Rome and Han China, despite being in very different geographical locations, have many characteristics that can be compared and contrasted side to side. Both civilizations had advanced technology such as road systems, the mortar and pestle, and aqueducts (Documents 3, 6, 4, and 8) which made life easier for everyone and in cases like the great Roman aqueducts, they were necessary for the state to even blossom the way that it did, into a recreational based society rather than survival based (Document 8).
Every civilization is based at least partially on water, and these woo are no exceptions, whether one is speaking of Romeos apparent abundance of water (Document 8) or China’s need for regulations (Document 1). The way their social structures are set up are also very different, as demonstrated by Romeos seemingly more harsh outlook on the common folk versus the Chinese benevolence towards the common man (Documents 4 and 5).
In short, when comparing and contrasting Rome and Han China, the most important items are their similarities in developing technology, differences in interacting with the water around them, and the preferences in social hierarchies. Both civilizations had rather advanced technology for the time period. In Documents, Frontiers goes into great detail of how the water loses its sediment, is measured, and is used. There is a tone of near reverence in this passage which indicates he is very proud of how effective the aqueducts are.
This tone is especially well demonstrated when he says “Compare such numerous and indispensable structures carrying so much water with the idle pyramids, or the useless but famous works of the Greeks” (Document 8) The Romans also built an elaborate road system (Document 6). Again there is an obvious sense of pride and grandeur in the writing from the way Plutarch speaks about how Gauss Gracious maintains his roads. Meanwhile in China, Fuji, a mythological wise emperor has invented the mortar and pestle (Document 3).
There is still a proud vibe to the authors words in this document, and Human Tan clearly shows this when he talks about how “the pestle and mortar were cleverly improved… Thus increasing the efficiency ten times… Water power was also applied, and the benefit was increased a underflow. ” (Document 3) Then Document 4 talks about how Tu Shih invented water powered blowing engine for forging iron tools. Again, we have a sense of pride in the writing at him being able to “enjoy great benefit from little labor” (Document 4).
So, as has been shown, Rome and Han China both had similar positive, proud outlooks when it came to creating and distributing their new technologies. Rome and Han China both interacted with their environments in new ways because, like with all countries, water was a large issue for these civilizations. Both states had their own ways of dealing with this issue. In Rome, giant aqueducts were built to funnel in enough water to support the city.
According to Frontiers, “The abundance of water is sufficient not only for public and private uses and applications but truly even for pleasure” (Document 8). This abundance of water for use in basins and fountains really helped turn Rome into a complex and modernized city, so in that sense, the Romans dealings with the aqueducts really ended shaping them as a culture. The Han, on the other hand were having water problems in the early second century BCC water conservation offices to be instated and sweeping repairs to go on through all of the cities.
The tone sounds rather dire though, and because of this, one must question the accuracy of the official who wrote the document. The letter makes it sound as though China could be wiped of the Earth within a few days, when based on document 4, which was written in 200 CE, we know China thrived for almost another four centuries. As such, one should disregard the tone, and only acknowledge the facts that conservation offices were started and repairs were made.
However, even after eliminating the official’s unreasonable perspective, this still paints a very different picture from that of Rome. In the end Rome thrived as far as water was concerned while Han China merely survives that period. In Document 4, it is mentioned that the governor of Nanning, Tu Shih “loved the common people and wished to save their labor. ” (Document 4) The tone in this passage is very pleasant and paints Tu Shih as being compassionate and respectful to the common men of China.
Conversely in Rome, there seems to be very little respect for the lower classes. In Document 5, an upper class Roman leader, Cicero, points out that “Vulgar and unbecoming to a gentleman are all the Jobs hired workers take on, whose labor is purchased rather than their skill. ” (Document 5) Since Cicero is a higher up member of society we are able to infer from his dismissive tone that the common masses of men are disrespected and not considered important. This is a stark contrast from China’s stance of being positive and friendly to the laboring masses.
In the end, both societies went completely separate ways as far as social hierarchies were concerned. In conclusion, once one compares and contrasts the two civilizations, it is very easy to realize how similar and different they can be simultaneously. Although they are separated by great lands and distances, many great practices come from Rome and China. In Rome, their engineering has brought them aqueducts and roads (Documents 8 and 6) while Han China made the mortar and pestle and the bellows (Documents 3 and 4).
Rome Han China didn’t struggle for water, but didn’t have it nearly as plentifully as the Romans who thrived with running water and public fountains (Documents 1 and 8). They even treated the common man differently in China than in Rome (Documents 4 and 5). But in the end, it is the amazing pride in their inventions, different approaches to obtaining water, and completely dissimilar social orders that show the compared and contrasted relationships of Han China and Rome in as much detail as could be pulled from these eight documents.