The map above shows how big the Roman and Mongol Empires were at their respective peaks. The Mongols had the world’s largest contiguous land based Empire in history (and the second largest overall after the British), but just how much bigger was it than Rome?
- Mongol Empire: 24 million km2 (9.27 million mi2), 17.81% of world land area in 1270 or 1309
- Roman Empire: 5.0 million km2 (1.93 million mi2), 3.71% of world land area in 117
Here are a few books on the two Empires:
- The Mongol Conquests: A Captivating Guide to the Invasions and Conquests Initiated by Genghis Khan That Created the Vast Mongol Empire
- Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
- SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Volumes 1-3 of 6 (Everyman’s Library)
Here are some other maps of the two empires:
- What If the Mongol Empire Reunited….?
- An Incredibly Detailed Map of the Roman Empire At Its Height in 211AD
- Roman Empire GDP Per Capita Map Shows That Romans Were Poorer Than Any Country in 2015
- Travel Time from Ancient Rome
- Countries Which Have At Some Point Claimed To Be Rome’s Successor
- A View Of Roman Carthage, Built on the Site of the Previously Destroyed Punic Capital
- Roman City of Londinium Around AD 200
- The British Empire At Its Territorial Peak Covered Nearly The Same Area As The Moon
Find this map interesting the please share with a friend:
Chris Walker says
Land means nothing, how many roman roads, aquaducts and other engineering feats still stand today vs Mongols?
Exactly. When Britain or Spain ruled the waves, did the area of the Atlantic Ocean het included in their empires?
Isn’t Genghis Khan supposedly related to three percent of all humans or so?
That is absolutely a legacy, of a kind.
The Mongol empire was certainly larger by far than the Roman empire, but only lasted around a century. The Roman empire of course lived more than 10 times as long.
They should call it “the Mongolian expansion”, not empire…
“10 times as long”? If Mongol empire lasted a century, you’re saying Roman empire lasted… 1,000 years? Omfg… NO. Roman empire lasted roughly 500 years, that’s it–not a thousand.
Btw, vikings covered more of the world and did so for over 300 years. From their origin in Norway to North America in the West, North Africa in the South, and Iran in the East.
fuck off cunt says
Empire’s a big word for what was mostly a republic for the West, if you count it’s republic and kingdom days the West alone is easily older than a millennium. Byzantium is definitely older than a thousand years too and I’m not sure what arbitrary whim makes you think those aren’t Romans too, but they were culturally Roman, identified as Roman, followed Roman law, sought to reunite the Roman Empire (and did), I could go on and on. Heaven forbid I state the obvious the Vikings accomplished nothing of note and the Mongols were just a footnote.
Ethan Staubach says
What are debating “biggest” on though. Mongol empire had most land, but Roman empire had larger percentage of the world population.
This is not true.
World population at the time of the Mongol height was ~400m according to UN estimates. The rough population of the Mongol Empire was ~100m. I.e., the Mongols had 1/4th of the world population under their control.
In the 1st Century, Rome had a population of ~75 million people. World population at this point, again according to the UN, was ~300m. Also 1/4th of the global population. The total populations were about equal though the Mongols were larger in gross terms.
It is interesting that conflicts are still ongoing in the marked areas.
David Staye says
while the romans reigned over cities and civilisations, the mongol reigned over cattle and empty fields.
The Mongol Empire ruled over 110 million people between 1270 and 1309 — more than 25% of the world’s population. This included China, which was the most advanced civilisation in the world in both the sciences and arts.
Europe at the time of the Roman Empire consisted mainly of small towns and tribes.
The Mongols were way more developed than the Romans. Plus, of how much territory it took, I thing the Mongols would win.
That is because the roman empire came in a time that the world was all primitive in comparison to it there were no arabic and islamic empires yet and their enemies did not have much of numbers or military technology while in the case of the mongols there were many civil wars because of its size and muslim empires around it like the maemluke and the beylik turkic sultanate were attacking it all the time and you need to take in yhought that the mongol empire changed to islam which ended their unity with each other and was overthrown by the timurids which used the civil wars and external wars with ottomans and mameluks to its benefit. So you really cannot compare them to each other. The mongols are far stronger and the evidence is I mean just look at the landmass they took and the fact that both byzantines and europes served it being afraid of being raided and conquered.
Galen Marek says
Mongolians,their proficiency in archery and versatility would be too much for the Romans .The roman empire last longer however,that doesn’t prove anything as they could barely contain the Gauls and expand further into middle east or Germania. Sorry but Mongolians are far more superior and the Romans pale in comparison to the Mongolians.
