The Zhou Dynasty: The Longest-Lasting Dynasty in Chinese History

The Zhou Dynasty: The Longest-Lasting Dynasty in Chinese History


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The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history. The rulers of this epoch were no strangers to battle, but they also created an environment where fascinating and long-standing cultural elements thrived.

The Zhou Dynasty succeeded the Shang Dynasty. The history of the Zhou Dynasty may be divided into two parts – the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou. Additionally, the latter may be divided between the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, which saw the decline of Zhou authority, and the fragmentation of China. The Zhou Dynasty came to an end when the Qin state emerged victorious from the power struggle, unified China, and established the first imperial Chinese dynasty, the Qin Dynasty.

A Chinese bronze "gui" ritual vessel on a pedestal, used as a container for grain. From the Western Zhou Dynasty, dated c. 1000 BC. The written inscription of 11 ancient Chinese characters on the bronze vessel states its use and ownership by Zhou royalty. (PericlesofAthens/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

The First Zhou Dynasty Rulers

The founder of the Zhou Dynasty is recorded to have been King Wu of Zhou, though it was his father, King Wen of Zhou, who is credited with sowing the first seeds of revolt against the Shang Dynasty. By forming alliances with neighboring chiefs, King Wen was able to build up a military force that could take on the Shang forces. King Wen is also recorded to have been just and benevolent ruler, and it is often said that it was his accumulated merit that contributed to the Mandate of Heaven being bestowed on his son - allowing the Zhou Dynasty to be established.

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In any case, the Shang were defeated by the Zhou at the Battle of Muye, which took place around 1046 BC, and King Zhou of Shang, the last Shang ruler, committed suicide, thus bringing the old dynasty to an end.

Left: King Wu of Zhou ( Public Domain ) Right: King Zhou of Shang. ( Public Domain )

The history of the Zhou Dynasty is split into two parts, the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou. The former existed from around 1045 to 771 BC and the latter from around 770 to 256 BC. Whilst King Wu succeeded in toppling the Shang Dynasty, the Zhou were still not able to exercise complete control over the former Shang lands in the east. Thus, the task of consolidating the position of the new dynasty fell onto the shoulders of the king’s brother, the Duke of Zhou.

Apart from conquering these areas for the Zhou, the Duke of Zhou also served as regent to his nephew, King Cheng of Zhou, who ascended the throne as a child. The Western Zhou came to an end in 771 BC, when King You of Zhou was slain during an attack on his palace by his father-in-law, the Marquis of Shen (who was furious that his daughter was deposed as queen and his grandson as crown prince) and the Quanrong, a nomadic tribe.

A portrait of the Duke of Zhou from Sancai Tuhui. ( Public Domain )

After King You was killed, his deposed son, Prince Yijiu (the grandson of the Marquis of Shen), was installed as King Ping of Zhou, thus marking the beginning of the Eastern Zhou. Although this period of the Zhou Dynasty lasted until 256 BC, it can be divided into two major parts – the Spring and Autumn Period, and the Warring States Period. Even as King Ping was installed as the new ruler of the Zhou Dynasty, the central power of the Zhou was already declining, and his kingdom was fragmenting, thus giving rise to the Spring and Autumn Period.

Spring and Autumn and Warring States

This period, which lasted until around 476 BC, saw the rise and fall of many petty states in China. Whilst this was a time of political chaos, it was also marked by the flourishing of Chinese philosophy. It was during the Spring and Autumn Period that the ‘Hundred Schools of Thought’ thrived, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism.

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Confucius, Lao-tzu, and Buddhist Arhat ( 三教).

Returning to the political front, seven major states – Qin, Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, and Wei eventually emerged from the chaos, this initiating the Warring States Period. This did not bring an end to the turmoil, however, as these states continued to fight each other for about two centuries. During this period, real power was concentrated in the hands of these seven states, whilst the Kings of Zhou wielded power only in name.

The Zhou Dynasty came to an end in 256 BC, when the Zhou capital of Chengzhou (now known as Luoyang) was captured by the Qin, and its last ruler, King Nan of Zhou, was killed. As the actual power of the Zhou Dynasty was so greatly diminished by then, the extinction of this dynasty was not regarded to have been a major historical event.

Photo of modern statue celebrating the Duke of Zhou, founder of the original city of Luoyang. (John Hill/ CC BY SA 3.0 )


Main keywords of the article below: bc, years, guwen, chinese, later, found, late, dynasty, writing, shang, include, development, c, inscriptions, "ancient, zhou, followed, 1123, stages, figures".

KEY TOPICS
Later stages in the development of Chinese writing include the guwen ("ancient figures") found in inscriptions from the late Shang dynasty ( c. 1123 bc ) and the early years of the Zhou dynasty that followed. [1] Many large bronzes also bear cast inscriptions that are the great bulk of the surviving body of early Chinese writing and have helped historians and archaeologists piece together the history of China, especially during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC). [2]

Although the dynasty lasted longer than any other in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Zhou dynasty's ruling family only lasted during the first half of the period, which scholars call the Western Zhou (1046-771 BCE). [3] A number of important innovations took place during this period: the Zhou moved away from worship of Shangdi, the supreme god under the Shang, in favor of Tian ("heaven") they legitimized rulers, through the Mandate of Heaven (divine right to rule) they moved to a feudal system developed Chinese philosophy and made new advances in irrigation that allowed more intensive farming and made it possible for the lands of China to sustain larger populations. [4]

The most influential minds in the Chinese intellectual tradition flourished under the Zhou, particularly towards the last period of the Zhou Dynasty, considered a time of intellectual and artistic awakening. [5] During the Zhou dynasty, the origins of native Chinese philosophy developed, its initial stages beginning in the 6th century BC. The greatest Chinese philosophers, those who made the greatest impact on later generations of Chinese, were Confucius, founder of Confucianism, and Laozi, founder of Taoism. [6] From the Western Zhou Dynasty, dated c. 1000 BC. The written inscription of 11 ancient Chinese characters on the bronze vessel states its use and ownership by Zhou royalty. [4]

The Duke of Zhou: Portrait of the Duke of Zhou in Sancai Tuhui, a Chinese encyclopedia published in 1609 during the Ming Dynasty. [4] The Zhou established authority by forging alliances with regional nobles, and founded their new dynasty with its capital at Fenghao (near present-day Xi'an, in western China). [4] Some scholars think the earlier Xia Dynasty never existed--that it was invented by the Zhou to support their claim under the Mandate that there had always been only one ruler of China. [4] The need for the Zhou to create a history of a unified China is also why some scholars think the Xia Dynasty may have been an invention of the Zhou. [4]

It was King Wu's brother, known as the Duke of Zhou, who performed the necessary steps for laying the basis upon which the Zhou Dynasty would consolidate its power throughout North China. [5] Wood bowl decorated in red and black lacquer with stylized birds and animals, from Changsha, China, late Zhou dynasty, 3rd century bce in the Seattle Art Museum, Washington. [7] The Zhou dynasty ruled China from 1122 BCE to 256 BCE. In 771 BCE, however, the Zhou capital was sacked by invaders, and the Zhou capital was moved further east. [3] The gods' blessing was given instead to the new ruler under the Zhou Dynasty, which would rule China for the next 800 years. [4] Under the Zhou Dynasty, China moved away from worship of Shangdi ("Celestial Lord") in favor of worship of Tian ("heaven"), and they created the Mandate of Heaven. [4]

This period, in the second half of the Eastern Zhou, lasted from about 475-221 BCE, when China was united under the Qin Dynasty. [4]

Following nomadic attacks in the west, the Chinese Zhou dynasty moves its capital east to Luoyang. [5] Later generations of Chinese have regularly studied the Zhou dynasty for information regarding the origin of their civilization. [7] That period known in ancient Chinese history as the Zhou dynasty had begun. [3] The vast time sweep of the Zhou dynasty --encompassing some eight centuries--is the single longest period of Chinese history. [7]

Chinese script cast onto bronzeware, such as bells and cauldrons, carried over from the Shang Dynasty into the Zhou it showed continued changes in style over time, and by region. [4] Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, and Mohism all began during the Zhou Dynasty in the 6th century BCE, and had very strong influences on Chinese civilization. [4] During the Zhou dynasty, China underwent quite dramatic changes. [7] China created a substantial amount of literature during the Zhou Dynasty. [4] Zhou dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Chou, dynasty that ruled ancient China for some eight centuries, establishing the distinctive political and cultural characteristics that were to be identified with China for the next two millennia. [7]

It followed the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE) and it finished when the army of the state of Qin captured the city of Chengzhou in 256 BCE. The long history of the Zhou Dynasty is normally divided in two different periods: Western Zhou (1046-771 BCE) and Eastern Zhou (770-256 BCE), so-called following the move of the Zhou capital eastwards where it was safer from invasion. [5] The Zhou capital was sacked by barbarians from the west, the Zhou king killed, and the Zhou moved East, to Luoyang in present day Henan Province - because of this shift, historians divide the Zhou dynasty into the earlier "Western" (1100-771 BCE) and the later "Eastern" (771-256 BCE) periods. [8] Scholars use this event to divide the history of the Zhou dynasty into two periods: the Western Zhou (1122-771 BCE) and the Eastern Zhou (771-256 BCE). [3] The period before 771 bce is usually known as the Xi (Western) Zhou dynasty, and that from 770 is known as the Dong (Eastern) Zhou dynasty. [7]

The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history. [6] It was also at this point that there first emerged the concept of a Chinese emperor who would rule over all the various kings, though the first Chinese emperors did not rule until China was unified under the later Qin Dynasty. [4]

In this period, the Zhou court had little control over its constituent states that were at war with each other until the Qin state consolidated power and formed the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. The Zhou Dynasty had formally collapsed only 35 years earlier, although the dynasty had had only nominal power at that point. [6] Around 1046 BC, Wen's son Wu and his ally Jiang Ziya led an army of 45,000 men and 300 chariots across the Yellow River and defeated King Zhou of Shang at the Battle of Muye, marking the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. [6] After a series of wars among these powerful states, King Zhao of Qin defeated King Nan of Zhou and conquered West Zhou in 256 BCE his grandson, King Zhuangxiang of Qin, conquered East Zhou, bringing the Zhou Dynasty to an end. [4] The Zhou Dynasty came to an end during the Warring States period in 256 BCE, when the army of the state of Qin captured the city of Chengzhou and the last Zhou ruler, King Nan, was killed. [5]

The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other, from 1027 to 221 B.C. It was philosophers of this period who first enunciated the doctrine of the "mandate of heaven" (tianming ), the notion that the ruler (the "son of heaven") governed by divine right but that his dethronement would prove that he had lost the mandate. [8] Under the initial period of the Zhou Dynasty (called the Western Zhou period), a number of innovations were made, rulers were legitimized under the Mandate of Heaven, a feudal system developed, and new forms of irrigation allowed the population to expand. [4]

The rulers of the Zhou dynasty were titled Wáng ( 王 ), which is normally translated into English as "king" and was also the Shang term for their rulers. [6] The Zheng family of Xingyang 滎陽鄭氏 claim descent from the Zhou dynasty Kings via the rulers of the State of Zheng. [6] Respect for the old: "The government of the Zhou Dynasty may be described as follows: a father was supreme in a family, a king in a state, and old age in a village. [8] The Hymns, the oldest dating from 10 th century BCE, were used in dynastic rituals to address the deified spirits of the founders of the Zhou Dynasty, Kings Wen and Wu. [8] Zhou Dynasty - Ancient History Encyclopedia Zhou Dynasty Cristian Violatti The Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) was the longest-lasting of ancient China's dynasties. [5] Zhou dynasty: jian Ceremonial bronze jian, Dong (Eastern) Zhou dynasty (770-256 bce ) in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota. [7] Eventually the Zhou dynasty came to an end in 256 BCE, when one of these kingdoms, Qin, marched on the Zhou capital and annexed the rump of territory still controlled by the Zhou king. [3] Over time, the central power of the Zhou Dynasty slowly weakened, and the lords of the fiefs originally bestowed by the Zhou came to equal the kings in wealth and influence. [4] The Zhou Dynasty used a father to son succession system, established elaborate state rituals, and began developing a professional bureaucracy of educated men for service as administrators, scribes, clerks, and advisors. [8] The Zhou Dynasty overthrew the Shang Dynasty, and used the Mandate of Heaven as justification. [4] In 1046 BCE, the Shang Dynasty was overthrown at the Battle of Muye, and the Zhou Dynasty was established. [4] The Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) was the longest-lasting of ancient China's dynasties. [5] This was the major turning point in the Zhou Dynasty, which marks the end of the Western Zhou period. [5] Although chariots had been introduced to China during the Shang dynasty from Central Asia, the Zhou period saw the first major use of chariots in battle. [6]

