Comparing Empires Rome and China

3033 Words Aug 22nd, 2013 13 Pages
Comparing Empires: Roman and Chinese
Consolidating the Roman and Chinese Empires 1. both empires defined themselves in universal terms 2. both invested heavily in public works 3. both claimed supernatural sanctions a. deceased Roman emperors as gods (imperial cult) i. persecution of Christians for nonparticipation in cult b. Chinese emperor as Son of Heaven i. rule by Mandate of Heaven ii. dependent on just rule iii. heavy ritual duties to maintain relationship between earth and heaven iv. moral government spelled out by writings of Confucius and his followers The Han Dynasty was heir to the Qin state that had unified China in 221 BCE. The first ruler of the Qin established the title of “emperor.” The power of a Chinese emperor was
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The basis of Roman society, as proclaimed by the laws, was the family, headed by a pater familias, who had power over his dependents. However, Roman women were quite free and had greater control over their wealth and property than preceding states in the Mediterranean. One key difference from the Han was an extensive institution of slavery, in which slave laborers were used in large numbers to produce goods Roman society was a relatively hierarchical society. Each social group had well-defined roles. Birth was an important indicator of social position. While the elite could enjoy a relatively wealthy life and could expect to become officials and hold high positions, lower classes could not expect such luxury. In trials, the Roman elite was better privileged; they received preferential treatment from imperial courts. They could not be subject to cruel punishments. For the lower classes, the fastest way to advance socially was the army or trade Han society was divided into a number of classes, all played a role within this complex society. The basis of this society were free peasants, who formed the base of the tax revenues of the state and who produced most of the agricultural crop. Governing them were the scholar-officials, educated men who were interpreters of the empire's official ideology, Confucianism. These men also helped link the central government with local society. Merchants were also a class, but they were subject to controls by the

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