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Classical Empires Han Dynasty, Roman Empire and Guptan Empire


Classical Empires Han Dynasty, Roman Empire and Guptan Empire Characteristics of Empires Greek, Roman and Chinese Traditions Han and Roman Empires – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Classical Empires Han Dynasty, Roman Empire and Guptan Empire

Classical EmpiresHan Dynasty, Roman Empire and
Guptan Empire
  • Characteristics of Empires
  • Greek, Roman and Chinese Traditions
  • Han and Roman Empires
  • Reasons for Decline

THE CLASSICAL Empires(1000 BCE - 600 CE)
  • During this era, world history was shaped by the
    rise of several large civilizations that grew
    from areas where the earlier civilizations
  • kept more accurate records, so historical
    information about them is much more abundant
  • provide many direct links to today's world, so
    that we may refer to them as root societiesones
    that modern societies have grown from
  • expansionistdeliberately conquering lands around
    them to create large empires

Common Features of Classical Civilizations
  • Each civ developed their own beliefs,
    lifestyles, political institutions, and social
    structures however, there were important
  • Patriarchal family structures - Like the river
    valley societies earlier, the classical
    civilizations valued male authority within
    families, as well as in most other areas of life.
  • Agricultural-based economies - Despite more
    sophisticated and complex job specialization, the
    most common occupation in all areas was
    farmingtherefore most lived where?
  • Complex governments
  • Expanding trade base

Characteristics of Classical Empires
  • Powerful military
  • Effective government bureaucracy
  • Control large territory-multiethnic and
  • Uniform currency and weights and measures
  • Service of citizens (civic duty)
  • Advancement of military technology
  • Uniform legal codes
  • Public works
  • Lavish public monuments
  • Patronize the arts and scholarship
  • Slavery? everywhere but

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Trade continued
Greco-Roman Traditions
  • Active participation in politics
  • Greek city-state, Roman republic
  • Aristocracy
  • Republic
  • philosopher kings
  • Rule by law
  • codified, movement towards equitable law
  • Polytheism (though Christianity makes extensive
    gains during the late Roman Empire)
  • Slave Labor

East Asian Traditions
  • Ancestor Worship
  • Dynastic Cycle (will be discussed later)
  • Legalism and Confucianism
  • Reinforced social hierarchy and male dominance
  • Meritocracy
  • Established by Qin merit (hard work) enabled
    (limited) upward social mobility

Han and Roman Empire Similarities
  • Highly stratified societies
  • Patriarchal families Confucianism, pater
  • Agricultural base free peasants-small farms or
    tenant farmers, heavy dependency on slavery and
    latifundias (estates)
  • Educated civil service Confucian trained scholar
    bureaucrats, civic responsibility
  • Highly centralized state

Han and Roman continued
  • Multicultural empires most conquered
    assimilated, citizenship offered to best,
    extension of Roman law
  • Extensive road systems and urban communities
  • Subordinated women
  • Powerful armies maintain the empire

Direct Comparisons
  1. Rome
  2. Well organized bureaucracy founded on Roman law
    and classical learning
  3. Emphasis on family pater familias
  4. Reliance on patricians women gained power and
    property rights within families
  5. Engineering roads, aqueducts, amphitheatres,
    domes, sewage systems, central heating
  6. Inventions concrete, the arch (probably
    Etruscan), insulae (apartment buildings)
  7. Religion Emperor as god, paganism, mystery
    religions, introduction of Christianity
  1. Han
  2. Well organized bureaucracy founded on Confucian
    ideals and education
  3. Emphasis on family, ancestors patriarchal
  4. Reliance on gentry as support good marriages
    afforded women more rights
  5. Engineering roads, canals, the Great Wall
  6. Inventions wheelbarrow, gunpowder, printing
    press, compass, paper, paper currency (all before
    1000 ce)
  7. Religion Confucianism, Daoism, native gods,
    introduction of Buddhism

Decline of Empires
  • Han and Roman

  • Empires too big costly to defend the frontiers
  • Burden of taxes on the poor,
  • some flee to evade taxes, as maintaining the
    empire grows more costly
  • taxes go up, few new sources of revenue,
    religious groups and nobility exempt
  • Slavery in Rome (supply and demand???)
  • Hurts working class Romans
  • Oppressive ? less productive,
  • fewer new sources,
  • less technological development

Decline (Continued)
  • Administrative problems
  • succession corruption, weak emperors
  • failing bureaucracies corruption of examination
    system, lack of civic responsibility
  • In Rome bread and circuses to forestall revolts
  • Eroding economies decline in trade when roads
    not repaired or safe

Decline (Continued)
  • Religion Christianity a factor in Rome, but
    Buddhism is not
  • Plagueshit both hard, especially in cities of
    Roman empire
  • Pressure from nomads Huns, Xiongnu, Germanic

Dynastic Cycle in China
Emperor reforms government and makes more
New dynasty comes to power
Lives of common people improved, taxes reduced,
farming encouraged
Rebel unite under strong leader and attack emperor
Poor lose respect for govt, join rebels, attack
Problems begin (wars, invasions, drought etc
Taxes increase, men forced to work for army,
farming neglected.
Govt increases spending, corruption ensues
Droughts, floods, famine, continued war etc
strains dynasty
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Why did the west fall harder?
  • Han Chinese more multiethnic a true nation that
    can endure beyond the dynasty In Roman empire
    most live outside Italy
  • State and society not bound together with the
    same glue In China, Confucianism offers both
    order for family, society and state not true of
  • Rome employed a mercenary army- loyalty issues!
  • Better assimilation of barbarians by China,
    Germanic tribes dismembered Roman empire, while
    nomads absorbed by Chinese
  • Common language Roman (vulgate Latin) never
    replaced Greek in much of the empire
  • Dynastic Cycles

Why western Roman empire and not eastern?
  • Deep, engrained civilization in the east Greeks
    and before
  • East less impacted by nomadic invasion maybe
    because many enduring cities, large populations
  • Tribes on eastern borders were disorganized and
  • After separation of empire, east no longer has to
    send any help to West
  • When west cut from wealth of East, the tax base

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