Trade was increased, towns grew up, coinage was developed, chopsticks came into use, and the Chinese writing system was created out of its primitive beginnings in the Shang period. [7] It is not known when Chinese writing originated, but it apparently began to develop in the early 2nd millennium bc. [1] Because basic characters or graphs were "motivated"--that is, the graph was made to resemble the object it represented--it was once thought that Chinese writing is ideographic, representing ideas rather than the structures of a language. [1] Chinese Writing: Under the Shang (1523-1027), a distinctive Chinese culture emerged, esp. through the important development of a writing system, leaving the most complete record of Chinese writing to date. [8] Until relatively recently, Chinese writing was more widely in use than alphabetic writing systems, and until the 18th century more than half of the world’s books were written in Chinese, including works of speculative thought, historical writings of a kind, and novels, along with writings on government and law. [1] The Chinese writing system requires more memorization, while the Latin alphabet requires more analysis and synthesis both appear to be relatively optimal devices for the transcription of their respective, very different, languages. [1] Chinese writing, basically logographic writing system, one of the world’s great writing systems. [1] Most scholars now believe that neither the logographic Chinese writing system nor the alphabetic Indo-European writing system possesses any overall advantage. [1]

While the previous dynasty had a writing system, it was the Zhou who expanded it across the various Chinese tribes and started creating a standardized written language for everyone. [9] While those in at home or in the marketplace spoke a contemporary Chinese that was very different from Zhou dynasty Chinese, official writings resembled it closely. [10]


According to the New Book of Tang the Sui dynasty Emperors were patrilineally descended from the Zhou dynasty Kings via Ji Boqiao 姬 伯僑, who was the son of Duke Wu of Jin. [6] The Zhou dynasty Kings are the ancestors of the Zhou clan of Runan. [6] The Zhou dynasty King Ling's son Prince Jin is assumed by most to be the ancestor of the Taiyuan Wang lineage. [6] The visual arts of the Zhou dynasty reflect the diversity of the feudal states of which it was composed and into which it eventually broke up. [7] During the Zhou Dynasty, centralized power decreased throughout the Spring and Autumn period until the Warring States period in the last two centuries of the Zhou Dynasty. [6] Under the Zhou Dynasty, many art forms expanded and became more detailed, including bronze, bronze inscriptions, painting, and lacquerware. [4] Slavery had been common during the Shang Dynasty, but this decreased and finally disappeared under the Zhou Dynasty, as social status became more fluid and transitory. [4] Like other river valley civilizations of the time, the people under the Zhou Dynasty followed patriarchal roles. [4] Work in bronze, including inscriptions, continued and expanded in the Zhou Dynasty. [4] Map of Zhou Dynasty: This map shows the location of the ancient Zhou Dynasty. [4] China's first projects of hydraulic engineering were initiated during the Zhou dynasty, ultimately as a means to aid agricultural irrigation. [6] The major script of the Zhou dynasty, which ruled from 1046 to 256 bc, was the dazhuan ("great seal"), also called the Zhou wen ("Zhou script"). [1] The Zhou dynasty had its capital at Hao, near the city of Xi'an (or Chang'an). [8] There were Dukedoms for the offspring of the royal families of the Zhou dynasty, Sui dynasty, and Tang dynasty in the Later Jin (Five Dynasties). [6] The Han dynasty bestowed the hereditary title 周子南君 upon the Zhou dynasty royal descendant Ji Jia 姬嘉 and his descendants. [6]

Zhou dynasty : was a Chinese dynasty that lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese however, the actual political and military control of China lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as the Western Zhou. [2] Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. China - Bronze Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Spring and Autumn period 475 B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, B. Wine vessel (zun), late century B. During the end of the Zhou Dynasty, a series of civil wars broke out throughout China, known as the Warring States Period. [2] Rare Chinese bronze ritual wine vessel (zun), Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty, Century B. Bone cowrie-shell coin, Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC), China. [2]

According to the project the reign of the Shang dynasty lasted from around 1600 to 1046 BC. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji (Chinese: 姬) family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as the Western Zhou. [2]

The findings at Anyang include the earliest written record of Chinese past so far discovered: inscriptions of divination records in ancient Chinese writing on the bones or shells of animals -- the so-called " oracle bones ", dating from around 1500 BC. Written records of the history of China date from as early as 1500 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BC). [2]

A major event in the history of Chinese script is the standardization of writing by the First Emperor of Qin who unified China in 221 BC. Before that time, each of the many states in China had their own style and peculiarities which meant that, although mutually comprehensible, the scripts had many deviations. [11]

The Zhou Dynasty (1045� BC) saw China grow, fracture into states, then unite in imperialism. [12] Here you find everything about the Chinese symbol character for Zhai (a state in the Zhou Dynasty). [13] The Zhou Dynasty saw a flourishing of philosophical thought, spread across an increasingly diverse Chinese state. [9] This spoken language was used throughout many Chinese dynasties, and is one of the most well known accomplishments of the Zhou Dynasty. [14] By the Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE), the conventions of Zhou dynasty written Chinese had hardened into a literary style that was fully separate from spoken, vernacular Chinese. [10]

The Zhou entered Chinese society alongside the Shang Dynasty, but by the 11th century BCE, the Shang had become corrupt. [9] The Zhou Dynasty, which existed around 1046 to 256 BCE, was the second Chinese dynasty and one of the most influential eras in Chinese history, that followed the Shang Dynasty, the first Chinese dynasty. [9]

The conclusion of the Zhou Dynasty came about when an independent noble named Qin Shi Huang united China into the Qin Dynasty. [14] The Zhou Dynasty saw the introduction of a new, and very important material to China: iron. [9]

Three Chinese Philosophies The Zhou dynasty lasted from 1045 B.C.E to 256 B.C.E. and different leaders fought for control in China. [2] Zhou Dynasty (Chou dynasty) (Chinese: 周朝 pinyin: Zhōu cháo), The Zhou ruled ancient China for almost a millennium, establishing the distinctive political and cultural characteristics that were to be identified with China for the next 2,000 years During the Zhou Dynasty, the use of iron was introduced to China, though this period of Chinese history produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronze-ware making. [2] According to the ancient Chinese scholar Liu Xin (c. 50 BC AD 23), the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC but Bamboo Annals, a chronicle of ancient China, dates its reign from 1558 to 1046 BC. According to the project the reign of the Shang dynasty lasted from around 1600 to 1046 BC. The Shang dynasty was an era of Chinese history that began in 1600 BC and continued until 1046 BC. It was preceded by the Xia dynasty and was followed by the Zhou dynasty. [2]

The first universally accepted true Chinese dynasty was the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty, 1766-1050 BC. From 434 BC to around 403 BC the various independent states of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty sat tight and consolidated their resources. [2] Belt hook Period: Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period B. The first universally accepted true Chinese dynasty was the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty, 1766-1050 BC. According to old Chinese legend, tea was first discovered by Shennong, Chinese Father of Agriculture, around 2,737 BC. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907) tea became a popular drink enjoyed by all social classes. [2] Chinese, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, B. Wine vessel (zun), late century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, Tripod cooking vessel (li), late century B. Well-field system : The well-field system was a Chinese land distribution method existing between the ninth century BC (late Western Zhou dynasty ) to around the end of the Warring States period. [2] Chinese wine vessel known as a hu, from the Western Zhou Dynasty period, late to early century B. Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. Chinese wine vessel known as a hu, from the Western Zhou Dynasty period, late to early century B. Between 690 and 705 AD Empress Wu Zetian briefly ruled as the only Chinese female sovereign in her self-proclaimed Zhou Dynasty. [2] Chinese wine vessel known as a hu, from the Western Zhou Dynasty period, late to early century B. With no known contemporaneous written records (the first known Chinese script, oracle bone script, had not yet emerged), the Xia dynasty is recorded mostly retrospectively though the early Chinese classics. [2] Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, Tripod cooking vessel (li), late century B. Zhao Kuangyin, later known as Emperor Taizu (r. 960-976), usurped the throne from the Zhou dynasty with the support of military commanders in 960, initiating the Song dynasty and ending the Five Dynasties period. [2]

Da-zhuan 大篆 (1000 to 200 BC): The Chinese writing in the late Shang and early Zhou dynasties underwent stylistic change. [15] The main contributions of the Zhou era to Chinese literature were the prose works of the Spring and Autumn Period, many of which developed in the Warring Sates Period: the Confucian Classics, the Daoist writings, Legalism texts, and preserved poems, histories, and songs. [12] The earliest examples of Chinese writing date to the late Shang period (ca. 1200 BC). [11] Chinese writing had its origins in Shang culture as a means to unify the various dialects spoken by regional Chinese. [16]

A priceless tripod is the Daynding (Large Tripod Bestowed upon Yu) dating from the early Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century to 771 B. C.), now kept at the Museum of Chinese History in Beijing. [11] These vessels became widely used during the Eastern Zhou dynasty (ca. 1150-771 BC) but there are examples from late Shang as well. [11] Then under the Eastern Zhou dynasty, beginning about 722 BC, people began to use these bronze jars and cups in their own houses, to show how rich and powerful they were, instead of only for the gods and their ancestors. [17]

China - Bronze Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Spring and Autumn period 475 B. Bronze hu vessel, late Western Zhou Dynasty, circa 10-9th century BC. The Zhou Dynasty began in 1122 BC with the suicide of Shang Zhou. [2] Bronze Jian Water Basin, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Late Spring & Autumn Period, ca. Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Han Dynasty Color map showing land ruled by China's Han dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. [2] China - Bronze Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Spring and Autumn period 475 B. Helmet covered in heavy gold florets with ornate decorations from the Zhou Dynasty tomb complex of Emperor Wu Wang at Laoyang, circa 1020 BC. It arose after a series of weak Zhou emperors failed to prevent serious collapse, and lasted from 480 B.C. to 221 B.C., when the Zhou Dynasty fell to the Qin (Chin) Dynasty. [2]

Hunans primeval forests were first occupied by the ancestors of the modern Miao, Tujia, Dong and it entered the written history of China around 350 BC, when under the kings of the Zhou Dynasty, it became part of the State of Chu. [2] It contained a history about the State of Lu (capital at Qufu ) between 722 and 479 BC. Although the Zhou Dynasty maintained nominal control over China, the period actually reflected a checkerboard of smaller quasi-independent states ruled by feudal princes. [2]

The Shang and Zhou Dynasties of China Global History and Geography I Name: ____________________ E. Napp Date: ____________________ Please read the passage and answer the questions that follow: A family that rules a country for a long period of time is called a dynasty. [18] Dens of opulence, some fighting, barbarians at the gates, China the centre of civilisation, the Zhou actually lasted longer than any other Chinese dynasty in all of history, at least in name. [2] The dynasty ruled China from about C. 1022 BC to 221 BC. The first part of the Zhou era from C. 1022 BC to 771 BC is called the Western Zhou (because the rulers had their capital in the west of China). [2] The Zhou Dynasty came to an end when the Qin state emerged victorious from the power struggle, unified China, and established the first imperial Chinese dynasty, the Qin Dynasty. [19] According to the collection of Zhou Chinese poetic anthologies Classic of Poetry, one of the distant ancestors of King Wen of the Zhou dynasty used to measure gnomon shadow lengths to determine the orientation around the 14th-century BC. The article "The Shang (ca. 1600-1046 BC) and Zhou dynasty (ca. 1045-256 BC) Shigushan cemetery in Baoji, Shaanxi Province" has been translated into and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. [2] Rare Chinese bronze ritual wine vessel (zun), Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty, Century B. A motif commonly found on Chinese ritual bronze vessels from the Shang and Zhou Dynasty. [2] Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, B. Wine vessel (zun), late century B. Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. Buy Zhou Dynasty pieces from Barakat Gallery's award-winning collection of ancient chinese art. [2] Chinese, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, B. Wine vessel (zun), late century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, Tripod cooking vessel (li), late century B. By the time of the Warring States, the various Di peoples who had settled along the northern Chinese territories during the Zhou dynasty had developed into relatively small, independent frontier centers. [2] Chinese wine vessel known as a hu, from the Western Zhou Dynasty period, late to early century B. Under the Government of the Zhou dynasty, the Chinese culture was extended towards the South until the Valley of the Yangtze and towards the east until the sea. [2] Chinese wine vessel known as a hu, from the Western Zhou Dynasty period, late to early century B. The latter period of the Zhou Dynasty is famous for the beginnings of two major Chinese philosophies: Confucianism and Taoism. [2] Rare Chinese bronze ritual wine vessel (zun), Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty, Century B. Second Zhou Wang xuan (王璿) The Tang dynasty was interrupted briefly by the Second Zhou Dynasty when Empress Wu Zetian (武則天 Wǔ Zétiān) seized the throne, becoming the first and only Chinese empress regnant, ruling in her own right. [2]

Bronze Large Covered Ritual Wine Container (Fangyi), Chinese, late Shang or early Western Zhou period, century BC, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Da-zhuan (1000 to 200 BC): The Chinese writing in the late Shang and early Zhou dynasties underwent stylistic change. [2]

