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Old November 28th, 2011, 09:07 AM   #1
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Which dynasty was more powerful/large/wealthy?


The Mauryan dynasty OR the Han Dynasty?

Please give as much information as possible. The purpose of this comparison is to examine two of Asia's most famous and glorious empires, not to declare a winner.


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Old November 28th, 2011, 03:13 PM   #2

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For starters, the Song Dynasty was certainly much more wealthy than both the Han and the Mayruan Empires. Asia's best empires weren't dated from before the fall of the Roman Empire, but from the middle ages and the early modern period.

Out of those two, probably the Han as they are generally considered to be the most advanced ancient non-western civilization.

The Mayruan Empire ruled over a landmass that had just developed writing and few Mauryan remains survive to this day of compared with the volume of Han remains, which was an empire that ruled lands that had developed writing for over a thousand years.

The Han Empire probably had about twice the population of the Mayruan Empire: 55 - 60 million versus about 30 million for the Mayruan Empire. The Han Empire also developed coinage idependently and they used 700 tons of copper every year to produce coins, which shows how large their monetary economy was: the total money stock of the Han Empire (total volume of coinage in circulation) was estimated by Walther Scheidel to be valued at between 8 to 20 billion liters of wheat which shows how large the monetary economy had become. While most coins dug in the Indian subcontinent dated from Ancient times were Greek and Roman coins, which suggests that the only sectors of the economy of the Indian subcontinent were those involved with long range mediterranean trade.

We also have many more sources from Han China than from the Mauryan Empire.

Han China also used many types of machines that weren't used anywhere else in the world at the time, even including the Mediterranean. The whellbarrow for example: while there is a debate about if the Greeks had or had not the wheelbarrow it is certain that Han China had the wheelbarrow while no other place in Asia had.

So everything seems to indicate that Han China was significantly more advanced from technological, social and economic points of view. Han China was the largest and most powerful State in asian history until the Tang, several centuries later.

*Instead of starting a threat with such agressive title I would suggest a title: "A comparison between the Han and the Mayruan empires"
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Old November 28th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #3

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The Han Empire probably had about twice the population of the Mayruan Empire: 55 - 60 million versus about 30 million for the Mayruan Empire.
Most estimates would say the Mauryan empire had about 50-60 million, and some would go as high as 100 million. Where did 30 million come from? Of course, demographic studies of Indian history is lacking, as are Chinese ones. I suspect they only gave 50-60 million for the Mauryan empire because the other two empires (Han and Rome) were said to have 50-60 million. We only know the population of the Han empire because the contemporaries made their own demographic studies: they took a census. However, the census isn't perfectly accurate, and they also missed the areas of the Tarim Basin.

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The Han Empire also developed coinage idependently and they used 700 tons of copper every year to produce coins, which shows how large their monetary economy was: the total money stock of the Han Empire (total volume of coinage in circulation) was estimated by Walther Scheidel to be valued at between 8 to 20 billion liters of wheat which shows how large the monetary economy had become.
700 tons of coin per year actually doesn't sound like a lot. This is pretty consistent with historical facts as Han dynasty incomes were oftentimes paid in grain. We know about half the income of government employees were paid in grain because it was literally recorded. Records indicate that the grain supplied to each individual soldier in the frontiers was 3.33 shi, about twice the amount a grown man would eat (grain was also distributed to his family, which on average is also more than they could eat, although not as much). The extra grain must have been part of (or more likely the entirety) his profit. Nevertheless, without equivalent Mauryan demography I don't see how we could come to a conclusion. This is like saying, person A is richer than person B because person A earns 60,000 a year. Well, how much do person B make?

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While most coins dug in the Indian subcontinent dated from Ancient times were Greek and Roman coins, which suggests that the only sectors of the economy of the Indian subcontinent were those involved with long range mediterranean trade.
Greek and Roman coins do exist in India, but I've never heard that there's more of them over there than local ones. Where did this information come from?

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The purpose of this comparison is to examine two of Asia's most famous and glorious empires, not to declare a winner.
Hah, You're not convincing.

Last edited by HackneyedScribe; November 28th, 2011 at 07:31 PM.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #4
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What do you want me to do in order to convince you? Should I send you a personal letter? I think the OP was crystal clear.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 03:34 AM   #5
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Size of Han Dynasty: 6,000,000 km2 (2,316,613 sq mi)
Size of Maurya Empire: 5,000,000 km2 (1,930,511 sq mi)
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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #6

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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
Greek and Roman coins do exist in India, but I've never heard that there's more of them over there than local ones. Where did this information come from?
Oh do ignore him on this... I asked him the same question before but he was not able to reply nor give sources for this particular claim.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #7

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What do you want me to do in order to convince you? Should I send you a personal letter? I think the OP was crystal clear.
Exactly, the OP was crystal clear: Who was the "most powerful, wealthy, large," yet we're not supposed to declare a winner. Nice try though.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
Exactly, the OP was crystal clear: Who was the "most powerful, wealthy, large," yet we're not supposed to declare a winner. Nice try though.
In other words we are not going to celebrate a victory.
I asked multiple questions, for the sake of debate not for the sake of choosing a victor...
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Old November 29th, 2011, 09:49 AM   #9

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Originally Posted by Thessalonian View Post
In other words we are not going to celebrate a victory.
I asked multiple questions, for the sake of debate not for the sake of choosing a victor...
Of course, if you say so
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Old November 29th, 2011, 09:52 AM   #10
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Moreover, if one empire proved to be wealthier or more powerful from a militaly point of view, but not larger, who wins?? The question is threefold for a reason.
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