Political and Social Legacies of the Persian Empire Compared to Han China

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Political and Social Legacies of the Persian Empire Compared to Han China by Mind Map: Political and Social Legacies of the Persian Empire Compared to Han China

1. Religion

1.1. Han China

1.1.1. Confucianism Confucianism was estavlished by the sage confucius. More than a religion, it was a philosophy to contemplate life in a wiseful point of view. Confcucianism toaught manners and respect. Ren Li Xiao

1.1.2. Legalism Legalism was founded by one of the disciples of Confucius. Once again, it is seen that this branch is not a religions, but rather it is a philosophy for legalism is based off of the Confucian principle Li. Legalism philosophy included that everyone, regardless of socio-economic status or political status is equal

1.1.3. Daoism Daoism was founded by one of Confucius' many disciples as well. Daosim is once again not considered a religion but rather a philosophy of China for it is based of the Confucian principle of Ren. Daosim is a philosophy with a "hippy" feeling to it since daoism shuns all government structure/ organizations and focuses more on harmony with nature and people

1.2. Ancient Persia

1.2.1. Zoroastrianism

1.2.2. Tolerance The Achaemenid empire before the Persian War started off as a vast multicultural empire because of the way of ruling of Cyrus and Darius, who knew cultural tolerance would subside rebellion. This way, all people will have freedom of religion, and can keep their own, true beliefs

1.3. "The earliest Persian religion centered on cluts that celebrated outstanding natural elements and geographic features such as the sun, the moon, water, and especially fire" (Page 142 Traditions and Encounters) religious thinkers sought to fit their ideas into the complex, cosmopolitian society, and as a result, created Zoroastrianism.

1.3.1. Scriptures are left in the holy book of the Avesta, which are preserved religious texts under the Sasanids. Zarathustra on the contrary to chinese beliefs such as in confucianism, believed the material world was a blessing, and allowed people to enjoy wealth, sexual pleasure and social prestige. His teachings can be sumed up in the simple formula of "good words, good thoughts, good deeds."

2. Together these three principles were the foundation of educations in the Han Dynasty . They were used to teach people that wanted to join government office so that they would be educated.

3. The Han Dynasty of Ancient China and the Achaemenid Empire of Ancient Persia have noticeable resemblences yet also have diverse differences. The similarities are most prominent within the use of slaves on public works, vigorous trade and agriculture in both empires, and leaders of the state unifying the empire. However the two empires differ remarkably, for example, the difference in cultural unification, where China imposed the same philosophy on the whole nation, whereas early rulers of the Achaemenid ruled through religious and cultural tolerance.

3.1. Thesis

4. Public Works/ Infrastructure

4.1. Han China

4.1.1. Infastructure A large amount of trade was done along the Silk Road. Massive caravans were involved which travelled between the capital of the empire and the western countries. "The Silk Roads also encouraged cultural diffusion." Liu Bang received the foundations from the Qin for building public works including roads, canals, and the Great Wall.

4.1.2. Who Built It The peasants in Han China did the majority of public works. “Besides taxes, the peasants owed the government a month worth of labor or military service every year” Han's emperors enforced labor to construct roads and dig canals as well as irrigation ditches. "Slaves watered the plants by using hidden pumps that drew water from the Euphrates RIver". The emperors also made sure to expand the Great Wall. Furthermore, China’s vast armies were filled with peasants. “Government sent Chinese farmers to settle newly colonized areas”. This was a process known as assimilation that brought conquered people into a part of Chinese culture. The Chinese government used this method as a way to unify the empire.

4.2. Persia

4.2.1. Infastructure Cultural diffusion often times occurs along with trade, which grew rapidly over the development of the Persian Empire. People travelled over land on the Royal Road, and by water through the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea. New Roads were built that connected Persia to northern India, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Syria. Courier Service

4.2.2. Who Built It The slaves in ancient Persia were behind the building of public works. People could be slaves if either they were civilians who rebelled against the government, or, more commonly, prisoners of war who were captured. Many were domestic slaves, working for common people and performing in households. The slaves owned by the government, however, did large-scale labor such as the building of roads, palaces, irrigation systems, and city walls.

5. Economic Foundations

5.1. Han China

5.1.1. Agriculture Ancient Chinese society's economy was primarily based on their agricultural surplus. This was specifically true in the time of the Han Dynasty when "Shang Yang encouraged peasant cultivators to migrate to the sparsely populated state. By granting them private plots and allowing them to enjoy generous profits, his policy dramatically boosted agricultural production."

