Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

Using the Documents, Analyze the Han and Roman Attitudes Toward Technology

The Neolithic Revolution introduced the need of agricultural techniques and tools. The Chinese during the Han Dynasty in 2nd century B. C. E. and the Romans in the 1st century B. C. E. had various views on the agricultural technology which came about during the time period of these empires. While both the Han and Roman empires used technology to show self glorification, the Han’s attitudes were more beneficial, opposing to the Roman’s outlook in technology which was less valued. The Han and Roman Empires technology were both self glorifying.

In Document 6, Plutarch who is a Roman high official describes Gaius Gracchus in the 1st century who was a political leader. He wanted to build roads, utility, aqueducts, and bridges. Gracchus might have gotten his ideas from Greek architecture and the ideas inspired him to make a city similar to Greek/Hellenistic plans. In Document 8, written by Frontius who was a Roman General, governor of Britain, and water commissioner in Rome during the first century C. E. wrote that he was fascinated by the famous works of architecture and technology replicated from the Greeks.

Document 4 is from a textbook which was government sponsored planned irrigation system for the peasants in China. Without the pus of political authority, the society would never advance technologically because of the opposition of the nobles and the peasant’s weaknesses. An additional document that can help us with the situation is a political speech where the emperor back-fires the nobles who were against technology. The Han dynasty showed an attitude that was beneficial towards technology.

In the Han Dynasty in China, the Yellow River faced annual flooding. In Document 1, a Han government official was writing a letter to other local officials related to the floods in the 2nd century B. C. E. He explains the need of irrigation and flood prevention because of the loss of lives and food. He wanted “the walls of the cities and their suburbs, the dikes and rivers, canals and pools, and government buildings and cottages, and supply enough workers to those who are to carry out the repair work in each district. In other words, he was for the technological advancements for agriculture and irrigation systems. He also wanted people to join and help building these structures. Likewise, in Document 3, an excerpt from New Discourses written by Huan Tan who was a philosopher in 20C. E mentioned that Fuxi, who was a wise emperor in myths, mentioned the ways of domestic animals, for example, donkeys, mules, oxen and horses. Water power was used later on which improved even more.

Both of these documents back up on the use of technology being beneficial to man. An additional document that can be used to help back up the benefit of agricultural technology are record keeping of taxes and demographic statistics of Han China after the innovation of the dams and flood prevention. There were times where technology was cast aside for more pressing matters for the Romans. Document 5 was written by Cicero who was an upper-class Roman leader during the 1st century B. C. E.

He mentions that the crafts were made by unskilled workers. Guilds do not have dedication to new technology. From Document 7, written by Seneca who was an upper class philosopher and adviser of Emperor Nero also from the 1st century B. C. E mentions that he does not believe tools and crafts were invented by wise men because of the nature of the tools. The point of view of the Roman upper class members was opposed to the benefit of tools and crafts probably lead to the fall of the Roman Empire and the Chinese being more technologically advanced.

An additional document that would be helpful to support this argument is that we can include an excerpt from a book describing the travels of people to China and how they were able to have successful technology even after the fall of the Han dynasty. The opposition of Roman nobles of technology made the Roman Empire fall and had lack of technology. In contrast, the attitudes of the Chinese were more for the technological advances than the Romans which made their agricultural society more successful.