Comparing The Chinese Han and the Persian Achaemenid Empire
This is a mind map talking about comparing the Chinese Han and the Persian Achaemenid empire.
Similar Mind Maps
Comparing The Chinese Han and the Persian Achaemenid Empire
In some aspects, the Persian empire and Han China were surprisingly similar in their methods of ruling; however, differences are found between these two societies. In the areas of leadership, social organization, economic foundation, religion, public works, and government, connections can be found between Han and the Archaemenid empire as well as inconsistencies.
Conclusions that can be made
Leadership in Persia had a lot less influence in the daily lives of their citizens than the Chinese. Persian leaders focused more on war and trade, which since China was much more closed off from the rest of the world was much less of an issue.
Religion in Persia was a lot more free-flowing and people had much more choice in their worship than in China. This was primarily because Persia was an empire that was built from a collection of smaller civilizations and therefor were required to be more tolerant of the diversity of the citizens than in China. China was built from smaller civilizations as well, but the variety of religions and philosophies was much smaller.
Public Works and infrastructure were one of the places where Han China and Persia showed striking similarities. Both had emphasis on building roads and canals, the roads for distribution of goods and canals for fresh water, though the Persians used the roads for external trade where as the Chinese used them for internal movement.
Socially the main difference between Persia and Han China was their treatment of women. In Persia women could function and financially independent entities from their husbands and or other men which gave them a degree of freedom unseen in other cultures of the era
Both China and Persia had a heavily trade based economies, Persia gained trade power mainly by owning the places of trade and through this being ale to control a large portion of the goods. China was the primary source of goods along the silk road, providing silk (obviously), iron, paper, and a variety of other goods.
In government structure, they were also very similar. They had a king/emperor as the head of their government, the land was broken up into provinces/ satrapes, and also had officials controlling these individual provinces, with spies among the people to put down insurgency.
Social organization and Norms
Social hierarchal structure
The social hierarchical structure in Persia was divided into 3 classes high, medium and low. The high class which was a small group consisted of the king and the royal family being at the top with the most power, bureaucrats which were advisers of the king who were in charge of day-to-day affairs and military people who were greatly honored and provided with special benefits from the government. The medium class or the free class which was the bulk of the society consisted of priests who maintained temple communities, traders and craftsmen who earned income mostly through trade with some benefits and rights. And, the low class which consisted of peasants and slaves. Peasants belonged to the traditional class of farmers, laborers or owners of small farms. While the slaves were considered the lowest class that was forced to work with no rights, and a few privileges. The slaves consisted of war prisoners, citizens who rebelled against imperial authorities and citizens from the free class who accumulated debts they could not satisfy. Similarly the social hierarchical structure of China was divided into 3 classes high, medium and low. The high class consisted of the emperor, his advisors who were aristocrats, nobles and military people who were honored in Chinese culture. The medium class consisted of merchants and traders receiving income from production of paper, silk and iron. And the lowest class consisted of peasants and slaves. Comparing both of the societies similarities are seen were a king or emperor is at power, both of the societies have a bureaucrats or aristocrats class and both have the slaves as the lowest class with few privileges and no rights.
In Persia minorities were treated with respect were the empire consisted of different ethnic groups with their own religions and cultural traditions and to not cause rebellion the king allowed the people to keep their cultural traditions and religion. In contrast, China wanted to have a unified culture so minorities were not tolerated and under law of China the citizens had to believe what the emperor told them and they were not allowed to be against him. This is seen in China as a whole having Confucian education which was required and thought of as the norm for the society. Another example is when Qin Shi Huangdi was at rule and commanded all of the citizens to believe what he thought was important and other teaching were not allowed and scholars who taught something he didn’t approve were punished or executed. This is seen in the quote: “Anyone who dares to discuss the Shi Jing or the Classic of History shall be publicly executed. Anyone who uses history to criticize the present shall have his family executed (The Shiji, chapter 6)”. Clearly there is a contrast between the societies in how minorities or differences were thought of Persia displays respect to minorities while China is against it and is for unification of all the citizens.
In Persia, women had social and economic freedom. This is exemplified in them being allowed to spend money, have property and have jobs for both genders. However Persia was still patriarchal with special jobs done only by men, men having more control in the family and being more trustful which is seen in them being required to be present when a contract is made. Similarly in China a patriarchal societies is observed with women having limited privileges, less variety of jobs and women were mostly expected to take care of the children and the house while the man worked. Also in China a wife had to be obedient to her husband. So there is a similarity between the societies on women roles and them being limited by men.
