At the end of the third century B.C., there were two independent and strong powers existing separately at the southeast of China in Asia and at the core area of Mediterranean in Europe, the Han dynasty and Rome. They have both reached the high point of the contemporary civilizations. Also, they formed their empires by defeating their own hostile forces. There are significant differences between the two great empires in their process of birth, growth and perfection, ruling ideologies and institutions and so on.
Before discovering and comparing these two civilizations, we have to enhance our understanding on the authors of these two excerpts that lead people to reveal the unknown yet attractive history of Rome and Han dynasty. Polybius described and portrayed Rome at the End of the Punic Wars in his history sourcebook. “Polybius’ importance rests no small extent on the importance of his theme—the rise of Rome,” said by Frank William Walbank who wrote the book “Polybius”. Polybius lived in the critical period of the three Punic wars between Carthage and Rome and was present at the destruction of Carthage and Corinth. Also he is one of the officers in the Achaean League that works on the independence of Peloponnesus against the Romans. The experience of Polybius made him the most reliable ancient historians during this period.
On the other hand, Ssu-ma Ch’ien was another major figure in the Chinese historians. He carried on the work that his father Ssu-ma Tan left to record the contemporary history and developed it into a history masterpiece called “Records of The Historian” that encompassed the history of China and the world seen from China from the founding of the state down to his own time. He sets a standard for objective history and makes his book one of the most authoritative materials for us to get a glimpse on the Han dynasty.
One of the most obvious differences between the Rome and Han dynasty is the way they build their supremacy. Rome has existed for nearly three hundreds as a republic country when it started three Punic Wars against Carthage. But only by defeating the Carthaginians did they control the west area of Europe. D. W. Baronowski pointed out that “Romans attacked the Carthaginians after resolving initially to displace, and later to destroy them utterly.”(1995) Roma has conquered the last of the civilized world by the end of the third Punic War. Polybius analyzed the reasons that Carthage is conquered by Rome from the differences in armies and beliefs. With respect to the military science like fighting skills, Carthaginians are better than Romans because they have derived such skills from their ancestors. However, in the aspects of army disciplines and compositions, Romans have a more advanced and mature system. Roman soldiers are divided into different companies by their ages and physical condition. The youngest and of the lowest condition are set apart into light-armed troops. These people who are in the age are selected as...