During the course of the Zhou Dynasty as compared with the case studies about Rome and early Europe, it was shown how feudal states in China were more autonomous, had no overlapping, cross-cutting authorities, and had strong territorial markers. And that during the course of the Zhou Dynasty we see a shift from transbordersovereignty to absolute sovereignty with the Warring States Period representing a transitional phase to imperial China. From the age of Confucius onward, the Chinese people in general and their political thinkers, in particular, began to think about political matters in terms of the world.

Following an earlier part about the contact between Rome and the Chinese Han empire we now proceed with comparing the two with in the end an explanation why the Chinese empire recovered from its early setbacks and the Roman empire not.

The indirect exchange of goods on land along the Silk Road and sea routes included Chinese silk, Roman glassware and high-quality cloth. Roman coins minted from the 1st century AD onwards have been found in China, as well as a coin of Maximian and medallions from the reigns of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius in Jiaozhi in modern Vietnam, the same region at which Chinese sources claim the Romans first landed. Roman glassware and silverware have been discovered at Chinese archaeological sites dated to the Han period.

As is known Han China and Imperial Rome at the time were the largest and most prosperous empires in the ancient world, but according to direct measurement, their territories were more than 3,000 miles apart. The intervening lands were subject to extreme conditions with some of the most inhospitable terrains on earth, including the steppe-like Hexi corridor, the scorching Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim Basin, and beyond that the snowbound Pamir Mountains which merge into the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas. The arid, landlocked country of Bactria was at the center of the ancient Silk Routes and offered routes south to the Indus kingdoms or west towards the desert plains of eastern Iran. Travelers crossing Iran had to journey through barren mountain passes as they ascended the well-guarded Iranian Plateau. Even the journey from Babylonia to Syria was not a simple venture but involved desert crossings through contested territories. The actual distance from the Chinese border to Rome traversed more than 5,000 miles as the route wound across Central Asia between impassable deserts, steppes and mountain ranges. 

Sections of these Silk Routes were dominated by other significant empires, including the Xiongnu on the East Asian Steppe, the Kushan in Afghanistan, and the Parthians in Iran. As a consequence, land-based Roman traders could not reach Central Asia, and Chinese merchants were unable to journey directly into Roman domains. Instead, Silk Routes operated in segments with merchants from particular nations managing transport and trade operations across vast territories. This international network-enabled Chinese silk to reach Roman markets through a series of intermediaries that included urban populations from the Tarim oasis territories of Central Asia and Sogdians from Transoxiana. Roman merchants from Syria received eastern silks from Parthian dealers in Babylonia, but silks also reached Rome via the Indian Ocean and the Roman ships that visited city-ports in India and returned to Egypt with oriental fabrics. 

The value of this international commerce is arguably more significant than its scale or cultural impact. Strabo reports that 120 Roman ships sailed to India every year, and a Roman legal document called the Muziris Papyrus records that the cargo of one of these vessels was valued at just over 9 million sesterces. This evidence suggests that the Roman Empire imported more than a billion (1,000 million) sesterces worth of eastern goods per annum.¹ An inscription from a second century  Palmyrene tomb-tower records how foreign products worth 360 million sesterces were assessed for tax as they passed into Roman Syria.² This commerce was highly significant because the Roman government imposed a quarter-value tax called the tetarte on all goods crossing the imperial frontiers. Consequently, international trade was a substantial contributor to Roman revenues. 


Economy and Revenues

Its legions maintained the Roman Empire, and this military structure was paid for by revenues that included land and poll taxes. For tax purposes the Roman regime periodically conducted a census to ascertain the population size and the distribution of wealth in its subject regions. A well-known reference to this practice occurred in the Christian New Testament when Emperor Augustus issued orders that a census should be taken of all Roman-controlled territories expressed as ‘a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed’.³ Provincial population details were available to imperial governors, and Pliny offers his readers select information on a census that was conducted in Hispania Tarraconensis while he was in office (AD 72–74).⁴ Hardly any of these population figures have been preserved in the surviving classical sources, and modern scholars, therefore, have to estimate the size of the Roman population using other evidence, including guideline figures from much later historical periods. Most current estimates for the population of the Roman Empire, therefore, range from 45 to 60 million people.⁵ 

The surviving Chinese texts provide more precise information about population sizes in the Far East. A Chinese census report assembled in 2 BC records that the  Han Empire had a population of 59.6 million people, living in 12.4 million households and cultivating 827 million mou of land (over 147,000 square miles).⁶ The confirmation comes from a collection of ancient documents written on bamboo strips that were found at Yinwan in the coastal Shandong province of northeast China. 

