The Decline and Fall of Classical Civilizations
The classical civilizations Han China, Gupta India, and Rome all declined and eventually collapsed all together due to internal corruption, economic decline, and external invasions. Although Rome was destroyed culturally and politically once it fell, China and India were able to maintain some culture due to the religions Confucianism and Hinduism.
One of the causes of the collapse of all three civilizations is that all three empires were ridden with political corruption during their later years, all three suffered under poor leadership, and moral decay also haracterized the fall of these once great empires. In Han China the central government’s control disappeared, and as a result, the bureaucracy became more corrupt. Due to this loss of power, local proprietors decided to pick up the slack and ruled their neighborhood however they saw fit.
Peasants were taxed even more than they already were and the proprietors demanded more services of them. Many had to sell their land and become laborers on estates, and some people even had to sell their own children into service. Military generals’ later took over the falling empire to try to raise it back up. There were several empires that rose and fall until the bureaucratic system was revived for good. This period of havoc did leave behind a mark in the Buddhist minority that was left and in the newer styles of art and literature.
Unlike the fall of Rome, the disruption was not permanent and china eventually regained its former state. The decline of Rome is actually very similar to the dramatic collapse of Han China. After 180 C. E. political confusion produced several weak emperors, who only damaged the empire even more, and several power struggles over the succession to the throne only weakened the once powerful empire. Similar to the downfall of Han China, army intervention only complicated political life and contributed to political decline from the top of the chain downwards.
In contrast to the drastic downfalls of Rome and Han China, the fall of Gupta India was much more subtle and not nearly as dramatic of declines. It also was not based on political unity unlike Han China. Because no native ruler native to India even attempted to build an empire, invaders integrated into the warrior caste and formed a new ruling group of regional princes that came to be known as the Rajput. Few political events of ignificance occurred under their ruling, and due to their poor leadership, the Gupta India civilization slowly declined as well.
However once this had happened Rome and the Han China civilization had already collapsed, but internal corruption was not the only reason for the eventual collapse. Another common cause of the fall of these classical civilizations is due to outside invasions. One connection between all the civilizations was the fact that the Huns invaded all three. The Huns themselves invaded Rome and Han China while Gupta India was by another Hun group from Asia.
Another similarity that Rome and Han China shared is the fact that both of these civilizations had their capitals overrun which highly contributed to their fall and made their downfall occur even faster. Although Rome and Han China nad been suttering trom internal problems betore the invaders began causing problems, the nomads Just dealt the final blows that sent the civilizations to their doom. Gupta India had not yet resolved their tendency for their political system to dissolve and for the whole system to dissolve, making them a prime target for invaders to come and take over.
The fact that these once powerful civilizations were already very weak probably encouraged the nomadic invaders to harass and destroy even more. Unlike the other two civilizations, Rome suffered directly from the Germanic invaders who mainly fought because they had also fallen prey to the Huns harassment. Although these outside invasions were a big factor in the decline of these civilizations, economic decline also majorly played a part in the collapse. Even though it came in different forms, economic decline was also a cause of the fall of these empires.