The Han and Roman Empires Comparison

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The Han and Roman empires were the most advanced and influential second-wave civilizations. Despite these empires having little contact with the other, they both had flourishing societies and vast developments in technology. Like The Great Wall in the Han dynasty and aqueducts in Rome. The Roman Empire’s attitude toward technology was that technology’s best use was for both, aesthetics and practicality and it took little ability to create these technologies. While the Han dynasty differed in their attitudes focusing more on practicality and technology benefiting the public.

The Romans attitudes towards the best uses of technologies were centered around their usefulness and aesthetic as can be seen in documents 6 and 8. This can be seen in Plutarch’s description of Roman roads in Document 6. Plutarch explains how the roads not only were fixed but the “beauty” and “grace” of the roads. This shows the Romans not only focused on practicality but on aesthetics. In Document 8 Frontinus gives a report of Roman aqueducts. Reporting where and how the water is distributed to places including fountains and public buildings. The fountains once again reestablish the idea of the focus of aesthetics in Roman technology.

Many Roman aristocrats, like Cicero and Sineco in documents 5 and 7, the creation of these technologies was unimportant and vulgar. These attitudes can be seen in Cicero’s writing, a Roman political leader, in Document 5. Cicero believes the craftsmen jobs are “degrading” and “vulgar”, and that there is nothing enlightening about these jobs. This shows Cicero’s belief that the creation of technology takes no specialty. His belief is rather unfair, as Cicero was born into an aristocratic family and never had to experience what it’s like to be a part of the working-class. His message was likely directed toward other aristocratic elites due to the fact many lower-class citizens would not have had access to his book. Roman attitudes toward technology can also be seen in Document 7 by Seneca, a Roman Philosopher. Seneca believes although the creation of these technologies may be of a “wise man” it is not of someone who is “great or elevated”. Once, again showing the idea that the invention of these technologies takes no actual talent.

The Han dynasty’s attitudes toward technology, contrary to the Romans, where it should be used to benefit everyone. This can be seen in Document 1, where a government official explains how people need to be assigned to various positions to prepare the city for floods. This shows the technologies were used for the benefit of the public rather than just the elite. This can also be seen in Document 2. Huan Guan explains the state had control over tools for the peasantry. This shows the government ensured the working class had the appropriate tools for their jobs.

Only documents of aristocrats were given, including political leaders and philosophers. This makes it hard to truly understand the attitudes of the entirety of these civilizations. If writings of the lower-class or peasantry would have been given this would have given a much better perspective of these civilizations.


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The Han and Roman Empires Comparison. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-han-and-roman-empires-comparison/

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