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Roman Empire Vs.

Han Dynasty Compare And Contrast Essay


Both the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty were similar in their fall, in that they suffered through significant factors like Germanic Invasions that made them decline in power. However, they both differed in how they came to great success in that Han Dynasty gained power through Legalism, where as the Roman Empire advanced along with a republic government. Both the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty became abrogated by the same conflicts. One of the main reasons was due to the great military power of the Germanic legions constantly making attempts to invade the empires. It was very costly to protect their borders from the perpetual invasions sent out by the Germanic leaders. Not even the great Julius Caesar was able to stop the invasions from these barbarous tribes. Soon both their economies began to suffer from the high prices of protecting their borders from these imperishable invasions. They also both lacked in electing a new ruler that would unify them and bring them back to their "Pax
Romana." For example, after Constantinople passed away Nero "The Madman of Rome," replaced him. This was definitely not going to help the Roman Empire. He added his part in helping Rome's economy to fall apart by raising taxes, opposing religious toleration, and much more. After Nero was killed, Marius took command but would soon prove to be inferior to the previous emperors like Augustus who managed to maintain a strong, flourishing empire. The Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire could simply not expect to advance with poor leadership and strong Germanic Invasions. Even though they were similar in their fall they were far different in their rise. The Han Dynasty rose to success by applying legalism as their set government. Throughout the successful years of the Han Dynasty, legalism proved to be a strict but prosperous government. Although legalism required the people to follow prudish laws and regulations it would prove to be the perfect form of government. Not only did they expand...

The Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire were two of the most powerful entities to rule their respective parts of the world. The Han Dynasty dominated Asia from the Korean peninsula to present day Vietnam for more than four hundred years. The Roman Empire stretched from the present British Isles to present day Iraq, and lasted nearly five hundred years. The Eastern Roman Empire went on to last another one thousand years. Both the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire enjoyed times of immense prosperity during their golden years. They both ended in chaos. How were their declines similar? Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, brought order to the vast lands Rome had conquered and brought an end to over one hundred years of civil war. He disbanded the large armies that had been recruited during the civil war and consolidated his power. The people welcomed the new dictator, and enjoyed peace and prosperity. With peace came increased trade and commerce, and ideas traveled freely along the Roman Empire's well designed roads. However, the emperors after Augustus were not as politically gifted as Augustus. Four emperors and fifty-four years later, the Roman Empire was once again thrown into a violent civil war.

After four coups in a single year, another line of emperors emerged. The line started by Vespasian was also a stable time. The Roman Empire reached its largest size during this time, and many historians consider those years the golden age of Rome. Inevitably, out of such a successful line of emperors, there would eventually emerge a bad apple. The emperor Commodus threw himself into immoral and violent practices, and gave no respect to any of the leaders. He was assassinated in 192 A.D., bringing an end to one century of stability. This date marked the beginning of the end. The Romans gradually lost power, and barbarian people in the north frequently went on raids against the now disintegrating empire. The Roman Empire became steeped in debt as emperors tried desperately to buy the loyalty of the army, and the moral condition of its subjects continued to spiral downward. Christians were persecuted, and large, bloodthirsty crowds would in arenas to cheer as various people died violent deaths. Rome steadily lost control of the frontiers, and roads and bridges were not maintained, leading to a breakdown in trade and communication. Riots and revolts became commonplace in Rome itself. The civil war affected the lives of all the citizens. As the government fell deeper into debt, it raised taxes. The armies of different generals seized any supplies they needed from local people. Food became a precious commodity, and for the first time in centuries, large numbers of people went hungry. Ultimately, the emperor Diocletian restored a semblance of order during his reign from 284 to 305. He recognized the fact that one man could not keep all the armies loyal to him, and could not coordinate a defense against the barbarians. This led to the division of the Roman Empire into eastern and western portions. Constantine briefly united the Eastern and Western empires in the 320s and established new capital Constantinople in present day Turkey, but his son Theodosius I was the last emperor of the united Roman Empire. When he died in 395, he divided the eastern and western portion between his two sons. The western emperors became weaker and weaker, and tribes of barbarians roamed freely. In 476, the Western Roman Empire officially ended. Most of the common peoples lives were unaffected by this. Local governments remained much the same. The Eastern Roman Empire continued to prosper until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the Ottomans. Long before the Roman Empire had been united under one man, an empire in the East was thriving. The Han Dynasty was established by a former policeman. After the collapse of the Qin Dynasty, the first to unite China, a period of anarchy ensued. Liu Bang, the son of peasants, raised an army and conquered his foremost rival in 202 B.C. He continued to war against other rivals and former allies until he consolidated his power. He pacified the nomadic Xiongnu by offering them tribute. He was popular among the peasants, who had been oppressed and overworked under the Qin Dynasty. Lowered taxes, less demands for labor from the state, and his own humble origins made him well-liked. He carefully appointed loyal officials and administrators, making sure that the power remained with him. Harboring a deep distrust of merchants, he put rich landowners in positions of power. At his death in 195 B.C., he had left a stable and prospering kingdom in the hands of his family. Power struggles occurred in the royal family, but the dynasty produced capable rulers. The reigns of Wendi, Jingdi, and Wudi were marked by peace, prosperity, a better life for peasants, expansion of Chinas lands, art, and trade. Confucianism became the official state philosophy.

