Comparing Augustus and Qin
Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was crowned king in 246 BC during the Warring States era (475-221 BC). Two centuries later, Caesar Augustus founded the Roman Empire and became Rome’s first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD. Both emperors ruled with distinct and individual morals in which they laid upon their society. Both rulers utilized military victories, new code laws, and established a sense of unity throughout the land. Each contribution to their state and to their civilizations is unique to their own opinion.
Qin Shi Huang was the son of the king of the Qin State. When he turned thirteen he surpassed his father’s regality. There were seven major kingdoms formed that was to become modern China as we know it today. The leaders of the kingdoms were already struggling.Ying Zheng was very violent and ambitious in his youth. He assumed full power at 22 by getting rid of his premier, Lu Buwei. He used sheer military power and innovation leading the military. His goal was to unite and conquer all the states like Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi by the powerful political, economic and military strength of the Qin State. Crossbows were the most prominent weapons used on the six kingdoms.Ying. Zheng became the first emperor of a united China, so he proclaimed himself Qin Shi Huang. He was also the first to unify the cultures and lands. Thus, he thought himself higher than a king but an emperor.
Caesar Augustus had a bit more luck than Qin Shi. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, which was Caesar’s great uncle, Rome had a continuous civil war with Octavian leading one faction, and Anthony leading the other faction. Years later, eventually Octavian defeated Anthony and declared himself Emperor under a new name; Augustus Caesar on January 16, 17 B.C. The title Augustus, meaning “revered” or “venerated” was given to him by the senate.
Qin Shi Huangdi is known in history for unifying China, which had a big impact, because it showed everyone that unification was possible and
plausible. No other ruler had achieved this prior. He made many economic reforms for his community, such as creating one system of currency for all of China; this facilitated the different parts of China to become more involved with each other. Thus, unification. Huangdi also got rid of feudalism, which was a social and economic system that was prominent for a very long time. This meant if one was in the military in exchange for their services, the nobility held land for them. This ridding of feudalism had a great impact over the land because it gave more power to the people of lower social standing who had always had to work for those above them. Without feudalism, each person in China was independent and made wealth for themselves. Chinese economy changed as trade increased for a long while afterwards. He also began the renounced Great Wall of China, which was very useful later to military campaigns and protection. Also, he built the first roads and bridges for not only the state, but the land as a whole. Lastly, he began the Qin dynasty, which was the first successful empire.
In the Qin inscription it gives specific examples of how the Emperor has united the land. “Human affairs are made clear And there is harmony between fathers and sons.” “Caring for the common people, He works day and night without rest” the emperor not only cares for himself, but for the common people too. This is what unifies the land is the benevolence of all social classes. “The local officials have their duties, Administration is smoothly carried out” the administration is also in order which keeps the land steady and running. “His kindness reaches even the beasts of the field; All creatures beneht from his virtue, All live in peace at home.” Due to the rulers’ wisdom and kindness, it brings peace to the land. No one feels the need to do evil, not to “rob or thief.” No one can deny the fact that this emperor was the first to bring harmony over china’s community.
“I found Rome built of brick; I leave her clad in marble.” (Suetonius 1987, 28). Rome was once a monarch and one of Augustus’ greatest achievements was bringing that back to the land, drawing it away from its republican past, and establishing an empire. Augustus favored military power to gain stability. By the time Augustus died he had conjured up HS 2,400,000,000 for Roman plebs or to discharged soldiers. He was also known for many building
projects; “The works he built: the temples of Mars, of Jupiter Subduer and Thunderer, of Apollo, of divine Julius, of Minerva, of Queen Juno, of Jupiter Liberator, of the Lares, of the gods of the Penates, of Youth, and of the Great Mother, the Lupercal, the state box at the circus, the senate-house with the Chalcidicum, the forum of Augustus, the Julian basilica, the theater of Marcellus, the Octavian portico, and the grove of the Caesars across the Tiber(Source).” Rome loved their ruler because of all the benevolent things he did for his country. He looked after the common people and the senate. He brought the pleasures to the people with the theatre. He extended gladiator games and “theater spectacles.” The state and the common people can both enjoy Rome’s theatre, which also brought unity throughout the land. “I extended the borders of all the provinces of the Roman people which neighbored nations not subject to our rule. I restored peace to the provinces of Gaul and Spain, likewise Germany, which includes the ocean from Cadiz to the mouth of the river Elbe. I brought peace to the Alps from the region which i near the Adriatic Sea to the Tuscan, with no unjust war waged against any nation.” “I restored peace to the sea from pirates. In that slave war I handed over to their masters for the infliction of punishments about 30,000 captured, who had fled their masters and taken up arms against the state.” Augustus not only brought peace to his own land but even to others. Qin Shihuangdi and his bloody victories led to the unification of China in the East and the Golden Age illusion of peace won by military superiority under Augustus in the West both used military power to harmonize their nations. They both brought peace between the commoners and the nobilities. Augustus was proud of his accomplishments but modest about them. On the contrary, Qin Shihuangdi was proud but not as modest as Caesar. He is the one who changed his name from king to emperor. Augustus gave back to his military and common men. Whereas, Qin just set laws that united his people, bringing peace. The common theme in these two documents is synchronization of their people with the land. Most people loved their rulers, thus, harmony was brought about in both societies.
Stambaugh, John E., The Ancient Roman City, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1988