Han Dynasty and Roman Empire (Compare and Contrast)

8 August 2016

The Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire vary in their political development and achievements. The Roman’s developed two different codes of law, one that applied to citizens and another that applied to non-citizens. Rome’s trade routes were built using stone, which made it very easy for merchants to travel from one city to another over a vast amount of land. China, however, used a single code of law for all their citizens and conquered peoples, and used a long and treacherous trail in their trade; that lead to the Middle East.

Even though these two civilizations held many differences, they also shared rulers who personally oversaw their governments to prevent numerous dilemmas and used expansive trade routes to build up their economies and further their influence in the world. Many of their differences in political progress stem from using different forms of government. The Chinese sovereign Wudi implemented Legalism at the beginning of his reign, giving him recognition throughout the ages. Many call Legalism a perfected form of government, while others claim that it is against all freedom and human rights.

Han Dynasty and Roman Empire (Compare and Contrast) Essay Example

Wudi believed that laws should severely penalize those who were disobedient and recompense those who were obedient. Meanwhile, Augustus of Rome, enforced a Republic government, in which the people voted for who they thought should become their representatives and officials. Most often the officials who held office were wealthy, only a few lower class people partook in this prospect. Augustus was the political and religious leader of his people for the length of his reign. Wudi on the other hand implemented an examination that citizens could take.

The examination was tremendously rigorous, and whoever received the highest score was given the bureaucratic position. This process helped knowledgeable people become civil servants; because of this scholars became the most elite persons in Chinese society. Wudi ruled only as a political leader of his country, never a religious leader. Though these civilizations were very different in their political development, they also had several similarities. They possessed large, strong armies which gave a physical representation of their power and influence in the world around them.

Their leaders were also extremely involved in their governments. This stemmed from a belief that as long as they continued to observe the practices of their government, they would be able to run it successfully and would be able to live without fear of being challenged or overthrown. Lastly, both countries also suffered from attacks by different nomadic groups. The Romans experienced many losses through attacks from Germanic tribes. Similarly, China suffered from fierce Hun assaults. Further similarities are found when comparing their accomplishments.

First of all, they had very successful trade relations. China traded with the Middle East and the coast along the Mediterranean Sea. The Romans, however, traded with the Middle East, Italy, India, and China. Both of these cultures obtained peace at the peak of their trading and economic prosperity. The peaceful times were a result of their successful trading. To the Romans this peaceful time was known as Pax Romana, to the Chinese it was known as Pax Sinica. China and Rome also had advances in art and science.

Rome built the Pantheon using their newly invented building material, concrete. On the other hand, the Chinese advanced in science and art by inventing paper for use in literature and business; and an irrigation system that reached extensively across their fields allowing them to effectively water their crops. However, differences also occurred amongst their achievements. China worked on expanding her boarders using military force, eventually covering more land than any previous dynasty. Conversely, Rome lowered the number of their troops due to the peace they experienced.

Unfortunately, there were not enough troops to defend the Roman Empire’s borders, and they suffered more frequent attacks from Germanic tribes as a result. These civilizations took different approaches on religion as well. In Rome Christianity was widely adopted, first by the people and then by the state. They believed that a Savior would come who was the Son of God, and he would save them from their sins. Alternatively, the Han Dynasty adopted Confucianism. This was not so much a religion as it was more a set of rules and guidelines for a person’s behavior, thoughts, and actions.

They also fed their multiplying populations differently. Rome imported grain from Africa. Whereas, China built huge store houses, and filled them during years when there was plenty of food. Then when years of droughts and poor crops came, there was enough food to feed everyone. The economy was also kept stable during these years because they didn’t need to raise the price of grain, since they had stored away so much during the good years. These two countries differed in how they fed their populations because of their cities arrangements and as a result of their planning. Rome had very large cities with little room because there were so many people, which also meant there was no room to build store houses. Conversely, China built store houses early on and did not live in such close quarters with everyone else. As you can see the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire possessed many differences both politically and through their accomplishments. That being said, they also shared an extensive variety of similarities. They varied in government, but both shared very involved leaders.

Their trade routes differed in their physical nature, but both spanned many miles and created a network of trade throughout the continent. They shared a strict code of law, though one was used to govern all, while the other pertained to citizens and noncitizens. One thing can be said however, about these two great nations, no matter how similar or different they may be, they both have left large footprints in history. Not only did they influence those around them in their time, but they have also influenced people throughout the ages and will continue to do so.

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