The Greek Civilization And Han Essay, Research Paper
The Greek Civilization and the Han Dynasty are great civilizations in history. Their existence in time have been contributed through their strong leaders, unique style of government, and the people that build the empires to the greatness of that day. The attributes allowed the civilizations to become prosperous, and are alike in many ways. Both civilizations depended on the leadership of extraordinary men such as Alexander the Great and Lui Bang in order to achieve the recognition that is given to Greece and China today. Without these men, the two empires would not have been able to experience the period of prosperity and peace.
The Greek Civilization was able to produce Alexander the Great, a man with a legacy so remarkable that it has challenged the minds of men ever since. Alexander the great was able to unite city-states throughout that of Greece. His leadership expanded the territory and allowed each city-state to retain their uniqueness, yet they were also united culturally. They were able to do this by adopting the language of the Greeks as the official language for all. Through his conquests, Alexander the Great was able to control all of the Greek sity-states stretching his rule to Asia Minor.-1
The Chinese were blessed with that of the policeman Lui Bang. Lui Bang led the civilization through a prosperous time, by expanding its boundaries for a period of 426 years. His rule became known as the Han Dynasty. Lui Bang led the Chinese in a time known as the golden age of Chinese philosophy. Bang lowered the taxes, and protected peasants from former nobles trying to retrieve the lands that they lost. Lui Bang was able to bring forth the trust in his followers Because they believed him due to his rise from a peasant to a king.-2
1- Green, Peter. Alexander the Macedon. Chicago: New Haven Press, 1981.
2- Cotterell, Anton. A Cutural History: China. New York: Library of Congress, 1988.
Both civilizations formed a system of government that allowed them to cope with their surroundings and keep the citizens pleased. Ancient Greece approached their government through the formation of city-states.-3 Since the land was very mountainous, city-states were separated from each other, and it very difficult to travel from one to another. Since city-states were separated from each other, each had its own government. When city-states were first formed, they were ruled by a few wealthy men. However, these city-states began to move forward to that of a democracy. Democracy is a form of government which is ruled by the people. In a democracy, the people vote on who they want to be their leaders. In Athens, the people were divided into three groups:
1. Upper class – male citizens of Athens since birth
2. Middle class – males who were not born in Athens
3. Lower class – slaves
The classes allowed the people to put their lives in their own hands and alleviated from having on section with too much power.-4
The Han Dynasty under Lui Bang relaxed the highly centralized government. Lui Bang laid the foundation to the return of feudalism. In this form of government, the land was divided between minor lords and was worked by tenant farmers in exchange for rent 2-Coterell, 98 . Liu Bang’s government was also of authoritarian rule. Democracy was out of the question in China. For Liu good government was a strong government — one that could maintain adequate submission. He wanted centralized management of his empire, and for this he needed an army of civil servants.
3-Lloyd Jones, Hugh. The Greeks. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1962.
4-Bowra, CM. Classical Greece. New York: Time Life Books, 196
For reliable control over the vastness of his empire he installed his brothers, uncles and cousins as regional princes.-5
Although the strengthening of the central government essentially did away with feudalism for a time, one of the most powerful classes in Han China remained the large landowning family. China reverted to its old ways of the wealthy ruling and the poor class obeying.
The citizens that formed these governments acted in another role beside that of serving the empire. They were not only a protector to their land, but the stabilization in the economy and home. The man was in charge of the family and the house. Most men worked during the day as businessmen or farmers. When they were at home, they were treated with great respect. Even during dinner, the men laid on couches and were fed and entertained by the slaves while the women and children ate in another room.-6 Men were given the most responsibility and, therefore, were considered the most important people in ancient Greece. Women didn’t have as many privileges as men in ancient Greece. For example, they were not allowed to eat or sleep in the same room as men, go to the Olympics, or go into the marketplace or streets of the city. Since they spent a lot of time in the house, their most important tasks, aside from having children, were running the household and managing the slaves. Women in less wealthy households did not have slaves and had to do all the housework themselves. In peasant households, the women were in charge of working the fields..
5- Li, Dun J. The Ageless Chinese. New York: Routledge, 1995
6- Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece, and Rome. NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Like the men of Greece in almost all cases the men were the head of the family. The basic unit of Chinese society in Han times was the family. Because a family was considered responsible for the conducts of its members, it could be punished as a unit by the authorities for any one member. Each member of the family had an obligation to both ancestors and descendents to increase the family honor and wealth. They were taught to avoid shaming or dishonoring the family in any way 2-Coterell, 150.
The ancient Greeks were polytheistic, they believed in many different gods and goddesses. The Greeks believed that these gods and goddesses controlled everything, from the waves in the ocean to the winner of a race. Each god or goddess controlled one or two major aspects of life. Greeks built temples in every town for one god or goddess. Temples were large and beautiful buildings where Greeks went to pray or sacrifice animals. The sacrificed animals were considered gifts to the gods. Greeks were especially likely to sacrifice animals at festivals in honor of the gods. The festivals included plays, music, dancing, and then a parade to the temple where they made their sacrifices and had a feast.-7
The teachings of Confucious became the principal school of thought during the Han
Dynasty. The basis of Confucian ethics is the concept of jen meaning love or
goodness. The ideas of Confucianism can be summarized to that of, Do not do to
others what you do not want to be done to yourself.
7- Casson, Lionel. Daily life in Ancient Rome. New York: American Heritage, 1975.
Other important Confucian virtues include righteousness, propriety, integrity, and filial piety. Politically Confucious advocated a government in which the ruler is benevolent and the subjects obedient. He believed that the monarch should cultivate moral standards in order to set a good example 8.
8- Huang, Ray. A Macro History: China. New York: American History Heritage, 1990.
Bowra, CM. Classical Greece. New York: Time Life
Casson, Lionel. Daily life in Ancient Rome. New York:
American Heritage, 1975.
Cotterell, Anton. A Cutural History: China. New York:
Library of Congress, 1988.
Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece, and Rome. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Green, Peter. Alexander the Macedon. Chicago: New
Haven Press, 1981.
Grousset, Rene. The Rise and Splendor of the Chines
Empire. Boston: Houghton Miflin Co., 1990.
Huang, Ray. A Macro History: China. New York:
American History Heritage, 1990.
Li, Dun J. The Ageless Chinese. New York: Routledge,
Lloyd Jones, Hugh. The Greeks. Cleveland: World
Publishing Co., 1962.
Scheidel, Walter. The Most Silent Women of Greece and
Rome. Balitmore: Hopkins University Press, 1994.