The Western pipe organ did not make use of the reed, which the ancient Chinese mouth organ employed, the latter instrument, called a sheng and made traditionally of bamboo pipes, was first mentioned in the Shi Jing of the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050-256 BC). [2] It was also the first in a tradition of Chinese military treatises, such as the Wujing Zongyao, the Chinese kept consistent and accurate court records after the year 841 BC, with the beginning of the Gonghe Regency of the Western Zhou Dynasty. [2] The Chinese discovered and made extensive use of deep drilled groundwater for drinking, the Chinese text The Book of Changes, originally a divination text of the Western Zhou dynasty (1046 -771 BC), contains an entry describing how the ancient Chinese maintained their wells and protected their sources of water. [2] The Shang Dynasty (1600� BC) was the second of the three ancient Chinese dynasties, preceded by the Xia Dynasty and succeeded by the Zhou Dynasty. [2] Later Chinese philosophers and historians cited this garden as an example of decadence, during the Spring and Autumn period, in 535 BC, the Terrace of Shanghua, with lavishly decorated palaces, was built by King Jing of the Zhou dynasty. [2] If there is no opposing force. the motion will never stop. This is as true as that an ox is not a horse, the Zhou Dynasty Chinese Classic of Mountains and Rivers, compiled from the 6th to 2nd centuries BC, states that a certain huitang plant only grows near ore deposits of gold. [2] Is it true that after the Han dynasty, the only 100% Han Chinese dynasties were Song and Ming? I heard that the Tang dynasty was Xianbei and T. Liu Bang claimed to be the Emperor Gaozu and established the Han dynasty in 202 BC. Iron replaced bronze around 600 BC, during the Zhou dynasty. [2] By the time of the Warring States (475-221 BC), the various Di peoples who had settled along the northern Chinese territories during the Zhou dynasty had developed into relatively small, independent frontier centers. [2] Since at least the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050-771 BC), they were placed between the top of a column and a crossbeam to support the concave roofs of beam-in-tier buildings which were archetypal of Chinese architecture. [2] Bell (Zhong) with Dragons and Spirals - China, probably Shaanxi Province, Late Western Zhou dynasty, about B. The Zhou Dynasty began in 1122 BC with the suicide of Shang Zhou. [2] A History of the Shang Dynasty in China, Ruling from 1766 to 1122 B.C. 3,120 words 7 pages Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC - 221 BC) (the spring-autumn period, the warring period, Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Mengzi, Xunzi.) [2] During the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (1050 BC-256 BC), China went into a flourishing period for steel smelting. [2] Bronze duo bell with dragon decoration, Eastern Zhou dynasty, China, 6th-early 5th century BC. During the Warring States period of the Zhou Dynasty (475 BC - 221 BC), the State of Chu used a form of bronze money called Ant Nose Money ( yi bi qian ) or Ghost Face Money ( gui lian qian ). [2] Zhou Dynasty China Bronze Weapons set Most likely mounted on one Staff, dating to approximately 771 B.C. The Zhou Dynasty is divided into two periods by historians, the early or Western Zhou and the later or Eastern Zhou Dynasty. [2] Zhou Dynasty China Bronze Weapons set Most likely mounted on one Staff, dating to approximately 771 B.C. An important and rare wine vessel, zun, Early Western Zhou dynasty BC) - Alain. [2]

KEY TOPICS " alt"Shang Dynasty 1600 BC - 1046 BC The Shang and Zhou Dynasties have helped China become a powerful and prosperous civilization. [2] Wu Zetian, Empress of China Wu Zetian or Empress Wu, was a Chinese sovereign, who ruled officially under the name of her self-proclaimed "Zhou dynasty", from 690 to 705. [2]

"Rulers of the states of Zhou", Dynasty, C text -- linked to their occurrences in classical Chinese texts. [2] Although this dynasty was the longest in Chinese history, the Ji clan actually maintained control until 771 BC, during the period called Western Zhou. [2] Bronze hu vessel, late Western Zhou Dynasty, circa 10-9th century BC. The first Chinese empire was the Qin dynasty, which began in 221 B.C. The Xia dynasty (2200-1700 B.C. by some reckoning, 2070 - 1600 B.C. by others) is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese history. [2] Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, Tripod cooking vessel (li), late century B. The formation of the Seven Warring States was the culmination of trends during the preceding Spring and Autumn period, when the patchwork of states created by the Western Zhou dynasty were conquered and absorbed through warfare, coalescing into seven larger polities. [2] Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. Chinese, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, ca. Openwork roundel with entwined dragons. [2] Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. Following nomadic attacks in the west, the Chinese Zhou dynasty moves its capital east to Luoyang. [2] CHINESE BRONZE ZHOU DYNASTY HELMET. 800-500 BC. A cast bronze helmet of unusual design, with D-shaped openings to front and rear the bowl formed with longitudinal ribbing, reinforcing plates and simulated rivet detailing above, a pierced rectangular finial or plume-holder attachment loops to the lower edge. 2.3 kg, 30 cm (11 3/4"). [2] Qin Shi Huang of Qin dynasty defeated Zhou dynasty, and brought the warlords of the six fighting states together to build the very first Chinese empire. [2] The Zhou dynasty existed for 790 years, from 1046 BC to 256 BC. The foremost early dynasty was the Qin Dynasty, dating 226 - 201 BC. Under the Qin, kings subdued the parts of the Han Chinese homeland and united them under a central, legalized government. [2] Other Chinese words relating to "money" still retain the "shell" character ( bei ) component, such as "wealth" ( cai ), "trade" ( mao ), "money" or "goods" ( huo ), etc. By the time of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 BC - 256 BC), however, cowrie shells were being replaced by imitation shells made of bone or metal. [2] The latter period of the Zhou Dynasty is famous for the beginnings of two major Chinese philosophies: Confucianism and Taoism. [2] Chinese grid city planning originated under the Zhou Dynasty. 1000s-700s BC. The logic being the Zhou urban thinkers wanted to integrate rural commercial systems with urban ones and wide avenues set in grids facilitated the movement of livestock & produce. [2]

Fragments shards Wheel-thrown earthenware with carved designs China, Shang dynasty, about 1700-1023 B.C. Turtle shells with writing like ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty ( Chinese : 商朝 ) have been carbon dated to about 1500 BC. They say that China began as city-states in the Yellow River valley. [2] The Zhou (Chou) dynasty followed the Shang as China's rulers, arising out of nomads from the west and conquering much of China by 1045 B.C. Even as early as the Shang Dynasty, about 1500 BC, Chinese buildings looked pretty much like this, with curved tile roofs and long rows of pillars. [2] Ding, BC China, late Shang dynasty BC) - early Western Zhou dynasty BC) The artistry in this is astounding. [2] A History of the Shang Dynasty in China, Ruling from 1766 to 1122 B.C. 3,120 words 7 pages The Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BC) were chariot warriors who overthrew the Shang dynasty. [2] After the collapse of the Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC when the Xirong captured its capital Haojing, China collapsed into a plethora of small states, the competition between these states would eventually produce the professional armies that marked the Imperial Era of China. [2] During the development and fusion of many other cultures in the expansion and assimilation period, Yellow River civilization developed through the Zhou Dynasty (1045� BC), until the unification of China. [2] In the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods (770 BC to 221 BC), the kings of the Zhou Dynasty was weak, China was split into lots of states, each of which was run by a sovereign, i.e. was an autocracy. [2] Bone cowrie-shell coin, Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC), China. [2] Large scale irrigation and water-control projects were instituted for the first time in China during the Zhou dynasty period. [20] There were definitely bronze coins in China by the 400s BC in the Zhou Dynasty. [2] Fragments shards Wheel-thrown earthenware with carved designs China, Shang dynasty, about 1700-1023 B.C. The Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BC) were chariot warriors who overthrew the Shang dynasty. [2]

Shang/Zhou Dynasty, ca. 1600-256 B.C. A detailed introduction to Shang and Zhou China. [2] Archaic Li-type tripod vessel, China, Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period (722-421 BC). [2]

The Zhou dynasty was founded by King Wen of the Ji family in 1076 BC, after the Shang dynasty came to an end. [14] The first part of the Zhou Dynasty is called the Western Zhou, and it runs from about 1122 to about 722 BC. [17] The capital was moved eastward in 770 BC from Haojing in Xi&aposan to Luoyang in present-day Henan Province (marking the start of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty of 770� BC). [12] Naming themselves the Zhou, they overthrew the last of the Shang kings in 1122 B.C. and instituted the Zhou dynasty, with its capital at present-day Xi'an. [16] The main ancient written accounts about the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty are in the Records of the Grand Historian that were written between about 109 BC and 91 BC by Sima Qian. [12] If Western thought began in ancient Athens, then the Zhou Dynasty established the worldview of East Asia. [9] The era is divided into three periods: the Western Zhou Dynasty (1045� BC); the Spring and Autumn Period (770�), when the empire divided into dozens of competing kingdoms, which then coalesced into several big and warring kingdoms during the Warring States Period (475�). [12] During the Western Zhou dynasty, art didn’t change very much from the Shang Dynasty that came before it. [17] This practice continued for centuries, eventually dying out during the Zhou dynasty (1046 BC 221 BC). [21] The Zhou Dynasty slowly diminished, because the power did not lie with the king, instead, the power was in the hands of the nobles. [14] Confucianism came to popularity during the Zhou Dynasty and the kings expected their citizens to follow the rules and values of Confucianism. [14] Please note that "Zhai (a state in the Zhou Dynasty)" is one of the meanings of this symbol and that there might be more than one symbol with this meaning. [13] Zhou Dynasty is defined by a unique social hierarchy, standardized spoken language, and lengthy time of reign. [14]


The inscriptions on these bones tell us that by 1200 BC Chinese writing was already a highly developed writing system which was used to record a language fairly similar to classical Chinese. [11] The next stage in the history of Chinese writing is the bronze inscriptions (jinwen). [11] From my earliest memories, I’ve always been fascinated by things foreign, and upon first glance, Chinese writing looked really, really foreign. [21]

Some of the earliest extant forms of writing in China are inscriptions made on tortoise shells during the Shang dynasty (1600-1045 BCE). [10]

The Zhou Dynasty was one of the most influential eras in China's long history. [9] After 771, the Zhou Dynasty became the nominal leading clan. [12] Because they spoke one, central language, it’s much easier for historians to discover and depict what happened during the Zhou Dynasty, and Dynasties to follow. [14]

Wu Zetian rose from the position of Emperor Gaozong's concubine to govern the country in various roles, first as his empress consort, later as regent for his heir, before declaring herself emperor ( Chinese : 皇帝 ) of a new Zhou dynasty in 690. [2] Emperor Wu Wu Zetian (624 - December 16, 705), also known as Wu Zhao, Wu Hou, and during the laterTang dynasty as Tian Hou, referred to in English as Empress Consort Wu or by the deprecated term "Empress Wu", was a Chinese sovereign who ruled unofficially as empress consort and empress dowager and later, officially as empress regnant (皇帝) during the brief Zhou dynasty (周, 684- 705), which interrupted the Tang dynasty (618-690 & 705-907). [2]

By the time of the Warring States, the various Di peoples who had settled along the northern Chinese territories during the Zhou dynasty had developed into relatively small, independent frontier centers. [2] The Zhou dynasty existed for 790 years, from 1046 BC to 256 BC. During the dominance of the semi-legendary Xia Dynasty (around 2100-1700 BC), the ancient Chinese practiced divination and veneration of deceased ancestors. [2] According to the project the reign of the Shang dynasty lasted from around 1600 to 1046 BC. Much of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045 - 256 BC). [2] Old Chinese experienced great use during the Zhou Dynasty between 1122 BC and 256 BC. These written accounts were found on "Oracle Bones", shards of ox bones with Chinese inscriptions. [2] Two Chinese archaic bronze bells, zhong, Eastern Zhou dynasty B. Zhou (Chou) Dynasty • The Zhou dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to approx. 256 BC. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Zhou dynasty began to emerge in the Yellow River valley, overrunning the territory of the Shang. • There had been a lot of big palaces and shrines. [2] Spring and Autumn period - The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history from approximately 771 to 476 BC which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty. [2]

The Xia dynasty (2070 to 1600 BC) is the first dynasty to be described in ancient Chinese historical records such as the Bamboo Annals, first published more than a millennium later during the Western Zhou period. [2] Bronze Large Covered Ritual Wine Container (Fangyi), Chinese, late Shang or early Western Zhou period, century BC, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Other information about the Shang comes from Ancient Chinese historians such as Sima Quian from the Han Dynasty. [2]

According to the collection of Zhou Chinese poetic anthologies, one of the distant ancestors of used to measure gnomon shadow lengths to determine the orientation around the 14th-century BC. A model in of a Chinese ladle-and-bowl type used for in the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) the historical authenticity of the model has been questioned by (1954). [2]

Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Chou (Zhou) Dynasty Color map showing land ruled by China's Zhou dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. [2] Chinese, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, B. Wine vessel (zun), late century B. Chinese, Western Zhou dynasty, Tripod cooking vessel (li), late century B. In next chapter we will continue with Eastern Zhou dynasty a turbulent era but with large achievements for Chinese civilization and period that set roots to civilization and idea that still exist today. [2] Spoon (Bi) China, Western Zhou dynasty B. Medium:Bronze, L. The Eastern Zhou, the second part of the Zhou Dynasty ruled from 770 to 256 BC. Belt hook Period: Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period B. Ritual Wine Vessel (Bianhu) Period: Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period B. The Zhou Dynasty ruled Ancient China from 1045 BC to 256 BC. It was the longest ruling dynasty in the history of China. [2] The most famous chariot battle, that of Kadesh, was fought between Egyptians and Hittites around 1300 BC. But chariots were also used as far east as ancient China With the decline of the Zhou Dynasty, during the later Eastern Zhou (770-255 BC), many vassals overstepped their authority. [2]

The Zhou dynasty, along with the preceding Shang dynasty, corresponded with the Bronze Age in China. [20] The Zhou dynasty lasted a very long time but towards the end of the Zhou dynasty, there was a great deal of fighting in China. [18]

#Chinese, Late #Shang dynasty, Anyang period, 13th-12th century B.C.E. The last Zhou king is traditionally taken to be Nan, who was killed when Qin captured the capital Wangcheng in 256 BC. A " King Hui " was declared, but his splinter state was fully removed by 249 BC. Qin's unification of China concluded in 221 BC with Qin Shihuang's annexation of Qi. [2] He also cited several ancient Chinese classics, in one passage quoting the historian Sima Qian description of the topography of the Xia Empire, traditionally considered the dynasty of the founders of China, dating from 2070 to 1600 BC. To the north the stream is divided and becomes nine rivers, writes Sima Qian in his first-century historiography, "Records of the Great Historian." [2] Was a major ancient Chinese dynasty from about 1766 to 1122 BC. Built cities in northern China along the Yellow River. [2]

Han Dynasty The Han dynasty (Chinese: 漢朝 pinyin: Hàn cháo) was the second imperial dynasty of China (206 BC-220 AD), preceded by the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD). [2] Among the most influential philosophers were Confucius (551 479 BC), founder of the most dominant Chinese philosophy Confucianism Mencius ( 372 289 BC), the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself Laozi, founder of Taoism which is still practiced by millions and Shang Yang ( 390 338 BC), founder of Legalism which built the foundation that enabled Qin dynasty to conquer all of China. [20]

In addition to bronze, examples of the early Chinese writing system can be found on oracle bones, another type of artifact characteristic to the Shang dynasty. [22] Weakened by corruption and decay, the Shang dynasty was overpowered in 1050-25 B.C. by the Zhou, a Chinese dynasty to the west that also knew how to effectively use horses, chariots and composite bows. [2] An Iron Age began in Ancient China during the Zhou dynasty (1050 BC-256 BC). [2] Know more about the contributions of the Zhou dynasty of China by studying its 10 major achievements. [20] The Zhou Dynasty ruled Ancient China from 1045 BC to 256 BC. It was the longest ruling dynasty in the history of China. [2] The jewelry was said to have belonged to a Canaanite family. (AP, 5/25/12) 1.1k BC - 700BC The Phoenicians traded around the Mediterranean. (WH, 1994, p.13) 1.1k BC - 265BC The Zhou period in China. (WSJ, 2/19/98, p.A20) 1.094k BC - 1.064k BC The period of Egypt under Ramses XI. He was the last king of the 20th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. [2] The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) is the first confirmed historic Chinese dynasty and ruled in the northeastern region of China proper. [2] The biggest change in Chinese architecture came during the Han Dynasty, in the 200s BC, when the new religion of Buddhism first came to China from India. [2] Ephedrine : Ephedrine, known as ma huang in traditional Chinese medicine, originally as an extract of the herb Ephedra sinica, has been documented in China since the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) as an antiasthmatic and stimulant. [2]

Tung oil is etymologically derived from the Chinese tongyou, the earliest references for Chinese use of tung oil is in the writings of Confucius around 500 to 400 BC The Chinese have used tung oil, also known as China wood oil, for at least 2500 years for building waterproof boats and paper parasols, wood finishing, wood waterproofing, caulking, inks and paints. [2]

China's first historic dynasty, the Shang, began along the Huang He sometime between 1750 B.C. and 1500 B.C. During the Shang period, many elements of later Chinese civilization began to develop, notably a writing system, and a religious tradition that combined animism a belief that spirits inhabit everything with ancestor worship. [2]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(33 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


Number of Dynasties and Emperors in China

There were 83 dynasties and 559 emperors in ancient history of China. The Zhou Dynasty was the longest ruling Chinese dynasty. It lasted from 1122-255 BC. The Qin Dynasty was the shortest ruling Chinese dynasty. It lasted only 15 years. Emperor Kangxi, the second emperor of Qing Dynasty, was the longest-reigning emperor in the history of China. He ruled China for 61 years during the years from 1661 to 1722. Emperor Modi of Jin (1234), the last emperor of Jin Dynasty, was the shortest-reigning emperor in the history of China. He ruled China for less than one day.

Yuan Dynasty had the largest territory in history of China. It covered a total area of over 12 million square kilometers at its peak. Many believe that Southern Song Dynasty had smallest territory in history of China. Wu Zetian was the first and only female emperor in Chinese history. During her rule in Tang Dynasty, the practice of Chinese Buddhism is known to have reached its height and influence. Puyi was the last emperor in Chinese history. He ruled as the last emperor of Qing Dynasty from 1908 to 1912.

Both Han and Tang Dynasty are considered as the most powerful dynasty in Chinese history. Tang Dynasty’s culture, politics and economy had great influence on the neighbor countries. In many countries, the numerous Chinese communities, or "China Town" are known as "Tang People Street," meaning the neighborhood, or street, inhabited by the Chinese (Tang) people. Han Dynasty left a lasting influence on China, founding many of the basic elements still used in Chinese society today: the largest ethnic group in China is named “Han”, the Chinese language is “Hanyu” and the Chinese character is “Hanzi”.

Learn more about Chinese history, people and languages, please visit Why Study Abroad in China


9. Zhou Dynasty ( 1046 – 256 BC )

A painting from 5th – 3rd Century BC depicting horse riding during the Zhou dynasty
Source: Wikimedia Common

Zhou Dynasty, founded by King Wu-wang, originally named Ji Fa ruled China from 1046 to 256 BC. This Dynasty was founded after conquering the Shang dynasty at the Battle of Muye.

This Dynasty was the longest-ruling Dynasty in Chinese History, ruling for over eight centuries. It was renowned for its flourished culture, codification of writings, development of chopsticks, ox-drawn plows, coinage, horseback riding, crossbow, and spread of Civilization.

Chinese philosophy was also flourished, and philosophical schools of Confucianism, Mohism, and Taoism were established. With this, the famous philosophies Taoism, Legalism, and Confucianism were introduced during the latter period of this Dynasty.

Like other dynasties, this Dynasty too had the most significant poets and philosophers, including Lao-Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Tao Chien, and Mo Ti. It also developed a concept to justify the rule of Kings known as the Mandate of Heaven.

Initially, Western Zhou was under the control of the Royal house from 1046 – 771 BC. The rulers of this Dynasty were known as Wang, meaning King, and Shang, meaning Rulers.

However, this prosperous Dynasty came to an end in 256 BC. The King Zhao of Qin conquered the West Zhou, and King Zhuangxiang of Qin defeated the East Zhou, leading to the end of the Zhou dynasty.


Top 12 Amazing Facts of Chinese Emperors

In ancient Chinese long history, there were 67 dynasties with 446 emperors. Of them, some were great leaders, some ordinary, while some are notorious….. there are many interesting facts about Chinese emperors:

1. The dynasty with the most emperors

Among all Chinese dynasties, Shang Dynasty had the most the emperors. From first Tang Emperor to last Zhou Emperor the dynasty was led by 30 emperors in total.

2. The most short-lived emperor

Emperor Shang (105 –106) of Han Dynasty had the shortest life and died at the age of 2.

3. The oldest emperor to ascend the throne

Emperor Wu Zetian (625-705) was the oldest emperor to ascend the throne, at the age of 67.

4. The emperor with the most unusual experiences

Emperor Gong (1271-1323) of Southern Song Dynasty had the most unusual experiences. He was the emperor of Southern Song (1127–1279) in childhood, and later was captured and imprisoned by Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) army in his youth. During his middle-aged years he was dispatched to Tibet as a monk, becoming an eminent and translator, he was finally forced to commit suicide for literary inquisition.

5. The dynasty with the least emperors

Among all Chinese dynasties, Xin Dynasty and Eastern Wei Dynasty both had the smallest number of emperors with only one emperor for the entire dynasty.

6. The painter and calligrapher emperor
Emperor Huizong (1082 – 1135) of Northern Song dynasty was good at painting and calligraphy. He created his own style of calligraphy called shoujin (slender gold). He achieved much in paintings of flowers and birds and many of his works could be found today.

7. The carpenter emperor

Emperor Xi Zong (1605-1627) of Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) was not a qualified emperor but a good carpenter. He once built exquisite model houses of Qianqing Palace.

8. The most licentious emperor

Emperor Zhu Weng (852-912) of Later Liang Dynasty was the most licentious monarch. He was lascivious and sexually promiscuous and even had sex with his daughters-in-law.

9. The laziest Emperor

Emperor Zhu Yijun (1563 –1620) was the laziest emperor. He occupied the throne for 48 years in total, but was absent of court for 28 years.

10. The longest -lasting dynasty

The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to approximately 256 BC, with a time span of around 800 years.

11. The oldest emperor

Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was the emperor who lived for the longest time in Chinese history. He ruled the empire as an emperor for 60 years and died at the age of 89.

12. The only female Emperor in China

Wu Zetian (625-705) was the only lawful woman ruler in the Chinese history, who actually ruled the whole country for almost half a century. This was a great deed in the male-dominated Chinese history.


History

The Zhou coexisted with the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 bce ) for many years, living just west of the Shang territory in what is now Shaanxi province. At various times they were a friendly tributary state to the Shang, alternatively warring with them. One of the Zhou ruling houses devised a plan to conquer the Shang, and a decisive battle was fought, probably in the mid-11th century bce . However, a rebellion broke out before the whole Shang territory could be consolidated by the Zhou. The fighting went on for three years before the rebellion was put down, and finally the Zhou solidified their reign over all of China. An array of feudal states was created within the empire to maintain order and the emperor’s hold on the land. The original Zhou capital had been located near present-day Xi’an in Shaanxi on the Wei River above its confluence with the Huang He (Yellow River). To support the empire in the east and its loyal feudal rulers, an eastern capital was built at Luoyang on the middle reaches of the Huang He.

The stability of that arrangement lasted some 200 years before it began to collapse with the increasing local interests of the 20 or more feudal lords. In the 8th century bce the political system, which had essentially consisted of a network of extended family, began to weaken seriously. With the decline of the feudal king’s power, de facto power fluctuated among various of the feudal chiefs as they were able to make themselves overlords.

The period before 771 bce is usually known as the Xi (Western) Zhou dynasty, and that from 770 is known as the Dong (Eastern) Zhou dynasty. The Dong Zhou itself is often further subdivided into the Spring and Autumn (Chunqiu) period (770–476 bce ), when China consisted of many small squabbling states, and the Warring States (Zhanguo) period (475–221 bce ), when the small states consolidated into several larger units, which struggled with one another for mastery. Finally, one of those small kingdoms, Qin (from which derives modern China’s name), succeeded in conquering the rest of the states and establishing the Qin dynasty (221–207 bce ).


Main keywords of the article below: establishing, political, millennia, eight, government, identified, distinctive, dynasty, ruled, centuries, characteristics, romanization, chou, zhou, ancient, cultural, china, wade-giles.

