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5,000 Years in 90 Seconds
October 2, 2006 10:57 PM   Subscribe

The Imperial History of the Middle East is a flash based map of the Middle East, with a sliding timeline showing the various forces that have established dominance in the region over the last 5,000 years. Just one of many interesting interactive demonstrations over at Maps Of War.
posted by jonson (33 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty damn cool but it would have been better if they showed the overlapping empires. It's not like the Persian Empire disappeared one day. I also didn't know European Colonialism was an empire....
posted by portisfreak at 11:06 PM on October 2, 2006


Nice find Jonson.
posted by bigmusic at 11:11 PM on October 2, 2006


It was interesting how huge some of those empires were. It would be nice if they broke up the 'European colonies' into different based on what country was doing the colonizing.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on October 2, 2006


It's true; I get the feeling this is like a good rough draft - a better version would include greater detail, better transitions, maybe some history around the rise & fall of each empire. Still, interesting enough (for me, at least) to see all the people who had laid claim to the region over time.
posted by jonson at 11:25 PM on October 2, 2006


cool, though. Definitely a great teaching tool before starting an actual study of the region, just to give students an idea of the historical sweep.
posted by cell divide at 12:11 AM on October 3, 2006


Just one of many interesting interactive demonstrations over at Maps Of War.

Where? I see two static maps, one rollover and two animations on the site, all of which are pretty rubbish. The Imperial History map is head and shoulders above anything else there.

Indeed, my memory is that when the site first started making the rounds (on Reddit, IIRC) about a week ago there was nothing else at all on MapsOfWar. It's slightly odd that the author seemingly hasn't made anything else of comparable quality. Not suspicious, just odd.

BTW, the original version had a rather controversial difference right at the end...
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:38 AM on October 3, 2006


Thanks jonson, really enjoyed that.

Original version's ending is indeed, er, interesting...
posted by Kiell at 1:02 AM on October 3, 2006


Where is the American Empire?
posted by dydecker at 2:40 AM on October 3, 2006


God damn we hairles apes are good at killing each other.
posted by quite unimportant at 3:32 AM on October 3, 2006


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posted by quite unimportant at 3:33 AM on October 3, 2006


The Romans didn't show up until 117 A.D.? Somebody better tell Jesus.
posted by Nahum Tate at 3:59 AM on October 3, 2006


From a geographic standpoint, Iraq is caught between a rock and a hard place. Its neighbors offer either pressure or non-support. Syria creates pressure by encouraging insurgent elements to freely enter western Iraq. From the east, Iran inflicts pressure on Iraq’s political institutions by funding Shiite militias. Friendly support from Iraq’s northern border has been limited by clashes between the Turkish forces and Kurdish nationalistic groups, which create a hostile environment for the two neighbors. Saudi Arabia, disappointed from what it views as a Shiite-dominated Iraq, offers no substantial help to solve Iraq’s southern issues.

The result is a ‘pressure vault’ in which a combination of pressure and non-support from Iraq’s neighbors threatens to implode the stability of the country.

Hmm. No mention of the effect of a massive occupying army on the stability of the country? Just a simplistic set of arrows to suggest that Iraq's problems are external and geographic? A shoutout to the "Denver Strategy Institute" whose founder, Christopher O'Brien has this to say about the war in Iraq?

Rubbish indeed. The Imperial History map is meant to demonstrate one pinheaded point: "In a climate of timeless ethnic, geographic, and religious conflicts, the people of the Middle East seem willing to trade their liberty for security."

Less wanky, more thinky. People are dying.
posted by felix betachat at 4:01 AM on October 3, 2006


There's a serious problem with the Persian Empires; we're only shown the Achemenids (pre-Alexander) and neither the empires of the Parthians nor the Sassanians, the latter of whom were the main imperial rivals of the Romans up until Heracleus defeated them (just in time for both empires to be overrun by the Islamic Caliphate).

Of course, both the American and Soviet Empires are missing from the 20th century.
posted by graymouser at 4:20 AM on October 3, 2006


They make it seem like each empire lasts exactly the same amount of time, it has a rhythm to it, which it really shouldn't.
posted by rottytooth at 5:20 AM on October 3, 2006


It also doesnt show the illegal turkish occupation of the north of Cyprus.
posted by 13twelve at 5:29 AM on October 3, 2006


Reminds me of a Civilization replay.

