Western Europe Vs Song China

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Between the 11th and 12th centuries, a lot of progress was made in both Europe and China. These two cultural hubs controlled everything and there were many differences and similarities between the two. It would be easy to imagine what a Western European like a Frank would think of someone from the Song Dynasty and vice versa. If they were to visit each other’s homeland, they would notice some surprising differences. The Chinese and Europeans were both very diverse cultures but in the case that they did meet up, they both would have wondered at the religious differences, the differences in legal systems and government, and the economy. The very first difference the Franks and Song Chinese would notice would be the religious differences. By…show more content…
(Tignor, Adelman and Brown 386) The Song Dynasty on the other hand were heavily influenced by Confucianism. Indeed, a neo-Confucianism movement started during the Song Dynasty. The Franks would have viewed the non-religious aspects of Neo-Confucianism as strange and unholy. A Frank would have found similarities with Buddhism on the other hand. There are many similarities between what the Buddhists practice and what the Christians do as well. A Christian Frank would view the rejecting of the self as holy but would disregard the polytheism of Buddhism. (McCoy, Ancient China) Although each would find acceptance in the other. Christians would also see the non-violence of the Buddhists as another positive. One thing the Christian Frank would recognize would be the Buddhists monasteries all over China and India. The Frank could relate those to the Christian monasteries in his own homeland. Viewing the Franks from the Chinese perspective, the Chinese would find the Christian faith as…show more content…
When it came to the economy, both the Franks and the Chinese economies were booming. The Chinese under the Song were especially flourishing. Manufacturing in China expanded, with several inventions like gunpowder, incendiary devices for explosives and porcelains. (Tignor, Adelman and Brown 376-377) These inventions allowed for the Chinese economy to expand and made Chinese goods in high demand. The Song government was in charge of making money and they made, “…annually minting nearly two million strings of currency, each containing 1,000 copper coins.” (Tignor, Adelman and Brown 377) This is where the Asians developed their love for African gold which was heavily traded on the Silk Road. Printed money in the Chinese economy dominated as it soon would do in Europe’s as well. (Tignor, Adelman and Brown 377) A Frank would marvel at the Chinese ability for invention as well as their scientific prowess as both of these abilities were not found in Europe. (Tignor, Adelman and Brown 376) The Franks would marvel at the massive wealth of the Chinese but question how strong they are as a military force. The Song Dynasty was not very strong militarily. Although they had very unique and state-of-the-art weapons like gunpowder and explosives, they did not use them very well. (Tignor, Adelman and Brown 379) They instead relied on “economic diplomacy” which worked out for them for over a century.

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