Can you describe the cultures of the Han Dynasty, fifth-century Athens, and classical Republican Rome during their Golden Ages?

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The Golden Ages of China's Han Dynasty, fifth-century Athens, and the Roman Republic are all characterized by significant developments in government and culture. Even though they were quite far removed from one another, they represent high points in history.

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To get you started on this assignment, let's review some of the facts about each of these three Golden Ages. We'll begin with China's Han Dynasty, which was active in China from 206 BC to 220 AD and which still affects the world even in the modern era. The dynasty...

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was founded by Liu Bang, who became Emperor Gaozu after a revolt against the previous dynasty. The office passed down through his family, but there were plenty of intrigues and lots of violence along the way as people mutilated and killed each other to try to rise to power.

During this dynasty, Confucianism revived in China and even found a place in university education at the imperial university. Also at this time, the silk road developed as the route of international trade between China and the West. This would open the way for an unprecedented contact with other peoples and an influx of wealth. Further, the dynasty was known for its art, especially its beautiful jade carvings and its fantastic tombs. New writing techniques and paper were also developed during the Han Dynasty, which ended in 220 AD when the military dethroned the emperor.

Now let's turn our attention to Athens in the fifth century BC. At this time, the Greek city-state of Athens flourished as a democracy that was at the very top of its game economically and culturally. These were the days of Pericles, the great general, statesman, and orator who reformed the political system of the city-state. The Assembly of the People and the Council ruled Athens along with the magistrates, and Athenian democracy focused on setting up a bureaucracy, caring for the poor, and encouraging work and land ownership for Athenians.

Cultural activities and education also received prominent positions in this era of Athens. Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles wrote their plays. The doctor Hippocrates practiced medicine. Herodotus and Thucydides wrote their histories, and Socrates stirred people up with his philosophic search for truth. Boys of the middle and upper classes were educated in the liberal arts and physical activities to prepare them to be worthy citizens of a democracy.

Finally, let's take a look at the Roman Republic, which was established in 509 BC and lasted until 27 BC. In the earliest days of the Republic, the aristocracy ruled, and the senate was composed of patricians who elected two consuls. The plebeians had little say, but as time went on, they gained more power. During emergency situations, the Republic allowed for the leadership of a dictator who was to give up his power when the emergency was over.

The Republic is known for the codification of Roman Law, especially in the Twelve Tables. It was also the era of the Punic Wars against Carthage that Rome eventually won. The Republic was succeeded by the Roman Empire under Caesar Augustus (or Octavian), the first emperor, after the assassination of Julius Caesar.

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