Comparing Ancient Rome And Han China El Cerrito Highschool's Ap World History Essay

815 words - 4 pages

Comparing Ancient Rome and Han China
Ancient Rome and Han China were both empires that impacted the entire world during
their reign and after. Everything that went on in these empires, from the government to the arts,
strongly affects Western civilization to this day. Each empire has many unique things to show,
but the empires were also very similar– they were both able to create unique government
systems, economic systems, art, and more. These accomplishments prove why these two empires
stand out from other ancient civilizations in many ways.
Politically, Ancient Rome and Han China were pretty different. Although both had
Emperors that were mainly in power, Rome scattered political power throughout the higher class,
while the Chinese had dynasties. In Rome, the real center of power was the Senate. The Senate
made decisions as a group, and had the power to elect other political officials. They did not
always use their power completely fairly, though, and they would exercise their power in corrupt
ways. For example, officials in the Senate would nominate their sons for public offices. Han
China was similar in this specific way– their dynasties were basically a way to pass power down
through the generations of a specific family. Another political similarity between the two
empires was that religion and politics were hand in hand. Romans were polytheists, and their
beliefs influenced their laws. In the same way, the Han emperors had mainly Legalist views, and
so those beliefs impacted their decisions.
The economies of Rome and Han China depended on similar markets, but they are
actually very different when looked at closely. The economies of both empires were strongly
dependent on agriculture and trade. The Romans built many complex trade routes, and the
Chinese were located right along a huge trade center that they built up– the Silk Road. Both
empires also had many farms, and made a majority of their money from agriculture that was sold
to trading merchants. A difference between the two economies was how the workers were
viewed. The Romans treated their merchant class with lots of respect, and Roman merchants
were actually part of an elite class, called the Equites. On the other hand, Chinese merchants
were thought to be a part of the lower class, and were not respected in most of the same ways as
the Romans. Because the economic situation of Han China was not as stable as Rome’s, the
Chinese merchants were more often blamed for...

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