Han China Vs Imperial Rome Essay

By contrast, the comparative history of the largest agrarian empires of antiquity has attracted no attention at all.This deficit is only explicable with reference to academic specialization and language barriers.Thus, comparative history uses case-based comparisons to investigate historical variation, to offer causal explanations of particular outcomes by identifying critical differences between similar situations and/or by identifying robust processes that occur in different settings.

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60 million each), and even largely coextensive in chronological terms (221 BC to 220 CE for the Qin/Han empire, c.

200 BC to 395 CE for the unified In the Mediterranean, unification had initially been facilitated by Hellenization via colonization (8th to 5th c.

Recent macro-historical work has highlighted independent parallel movements of socio-cultural evolution in different parts of the globe (Diamond 1998).

More specifically, historians of the more recent past are showing great interest in comparative assessments of Europe and 2000).

2,000 years ago, up to one-half of the human species was contained within two political systems, the Roman empire in western Eurasia (centered on the Mediterranean Sea) and the Han empire in eastern Eurasia (centered on the Central Plain of northern ).

At no time since has such a large proportion of humankind been ruled by two governments.They include a shift from city-states to territorial states and from military mass mobilization for inter-state warfare to professional armies for border control; the growth of a proto-bureaucratic civil service accompanied by functional differentiation of power; formal dichotomies in provincial organization undermined by intensified central control; the settlement and military use of foreign settlers in frontier zones; massive expansion of the money supply through standardized state-controlled minting; monetization of taxation; increasing state control of manufacturing and trade; great increases in iron production; census registration and formal status ranking of the general population; codification of law; the growth of markets in land and the gradual concentration of wealth among elites; the transformation of smallholders into tenants, coupled with the growing strength of private patronage ties superseding state authority; unsuccessful attempts at land reform; eventual rural unrest; ideological unification through monumental construction, religious rituals, and elite education; the creation of a homogeneous elite culture and corpora of classics; the emergence of court-centered historiography; ideologies of normative empire sustained by transcendent powers; religious change in late periods, leading to the formation of autonomous church systems; and a philosophical and religious shift in emphasis from community values to ethical conduct and individual salvation.At the same time, cultural specifics mediated the formal expression of many of these developments: significant differences range from the Republican background of Greco-Roman civilization as opposed to the feudal-monarchical tradition in have been extremely rare (relative to the total amount of scholarship in either field) and moreover almost exclusively confined to the sphere of intellectual and philosophical history.Unlike parallel demonstration, which tends towards repetition, and contrast history, which tends to be more descriptive than explanatory, macro-causal analysis obviates the need to provide coherent narratives and makes it possible to focus on what is needed to address specific explanatory problems.More recently, Goldstone (1991: 50-62) provided a succinct manifesto for comparative history.1980 identifies two basic modes of enquiry: analytical comparisons between equivalent units involving the identification of independent variables that serve to explain common or contrasting patterns or occurrences; and illustrative comparisons, between equivalent units and a theory or concept, which evaluate evidence in relation to predictive theory rather than particular units in relation to one another.The latter may aim for the confirmation of general sociological principles or more narrowly for the identification of rules for a group of cases (mid-level theory). The second method, contrast of contexts, applies comparisons to bring out the unique features of particular cases to show how these features affect the unfolding of putatively general social processes (e.g., Bendix 1977, 1978).Systematic comparisons between different imperial systems need to be grounded in appropriate methodological premises.Recent surveys of comparative historical studies allow us to distinguish between different ideal types of comparative approaches.Our project centers on a number of interrelated questions (see below).In addressing these questions, we will rely in the first instance on analytical comparisons ( & Somers second type) in order to identify variables that are critical to particular outcomes.

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