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COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE HAN DYNASTY

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Introduction 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.

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

comparativeperspectives.Chichester,WestSussex,U.K.:Wiley-Blackwell. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=644971.
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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.

rnason, Jhann Pll, and Kurt A. Raaflaub. 2011. The Roman Empire in context historical and

comparativeperspectives.Chichester,WestSussex,U.K.:Wiley-Blackwell.
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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 welltrained 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

Duncan-Jones, Richard. 2002. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. 2011. The essential world history. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Duncan-Jones, Richard. 2002. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

growing to produce form products. The existence of a freer market in Rome, which ensured that the empire drove its money from campaigns, enhanced the wealthy of the empire and tribute from its client kingdoms. Whereas the Roman Empire created roads and concrete for the building, which enabled them to construct stronger buildings, the Han Dynasty invented tools such as threw wheelbarrow, which has immense effect in trade and society. The Han Dynasty The Han dynasty was the second of its kind in china and was preceded by the Qin dynasty. The empire was conceived through the campaigns of a rebel Luis Bang, whose actions led to the creation of this influential dynasty. The rebellion was necessitated by the grievances of the peasants who sought reforms on various issues, which affected their lives. This occurrence influenced the social and economic features observed during this influential era. Contrary to common perceptions, the dynasty consisted of two factions namely the western Han and the eastern Han. The western Han gained prominence with its approach to involve the peasants into government as opposed to the previous dynasty, which involved only the aristocrats. This approach was successful since the western Han is considered to the first powerful and unified empire in china. The empire like the Roman one had a significant influence in global history, with its contribution on social, economic and political aspects, which were sustainable. This is despite the empires being located at different places and eras. Economic Features the Han Dynasty One of the aspects that were prominent in the Han dynasty, like the Roman Empire, was the economic features evident in this era. The economic activities in the dynasty were centered on agriculture and trade. Currency was an integral part of trade as was evident in the Roman Empire. The Han dynasty took up the coins used during the preceding era. However, the

government of the Han dynasty stopped government minting promoting private production of coins to be used as currency. However, this trend was reversed by the later emperors, who resorted to the previous method of the government being responsible for minting of currency. This was due to production of inferior and lighter coins, which necessitated the government to resort to the government monopoly in coin mintage. This production was mandated to the finance minister during the eastern Han. The use of the coins allowed easier circulation hence the economy was vibrant. This is because employments of coins as currency were easy to transport and standardize; hence, accurate valuing of goods was achieved. The government generated revenue to support its operations through taxation. In the Han dynasty, different types of taxation existed, and this included land tax, which required landowners to submit a portion of their produce. This was facilitated with the removal of the feudal system, which allowed landowners, regardless of their scale to contribute in taxation. There were also the property and poll tax, which were paid using money. Agriculture was encouraged with the end feudalism promoting free land ownership. This increased the productivity of the empire bolstering the trade and economy in the region. In addition, the government of the Han dynasty enacted reforms, which ensured that the farmers are not shackled by debts. This was essential with the actuality that these demographic consisted of the majority of shareholders. It was, therefore, imperative to address the situation. This included resolutions like reducing taxes, providing temporary housing and employment for peasant laborers and granting of loans to farmer. This ensured that the population was economically empowered enhancing the economic situation of the region. The Han dynastys trade was also influenced by the rich resources, which were abundant in the region. This consisted of salt and iron deposits, which created rich businesspersons

through its trade. These resources resulted in wealthy merchants employing large workforces to serve in the mines since exploitation of the reserves led to massive profits for the merchants. This was a problem for the government since it attracted peasants from agriculture depleting the governments capability to collect revenue from land tax. This influence was eliminated by the governments move to nationalize these resources, but allowed the merchants to act as officials managing these resources. The government in this situation was seen to employ monopolistic policies in its economy, as opposed to the Roman Empire where capitalism was encouraged. This trend was refuted during the eastern dynasty where production by private and county ownership was encouraged. Monopolistic policies were also evident in the liquor business whereby the trade was nationalized. This was later reversed in favor of collection of property tax levied for individuals trading in alcohol privately. Despite the different modes of taxation employed in the Han dynasty, the aspect of taxation provides a similarity between the Han and roman empires economic states.