These documents include administration and tax records for the Donghai Commandery and dated to 15 BC. They record that the commandery (province) had a  population of about 1.4 million people living in 266,000 households with over  5,500 square miles of land under cultivation.⁷ Donghai Commandery, therefore, represented about one twenty-seventh of the cultivated land and one-fortieth of the  population ruled by the entire Han Empire.⁸ 

Most Chinese subjects paid more direct tax to the central government than their Roman counterparts. Adult males between the ages of 15 and 56 spent an annual poll tax of 120 cash to the Han government (a sum that could be earned in about four or five days of well-paid work).⁹ Han authorities also collected a land tax of one-thirtieth on agricultural harvests, and this was often paid in grain. Every year about 500,000 men reached an age when they became eligible for military service, but the Han Empire needed only a fraction of this workforce for its regular army.¹⁰ 

The government, therefore, allowed potential conscripts to purchase their freedom by paying an annual commutation rate along with their standard poll tax.¹¹ Merchants also had to pay higher-rate poll taxes, but the Han government did not impose expensive custom taxes on goods crossing their imperial frontiers.

A further source of Han state income was an annual gold offering made by five holders who had been granted titles and land by the imperial government, along with the right to collect taxes from subject rural communities.¹² The Han Empire also maintained monopolies on vital industries, including the production of salt, which was an essential element for the preservation of foodstuffs. Also, in specific periods the early Han Empire managed the iron production required for the manufacture of most weapons, tools and agricultural implements.¹³ These monopolies allowed the government to regulate prices and generate substantial revenues  from market requirements.¹⁴

The Yinwan documents provide further information about provincial revenues in the Han Empire. The materials record that the annual revenue collected by Donghai Commandery was 266.6 million cash and 506,600 shi (16,474 tons) of grain. 

From this figure, 145.8 million cash and 412,600 shi had already been spent in the commandery with the remainder to be stored, or forwarded to other administrative centers .¹⁵ This meant that, after provincial costs were met, just under half of the cash and about one-fifth of the grain gathered in the region would be transferred to central government. 

In the first century AD, a Chinese courtier and philosopher named Huan Tan wrote a study called the Xinlun, which records the revenues of the Han Empire. 

Huan Tan suggests that the Han government collected taxes worth more than 4 Billion cash, with about half of this figure, spent on paying the salaries of civil servants and the remainder stored in the treasury for ongoing state initiatives. According to Huan Tan, the Han Emperor also maintained his imperial treasury which received an income of about 8.3 billion cash per annum.¹⁶ This suggests that the total annual revenues of the Han Empire were about 12.3 billion in cash. 

At a basic level, money could be viewed as a medium used to secure resources and human effort. Chinese revenue figures can, therefore, be converted into Roman equivalents by comparing the essential cost of hiring a soldier or laborer. In the early Roman Empire, one silver denarius was worth four large brass sesterces and this sum could buy a day’s labor from an adult male.¹⁷ Each sesterce contained about  28 grams of a bright golden-colored brass called orichalcum. Orichalcum consisted of about 80 percent copper and 20 percent zinc. In Han China, the main currency was a small bronze coin called the wushu, and about twenty of these coins could secure a day’s labor.¹⁸ Each wushu contained 3.2 grams of bronze formed from 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin. This means that, as a rough calculation, Han revenues worth 12.3 billion in Chinese currency would be equivalent to about 2.5 billion Roman sesterces. 

Classical evidence suggests that by the late first century AD the Roman regime had an income of about 1.1 billion sesterces per annum.¹⁹ These calculations, therefore, indicate that the Han government was receiving revenues from their empire, which were almost double the income of the Roman regime. But each empire had different costs and levels of responsibility for regional administration. For example, the Han government-appointed administrators to manage tax collection and public spending in provincial cities. By contrast, the Romans often left civil administration to the local elite in their subject provinces. These people would be responsible for taxing their populations and, after extracting collection costs and profits, they would forward the agreed amount of tribute to the Roman government. 