5.1.2. Trade Having concentrated on agriculture, China was able to focus on other things such as professions. One of these being the merchant profession. Merchants enabled the Chinese to further multiply the their economy by trading with other people near and far such as the Xiongnu, although, "...they could not satisfy their needs and desire through peaceful trade.." nonetheless they traded with them. Silk was particularly treasured by other nations of the world. "...the industry specifically thrived after the establishments of long-distance trade relations with western lands in the second century B.C.E." Due to the geologic barriers surrounding the nation of China, contact between trade societies was not simple. But the establishment of the silk road enabled the access to better communications with these societies

5.2. Ancient Persia

5.2.1. Agriculture Ancient Persia like its counterpart also had agriculture, for they had under ground canals to take their water to their crops. "Agriculture was the foundation of classical Persian society"

5.2.2. Trade Ancient Persia was very active in trade. The King of Persia, Darius, established roads inside empire boundaries to facilitate trade within the nation (for example the Royal Road). King Darius also established roads outside empire to make trade with other societies, such as Egypt, easier. Also, "...these roads... helped the empire to intergrate the empire's various regipns into a larger economy."

5.2.3. Coinage In order for the Persian economy to further increase, King "Darius followed the example of the Lydian king Croesus and issued standardized coins- a move that forstered trade..."

6. Leadership

6.1. China (Han Dynasty

6.1.1. Former Han Han Wudi Started imperial university to prepare young men to serve for the government. It relied on Confucianism yet he ran the state through legalism.

6.1.2. Early Han Liu Bang Divided empire into districts governed by officials. Furthermore, he restored order in China and established himself as hed of a new dynasty. He also was the ruler who left a principal political legacy of a tradition of centralized rule, handed down from the Qin dynasty.

6.1.3. Former Han (Decline) Wang Mang A "socialist" emperor who gained the throne as civilians thought he can rule better than the Han leaders. In 9ce he claimed the mandate of heaven and so power was passed to him. He limitied the amount of land one family can own, and ordered officials to break up land and redistribute to peasants. This was done poorly, resulting in a break out of chaos and confusion. Poor harvest and famine was brought upon China.

6.2. Persia-The Achaemenid Empire

6.2.1. King Cyrus Within 20 years, he ruled an entire empire stretching from India to the borders of Egypt through his exceptional conquering of lands. "Yet Cyrus proved to be a tough, wily leader, and an outstanding military strategist. His conquests laid the foundation of the first Persian empire, also known as the Achaemenid empire because its rulers claimed descent from Cyrus's Achaemenid clan."- Traditions And Encounters Chapter 7 Page 133

6.2.2. Darius Darius extended the empire both east and west into Northwestern India and as far as the Indus river. He then divided the empire into 23 satrapies, each with it's cotingent of military officers and tex collectors. Additionally, he unified coinage and laws. He ruled through cultural tolerance to keep peace within the vast empire. "Darius also sought to prove administrative efficiency by regularizing tax levies and standarizing laws" -Traditions and Encounters Chapter 7 Page 134

6.2.3. Xerxe Stopped the policy of cultural toleration which caused rebellion to arise amoung the people of Mesopotamia and Egypt, leading to the Persian Wars. "Darius's successor, Xerxes(reigned 486-465 BCE) had more difficult relations with subject peoples. THe burden of Persian rule became particularly heavy in Mesopotamia and Egypt-regions with sophisticated cultural traditions and long histories of independence..." -Traditions and Encounters Chapter 7 Page 136

7. Social Organization and Norms

7.1. Han Dynasty

7.1.1. The social hierarchy of the Han Dynasty goes as: Emperor, Wealthy Land Owners, Merchants/Artisans/Craftsmen, Peasants and Slaves, and then finally the women of the lower class. The first tier of the Social Structure was the Emperor. Farmers and peasants come next in the second tier of the Han dynasty’s social hierarchy. Their social status can be considered above the laborers but well below those of the wealthier landowners. In the next tier were merchants, artisans, and craftsmen who were responsible making useful items such as swords and knives as well as creating luxury goods for the wealthier class. Women of the higher class were expected to marry a man, take care of the house and watch after and raise the children. Women of the lower class might marry and take over the family business or become a servant in the house that of a higher class women.

