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Compare and Contrast China, Greece, and Rome

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The Chinese, Greeks, and Romans of the Classical Era had a similar foundation while each excelling at unique skills. China (500 BCE- 600 CE) made significant advancements in literature, Confucianism, and architecture. The Greeks, in peak from 800-300 BCE, flourished in drama, philosophy, and architecture. Rome (500 BCE to 476 CE), replaced Greece as the powerhouse of the Mediterranean. The Romans excelled in architecture, road construction, and military tactics.

Greece, Rome, and China all held focus on architecture, slavery, and expanding their trade routes. Architecture held great prominence in all three of these civilizations. Rome constructed temples using mathematic principles; these formulas were created due to an advanced education system. China connected the Great Wall of China (still a top tourist attraction today) during the Han dynasty, preserving their livelihood from the Huns. Greece used religion as an inspiration for the construction of temples as well as many infamous art pieces. Each of these civilizations held slaves, but Rome was the strongest supporter. It is said that slaves were considered property under Roman law, and played a large role in the economy. Economy has been a focal point in any great civilization. Rome, China, and Greece all benefitted from expanding their trade bases by water, as well as creating trade routes on land.

As we take a look at past civilizations, Greece and Rome may seem to slur together. Major differences occur between these cultures, such as government and religion. The Romans derived their culture from the Greeks, creating their own world based off the conquered land. No centralized government existed in Greece, while Rome had specific codes of conduct in both their empire and republic governmental system. Greece held a specific polytheistic religion while the Romans shifted to Christianity in the middle of their reign. The difference between Rome and China occurs in government and military conquest. An emperor was appointed in China by inheritance, while an emperor in Rome was chosen by a council.

The emperor of China was housed in the forbidden city, a gated off mini-kingdom where only the elite lived. The Chinese emperor had the powers of a judge, jury, and executioner while a Roman emperor could not act without consent from a senate. Rome was constantly engaged in battles and military conquests, while 500 BCE-600 CE was a time of great peace in China. China and Rome traded using the complex network of routes. This allowed them to utilize each other’s differences to improve their own civilization. China and Greece were both prosperous and had monopolies in their specific trade areas, but they each had a different way to stimulate their economy. China, with its flat terrain, was able to develop a series of roads (giving birth to the Silk Route). This created a trading kingdom throughout multiple countries. Greece is surrounded by water on 3 sides, so the Greeks utilized a trade route by sea. Greece and China differed in the way they viewed their states.

The Greeks created the city states, where they battled for resources and the top trading position. Value was found in different ways of thinking in order to overtake others. The Chinese grew through the policy of “one unit”. A group of philosophers would create an idea, one most agreed on, and that idea would be spread throughout the country. A method such as this gave way to Confucianism. This explains why there was much less fighting in China during this time; fighting was looked down upon. The Greeks found glory in battle. As some of the most successful civilizations of the Classical Era, Greece, China, and Rome were able to build according to their similarities and differences. China excelled in literature, Confucianism, and architecture. Rome found its structure in military conquest, road building, and architecture. The Greeks created revolutionary architecture, drama, and philosophy.

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