KEY TOPICS
Zhou dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Chou, dynasty that ruled ancient China for some eight centuries, establishing the distinctive political and cultural characteristics that were to be identified with China for the next two millennia. [1] The Zhou Dynasty ruled China longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history. [2] During the Zhou dynasty China was never a unified kingdom: The Zhou government bore a strong resemblance to some of the forms of feudalism in medieval Europe, which is why the Zhou age is sometimes referred to as a feudal age. [3]

Zhou Dynasty - Ancient History Encyclopedia Zhou Dynasty Cristian Violatti The Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) was the longest-lasting of ancient China's dynasties. [4] That period known in ancient Chinese history as the Zhou dynasty had begun. [5] This state was Qin, and it was the founder of the Qin dynasty who therefore became the First Emperor of China, in 221 BCE. His reign marked the transition to a new phase in ancient Chinese history. [5]

The Zhou period as a whole was a time of dramatic change for ancient China, in government, war, philosophy, economy and society. [5] The military control of China by the royal house, surnamed Ji ( Chinese : 姬 pinyin : Jī ), lasted initially from 1046 until 771 BC for a period known as the Western Zhou and the political sphere of influence it created continued well into Eastern Zhou for another 500 years. [6] One of the first tasks of the Zhou Dynasty was to show why they were the legitimate rulers of China and why they were justified in taking power from the Shang. [2] It was King Wu's brother, known as the Duke of Zhou, who performed the necessary steps for laying the basis upon which the Zhou Dynasty would consolidate its power throughout North China. [4] Like most societies that developed during this period, China under the Zhou Dynasty had an economy centered on agricultural production. [2] Wood bowl decorated in red and black lacquer with stylized birds and animals, from Changsha, China, late Zhou dynasty, 3rd century bce in the Seattle Art Museum, Washington. [1] The conclusion of the Zhou Dynasty came about when an independent noble named Qin Shi Huang united China into the Qin Dynasty. [7] During the Zhou dynasty, China underwent quite dramatic changes. [1]

The most influential minds in the Chinese intellectual tradition flourished under the Zhou, particularly towards the last period of the Zhou Dynasty, considered a time of intellectual and artistic awakening. [4] During the Zhou dynasty, the origins of native Chinese philosophy developed, its initial stages beginning in the 6th century BC. The greatest Chinese philosophers, those who made the greatest impact on later generations of Chinese, were Confucius, founder of Confucianism, and Laozi, founder of Taoism. [6] Later generations of Chinese have regularly studied the Zhou dynasty for information regarding the origin of their civilization. [1] The Zhou dynasty or the Zhou Kingdom ( / dʒ oʊ / Chinese : 周朝 pinyin : Zhōu cháo ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. [6] This spoken language was used throughout many Chinese dynasties, and is one of the most well known accomplishments of the Zhou Dynasty. [7] Following nomadic attacks in the west, the Chinese Zhou dynasty moves its capital east to Luoyang. [4] The vast time sweep of the Zhou dynasty --encompassing some eight centuries--is the single longest period of Chinese history. [1] Although the dynasty lasted longer than any other in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Zhou dynasty's ruling family only lasted during the first half of the period, which scholars call the Western Zhou (1046-771 BCE). [5] In this lesson, you will learn about how the Zhou Dynasty came to power, its government and economy. [2] The Zhou Dynasty ruled as one of China's longest-lasting dynasties. [2] It followed the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE) and it finished when the army of the state of Qin captured the city of Chengzhou in 256 BCE. The long history of the Zhou Dynasty is normally divided in two different periods: Western Zhou (1046-771 BCE) and Eastern Zhou (770-256 BCE), so-called following the move of the Zhou capital eastwards where it was safer from invasion. [4] Scholars use this event to divide the history of the Zhou dynasty into two periods: the Western Zhou (1122-771 BCE) and the Eastern Zhou (771-256 BCE). [5] The period before 771 bce is usually known as the Xi (Western) Zhou dynasty, and that from 770 is known as the Dong (Eastern) Zhou dynasty. [1]

In this period, the Zhou court had little control over its constituent states that were at war with each other until the Qin state consolidated power and formed the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. The Zhou Dynasty had formally collapsed only 35 years earlier, although the dynasty had had only nominal power at that point. [6] The Zheng family of Xingyang 滎陽鄭氏 claim descent from the Zhou dynasty Kings via the rulers of the State of Zheng. [6] The Zhou Dynasty came to an end during the Warring States period in 256 BCE, when the army of the state of Qin captured the city of Chengzhou and the last Zhou ruler, King Nan, was killed. [4] It followed the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BCE) and it ended when Liu Bang became the king of Han in 206 BCE (the formal beginning of the Han dynasty ). [3] Around 1046 BC, Wen's son Wu and his ally Jiang Ziya led an army of 45,000 men and 300 chariots across the Yellow River and defeated King Zhou of Shang at the Battle of Muye, marking the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. [6] The rulers of the Zhou dynasty were titled Wáng ( 王 ), which is normally translated into English as "king" and was also the Shang term for their rulers. [6] The Zhou dynasty was founded by King Wen of the Ji family in 1076 BC, after the Shang dynasty came to an end. [7] According to the New Book of Tang the Sui dynasty Emperors were patrilineally descended from the Zhou dynasty Kings via Ji Boqiao 姬 伯僑, who was the son of Duke Wu of Jin. [6] The Zhou dynasty King Ling's son Prince Jin is assumed by most to be the ancestor of the Taiyuan Wang lineage. [6] The Zhou Dynasty slowly diminished, because the power did not lie with the king, instead, the power was in the hands of the nobles. [7]

Although chariots had been introduced to China during the Shang dynasty from Central Asia, the Zhou period saw the first major use of chariots in battle. [6] Eventually the Zhou dynasty came to an end in 256 BCE, when one of these kingdoms, Qin, marched on the Zhou capital and annexed the rump of territory still controlled by the Zhou king. [5] Zhou dynasty: jian Ceremonial bronze jian, Dong (Eastern) Zhou dynasty (770-256 bce ) in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota. [1] Confucianism came to popularity during the Zhou Dynasty and the kings expected their citizens to follow the rules and values of Confucianism. [7] During the Zhou Dynasty, centralized power decreased throughout the Spring and Autumn period until the Warring States period in the last two centuries of the Zhou Dynasty. [6] The Zhou Dynasty claimed that they had a Mandate from Tian, or a '' Mandate of Heaven '' as it is now known. [2] This was the major turning point in the Zhou Dynasty, which marks the end of the Western Zhou period. [4] There were Dukedoms for the offspring of the royal families of the Zhou dynasty, Sui dynasty, and Tang dynasty in the Later Jin (Five Dynasties). [6]

Other philosophers, theorists, and schools of thought in this era were Mozi, founder of Mohism Mencius, a famous Confucian who expanded upon Confucius' legacy Shang Yang and Han Fei, responsible for the development of ancient Chinese Legalism (the core philosophy of the Qin dynasty ) and Xun Zi, who was arguably the center of ancient Chinese intellectual life during his time, even more so than iconic intellectual figures such as Mencius. [6] Qin Dynasty - Ancient History Encyclopedia Qin Dynasty Gabriel Peralta The Qin dynasty was brief in duration (221-206 BCE) but very important in Chinese history. [3]

Other philosophers, theorists, and schools of thought in this era were founded by Mozi (470-391 BCE, the founder of Mohism) and Shang Yang (390-338 BCE) and Han Fei (280-233 BCE), responsible for the development of Legalism, a school of thought in ancient China which would later be immensely influential. [5] From being a single political entity, ancient China became fragmented amongst numerous competing states. [5] It was customary in ancient China to identify the supreme authority of rulers with a higher power. [4] Metal coins were first introduced in ancient China at this time (at about the same time as they were in the Middle East), and this would have helped stimulate trade. [5] One of the early, main themes in ancient China is the Mandate of Heaven. [7] Ancient China produced what has become the oldest, still extant, culture in the world. [4] Legalism in ancient China was a philosophical belief that human beings are more inclined to do wrong than right because. [3]

They created a new mechanism for legitimizing China's rulers that would play a part in all future Chinese dynasties, and created the feudal system, a revolutionary system of government. [2] The Western Zhou period was a vital and formative one in ancient Chinese history. [5] Chu was an ancient Chinese state in the Yangtze valley during the Zhou's dynasty. [8]

Ancient China had a unique way of showing different time periods each stage of China or each family that was in power was a distinctive dynasty. [9] Large scale irrigation and water-control projects were instituted for the first time in China during the Zhou dynasty period. [10] Qin Shi Huang crowned himself the first united China emperor, and the Zhou Dynasty was over. [11] The dynasty was obliterated by Qin Shi Huang's unification of China in 221 B.C.E. The Zhou had always had a concern for unity but in the end they could not sustain the unity of their empire, and lost the mandate of heaven. [12]

The Jin state was a major state during the middle part of the Zhou Dynasty, in central northern China, but the Jin duke lost power to his nobles. [13] The radical idea that rulers should love their subject, and work for their welfare, was alive and well in China during the Zhou dynasty. [12] The long-lasting Zhou dynasty gave stability to a large area of China for almost a millennium, allowing people to develop a sense of mutual responsibility and a shared view of life. [12] The Zhou dynasty, along with the preceding Shang dynasty, corresponded with the Bronze Age in China. [10] The Zhou Dynasty (Chinese: 周朝 Pinyin: Zhōu Cháo Wade-Giles: Chou Ch`ao) (1022 B.C.E. to 256 B.C.E. ) followed the Shang (Yin) dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty in China. [12] Zhou Dynasty Facts The Zhou Dynasty followed the Shang Dynasty, ruling from 1046 B.C. to 256 B.C. making it the longest ruling Chinese dynasty in history. [11] Many of the Chinese culture's greatest thinkers in history existed during the Zhou Dynasty, including Confucius, Mozi, Mencius, and Laozi. [11]

The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other in Chinese history, and the use of iron was introduced to China during this time. [12] Know more about the contributions of the Zhou dynasty of China by studying its 10 major achievements. [10] The Zhou era (1046 BC - 256 BC) lasted for 790 years making Zhou dynasty the longest reigning dynasty in Chinese history. [10] The Zhou Dynasty would become the longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history, lasting over 800 years. [14]

This was also emphasized by the great teacher, Confucius (551-479 B.C.E. ), who lived during the Zhou dynasty at Lu, where he advised the government. [12]

In Ancient China the author would think about government, social classes, the civilization and the inventions. [8] In Ancient China an author would write about government, social classes, civilization and the four major professions. [8]

It was succeeded by the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC, which marked the transition between ancient China and Imperial China. [13]

ANCIENT CHINA LAW Dynasties Ancient China had many different dynasties and Chinese records indicate that the Xia, the Shang and the Zhou were the first of the many families to rule China. [15] The Shang and Zhou Dynasties of China Global History and Geography I Name: ____________________ E. Napp Date: ____________________ Please read the passage and answer the questions that follow: A family that rules a country for a long period of time is called a dynasty. [16] The Shang dynasty however gained control of northern china and ruled at around 1650 BCE. The Zhou dynasty came from the western border of China and conquered in 1050BCE and ruled until 221BCE. They changed the way China was governed, they made nobles more powerful and the kings weaker. [15]

By the end of King Wei&aposs reign (379� BC), Qi was one of the strongest states, and independent from the Zhou Dynasty. [13] In 403 BC, the Jin state was recognized by the Zhou Dynasty as split into the three successor states. [13] States declared independence from the Zhou Dynasty, and kingdoms fought for territory, during this period. [13] Lu was a state during the Zhou's dynasty Lu was founded in the 11 century BC. Wu was one of the states during the western Zhou dynasty. [8] Zhou dynasty took over from Shang after defeating them in the Battle of Muye in 1046 BC. [10] The oracle bone script of Shang evolved to form the seal script and later the clerical script during the late Zhou dynasty. [10] From 475 B.C. to 221 B.C. when the Zhou Dynasty fell, this period is referred to as the warring states period because the eight states fought until only the Qin state, run by Qin Shi Huang, had conquered all the rest. [11] During the Warring States Period, nobles stopped supporting the Zhou Dynasty (1046� BC), and Zhou&aposs vassal states declared themselves independent from Zhou, becoming kingdoms or warring states. [13] After the 771 BC defeat, the Zhou moved their capital eastwards beginning the Eastern Zhou dynasty. [10] The Zhou Dynasty is usually divided into the Western Zhou, which ruled from 1046 B.C. to 771 B.C., and the Eastern Zhou, which ruled from 770 B.C. to 256 B.C. The division occurred when the Zhou capital was moved to a more eastern location to help protect it from invaders in the west. [11] The Duke of Zhou oversaw the Zhou Dynasty as regent of King Chen. [11] Towards the end of the Zhou Dynasty, the nobles did not even bother to acknowledge the Ji family symbolically and declared themselves to be kings. [12] The Zhou dynasty was founded by the Ji family and had its capital at Hào (near the present-day city of Xi'an). [12] The people of the Zhou Dynasty are more famous for their bronze work than for their iron work, despite iron being introduced during this dynasty's rule. [11] Confucius, who lived during the Zhou dynasty, laid the foundations of what became Confucian thought, much of which concerned the correct ordering of society. [12]

The Han dynasty was known for being a great period for the Ancient Chinese culture music, drama, and literature flourished during this time. [9] According to Mr. Donn "Ancient China had lots of laws and dynasty's". [8]

The Warring States Period (475� BC) was an era of division in ancient China. [13] Ancient China began in 5000 BC. This civilization started around the Yellow Sea they started building villages around it because it was a good resource. [8] The author is important to Ancient China because they write every thing down and they record it. [8] The laws in ancient China were every man must carry duties with obedience. [8] In ancient China there were many inventions and accomplishments. [8] In conclusion there are many things for the author to write about in Ancient China. [8] An author in Ancient China was expected to write everything down. [8] The oracle bones are animal bones or shell carved with written characters that was used to predict the future in ancient China. [17]

The first ever emperor of Ancient China was Qin Shi Huangdi who ruled during the Quin dynasty in 221 BCE. Qin divided china into 36 different areas and sent three officials to govern each area. [15] The Zhou dynasty lasted a very long time but towards the end of the Zhou dynasty, there was a great deal of fighting in China. [16] Dropping their loyalty to the Zhou Dynasty, nobles battled one another for control of parts of China. [18]


