I've noticed that:

  • When the Roman Empire was around, an extremely large state was able to exist
  • After the Western Roman Empire fell, Western European realms fractured into small chiefdoms (the Byzantine Empire and the Caliphate are a different story)
  • As Feudalism rose in the 700s, large realms started to exist again (e.g. Holy Roman Empire), and small chiefdoms elsewhere started to coalesce into larger nations (e.g. the Heptarchy)
  • By the 900s, somewhat large states existed again, such as England, Norway, Denmark, France, Castile, Leon, Galicia, Hungary, Poland and the Kievan Rus.

This inspires to ask the following questions:

  • Why were the Romans able to run an extremely large state, but the Western Europeans couldn't until the Age of Colonialism? Did Western Europe somehow lose knowledge on running extremely large states?
  • What made it so that Western Europeans were stuck in tiny chiefdoms when the Western Roman Empire fell? Why didn't Western Roman Empire collapse into Francia, Italia, Hispania and Britannia?
  • What allowed somewhat large nations to recoalesce by the Viking Era?

Source: reddit post


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