The Chinese Han Dynasty vs. The Indian Mauryan/Gupta Empire
The Han Dynasty of China and the Mauryan/Gupta Empire of India in 206 B.C.E to 550 C.E had many social and cultural differences which made them unique societies, but their political structure and form of government seemed to borrow ideas from each other.
The social aspects of both empires had a lot in common because gender-roles, family and relationships were looked at in the same way. During the Mauryan/Gupta as well as the Han Dynasty, women were subservient to men and families relied on patriarchs. In both empires there were close knit villages, landowners had power and merchants took second role in the social system. However, the two had their differences. The Mauryan/Gupta Empire put emphasis on caste while the Han Dynasty was based on a social structure. The Mauryan/Gupta Empire’s caste system was an important social bond and a crucial part of the political structure. At the top of the system were the priests, then the warriors and rulers, followed by the merchants, skilled traders and minor officials, after that were the unskilled workers and finally the “untouchables”, who were outcastes and barely considered as people. The strict caste system provided a network of rules by which people could regulate their lives and activities and also promoted public order which helped politically. The caste system was so strictly enforced that no one could intermarry or be moved up a class so it determined where you would be for all your life. The caste system also played a role in religion which encouraged the use of a caste system rather than people look down upon it. On the other hand, the Han Dynasty relied on a highly structured system of classes. The most powerful was the emperor, the nobles and the military officers, who made up the first class. Next came the farmers and peasants who made up the second tier. Lastly, the third class was made up of merchants, commoners and servants. This system...
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