🏃‍♀️ 🏃 🏃‍♂️Make your self-learning cost-effective as well as practical! Come talk to me at 🟥iTalki-trial-lesson🟥 🏃‍♀️ 🏃 🏃‍♂️

【English/日本語】Read an English book📖英語の本を読もう📚Sapiens―chapter#11 Imperialism

英語でSapiens を読もう📖#11


For English learners!

Hello everyone, how’s your English learning journey going?😃 Reading an English book is sometimes a long journey. You might inadvertently stop if you are alone. But no worries. You are at the right place already. I would like to explore an English book here so that you can try reading the book with me. We are not alone. Let’s enjoy a fun time reading!

The book, which I picked up this time, is called Sapiens, published by Yuval Noah Harari. The Amazon Kindle link below allows you to read up to chapter 3. Today, I am covering chapter 11.

You can check out my recommending strategy of reading as well as a bit of information about this book with a link below. Okay then, let’s get started📖






Ch.11 Imperial Visions

🦧第11章 グローバル化を進める帝国のビジョン

Grasp the structure!🦧構成を把握する

To grasp the chapter, you just try to see its hierarchical configuration. I strongly recommend drawing it either physically or virtually.


Who were Numantians?
  • in northern Iberian
  • in the middle of 2nd century B.C.
  • a small insignificant mountain town, inhabited by the peninsula’s native Celts
  • had fierce love of freedome and inhospitable terran
  • a symbol of Spanish independence and courage: Numantian heroism
What did Numantia do to the Roman empire?
  • Numantians forced Roman legion after legion to surrender or retreat in shame.
  • Eventually, they ran out their food supply and killed themselves so as not to become Roman slaves.
What remained and what lost?
  • The story remained not by lost Celtic language but by Roman historians.
  • Even though their heroism remained, their cultures are lost and become oblibion as well as past cultures that the armies of some ruthless empire fell prey to.
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

Definition of Empire
  • a political order with two important characteristics.
    • 1. cultural diversity: rule over a significant number of distinct peoples that possess a different cultural identity and a separate territory.
    • 2. territorial flexibility: have flexible borders and a potentially unlimited appetile.
How to emerge?
  • military conquest
  • a voluntary league; the Athenian Empire
  • shrewd marriage alliances; the Habsburg Empire
How to rule?
  • autocratic emperor
  • democracy; the British Empire, Dutch, French, Belgian, American empires as well as premodern empires of Novgorod, Rome, Carthage and Athens.
Size doesn’t matter
  • can be puny
    • The Athenian Empire at its zenith was much smaller than today’s Greece. It subdued over more than a hundred formerly independent city states.
    • The Aztec Empire was smaller than today’s Mexico. It ruled 371 different tribes and peoples.

The Imperial steamroller gradually obliterated the unique characteristics of numerous peoples (such as Numantians), forging out of the subjects people new and much larger groups.

  •  🚧工事中 🚧

The contemporary critique
  • Empires do not work➜ nonsense
    • the most common political form
    • a very stable form of government
      • alarmingly easy to put down rebellions
      • toppled only by external invasion or a split within the ruling elite
    • conquered people tend to be remained subjugated and their cultures tend to fizzle out.
      • their language, worship, thought are all altered.
  • Empires are evil engines of dstruction and exploitation➜deeply problematic
    • the destruction of one empire means that a new empire stepped in.
      • The Middle East’s example
        • 8th century: the Neo-Assyrian Empire
        • 20th century: the British and French empires
        • The people who were conquered by the Assiyrians had long dissapeared.
    • the standard imperial toolkit
      • wars
      • enslavement
      • deportation
What are imperial legacies?
  • most of human culture
    • Elite culture and high art: the profits of conquest were financed to not only armies but also philosophy, art, justice and charity.
      • Cicero, Seneca, and St Augustine
      • the Taj Mahal
      • Haydn’s sararies and Mozart’s commission
    • common people: most of human speak, think, and dream in imperial languages
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