And the Mongolians only went home because Kubla Khan died. If they hadn’t they would have ruled the entire European continent. They were literally just obliterating their foes.
The Roman Republic/Empire was vast with wealth, and had a centralized location for a thousand years.
Rome also had superior government… the first to create a republic… which means a leader or even a whole branch of government destroyed… Rome still goes on… as the government was spread out over local towns, the senate, the magistrates and later the emperor.
Ghengis Khan was the main reason behind the Mongol expansion… One guy, not an elaborate spread out republic.
Rome can wear people down.
As a friend gladiator said to spartacus after celebrating the defeat of a roman Legion..
“Why do you celebrate. The roman machine will continue to send more legions, and more legions until we are whittled down to nothing”.
The power of rome was the military in some aspects, but also as I said its government and the ability to move forward for a thousand years.
The mongol empire had a huge and efficient postal service with 1000+ stations and 50,000 horses. They united all the regions of the silk road and promoted trade through cultural tolerance with russians, arabs, jews, genoese, venetians. They had a direct taxation of citizens paid to the central government while rome sold taxation rights to local collectors. In a lot of ways the mongol empire was more centralized than rome which often treated conquered territories mostly like vassal states.
The mongol empire wasn’t just some awesome dude conquering everything so quickly, it expanded so successfully in such a short time for a lot of other reasons.
If we are talking about a clash between superpowers at their height still, i dont see why it matters that rome existed longer. but rome def racked up more chivos over a much longer period of time
Gotta love the Roman empire fanboys 🙄 especially the one saying that “Roman empire had larger percentage of the world population” and “the mongol reigned over cattle and empty fields” while freaking CHINA is included in the Mongol empire. Ethnocentrism at its finest !
And don’t forgot India, which at the time was still the world’s largest population. Also, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Georgia, parts of Italy, all of Egypt, China, Taiwan, and most of the Asia.
lol i agree 100%
Mongols = 65% Due to the bigger army and their Fighting Strategy
Ancient Rome = 35% Due to small army and Better fighting strategy
Mongols didn’t build anything, just took it or destroyed it. Europe romanised culture has taken all the world, every Asian culture has followed their model.
Mongols : 1206 to 1368 (1.5 centuries)
Romans : 753 BC to 1453 (22 centuries)
Where are you pulling your Roman dates from? All historians have them from roughly 30 BC to roughly 500 AD. Stop with the BS already.
Not trying to take sides in the “Mongols VS Rome” debate going on here. This may be the fault of the original poster for prompting such a comparison, but it’s really an “apples and oranges” kind of a debate.
What I do think is missing from this data, though, is population figures.
From what I can determine, Rome governed about 70 million people, which at the time was 21% of the global population, whereas the Mongols governed about 110 million people, which at the time was 25% of the global population.
The debate is to some extent silly, in terms of pure military might if you squared up the entire Roman Empire at its peak to the Mongol empire, sure the Mongol empire would probably win because 1. their army was made 1000 years after the fall of the Roman empire is it any surprise their military would be stronger? Technology moves on (but don’t forget that the base of most of the tech used was from the Romans)
But in terms of their Status as an Empire and their mark on civilization Rome by far eclipses the Mongol empire. The roman empire stood for a much longer period of time and someone above argued that it was because those around them were uncultured and didn’t have the tech that the Romans had, but the Romans started with what everyone else around them had as well because for one, they heavily “borrowed” from the Greeks, so it’s not like they were the only ones with the knowledge they just used it better and improved on it. They also were the first empire to rely on roads and implement methods of long-distance communication which was crucial in their ability to maintain control of their territory and while they had a hard to going further up in Europe that was because that was the extent of which communication could go at that time. You can’t forget that during these times traveling from one side of the empire to the other took years maybe even a decade, which is why the Mongol empire was destined to always be a one-hit-wonder and split into 4 separate empires after 3 generations. You cant say you rule over a land in which if someone attacked it, it would take 5+ years for you to receive the information regarding being attacked.
The question is simple. Who was bigger by how much land it took over. Obviously the Mongols.
They were from 2 different times.
You can ask yourself what were the Mongolians doing when rome was at its greatest and what have they given the world.
The romans on the other hand speak for themselves.
Also if I’m not mistaken the romans with auxiliary units from germanic tribes battled tribes from Asia and early Mongolians were amongst those tribes.