The development of empires was closely linked to the control of international trade. Commerce around the Mediterranean in the first millennium BC was dominated by the Greeks – but in his efforts to extend his empire, Alexander the Great made advances to take control of the Indian trade too. A similar pattern is seen in the emergence of the Roman Empire, which had access to the eastern market through Egypt, and at the same time, the Chinese empire was opening trade routes to the west to strengthen its own power.
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