The key dynasties in ancient China were the Xia 2070-1600, Shang 1523-1028, Zhou 1046-221, Qin 221-207 and the Han in 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. Each of these ancient Chinese dynasties had their own systems of taxation and tithing which helped China to prosper at different periods within its history. [19] Ancient China was ruled by a form of government called the dynasties. [15] The Government of Ancient China Laws Most of the laws of Ancient China came from the moral teachings written in the legal-code books. [15]

The Chou dynasty also bought the idea of a decentralized government to China, this made things all around more fair by improving levels of efficiency in the provision of goods and services as many modern countries today have proved. [20] Then a government official called Liu Bang created the Han dynasty which began in 206BCE. Liu Bang organized a civil service to run the empire which was ran by government officials who made sure laws were being followed and collected the taxes.This dynasty was then followed by the Sui dynasty which made many changes to strengthen China. [15]


Since most ancient Chinese believed that their ruler was chosen by the gods in Heaven, and that Heaven could overthrow a bad ruler, the Chinese believed that the Zhou were chosen to rule. [16] The ancient Chinese also believed that natural disasters were Heaven's warning signs that the government had moved away from the Dao. [21] Ancient China's government was based on legalism which was a system that would not tolerate any opposition to the emperors rule. [15]

Read the passage and answer the questions that follow: Confucius was a philosopher in ancient China around 500 BC. His main idea was that people could achieve peace by doing their duty, and cooperating with society. [16] Wise and capable rulers in ancient China revered Heaven and cherished, respected, and protected their subjects. [21] Punishments If any laws were broken in Ancient China, the punishments were very severe. [15]


According to Confucius, the duke thought of the needs of his people first and led the Zhou Dynasty into a period of peace and prosperity. [18] The Zhou Dynasty clung to power for about 800 years--from 1027 to 256 B.C. But it ruled in name only for the last 500 years. [18] The Zhou dynasty established the Mandate of Heaven, a belief that a ruler's authority came from a higher power and could also be taken away if he acted unjustly. [22]

The deforestation may have been a factor in the social degeneration that allowed a more warlike Shang culture to replace the Longshan, whose late use of arrowheads, spears, daggers, and clubs foreshadowed the conflicts that were to worsen with the Shang warriors, who dominated China for three-quarters of a millennium until their overthrow by the Zhou dynasty in the eleventh century BC. [23] "ANCIENT CHINA" ZHOU About 1000 BC, the Shang were overthrown by a revolt, aided by the neighboring Zhou (Ch'ou) under the leadership of Wu. [24] The defeat of the Shang by the Zhou, whose homeland was in northwest China (ca. 1046 B.C.), was the first episode of several during Chinese history where outsiders invaded and conquered the Central Plain, but then adopted many of the governing and cultural practices of that region ( 12, 30 ). [25]

The six ministries of the early Zhou governments were to continue in China for about three thousand years. [23]

The use of writing was so extensive in ancient China that for about three thousand years until the 18th century CE the number of books in Chinese was greater than all the other books in the world. [23]

The Eastern Zhou Dynasty endeavored to expand its political hegemony in all directions through conquest and political alliance, but met perpetual resistance, and in the latter centuries of this era, centralized authority largely broke down, leaving 5� formerly vassal states across the Chinese landscape to vie for power and territorial control during the Warring States era (453� B.C.) ( Fig. 2 ) ( 15, 30, 33 ). [25] It was during the Zhou Dynasty that Chinese philosophy, based on Confucius and others, was born. [24]

The epoch of Zhou rule was the longest enduring Chinese dynasty, albeit also a time of cataclysmic change. [25] Traditional Chinese history gives the dates 2205-1766 BC for the Xia (Hsia) dynasty, but the writing about it comes from the Zhou (Chou) dynasty in the first millennium BC. The word xia meant summer and was depicted as flourishing trees. [23]

The major change that occurred during the Western Zhou Dynasty was the development of a more complete written language based on the ancient characters of the Shang Dynasty. [26] The traditional dates of the Shang dynasty are 1766-1122 BC, but recent scholarship suggests this culture lasted nearly five hundred years and was overthrown by the Zhou dynasty about the middle of the eleventh century BC. The Shang were centered around the Yellow River and moved their capital many times, though it was near modern Anyang for more than 250 years after it was moved there by the powerful ruler Pan Geng in 1384 BC. [23] The next year the Zhou people fled to the east, and the nine sacred vessels passed into the hands of Qin in 149 BC, marking the final disappearance of the Zhou dynasty that had been only a figurehead for several centuries. [23] The Zhou Dynasty is divided into two periods: the Western Zhou (11th century BC to 771 BC) and the Eastern Zhou (770 BC - 221 BC). [27] The Zhou Dynasty defeated the Shang Dynasty using the mandate of heaven and said they where immortal at about 1046 BC, and came to power. [28] Somewhere around 1027 - 1050 BC King Wu established the Zhou Dynasty, having conquered the Shang Dynasty. [26]

There was also a sea route by which an emissary of the Roman Emperor reached China in AD 166 AD, and it was during the Han Dynasty that the Chinese first made contact with India. [24] Other philosophers, theorists, and schools of thought in this era were Mozi (Latin: Micius), founder of Mohism, Mengzi (Latin: Mencius), a famous Confucian who expanded upon Kong Fuzi's legacy, Shang Yang and Han Feizi, responsible for the development of ancient Chinese Legalism (the core philosophy of the Qin Dynasty ), and Xunzi. [28]

China also had slaves throughout its ancient history and these slaves were also given to the government in the form of taxation. [19] Tithing or gift giving in ancient China was done by emperors and other people as a sign of respect or honor. [19] Duan CQ, Gan XC, Wang J, Chien PK. Relocation of civilization centers in ancient China: Environmental factors. [25] Only on the north was ancient China vulnerable to invaders, such as the Mongols, or to visitors and traders who, like Marco Polo followed the Silk Road from Europe. [24]


The Age of Warring States (c.481- 221BCE) - Many regional states formed as the Zhou Dynasty the Mandate of Heaven. [29] The Zhou Dynasty overlaps the Age of Warring States for more than two centuries. [29]

The first two centuries of the Zhou dynasty were fairly peaceful within their realms, though wars were often fought with nomads on the perimeters to expand the kingdom. [23] Later, Wuwang established the Zhou Dynasty and made Haojing (the present Chang'an County, Shaanxi Province) its capital. [27]

Southern states, beyond the pale of the early Zhou sphere, were gradually drawn into the Zhou state system in later Zhou times, as the older Zhou states of northern China reached out for allies in their constant struggles with one another. [5] To be the legitimate rulers of China, the Zhou said, one must possess this mandate. [2] The feudal system developed by the Zhou provided protection to the kingdom and kept China from being torn apart by powerful, ambitious aristocrats for many years, but by around 700 B.C.E. it was no longer working well. [2] The fighting went on for three years before the rebellion was put down, and finally the Zhou solidified their reign over all of China. [1] During the course of several centuries, the Zhou moved away from barbarian pressures, migrating towards the westernmost agricultural basin of North China, the lower Wei River valley, present-day Shaanxi province. [4] The last Zhou king is traditionally taken to be Nan, who was killed when Qin captured the capital Wangcheng in 256 BC. A " King Hui " was declared, but his splinter state was fully removed by 249 BC. Qin's unification of China concluded in 221 BC with Qin Shihuang's annexation of Qi. [6] Nobles of the Ji family proclaimed Duke Hui of Eastern Zhou as King Nan's successor after their capital, Chengzhou, fell to Qin forces in 256 BC. Ji Zhao, a son of King Nan, led a resistance against Qin for five years. [6] The capital was moved eastward to Wangcheng, marking the end of the "Western Zhou" ( 西周, p Xī Zhōu ) and the beginning of the "Eastern Zhou" dynasty ( 东周, p Dōng Zhōu ). [6] The Zhou justified the change of dynasty and their own authority by claiming that the dispossessed Shang had forfeited the " Mandate of Heaven " by their misrule. [4] Here they began to develop Shang-style agriculture, and they also built a city in an area named Plain of Zhou, which gave its name to the state and the dynasty. [4] The real power of Zhou was so small, that the end of the dynasty was hardly noted. [4] He became king of Zhou in 1099 BCE during the last days of the Shang Dynasty. [4] The Zhou coexisted with the Shang dynasty ( c. 1600-1046 bce ) for many years, living just west of the Shang territory in what is now Shaanxi province. [1]

The Qin did more than just found a dynasty in China: they brought a continent together. [3] All subsequent dynasty changes in China would be justified with arguments along these same lines. [4] The Warring States period ended in 221 B.C.E. when Emperor Shi Huangdi defeated each of the rebellious lords one by one and created the Qin Dynasty to rule over a truly united China for the first time. [2] Although Shi Huangdi and Shang Yang's Legalism (as well as Li Siu's policies) were hated by many at the time (and have been generally frowned upon by scholars of the period), later Qin kings and emperors of China were well aware of the strong impact that Legalism had on the efficiency and strength of the state. [3] His lessons were implemented by Ying Zheng, King of Qin, who emerged victorious from the Warring States period and proclaimed himself Shi Huangdi - `first emperor' - of China in 221 BCE. About 230 BCE, when the final campaign to unify China began, it is estimated that Qin controlled one-third of all the land under cultivation in China and one-third of China's total population. [3] A series of victories by the state of Qin towards the end of the Warring States period resulted in their complete conquest of China in 221 BCE when the Qin empire unified China for the first time in its history. [3]

Chaos and war prevailed and the battles continued until eventually the state of Qin conquered the other states and unified China once more in 221 BCE, the beginning of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). [4] In the tenth century B.C.E., a small clan of formerly nomadic people swept through China and waged war against its ruling family, the Shang Dynasty. [2] The Shang Dynasty (c.1600-1046 BCE) was the second dynasty of China which succeeded the Xia Dynasty (c. 2700-1600 BCE. [4] It was not until the later Han Dynasty that books were recovered from hiding and repaired, and literacy was again available to the people of China. [3] Although the present structure does not date from the Qin Dynasty, it was begun under Shi Huangdi, as was the Grand Canal, and the roads which today link the cities of China and the countryside. [3]

By 700 BCE, the state of Qin in the west, Jin in the north, Qi in the east and Chu in the south were the main centres of power in China. [4] War after war, the different states started to annex each other and form the roughly 100 states that were in China in about 770 BCE - there were just 40 towards the end of the Spring and Autumn Period. [4] The period from 772 to 476 BCE is known in Chinese history as the Spring and Autumn Period, so called after the name of the preserved official chronicle of the small state of Lu, in which the events throughout China between these dates are recorded. [4] The vast time sweep of the Zhou dynasty--encompassing some eight centuries--is the single longest period of Chinese history. [1] The Eastern Zhou, however, is also remembered as the golden age of Chinese philosophy: the Hundred Schools of Thought which flourished as rival lords patronized itinerant shi scholars is led by the example of Qi's Jixia Academy. [6]

This was the feudal age, when the feudal states were ruled by lords who paid homage to the king of Zhou and recognized him as the "Son of Heaven [1] During this time, the state of Qin became responsible for guarding the western frontier and they gradually moved eastward and eventually occupied the original Zhou domains. [3] Duke Xin, ruler of Qin, is awarded the title of Hegemon by the Zhou state. [4] He was descended from Duke Yang of the State of Lu 魯煬公 Duke Yang was the son of Bo Qin, who was the son of the Duke of Zhou. [6]

Xiao, ruler of Qin, is awarded the title of Hegemon by the Zhou state. [4] Huiwen, ruler of Qin, is awarded royal status by the Zhou state. [4]

King Ping of Zhou (r. 770-720 BCE) transferred titles of the nobility and huge estates to the chief of Qin. [3] In c. 1045 BCE, the powerful and ambitious king of Zhou sent his army to defeat the Shang army in the battle of Muye. [5] King Wen is credited with conceiving the ambitious plan of undermining the authority of the Shang by making alliances with neighbouring chiefs that gave the Zhou the military power to make conquest possible. [4] Zhou military power was dealt a major blow, however, when, in c. 977 BCE, the "Six Armies" were wiped out along with the king on a campaign in the Yangtze valley. [5] The first important historical figure of the Zhou is King Wen (1152-1056 BCE), who is described as a living standard of benevolence and wisdom. [4] In addition to these rulers, King Wu's immediate ancestors - Danfu, Jili, and Wen - are also referred to as "Kings of Zhou", despite having been nominal vassals of the Shang kings. [6] The Zhou were not able to fully control the eastern plain that the Shang had controlled, and King Wu did not elaborate a plan in order to accomplish such a goal. [4] The whole period of the Eastern Zhou is also known as the period of "the One Hundred Schools" a time when numerous teachers and their disciples preached new beliefs and new ways of doing things. [5] This blood bath of a time period is historically known as "The Period of the Warring States" and would prove too much for the Zhou to come back from. [7]

