A Comparison of the Decline of Han China and the Roman Empire

917 WordsNov 18, 20104 Pages
A Comparison of the Decline of Han China and the Roman Empire The decline of China and Rome both shared similar economic strife in that they were both subject to barbarian and nomadic invasions, therefore having to spend large amounts of money on frontier defense; however, they differed in that the Han Empire collapsed in part due to the high taxes imposed on the peasant class resulting in a large peasant rebellion, such as the Yellow Turbans, while in Rome tax collections was in danger of abandonment as residents of the empire were few in number and in financial difficulty. In addition, the two empires were similar socially because of large epidemics, diseases, and plagues that caused a population decrease. Also, both experienced a…show more content…
The Han Empire chose to overtax the overwhelmingly large peasant class which instigated an enormous peasant rebellion led by the Yellow Turbans, a Daoist religious sect who opposed the over taxation of peasantry and attempted to form a “Golden Age”. In the Roman Empire, taxation slowly became a thing of the past, as the Romans decreasing population failed to pay taxes at all during hard times. As the Roman population decreased due to famine, disease, and the upper classes producing less offspring due to their quest for a pleasure-seeking life, soldiers were becoming scarcer, and the overall economy declined. Factors such as taxing and nomadic invasions weakened both societies economically, though both civilizations dealt with taxing differently, causing different effects. In both civilizations, epidemics broke out within the population. Public baths, sewage systems, and human-animal contact caused diseases such as malaria, smallpox, measles, and the bubonic plague to wipe out entire populations. In addition, both suffered a cultural decay intellectually. Roman scholars wrote textbooks summarizing already discovered information instead of developing new ideas. During that time, Romans became increasingly focused on pleasure seeking, turning away from political and economic ideas that once shaped their civilization. Confucian scholars in Han China became less creative and centered also, causing social and political decline in Confucian philosophies. However; when

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