compare and contrast the roman empire and the han dynasty
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COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE HAN DYNASTY
Both the Han dynasty and the Roman Empire rose, during their era, to become the
strongest and most powerful empires, in their epoch. However, the methods of achieving their
world power and dominance, varied immensely, as they applied different methods through their
political structures, which were anchored around their governments. The imperial Rome Empire
and the Han dynasty constructed distinctive techniques of social and political control. For
instance, to the Chinese, the Han dynasty applied a centerpiece, which monitored everything
referred to as Confucianism. The Roman Empire, on the other hand, was based on a monarchy
but offered its residents more rights as compared to the Han. However, the two empires had
similar political structures as the power was vested on the wealthy that were given the mandate
to control, the peasants concerning issues such as food support. The empires made id probable
for their subjects lead sustainable and peaceful as well as predictable lives as compared to the
past regimes. The wealthiest were in charge of social distribution and could easily influence
community perceptions and interactions among the residents. The Two empires, which existed
during the Classical age, had correlated and varied political, social, religious practices, as well as
economical values and practices. However, although the two empires were from the same epoch,
they shared both differences and similarities, in their economical and social perspectives.
Social features of the Roman Empire
The social system of the Roman Empire was rooted on heredity, affluence, autonomy,
citizenship and property as well as about men and women who were distinguished by their social
status. The womens position in society was defined by the status of their fathers and husbands1.
1 rnason, Jhann Pll, and Kurt A. Raaflaub. 2011. The Roman Empire in context historical and
They were required to become housewives and lacked any freedom or independence to do as
they wished. This led to the boundaries of gender roles being wider and highly pronounced, as
women had no voice in society. The social perspective of the ancient Rome and that of the Han
China were similar in the perspective that they both embraced male dominance in their culture
and social existence. Male dominance was a significant aspect for both empires as they were
more concerned with male children while disregarding the female counterparts2. The two
empires cared for the birth of male offspring and almost entirely disregarded the women. Men
were deemed more significant and relevant than women within the Dynasties. In Han China, it
was more of a disgrace to bear or sire female offsprings, who had no position in society.
Furthermore, in the ancient Roman Empire the women were viewed to belong to the similar
social class echelon as children in their community. The father was the heart of a family and had
power over his children regardless of their age, which entitled to become the exclusive owner off
everything that was acquired by his sons. In this scenario, a son would endeavor to amass wealth,
but at the end of it all, it belonged to his father.
Marriages in the Roman Empire were arranged, but the mothers or daughters could have
some influence on the decisions reached. Girls were pressured to marry early while in their
2 Duncan-Jones, Richard. 2002. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
young ages whereby the legal age for marriage was twelve years. However, the women could not
partake in public life, but they led a visible life, unlike the Han Dynasty3.
Furthermore, the social statuses were dominant to the extent that there were distinct
boundaries, on how people dressed in the Roman Empire. Members of various social classes
dressed distinctly, to differentiate their status from those of higher classes, and those below them.
The emperor was the only one who was permitted to dress in purple toga, while the other leaders
such as senators could dress in a white toga among others. However, although the classes and
ranks among people were strictly established there was a lot of interaction among people of
different classes. For instance, some freemen and slaves who worked in the houses of the
wealthy and upper class people interacted while soldiers also could mix with their officers4. The
dressing system as a mode of rank was also a factor, in the Han dynasty, where the system of
classes of people, was highly pronounced. The dynasty also had slaves, who were even branded
by slave marks, to differentiate for the other people in society, and their roles, were to serve their
masters until their demise. Slaves were acquired during warfare a bankrupt subject could sell
himself into slavery, and a father could as well sale his children into slavery, although selling
ones own children was illegal. Therefore, due to the high number of slaves during the empire
they became more visible as the rich mens homes were full of slaves. The Romans considered a
man who possessed more slaves as a man with immense status and prestige within their society.
The slaves were also obtained like any other piece of property.
3 rnason, Jhann Pll, and Kurt A. Raaflaub. 2011. The Roman Empire in context historical and
4 Duncan-Jones, Richard. 2002. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Moreover, men who were wealthy in the Roman Empire acted as patron who led the
people who were from the lower classes. The wealthy offered generous food distributions as well
as entertainment. This was provided for by the Roman law, which was practiced in each town or
city through the empire. The laws made the family, the root of the roman social order. These
practices were also common among the Han Dynasty.
Furthermore, there was a theater in each roman town during the empire rule as well as an
amphitheater, whereby the Colosseum min Rome was the most famous. The Colosseum, which
is an entertainment facility, was used in hosting gladiatorial fights or games, whereby well-
trained men, mostly slaves fought, sometimes to their death, to thrill throngs of crowds, who
gathered to enjoy the games. Contrary, the Han Chinese elites, constructed outsized palace
complexes, to electrify and entertain themselves, and not necessarily for the broad public.
Oratory was also a significant social aspect in the Roman Empire, and it was passed on from the
Greeks, making it a common occurrence and practice among the Romans. However, in Han
China poetry, books and stories were common, as those from the upper class were required to be
versed in prose and poetry. They were expected to create a poem instantly as they played a
drinking game whereby the loser was required to formulate a poem immediately, or be forced to
consume a cup of wine.
Economic features of the Roman Empire
Concerning the economy, Rome comprised silver and gold coins, which were valued
highly as the possessed real value. Conversely, China had copper coins that possessed nominal
value, and was underpinned by administration reserves. This exposed Han weakness and left in
to be susceptible to hyperinflation, and massively contributed to the rebellions witnessed against
the Han Emperors in the 2nd century AD5.
However, both ancient Rome and Han dynasty share economical perspectives as the basis
wealth of these two larger empires were agriculture, which provided them with some of the
products, which they traded. Nonetheless, Rome mostly exported glass metal-works while Han
Dynasty dominantly exported silk and bronze tools6. Furthermore, the two empires embarked in
collecting taxes from their people except the slaves within their empire7. The Roman Empire
embarked to develop its economy by supporting the city bourgeoisie.
The Roman Empire achieved a staggering transformation of scale, in the production of
agricultural, manufactured and mined products, in the Mediterranean region. Furthermore, they
constructed an unprecedented number of roads and drew up complicated maps with significant
roads and distances among towns. Furthermore, they coordinated road networks with sea routes
to support commerce flow in the region. Coinage was generated in immense quantities, to
facilitate the exchange of products. There was witnessed emergence of larger scale commercial
plantation agriculture, which specialized in cash crops for the urban market. This plantation
entailed that a larger number of slaves were required to offer labor services. The Rome
agriculture was self sufficient and covered most of the empire subjects. They enhanced their crop
5 Duncan-Jones, Richard. 2002. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
6 Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. 2011. The essential worl