Compare and Contrast Essay on the Fall of the Roman and Han Empires

Fall of Roman and Han Empires

The Roman and Han Empires were among the greatest empires in the history of the World. Both ruling in the first century of the Common Era, the Han dynasty peaking in the 200s and the Roman Empire in the 400s, these empires showed great military power, strived in economic trade, and their territories covered vast land. So how did these great empires find themselves plummeting to an unfortunate collapse? Although there are many similarities in the reasons for the desecration of these empires, there are also several contrasting reasons for the declines in economic trade, effects of the changing populations, and the failure of the political systems.

The Roman and Han empires equally strived economically in trade. However, decline in trade affected Rome more than Han China. Many Chinese communities were self sufficient, and most trade was carried out between communities. The Roman’s economy relied heavily on trade, and as trade routes became compromised, pirates and bandits began stealing goods from merchants creating a decline in trade and profits. Less trade reduced the amount of taxes going back to the government. In contrast to trade, raising taxes evenly weakened both empires. The Roman and Han Empires raised taxes to support their growing armies. As taxes increased, the poor were unable to pay them. Since rich landowners in both empires were not required to pay taxes, many peasants fled to these landlords for protection. In Rome, this affected trade by making the tax on good go up, creating inflation.

Both the Roman and Han Empires experienced social unrest during their collapse. Peasants became angered with the raise in taxes and started to revolt in China. The Chinese used their military to stop these revolts but soon needed more soldiers. The Han government forced many farmers and others to fight, generating a larger group of angry citizens and producing reluctant warriors. On the other hand, the Romans did not struggle with revolts but instead religion. As the Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, officials tried to eliminate it. They created laws banning Christianity with the consequence being the cruel punishments or death. As a final stitch effort, the emperor declared himself supreme god. Needless to say all plans failed and Christianity continued to spread further fracturing the once powerful empire.

Nomadic invasions pestered both Roman and Han empires. Nomads attacked the outskirts of the large territories creating small settlements. The Romans were attacked by Germanic tribes while Han China suffered attacks from the Huns. These Germanic tribes were superior in military technology and threatened Roman forces. During Caesar’s rule, these nomadic peoples tried to conquer small cities but failed and ultimately settled on the outskirts of the empire. In contrast, the Huns, violent, savage men, led several attacks and defeated several Roman legions. These attacks called for a need of a large army from both empires, but with taxes dropping and the growing lack of good authority, most armies failed.

Many factors played role in the fail of once powerful empires. Both the Roman and Han empires flourished and had a very successful reign. Nonetheless, small mistakes made by the central governments caused huge problems socially, economically and politically. The ultimate failure of these empires can be determined from the outraged citizens, the drastic decline in trade and crops, and the attacks from nomadic peoples as well as corrupted political officials.