Monday, November 3, 2014

Where is the Focus?

           In the Han Empire the role of the Emperor varied greatly from the role of the Emperor in the Roman Empire, yet there were similarities too. The Han Empire was an organized bureaucracy based on Confucian and Legalist ideas that relied on education as a way to accomplish their goals. The Roman Empire was also an organized bureaucracy, but founded on Roman Law and Classical Learning. Through these ideals there was seemingly too much bureaucracy in Rome and too little in China. The Han focused more on the Elites and becoming, through education, and official of some sort. The Romans were more focused on enhancing their military and citizenry. They even went so far as to provide food for the poor at amphitheaters.
         Fifty million people lived on the four million square miles that supplied vast resources to the Han. Their imperial culture got it’s ideals from their past historical ancestor’s ways. They worked to model their government after their past ideals in their current civilian magistrates and bureaucracies. Power radiated from the ruling family and their kin acted as nobles and maintained power over designated areas of land. But some practical considerations did limit the ruler’s power. In the Han empire dominant princes and regional lords were replaced by a civilian officials and military commandants.
         The emperor ruled with Confucian ideology and the idea of legitimate rule, whose foundations was the welfare of the people. The Han kept a balance between the emperor and the officials. The officials could even criticize bad Government and if needed had the permission to impeach corrupt leaders. Any emperor of the Han was believed to have The Mandate Of Heaven, which means that heaven ordained them to be leader. If calamities or negative celestial omens continued to appear, it was seen as a sign that the emperor had lost The Mandate of Heaven. If this happened he could be overthrown.
         Now, the Romans land was equally as vast as the Hans, but having no ancestral heritage their government came about through experimentation and innovation. They went from city-states ruled by citizens to a one man, imperial rule. The freedoms of their city-states were filled with violence and thus they submitted to a more peaceful, but authoritarian rule, introduced by Octavian or Augustus. The Emperors of Rome were thought of as Semidivine, but they presented themselves as having power only through the citizens and the army. Emperors counted on local elites to see them as a presence of well-being and stability. The Romans had a legal code that included written laws and institutes for settling legal disputes.
         Something that sets Roman Emperors apart the Han is the fact that they were great military Leaders while the Han Emperors were simply rulers. Both the Han and the Romans had strong, professional militaries that gave riches and land to the soldiers as they expanded. Through the conquering of communities the Roman army grew, because with every victory the romans took new men from that community to join their army. The Han did have a much larger standing army of over one million men while the Romans had a field army of approximately 30,000. 
        While the Han emperors and elites skillfully built palaces to amuse themselves, the Romans built astounding theaters and amphitheaters for both rulers’ and the general public’s enjoyment. This one difference in meaning of the Han and Roman architecture characterizes the differences between them. While the Han Emperors sought to rule by Confucius ideals, they were often focused on themselves. The romans were much more inclusive of the public and they even folded conquered communities into their culture and military.