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Comparing Coins to Analyze the Differences between Roman and Han Empires

Coin (Qi Dao), 206 BCE–220. China. Bronze. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B71B2. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Coin (Qi Dao), 206 BCE–220. China. Bronze. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B71B2. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Objective: 

How did the Roman and Han rulers use coins to convey the role of government to their subjects?

Duration: 
60 minutes
Resource Type: 
Region: 
Grade Level: 
Academic Subject: 

Focus Question: How did the Roman and Han rulers use coins to convey the role of government to their subjects?

Goal: Students will analyze the message Han and Roman rulers communicated through coins.

Lesson Components:

  1. Describe and compare Roman and Han coins (Lesson).
  2. Read a secondary source (excerpt) on the use of coins in Rome & Han Empires.
  3. Speculate how the differences observed in the coins might reflect the role of government.

Download lesson activities and worksheets to the right.

This lesson is part of the curriculum unit Governing Empires: The Roman and Han Empire created under the direction of the UC Berkeley History Social-Science Project. The full unit is available on their website.