The Han government probably received sizable funds from most of its forty central provinces, as many of these regions had been part of well-administered Chinese kingdoms for centuries. For example, the Han administration in Donghai Commandery collected the equivalent of 53 million sesterces of tax from its population. Cash equivalent to 29 million sesterces was spent locally with funds worth 24 million sesterces forwarded to Louyang.²⁰ 

The early Roman regime had to operate under different conditions as large parts of its empire consisted of newly conquered tribal territories with little preestablished urban infrastructure. There were about fifty provinces in the Roman Empire,  but ancient accounts suggest that once local expenses were met, most of these regions sent less than 4 million sesterces to Rome.²¹ Celtic and German territories in  northwest Europe had no long-term history of civic administration in monetised  economies, so early revenues from these regions appear to have been comparatively low.²² Furthermore, the Romans extracted only moderate revenues from  most of the territories they captured in the eastern Mediterranean. Suetonius suggests that the Roman treasury received only about 5 million sesterces per annum from the small subject kingdom of Commagene in Asia Minor.²³ This is about a  quarter of the funds that the Han government in Louyang could receive from a single Chinese province. 

The Romans imposed tribute on subject peoples as a symbol of submission and they punished revolt by increasing their demands for money and materials. Tribute amounts were fixed by longstanding agreements, so this meant that the imperial regime did not necessarily derive greater revenues from a country that became more prosperous under Roman rule. The Roman regime imposed low-rate taxes of  about one fortieth (2.5 per cent) on goods crossing provincial boundaries and this  meant that internal trade did not raise large amounts of revenue.²⁴ For example,  the provinces that comprised Gaul needed to export goods worth 40 million  sesterces in order to raise 1 million sesterces for the Roman regime. 

The ancient evidence suggests that the Romans demanded only a moderate amount of tribute from most of its subject territories. This meant that only a small amount of central government tax was taken from ordinary individuals. The New  Testament suggests that the Roman poll tax (tributum capitis) paid by adult males  was only 1 denarius per annum (worth 4 sesterces or a single day’s labour).²⁵ This  meant that 1 million men might raise only 4 million sesterces in poll tax revenue  and population increases would need to be very large to significantly increase  Roman revenues. 

Property taxes also seem to have been comparatively low in most Roman provinces. Appian reports that Roman subjects in Syria had to pay an annual land tax (tributum solis) set at only 1 per cent of their assessed wealth.²⁶ Roman land taxes  would have been collected as coin value or as an equivalent quantity of agricultural  product that could then be transferred to nearby garrisons, or sold on the open  market. Tacitus mentions grain taxes in Roman Britain and Josephus describes how rebels in Judea seized grain from ‘imperial granaries’ during the Jewish revolt of AD 66.²⁷ 

Tribute levels were set by historic agreement and this meant that an increase in regional population or property wealth did not necessarily increase Roman revenues. Instead, an increase in regional agricultural prosperity or population meant that smaller contributions were required from each individual. Census reports revealed these demographic changes to central government, who then responded by reducing or removing some of the tax burden imposed on certain communities. 

Sometimes entire cities were offered exemption from these taxes as a special reward or privilege. In AD 70, Vespasian granted the inhabitants of Caesaria Martima exemption from tributum capitis, while his successor Titus removed their obligation to pay tributum solis.²⁸ 

In the early imperial period, Roman citizens did not have to pay tributum capitis and soldiers who received their pay from the state were also exempt from this tax. 

This was significant because most of Hispania, Gaul and Britain had no towns or cities before the Romans conquered these regions. Northern Europe was urbanised by Roman occupation and many of the earliest towns and cities developed around forts and veteran colonies. Rome regarded tribute as money extracted from subject people for the benefit of Roman citizens. Consequently these new urban centres were not considered to be tax-producing assets by central government, even if they developed into cities. 

The Roman economy also contained large-scale imbalances concerning food production. The Crimea produced over 84,000 tons of grain per annum which was  enough to feed over 200,000 people.²⁹ Much of this grain was exported to large  Greek cities in the eastern Mediterranean that could not otherwise have maintained  their population size and density with locally grown produce. The city of Rome had  a population close to a million, but this was sustained by a government-issued  grain dole offered to select male citizens.³⁰ About 200,000 citizens were eligible for a dole that provided more than their basic needs and consisted of enough grain to feed 400,000 people in the capital.³¹ The annual dole included 88,000 tons of  grain shipped from farms on costal North Africa and the Nile Valley in Egypt.³² According to Josephus, almost a third of this grain, 29,000 tons, was Egyptian  produced.³³ As Tacitus observed, ‘It is not a barren soil which causes distress in  Italy. We prefer to cultivate Africa and Egypt, and trust the life of the Roman people to ships with all their risks.’³⁴ 