In 403 BC, the Zhou court recognized Han, Zhao, and Wei as fully independent states. [6] The military prowess of Zhou peaked during the 19th year of King Zhao's reign, when the six armies were wiped out along with King Zhao on a campaign around the Han River. [6] Although Wu's early death left a young and inexperienced heir, the Duke of Zhou assisted his nephew King Cheng in consolidating royal power. [6] After accomplishing all of this in a timeframe of seven years, the powers that the Duke of Zhou had were extraordinary. [4] When many of the former Shang-dominated states to the east tried to shake off Zhou rule, the duke of Zhou led an expedition which brought them firmly under control. [5] Zhou is represented by two stars, Eta Capricorni ( 週一 Zhōu yī, "the First Star of Zhou") and 21 Capricorni ( 週二 Zhōu èr, "the Second Star of Zhou"), in "Twelve States" asterism. [6] The city states slowly emerged as powerful independent fiefs and the real Zhou power disintegrated. [4] All these changes in ruling started to split the Zhou up into regional/feudal states, and because everyone wanted to be the top dog, people started having some tension between one another. [7] Recent archaeological finds demonstrate similarities between horse burials of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and Indo-European peoples in the west. [6] The Zhou emulated extensively Shang cultural practices, perhaps to legitimize their own rule, and became the successors to Shang culture. [6] The Zhou enfeoffed a member of the defeated Shang royal family as the Duke of Song, which was held by descendants of the Shang royal family until its end. [6] Some of the previous lords kept their territories by submitting to Zhou authority, and others were brought into the Zhou royal family by marriage, but the end result was that the old Shang confederation was welded into a much tighter political system under the control of the Zhou royal clan. [5] An early Zhou palace at Fenzhou, probably the residence of a high ranking member of the royal family, is very similar to those of the Shang, and the early Zhou adopted the ritual and burial practices of the Shang. [5] One of the Zhou ruling houses devised a plan to conquer the Shang, and a decisive battle was fought, probably in the mid-11th century bce. [1] For many years the Zhou and the Shang coexisted alternating peace and war. [4] Even though they garnered the support of independent-minded nobles, Shang partisans and several Dongyi tribes, the Duke of Zhou quelled the rebellion, and further expanded the Zhou Kingdom into the east. [6]

King Wen (1152-1056 BCE) of the Zhou is described as a living standard of benevolence & wisdom. [4] One of these states was the kingdom of Zhou, which lay on the western frontiers of the Shang-dominated area, and may not have been fully assimilated into it. [5] The Qin became a close ally to the Zhou and they also had marriage relations with the Zhou ruling class. [4] After the Zhou came to power, the mandate became a political tool. [6] The Zhou court extended its power over the eastern plain by granting authority to members of the royal family and in some cases to favoured adherents, who established walled forts supported by garrison troops among the original habitants of the east. [4] Wary of the Duke of Zhou's increasing power, the "Three Guards", Zhou princes stationed on the eastern plain, rose in rebellion against his regency. [6] The Eastern Zhou was characterized by an accelerating collapse of royal authority, although the king's ritual importance allowed over five more centuries of rule. [6] It motivated ambitious military leaders to push out Zhou rule into neighbouring lands in the expectation of being granted a slice of frontier territory as a reward for their efforts. [5] The Duke of Zhou reacted quickly by organizing his military strength and crushing the rebellion. [4] The Mandate of Heaven was presented as a religious compact between the Zhou people and their supreme god in heaven (literally the'sky god'). [6] Although the Mandate of Heaven gave the Zhou ruling authority, they still had to figure out how to govern. [2]

Since rulers claimed that their authority came from heaven, the Zhou made great efforts to gain accurate knowledge of the stars and to perfect the astronomical system on which they based their calendar. [6] It started during the Zhou when rulers were claiming to be "Sons of Gods". [7] It was not until the Dong Zhou and the classical age of Confucius and Laozi that unique local traditions became apparent. [1] As time passed, however, the ties of blood thinned, and the Zhou ruling clan, widely-distributed as it was over many principalities, became increasingly fragmented in its loyalties. [5]

The Zhou eventually lost control over much of their territory and were forced to move to the East, where they ruled in a weakened condition for another 300 years. [2]

For three centuries after the Zhou conquered the Shang, Zhou rulers maintained order in North China and expanded their territories. [4] China was composed of a network of city -states loyal to the Zhou king, from which military and political control spread over the surrounding farming villages. [3] In this system, the Zhou king made alliances with the most powerful families in China, and promised to give them land and protection from their enemies. [2]

King Ying Zheng of Qin defeats the other warring states, claims Mandate of Heaven to rule China. [3] When King Wen died in 1056 B.C.E., he was succeeded by his son, Wu, who finally toppled the Shang family in 1046 B.C.E. and established his own family as the rulers of China. [2] King Ying Zheng assumes the title Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China. [3] Construction of Northern Frontier wall by Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China, precursor to Great Wall. [3] First Emperor of China Shi Huangdi dies, buried with army of 8,000 terracotta warriors in palace tomb. [3]

Of the many Chinese states, Qin had the advantage of a favourable location: Its territory in modern Shaanxi province is well guarded from the east by mountains and gorges and has easy access to the North China plain through the Yellow River passes. [3] Many Chinese historians consider this event as pivotal for the state of Qin. [3] The Qin statesman Shang Yang (356-338 BCE) advocated total war and a disregard for the polite policies of battle which Chinese generals had always adhered to. [3] Trade was increased, towns grew up, coinage was developed, chopsticks came into use, and the Chinese writing system was created out of its primitive beginnings in the Shang period. [1] Established during the Western period, the Li traditional Chinese : 禮 simplified Chinese : 礼 pinyin : lǐ ) ritual system encoded an understanding of manners as an expression of the social hierarchy, ethics, and regulation concerning material life the corresponding social practices became idealized within Confucian ideology. [6]

Duke Hui of Wei, in 344 BC, was the first to claim the royal title of king (Chinese: 王) for himself. [6] Not unconnected to this, during the Eastern Zhou period Chinese philosophy developed, its initial stages beginning in the 6th century BCE. The Eastern Zhou period was a time of change and uncertainty. [5] Many of the ideas developed by figures like Laozi, Confucius, Mencius and Mozi, who all lived during the Eastern Zhou period, would shape the character of Chinese civilization up to the present day. [4] Chinese Text Project, Rulers of the Zhou period - with links to their occurrences in pre-Qin and Han texts. [6] According to traditional Chinese histories, the early Western Zhou kings were supported by a strong army, split into two major units: "the Six Armies of the West" and "the Eight Armies of Zengzhou." [5]

The terracotta army also exemplifies what Chinese society at that time was able to produce once it had been formed as a state. [3] This bureaucratic model became the standard for the Chinese government and is still maintained in some form today. [3] All the leading states of the period expanded the number of officials they employed, so that their governments could regulate and tax their populations more effectively. [5] Following the example of Chu, the leading states divided their territories into districts headed by officials (prefects) appointed by the government to administer the localities, further restricting the power of the local aristocracies. [5]

During his time as minister, Shang Yang radically renovated the policies of government but, in fact, he simply revived a practice which was already present for years: a form of government with a focus on greater efficiency and less adherence to tradition in which strict adherence to the letter of the law was made paramount (hence the name `Legalism'). [3]

Soya beans had been introduced into northern and central China towards the end of the Shang period. [5] For many centuries China lived immersed in a situation of war, a disorder in which none of the competing states was strong enough to conquer all of the others, but many of them were strong enough to break that order. [4] Those who contributed the most to the state were highly rewarded while those whose lives were considered of no consequence were sent to work as slaves on Shi Huangdi's building projects such as the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canal, and the roads which increased ease of trade and travel. [3]

The later Wei statesman Ximen Bao, who served Marquis Wen of Wei (445-396 BC), was the first hydraulic engineer of China to have created a large irrigation canal system. [6] Iron, ox-drawn plows, crossbows, and horseback riding were all introduced large-scale irrigation and water-control projects were also instituted for the first time, greatly increasing the crop yield of the North China Plain. [1]

The years from the 8th century bce to 221 bce witnessed the painful birth of a unified China. [1] This situation led to the Warring States Period (476-221 BCE), where seven states were the chief contenders that fought for the control and unification of China. [4] During the Warring States period, all the states in China were trying to draw more power and prestige to themselves. [3]

This type of unilineal descent-group later became the model of the Korean family through the influence of Neo-Confucianism, as Zhu Xi and others advocated its re-establishment in China. [6] Although Confucianism was preferred in later dynasties, Legalism continued to exert a strong influence in China. [3]

Although only the first three of these went on to receive imperial patronage in later dynasties, doctrines from each influenced the others and Chinese society in sometimes unusual ways. [6] The greatest Chinese philosophers were Confucius (551-479 BCE), founder of Confucianism, and Laozi (slightly earlier in the 6th century), the founder of Daoism. [5] When the Qin dynasty fell and was replaced by the Han dynasty, many Chinese were relieved to return to the more humane virtues of Confucius. [6]

King Wu took over in 1076 BC. The dynasty was jump started by the Iron Age that was spreading like wildfire. [7] The challenger to the old dynasty blamed all of the problems in society on the dynasty and often used natural disasters or attacks from enemies as signals that the old dynasty had lost the Mandate of Heaven. [2] Victory over the old dynasty would signify that the challenger had received the Mandate of Heaven, and they would establish a new dynasty. [2]

The dynasty also spans the period in which the written script evolved into its almost-modern form with the use of an archaic clerical script that emerged during the late Warring States period. [6] Emperor Shi Huangdi ended the Period of the Warring States and founded the Qin Dynasty. [2]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(32 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


Contents

Foundation Edit

Traditional myth Edit

According to Chinese mythology, the Zhou lineage began when Jiang Yuan, a consort of the legendary Emperor Ku, miraculously conceived a child, Qi "the Abandoned One", after stepping into the divine footprint of Shangdi. [5] [6] Qi was a culture hero credited with surviving three abandonments by his mother and with greatly improving Xia agriculture, [5] to the point where he was granted lordship over Tai and the surname Ji by his own Xia king and a later posthumous name, Houji "Lord of Millet", by the Tang of Shang. He even received sacrifice as a harvest god. The term Hòujì was probably a hereditary title attached to a lineage.

Qi's son, or rather that of the Hòujì, Buzhu is said to have abandoned his position as Agrarian Master (Chinese: 農師 pinyin: Nóngshī ) in old age and either he or his son Ju abandoned their tradition, living in the manner of the Xirong and Rongdi (see Hua–Yi distinction). [7] Ju's son Liu, [8] however, led his people to prosperity by restoring agriculture and settling them at a place called Bin, [c] which his descendants ruled for generations. Tai later led the clan from Bin to Zhou, an area in the Wei River valley of modern-day Qishan County.

The duke passed over his two elder sons Taibo and Zhongyong to favor the younger Jili, a warrior in his own right. As a vassal of the Shang kings Wu Yi and Wen Ding, Jili went to conquer several Xirong tribes before being treacherously killed by Shang forces. Taibo and Zhongyong had supposedly already fled to the Yangtze delta, where they established the state of Wu among the tribes there. Jili's son Wen bribed his way out of imprisonment and moved the Zhou capital to Feng (within present-day Xi'an). Around 1046 BC, Wen's son Wu and his ally Jiang Ziya led an army of 45,000 men and 300 chariots across the Yellow River and defeated King Zhou of Shang at the Battle of Muye, marking the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. [d] The Zhou enfeoffed a member of the defeated Shang royal family as the Duke of Song, which was held by descendants of the Shang royal family until its end. This practice was referred to as Two Kings, Three Reverences.

Culture Edit

According to Nicholas Bodman, the Zhou appear to have spoken a language not basically different in vocabulary and syntax from that of the Shang. [e] A recent study by David McCraw, using lexical statistics, reached the same conclusion. [11] The Zhou emulated extensively Shang cultural practices, perhaps to legitimize their own rule, [12] and became the successors to Shang culture. [13] At the same time, the Zhou may also have been connected to the Xirong, a broadly defined cultural group to the west of the Shang, which the Shang regarded as tributaries. [14] According to the historian Li Feng, the term "Rong" during the Western Zhou period was likely used to designate political and military adversaries rather than cultural and ethnic "others". [13]

Western Zhou Edit

King Wu maintained the old capital for ceremonial purposes but constructed a new one for his palace and administration nearby at Hao. Although Wu's early death left a young and inexperienced heir, the Duke of Zhou assisted his nephew King Cheng in consolidating royal power. Wary of the Duke of Zhou's increasing power, the "Three Guards", Zhou princes stationed on the eastern plain, rose in rebellion against his regency. Even though they garnered the support of independent-minded nobles, Shang partisans, and several Dongyi tribes, the Duke of Zhou quelled the rebellion, and further expanded the Zhou Kingdom into the east. [15] [16] [17] To maintain Zhou authority over its greatly expanded territory and prevent other revolts, he set up the fengjian system. [16] Furthermore, he countered Zhou's crisis of legitimacy by expounding the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven while accommodating important Shang rituals at Wangcheng and Chengzhou. [18]

Over time, this decentralized system became strained as the familial relationships between the Zhou kings and the regional dynasties thinned over the generations. Peripheral territories developed local power and prestige on par with that of the Zhou. [19] When King You demoted and exiled his Jiang queen in favor of the beautiful commoner Bao Si, the disgraced queen's father the Marquis of Shen joined with Zeng and the Quanrong barbarians to sack Hao in 771 BC. Some modern scholars have surmised that the sack of Haojing might have been connected to a Scythian raid from the Altai before their westward expansion. [20] With King You dead, a conclave of nobles met at Shen and declared the Marquis's grandson King Ping. The capital was moved eastward to Wangcheng, [1] marking the end of the "Western Zhou" ( 西周 , p Xī Zhōu) and the beginning of the "Eastern Zhou" dynasty ( 东周 , p Dōng Zhōu).

