An empire is a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority, especially one having an emperor as chief of state.
The word derives from Latin "imperare" ("to command"), "imperium" (command authority), and "imperator" (a title eventually used by Roman emperors). An empire may claim to be a successor of the Roman Empire (such as the Holy Roman Empire) or otherwise claim to have an association or similarity with the Roman Empire, previously often viewed as something positive.
Today, the word is associated with the word "imperialism", which is today often viewed negatively as the creation of an empire by conquest and colonialism.
- Ancient History Encyclopedia: Empire
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Empire
- Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 Edition: Empire
- Encyclopedia.com: Empire