The origins of imperialism date back to ancient China and western Asia; the practice then spread to the Middle East and Mediterranean nations during the 6th-4th centuries BCE. The term imperialism refers to a policy, typically implemented by a nation or strong central government, featuring the extensive use of power, often through military means. Imperialism usually diverts power to the hands of a few leaders, and often results in harsh treatment of citizens.
The Assyrian regime, for instance, used power to inspire fear and command obedience from citizens. The Persian regime, in contrast, enjoyed an unusually long period of tenure, due in large part to fair treatment of people under its domain.