Comparing Han China and Ancient Rome

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Han China and Ancient Rome are without doubt two of the most powerful and famous empires in ancient times. The Han Dynasty ruled China from 202 B.C. - A.D. 220. The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.–206 B.C.). It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gao Zu of Han. As emperor, Liu Bang took a series of measures that were good for his people. He ordered the reduction of field taxes on the peasants and let the armies go back to farming. Because of his strong leadership and effective measures, the economy recovered quickly and stability returned to the society. In the annuals of Chinese history, Liu Bang was regarded as an emperor who contributed a tremendous amount to the prosperity of the Han Dynasty. Spanning over four centuries, the period of the Han Dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history. Rome, on the other hand, began as a small city in Italy and became a ruler of the Mediterranean and beyond. Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century B.C. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded in 753 B.C. by twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas. It is believed that Romulus killed Remus, and became the source of the city's name. Rome slowly changed from a republic to an empire after plunging into series of civil wars. The huge empire was later divided into two by emperor Diocletian.

The geography of China and Rome were quite different. Long distances and physical barriers isolated China from Egypt, India and the...

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...oacer ousted the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus. This event was later referred to as the “fall” of Rome. Problems such as military attack, political turmoil and social decay also contributed to the fall of Rome. Rome hired mercenaries who felt little loyalty to Rome. As the government became more oppressive and authoritarian, it loss the people's support. The need to replace citizen-soldiers with mercenaries testified to the decline in patriotism. Having lasted for about 1200 years, the rule of Rome in the West finally ended. The Eastern Empire had a different fate. It survived for almost 1000 years after the fall of its Western counterpart and became the most stable Christian realm during the Middle Ages. However, when Constantinople fell in 1453 to the Ottoman empire, it is even said that Moscow was the “third Rome”, succeeding Constantinople in Byzantium.

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