An imperial mantel
  • The first empire
    • the Akkadian Empire of Sargon the Great
    • Sargon was the king of Kish, in Mesopotamia.
    • Sagon’s dominion stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, and he boasted to have conquered the entire world.
  • For the next 1,700 years
    • Assyrian, Babylonian, Hittite kings adopted Sargon as a role model: an imperial mantel to boast conquering the entire world.
    • Conquiring for…
      • the greater glory
      • the sake of all its inhabitants (⇔conflicted to the xenophobic characteristic of Sapiens)
The benevolent imperial vision
  • inclusive and all-encompassing
  • the opposite trait of Sapiens’ ethnic exclusiveness
  • the basic unity of the entire world
  • the mutual responsibilities of all human beings
  • Humankind is seen as a large family.
  • passed from Cyrus, to Alexander the Great, Hellenstic kings, Roman emperors, Muslim caliphs, Indian dynasts, Soviet premiers, and American presidents.
  • justified the existance of empires and negated attempts…
    • by subject people to rebel
    • by independent peoples to resist imperial expansion
The Mandate of Heaven
  • in China
  • Heaven is the source of all legitimate authority
  • When a ruler enjoy the mandate, he is obliged to spread justice and harmony to the entire world
  • the Mandate of Heaven is only one, therefore only one independent state can exist
  • the golden ages of order and justice for Chinese history
  • the dark ages of chaos and injustice for the modern Western view
  • Every time an empire collapsed, the dominant political theory goaded to attempt reunification.
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

What empires do
  • To gain legitimacy
    • ideas, people, goods, and technology spread
    • ideas, institutions, customs and norms spread: standization was the boon to emperors
  • To work for the general welfare
  • To educate humanity: bring the benefits of culture miserable barbarians
    • The Mauryan empire: Buddha’s teaching
    • The Muslim caliphs: the Prophet’s revalation
    • The Spanish and Portugues empires: the true faith
    • The British: liberalism and free trade
    • The Soviets: the utopian dictatorship of the proletariat
    • America: a moral imperative to bring Third World countries the benefits of democracy and human rights
Two opposite approach
  • some sought to purify their cultures
  • most empires have begot hybrid civilisations
The process of acculturation and assimilation
  • absorded numerous contribution from conquered peoples
  • painful and traumatic to adopt a new culture: give up a familiar and loved local tradition
  • eventually broke down the barriers between the newcomers and the old elite
  • customes, culture, and the ties of marrige have blended with people
  • for centuries and even millennia after the empire itself collapsed, they continued to speak the empire’s language
A superior Western culture
  • last few decades
  • the modern era Europeans conquered much of the globe by spreading a superior Western culture.
  • billions of people gradually adopted significant parts of that culture.
    • languages: French, English, and Spanish
    • beliefs: human rights, the principle of self-determination
    • ideologies: iberalism, capitalism, Communism, feminism, and nationalism.
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

  1. A small group establishes a big empire
  2. An imperial culture is forged
  3. The imperial culture is adopted by the jubject peoples
  4. The subject peoples demand equal status in the name of common imperial values
  5. The emperire’s founders lose their dominance
  6. The imperial culture continues to flourish and develop
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

All cultures are in part imperial civilizations
  • The British and Indian love-hate relationship
    • The British conquest and oppupation of India cost the lives of millions of Indians.
    • Many Indians adopted with the zest of converts, Western ideas.
    • The modern Indian state is a child of the British Empire.
      • the Indian judical system.
      • administrative structure
      • railroad network
      • a newtral tongue, English, that the Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam speakers to communicate
      • chai and cricket
      • commersial tea farming came in the 19th century
  • There is no authentic culture
    • the Mughal Empire and the conquering sultanate of Delhi
    • the Gupta Empire
    • the Kushan Empire
    • the Maurya Empire
    • the Muslim empires
      • the Taj Mahal

How many Indians today would want to call a vote to divest themselves of these British legacies? If they did, wouldn’t the very act of calling a vote exactly their debt to their former overlords?

  •  🚧工事中 🚧

The Global empire
  • Since around 200 B.C., most humans have lived in empires.
  • And most humans will live in one.
  • Nationalism is fast losing ground.
  • More people believe that all of humankind is the legitimate source of political authority.
What do people believe now?
  • nationalism is fast losing ground
  • all of humankind is the legitimate source of political authority
  • safeguarding human rights
  • protecting the interests of entire human species
  • the appearance of essentially global problems
    • melting ice caps
    • global warming
    • hole in the ozone layer
    • greenhouse gases
As of today, 2014
  • still, politically fragmanted.
  • increasingly open to …
    • the machinations of global markets
    • the interference of global companies and NGOs
    • the supervision of global public opinion
    • the international judicial system
  • states are obliged to conform to global standards…
    • financial behaviour
    • environmental policy
    • justice
  • growing disregard for the borders and opinions of states
  • powerful currents of capital, labor, and information turn and shape the world.
The global empire
  • It is being gorged without any particular state or ethnic group.
  • It is ruled by a multi-ethnic elite.
  • It is held together by a common culture and common interests.
  • More and more entrepreneurs, engineers, experts, scholars, layers and managers are colled to join the empire.
  •  🚧工事中 🚧

Summarize the chapter concisely🦧章を一言でまとめる

To summarize, check the hierarchical configuration and make sentences with important points of each.


