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Sunday, January 11, 2015

State Power in Ancient China and Rome

Editor:
Walter Scheidel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Publication Year:
2014




Abstract:

Two thousand years ago, the Qin/Han and Roman empires were the largest political entities of the ancient world, developing simultaneously yet independently at opposite ends of Eurasia. Although their territories constituted only a small percentage of the global land mass, these two Eurasian polities controlled up to half of the world population and endured longer than most pre-modern imperial states. Similarly, their eventual collapse occurred during the same time. 

The parallel nature of the Qin/Han and Roman empires has rarely been studied comparatively. Yet here is a collection of pioneering case studies, compiled by Walter Scheidel, that sheds new light on the prominent aspects of imperial state formation. This essential new volume builds on the foundation of Scheidel's Rome and China (2009), and opens up a comparative dialogue among distinguished scholars. They provide unique insights into the complexities of imperial rule, including the relationship between rulers and elite groups, the funding of state agents, the determinants of urban development, and the rise of bureaucracies. By bringing together experts in each civilization, State Power in Ancient China and Rome provides a unique forum to explore social evolution, helping us further understand government and power relations in the ancient world.

Table of Contents:

Contributors
Chronology
Maps

Introduction
Walter Scheidel

1 Kingship and elite formation
Peter Fibiger Bang and Karen Turner

2 Toward a comparative understanding of the executive decision-making process in China and Rome
Corey Brennan

3 The Han bureaucracy: its origin, structure and development
Dingxin Zhao

4 The common denominator: late Roman imperial bureaucracy from a comparative perspective
Peter Eich

5 State revenue and expenditure in the Han and Roman empires
Walter Scheidel

6 Urban systems in the Han and Roman empires: state power and social control
Carlos Noreña

7 Public spaces in cities in the Roman and Han empires
Mark Lewis

8 Ghosts, gods, and the coming apocalypse: empire and religion in early China and ancient Rome
Michael Puett

Bibliography
Index

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