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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #51

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For me there are two reasons which help to explain why China remain a single centralized power but Europe failed:

A) The absence of competition. Save for nomadic raids, there was little threat from foreign organized powers in China. On the other hand, Rome and its descendants (Byzantium and the Ottoman empire) always had to contend with a powerful Iranian Empire. In Europe, the independent German and Slavic people may also have had a destabilizing role unknown in China (maybe)

B) China was fundamentally centralizing while Rome was not. Conquered provinces retained their customs and their elites. Cities preserved their self-rule principles, etc. Even culturally the Empire was not united as Greek remained the main language in half of the empire. China had a much more top-down approach. Byzantium and the Ottomans were more centralizing but by then it may have been too late.
A. Genghis Khan was stronger than anything Rome has ever faced. So were the Wu Hu.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #52
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A. Genghis Khan was stronger than anything Rome has ever faced. So were the Wu Hu.
The Wu Hu is roughly analogous to the barbarian invasions that occurred in Rome, Charlemagne and others also bear eerie similarities in that the people that conquered Rome lost themselves in its culture. This was far more prevalent in China, but after a century or two most of the people that conquered Western Rome lived in hybridized cultures even if the wealth, power, and lifestyle of Rome died long before it. Its just as Western Rome's fragmentary hybrids splintered and diversified in China they simply became more chinese to the point that they became indistinguishable from being Chinese. Like Romans, being Roman had less to do with Race or Ethnicity and more to do with the adoption of cultures and ideologies. Its just that China, in the end, won. Rome, in the end, lost and in the process lost itself.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #53

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Wu Hu were similar to the barbarous invasions that Rome had to deal with. The Wu Hu took northern china while the Germanic tribes took the Western Empire.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #54
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Wu Hu were similar to the barbarous invasions that Rome had to deal with. The Wu Hu took northern china while the Germanic tribes took the Western Empire.
Didn't I just say that?
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Old January 19th, 2013, 10:20 PM   #55

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Didn't I just say that?
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Old January 20th, 2013, 06:27 PM   #56

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You must have posted before I posted.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #57
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That's not exactly the point I was making. Of course, nomadic invasions were devastating BUT they were not a constant threat in the sense that the various incarnations of the Persian State were for the Roman Empire leading to more or less a millenium. Rome had to keep an army in the East every single year. The nomads were (I think) more of an temporary issue that sometimes did not re-appear for decades at the time.

Imagine what the situation would have been if China had had to contend with a large and organized neighbour, say India.
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Old January 20th, 2013, 11:41 PM   #58

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Actually, china united by the power vacuum left after the mongol conquests. Similar thing happened to Iran, which had not had this opportunity since the Arab conquests, but encompassed a large part of western Asia during the Safavid era. The same also goes for many other major world powers of the day; like the ottoman empire, Russia after the Golden Horde, and India.

Rome also grew out of a power vacuum left after the conquests of Alexander in the Mediterranean region. I think the nature of the Roman lands dictated its fate; that once the migration period began it could not control the integrity within its empire. Also, the Arab conquests never let Europe recover its control over the Mediterranean sea, which meant that the revival of Rome (or a German empire encompassing the same extents) was impossible. Egypt and Anatolia were key losses of Europe to Muslim conquests.

Last edited by hazratemahmood; January 20th, 2013 at 11:46 PM.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 06:54 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by maharbbal View Post
That's not exactly the point I was making. Of course, nomadic invasions were devastating BUT they were not a constant threat in the sense that the various incarnations of the Persian State were for the Roman Empire leading to more or less a millenium. Rome had to keep an army in the East every single year. The nomads were (I think) more of an temporary issue that sometimes did not re-appear for decades at the time.

Imagine what the situation would have been if China had had to contend with a large and organized neighbour, say India.
Nomads were a constant threat and took over parts or all of China numerous times.

Persia would attest that those nomads were more difficult to deal with than Rome, as Rome never conquered them while the Nomads did several times. Ironically, the ones that did so were usually kicked out of 'China' forcing a migration west of all the peoples there.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 01:30 PM   #60

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Nomads were a constant threat and took over parts or all of China numerous times.

Persia would attest that those nomads were more difficult to deal with than Rome, as Rome never conquered them while the Nomads did several times. Ironically, the ones that did so were usually kicked out of 'China' forcing a migration west of all the peoples there.
Actually Rome sacked the Persian capital a few times during the Parthian period. The Nomads didn't do as much damage, but were still powerful threats.
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