The societies of Han China (206 BCE-220 CE) and Classical Rome (27 BC- 476 AD) were greatly influenced by their political, social, and economic factors. Comparatively, unstable political situations encouraged the need for patriarchal societies and the family unit. However, their political systems, societal views, including the influence of religion, and economic instruments varied significantly. Nevertheless, they had similarities as well. For example, political corruption and failure to deal with financial issues led to the empires’ declines.
A factor that caused differences in the political order of the two was Confucianism. Because Confucianism was enforced by social authority, it emphasized the emperors’ divine majesty while developing a sophisticated bureaucracy. The concepts involved with Confucianism such as filial piety and the five basic relationships assured a strong centralized government for China. Contrarily, Rome did not have such a philosophy to use as the base for its political structure — there was no ideology of political organization and social conduct that could survive as long as the Chinese government.
Although both empires did have bureaucracies, that of Rome’s was more complex and less structured than that of China’s and relied on local elites & middle class to control provinces. Because consuls were only given a year to service the empire, they didn’t have enough time for the bureaucracy to truly develop. Unlike this, the Chinese emperors ruled under the mandate of heaven, giving them more than enough time to perfect the structure. The way power was appointed also greatly differed.
Han China (206 B.C.E.- 220 C.E.) and Imperial Rome (31 B.C.E. – 476 C.E.) were each amazing civilizations in their own ways. Each dynasty made many great ecological and technological advancements. Additionally, the governments of these civilizations each had ways of maintaining the political control over their subjects. The Han Dynasty of China and Imperial Rome’s methods of political ...
The Chinese believed their emperor was divine and mandated by heaven, so there was a basis to revive the position of emperor in their society. Roman emperors, however, were chosen by army or the Senate. Also, China’s bureaucratic system allowed some poor to advance through the government, while strictly patricians and aristocrats dominated Rome’s system. Though the political structures of the societies were different, they contained many similarities in terms of their social orders. Both Rome and China were dominated by patriarchy and reverence for fathers.
Both also focused on the veneration of ancestors, but more so the Han through objects such as oracle bones. Other factors emphasized by the family units were obedience and loyalty, respect for one’s elders of superiors, and piety. However, the Chinese believed the individual was deeply reliant of the larger social group, continuously using family as the model for the organization of the society. Contrarily, Romans were more aware of the right of individuals, so citizens were more willing ask for more from the government, rather than be content with what they already had.
Women in Rome were associated with imperial status, titles and even some forms of power, although they were formally excluded from political offices consistently reminded of their domestic roles by emperors. These women were generally more educated considerably freer and less oppressed than Chinese women. The women in China were expected to rear children, weave clothes for the family, and perform domestic duties such as cooking. Some wealthy women had been educated and engaged in luxury trade, but most were entitled to these household chores.
Lastly, the economic instruments of the two empires were based on the same factor: agriculture. Rome’s principle crop was wheat, while Han China’s was millet. Roman agriculture became centered on large plantations called latifundia, which employed hundreds of slave laborers and producing various crops for urban markets. The Roman Empire’s network of roads made it very easy for merchants and traders to travel throughout its territory. However, this was an unstable network; when the Pax Romana ended, so did the success of the trading.
Qin Dynasty is considered to be the first organized Chinese Empire. They existed on the Eastern China from where they started to unify the China for the first time. Before this Empire, the China was divided into many small administrative parts with different tribes ruling different parts. This Empire started the tradition to rule the China as a single unified state. Qin Dynasty took many steps to ...
The network of roads built throughout China also enabled trade on a large scale. Also, Chinese victories against the Xiongnu enabled trade to the west. This gave the Chinese an advantage, since their goods were in high demand in Roman cities. The natural milieu of the empires differed as well: Rome’s crops were planted on light soil, while China’s were planted in dense loess, since a higher percentage of China was irrigated than Rome. China’s superiority in metallurgy in antiquity, particularly iron, deemed it the more successful of the two.
The expansion of both empires ultimately led to their demises, reminding that quality is not always better than quantity. Rome’s overexpansion led to rebellion, while China’s tax base weakened its land and sense of unity. However, both became the centers of artistic development because of the production and wealth attained by each and people’s freedom and trust of the military to keep things running smoothly, just like Greece and the Gupta/Mauryan Empires at that time. Without the developments of Rome and Han China, the world would not be the same as it is today.