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Han and Roman Empire

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The classical civilizations of Han China and Rome had very differently defined views as it came to technology. While Han China saw technology as necessary to economic life, Romans saw technology as unneeded and no substitute for hard work and manual labor. The documents entail that it is technology that keeps Han China’s productivity and efficiency high. They also show a Roman pattern of dislike for technology in favor of a stronger work ethic and larger labor system. It is these views of technology that will also indicate the decline of those civilizations. Documents 1 and 4 show how Han China and Rome would generally solve a singular situation. China’s solution is to first look for the quickest, most efficient way to solve the problem without much labor (Doc. 1). The Roman solution is not clear, however, Romans use more than what was sufficient for regular pleasure (Doc. 8). They do not actually solve the problem of the overabundance of water but merely find ways to use it. There is no indication of bias in Document 1 simply because of the author’s position as an official; he would generally try to solve a problem rather than exaggerate one; however, the author of Document 8 is in a position to bend the truth of the “success” of his aqueducts because of his position as a water commissioner. An additional document from the officials in response to the author of Document 1 would be helpful in determining better the Chinese value of technology. Also a document from a Roman citizen enjoying the “pleasure” of excess water would be helpful in determining the validity of the commissioner’s claims. Documents 2 and 5 show each society’s use of technology. In China, the quality of the tools is crucial for productivity and economic stimulation (Doc. 2). However in Rome, the dependence on productivity seems to be on the laborers (Doc 5). Rather than advance in technology, Romans would rather increase the labor force (given the slave population of the time, it was undoubtedly easier). As in Document 1, there is no indication of bias here because the author of Document 2’s position as a government official; however, a document detailing reasons for government monopolization would be helpful in determining the Chinese value of technology. Cicero’s position as an upperclassman would make it much easier for him to simply acquire more labor leaving questioning to the validity of



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