Distribution Systems in Post Classical China(Tang Dynasty) and the Byzantine Empire

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Stella Boye-Doe

CC Essay- Tang China and the Byzantine Empire

During the postclassical period from 600 to 1450 CE empires, such as the Tang dynasty in China and the Byzantine Empire, used new methods of equal land distribution in their societies. Each empire had very distinct methods for organizing the distribution of land in their empires.For the Tang dynasty land was distributed according to the equal field system while in the Byzantine empire land was given according to the theme system. The land distribution systems were designed to keep order by not allowing a large concentration of land towards certain families ,and how they were organized was at times according to the political system of the empire, as well as who the land was given by, who received the land and how.Both empires used these systems to provide stability for a short term. The equal field system in China became a foundation of stability and prosperity to rural areas. Also in the Byzantine empire the theme system made the empire stronger and able to expand. These systems got rid of possibilities of social tensions between those with great amounts of land and those with little.

In the Tang dynasty the equal field system was used but in the Byzantine empire the theme system was used. Each system was organized in it’s own way for that empire. In China the equal field system was introduced as an improvement from the land distribution techniques of Han China that had surcumb to the pressure of higher classes taking most of the land and causing dispute in communities. For the equal field system agricultural land was given to individuals and/or families based on the fertility of the land and how much was needed by the receivers. From the land given 1/5 th was kept to pass into the next line of the person’s family and the remainder of that was redistributed when the receiver didn’t need as much land or faced better circumstances. By doing this land was not hoarded by a single family and...
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