Sir John Glubb plots the course of empire:
The first stage of the life of a great nation, therefore, after its outburst, is a period of amazing initiative, and almost incredible enterprise, courage and hardihood. These qualities, often in a very short time, produce a new and formidable nation. These early victories, however, are won chie?y by reckless bravery and daring initiative.
The ancient civilisation thus attacked will have defended itself by its sophisticated weapons, and by its military organisation and discipline. The barbarians quickly appreciate the advantages of these military methods and adopt them. As a result, the second stage of expansion of the new empire consists of more organised, disciplined and professional campaigns.
In other fields, the daring initiative of the original conquerors is maintained — in geographical exploration, for example: pioneering new countries, penetrating new forests, climbing unexplored mountains, and sailing uncharted seas. The new nation is confident, optimistic and perhaps contemptuous of the ‘decadent’ races which it has subjugated.
The methods employed tend to be practical and experimental, both in government and in warfare, for they are not tied by centuries of tradition, as happens in ancient empires. Moreover, the leaders are free to use their own improvisations, not having studied politics or tactics in schools or in textbooks.