6 SS- China Notes

Ancient China

  1. Geography
    1. Large land colony with a variety of geographical types
    2. North China
      1. Built up around the Yellow River (Huang)
        1. Floods every year to deposit loess
          1. Religious philosophy based on a harmony between people and nature
          2. Floods could be extremely dangerous and fast
            1. Built dikes to control water flow
      2. Flatter, arid, and colder
      3. Low amount of rainfall
      4. Good for growing Wheat and Millet
    3. South China
      1. Developed around the Yangtze River
      2. warmer , more rainfall and wetlands
      3. River was good for boat transportation
      4. Great for growing rice
    4. Separation from other civilizations
      1. China was a fairly independent civilization with little knowledge of others
        1. They are geographically cut off
        2. To the south with India they are separated by the himalayas
        3. Along the north and west stretched small mountain ranges, and large grasslands and deserts
  2. Philosophies and Religion
    1. Confucianism
      1. A system of beliefs and values based on the teachings of Confucius
        1. Confucius (Kong Fu Zi) 551-479BC
          1. A teacher, perhaps the first professional teacher in China
      2. Based on a philosophy of the proper respect due to people based on their relationship
        1. Similar model to the Golden Rule
      3. Designed to influence political leaders to bring China into a peaceful age
      4. In the Han dynasty political offices would be based on one’s knowledge and practice of confucianism
    2. Taoism
      1. Religious philosophy based on a harmony between people and nature
      2. harmony/peace comes from living a balanced life
    3. Legalism
      1. A political philosophy in which rigorous and strict laws maintain an effective society
      2. Abolishes aristocracies and inherited positions
      3. Uses similar methods as Bureaucracy
        1. Splits nation into counties and appoints governors for each
        2. High taxes
        3. Large scale public works
      4. Rulers should have unlimited control in order to effectively enforce the law
    4. Ancestral Worship
      1. Family was an essential aspect of Chinese culture
        1. Several generations lived and worked together
      2. Many people worshipped their ancestors
  3. Shang Dynasty (1500-1050BC)
    1. Early Bronze age civilization that was in almost constant war
    2. Lead by an Emperor who also served as the chief religious priest
      1. In charge of governing the kingdom and military
        1. Delegated power to generals of the army
        2. Sent out groups of a 3-5 thousand soldiers at a time to conquest for months
      2. In charge of religious ceremony
        1. Made sacrifices to ancestors and high god, Di
        2. Interprets communication with ancestors via cracks in heated bones and shells
      3. Palaces and Tombs
        1. Built large palaces out of wood
          1. No longer surviving except the foundations
          2. Foundations were made with rammed earth
        2. Tombs contained many things besides the person being buried
          1. Their servants and followers
          2. Sacrificial victims
          3. Pottery, mirrors and other objects of luxury
          4. Animals
          5. Weapons
    3. War
      1. At constant war with neighboring kingdoms
        1. Won money and other wealth (booty) through conquest
        2. Gained more land
        3. Conquered swore allegiances
        4. Former allegiances were broken
        5. Gained slaves
      2. Bronze technology put the Shang ahead
        1. Used it to build chariots
        2. Bronze weapons
          1. Halberds
          2. Spears
    4. Writing
      1. Early Chinese writing formed under the leadership of the Shang
        1. Uses images to represent words
        2. Quickly used it to form bureaucratic governments
          1. Required cataloguing documents
          2. Official communications with the emperor and generals
  4. Zhou Dynasty (1050-256BC)
    1. Political Rule
      1. The Zhou took power after an attack by the Shang
        1. The Zhou were able to overcome their forces and take their kingdom
      2. The Zhou were ruled under a king
        1. This king gained his authority from the Mandate of Heaven
          1. This is that heaven gives authority to rule to the king as long as he rules in the interest of the people
        2. The king governed a feudal system
          1. A method of ruling in which the kingdom is parceled out to various lords who control land
          2. The lords inherited their titles by birth
          3. This decentralized power from the throne
          4. In 771BC this allowed the lords to become more powerful than the king and overthrow him
          5. This would cause the Zhou’s downfall
            1. From 403-221BC China was in the Warring States Period
            2. A few states of the kingdom held power and were at constant war to control one another
      3. Zhou military campaign was governed by sportsmanship rules
        1. Couldn’t attack while a state was in mourning
        2. One side wouldn’t attack before another was ready
        3. Ruling houses couldn’t be wiped out
    2. Society
      1. Clear cut roles between classes
      2. Many poems record life during the Zhou Dynasty
        1. Distrust of women in authority
          1. This was due to the large numbers of concubines
            1. The upper class regularly collected many concubines whom they had many children with
      3. Zhou’s built many new cities
        1. All were garrisoned with large rammed earth walls around the palace
        2. A second wall was built around where merchants, artisans, and farmers lived
      4. Development of the crossbow
        1. Shot further, easier, with better accuracy
        2. Standardized parts
      5. Cavalry become popular over chariots
        1. Used bows from horses
        2. Learned this from northern enemies
      6. Large public projects to promote population growth
        1. Drained marshes and dug irrigation paths
          1. Increase farmable land
    3. Late Zhou Dynasty
      1. Began to remove power from individual lords
        1. Rulers began to send personal delegates instead of lords
        2. Generals were selected for ability rather than birth
        3. All of this led to more centralized power and bureaucracy
  5. Qin (Shi-Huangdi) (221-206BC)
    1. After a few hundred years of fighting, Emperor Qin unified China
      1. This ends the Warring States
    2. Reunification
      1. Qin’s strategy was based on legalist philosophy
        1. Removed nobility from their homes and forced to move to Xianyang]
          1. Replaced their positions with his owns appointed governors
          2. They were required to report regularly
          3. Could be removed at any time
        2. Took a Census (count of the population
          1. To plan projects
          2. Survey labor force and military
          3. Plan taxes
        3. Standardization
          1. Standardizes coins, writing, weights and measures, and cart axles
          2. Possession of arms was made illegal
          3. Road built
          4. Canals built