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  • The other Rome vs Han thread

    Lets compare and contrast the NON-military aspects of the Roman Republic/Empire and the Han Dynasty.

    All is fair game except military. I would love to hear your thoughts on:

    economy
    taxation
    government stability
    agriculture
    infrastructure
    political philosophy
    organization

  • #2
    I'm just gonna compare the period in which both were empires (ignoring the Roman Republic) from my limited knowledge.

    economy - both were primarily agricultural grain-based economies supplemented by trade, one relied on poor peasantry, the relied based on poor peasantry and slaves. The population for both empires were about the same. (tied)

    taxation - grain tax and tax based on commodities such as salt and metal. The Han Dynasty probably had a more efficient system of collecting taxes, but I don't know much about the tax collecting methods of either empires so I'll say it's even. (tied)

    government stability - Both were monarchies and turmoil arose during power transfers. The Han Empire fluctuated from a federation to empire to confederation whereas Roman Empire during the same time period was constantly fracturing as well. I'd say the power transition process was slightly smoother during the Roman Empire, though not by much. (Roman Empire)

    agricultural - Rome had large plantations worked by slaves, with good fertile land in the eastern Mediterranean. Han had mass produced iron farming tools, labor saving devices such as water mills, and complex irrigation canals. (Han Empire)

    infrastructure - Both had large cities with things such as sewer systems and bathes. The Han had complex canal systems, Romans had extensive roads and aqueducts during the empire. Close but I'd give the advantage to the Romans. (Roman Empire)

    political philosophy - both essentially monarchies based on divine right to rule. I know the Han were partially based on legalism/Confucianism as well as many of the lesser schools - but I don't know what exact philosophies the Roman Empires adhered to. I'll say they're about even. (tied)

    Organization - Both had giant bureaucracies. I'd give the Han an advantage to due a more complex and better organized bureaucracy, as well as better book-keeping due to inventions such as paper, which was much better than pounded reeds/papyrus.
    (Han Empire)

    Final score
    +3 tied
    +2 Roman Empire
    +2 Han Empire

    My verdict is that they're tied.
    Last edited by Intranetusa; 21 Mar 10, 13:56.
    Surrender? NutZ!
    -Varro

    Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

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    • #3
      This one is somewhat related to a lot of those,

      While both sides had roads and the han had a number of canals, they didn't have anything as extensive as the Mediterranean itself.
      Back then the cheapest and fastest means of moving large amounts of goods was by sea. The shear amount of naval trade possible would probably be a significant advantage to the Romans.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
        This one is somewhat related to a lot of those,

        While both sides had roads and the han had a number of canals, they didn't have anything as extensive as the Mediterranean itself.
        Back then the cheapest and fastest means of moving large amounts of goods was by sea. The shear amount of naval trade possible would probably be a significant advantage to the Romans.
        The problem was most, if not all Mediterranean ships at the time were all flat bottomed, so they had to stick close to the coasts when sailing. Frequent Mediterranean storms restricted shipping times to several peak months as mentioned in the other threads.

        And of course, the Mediterranean won't help you if you're trying to transport something from Italy to the middle of France.

        Canals on the other hand, could be used year round, always had calm waters, could transport goods both upstream and downstream, and could be used to transport goods deep inland where rivers/lakes/seas/etc don't naturally exist.

        So the Mediterranean sea can't be compared to Han canals - it is best comparable to the modern day East & South China seas of the Pacific.
        Surrender? NutZ!
        -Varro

        Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

        Comment


        • #5
          regarding taxation, I think Rome resorted to tax farming. Tax farmers would get all they can from the subjugated populace in the Roman provinces, and remit a small portion of it to the treasury.
          "We have no white flag."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
            This one is somewhat related to a lot of those,

            While both sides had roads and the han had a number of canals, they didn't have anything as extensive as the Mediterranean itself.
            Back then the cheapest and fastest means of moving large amounts of goods was by sea. The shear amount of naval trade possible would probably be a significant advantage to the Romans.
            Yet the Mediterranean did not provide a direct sea route to the East. The Roman utilized the Mediterranean Sea because it was there, the Han used canals and rivers because it was there. Both built roads when water routes were not available.

