Why do imperialists conquer people? Why do some people resist while others collaborate? This course tries to answer these questions by looking at some of the world's earliest empires. The main focus is on the expansion of the Assyrian and Persian Empires between 900 and 300 BC and the consequences for the ancient Jews, Egyptians, and Greeks. The main readings come from the Bible, Herodotus, and Assyrian and Persian royal inscriptions, and the course combines historical and archaeological data with social scientific approaches. Weekly participation in a discussion section is required.