Who would have won in a war between Imperial Rome and Han Dynasty?
Willy Dai, student in Michigan and future (electrical) engineer
Rome's troops probably had heavier armor than the Han dynasty's troops but…
The Han Dynasty had several major advantages over Rome:
·The Han Dynasty was able to field and sustain larger armies.
·The Han Dynasty had technological advantages such as the…
oPivot catapult / traction trebuchet
The ignorant eggheads who say that Rome would win because of “strategy” need to get their brains checked.
Rome did have its share of brilliant generals but people often forget that China also had brilliant generals during ancient times.
The Han Dynasty had brought a powerful nomadic confederation (The Xiongnu) to its knees.
Rome wouldn't really have an advantage due to “strategy” because both sides would have competent military leaders.
Extra: Another critical factor about this scenario is Persia. I know that the OP sets up the hypothetical scenario without Persia but I still want to address it.
Persia was a powerful intermediate empire between Rome and China in the ancient world. Any outbreak of hostilities between Rome and China would've involved Persia but Persia was simply too powerful and large to be gobbled up by either.
Persia would've sided with the Han Dynasty because Ancient Persia and Ancient China maintained friendly relations. On the other hand, relations between Persia and Rome were never too peachy.
Edit: Depictions of the traction trebuchet and the repeating crossbow
Jack Montgomery, Logistics is the key to warfare, both modern and past.
Well, I can give you two answers,
In the short term, the Han win, in the long term, the Romans win.
Since there is no Persia, this solves a lot of problems for the Romans, for many reasons, most blatantly logistics, they could not get over that hump, while China did not maintain hostile relations with the Parthians (I am assuming they are the Parthians since the map you are referring to, at least from what I have found, is of the 1st year Anno Domini.) and more of a mercantile one. So we do not know how exactly they would handle such a far enemy.
Now both empires’ were by far the two most advanced civilizations of their time, the Han having China’s first scientific golden age, while the Romans have assimilated, adopted, and adapted their way to the top. Both were advanced, Han was higher up. Militarily, Rome was better quality while China was more quantity, the legions would fair better disciplined, trained, and better led, but the hordes of China were by far more vast and they could easily support it, a huge flaw in the Roman army.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46234.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Now let’s get down to business, the real battle. So I don’t know how, maybe a trade deal gone wrong, a little subterfuge, who knows, but Rome and the Han are at war. Quickly, Rome activates it’s legions to the front, they make it there (Persia, the battleground of the century) far before the gigantic peasant army being led by Han nobles arrive. Slowly the Romans run low on food, water, and other necessities as the now collapsed Parthians have left ravaged and poor remains of once great cities, then the Han forces arrive. The Romans fight bravely, knowing they are far outnumbered prepare a great defense. At first their prospects look good, but a devastating move utterly destroys the Roman forces, taking a general or two captive. The Romans retreat, the Han army in triumph.
The following confrontations follow this pattern, the Romans, out numbered, and without good logistics are thrown into defeat, not losing any territory, but paying large amounts of war reparations and the prestige of the once invincible empire taking a huge toll. But, then comes in Rome’s greatest ability, they adapt. Throughout history this was the greatest weapon, when they could not defeat an enemy, the Romans would take their weapons and make them better, and turn these new war machines on the enemy. For years the Roman army builds up, using many of the technology taken from the battlefields, they make better weapons.
To the surprise of the Han, their furthest western outpost is attacked, and utterly destroyed. Soon a Han army retaliates, over confident from their last victory, and they befall the fate of the outpost. One by one the Romans take down pieces and parts of the Han’s forces in the middle east, playing to their inability to move quickly and a new strategy not seen by the Han. Eventually the Han are beaten back to mid-Asia, utterly dumbfounded at their loss so far, and when offered with peace, albeit humiliating, they accept. Little do they know, the Roman Empire is barely maintaining their campaign, the distance from suitable farmlands to feed the legions and other required supplies once again their achilles heel.