Empires are an aggregate of nations or people ruled over by an emperor or other powerful sovereign or government, usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom. An empire can be made solely of contiguous territories or of territories far remote from the homeland, such as a colonial empire.

Ancient human civilizations are complex societies, characterized by urban development, social stratification imposed by a cultural elite, symbolic systems of communication, and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.

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