There was a myriad of factors that led to the collapse of classical China and Rome including: different types of political decay, large impersonal forces, and cultural factors. To begin with, decentralization occurred and upper classes’ values in both societies changed. In Han China, landlords ruled their neighborhoods according to their wishes. In Rome, farmers gathered under the protection of landlords. The decentralization occurred because in both societies, the central government was weakening and quality of imperial rule was declining so landlords became the source of power.
Another reason was that in Han China, bureaucrats were becoming corrupt. In Rome, the upper class became more pleasure-seeking, and did not participate politically and economically. The upper classes’ shifting values caused the empires to crumble because they did not want what was contributing to the success of the empire, only to their personal gain. Next, large impersonal factors contributed to the decline of the civilizations. In China, borderland nomads invaded and took over. In Rome, Germanic people conquered the western part of the empire.
This happened because the nomads were pressured by other nomadic tribes like the Huns. Also, nomads were looking for places for their animals to graze. Another factor that led to decline was the epidemics. In China, the plagues may have killed half the population. In Rome, diseases decimated the people from 1 million to 250,000 people. The diseases were caused by the civilization’s perchance for trade. The diseases weakened the civilization by limiting the amount of people that could work for and help guard the empire. If the diseases had not occurred, then the people may have been able to fight off the invading nomads.
Finally, cultural factors had a part in the decline of the empires. In Han China, Buddhism distracted loyalty from the emperor, and did not coincide with family organization, and did not stress politics. In Rome, Christianity stressed God as the supreme authority, leading to rebellious people that did not emphasize the emperor as the ultimate authority, leading to rebellious people that did not believe in their rulers. Another factor was that there was cultural decay. In China, Confucian bureaucrats became less intellectual. In Rome, people were just writing textbooks on the previous
Roman’s discovery. The level of writing barely encompassed the intellectual prowess that the previous generations had. The decay in cultural innovations was possibly caused by the shifting values of the upper classes. They were becoming more pleasure-seeking and did not concentrate in advancing technology or intellect anymore. To conclude, all three factors led to the decline of classical Rome and Han China. It was the combination of political decay, large impersonal forces, and cultural factors that caused the decline of the civilizations.