The first interruption to this system occurred in the third century AD when a Germanic people known as the Goths migrated from forested lands on the Baltic coast of northern Europe to the upper Black Sea region. They occupied the Pontic steppe and settled near the Danube River, where they introduced agriculture and adopted cavalry practices from the mounted Scythians. In the mid-third century AD the  Goths launched ships to raid Roman ports on the Black Sea coast while their armies overran the Crimea and conquered the Kingdom of Chersonesos.³⁵ As a  consequence, the food resources and population potential of the Crimea were  transferred from Roman to Gothic control. Between AD 322 and AD 336 the Ememperor Constantine conducted campaigns against the Goths and Sarmatians to force these nations to submit to Rome.³⁶ As a result of the new Gothic realms eventually became allies of the Empire, but they remained beyond direct Roman administration. 


Learning from Roman Revenues

The best evidence for Rome’s provincial revenues comes from the Late Republic. Plutarch records that the Roman state received a total income worth 340 million  sesterces after Pompey annexed Syria and most of Asia Minor (60 BC).³⁷ This figure increased when Caesar imposed tribute payments worth 40 million sesterces  on newly conquered Gaul (50 BC).³⁸ But ancient evidence suggests that the tribute  received by Rome was moderate and did not greatly increase over time. As an example, Philostratus describes how the Romans extracted tribute worth 28 million sesterces from their province in western Asia Minor.³⁹ This is almost the same  amount of tribute that the Persian Empire demanded from this region when they had ruled the territory six centuries earlier.⁴⁰ 

The province of Egypt was an exception because it was treated as though it were an imperial estate. Its large population was intensively managed and the region produced high levels of transferable revenue. Strabo confirms that Ptolemaic Egypt  produced revenues worth 300 million sesterces for its kings and even higher sums  were extracted by Rome.⁴¹ Josephus suggests that by the mid-first century AD, with  the full development of Indian Ocean commerce, Egypt provided the Roman state  with over 570 million sesterces of revenue per annum.⁴² 

Tribute could remain low in most provinces because the Roman government met its costs by minting coins from newly mined bullion. Strabo describes how  state-owned mines in southern Spain provided the Roman Republic with more  than 39 tons of silver per annum (worth 36 million sesterces).⁴³ Pliny records that  by AD 73, Roman gold mines in Hispania were producing more than 7 tons of gold  per annum (worth 80 million sesterces).⁴⁴ This suggests that the Roman state  received more than 120 million sesterces worth of bullion from its mines. This bullion could produce enough precious metal coinage to pay the costs of ten Roman legions or about a third of the entire imperial army.⁴⁵ 

Roman tribute levels could also remain low because the state received enormous profits from taxing international commerce. Maritime Indian imports worth more than a billion sesterces must have raised at least 250 million sesterces in Egypt as part of the tetarte tax. Goods brought through Palmyra worth 360 million sesterces would have generated revenues worth 90 million sesterces for Roman tax collectors at Antioch and other Syrian cities.⁴⁶ Added to these figures would be the tax  value of Roman goods and bullion exported to Parthia, Arabia and India. 


Learning by omparing expenses

There were other major differences in the state-systems that China and Rome developed to manage their empires. The Han regime paid salaries to a large bureaucratic staff to work for the central government in Louyang and serve in the  provinces to collect tax and manage the administration of cities and rural communities. This civilian bureaucracy included more than 120,000 staff; as a comparison, the Roman army numbered 300,000.⁴⁷ This method of administration cost  the Chinese government the equivalent of more than 400 million sesterces in  wages per annum.⁴⁸ 

In the Roman system, the Emperor’s interests were managed by a large house-hold-based network of citizen freedmen and administrative slaves. The Roman  Empire also retained a senate consisting of about 600 ex-magistrates, each of  whom met the required property qualification for office which was set at 1 million  sesterces.⁴⁹ Outside Italy the Roman administration was primarily a military-based  system with governors commanding the imperial forces in their designated territories. There were about 160 senior positions in the Roman provinces which were  filled by senators and members of the lesser nobility known as equites, who had a  property qualification of 400,000 sesterces.⁵⁰ These administrators were well-paid  for their services, but they often used local military officials, or staff from their own households, to manage provincial affairs. Consequently, modern scholars calculate that the early Roman government could have spent as little at 75 million sesterces per annum on its ‘civilian’ employees.⁵¹ 

