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A Comparison of the Development of Sea Power in the Ancient World(Part Ⅰ)
August 19, 2022  


MA Keyao (Peking University)


Influenced by the geographical environment, economic demand, nautical equipment and technology, some ancient countries developed sea power earlier, some became maritime empires, and some developed sea power slowly. The geographical environment of Ancient Greek Poleis made them develop sea power and expand their living space. Even Sparta, which was developed in agriculture, had become a maritime power in the fight for hegemony. The Persian Empire had the strength to build warships, but it didn't have its own naval talents, so it didn't have enough strength to occupy Greece. Rome defeated Carthage with its own navy and became a maritime power in its aggression and expansion. Ancient Chinese dynasties took agriculture as the foundation, and its geographical environment always led to the invasion of nomads in the northwest. Therefore, the main energy of unifying the country was used to resist the strong enemies in the northwest. All the operations at sea were aimed at conquering adjacent regions, not for the purpose of economic plunder. In Song Dynasty, there was a trend to develop sea power, and after Song Dynasty, there was an economic foundation to do so. However, the implementation of the ban on maritime trade in Ming and Qing Dynasties stagnated the momentum of ancient China's development of sea power.

Published on Economicand Social History Review, Issue 2, 2022.


Institute of European Civilazation