Empire, which were "successors" in the sense that they contained an Imperial city (Rome or New Rome). I compare them at their height to the Roman Empire at various times. I also include the kingdom of Greece, even though this was not an Empire and did not include New Rome.
The first successor Empire came into being immediately following the
end of the Roman Empire in 1453. It was the Ottoman Empire, with
as its capital. Named after its first ruler, Osman (1280-1324), it grew
fairly steadily for three centuries to the early 17th century. It then
declined fairly steadily for another three centuries until its end in
when the modern state of Turkey replaced it. Above it is shown at its
in 1606, following the successful conclusion of a war with the Hapsburg
Empire which extended the Ottomans' hold over Hungary. In the east,
a war since 1603 with Safavid Persia was going badly, and would lead to
the loss of significant territory by 1639. Its territories here
comparable to that of the Byzantine Empire in 564, under Justinian,
below. The Byzantine Empire at its peak extended a lot further west,
the Ottoman Empire extended further east, north, and south. The
Empire lasted almost 900 years after its peak; the Ottoman Empire
more than 300.
The second successor Empire was Napoleon's Empire of the French. As
the most successful general of the French revolution, Napoleon made
dictator of France in 1799. In imitation of Classical Rome, he took the
title of First Consul. In 1804, he followed the lead of that earlier
of the Franks, Charlemagne, by being crowned Emperor in Rome. Pointedly
unlike Charlemagne, however, he took the crown from the Pope and placed
it on his own head himself. In 1809 he annexed the Papal States,
Rome into his Empire. His Empire reached its height in 1812 as shown
The stippled areas were mostly ruled by members of Napoleon's family.
the great powers, only Britain and Russia remained in opposition to
In 1812 he marched east with an army of half a million men to bring the
Czar into line. This campaign was a disaster, and the next year all of
Europe rose against him. With his final defeat in 1815, Napoleon's
crumbled to nothing. Yet at its height, it was well comparable to
Empire 1000 years before, as shown below.
The third successor Empire was Mussolini's Fascist Italian Empire
It was named after the Fasces, a bundle of sticks symbolizing authority
in the ancient Republic of Rome. Mussolini portrayed himself as the new
Julius Caesar, and then the new Augustus. Around the turn of the
the kingdom of Italy had taken Libya and Somalia (south of this map) in
Africa. Mussolini's only real success at Empire building was his
of Ethiopia (south of this map) in 1936 and Albania in 1939. In the
World War, Italian forces were at first humbled by the Greek army. The
Italians were able to annex (solid) or occupy (stippled) the European
shown above only with German assistance. Just one year later Italy was
invaded by the British and Americans, and Mussolini overthrown.
its height, the Fascist Italian Empire plus the areas in occupied was
to the Republican Roman Empire in 146 BC, when it had just become
the greatest power in the northern Mediterranean. The map for this
which is not reproduced anywhere else in this site, is shown below.
The last state shown does not strictly belong, as it was not an
and did not contain New Rome. However, I could not resist showing the
Kingdom in 1921. This was after the First World War, when the Ottoman
was on the losing side. Its territories south of Anatolia and Armenia
already been lost to British and French forces, and much of its other
occupied by the Allies (Britain, France, Italy and Greece). In 1920 the
Allies decided to recreate a large Armenian state, give Smyrna and
its hinterland to Greece, and make Constantinople and the straits an
area. The Ottoman Sultan agreed to these terms, but nationalist Turks
to accept this further loss of territory. In the ensuing civil war,
saw its chance to recreate a Greek state encompassing western Anatolia
as well as European Greece. By 1921 Greek forces controlled the area
above (also including southern Albania, which was occupied 1918-23).
With the notable exception of Constantinople, almost all of the
area held by the Byzantine Empire before its collapse in 1204 was
briefly under Greek control again. (The map below which shows this is
reproduced elsewhere in this site.) But the nationalist Turks under
(later Attaturk) won their civil war, and by 1923 had beaten the Greek
army and negotiated the withdrawal of the other Allied forces.
this, both sides expelled their ethnic minorities, so that western
became overwhelmingly Turkish for the first time, and the southern
(apart from Istanbul and its hinterland) overwhelmingly Greek. There
to be no Byzantine restoration, and no demographic justification for
in the future.
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