Introduction to the empire
After the fall of the qin dynasty, Han Gaozu formed a new empire called the Han Dynasty. This dynasty came to existence in the year 206 BC. The capital of Han Dynasty during its early years was located at Chang-an. (Eberhard. W. 2015). Unlike the Qin, the Han dynasty ideologies emphasized on moderation and virtue. The ancient history encyclopedia describes the Han dynasty as the longest dynasty serving over four 30 decades. In this paper, a discussion on the general structure of the emperor from the political, religion, economy and culture of the same are given.
Geography of the empire
Categorized in two phases, the Han Dynasty comprised of western Han that existed from the years 206 to 9AD. Another phase called the eastern Han came to existence and was in power up to the collapse of the dynasty in 23AD. (Michael, D.K. 2016). The western Han also known as the former Han, and the Eastern Han also known as the later Han. The capital of during the western Han rule was located at Chang'an. The dynasty covered an area that comprises of the present day Shandong, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces. (Michael, D. K. (2016). This area was called the Sili. The Han dynasty engaged in expansion activities through military actions hence increasing the geographical area of the region. The eastern Han had its capital at Luoyang. This regime was faced by frequent rebellions that lead to the fall of the Han dynasty.
The Han dynasty had an active military that enabled them to conquer a large geographical area. During the Western Han, the army was composed conscripted male aged twenty-three and above. Every male above in or above twenty-three was liable to join the military. The soldier would take one-year training and another serving as non-professional soldiers. The armed forces were divided into three. The infantry, the cavalry, and the navy. The eastern Han favored voluntary recruitment as opposed to conscription. The volunteer army composed of the southern military while the standing army comprised the northern army. The northern army had five regimes each having some solders. After the collapse of the central authority, the regiment was taken by several tycoons who managed them as their military.
The primary weapons used during these periods were the swords. These were considered to be the most advanced armory of the time. Knowing iron casting, they were able to produce the best swords and improved the bows and arrows they used. This gave the military the strength it required to conquer more territory. For an active military like this in place, there must be a well structure government in place.
The Han political structure was simple and precise. The government was comprised of central bureaucracy and feudal structure. The government was headed by the emperor who was acted as the commander in chief and responsible for creating laws and was the chief executive officer. Having borrowed from the Qin dynasty, the emperor had control over China, and his powers were ultimate and absolute. Emperors had three councilors of state. The grand commandant who commanded the military, the chancellor over the masses who was responsible for the government's budget and imperial counselor whose duty was to undertake disciplinary procedures for government officials. Nine individual ministries were in place each headed by a minister. (Michael, D. K. (2016).
The structure of the local government had the governors as the rulers of the provinces. The provinces were further divides into commandery and county. The commandery was headed by the administrators while the county was headed by a magistrate. According to the size of the county, the magistrate could either be called a prefect for a big county or a chief for a small county.
The Han dynasty has a line of 26 rulers from the year 206BC to 220AD. The first ruler of the regime was Han Gaozu also know as Liu Bang. He ruled from 206BC to 195BC. After 12 years rule. The power was handed over to his son Han Huidi(Liu Ying), but he was young and is 188BC power was exercised their mother, Han Lvhou(Lv Zhi). Later in 180BC Han Wendi the fourth son of Liu Bang assumed power and lightened taxes hence spurring growth. After this Han Wudi, Han Zhaodi, Han Xuandi, Han Yuandi, Han Chengdi, Han Aidi, Han Pingdi and Ruzi formed the rulers under the Western Han. (Michael, D. K. (2016).
Wand Mang took over to form the Xin dynasty that lasted from 9 to 23AB which lead to the formation of the Eastern Han that ruled form 25 - 220AD. The rulers under the eastern Han were Guang Wudi, Mingdi, Zhangdi, Hedi, Shangdi, Andi, Shundi, Chongdi, Zhidi, Huangdi, Lingdi and Xiandi who was the ruler until the fall of the dynasty in 220AD.
Religion was one of the major pillars that shaped the Han Dynasty. There were several religions in China during this time. (He, Y. 2017). The emperor worshiped his ancestors and would climb mount Tai to give an offering to heaven and earth. Taoism is a religion rooted in the belief of opposites. This was an ideology that everything has it opposite. For example, there would not be death if there was no life. Another religion during the Han Dynasty was the Buddhism that was brought to China by the traders. All these religions played a great role as far as spiritual activities were concerned.
Economy and trade
By removing heavy taxes on the small landowners, the Han Dynasty through its dependence on production output peasant increased the economic growth. The economy was strong due to the favorable conditions that the government placed to for its citizens. The Silk road was another boost for the Han economy. The dynasty mostly engaged in trade exchanging goods with Silk, salt and iron products. The Silk Road started during the Han rule as a safe passageway to China by the western people.
Social life and culture
The Han Dynasty had a reach culture. Art was the central pillar of the Han culture. The production of calligraphy and painting, ceramics and pottery made great advancement during this period. The emperor tombs were decorated with pottery. This exhibits the rich culture in the Dynasty. Through the invention of paper, literature rose to be a part of the Han dynasty. There were several songs composed that lead to the devices of the loom. This was the period that saw weaving of silk for trade.
This dynasty can be termed as the starting point of modern China. Through the government structure, the economic activities and trade routes formed during this time, it is evident that the Han Dynasty had a significant contribution to Chinas development. The Silk Road that connects the west to China started during the Han Dynasty and still exists up to date. Most of the religions in chine came into existence during the Han rule. ( Eberhard, W. (2015). From the ancient history encyclopedia, pulleys and wheelbarrows were commonly used. The main uses were to grind grains and move items. This is the time that the water powered trip hammer came into being.
From the above discussion, it is evident that the Chinese culture and general way of life have its root during the Han Dynasty rule. A significant activity that started during the dynasty rule and still exists to date is the Silk Road. This road has never lost its meaning since it began during the dynasties rule.
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Han Dynasty. (n.d.). Retrieved April 09, 2018, from https://www.ancient.eu/Han_Dynasty/
He, Y. (2017). Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China, written by Bryson, Megan. Religion and the Arts, 21(5), 665-668.
Han Dynasty. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/han/Michael, D. K. (2016). Philosophy in Western Han Dynasty China (206 BCE-9 CE). Philosophy Compass, 11(6), 289-304.
Peterson, W. J. (Ed.). (2016). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 9, The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800. Cambridge University Press.
Ti, H., Hou, L., Ti, W., Ti, H., & Ti, Y. (2015). Western Han Dynasty. World Monarchies and Dynasties, 368.
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