Han China vs. Imperial Rome
Han China during the time 200 bce. through 200 ce. and Imperial Rome during the time of 31 bce. though 476 ce. had many similarities and differences. Some of the similarities between the two are their religious policies, the significance of their armies, rebelliations from the people, and the role of the emperor. These empires had many differences as well such as the acceptance of outsiders, their influences on other regions, and their philosophies. A similarity between Han China and Imperial Rome was their religious policies. Both China and Rome blocked the spread of other religions from nearby empires to come into their nations such as Hinduism from India or Stoicism from the Greeks. The religion that was practiced in Rome (after being legalized in 312) was Christianity by the Emperor Constantine while the religious practice of Buddhism was incorporated with Confucianism and Daoism. Another similarity between the two empires was the significance of their army. Both China and Rome were ruled by generals and the armies were a crucial part in maintaining political stability against their enemies.
Han China and Imperial Rome were often threatened by surrounding opponents who frequently attempted to assert their authority upon them. Also, the high cost of the armies often caused for bankruptcy in the empires and forced the taxes of the people to go up. Both of these empires also struggled from retaliations from the people because of these high taxes and poor treatments to the less fortunate. In both China and Rome, the emperor received many revolts against his policies. The revolts were mostly from the people of lower status such as the slaves in Rome and the peasants in China. Finally, the role of the emperor was very similar in these two empires as well. Both Han China and Imperial Rome believed that not one single imperial family should rule forever. The Romans chose their emperors based of whoever was their best general while China chose a man who could control the imperial family and court. Both empires felt the the ruler should have divine attributes but they often had difficulty in establishing rules for imperial succession. A difference between Han China and Imperial Rome is the way the empires accepted foreigners.
As China conquered more and more nations, they accepted the people and spread their views and ideas upon them. Rome was also conquering other nations but the people they conquered did not take on the views and beliefs of the Romans. They remained “other” and intermarriages between Romans and foreigners were usually forbidden. The empire was held together by the practice of Buddhism and Confucianism while Rome was held together by law and military power. In China, Confucianism was the belief that the welfare of the people should come first while as in Rome, the belief was that the power of the nation came before the people. Another difference between the two empires was their influence on their neighbors. The Imperial Roman Empire influenced only the people within their boundaries while Han China’s influence spread to other areas such as Japan and Korea. Their influence consisted mainly of their religious and cultural views. Also, Rome and China had different philosophies regarding their empires. China practiced Confucianism and instead of looking to the past for ways to govern that they should keep moving forward. They believed that the only possible government was a well-ordered empire. Rome, on the other hand, always looked back to the past for advice on how to govern and considered it to be a golden age. In conclusion, Han China and Imperial Rome had many similarities and differences.
They had many of the same views on their views of outside religions, the importance of their armies, the retaliations from the people, and the high role of the emperor. They also had a few differences between them such as their policy of accepting the people they conquered, the influence they had on other regions surrounding them, and their views of governing their empires. Both Han China and Imperial Rome were very powerful nations and made a large imprint on the history of the ancient world.