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The, perhaps naive, impression of someone who had history classes in high school is that the human society in the past put a lot of effort into expanding borders.

Empires and kingdoms rose and fell and seemed to be often, even constantly, involved in an effort to extend their borders.

What was the main driver of this expansionist drive?

Was it specifically to do with scarcity of resources? This would seem a very natural response, except that this behavior is often seen in times and places where (arguably) the costs and difficulties involved in the wars might offset the gains.

I realize that this is generic, and different contexts might have different drivers, feel free to give examples!

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    As it stands this is probably too broad and is likely to be closed. Take a look at the guidance on asking questions in the help centre and try to narrow the focus a little. – sempaiscuba Sep 1 '17 at 22:22
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    Perhaps, but at the moment it is too broad. It could take a whole book to answer. Try narrowing down to a specific place and time. – sempaiscuba Sep 1 '17 at 22:38
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    I see, each community has its own rule s, I'm trying to understand what would make the question fit without losing the main point that made it interesting for me in the first place. – Three Diag Sep 1 '17 at 23:07
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    Land is wealth. – Mark C. Wallace Sep 2 '17 at 1:19
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    There's a presumption in the question that ancient wars were frequent. The way history is often taught can make centuries of ancient history seem like decades of modern history. For example, Europe has had (by my subjective count) 10 major wars and conflicts in the 20th century. The Roman Republic had roughly as many in the 2nd century BC. Perhaps a better question might be about the pace of war, conflict, and expansion over time. – Schwern Sep 2 '17 at 8:33
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Wars are usually fought because of some combination of fear, honor, or interest - even when the stated rational is or seems closer to nationalism or fear mongering.

You can't really put much of a pattern forward beyond that without inspecting the causes of each individual war. Even then, filing a particular war declaration under a single reason will usually not pass a sniff test. It's never strictly about "scarcity of resources". Things instantly get murkier when you factor in historical and international context.

Take for instance the various barbarian invasions during the fall of the western Roman Empire. A naive glance at the subject could mislead one to think that they were strictly after loot and land. Maybe even just waiting for Rome to be weak enough that they can start pouring into the empire. But a closer look reveals the even nastier hordes of Huns that was displacing them from the East.

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It is not possible to give a short answer: the question is too complicated (and somewhat controversial). There are several good books which address it in depth. I can recommend three of them which try to answer this question:

Azar Gat, War in Human Civilization, Oxford 2006,

Lawrence Keeley, War Before Civilization. Oxford University Press, USA, 1996

Ian Morris, War! What is it good for? (Farrar,...NY, 2014).

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    Thanks! But I wonder if you know the thesis In these books you could perhaps briefly tell us how they answer it? – Three Diag Sep 2 '17 at 2:33

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