Important similarities include internalized governments, elaborate legal systems, administrative bureaucracies, the promotion of trade and food production, road-building, larger armies, and expanded systems of taxation. Important distinctions include: For Han China: a bureaucracy selected through a civil service examination; Confucian ideology about hierarchies; the idea of the Mandate of Heaven; regular diplomacy with peoples beyond their borders. For Rome: a uniform legal code; the promotion of a ruler cult, and later of Christianity; great concern with control of ocean-borne trade that brought in food.
For India: the Mammary emperor Osaka’s acceptance of Buddhism, which enhanced his position; public welfare projects paid for by the emperor; the more decentralized government of the Guavas. Good essays do not include evidence that is outside the time period or any of the stipulated empires, for example, discussion of the Roman Republic, Sin dynasty, Genesis Khan, Mans MUSM, or Kafka. A good response could include information on technology, military history, religion, gender, disease, or other topics, but then needs to tie these to techniques of imperial administration, not simply discuss everything the student knows about the empires.
For example, a good essay would say, “Both the Marry/Guppy and the Romans used their armies to maintain control within their borders and to attack neighboring states. ” The statement “Both the Marry/Guppy and the Romans had large armies and expanded their borders,” while true, does not relate these developments to the topic of the question, techniques of imperial administration. Students should be told to make their connections clear, because readers will not infer that a particular essay monstrance content knowledge that is not present in the plain language of the student response.
Students should be discouraged from constructing comparison questions by discussing one region as a block and then the other region as a block, loosely linked by a transitional sentence. That sentence might be the only comparison in the student’s response, and if it is incorrect, the student is unable to earn any points for comparison, analysis, or addressing the question. Students should be discouraged from writing to a pre-existing format such as political, economic, social/cultural or PERSIA (Political, Economic, Religious, Social, Intellectual, Artistic).
Students need to respond to the question asked ? which, in this case, is political. A good response provides analysis and uses this analysis as an explanation of a reason for a similarity or difference between techniques of imperial administration for the two empires. It thus links the historical thinking skills of comparison and one of the empires. For example, a discussion of why the Roman Empire fell that does not link or compare this to why the other chosen empire fell is not appropriate analysis for this question. A strong essay would go beyond the minimum on any of the core points.
It could relate the techniques of imperial administration to larger global processes or apply relevant knowledge of other world regions, such as noting the ways in which invasions by pastoral nomads from central Asia put pressure on the administration of each of the three empires. It could consistently analyze cause and effect for the noted similarities and differences, such as pointing out that the religious toleration of tooth the Guppy emperors and (most of) the Roman emperors promoted loyalty to the empire and with it more regular payment of taxes.
It could recognize nuance within empires, for example by pointing out that the techniques of Roman imperial administration were different in the city of Rome from those in the outlying provinces. It could discuss change over time, for example by discussing changing methods of imperial administration as the empires began to decline because of epidemic diseases, environmental damage, and external problems.