Sunday, January 13, 2008

Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty
Dates of Power

-Battle of Gaixia, Liu Bang crowned. Han dynasty begins.
202 BC
- Interruption of Han Rule
9 - 24 AD
- End of Dynasty 220 AD

Reasons for takeover

The Han dynasty emerged from the chaos of the revolts which sprang up throughout China following the death of the Qin dynasty's emperor Shi Huang. The force and the duration of the revolt prompted the toppling of the Qin dynasty cerca 206 BC. At this point, a military leader name Xiang Yu divided China into 19 feudal states. The uneven and hind sighted divisions caused war between the newly created states. The "Han" state, headed by Liu Bang, emerged the victor.( Liu Bang became emperor of all of China and the Han dynasty began a rule which lasted for around 426 years.(

The Han Dynasty at its peak.

Leaders of the Civilization

The first Han emperor was Emperor Liu Bang. He became emperor after his clan's victory at the Battle of Gaixia. The greatest and probably the most successful monarch of the Han dynasty was the Emperor Wu- di. It was during his reign, at around 100 BC, that the Han dynasty reached its peak.( Many of the reforms done in China during the Han period were put into effect during the reign of Emperor Wu-di. He pioneered the diplomatic decision to send an envoy west to begin what would later become the Silk Road.(

Emperor Wu-di

Roman Emperor: Antoninus Pius

Emperor Antoninus Pius of Rome (Emperor from 138 -161 AD) is recorded as being the fourth of the five "Good Emperors". The five "Good Emperors" became emperors due to them being adopted by the ruling emperor; this allowed emperors to be chosen by merit, rather than lineage. His rule was very peaceful, for an Emperor of Rome. ( Pius also sent Roman envoys to China around 160 AD, this helped develop the Silk Road even further. Furthermore, Antoninus Pius was a great patron of Rhetoric, philosophy, and the arts; consequently, these flourished under his rule.( Emperor Antoninus Pius

Accomplishments: Government

The Han Empire had a sophisticated method of governance. The government was divided into two systems, a central and a local. The central division was organized into a cabinet called the Three Lords and Nine Ministers, with the Prime Minister serving as one of the lords and being in charge. The most revolutionary aspect of Han governance can be ruled out to be their choosing of officials based on a merit system, rather than choosing officials from the aristocratic clans in power.( The local division of the government operated at two levels, the county and the Xian, or a sub-prefecture of a county. The 1,180 county governors of the Han Empire were the backbone of the Han bureaucratic system; they were in charge of all decisions in their respective counties, including military, financial, and legal policies. Due to the efficiency of this system, the Han were able to launch a government school system throughout their empire with the Central academy being in Chang'an.(
Han Edicts

Accomplishments: Technology, Economy, Society, and Philosophy

The Han dynasty can be considered as a golden era for technological and social growth in China. The primary accomplishment of the Han dynasty was the Silk Road, a route which connected China with Rome through Silk trade.( The Silk Road

The Silk Road was established when emperor Wu-di sent his trusted diplomat Zhang Qian to the Western regions to explore diplomatic possibilities. Another benchmark accomplishment of the Han dynasty is the invention of paper. The Han dynasty was a period of great inventors and statesmen. One such man was Zhang Heng (78 - 139 AD); he is accredited with having invented the Shi poetry style, the seismometer, and the world's first hydraulic powered armillary sphere. ( with these inventions, it was during the Han dynasty that the Chinese succeeded in forging steel. An important historical work done during the Han dynasty was the "Records of the Grand Historian", a detailed chronicle of Chinese history till the time of Emperor Wu. This was written by the court historian, Sima Qian, China's most famous historian of all time. (, the Han period was an era of change, as Confucianism became China's state ideology. It was also at this time that Buddhism first entered China. It is apparent that the Han period was indeed one of growth for China.(

Reasons for Fall

Two important factors were the cause of the obliteration of the Han dynasty. Firstly, people had begun to move in large numbers to the Yangzi River in the south from the Yellow river in the north. Second, the Han weren't able to cope with the continual attacks from raiders from the north. The raiders from the north were the cause of the exodus to the south. These are the causes for the fall of the Han.(

Zhang Heng's journey west at the peak of the Empire

Works Cited
  1. "HanDynasty".Wikipedia.10/1/2008.<>.
  2. "Han Dynasty Background". Chinatown Connection. 10/1/2008 .<>.
  3. "Antoninus Pius". Wikipedia. 11/1/2008 .<>.
  4. "Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.)". Metropolitan Museum of Art. 11/1/2008 .<>.
  5. "The Legacy of Ancient China". Baltimore County Public Schools. 10/1/2008 . <>.
  6. "Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionus Arrius Antoninus". Roman 11/1/2008 .<>.

Picture Citations


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