Scholars have estimated that the early Roman Empire spent at least 640 million sesterces per annum on its military.⁵² This was the cost of about 300,000  career soldiers, including legionaries, auxiliaries, the Praetorian Guard in Rome, and the imperial navy. In total, there were about thirty legions in the Roman army, which, when at full strength, would have each consisted of about 5,000 legionaries and 5,000 auxiliary soldiers. Each legion cost about 11 million sesterces per annum to maintain. Still, a significant part of this cost was due to the generous discharge bonus paid to soldiers who had completed their twenty-five-years service contract. 

In the early imperial period, the highest concentration of Roman soldiers was on the Rhine frontier, which was maintained by eight legions at the cost of perhaps 88 million sesterces per annum. This is similar to the amount that the Chinese paid to the largest of the steppe nations as an incentive not to attack their northern frontiers.

The Han Empire spent less on its military institutions than its Roman counterpart. The Later Han Empire was divided into two main military forces known as the Southern and Northern Armies. The Southern Army was partly composed of Chinese peasants who were conscripted into short-term service. By contrast the  Northern Army was structured around regiments of career soldiers who depended on conscript units for pre-planned offensive campaigns.⁵³ The Later Han also made extensive use of cavalry regiments formed from warrior-based steppe populations that had surrendered to Chinese authority and been permitted to settle on the frontiers.⁵⁴ 

The Northern Army units that guarded Louyang included about 3,500 soldiers,  compared with the nine cohorts of Praetorians stationed near Rome (4,500  troops).⁵⁵ Military bases on the Chinese frontiers could accommodate several hundred career soldiers, and with the assistance of cavalry units, these troops were able to guard vast stretches of the Han frontiers. Ancient documents found on the  frontiers suggest that a force of 3,250 front-line career soldiers maintained the 620  miles between Dunhuang and Shuofang.⁵⁶ The northern border of China covered over 3,000 miles, so based on that density of troops, the Northern Army would have required 16,000 soldiers to protect this key frontier of the Han Empire. Later, Han also established several large military bases to monitor subject steppe populations settled close to the Chinese borders. The evidence suggests that each of these outposts included several thousand permanent soldiers.⁵⁷ 

Infantry soldiers in Chinese frontier garrisons were paid about 600 cash per month.⁵⁸ Officers received considerably more, and cavalrymen needed higher pay to maintain their horses. Some of these military wages might have been supplied as food or equipment, but the Chinese state still had to meet these expenses from resources raised by taxation or other means. A standing army of 25,000 career infantry would have cost at least 180 million cash per annum. This would be equivalent to 36 million sesterces in Roman currency, which represented the cost of almost three legions (30,000 men).⁵⁹ 

When fully mobilized for war, a Chinese army, including 200,000 conscripts, would require pay and supplies worth over 1,440 million cash per annum (288 million sesterces). The cost of aggressive warfare was higher in the Far East because Chinese armies had to enter steppe lands or other remote territories to engage hostile nations who often fought as highly mobile mounted opponents. These campaigns involved the challenge of long-range supply issues and the huge costs involved in moving men and resources into marginal lands far from the productive core of the Empire. In the second century AD, the Han declared war against the  Western Qiang who occupied lands on their Burma-Tibetan frontiers.⁶⁰ The total cost of this twelve-year war is attested as 24 billion cash or about 2 billion per annum.⁶¹ This figure per annum is equivalent to about 400 sesterces in Roman currency, or about a third of the annual revenues that Rome received from its Empire.

Later sources suggest that Emperor Diocletian significantly increased the size of the Roman army (AD 284–305). The Byzantine scholar John Lydus reviewed official figures from the fourth century AD, and he reports that in this period the Romans had 389,704 soldiers and 45,562 troops serving in the fleet.⁶² A list of Roman units contained in work called the Notitia Dignitatum (List of Offices) suggests that the later Roman army might have had up to 500,000 soldiers if all its recorded units were active and at full military strength (AD 395–420).⁶³ By this period, the  Roman army was divided into static frontier troops based at garrison points and mobile field-armies able to conduct immediate campaigns. 

