Ancient Civilizations Project: China. China - Geography. Post-Neolithic Dynasties in China. Shang Dynasty (1523-1028 BCE) Zhou Dynasty (1027-256 BCE) Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) Six Dynasties (220-586) Sui Dynasty (581-618) T’ang Dynasty (618-906)
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- As time went on, this concept of an “anthropomorphic” god evolved into the more impersonal symbol of the universe known as Heaven (Tian).
- ancestor worship
- worship of the spirits of nature
- Nature contributed to divine ideas
- Moral law was represented by human authority: the sage kings, the Zhou founders, and Confucius.
- Buddhism from India
“Hundred schools” of ancient philosophy.
- good and evil
- light and dark
- male and female
- (yin) and (yang)
Confucianism / K’ung Fu-tzu(551-479 BCE)
- to love others
- to honor one’s parents (ancestor worship & filial piety)
- to do what is right rather than what is advantageous
- to lead by example
- to rule by moral example and not by force
Confucius / K’ung Fu-tzu(551-479 BCE)
Ancestor Worship & Filial Piety
- They also visit the cemeteries during the warmer months to visit the deceased and clean the graves.
Confucius / K’ung Fu-tzu(551-479 BCE)
Filial Piety - Respect for one's parents
Confucianism / K’ung Fu-tzu
- Even the ruler had his own Dao and if he ignored it he would lose his mandate from heaven to rule.
- A ruler that had to resort to force to subdue his population has already failed in his duty.
- all individuals had to subordinate their personal interests and aspirations to the broader need of the family and the community.
- individuals must possess the idea of “humanity” – compassion and empathy for others / “Do NOT do unto others what you WOULD NOT wish do to yourself.”
Confucius / K’ung Fu-tzu
- This idea was not accepted immediately but later influenced China’s introduction of the civil service exam for government officials.
- Believed humans were good by nature
- Ruler’s duty was to rule with compassion.
- Yuan (even though the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan was Buddhist)
- Confucius (551 – 479 BCE)
- Socrates (470 – 399 BCE)
- Confucius = Eastern Civilization
- Socrates = Western Civilization
- non-Legalist political philosophies (including Confucianism) were banned
- books offering views contrary to Legalist principles were burned
- all disagreements with the government was made a capital crime
- Appointing officials at the provincial and county level / they did not inherit their positions like under the Zhou
- Unified the system of weights and measures
- Standardized the money system & the alphabet
- Constructed a system of roads all over the empire
Irrigation projects Construction of sections of the Great Wall
- He could depose each administrator as he pleased.
- The village level government was run by village elders.
- Handled local issues and tax collecting for the central government.
- Most people had little involvement with government. If they did, it was on the village level.
2. Grand Council
a. assisted by a secretariat and a chancellery
b. included representatives from all three authorities:
3. Department of State Affairs
a. composed of six ministries
- justice / military affairs / personnel / public works / revenue / ritual
-During the Sung Dynasty, relatives of nobles serving in the imperial court and eunuchs were also not allowed to take the exam. Still, most that took it were landed nobles.
- In reality, most poor males could not afford to sacrifice work time to study in the academy.
- 3 levels of exams for different government positions
- Students complained the exams were too difficult or that it was all memorization and irrelevant.
- Many brought cheat sheets with them
- provided for more efficient government
- more opportunity for upward mobility
- Played a dominant role in the political and economic life of China.
- The best arable land was concentrated in their hands. Peasants worked as tenant farmers for them.
- Many revolts in China were caused by the issue of land distribution: the large peasant population was chronically short of land while the landed nobility never wanted its land confiscated and redistributed.
- irrigation projects
- constructing the Great Wall
- military conscription
- During the Zhou dynasty, they were considered the property of the local lord and on occasion could even be bought and sold like chattel.
- Qin rulers viewed them as parasites / private commercial activities were severely restricted and heavily taxed.
- Why? Since eunuchs could not have children, they would not rise up against the emperor to sieze power for his sons.
To restrict the influence of male courtiers.
- weapons / operated shipyards, granaries, mines
- directed foreign trade with neighboring countries
- The Mongols controlled China under the Yuan / their empire stretched to Europe and south into the Middle East.
- Afterwards, all maritime expeditions were suspended indefinitely.
- This marks the beginning of China’s stagnation and decline.
- Used for clothing, quilts
- made swords, sickles and suits of armor.
- meaning of the “Middle Kingdom”
- “The Great Wall” as a barrier
- pride in their own considerable achievements
- their dominant position throughout Far Eastern region
- During the 7th century, the Japanese modeled their government after China’s. / Japan failed to centralize its government like China.
- Buddhism came from China in the 6th century CE.
- exams restricted to those of noble birth
- The Koguryo in the north was the most influenced by China.
- Buddhism was introduced in the late 4th century CE and the first Confucian academy in Korea was established in Pyongyang.
- It was the strongest of the three Korean kingdoms
- Forced the Chinese to withdraw from most of its territory.
- Silla accepted tributary status with China under the Tang dynasty.
- Failure to centralize led to Silla’s collapse.
- Yuan dynasty – Mongols
- Qing dynasty – Manchus
- Manchus were only 2% of the entire population of China!
- Accepted Confucianism
- Manchu nobles retained their aristocratic privileges but ethnic Chinese were brought into the top ranks of government.