China and India were two of the greatest classical civilizations in human history. They both possessed elaborate societal levels and castes that defined the way that their citizens lived, with India having an official caste system, while China had a pecking order of Lords, famer-peasants, and “mean” people. However, India was made up of diverse and unstable empires, while China was usually unified under a single ruler in a line of kings, making it a far more powerful and politically successful nation than India. We can analyze these two civilizations using their governments, religions, and cultures.
Both China and India have dynastic-like periods of government during their classical eras. China possessed four main dynasties, the Shang, the Zhou, the Qin, and the Han, while India was run by empires such as the Mauryans, the Guptas, and the Kushans, which is most likely because both of their lines of kings was often changing due to decline in tax revenue, social divisions, internal rebellion, and invasions. However, China was intensely focused on bureaucracy while India did not develop very solid political institutions. China possessed bureaucrats and local warrior-landlords during the Zhou and Han dynasties, and India brought forth autocratic emperors as well as aristocratic assemblies, and did not stress great importance on political values or service. This is mainly due to the importance of local units of government and the social relationships inside the Indian caste system, with the religious leaders at the head of government. Furthermore, regionalism was at a high in India, while China was usually unified under one powerful emperor. At one time, Ashoka was a powerful leader in India, but China is famous for having leaders such as Qin Shi Huangdi and Wu Ti. Again, this is mainly due to the Indian emphasis on big local government.
The belief system of classical China was centered around philosophy, while India’s was centered more around religion and the...
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