An empire is another form that contributes to humankind’s unification. An empire has cultural diversity and territorial flexibility. And, empires were one of the main reasons for the drastic reduction in human diversity. Empires amalgamate many small cultures into fewer big cultures and spread ideas, institutions, customs, and norms. People have accepted much of the imperial culture of their former empires’ overlords. Even though all empires are seen as the bad guys with blood and power through oppression and war, most of today’s cultures are based on imperial legacies. Sapiens is now heading to the global empire that doesn’t have any particular state or ethnic group. It is ruled by a multi-ethnic elite with a common culture and common interests. More and more people are choosing this over remaining loyal to their own state and people.


Make questions to discuss🦧ディスカッション用の質問を作ろう

To discuss, make questions. It gives you a great topic to talk about in English.


Evaluative question 全体的な評価についての質問

How effective is the presentation in whole or in part? Why did the speaker/author make these choices and how well do they work?

Many possible answers can be found outside of the presentation but it’s a reference.



My opinion: It is really realistic to me. I agree that human rights and self-determination seize the consensus of today’s world. A lot of ideologies are coming to my country, and people are confused. For example, the former Olympic committee chief in Japan had been accused of his sexist speech, and the global pressure rather than the domestic one pushed him out. And, the nation is struggling to deal with the gap. I feel that people nowadays move, live, and work freely regardless of their origin. So as I. I would be definitely seen as a member of the global empire.


five questions for discussion🦧ディスカッション用の5つの質問

How does this make me feel? What does it remind me of?

There are many correct answers that are related to one’s experience; they can be found outside of the text/speech.

  • Have you ever…?
  • Does it make you angry when…?
  • Which part did you like?
  • How hard was this to understand?



  • こんな経験ありますか
  • こんなとき、怒った気持ちになりますか
  • どのパートが気に入りましたか
  • これを理解するのは難しかったですか

What does it say?

One correct answer is found in the text.

  • Who is …?
  • What happens first?
  • Where are …?
  • What is the difinition of this word?



  • これは誰?
  • 何が最初に起きた?
  • これはどこですか?
  • この言葉の定義はなんですか?

What does it mean? How are the parts connected? what is the reason for people’s actions?

There is more than one possible answer, but the viewer’s opinion is based directly on the text.

  • Why did the speaker…?
  • What can we say about the speaker’s point of view?
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • What did the speaker mean when they said…?



  • どうして話者は...?
  • 話者の視点について、どんなことが言えますか。
  • タイトルにはどんな意味があるでしょう。
  • 話者が...といったのはどういう意味でしょう。

What is the message beyond this presentation? What are the greater issues or questions this piece deals with?

The presentation is not directly referenced in the question. There are many possible answers found outside of the presentation, but it’s a starting point.

  • How do people…?
  • Why do people…?
  • What is the truth about…?



  • 人々はどうやって...?
  • どうして人々は...?
  • ...の真実は何でしょう?

How effective is the presentation in whole or in part? Why did the speaker/author make these choices and how well do they work?

Many possible answers can be found outside of the presentation but it’s a reference.

  • Is it realistic when …?
  • How does the speaker use … to show …?
  • Would this be better if …?
  • Is the speaker biased towards/against…?



  • この箇所は現実味がありますか。
  • 話者がこの...をどのように表現しましたか。
  • もし...であればもっとよかったですか。
  • 話者は...の考え方に偏っていますか。

Expressions and terms🦧覚えておきたい単語・表現

Pick some terms that you are unfamiliar with from sentences you high-lightened and memorize them because you need them to discuss this chapter!!


termexample sentence
diversityEmpires were one of the main reasons for the drastic reduction in human diversity.
extolYet Spanish patriots extol the Numantians in Spanish.
mandateIf a ruler enjoys the mandate, he is obliged to spread justice and harmony to the entire world.
safeguardSince Swedes, Indonesians, and Nigerians deserve the same human rights, wouldn’t it be simpler for a single global government to safeguard them?

This chapter successfully changed my preconception of empires. I did believe that empires were evil. But, now I just feel that what we have are the legacies of empires definitely. This whole dynamic to the unification is not something Sapiens can control whether we like it or not. We love that people think, feel, believe in the same ways. We believe that English is a universal language to communicate globally. We will never stop uniting.