The Golden Ages : Greece, Rome, and China Essay
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The Golden Ages : Greece, Rome, and China
The Golden Ages of Greece, Rome, and China were periods when certain cultures reached many achievements in certain fields. These fields could include drama, poetry, sculpture, philosophy, architecture, math or science. Their achievements in education, technology, and government have greatly influenced modern society. The artistic and literal legacies of these periods continue to instruct and inspire people today (Beck 120). In Ancient Greece, the great heights that were reached in education, technology, and government led them to their Golden Age. Included in the vast education of Greece were philosophy and literature. Socrates was one of the most famous philosophers of that time. He was a…show more content…
Its 46 support columns and decorative relief panels add character and add to its beauty (Watson 63). The Theater at Delphi is built into the natural setting of its surroundings. It held public theater performances during the fifth century B.C. along with hundreds of other theaters built in central Greece (Watson 63). In the art of sculpting, sculptors aimed to create figures that were strong, graceful, and perfectly formed and their faces showed only serenity (Beck 121). Their values of order, balance, and proportion became the standard of what is called classical art (Beck 121). One example of classical art is the statue of the goddess Athena, by Phidias, which stood 38 feet tall (Watson 63). Greece's strong government was made up of a direct democracy. In a direct democracy, citizens rule directly without any representatives (Clapham 59). There were three branches of government : legislative, executive, and judicial (Falls 161). The legislative passed laws, the executive carried out the laws, and the judicial held trials (Falls 161). Only males, ages 18 or older were allowed to be citizens (Clapham 59). Administrators were not appointed by election or nomination, but by lot (Clapham 59). Male citizens met several times a month in a general assembly where each citizen had a vote (Clapham 59). Any man could propose a motion and if it received a majority of votes, it normally became a law (Clapham 59). Only another assembly or the
Classical Athens and Han China were different due to their forms of government, the relationship between the individual and the state, their views on man and nature and their background information.
Within the background information of both Athens and Han China there are very evident differences between the two. The first document shows the maps of both the empires side by side. The Han Empire is much bigger than the Athens city-state Attica which is a mere 50 miles long, while the Han Empire stretches over 2400 miles long. The size difference alone shows how the Empires would have developed differently. Since Attica is smaller, the people are closer together, therefore it would be easier to develop a democracy there. Han China, however, is very big and everyone is spread out so it would be very difficult to govern if every citizen had a say in the decisions.
The second and third documents show the differences in size and distribution of the population in both empires. The differences here are clear. Han China is about 206 times greater in population than Athens. In Athens about 37% of their population are slaves while in China about 7% of their population are slaves or what they call, “mean people.” The majority, about 90%, of the population in the Han Empire consists of peasant farmers and some skilled urban workers. In Athens, farmers were very valued and the majority of the citizens there were landowning farmers. A map of population density would be very helpful in understanding the differences between the empires. This would show where most farming took place because the mass population is farmers and slaves.
Han China and Classical Athens governments are extremely different. Han China’s government was strictly centralized, with an emperor as their supreme and divine ruler; the Son of Heaven. People believed that Heaven chose the person who was ready to rule the Empire. Many people questioned how Heaven does this. In document 6, a dialogue between Mencius, a student of Confucius, and Wan Chang, Mencius’s student, Chang asks Mencius a few questions of Heaven choosing it’s next son. Mencius’s answer was that Heaven does not speak but reveals itself by acts and deeds; Heaven sees with the eyes of its people and hears with the ears of his people. Document 7 talks about how Han China’s government system runs. Heaven selects the emperor, the sole ruler, but he needed people to help him rule.
Therefore he appointed governors to each part of the Empire and then, in turn, they placed officials at smaller areas. During the Han Dynasty, the government decided to build and expand bureaucracy. The bureaucrats would have to go through an early form of a civil service exam in order to earn a law-making position at stages of government such as local, regional and federal. However, Stearn describes the Han Empire as the largest political system in the classical world, but Stearn’s bias can be seen here and must be considered. However, Classical Athens’ government is a democracy, not entirely a modern democracy like the United States, but a democracy nonetheless.
Document 4 is a speech by Pericles, a Greek statesman, which talks about the empire’s qualities of their government. Any man, regardless of their social class can be elected to hold office. Pericles talks very highly about his government, “… we are rather a role model to others.” His point of view on the government system may be affected by the fact that he is the General of that empire so he would be biased toward their government.