The Roman Empire and the Han dynasty were two of the most influential civilizations of all time. Their government, cultural ways of life, and philosophies are still used and widely practiced in today’s world. Even though the empires were many miles a part, they both shared similarities in running their empires. Also despite the very strong numbers and size of each society, both eventually fell under. The decline of each empire is very unique though the empires had many differences in the reasons and severity for their fall, which included politics, invasions, and social decay. However they also portrayed similarities through those three topics. It is amazing how the Roman Empire which was established in 27 B.C and the Han Dynasty established in 206 B.C.E but have so much in common. While the Roman Empire was just being created, the Han dynasty had been up and running for 179 years. It is interesting that their beliefs in the way they thought about religion, government and the treatment of women were so similar as well.
Politics had much to do with the fall of each empire. In 202 B.C., the Han dynasty established a monarchy. It consisted of one emperor and several different chancellors. In the beginning of Rome’s Empire, most of the cities had kings. However in about 509 B.C the Romans decided to establish a government, which is known as a republic. Unlike the Han’s monarchy, not one single person ruled over everyone else. For a while each type of government worked, but the thought of acquiring more power became some rulers’ main focus and eventually led to the fall of their empires. In 60 B.C, a war general known as Julius Caesar, became very popular throughout Rome. Many of the citizens looked up to his bravery and other respected men started to envy him. Because of his popularity there was talk of a dictatorship. This did not settle well with the other leaders of Rome and on March 14, 44 B.C, the day also known as the Ides of March, Julius Caesar was assassinated. In result of this event Rome became very corrupt and the Republic of Rome was never restored which lead to the decline of Rome’s empire.
Much like Rome the Han’s government was corrupted by the idea of having lots of power. In the year 220 B.C three generals divided the empire into three kingdoms. This affected the whole country of China greatly. Everything and everyone became disunited and each kingdom went into fierce battle with each other. Because of each government, the Empire’s became disheveled and unable to survive through out the hardships. The Roman Empire was never rebuilt or resurfaced but the Han Dynasty did not completely die out. Instead another well-known family of China eventually emerged their own empire. Although not using the same name the culture of the Han Dynasty was passed on to the next generation of rulers.
Invasions contributed to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire. Although invasions had a powerful influence of each fall, they affected the Roman Empire more. After the death of Julius Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic government, barbarian people from Germany and other countries in Northern Europe started to invade Rome. Because of the weak government and the internal feud between citizens and leaders this lead to the easy access of invasions and intrusions. While this was going on the Han Dynasty was striving through its glorious days. Because of the building of the Great Wall of China, it was much harder for attackers to get through the Chinese military. However when the generals started splitting up the country of China it became much easier for intruders to get in and out. The reason for this is because many people were going in and out of the country of China. Gradually the invasions started to affect the Han dynasty. In Rome, the invasions immediately helped bring the empire to a close.
How citizens feel about a society can make or break an empire. If the people who are being ruled over do not agree with methods of governance, then society can be quickly shut down. That is exactly what happened to the Han and Roman Empire. Socially the Roman and the Han Emperors did not agree with their people. Because of the improper guidance, each country was faced with unemployment, inflation, and the morals of rulers did not fit the needs of the people. In return this brought much rebellion. During the time of 126 to 144 A.D, life for peasants became very hard. The Emperor Shun started to increase taxes on the poor but not on the rich. They were treated unfairly and harshly because of their economic status. Quickly the poor began to rebel against the government. Even though the Empire thought he was only affecting the poor, because he did not the make the rich pay as much of their taxes the economy took a great plunge. Like the Han Dynasty rebellion started to happen in Rome, but it was not because people were getting over taxed.
As seen earlier the invasions in Rome hurt deeply. It affected the economy because generals had to take out money to pay their soldiers during war against invaders. The cost of keeping warriors fed and providing weapons became too much to bare. Even with the increase of taxation, they would still not be able to pay off the debt that they inherited. This lead to much uproar throughout the Roman Empire and citizens were not pleased at all. Not only did the economy socially destroy the trust between rulers and citizens but also the introducing of a new religion set the people off. In 312 B.C “Constantine the Great” came through Rome spreading a new religion called “Christianity.” Although some people embraced it, most of the Roman Empire was against it. Religion did not have any social effect in the Han Dynasty because most of the people accept each one but it was not so in the Roman Empire.
Through the many years of prosperity and cultural achievement, the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty could not last. Corrupted by social disagreements, invasions and political feuds they were each brought to a troubling end. The Roman Empire, one of the most aspiring societies, fizzled out completely after 500 years. Through great cultural success it was meant to be ended. Although the Han Dynasty itself ended, the culture would continue in the next Dynasty. Unlike the Roman Empire the traditions and structure of the Han dynasty would later be rebuilt and revived.