What factors led to China re-unifying multiple times throughout history while "Europe" failed to do so after Charlemagne?

Futurist

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Had Europe followed the historical example of China and reunified itself, the period of East and West Francia in the 9th and 10th centuries would probably just look like one of the many eras in Chinese history where the empire fragmented into separate parts before eventually forming back together a century or two later. But of course this didn't happen, and Europe would never again resemble the semi-unified state during Charlemagne and Louis's reigns until arguably Napoleon's very short-lived resurrection of it (he himself repeatedly called himself the second Charlemagne and claimed he was restoring his empire, and indeed the borders of 1812 France and 814 Francia are remarkably similar). Was the tradition of strong autonomy within the nobility already too great in Western and Central Europe to reverse this? Conversely, was China's tradition of relatively disinterested and organised bureaucracy the greatest drive for continued re-unification, a unique trait that early medieval Europe did not possess? I've read that even during the peak of Charlemagne's empire each region had a lot of autonomy, even to the point of maintaining their old laws and customs (with the exception of non-Christian lands like in Saxony). Was regional autonomy ever at such a level in Chinese history post-unification?

I'm aware I've asked quite a lot of questions, so... make of this thread what you will. I was sort of just writing questions as they came to me.
An educated guess, but maybe there were simply too many powerful regional power-brokers in Europe for any one of them to be successfully able to dominate the rest of them? Europe certainly had a lot of different long-lasting royal dynasties and aristocratic families who all wanted to get a share of power and influence. Meanwhile, China was unafraid of replacing its royal dynasties every couple hundred years. I don't know if the Chinese aristocracy was also replaced each time a new royal dynasty came to power in China, though.
 
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Futurist

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That depends on which dynasty. A lot of dynastic changes is just a replacement of whose bloodline sits on the throne, like the Han--->Wei--->Jin--->Liu Song--->Southern Qi--->etc, etc.... -->Sui.
Was the Chinese aristocracy also replaced with each Chinese dynasty?
 

deaf tuner

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Oct 2013
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Nope; there are more Chinese languages than just those two--especially in southern China:

That doesn't say that much as it's less the number of languages in itself, but the ratio between languages: if out of (say) 29 languages in China, two of them are spoken by 70% of the population gives a totally different dinamics than the variant of were five-six languages that are spoken by 70% of the population.

It's one of the main reasons Europe couldn't "unite": You had had multiple "big" languages that were quite far one from another (French, English, German, Russian). Big enough to have a say, but too small to become a "hegemon", and too far to become "coagulation poin" (latin-germanic-slav ... more or less nothing in common).
 
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Futurist

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That doesn't say that much as it's less the number of languages in itself, but the ratio between languages: if out of (say) 29 languages in China, two of them are spoken by 70% of the population gives a totally different dinamics than the variant of were five-six languages that are spoken by 70% of the population.

It's one of the main reasons Europe couldn't "unite": You had had multiple "big" languages that were quite far one from another (French, English, German, Russian). Big enough to have a say, but too small to become a "hegemon", and too far to become "coagulation poin" (latin-germanic-slav ... more or less nothing in common).
The interesting thing, though, is that theoretically, had the political will for this actually existed, mass literacy in all of Roman Catholic Europe could have been achieved in Latin. Then, a lot of Europe would have had the same language. :)
 
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HackneyedScribe

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Was the Chinese aristocracy also replaced with each Chinese dynasty?
By aristocracy I assume you meant those who are related to the emperor of the previous dynasty (Chinese governments were mainly ran by bureaucrats, not aristocrats). I assume that for the more peaceful transitions, they could get various excuses to make sure the previous bloodline dies off (discreetly poisoning them, or massacring them under pretext of rebellion). Which was at least what the Liu Song and the Southern Qi practiced. The imperial descedents of the Han dynasty, on the other hand, got their own plot of land to rule as a dukedom in perpetuity.
 
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deaf tuner

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Oct 2013
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The interesting thing, though, is that theoretically, had the political will for this actually existed, mass literacy in all of Roman Catholic Europe could have been achieved in Latin. Then, a lot of Europe would have had the same language. :)
I very much doubt it.

Firstly, Catholicism was just another Christian sect, that was more successful.

Secondly, You forget the Orthodox.

Thirdly, Latin is way too far from languages like German or Russian or English.

And keep in mind that we have too think at the global level: the "small people", not the "elites". It is what it counts in the context we're talking.
 
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MAGolding

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The prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the far east are usually taken to be the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, including the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.[21]
and:

Since around 1850, Europe is most commonly considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.[7] Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border also does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey, Russia and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary also places two comparatively small countries, Azerbaijan and Georgia, in both continents.

Europe covers about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi), or 2% of the Earth's surface (6.8% of land area). Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population.
Europe - Wikipedia

So at the present time Russia, with 39 % of Europe's land and 15 % of Europe's population, and some other European countries are not part of the European Union. So the upper limit to the size of the European Union would be about 61 percent of the land area and and about 85 percent of Europe's population if every European country except for Russia joins the EU. Of course if one chooses another definition of Europe's borders to make Europe as small as possible one can increase the percentage of Europe that is part of the European Union.

Boundaries between the continents of Earth - Wikipedia

Going by the size of the European Union, one might claim that Europe is now more united than it has ever been before. But the European Union is not a sovereign state but an alliance of many sovereign states. So some persons might consider Europe to be less united now than at some times in the past when a smaller proportion of Europe was more strongly united.

The problem with the Roman Empire's rule in Europe is that its control by direct rule and overlordship often fluctuated, and the periods of the greatest extend of Roman rule in one region were different from those of the greatest extent of Roman rule in other regions.' For example, the period of maximum direct Roman rule in Germany might have been during the reign of Augustus, decades before the beginning of the Roman conquest of Britain.

And there were many other periods when large regions of Europe were more or less united. Thus finding the historical moment when Europe was most united would be a difficult problem.

But I do not think that there was an era when the majority of the area or the population of Europe was united as strongly as the Qin Empire in China was united.
 
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Futurist

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By aristocracy I assume you meant those who are related to the emperor of the previous dynasty (Chinese governments were mainly ran by bureaucrats, not aristocrats). I assume that for the more peaceful transitions, they could get various excuses to make sure the previous bloodline dies off (discreetly poisoning them, or massacring them under pretext of rebellion). Which was at least what the Liu Song and the Southern Qi practiced. The imperial descedents of the Han dynasty, on the other hand, got their own plot of land to rule as a dukedom in perpetuity.
Why'd the Han descendants get treated well?

Also, by aristocracy, Yes, I meant the nobility. They wouldn't have to be related to any Chinese emperor, but they could be. I'm thinking in a European context where dukes, lords, et cetera pass on their titles.