Han China Vs Ancient Rome Essay

1268 words - 5 pages

In the classical period of world history, the Han Dynasty of China and the Republic of Rome both went through periods of massive growth and prosperity as well as devastating downturns, collapses, and eventually dissolution. These two sprawling entities, although similar in certain aspects, were also profoundly different and it is these differences and similarities that had a major impact on the development of their regions throughout history and even the modern world today. There were major similarities and differences between Han China and Rome in regards to aspects such as the civil service exams, political system of governance, and commerce. Overall, there are more differences between China under the Han Dynasty and the Roman Empire than similarities.

The Civil Service Exam played a major role in both the societies of Han China and the Republic of Rome as it provided their citizens a way to progress in life, economically and socially. Both civil service exams in the Republic of Rome and the Han Dynasty in China were open to all citizens, with some exclusions to the impoverished, giving them the chance to move up the socioeconomic ladder in society. The Roman civil service exam prepared their citizens for utilitarian careers and trades in fields such as carpentry, smithery, construction, etc. A relatively high number of people who took the Roman civil service exam passed in proportion to all of the participants. However, this was very different from the Imperial Examinations under the Han Dynasty, where the examination, prepared citizens exclusively, for a career in the government. Also, the Han civil service exam was much more rigorous, with higher demands of the people who took the exam, resulting in only a minuscule fraction of those who participated in the test to actually pass. The civil service exam in both Rome and Han China would go on to ultimately impact their empires greatly. In China, it ended up creating a more meritocratic society than previous empires in the past whose citizens obtained prestigious positions and well-paying jobs through already established social status, economic status, or familial connections. In Rome, it allowed for a sizable "middle class" and provided them with many skilled workers that could carry out the jobs that would eventually make Rome one of the developed societies in their time in regards to factors such as infrastructure. Therefore, Han China and the Roman Empire were both similar and different in certain aspects when it came to their own respective civil service exams. However, one aspect of Han China and the Roman Republic that were completely different was their political systems of governance. Han China, for all of its history had an emperor, an autocratic leader chosen by the Mandate of Heaven, and much of the Chinese empire under the Han dynasty was managed by a bureaucratic, centralized government, that was appointed by the Emperor and staffed with very intelligent and qualified people,...

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