            Also to consider is that inland waterworks not only are less subject to seasonal and weather conditions, they also render far less risk of catastrophic loss of ship, crew, and load.
            Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

            Prayers.

            BoRG

            http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GMan88 View Post
              regarding taxation, I think Rome resorted to tax farming. Tax farmers would get all they can from the subjugated populace in the Roman provinces, and remit a small portion of it to the treasury.
              Tax farming was more a tool of the republic. The empire began to turn this over to its own bureaucracy. Still the Romans never came up with an an exam driven merit based system for selecting the bulk of its administrators like the Han used.
              "Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."
              Major General John Buford's final words on his deathbed.

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              • #8
                okay, thanks for the clarification. I was always under that impression that it extended to the empire.
                "We have no white flag."

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                • #9
                  Taxation in China was based on a formula. A certain land size would yield an x number of crops, where the govt would take y. The y was always fixed. The main problem with this is that it does not compensate for weak harvest. The result was that smaller farmers were forced to sell their land to pay taxes, leading to the rise of landlordism in China. The landless farmers eventually became a source of rebellion.

                  political philosophy - both essentially monarchies based on divine right to rule. I know the Han were partially based on legalism/Confucianism as well as many of the lesser schools - but I don't know what exact philosophies the Roman Empires adhered to.
                  Roman political reality under the Principate system is characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance of the Roman Republic. Emperors tended not to flaunt their power and usually respected the rights of citizens (although they never let this fact bind them). There was never a claim of a divine right to rule and power was consolidated by the use of force.

                  The Roman political philosophy reached its height during the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty. According to wikipedia.

                  Under the Antonine dynasty, it was the norm for the emperor to appoint a successful and politically promising general as his successor. In modern historical analysis this is treated by many authors as an "ideal" situation; the individual who was most capable was promoted to the position of Princeps. Of the Antonine dynasty, Edward Gibbon famously wrote that this was the happiest and most productive period in human history, and credited the system of succession as the key factor. Other historians have pointed out that the generals appointed to the Principate during the Antonine dynasty were largely made heirs because they constituted the greatest threat to the emperor as well as his eventual heir, should he chose someone different. Additionally, the promotion of individuals to the position of Princeps based mainly on their military prowess is seen by many as contributing directly to the downfall of the Principate, the chaos of the third century and the rise of the militaristic Dominate.

                  The Han actually recognized the merit of this political philosophy, for as long as it lasted. From the History of the Eastern Han, contemporary Han historians wrote about this.

                  [A group of] thirty-six leaders has been established to meet together to deliberate on affairs of state. Their kings are not permanent. They select and appoint the most worthy man. If there are unexpected calamities in the kingdom, such as frequent extraordinary winds or rains, he is unceremoniously rejected and replaced. The one who has been dismissed quietly accepts his demotion, and is not angry

                  Unfortunately, this era ended and those that came to the throne became more militaristic and despotic during the dominate era. In the Eastern half of the Empire, and especially from the time of Justinian I, the system of the Dominate evolved into Byzantine absolutism.

                  In China, political theory involved the concept of Mandate of Heaven. Rulers themselves were made accountable to Heaven. Over the passage of time, there would inevitably arise a ruler that would cause Heaven to withdraw its Mandate. As the Mandate of Heaven emphasized the performance of the ruler, the social background of the ruler became less important. Historical documents found in ancient China stated that a legitimate ruler could come from any spectrum of the society. The Mandate of heaven concept, IMO, continues until today.
                  Last edited by IDonT4; 22 Mar 10, 20:24.

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                  • #10
                    ^ Oh, so you were referring to political theory as in legitimacy in ruling.

