Rising Empire

The Empire is a common trope. When it decays, it is a Vestigial Empire. An empire during its formation, in its expansionist stage, is a Rising Empire. Typically it will be a Proud Warrior Race, a Proud Merchant Race or both that is feeling its oats and beginning several generations of conquest, exploration and colonization. Likely it will have The Conqueror at its head, perhaps a Young Conqueror or a Galactic Conqueror.

Portrayals from a rising empire's viewpoint will typically emphasize pioneering, exploration and epic deeds. Portrayals from the viewpoint of its victims will, of course, emphasize ruthless tyranny over indigenous peoples. It is possible to proceed with both viewpoints in mind. A rising empire doesn't have to imply primarily military conquest, but will include a period of expansion by whatever means. Many a Hegemonic Empire is this and will become an empire classic later in its history.

In the theory of international relations, such states are considered prototypical revisionist states: that is, they wish to "revise" the existing order to their benefit.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The Kou Empire in Magi - The Labyrinth of Magic

Film

Literature
  • Barrayar in Vorkosigan Saga has just passed through this stage.
  • Belisarius Series: the Malwa, although they have an army that would probably be more typical of a Vestigial Empire with it's resentful cadres of vassal troops and its hordes of reserves.
    • a closer example in the last two books in the series was Kungas and Irene's New Kushan Empire founded at the Khyber Pass
  • 1632: Grantsville/USE
  • Tha´s of Athens describes the coming into being of Alexander the Great's empire (short-lived as it was).
  • The reunited Realms in Exile after Lord of the Rings.
  • The Star Kingdom of Manticore reforms into the Star Empire of Manticore in the Honor Harrington stories.
  • The Foundation is intended to become the framework for a Second Galactic Empire, and indeed most of the stories showcase their progress towards that state. It is especially prominent in the three later stories in the first book of the series, with The Mayors being about the Foundation's establishment of complete control over its neighbours, The Traders showing an example of the continued expansion of the Foundation's influence through the trade-religion-science policy and The Merchant Princes being about the shift to a more pure trade-based Hegemonic Empire after the trade-religion-science policy stops being effective.
    • One of the later "Seldon Crises" is about the location of the Foundation's capital after it has sufficiently expanded. A number of people feel that the location should be more centralized, while others believe that it should stay on Terminus at the outskirts of the galaxy where the Foundation began.
    • Of the related Empire series novels (released by Asimov around the time the Foundation stories was combined into a novel), The Currents of Space take place at a time when Trantor is the rising empire, at that point ruling roughly half the galaxy, and gradually expanding towards being a Galactic empire.
  • The Nilfgaard Empire in the Witcher series. It's been on the rise for a generation and shows little intention to halt.
  • The Elric Saga: In the books MelnibonÚ is portrayed as a Vestigial Empire, whereas the prequel comic, Elric: Making of a Sorcerer, tells the story behind the rise and descent of the empire. The four issues mostly concentrate on Elric gathering new allies among the elementals and the peoples of the Old Kingdoms. At the same time Elric (or rather his ancestors whose role he gets to play on the dream quests) gets to meet Arioch, the patron demon of MelnibonÚ, for the first time, as well as wield the cursed sword, Stormbringer.

Live-Action TV
  • Humans in Star Trek: Enterprise are in this stage.
  • Part of Londo's Fatal Flaw in Babylon 5 is his nostalgic attraction to this part of Centauri history.
  • The Alliance in Firefly is just finishing this stage. However, the expanded universe materials (the Dressler Report) suggest that it is going to jump from this straight to Vestigial Empire or outright Remnant.
  • The new Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda. However, it is already full of corruption and internal strife, so it's not clear if it's ever going to rise to anywhere close to the size of the old Commonwealth.

Tabletop Games
  • Traveller. The Terran Confederation in the volume "Interstellar Wars". Also, the Third Imperium in its early stages.
  • The Tau Empire of Warhammer 40,000.
    • The Imperium of Man was a Rising Empire in roughly the year 30,000, coming out of a pan-species Dark Age with the God-Emperor at the helm of an immense, well-maintained, and fairly egalitarian nation. Naturally, it didn't last.

Video Games
  • Master of Orion: Any power the player takes. The same with other 4X games.
  • The Aldmeri Dominion in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • The Legion in Fallout: New Vegas clearly see themselves as this. It's up to the player to determine whether or not this ambition becomes a reality.
    • The New California Republic, despite being The Federation in government type, has fit this trope for a while, but is in the middle of a severe depression, and if they can't keep Hoover Dam, their rise is over.
  • Humans in the Mass Effect series, to the worry of the great old powers of the galaxy. They prefer a peaceful expansion, primarily via colonizing uncharted worlds and pioneering new technologies, but they don't lack for military might. In the two wars they've fought since joining the galactic stage, they've managed military stalemates against older, much better-established powers, and then won diplomatic victories.
  • The Empire of the Rising Sun in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is this, in contrast to the well-established superpowers (the Allies and the Soviets) who were already at each other's throats, all of them vying for control of the world.
  • Multiple examples can be found in Crusader Kings 2 over its 400-year long history of historical starts. Charlemagne's Frankish kingdom in the 792 start is poised to follow his conquests and found the Holy Roman Empire, and the Mongol Empire's entrance to the world stage in the 1221 start. Both will usually succeed admirably with or without player intervention.

Real Life
  • Any historical empire is going to be this in the time period preceding its peak of power - empires are not born overnight. Sometimes a country can go through cycles of Rising Empire to major player to Vestigial Empire before another resurgence - witness the relative might of China on the world stage since the Ming Dynasty.
  • After The Great Politics Mess-Up and the end of the Soviet Union, the idea of a "second superpower" that could rise up enough to challenge the hegemony of the United States has been a popular academic topic, sometimes spilling over into popular media. China is probably the most discussed potential superpower of the candidates; others include the European Union, India, Brazil, and The New Russia.
  • Back in The '80s Japan would have been on the above list stemming from its dramatic post-war economic rebound, so much so it got its own trope in popular media, especially in Cyber Punk works. The real estate bubble burst in 1991 and the subsequent two "Lost Decades" of relative economic stagnation have largely discredited both tropes for the country since then.