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Han and Greek Dbq

By dan4change Dec 20, 2011 851 Words
The ancient societies of Greece and China each produced a civilization remarkable for its time. Although these civilizations emerged nearly one thousand years apart, their philosophies were completely different, had various forms of governance, and had unique economic classes.

First, the thoughts of the numerous Greek philosophers were absolutely different from those of the Chinese philosophers. Chinese philosophers believed that the individual was not as important as the kingdom was as a whole, whereas Greek philosophers consider the individuals as a crucial part of society. As shown in Document 12, the human is miniscule to the landscape around him, showing that the human is only a tiny piece in the civilization. The Greek Discus Thrower portrayed in Document 11, is depicting the view that the individual is the main focus of the society in which one resides. These two documents display how Han China and Classical Greece are different in their philosophies. Classical Greece looks at an individual as a key component in their daily life. Han China however does not look at an individual like the Greeks, but instead as a small piece in the vast kingdom. Confucius believes that by being a good person you are taking part in the government because one does not have take part in the government to be part of society, one must simply do what is right (Document 10). Confucius believes this because he has his own ideals that are separate from the government and as long as people are doing the right thing they are a part of the government. There is no document that portrays the take of a Greek philosopher simply on where an individual stands in the Greek state. This would allow one to know exactly the thoughts of a Greek philosopher and not only a Chinese philosopher.

Second, the form of governance displayed by the Chinese civilization varied from that of the Greek civilization. The Greek civilization had developed a new form of government; democracy that contrasted from the bureaucracy in Han China. As shown in Document 7, the Han dynasty stresses a strong central government with many appointed governors to each district its dynasty possesses. However, the Athenian government was based on the people, so they basically governed themselves (Document 5). Also displayed in Document 8, they way the government is set up, anyone who has his own business has business in the government. That way if that person does not have any affairs at all is not involved in the government. Although in Document 6, the way anyone is in government is chosen by the heavens. This directly relates to how these civilization’s forms of governance are completely different. Pericles believes that democracy is the best government system because he displays an array of ways in which the government is of the people, such as “in settling of private disputes, everyone is equal before law” (Document 4). The Ancient Greece map in Document 1 displays an inaccurate proportion of size to the Han empire map that makes it seem that the Athenians controlled as much territory as the Han, where in reality they only controlled about a twelfth of the land that the Han did. There is no document that portrays a Chinese philosopher that may have his life in danger for the ideas he has. This would allow the reader to know what a Chinese philosopher would think about his place in society if he was questioned in what he believes in (Document 9).

Third, the Han and Greek civilizations displayed numerous and unique economic classes that were different from each other. The Chinese economic classes consisted of six divisions whereas the Athenian economic classes consisted of four divisions. As shown in Document 2, there were as many free male citizens as free male non-citizens and about as many free females as slaves. The population distribution of Han China portrayed in Document 3 shows that there were only a few appointed officials along with the emperor, around thirteen times more educated bureaucrats, ten times as many aristocracies as bureaucrats, around 58,500,000 farmers, only 50,000 merchants, and 5,000,000 mean people. This shows how opposite the social classes of Classical Greece and Han Chin are. Aristotle believes that the class and job that a person has must keep that and try to learn that of another because there will be no more distinction between the master and the slave. Aristotle believes this because he is a high class citizen and he does not want to change his class. There is no document that accurately portrays the feelings of a slave on class distinctions. This would allow one to know the desires that a slave would have and why it would be better if he were able to move up in society.

In conclusion, the ancient civilizations of Han China and Greece each created a society influential to the time period it flourished in. Although these civilizations emerged nearly one thousand years apart, they had unique economic classes, had various forms of governance, and their philosophies were completely different.

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