The Hittites Discovered Electricity!
posted by empath at 6:19 AM on October 3, 2006


Iranian empire?
As far as I know, it's not Iran that has invaded two countries and had a proxy war with a third
posted by spazzm at 6:45 AM on October 3, 2006


...in the middle east during the 21st century.
I wasn't going to post that, but accidentally tapped the touchpad. Sorry.
posted by spazzm at 6:47 AM on October 3, 2006


Interesting - I'm suprised there were some that I'd not heard of before...
posted by MvE at 7:40 AM on October 3, 2006


I always forget how much territory the Mongols controlled; from China in the east to Eastern Europe and Arabia in the west. And the majority of that vast westward expansion was accomplished within a single generation. Just goes to show what you can do with nothing but a dream, determination, and millions of loyal, consummate killers riding behind you. If the Egyptians hadn't obliterated the southwestern Mongol foothold while the Khans were busy squabbling over succession rites, we'd probably be speaking Mongolian right now.
posted by Iridic at 8:37 AM on October 3, 2006


And the Ottomans were basically mongols, too.
posted by empath at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2006


A nice and tastefully-done presentation. The only objection is that compressing thousands of years of history into a minute-and-a-half tends to distort matters rather badly.
posted by CF at 9:50 AM on October 3, 2006


MetaFilter: nothing but a dream, determination, and millions of loyal, consummate killers riding behind you.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:54 AM on October 3, 2006


Very interesting presentation - lacking in detail and somewhat inaccurate but interesting nonetheless. More detailed information in atlas format can be found in Colin McEvedy's books:
http://www.powells.com/s?kw=Colin+McEvedy&x=0&y=0
posted by speug at 10:23 AM on October 3, 2006


"all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come." (Ecclesiastes 2:16)
posted by stbalbach at 10:46 AM on October 3, 2006


graymouser: The Byzantine Empire was not "overrun" by the Arabs. The Arabs conquered Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and eventually Africa. In the tenth century, for instance, the Byzantines were the most civilized and most powerful country in Europe.It

The Byzantine empire survived for eight hundred years after the seventh-century crisis. Let's have some perspective.
posted by nasreddin at 10:50 AM on October 3, 2006


(the "it" meant, "It still retained half of its Justinian-era territory")
posted by nasreddin at 10:52 AM on October 3, 2006


Before seeing the original version linked to by Busy Old Fool, I did wonder why Iranian independence was stated to be 1979, the year of the anti-Shah'ist revolution. Last I recall, Iran was independent under the Pahlavi dynasty, and its borders today remain unchanged from before then. I'm not sure what the author was getting at with notions of the 'Iranian Empire'. Is that wishful thinking or a feeble attempt at exaggeration? The Iranians are light years away from becoming an Empire again. Unlike the other prospective imperial contenders (China, India, & Russia), they are not even close to becoming a nuclear power, while the others have been for decades--just to proffer one prerequisite for imperial dominion today.
posted by Azaadistani at 11:20 AM on October 3, 2006


Nice.

http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/EMPIRE17.swf goes straight to a full-screen version.
posted by aerotive at 11:55 AM on October 3, 2006


I was in Syria recently and found it all a bit mind boggling, it terms of how much history there is to get your head around. This flash doesn't really help illustrate the history per se, but it does a nice job of illustrating how many cultures have influenced that patch of the world.
posted by chill at 12:00 PM on October 3, 2006


I did wonder why Iranian independence was stated to be 1979, the year of the anti-Shah'ist revolution. Last I recall, Iran was independent under the Pahlavi dynasty, and its borders today remain unchanged from before then.

Could be that they were thinking Iran wasn't completely free of colonial influences (with all that trouble with the AIOC and the Soviet supported revolts in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan) until the nationalist movement convincingly established itself in the '79 revolution.

Then again, I'm not completely certain of my Iranian modern history. They had such a crazy ride through the 20th century, I always have a hard time keeping the players and their motivations straight.
posted by effwerd at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2006


Sargon of Akkad would not be pleased.
posted by moonbiter at 12:59 PM on October 3, 2006


The Romans didn't show up until 117 A.D.? Somebody better tell Jesus.

I did. He said "OMG HAX."
posted by brain_drain at 4:35 PM on October 3, 2006


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