7.2. Achaemenid Empire

7.2.1. Persians, like other Iranian groups, formed a tribal confederacy, with each of the tribes being a distinct, defined part of Persia. . “They organized themselves by clans rather than by states or formal political institutions” (132, Traditions and Encounters). Their social formation does not seem to be much different from their Indo-European ancestors, being a basic patriarchal system, “When the Medes and Persians migrated to Iran their social structure was similar to that of the Aryans in India” (139, Traditions and Encounters).There seems to have been a firm oligarchic system in place in which the heads of tribes would make all large decisions regarding the general conduct of the society,“Called for a new class of educated bureaucrats who to a large extent undermined the positions of the old warrior elite” (140, Traditions and Encounters). These Elders belonged to an upper level of the society, the “ruling class”, whose members held the chief positions by the right of birth. “The bulk of Persian society consisted of individuals who were free but did not enjoy the privileges of clan leaders and important bureaucrats” (140, Traditions and Encounters). “Members of the free classes participated in religious observances conducted at local temples, and they had the right to share” (140, Traditions and Encounters). For more information on the Achaemenid empire's rise and downfall and the social classes, watch:

8. Government Structure

8.1. Civil Law

8.1.1. Persia An Imperial law was enforced on the Achaemenid Empire;, a local civil code that must be followed by the people of all the vast cultural backgrounds of the enormous empire. Imperial Spies were also in use, who helped keep the empire in unification, and to make sure no one of different cultural backgrounds rebel.

8.1.2. Han China The Han Dynasty established a code of law based on principles of the Legalist philosophy, which states that regardless of political and or socio-economic status, all people must abide under the authority of the law. "...Han Wudi work strenuously to increase the authority and the prestige of the central government. He built an enormous bureaucracy to administer his empire, and relied on Legalist principles of government" (Traditions and Encounter 159).

8.2. Land Division

8.2.1. Persia To maintain the vast empire, "more than seventy distinct ethnic groups, including peoples who lived in widely scattered regions, spoke many different languages..."(134 Traditions and Encounters) Darius governed the empire through dividing the land into 23 stratapies.Moreover, a political seat of power was put in the capital of Persepolis, where the area was a flourishing cultural center almost like cosmopolitan. Each Stratapy had contingent of military officers and tax collectors who served as checks on the satrap's power and independence.

8.2.2. Han China Towards the end of the Han of the former Han Dynasty, Emperor Wang Mang passed a land distribution reform that would allow people with low economic status to own land. However, this was done poorly, which once again pronounced the everlasting issue of the gap between rich and poor, and then chaos among the groups. This badly executed decision on behalf of the government led to the end of the former Han Dynsasty "Despite his [Wang Mang] good intentions, this socialist emperor attempted to impose his policy without adequate preparation and communication. The result was confusion: landlords resisted a policy that threatened their holdings, and even the peasants found its application inconsistent and unsatisfactory" (Traditions and Enounters 165).

8.3. Responsibilities of Civilians

8.3.1. Persia Civilians must follow the imperial law and pay their tax to their satarpy's tax collector. As for personal belief, they were free to have their own religion until the reign of Xerxes. When Cyrus was in power, he accepted gifts as taxes, but as Darius came to rule, he unified coinage as well as law. "Though often lavish, the gifts did not provide a consisitent and reliable source of income for rulers who needed to finance a large bureacracy and army" (T&A page 134) He improved the empire greatly. Persians took action as officials, and the lower class citizens were led to take administrative duty.

8.3.2. Han China Being a civilian in China, there was a strong sense of unity and responsibility within the culture. People had responsibilities to do their profession/job to keep the economy going, but also, Chinese citizens had the responsibility to report any suspected or seen activity that goes against the law. Submitting under a Legalistic principles based society required people to report criminal acts for nobody escaped punishment for their wrong doings. The Legalist government of Han China "...established the principle of collective responsibility before the law. They expected all member of the a family or community to observe other closely, forestall any illegal activity, and report any infractions" (Traditions and Encounters 155).

9. Conclusion

9.1. Through the leadership of kings and emperors, huge public work projects, economic foundations of agriculture and trade, complex government structures, and religions, the similarities between the Han Dynasty and the Achaemenid Empire are more salient than the discrepancies. All these contributing factors have been seen through these and many other civilizations throughout the world as they strive to survive and maintain their authority. To this day we still see similarities between societies, but due to relatively close time period and similar idealogy of men, there are more correlations between these two great empires.

10. The Han Dynasty based off its empire ruling policies with a mixture of the philosophies Confucianism and Legalism