In Persia being a military person was honored and gave special benefits from the government. In Persian society there was a full time army which helped control the empire and stop rebellions. Similarly in China military people were honored and the military helped control the empire. The difference is in China it was expected and from a young age boys were trained to become soldiers. Clearly there is a similarity in the societies in military where both help control he empire and military people are honored, but in Persia it wasn’t required but in China it was required and from a young age boys were educated to become join the military.
Persian society developed from the Achaemenid empire which reflected their origins as a nomadic group. So for centuries they lived with the steppe traditions and “even after establishment of the Achaemenid empire, some of them followed seminomadic lifestyle and maintained ties with their cousins on the steppes”( The empires of Persia,139). This is also reflected in their social development where “family and clan relationship were extremely important in the organizations of Persian political and social affairs”(The Empires of Persia,139). In contrast China had a negative relationship with the nomads with numerous conflicts and their only communication was trade. This is seen in the quote: “When they could not satisfy their needs and desires through peaceful trade, they mounted sudden raids into villages or trading areas, where they commandeered food supplies or manufactured goods and then rapidly departed”(The Formation of Classical Socities,160). Clearly when comparing the societies about nomadic groups they greatly differ with China having negative relationships with them while Persia originated and close connection with nomadic groups.
In Persia slaves were considered to be the lowest class and they had hard lives with no rights, and very few privileges. Being a slave was also classified as punishment because people not obedient to authority, with debts or war prisoners were slaves. This is seen in the quote “Slaves status deprived individuals of their personal freedom. Slaves became the property of an individual…and they could not move or marry at will…”( The empire of Persia,141). Similarly in China slaves were considered the lowest class and had limited privileges and almost no rights.
o Standardized coinage and taxation
o The merchant class was looked down upon by Chinese people
o Iron metallurgy was mastered and therefore Han was able to make advanced tools to help with their agricultural needs
o Dependent on trade
o Traded along silk road
o Created silk and paper
o Standardized coinage and taxation
o Focused on trade
o Built many qauats, which were underground canals, to help with the fertilized farmland
o Conquered many huge trade points like the city Lydia
Had a good network policy that was effective, and controlled of the the developments of his policies
He sent his officers to other provinces to implement his policies and maintain order
He levied taxes on agricultural goods, trade and many more
A socialist emperor,
land distribution system
Everything is owned by the empire
Centralized his administration
Empire depended on finely balanced central initiative and local administration
Sophisticated cultural traditions
Started the attack on Greece
Founded Persia after he conquered the Median Kingdom and uniting the Medes and the Persians
Launched the Persian Imperial venture
• Built roads and canals
- These means for movement facilitated trade
• To finance the building Han Wudi levied taxes on agriculture, trade and craft industries (Traditions and Encounters 160)
• Built roads such as the famous Royal Road
- Stretched 2,575 km from Aegean to Sardis through Mesopotamia
• Government organized postal stations (111 total)
• Also improved existing routes between Mesopotamia and Egypt
- New roads linking Persia with India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt (Traditions and Encounters 135)
• Buildings of canals
o Split their government into 30 provinces
o Governor (Applied ides of the king), Military commander (Keep control)
o Had harsh laws that kept their citizens in line
o Had a vast army that threatened all rebellion and reinforced Hans control
o Strong centralized government, rejected feudalism
o Split their land into stratapies, this was an easier way of keeping control because they were smaller areas of control
o Had Imperial “spy’s” to make sure no satrapies turned independent on Persia
o Standardized coinage was established along with taxation
Had a capitol, Persepolis which was a place of political power and a flurishing cultural center
o Let every citizen still practice any religion and keep their cultural values (Civic code)
o Each satrapise had to pay the Persian Empire a certain amount at an increment of time on a continuous scale.
o Each satrapies contained a governor, and military commander
• More than 70 different ethnic groups were acceptedunder the rule of Darius (traditions and encounters134)
• Ruled of people who spoke manydifferent languages
• Many cultural and religioustraditions were observed
• The Achaemenids needed to establish lines ofcommunication with all parts of their realm (traditionsand Encounters 134)
- This allowed them to tax and administer theirterritories
• Forced a legalist governmentstructure onto the people
• With use of Confucian education structure toeducate future bureaucrats (Traditions and Encounters164)
The rulers under Han considered all Chinese the same and unified
Sought to remove all "non-Chinese"