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Expert knowledge is required for all elements of the comparison, not just for the cases the researcher is familiar with.With regard to comparisons between the ancient Mediterranean and ancient In practice, historical comparisons inevitably rely on a mixture of different approaches.Themes and questions serve as a framework for pointing out differences between cases, and emphasis is put on the historical integrity of each case and on the importance of specific historical configurations relative to the predictions of ideal types and theoretical models.
Unlike parallel demonstration, which tends towards repetition, and contrast history, which tends to be more descriptive than explanatory, macro-causal analysis obviates the need to provide coherent narratives and makes it possible to focus on what is needed to address specific explanatory problems.
More recently, Goldstone (1991: 50-62) provided a succinct manifesto for comparative history.
In recent years, a number of studies have focused on the nature of moral, historical, and scientific thought in . (The Warring States Project at the University of Massachusetts ( though interested in comparative perspectives, primarily focuses on the Chinese literary tradition and is exclusively concerned with pre-imperial China.)There are no comparable studies of Roman and Chinese high culture, and, more importantly, virtually no similarly detailed comparative work on the political, social, economic or legal history of Hellenistic, Roman, and ancient Chinese empires.
(-sociological studies of imperialism and social power that deal with Greece and Rome comparatively and within a broader context do not normally include China (Doyle 1986; but see very briefly Mann 1986); the older global study by There is no intellectual justification for this persistent neglect.
60 million each), and even largely coextensive in chronological terms (221 BC to 220 CE for the Qin/Han empire, c.
200 BC to 395 CE for the unified In the Mediterranean, unification had initially been facilitated by Hellenization via colonization (8th to 5th c.
During the same period, in eastern Eurasia, the Warring States period (481-221 BCE) was characterized by intense competition among seven imperial states (Yan, Qi, Wei, Zhao, Han, Qin, and Chu), which were themselves the result of previous state consolidation in the Spring and Autumn period (770-481 BCE, with c.15 major states). While its western half was taken over by barbarian successor states (from about 400 CE onwards), a quintessentially Roman state survived in the East for another millennium (though much diminished from the 630s CE onwards).
Rapid unification was brought about by the Qin state (221-210 BCE) which soon turned into the Han empire (206 BCE to 220 CE), and then continued expansion into its tribal periphery (in the 2nd and 1st c. In , a similar division occurred soon after the end of the Han dynasty (following the short interlude of the Three Kingdoms from 220 to 265 CE and temporary reunification under the Western Jin from 280 to 304 CE) from 317 CE onwards.
In the south, a traditionalist system continued under the last five of the Six Dynasties (317-589 CE), while northern and Chinese empires developed independently, they shared a large number of structural similarities that were moderated by cultural specifics.
Even the most basic enumeration of all these features would take up a fair amount of space.