Under Wudi, China conquered many lands, expanding their power and influence. The Han Dynasty now controlled northern Vietnam and the Korean Peninsula, and the Xiongnu were pushed back. Wudi sent explorers toward Central Asia, eventually opening up the famous trade route known as the Silk Road. Buddhism was introduced from India. However, the wars and large armies put an enormous burden on the economy. The land became overpopulated, and thousands were forced into banditry or even selling their children as slaves. Government officials became increasingly corrupt. Confucian moralists decried these events, but little was changed. Toward the end of Wudis reign, violence erupted between the empress and Wudis concubine over the heir to the throne. Eventually, a compromise ruler was chosen, but the decline of the Han Dynasty had already begun. Later emperors were incompetent, and their reigns were marked by corruption, immorality, and apathy. Some Confucian scholars declared that the Han Dynasty had lost the Mandate of Heaven, a belief that rulers were appointed by Heaven. Wang Mang was a Confucian who was appointed regent of the child emperor Ruzi. The outsider seized power in 9 A.D., and attempted to implement sweeping reforms that damaged the already feeble economy. Though most Confucians had looked to him as the father of a new dynasty, economic and natural disasters caused a massive food shortage. The peasants rebelled, and Wang Mangs attempted usurpation died with him in 23 A.D. Millions died in the resulting war for power, but a Han prince named Liu Xui emerged victorious. Though the Han Dynasty had been reestablished, it never reached the heights of its first years. Trade increased to new levels, and the first Nestorian Christians arrived, but corruption continued, and few reforms were made. Gradually, court officials and warlords gained more and more power, and the Taoist religion, which preached equal rights and land redistribution began to take hold among the peasants. The Han Dynastys later years were filled with internal conflict, as court officials battled with the emperor and the Taoists. During this time, nomads in the north and near the Korean Peninsula destroyed the Chinese settlements as civil war rocked the Han. In the end, the emperors lost most of their power, and China split into various warring factions that were eventually transformed into three new kingdoms. The Han Dynastys glorious reign formally came to an end in 220 A.D. Both the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire were powerful and impressive. They both fell because of weak leaders and power hungry individuals. The Han practice of concubinage led to much violence and strife in the royal family, causing disunity and internal conflict. Regents often attempted to seize power. Love of money led to the precarious situations of Romes later emperors, as soldiers demanded gold for loyalty. In both empires, corruption of government contributed to the bitterness of the common people. All of these things arise from the selfishness in the human heart. In James 3:16, we see the unavoidable consequences of selfish gain. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. Mans desire for power over himself and over others has led to much suffering. These two empires could not escape the corruption of human nature.

The Roman Empire and Han Dynasty sprang up at around the same time. The Roman Empire was essentially everything that touched the Mediterranean while the Han took over much of China. Obviously, differences in culture, tradition, and location caused them to be different in ways; but even though these empires did not really have contact with one another, there were many similarities. These similarities and differences will be discussed in religion and culture, economy and society, and government and military as well as the effect these areas had on how each was ruled.

The Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty The Roman Empire (31 B.C.E.-476 C.E.) and the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) were prominent empires that existed simultaneously at opposite ends of Eurasia. An empire can be described as consisting of a set of regions locally ruled by governors, viceroys or kings in the name of the emperor. Rome and Han had these characteristics of an empire and also shared many similarities including government, slavery, and their downfall with a few differences. Within the first 3 months after the death of Shin Huang, emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-202 B.C.E.), civil war basically took place in China. By 202 B.C.E., the Han Dynasty was established. Liu Bang (peasant who became Han emperor) had defeated all of the other competitors in this revolt including Xiangyu, creating a renowned autocratic empire. Since the ruler was considered the basis of the state, autocracy (government in which one person has unlimited power) was the most powerful form of government during this time. Rome also became an autocracy. After many years and many rulers, civil wars that had been taking place ended and Octavian Caesar became the first emperor transferring from a republic to an autocratic dictatorship like the Han Dynasty. In Rome, city-states were prevalent, rather than kingdoms. They started as a republic in which power belonged to a group of citizens rather than in one family as China had. In this thinking, the citizens had more power and only a small portion of each community actually possessed citizenship. Due to this form of government, communal identity was more recognized in Rome than in China. The Roman Empire was more like a union of moderately autonomous provinces than the Han imperial system. Like Rome's provinces, now the Emperor had turned Han's integrated imperial system into provinces...

Fall of Roman and Han Empires

The Roman and Han Empires were among the greatest empires in the history of the World. Both ruling in the first century of the Common Era, the Han dynasty peaking in the 200s and the Roman Empire in the 400s, these empires showed great military power, strived in economic trade, and their territories covered vast land. So how did these great empires find themselves plummeting to an unfortunate collapse? Although there are many similarities in the reasons for the desecration of these empires, there are also several contrasting reasons for the declines in economic trade, effects of the changing populations, and the failure of the political systems. The Roman and Han empires equally strived economically in trade. However, decline in trade affected Rome more than Han China. Many Chinese communities were self sufficient, and most trade was carried out between communities. The Romans economy relied heavily on trade, and as trade routes became compromised, pirates and bandits began stealing goods from merchants creating a decline in trade and profits. Less trade reduced the amount of taxes going back to the government. In contrast to trade, raising taxes evenly weakened both empires. The Roman and Han Empires raised taxes to support their growing armies. As taxes increased, the poor were unable to pay them. Since rich landowners in both empires were not required to pay taxes, many peasants fled to these landlords for protection. In Rome, this affected trade by making the tax on good go up, creating inflation. Both the Roman and Han Empires experienced social unrest during their collapse. Peasants became angered with the raise in taxes and started to revolt in China. The Chinese used their military to stop these revolts but soon needed more soldiers. The Han government forced many farmers and others to fight, generating a larger group of angry citizens and producing reluctant warriors. On the other hand, the Romans did not struggle with revolts but instead religion. As the Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, officials tried to eliminate it. They created laws banning Christianity with the consequence being the cruel punishments or death. As a final stitch effort, the emperor declared himself supreme god. Needless to say all plans failed and Christianity continued to spread further fracturing the once powerful empire. Nomadic invasions pestered both Roman and Han empires. Nomads attacked the outskirts of the large territories creating small settlements. The Romans were attacked by Germanic tribes while Han China suffered attacks from the Huns. These Germanic tribes were superior in military technology and threatened Roman forces. During Caesars rule, these nomadic peoples tried to conquer small cities but failed and ultimately settled on the outskirts of the empire. In contrast, the Huns, violent, savage men, led several attacks and defeated several Roman legions. These attacks called for a need of a large army from both empires, but with taxes dropping and the growing lack of good authority, most armies failed. Many factors played role in the fail of once powerful empires. Both the Roman and Han empires flourished and had a very successful reign. Nonetheless, small mistakes made by the central governments caused huge problems socially, economically and politically. The ultimate failure of these empires can be determined from the outraged citizens, the drastic decline in trade and crops, and the attacks from nomadic peoples as well as corrupted political officials.