Chapter 3 China in Antiquity
Early China: Shang on Hwang • Shang Dynasty rose on the Hwang Ho River Valley (AKA Yellow River Valley) • Used its stable agriculture surplus to build trade-centered civilization
Shang Dynasty • 1600 to around 1100 B.C.E. • Controlled large parts of northern China and military was quite powerful • Soldiers used chariots to defeat their enemies
Shang Dynasty • The Shang were so isolated that they considered themselves to be the center of the world • They called their civilization “All Under Heaven”- this contributed to their idea of superiority • Had limited contact with the rest of the world • Did trade w/ Mesopotamia (very long journey!)
Shang/Technology • Accomplished bronze workers • Horse-drawn chariots • Spoked wheel • Experts in pottery and silk • Devised the decimal system • Highly accurate calendar • Sophisticated writing system
Shang/Family • Extended family was very important • Patriarchal structure (eldest male) • Multiple generations lived in the same household
Shang/Religion • The gods controlled all aspects of peoples’ lives • oracle bones • Questions for the Gods were scratched on the bones, which cracked after being exposed to fire. The cracks were then interpreted by the sorcerers • They believed they could call on the spirits of the dead ancestors to act as advocates with the gods • This gave the extended family even greater significance
Archaeologists have found over 100,000 oracle bones. Since many questions were asked about daily life, we know something about this civilization. The thing is, they didn't exactly ask "Will it rain tomorrow?" Oracle bones say things like: "If we sacrifice 10 men or 5 oxen, will it rain tomorrow?" The Shang kings sacrificed a great number of people to talk to their ancestors. Some of those sacrificed were enemies, captured in war. Some were slaves or people who were sick or deformed. Some were merchants, craftsmen, or farmers who had upset the nobles. Some were nobles who had upset the king.
Enter the Zhou • Around 1100 B.C.E., the Shang were ousted by Wu Wang • maintained customs that developed under the Shang (sound familiar?) • Zhou ruled for nearly 900 years! • Longer than any other dynasty
Mandate of Heaven- heaven would grant Zhou the power only as long as it’s rulers governed wisely and justly • The Mandate of Heaven is based on four principles: • The right to rule is granted by Heaven. • There is only one Heaven therefore there can be only one ruler. • The right to rule is based on the virtue of the ruler. • The right to rule is not limited to one dynasty. • Developed feudal system, similar to that in Europe in the Middle Ages
Zhou Dynasty • The king was the ruler of the entire empire but because it was too large to manage- nobles were given power over smaller regions within the empire • This worked out for a time period until the nobles gained wealth and power • They then broke off into independent kingdoms
Zhou Dynasty • Some of the complex kingdoms developed bureaucracies within their governments • Which was a way of organizing governments by department or bureau, so different parts of the government could be specialize and stable
Shang DynastyAbout 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE The kingship was very odd. Instead of going from father to son, it went from brother to brother or from brother to nephew. Mandate of Heaven Two of the most importantcontributions of the Shang Dynasty are the use of bronze and a system of writing. Chou (also called Zhou) DynastyAbout 1100 BCE to 250 BCE This dynasty was divided into feudal states. Literature flourished. People began to study astronomy. Roads and canals were built to move supplies over long distances.
Confucianism (400 B.C.E.) • Confucius spent much of his life trying to gain high position in the government • Ended up serving as an educator • His followers collected his teachings in Analets • Come to have a profound influence on Chinese thinking , both politically and culturally
Confucianism • It is a political and social philosophy- not a religion • Does not deal with salvation or the afterlife • Focuses on 5 fundamental relationships • Ruler and subject • Parent and child • Husband and wife • Older brother and younger brother • Friend and friend
Confucianism • When each person focuses on these relationships lives up to his or her obligations society is orderly and predictable • Confucius did not support any particular political system but favored good people running whatever system was in place • Women were considered secondary but children were taught to honor mother and father
Confucianism…broader impact • Because it was a ethical belief system…a person could be practice Buddhism and Confucianism simultaneously • Government leaders embraced it because it leads to orderly society • Established tight-knit communities having duties from birth to death • Did not impact the rest of the world, because it evolved only within the context of Chinese culture
Legalism(Qin Dynasty) • Legalist did not trust human nature, thus advocated for tough laws • Peace and order were achieved by a tightly governed state • They focused on what was practical or that sustained society • Two most worthy profession were farming and military
Legalism… broader impact • Unify China very swiftly (Qin Dynasty) • Completion of massive projects (Great Wall) • Led to resentment and greater acceptance of Confucianism and Daoism
Daoism(500 B.C.E.) • Defined as the way of the nature, the way of the cosmos • Founded by Lao-tzu, a legendary Chinese philosopher • The Dao is passive and yielding; it accomplishes everything yet does nothing
Daoism • Imagine the image of water, soft and yielding, yet capable of wearing away a stone. • Humans should tailor their behavior as passive and yielding • Wuwei- disengagement of worldly affairs
Daoism… broader impact • Advocated for smaller communities this counterbalanced Confucianism • Advocate of harmony with nature • Daoism promoted scientific discoveries • Great astronomers • Chemist • Botanist
Qin Dynasty(221 to around 209 B.C.E.) • Strong economy based on agriculture • Organized a powerful army equipped with iron weapons • Conquered the surrounding territories • Unified the region under single emperor
Qin Dynasty(221 to around 209 B.C.E.) • Connected separate fortification walls that became the Great Wall of China • The empire was… • Well organized • Centralized • Territorial
Qin Dynasty • Qin Shihuangdi, first emperor • Standarized all the laws • Currencies • Weights • Measurements • System of writing • Refused to tolerate any dissent • Book=burned • Mind of scholar= killed
Qin Dynasty • Dominate belief system was legalism • Fell only one year after Qin Shihuangdi’s death • At the hands of peasants who resented the dynasty’s heavy-handedness
Qin Shi Huangdi’s Tomb • The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BCE, were discovered in 1974 by several local farmers • The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits.
Han Dynasty(200 B.C.E. to around 200 C.E.) • During the Han Dynasty, the Huns, a large nomadic group from northern Asia, invaded territories extending from China to Eastern Europe • Successful due to the skills of Wu Ti, often called the Warrior Emperor
Han Dynasty • Trade thrived along the Silk Road to the Mediterranean • Buddhism spread along the same route • Trade routes carried far more than luxury items; they carried culture
Han Dynasty • Significant development was the civil service system based on the teachings of Confucius • Han believed that those involved in government should be highly educated and excellent communicators…
Han Dynasty • To ensure strong candidates, the Hans developed a civil service examination, a very difficult test lasting for several days. • The exam was open to everyone…but typically only the wealthy could afford to prepare for it.
Han Dynasty • Consequently the government bureaucracy was highly skilled and this contributed to the stability to the government for centuries
Han Dynasty…technology • Invented Paper • Highly accurate sundials • Calendars • Continued to broaden their use of metals
Han Dynasty…comes to an end • The Han dynasty was interrupted by the reign of Wang Mang (9-23 C.E.), he established the Xin Dynasty. • He was a government official and used the Mandate of Heaven to take control.
Han Dynasty…comes to an end • Wang Mang caused chaos. His attempt at land reform and currency were unsuccessful. • Waged war on the edges of the empire…this led to resentment b/c of heavy taxes • A peasant uprising was used the Mang’s enemies advantage. The Xin Dynasty came to an end with the death of Wang Mang in battle.
Han Dynasty…comes to an end • The Han dynasty was restored for a couple of years, but full recovery was impossible and in 220 C.E. the government collapsed. • For the next 400 years, China was divided into several regional kingdoms.