The ancient empires Rome and Hans China played a vital role in the economic health of Europe and Asia. They were also two of the biggest and most powerful empires of Ancient Europe and Asia. Yet Han China only lasted about 200 years, and Rome for about 900. In the end they were not beaten by any superior force or empire, but by plagues, low birth rates, internal strife and corruption, lower tax income, and barbarians. The continuous attacks by barbarians led them to develop advanced technology to help defend themselves, but led to the downfall of both empires during their final years.
The political structures of both Rome and Han China were based on bureaucratic systems with a strong monarchy set of succession. They strengthened their control by reducing the land holdings of old aristocratic families. However, the reversal of this process led to breakdown of authority in the central government. During its reign of power, the central bureaucracy promoted trading with neighboring societies. However, Rome was more aggressive with its role in trading in the Mediterranean verses Han China’s river trade. Rome’s trade led to a much greater technology, culture, and general transfer of knowledge in areas surrounding the Mediterranean which in turn led to a much longer lasting influence on the world.
Although the Roman Empire was large and its resources seemed unlimited, it had trouble keeping barbarians out of its borders. The Roman tactic for managing the barbarians on the western frontier across the Rhine River was to engage in periodic raids/ethnic cleansing so as to devastate barbarian communities so their power and population was held in check. When Constantine became the first Christian emperor, he changed the Roman policy towards barbarians radically. He declared that regular ethnic cleansing/genocide was seen as unchristian and banned this policy. Instead, he paid money/gold to the barbarians in exchange for not... [continues]
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