As we have seen sofar the Roman and Chinese had much similarities but also many differences. Their economies were both agrarian and monetized, but adopted different models of production organization. Their societies were both patriarchic, conservative and stratified. Each person had specific social roles and had moral duty to be contended with them. Both societies valued the family, the nursery of authoritarianism, but the Roman made a clear legal separation between the state and the family, the Chinese did not. Their political power was mostly held by aristocrats, but the Roman senatorial aristocracy and the Chinese feudal aristocracy differed in characters. Initially, their states were all city-sized, but the western city-state and Chinese feudal states had different political structures.


Dominating the Steppe

The steppe nations were a serious threat to Chinese authority and frontier security.  At its political height, the Xiongnu (‘Hun-nu’) regime incorporated several leading steppe nations and was organized into twenty-four territorial divisions that could each provide up to 10,000 mounted warriors.⁶⁴ In times of war, this manpower could be assembled into armies including several hundred thousand mounted warriors. 

During two centuries of intermittent fighting, the Han weakened the Xiongnu by conducting long-distance campaigns on the steppe to kill and capture the men and livestock that provided the regime with its military strength. Over time this diminished the system allowing some of its more important subject nations on the outlying steppe to achieve independence. But the Han were not able to fully dominate the Xiongnu until the mid-first century AD when the country was divided by civil war, and the southern faction requested Chinese aid. The Southern Xiongnu were accepted into Han service, and eight of their clans, including up to 50,000 warriors, were allocated frontier territory in the Chinese Empire. The southern Chanyu Bei was ordered to establish his court under Han supervision in Xihe Commandery  (Luliang, Shanxi). The newly subject Xiongnu offered military service in return for the guarantee of large-scale economic subsidies from the Han government including food, clothing and coined money.⁶⁵ 

The Northern Xiongnu faction was destroyed in subsequent military action as Chinese commanders led further expeditions into the outer steppe. The decisive engagement, known as the Battle of Ikh Bayan, was fought in AD 89 near the Altai Mountains. In this battle, a Chinese force of 46,000 cavalries, including 30,000 Southern Xiongnu allies, defeated the northern Chanyu and forced his surrender.⁶⁶ 

Further campaigns in the following years caused the remaining northern Xiongnu to flee westward into parts of the Central Asian steppe that were beyond the reach and knowledge of the Chinese Empire.⁶⁷

After the collapse of the Xiongnu Empire, a steppe nation called the Xianbei became the leading regime in Mongolia. The Xianbei were former subjects of the Xiongnu who lived on the Manchurian prairies on the eastern edge of the Asian steppe. But as the Xiongnu Empire fragmented, they gained independence and began to extend their range and influence across Mongolia. The Hou Hanshu records that ‘ever since the northern Xiongnu fled, the Xianbei have become powerful and populous, seizing all the lands previously held by the Xiongnu and claiming to have 100,000 warriors.’ It was said that the Xianbei had better-bladed steel and superior horse breeds and consequently, ‘their weapons are sharper, and their horses are faster than those of the Xiongnu.’⁶⁸

Another steppe nation called the Wuhuan had a prominent place in Chinese strategies to protect its frontiers. The Wuhuan also originated in Manchuria, and the Hou Hanshu claims that ‘the language and culture of the Xianbei are the same as the Wuhuan.’ Wuhuan gained independence from the Xiongnu in 121 BC, and, allying with the Chinese, they were permitted to settle along the Han frontiers. Their chieftains were given economic subsidies in return for longterm military service to help protect the Chinese boundaries from other steppe nations.


1. Muziris Papyrus: P. Vindob. G. 40822 (Papyri Vindobonensis Graecus); Merchant fleet 120 ships (The Geography of Strabo. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924, 2.5.12).

2. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/palmyrene-funerary-sculptures-at-penn/

3. New Testament, Luke, 2:1.

4. Pliny, 3.3.

5. Frier, ‘Population’ in Cambridge Ancient History, volume 11, The High Empire (1996), 812–14.

6. The Book of the Later Han, also known as the History of the Later Han and by its Chinese name Hou Hanshu, 28b.1640. Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch’in and Han Empires (1986), 596.

