Han china vs imperial rome essay

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  1. Comparison between Roman and Han Empires
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  3. Essay about Similarities and Differences of Rome and Han | Bartleby
  4. Rome vs han china essay

When Qin united China, the First Emperor abolished the feudal aristocracy and ruled the empire through a centralized bureaucracy. This was the lasting contribution of the Legalists, but it had to suffer bitter reactions from Confucians.

Comparison between Roman and Han Empires

In contrast to the elegant aristocrats of feudal China, the senatorial aristocrats of the early Roman Republic were rustic and pragmatic. They were farmer-soldiers like common citizens, as symbolized by Cincinnatus, patrician and consul who labored in the field himself. The Mediterranean world was well into the Iron Age.

Affordable effective tools and weapons empowered the common producers and warriors. Self-equipped military service was the foremost duty of a Roman citizen. Conscious of their contributions, the commons demanded a larger say in public affairs. During the first two centuries of the Republic, the commons organized an assembly of their own, resisted arbitrary coercive power of the aristocrats, and won for themselves significant liberty. In annual elections, the assemblies selected magistrates from aristocratic candidates. They also voted to pass or reject bills that aristocrats presented to them, but they had no right to propose or amend bills, or to speak singly in assembly.

A peculiar feature of the republican constitution was its wealth-based politics. Periodic census divided the citizen bodies according to their wealth. The union of wealth and political power was a Roman characteristic that persisted through the Republic and Empire. Not surprisingly private property rights were sacrosanct and a central concern of Roman laws.

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For centuries, they almost annually voted for war, showing a deep militarism surpassing that of both the Greeks and the Chinese. Roman wars were mainly financed by indemnities exacted from losers plus systematic looting and enslavement. Abundant booties from the rich Hellenistic world enabled the government to exempt Italian land from tax. This may not be a blessing for the common people. Large plantations worked by slaves exerted crushing pressure on small independent farms. Many proud proprietary farmers who marched out with the legions returned to find themselves dispossessed.

Economic inequality skyrocketed. More and more citizens lost their land and their means to purchase weapons for military service.


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Repeated agrarian reforms aimed at mitigating the situation failed because of staunch aristocratic opposition. Conscription faltering, the army turned to recruit volunteers from the poorest strata of society. The city-state government had no means to prevent ambitious generals from buying off the army by looted silver and the promise of land at retirement. Early Roman Republic. Spring and Autumn China. Late Roman Republic.

Essay about Similarities and Differences of Rome and Han | Bartleby

Warring-states China. Ruling-elite culture. Economic base. Private landed property. Military organization. Political structure. From their republican or and feudal origin, Rome and China converged on absolute monarchy. In the Roman and Chinese Empires, all authority in the vast realm devolved on the emperor.

However, absoluteness is not omnipotence. No mere mortal can exercise this unbound authority. To turn authority into power and govern effectively, the emperor needed the cooperation of the ruling elite to secure the compliance of the people. Much politics of the late imperial periods was fueled by struggles between aristocrats and monarchists bent on centralizing power. In the empires, the emperor and the ruling elites gradually came to terms with each other.

Together they evolved autocracy at the expense of the people. Julius Caesar grabbed dictatorial power on the support of his mighty war machine. But his inability to placate senators attached to the republican ideal of aristocratic collective rule led to his assassination.

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His heir took the lesson to heart. Augustus put on a republican facade and played courtesy to senators, even as he stripped all power from the Senate and the assemblies. He heightened the wealth qualification for senators, so that only the extremely rich could enter government service. Roman citizens lost all political rights. Social privileges gradually shifted from citizenship to wealth. Although the early Roman emperors called themselves princeps or first citizen, the Greeks correctly recognized them as the autocrat, the ruler answerable to none.

His words acquired the force of law. His right to power was never legally challenged or tested in the Senate; usurpation and mutiny were the only threats. Authority was secure not only for him but also for his family. No emperor who had a biological son living was ever succeeded peacefully by anyone else. Some emperors were succeeded by adopted sons, but the problem lay not with the hereditary principle but with the low fertility of Roman aristocrats.

It did not work. After rebellions toppled the Qin dynasty, the Han dynasty reinstituted the feudal aristocracy to placate the elites, whose dream was to become lords or hereditary ministers. It worked for three generations before the lords became restive, threatening a return to the warring states. The emperor quashed the rebels. This time it lasted. The bureaucracy designed by Legalists became the permanent institutional structure of imperial China.


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The emperor bought off the elites by making Confucianism the state ideology. Soon doctrinaire literati colonized the bureaucracy, condemned Legalist rule by laws, subverted rational regulations by personal connections, and the preached the virtue of deference to superiors.

With their indoctrination machine, the Confucian literati officialdom became arguably the most successful conservative ruling elite in world history. The histories of Rome and China show that there is no single panacea for world history. Nevertheless, the Romans characteristically extolled general law abidance and adhered to the rule by laws.

Imperial China never developed the idea of rule of law. Legalists introduced the rule by laws, but the equality under existing laws infringed on the privileges of ruling elites who upheld the ideals of feudal aristocrats. When Confucianism became the state ideology in the Han dynasty, imperial China sacrificed its nascent rule by law. Characters of the Eagle and Dragon, the Roman and Chinese styles of rule:. Roman Empire. Imperial China. Ruling elites. Social order. Rule by laws. Citizen rights, the rule of law.

Details of the above outline can be found in The Dragon and the Eagle: the rise and fall of the Roman and Chinese Empires. Iron Age. Late Bronze Age. Spread of iron. Rustic and pragmatic. Polished and ritualistic. Greek learning. Meritocracy rising. Independent farmers Legal private property rights. Communal farming No private land ownership. Slave-mode of production Absolute property rights.

Small independent farms Private landed property. Citizen infantry. Aristocratic chariots.

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Rome vs han china essay

Conscription infantry. Senatorial aristocracy Elected magistrates Power proportional to wealth. Feudal aristocracy Hereditary ministers State undifferentiated from family.

Compare and Contrast Rome and Han Lecture

To accomplish this, they created a university and civil service exams.