Throughout history, empires have used a variety of methods to defend and expand their territory. In the Macedonian, Byzantine, and Japanese empires the methods of military and defense manifested itself differently. While the Macedonians developed a strong army using the phalanx formation, the Byzantine empire focused on its navy and the Japanese developed a system of government called Feudalism that gave the military, including the Samurais, power over the emperor. These differences were due to the specific goals and needs of each of these empires.
The Macedonians during the Hellenistic Era had a very powerful army that used the phalanx formation. During invasions or war, the Macedonians were strategic and powerful.
They organized their troops in the phalanx formation, meaning the soldiers would stand in a tight formation while holding long pikes that had a weight on the bottom. Each soldier in the formation held out his long spear horizontally in front of him, and the people in the last rows held theirs vertically.
This allowed their army to go through any opposition and it allowed the soldiers to not have to wear as much armor. The Macedonians were focused on expanding their empire, and the phalanx formation allowed them to effectively move through their opposition. Their expansion goals were derived from Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II, who were both extremely ambitious and interested in expanding their empire as much as possible. On the other hand, the Byzantine Empire was more focused on its navy given its proximity to water and due to the system of walls they developed to prevent land invasions.
Justinian, one of the most influential Byzantine emperors, created a system of inner and outer walls that stretched fourteen miles long. This wall system allowed Byzantine to withstand land attacks because it was practically impossible for anyone to infiltrate through the walls. Therefore, the Byzantines feared attacks by sea and focused on developing their navy. Another reason why the navy was so effective for the Byzantine Empire was because they traded with others using ships, so having the navy helped them trade more efficiently. Having a strong navy made the Byzantine Empire stand out because most other empires have an army. With the navy, the Byzantine Empire was able to travel faster to farther places and control more regions while needing fewer resources. Finally, the Japanese used a different method of defense and military in which samurais and other military commanders had the most power. Given the differences in climate and its overall size, Japan’s Empire was not unified but instead relied on a feudal government. In the Japanese government, the emperor was the highest official but did not have any real power.
The shogun, the supreme military commander, was the person who actually had the power, followed by the daimyo or wealthy landowners and then the samurais who are the warrior class. In Japan’s feudal government, the shogun would give land to the daimyos in return for loyalty, military and tribute. The same would happen between the daimyos and the samurais. By having the feudal government, samurais were able to gain a lot of power by gaining land from the daimyos. The samurais would have the best weapons and armor and were all strong and hard to defeat. Not only do the samurais have to undergo a lot of training and be physically strong and fit. The feudal system allowed the Japanese to defend themselves without the need to have a unified army. Although the Macedonian, Byzantine, and Japanese empires used different methods of military and defense, they all were able to be successful because their method of military worked best for them.