Social Features the Han Dynasty The social characteristic of the Han dynasty was significantly developed. There was evidence of social stratification with different social classes being evident. The apex of the social strata had the emperor8. There were also other royalty and nobles consisting of kings and nobles. Eunuchs and regents were also esteemed and belonged to the elite class in the society. The members of this class were immune to arrest unless, in the instance, the emperor instructed this. Scholars, teachers and government also started identifying with this class enjoying the social

Ye, Lang, Zhenggang Fei, and Tianyou Wang. 2007. China: five thousand years of history and civilization. Kowloon, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.

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privileges afforded to this class. The farmers followed in the social hierarchy. However, smaller cultivators were held in lower esteem, and this included laborers, tenants and slaves. Artisans, on the other hand, were considered to have social status that was between farmers and local merchants9. The merchants who were registered by the government were required to dress in white apparels and paid high taxes. Despite this, the gentry perceived them with contempt. The powerful merchants, however, were the ones who networked their operations through cities and were not government registered. This resulted in them amassing wealth that exceeded some government official significantly and were more powerful. In addition, individuals like medical practitioners, butchers and pig breeders enjoyed a social status, which was high. Family was also an essential part of the social life of the Han dynasty. The families in the dynasty consisted mostly of nuclear member sharing a homestead. Family beliefs and values were based on the Confucian theory, which required different members to be afforded unique respects and intimacy. During marriages, the union was arranged with the partners being chosen by the parents. However, in this scenario, the fathers thoughts were considered to have more weight than the mother. There was evidence of monogamous and polygamous marriages though the latter only occurred when an individual could afford it. Both sexes were allowed to divorce, and if willing, to remarry. Inheritance was divided equally among sons and daughters were not included formally in the will. Women were expected to obey their male counterparts and were

Hardy, Grant, and Anne Behnke Kinney. 2005. The establishment of the Han empire and imperial China. Wesport: Conn.

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involved in activities such as weaving and domestic chores. They also sold textile goods for profit10. Religion was also critical for the society with the Han participating in ritual sacrifices. This occurred in temples and shrines, and it was believed that it would appease the supernatural. There was a belief that people had two souls, whereby one enjoyed immortality, while the other remained on earth, and the two could only be reunited through such rituals11. Literature was a key aspect of the society and Confucianism was the vein of the philosophies engaged by the society. The society was highly cultured, and law was observed. Cases of rape, murder and physical harm were punished in courts. Women were allowed the right to seek action against the men despite their social status. Some of the punishment afforded for individuals guilty of misdemeanors included fines, forced labor and deaths by beheading. If cases failed to be resolved, intervention of the higher officials and even the emperor was sought12. The society consumed foods, which included wheat rice, beans, barley and millet among others. They obtained meat from domesticated animals such as cows, geese, sheep and pigs and consumer various fruits and hunted game13. The clothes worn depicted the social status of the

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Ye, Lang, Zhenggang Fei, and Tianyou Wang. 2007. China: five thousand years of history and civilization. Kowloon, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.

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Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. 2009. World history: to 1500. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage.

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Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. 2009. World history: to 1500. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage.

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Hardy, Grant, and Anne Behnke Kinney. 2005. The establishment of the Han empire and imperial China. Wesport: Conn.

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individual, with silk representing the wealthy, while wool and skin clothes being used by peasants for clothing. Conclusion Earths history has realized numerous civilizations. These civilizations have significantly influenced the historical path of the planet. Examples of such include the Roman Empire and the Han dynasty, which made significant influences to the social-economic landscape of the globe. Despite both eons being influential, there are numerous contrast and similarities in the social and economical scenarios of the two civilizations. It is, therefore, essential to distinguish these scenarios in order to comprehend the extent of influence facilitated by these civilizations.

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Bibliography rnason, Jhann Pll, and Kurt A. Raaflaub.. The Roman Empire in context historical and comparativeperspectives.Chichester,WestSussex,U.K.:Wiley-Blackwell.2011. http://public.eblib.com/EBLPublic/PublicView.do?ptiID=644971. Duncan-Jones, Richard. Structure and scale in the Roman economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002. Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. The essential world history. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. 2011. Duiker, William J., and Jackson J. Spielvogel. World history: to 1500. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage. 2009. Hardy, Grant, and Anne Behnke Kinney. The establishment of the Han empire and imperial China. Wesport: Conn. 2005. Ye, Lang, Zhenggang Fei, and Tianyou Wang. China: five thousand years of history and civilization. Kowloon, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press. 2007.