An efficient army was important in helping the Emperors to control their empires. During Hadrian’s reign, the Roman army was the most powerful force in the ancient world. He inherited the army from Trajan, the great conqueror. There were 30 legions with 6,000 men each. Apart from the great numbers, the Roman legionaries and auxiliaries were well equipped and trained. The Roman army had experienced wars with rival kings such as Hannibal and Mithradates. The Romans also had the Germans and Celts to the north of their borders in Germany, Scotland and the Middle East. The Qin also had a large, efficient army and capable generals. The army used the most advanced weaponry of his time. Their weapons were made of iron, while the other independent states used bronze ones.They defeated powerful Nomads called Huns, who constantly invaded its borders. As far as the armies are concerned, I think the Roman army and the Qin’s army were both effective in helping the empires to be controlled.
Fortification of the frontiers was one of the important tasks for a ruler. Both Hadrian and Shi Huangdi tried very hard in strengthening the borders of their empires. The Romans conquered England and Wales but was unable to penetrate into Scotland because of mountainous terrain and dense forests. In AD 122, Emperor Hadrian visited Britain and ordered to build a wall - the Hadrian’s Wall - to separate Romans from Picts and Scots. This also helped to minimize the threat to the Roman domain. Similarly, Shi Huangdi joined and strengthened the wall built by feudal lords, with the help of 7,000 people. The famous Great Wall of China was 5,000 km long and approximately 39 feet high, and was built to keep out the Huns and other tribes in Mongolia. Bonfires were used to alert soldiers of other parts of the wall if one part was suddenly attacked. Watchtowers were also constructed to watch the movements of people in and out of the wall. In my opinion, the Great wall was a lot more useful in controlling the empire’s border because it was higher and longer. Enemies could not easily breach in the defences. In addition, there were a lot more soldiers stationed in the Great wall than in Hadrian’s Wall.
An efficient transport network allowed the emperors to access their empires easily and was therefore vital for the security of the empires. Both Emperors have improved the transport network of their empires. The Romans were the first people to build roads. Their roads were very high so if it rained, most of the water would run along the sides, not onto the road. The roads enabled soldiers to move quickly to areas of trouble, and to keep the rebellious barbarians under control. During the reign of Shi Huangdi, he built 6,800 km of new roads, including 5 major roads called ‘Speedways’ linking the north, northeast, east and southeast of the empire. The new roads were wide and of the same width, allowing 6 horses to pass each time. This helped the army to move a lot quicker to revolting areas. In addition, Shi Huangdi also built canals to link the major rivers together, allowing people to transport goods more efficiently.
Both Emperors were talented and undertook a lot of reforms to help them in keeping control of their empires. For example, Hadrian introduced administrative, financial, and legal reforms, which helped established a more efficient government. As for Shi Huangdi, he abolished feudalism, and established a centralized government. He also introduced a uniform code of law, standardized currency, weights and measures, the written language and the axle length of wagons and chariots.
To conclude, both Hadrian and Shi Huangdi controlled their empires well. However, in my opinion, Emperor Hadrian was a better ruler. For example, he ended the expansionist policy of Trajan, and consolidated his empire. Hadrian also travelled all over his empire and listened to what people wanted. He was respected by his people even after his death. In contrast, although people obeyed Shi Huangdi, he was not respected because he used harsh punishments to threaten his people. If someone did something wrong, he forced them to drink poison, or ordered them to be torn apart by four horses. Shi Huangdi used fear to hold on to his power.