                    I thought you were asking about the governing principles drawn from ancient philosophers.
                    Surrender? NutZ!
                    -Varro

                    Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
                      Roman political reality under the Principate system is characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance of the Roman Republic. Emperors tended not to flaunt their power and usually respected the rights of citizens (although they never let this fact bind them). There was never a claim of a divine right to rule and power was consolidated by the use of force.
                      This is true to a point...though there were always implied divine rights to rule, even from the beginning. Augustus was divi filius (son of the god), and even the name Augustus itself carried divine connotations. As time went on, the emperors were less and less concerned with keeping up the appearances of Republicanism...after the Julio-Claudians, there was very little attempt made in this realm.

                      I would also say that divine right developed in the Roman Empire even before Constantine and his conversion to Christianity established that principle. One need only look at Diocletian for the example of the development of a non-Christian divine right in the Roman Empire.
                      Satis elouquentiae sapientiae parum

                      Diadochi Wars GAME:http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=140484

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                      • #12
                        since i know nothing about the tax models employed. i'll offer the little bit of info i do know.

                        As you all know the roman had the aqueducts for water.

                        The han had three types of irrigation:

                        flood irrigation in the south of china
                        Dujiangyan Irrigation System they divert part of a river to sichuan (the original irrigation system built in the warring states period is still used today)
                        Turpan water system uses pumps to take water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation.

                        interesting notes though. The northern chinese diet does not eat rice as a staple. they eat mainly wheat, Either dumpling a steamed bread or noodles. if rice is eaten it is in a processed form (made from rice flour)

                        In southern china the main grain is rice. (this is what we are used to when we eat chinese.) almost all of the chinese in the US come from the same area in China, namely Toison, canton, china.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Legatus Augusti View Post
                          This is true to a point...though there were always implied divine rights to rule, even from the beginning. Augustus was divi filius (son of the god), and even the name Augustus itself carried divine connotations. As time went on, the emperors were less and less concerned with keeping up the appearances of Republicanism...after the Julio-Claudians, there was very little attempt made in this realm.

                          I would also say that divine right developed in the Roman Empire even before Constantine and his conversion to Christianity established that principle. One need only look at Diocletian for the example of the development of a non-Christian divine right in the Roman Empire.
                          But the divinity of the Emperor was in direct conflict with Christianity.
                          Flag: USA / Location: West Coast

                          Prayers.

                          BoRG

                          http://img204.imageshack.us/img204/8757/snap1ws8.jpg

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PtsX_Z3CMU

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Salinator View Post
                            But the divinity of the Emperor was in direct conflict with Christianity.
                            Constantine was able to tweak both Christianity and pagan elements to his advantage...able to proclaim himself the descendant of some Sun-God while portraying himself as a champion and 14th apostle of Christianity.
                            Surrender? NutZ!
                            -Varro

                            Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. -Sun Tzu

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Intranetusa View Post
                              Constantine was able to tweak both Christianity and pagan elements to his advantage...able to proclaim himself the descendant of some Sun-God while portraying himself as a champion and 14th apostle of Christianity.
                              Exactly...it might seem impossible now, but in the early days of Christianity there was no conflict. Constantine's tomb was a circular church that had alcoves honoring the 12 apostles around the sides, and he was in the middle, thus associating himself with them and implying that he was the 13th. Also, the iconography of the time tended to imply that the emperor was god's representative on earth (sort of like a pro-pope). So the emperor wasn't exactly divine, but there was no conflict with Constantine portarying himself as Sol Invictus either. Indeed, Jesus himself was often associated with Sol Invictus and Apollo in those early days. In this mosaic, from the tomb of the Julii in Rome, Jesus is depicted driving the chariot of the sun and with the halo around his head, both of which are traditionally the iconography of Apollo. However, we know that this is Jesus and not Apollo because of the context, i.e. a Christian tomb:


                              Things were very fluid religiously during this time of transition...
                              Satis elouquentiae sapientiae parum

                              Diadochi Wars GAME:http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=140484

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