Introduction and Task

The Promised Land, CC Attribution, Ben Heine
Some historians argue that religions developed before civilizations and for thousands of years people worshipped according to a set of beliefs. All civilizations, though, have some form of religion that includes an organized system based on a set of beliefs and different forms of worship. In some civilizations, religion was very important and influenced every part of a person’s daily life. While in other communities, religious practice took a backseat to other, more important societal practices.

Your client, Misty Fy, is a motivational speaker interested in how religion influenced the people of Han Dynasty China and Imperial Rome. An avid reader of self-help books, including "10 Days to Defeat Dystopia" and "Happiness CAN Be Bought", Ms. Fy believes that internal motivation comes from external sources. To help Ms. Fy decide which empire she should travel back in time to visit, you'll need to research the role of religion in both dynasties, noting how it was alike and different, and present your key findings on the following questions:

Key Questions:
  1. What type of religion existed in the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty?
  2. How much of an influence did religion have in both places? Describe the impact, whether negative or positive, religion had on China and Rome?
  3. Describe the religious practice and form of worship that existed in the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire?
  4. How did Confucianism influence the Han Dynasty?
  5. Which empire should Ms. Fy, a motivational speaker, visit? Why?

The answers to these questions will culminate in creating a travel poster for each of the two empires. Each poster should be attractive, persuasive, and highlight the major features related to your topic. You will create the posters using (instructions will be provided in class) and they should contain the following components:

Travel Poster Components
  1. One poster for each dynasty
  2. At least three "must see" tourist features with detailed text and relevant images for each dynasty
  3. At least one audio recording on each poster

The oral presentation is your opportunity to share your posters, explain whether your client should visit Han China or the Roman Empire, and should follow these guidelines:
  1. Less than three minutes in length
  2. Should address/explain the "must see" features of each dynasty
  3. Should explain which destination the client should visit and why


Before you begin the research process, read the following brief overviews from Wikipedia to get a sense of religion in Han China and Imperial Rome:

Han China Religious Systems
Confucianism, a governing philosophy and moral code with some religious elements like ancestor worship, is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and was the official state philosophy in China from the Han Dynasty until the fall of imperial China in the twentieth century.

Chinese folk religion, a collective label for the various folkloric beliefs practiced by the Han people, involves worship of various deities in Chinese mythology, folk heroes such as Guan Yu and Qu Yuan, mythological creatures such as the Chinese dragon, or simply one's own ancestors. These practices vary from region to region, and do not characterize an organized religion, though many traditional Chinese holidays such as the Duanwu (or Dragon Boat) Festival, Qingming, and the Mid-Autumn Festival come from the most popular of these traditions.

Taoism, another indigenous religion, is also widely practiced in both its folk religion forms and as an organized religion, and has influenced Chinese art, poetry, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, alchemy and chemistry, cuisine, martial arts, and architecture. Taoism was the state religion of the early Han Dynasty, and also often enjoyed state patronage under subsequent emperors and dynasties.

In Han Dynasty, Confucian ideals were the dominant ideology. Near the end of the dynasty, Buddhism entered China and later gained popularity. Historically, Buddhism alternated between state tolerance and even patronage, and persecution. In its original form, Buddhism was at odds with the native Chinese religions, especially the elite, as certain Buddhist values often conflicted with Chinese sensibilities. However, through centuries of assimilation, adaptation, and syncretism, Chinese Buddhism gained an accepted place in the culture. Buddhism would come to be influenced by Confucianism and Taoism[18], and exerted influence in term, such as in the form of Neo-Confucianism.

Roman Religious Systems
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities who influenced every aspect of both the natural world and human affairs. The establishment of these cults was credited to Rome's divine ancestors, founders, and kings, and to conquered nations and allies. Their temples provided the most visible and sacred manifestations of Rome's history and institutions. Rome's ancient boundary enclosed an intrinsically sacred city.

Participation in traditional religious rituals was a practical and moral necessity for Romans of every class and occupation, and was embedded in personal, domestic and public life. Cult could be offered any deity or any combination of deities, as long as it did not offend the mos maiorum, the "custom of the ancestors," that is, Roman tradition. Piety was the correct application of ritual and divine honours, especially in the form of sacrificial offerings. In return, the gods were likely to benefit their worshipers. Impieties such as religious negligence, superstition and self-indulgence could provoke divine wrath against the State.

The Research Process

Deciding which dynasty your client would be most interested in visiting may seem like a complicated task, but the Big6 can help you organize your research efforts. As you work through the assignment, keep each of the following steps in mind. If you need help, simply follow the hyperlink for more information:

Step 1: Task Definition
Step 2: Information Seeking Strategies
Step 3: Location and Access
Step 4: Use of Information
Step 5: Synthesis
Step 6: Evaluation

Project Workspace

Each student researching this topic will have a project workspace for documenting his/her research and posting the travel poster. All work related to the project should be maintained there:

Religion Student Template DO NOT EDIT THIS PAGE
Keith H
Austin S
Chris S
Adil S
Grace M
Catherine V
Emily B
Jennifer D
Clifford H