7. Loewe, The Men who Governed Han China (2004), 60.

8. Scheidel, ‘State Revenue and Expenditure in the Han and Roman Empires’ (2012) 3.

9. Xu and Dull, Han Agriculture (1980), 76–7.

10. Scheidel, ‘State Revenue and Expenditure in the Han and Roman Empires’ (2012), 5.

11. Chang, The Rise of the Chinese Empire (2007), 78.

12. Loewe, The Men who Governed Han China (2004), 284–6.

13. Yan Tie Lun (Discourse on Salt and Iron).

14. Chang, The Rise of the Chinese Empire (2007), 82–5.

15. Loewe, The Men who Governed Han China (2004), 60.

16. Ch’uan Hou-Han Wen, 14.2b; Yu, Trade and Expansion in Han China (1967), 62.

17. New Testament, Luke, 2:1.

18. Shule Document, 509.

19. Walter Scheidel, State Power in Ancient China and Rome, 2015, p. 159

20. Loewe, The Men who Governed Han China (2004), 60.

21. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, De Consolatione ad Helviam Matrem, 10.4.

22. C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Divus Julius, 25 .

23. Suetonius, Caligula, 16.

24. The Cambridge Ancient History Volume 11. The High Empire, AD 70–192 2nd Edition, 738.

25. New Testament, Luke, 2:1.

26. Appian, Syrian War, 50.

27. Cornelius Tacitus, The Life of Cnæus Julius Agricola, 19; Titus Flavius Josephus, Life, 13.

28. Digest Roman Law,Pandects (Latin: Digesta seu Pandectae), 50.15.3; 50.8.7.

29. Demosthenes, 20.32–3.

30. The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 11: The High Empire, 813.

31. Augustus, Res Gestae Divi Augusti, 15; Aldrete, G.S. and D.J. Mattingly. 1999. “Feeding the city: The organisation, operation, and scale of the supply system for Rome.” In Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. (1999), 178.

32. Keith Hopkins, Models, Ships and Staples; Type: Book chapter; Language: English; Published in: Sociological Studies in Roman History, 2017, 86.

33. Josephus, Jewish War, 2.16.4.

34. Tacitus, Annals, 12.43.

35. The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 12: The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337 by Alan Bowman, Averil Cameron, et al., 2005 (2005), 37–55.

36. Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths (1979), 59–63.

37. Plutarch, Pompey, 45.

38. Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 25.

39. Philostratus: Lives of the Sophists (Flavii Philostrati Vitae Sophistarum), 548.

40. Herodotus, 3.90.

41. Strabo, 17.1.13.

42. Josephus, Jewish War, 2.16.4; Antiquities, 19.8.2.

43. Pliny, 33.21.

44. Strabo, 3.2.10.

45. Pliny, 33.21 

46. Carol B. Wilson,For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food: Pragmatics of Food Access in the Gospel of Matthew, 2014, 156. 

47. Hardy, The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China (2005), 43.

48. Ch’uan Hou-Han wen, 14.2b (2 billion cash).

49. Di Cosmo, N. Ancient China and its Enemies (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 56.41; Augustus, Res Gestae, 8.

50.  Keith Hopkins, Death and Renewal: Volume 2: Sociological Studies in Roman History (Vol 2), 1983,186.

51. Duncan-Jones, Money and Government (1994), 33–45.

52. Appendix A.

53. Loewe, The Government of the Qin and Han Empires (2006), 63.

54. Yu, Trade and Expansion in Han China (1967), 83–4.

55. Standard cohort: 480 soldiers. The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 10: The Augustan Empire (1996), 385. Alternative figures: Scheidel, ‘State Revenue and Expenditure in the Han and Roman Empires’ (2012), 23.

56. Loewe, Records of Han Administration (1967), 90–1.

57. Hou Hanshu, 1.110–11.

58. Mu Ch'ien (Author), Siying Zhang (Translator), Merits and Demerits of Political Systems in Dynastic China, 2019. 

59. Michael Loewe, The Men Who Governed Han China: Companion to a Biographical Dictionary of the Qin, Former Han and Xin Periods, 2004, 60.

60. Ying-shih Yu, Trade and Expansion in Han China: a Study in the Structure of Sino-Barbarian Economic Relations (1967), 61.

61. Hou Hanshu, 117.9a; 11b.

62. John Lydus, De Mensibus, 1.27.

63. The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare, Volume 2 (2007), 271.

64. Mark Edward Lewis, The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han (2007), 132.

65. Hou Hanshu, 119.

66. Zizhi Tongjian (Chinese: 資治通鑑; literally: 'Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance') 47.1636; Hou Hanshu, 89.

67. Wu, ‘Debates and Decision Making: Battle of the Altai Mountains’ (2013), 63–71.

68.  Hou Hanshu, 120.5b.


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