Comparing and Contrasting Ancient Rome with Ancient China

7 July 2016

Over the course of history there have been many empires that amass enough wealth and influence to be considered major world powers. Two of these empires are ancient China, and ancient Rome. Though they shared similarities, they were fundamentally different in several ways. Both the Chinese and Roman empires were vast and powerful. They each encompassed a diverse group of people in different areas- whether states or polis. They both participated in wars to expand and maintain their borders.

Romans expanded through the Latin War, the Pyrrhic War, the Punic Wars, and so on until they encompassed Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Greece. Ancient China, as we understand it, began after the Warring States period from 453- 221 BCE, when the state of Qin triumphed against its rival states and unified the Chinese Central plains. Once unified, the Qin sent a force of 30,000 soldiers to battle with the Hu people to the north. In the early Han Dynasty, Emperor Wudi expanded into what is today known as Vietnam.

Comparing and Contrasting Ancient Rome with Ancient China Essay Example

Both Rome and China allied with nomadic people in an effort to maintain their borders against Germanic and Mongolian people, respectively. These empires also engaged in trade with foreign entities, even each other. Wealthy Roman women loved to wear Chinese silk, and Roman glass was prized in China. While these similarities are definitely present, the Roman and Chinese empires were in no way identical to one another. When Rome began, there were seven successive Etruscan kings. The seventh king was so horrible to the people that there was never an eighth king. Instead, Rome established the Republic.

In ancient China, there were several dynasties from the Qin to the Yuan. Although there was no single royal bloodline, China always had an emperor, who usually ruled the country. The Roman Empire allowed conquered areas to maintain their own culture, language, and laws. China was more consistent in its culture, having a unified language and common rituals. Rome was more militarized, going so far as to obliterate Carthage so they would never pose a threat again. China had a military, but spent more energy maintaining their borders rather than expanding, until the Yuan Dynasty.

Even then, Ghenghis Khan was actually a Mongolian that rose to power and became Chinese. Furthermore, when he conquered an area, that area was assimilated into the Chinese Empire- and thus is considered a great unifier. Perhaps the greatest difference between the Chinese and Roman Empires is the sustainability. Rome- between social and political strife, Germanic invasion, and epidemics- was finished by 490 CE. China, despite having decreased in size from its largest peak, is a major power to this day.

A limited
time offer!
Save Time On Research and Writing. Hire a Professional to Get Your 100% Plagiarism Free Paper