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Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires (Oxford Studies in Early Empires) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195336900
ISBN-10: 0195336909
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"The book is an admmirable demonstration of the great potential that lies in comparative analysis of the Greco-Roman world and Ancient China. It is hoped that this book will form the basis for more, exciting, comparative research, which will surely broaden the horizons of Ancient history beyond its current compartmentalization and excessive departmentalization." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


About the Author


Walter Scheidel is Professor of Classics and, by courtesy, History at Stanford University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Studies in Early Empires
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195336909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195336900
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,653,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Anne Mills on December 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not, as the title led me to hope, a broad based comparison of the Roman Empire with Chinese empire of the same period. Rather, it is a compilation of seven academic essays comparing various aspects of political organization in the two empires. This does not amount to the same thing -- there is no overarching view, and no overall conclusions. Moreover, at least for a general reader, there are big differences among the essays. Two were very interesting to this general reader, and very readable -- Nathan Rosenstein on state formation and Karen Turner on law and punishment -- and another was almost as good, Peter Band on tribute and trade. But three other essays were too narrow in scope for a generalist -- Maria Dettenhoffer on women and (mostly) eunuchs, Mark Lewis on gifts and charity, and Walter Scheidel on monetary systerm (the last is an exhaustive, and exhausting, study of coinage). The introductory essay, also by Scheidel, is written in deep academese. Overall, this is a book for academics. It is also one, however, which a general reader will find useful and interesting -- in parts
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this product as an excellent academic read. I thought his perspective on the convergence of civilization in the east and west and then divergence in goverance expressed why the Northern Hemisphere developed as it has. This book is recommended to the student of world history particularily those interested in the why and not oonly the what. Scheibel makes numersous refernce to factual data on the historical context and extrapolates those ideas.
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rome and china were the largest and strongest countries in the west and east although they did not have direct contact by then, they influenced each other in terms of culture and technology, rome was supposed the first european country that imported chinese silk and ceramic, etc through persia and egypt
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Format: Paperback
Apparently, two thousand years ago half the people lived either under Roman or Chinese rule. What this book does is compare the two societies to see whether they have much in common. There does appear to be some items in common.

I was not so convinced that for the subject that many of the topics picked were that relevant, e.g. women, gifts and charity.

One big difference in the areas which has troubled people is why after the Chinese Empire fell, it managed to reunite yet the Roman Empire never did despite many attempts. No-one really has an answer to this, although there is some discussion about it in this book.
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