In the Classical Period, though miles apart, both Imperial Rome and Han China had parallels and differences in methods of political control. The two civilizations both used the aspects of religion and belief systems to attain political influence over their subjects, but had differing methods to reach this goal. Standardization and cultural unity was a key factor in both civilizations regarding political control, as was expansion and growth of trade.
The systems of belief of both Han China and Imperial Rome were quite different. Rome began with a polytheistic religion but later converted to Christianity, a monotheistic religion, with the arrival of Constantine. Constantine united all of the Roman Empire under Christianity. People began to recognize the substantial favors and special treatment being given to Christians by the central government, so they decided to convert as well. China, however, had a different belief system than that of the Romans, mainly because it was not an actual religion. The Romans had followed a religion based from their culture and homeland, because Jesus was from Rome, while the Han peoples followed a belief system that had been long-standing in Chinese History; Confucianism and Legalism. The Han adopted both Legalist and Confucianist principles when Gaozu defeated competitors for the control and establishment of the Han Dynasty. Emperor Wu then adopted and placed more of an influence on Confucianism under his rule, using Confucian scholars as government officials. While the actual systems of belief of the two systems differed, the common idea behind political use and influence of religion and belief systems is the same. Both used these systems to rule/govern. Constantine claimed to have been spiritually motivated to convert to Christianity, but later used this fact to bribe others into following his rule. The Han did not have to bribe their people into following the law of government, but Confucianist scholars were elected...
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