a1 Skidmore College
One of the functions of any imperial system is to stabilize the subordinate political structures over which it exercises suzerainty. Without such a role for the central authority, control of local politics becomes impossible and, without such centralization, the stability of the entire empire is threatened. This policy has often acted to support or maintain local socio-economic relationships which, in the absence of overarching centralization, would show greater instability and flux. The precise nature of these relations can best be seen in an examination of the interregnum period between the decline of one imperial power and the imposition of a new generation of centralized stability.