Eastern Zhou Edit

The Eastern Zhou was characterized by an accelerating collapse of royal authority, although the king's ritual importance allowed over five more centuries of rule. The Confucian chronicle of the early years of this process led to its title of the "Spring and Autumn" period. The partition of Jin in the mid-5th century BC initiated a second phase, the "Warring States". [19] In 403 BC, the Zhou court recognized Han, Zhao, and Wei as fully independent states. Duke Hui of Wei, in 344 BC, was the first to claim the royal title of king (Chinese: 王) for himself. Others followed, marking a turning point, as rulers did not even entertain the pretence of being vassals of the Zhou court, instead proclaiming themselves fully independent kingdoms. A series of states rose to prominence before each falling in turn, and Zhou was a minor player in most of these conflicts.

The last Zhou king is traditionally taken to be Nan, who was killed when Qin captured the capital Wangcheng [1] in 256 BC. A "King Hui" was declared, but his splinter state was fully removed by 249 BC. Qin's unification of China concluded in 221 BC with Qin Shihuang's annexation of Qi.

The Eastern Zhou, however, is also remembered as the golden age of Chinese philosophy: the Hundred Schools of Thought which flourished as rival lords patronized itinerant shi scholars is led by the example of Qi's Jixia Academy. The Nine Schools of Thought which came to dominate the others were Confucianism (as interpreted by Mencius and others), Legalism, Taoism, Mohism, the utopian communalist Agriculturalism, two strains of Diplomatists, the sophistic Logicians, Sun-tzu's Militarists, and the Naturalists. [21] Although only the first three of these went on to receive imperial patronage in later dynasties, doctrines from each influenced the others and Chinese society in sometimes unusual ways. The Mohists, for instance, found little interest in their praise of meritocracy but much acceptance for their mastery of defensive siege warfare much later, however, their arguments against nepotism were used in favor of establishing the imperial examination system.

Mandate of Heaven and the justification of power Edit

Zhou rulers introduced what was to prove one of East Asia's most enduring political doctrines: the concept of the "Mandate of Heaven". They did this by asserting that their moral superiority justified taking over Shang wealth and territories, and that heaven had imposed a moral mandate on them to replace the Shang and return good governance to the people. [22]

The Mandate of Heaven was presented as a religious compact between the Zhou people and their supreme god in heaven (literally the 'sky god'). The Zhou agreed that since worldly affairs were supposed to align with those of the heavens, the heavens conferred legitimate power on only one person, the Zhou ruler. In return, the ruler was duty-bound to uphold heaven's principles of harmony and honor. Any ruler who failed in this duty, who let instability creep into earthly affairs, or who let his people suffer, would lose the mandate. Under this system, it was the prerogative of spiritual authority to withdraw support from any wayward ruler and to find another, more worthy one. [23] In this way, the Zhou sky god legitimized regime change.

In using this creed, the Zhou rulers had to acknowledge that any group of rulers, even they themselves, could be ousted if they lost the mandate of heaven because of improper practices. The book of odes written during the Zhou period clearly intoned this caution. [22]

The early Zhou kings contended that heaven favored their triumph because the last Shang kings had been evil men whose policies brought pain to the people through waste and corruption. After the Zhou came to power, the mandate became a political tool.

One of the duties and privileges of the king was to create a royal calendar. This official document defined times for undertaking agricultural activities and celebrating rituals. But unexpected events such as solar eclipses or natural calamities threw the ruling house's mandate into question. Since rulers claimed that their authority came from heaven, the Zhou made great efforts to gain accurate knowledge of the stars and to perfect the astronomical system on which they based their calendar. [23]

Zhou legitimacy also arose indirectly from Shang material culture through the use of bronze ritual vessels, statues, ornaments, and weapons. [23] As the Zhou emulated the Shang's large scale production of ceremonial bronzes, they developed an extensive system of bronze metalworking that required a large force of tribute labor. Many of its members were Shang, who were sometimes forcibly transported to new Zhou to produce the bronze ritual objects which were then sold and distributed across the lands, symbolizing Zhou legitimacy. [22]

Feudalism Edit

Western writers often describe the Zhou period as "feudal" because the Zhou's fēngjiàn (封建) system invites comparison with medieval rule in Europe.

There were many similarities between the decentralized systems. When the dynasty was established, the conquered land was divided into hereditary fiefs ( 諸侯 , zhūhóu) that eventually became powerful in their own right. In matters of inheritance, the Zhou dynasty recognized only patrilineal primogeniture as legal. [24] [25] According to Tao (1934: 17–31), "the Tsung-fa or descent line system has the following characteristics: patrilineal descent, patrilineal succession, patriarchate, sib-exogamy, and primogeniture" [26]

The system, also called "extensive stratified patrilineage", was defined by the anthropologist Kwang-chih Chang as "characterized by the fact that the eldest son of each generation formed the main of line descent and political authority, whereas the younger brothers were moved out to establish new lineages of lesser authority. The farther removed, the lesser the political authority". Ebrey defines the descent-line system as follows: "A great line (ta-tsung) is the line of eldest sons continuing indefinitely from a founding ancestor. A lesser line is the line of younger sons going back no more than five generations. Great lines and lesser lines continually spin off new lesser lines, founded by younger sons".

K.E. Brashier writes in his book "Ancestral Memory in Early China" about the tsung-fa system of patrilineal primogeniture: "The greater lineage, if it has survived, is the direct succession from father to eldest son and is not defined via the collateral shifts of the lesser lineages. In discussions that demarcate between trunk and collateral lines, the former is called a zong and the latter a zu, whereas the whole lineage is dubbed the shi. [. ] On one hand, every son who is not the eldest and hence not heir to the lineage territory has the potential of becoming a progenitor and fostering a new trunk lineage (Ideally he would strike out to cultivate new lineage territory). [. ] According to the Zou commentary, the son of heaven divided land among his feudal lords, his feudal lords divided the land among their dependent families and so forth down the pecking order to the officers who had their dependent kin and the commoners who "each had his apportioned relations and all had their graded precedence"" [27]

This type of unilineal descent-group later became the model of the Korean family through the influence of Neo-Confucianism, as Zhu Xi and others advocated its re-establishment in China. [28]

Fēngjiàn system and bureaucracy Edit

There were five peerage ranks below the royal ranks, in descending order with common English translations: gōng 公 "duke", hóu 侯 "marquis", 伯 "count", 子 "viscount", and nán 男 "baron". [29] At times, a vigorous duke would take power from his nobles and centralize the state. Centralization became more necessary as the states began to war among themselves and decentralization encouraged more war. If a duke took power from his nobles, the state would have to be administered bureaucratically by appointed officials.

Despite these similarities, there are a number of important differences from medieval Europe. One obvious difference is that the Zhou ruled from walled cities rather than castles. Another was China's distinct class system, which lacked an organized clergy but saw the Shang Zi-clan yeomen become masters of ritual and ceremony known as Shi (士). When a dukedom was centralized, these people would find employment as government officials or officers. These hereditary classes were similar to Western knights in status and breeding, but unlike Western clergy were expected to be something of a scholar instead of a warrior. Being appointed, they could move from one state to another. Some would travel from state to state peddling schemes of administrative or military reform. Those who could not find employment would often end up teaching young men who aspired to official status. The most famous of these was Confucius, who taught a system of mutual duty between superiors and inferiors. In contrast, the Legalists had no time for Confucian virtue and advocated a system of strict laws and harsh punishments. The wars of the Warring States were finally ended by the most legalist state of all, Qin. When the Qin dynasty fell and was replaced by the Han dynasty, many Chinese were relieved to return to the more humane virtues of Confucius. [ citation needed ]

Agriculture Edit

Agriculture in the Zhou dynasty was very intensive and, in many cases, directed by the government. All farming lands were owned by nobles, who then gave their land to their serfs, a situation similar to European feudalism. For example, a piece of land was divided into nine squares in the well-field system, with the grain from the middle square taken by the government and that of surrounding squares kept by individual farmers. This way, the government was able to store surplus food and distribute it in times of famine or bad harvest. Some important manufacturing sectors during this period included bronze smelting, which was integral to making weapons and farming tools. Again, these industries were dominated by the nobility who directed the production of such materials. [ citation needed ]

China's first projects of hydraulic engineering were initiated during the Zhou dynasty, ultimately as a means to aid agricultural irrigation. The chancellor of Wei, Sunshu Ao, who served King Zhuang of Chu, dammed a river to create an enormous irrigation reservoir in modern-day northern Anhui province. For this, Sunshu is credited as China's first hydraulic engineer. The later Wei statesman Ximen Bao, who served Marquis Wen of Wei (445–396 BC), was the first hydraulic engineer of China to have created a large irrigation canal system. As the main focus of his grandiose project, his canal work eventually diverted the waters of the entire Zhang River to a spot further up the Yellow River. [ citation needed ]

Military Edit

The early Western Zhou supported a strong army, split into two major units: "the Six Armies of the west" and "the Eight Armies of Chengzhou". The armies campaigned in the northern Loess Plateau, modern Ningxia and the Yellow River floodplain. The military prowess of Zhou peaked during the 19th year of King Zhao's reign, when the six armies were wiped out along with King Zhao on a campaign around the Han River. Early Zhou kings were true commanders-in-chief. They were in constant wars with barbarians on behalf of the fiefs called guo, which at that time meant "statelet" or "principality".


Zhou Dynasty

The Zhou Dynasty originated from the Zhou clan whose existence stretches back into history. By the 11th Century BC, this clan had become increasingly powerful and had extended throughout the present Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces. The Clan's mightiness increasingly menaced the Shang Dynasty and the conflict between the two groups intensified.

At that time, the Shang was under the rule of King Zhou. He was atrocious to his people and doted on his imperial concubine, Daji. All he did caused great rage amongst his people. The chief of the Zhou Tribe,Wenwang thought it was the right time to attack the Shang and entrusted his son Ji Fa to fulfill his last wish. After Wenwang died, his son Ji Fa ( Wuwang) succeeded him. He made full preparations for the war and killed King Zhou. Thus the Shang Dynasty ended in 1046 BC.

The Zhou Dynasty is divided into two periods: the Western Zhou (11th century BC to 771 BC) and the Eastern Zhou (770 BC - 221 BC). It is so divided because the capital cities in the Western Zhou of Fengyi (presently in the southwest of Chang'an County, Shaanxi Province) and Haojing lie to the west of the Eastern Zhou's capital of Luoyi (present Luoyang, Henan Province). As to the Eastern Dynasty, it is divided into the Spring and Autumn Periods (770 BC-476 BC), and the Warring States Period (476 BC - 221 BC). Each of the periods featured turbulent wars.

The achievements during the Zhou Dynasty in economy, politics, science and culture, were much more illustrious than any which occurred during the Shang Dynasty.

In the year 221 BC, Qin defeated the other six states which existed during the Warring States Period and unified China. Thus, history moved forward to a new age called the Qin Dynasty.


The Longest Dynasty in China

Zhou Dynasty followed the Shang Dynasty and was followed by the Qin Dynasty in China. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history—though the actual political and military control of China by the dynasty only lasted during the Western Zhou. During the Zhou, the use of iron was introduced to China,[1] while this period of Chinese history produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronze-ware making.

The dynasty also spans the period in which the written script evolved from the ancient stage as seen in early Western Zhou bronze inscriptions, to the beginnings of the modern stage, in the form of the archaic clerical script that emerged during the late Warring States period. During the Zhou Dynasty, the origins of native Chinese philosophy developed, its initial stages beginning in the 6th century BC.

The greatest Chinese philosophers, those who made the greatest impact on later generations of Chinese, were Kong Fuzi (Latin: Confucius), founder of Confucianism, and Laozi, founder of Daoism. Other philosophers, theorists, and schools of thought in this era were Mozi (Latin: Micius), founder of Mohism, Mengzi (Latin: Mencius), a famous Confucian who expanded upon Kong Fuzi's legacy, Shang Yang and Han Feizi, responsible for the development of ancient Chinese Legalism (the core philosophy of the Qin Dynasty), and Xunzi, who was arguably the center of ancient Chinese intellectual life during his time, even more so than iconic intellectual figures such as Mencius.


Watch the video: The Zhou Dynasty 1045BC - 256BC. History of China Simplified


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