Ancient China By: Matthew Howard

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Ancient China
By: Matthew Howard, Nicolas McWatters and Michael Murphy

* Neolithic Era: Neolithic cultures began developing in the North of China around 700 BCE. * The Jiahu civilization appeared, a people who were very dependent on intensive farming of things like rice and foxtail millet. * Cliff carvings have been found in China, showing an apparent fascination with gods, astrology, and their surroundings. * In 5500-4900 a civilization emerged which was very advanced, completed with construction of buildings, farming and agriculture, pottery, and burial of the dead. * Shang Dynasty: Anyang, confirmed to be the last standing of the Shang’s nine capitals was excavated and evidence of civilization was found. * The oracle bones were confirmed to be China’s first written evidence of organized culture and were a way of predicting the future through communicating with the gods. * During this period religion was at the forefront of culture, with gods being responsible for everything. They had one god who reigned supreme over the other gods, Shangdi. * The Shang dynasty had 30 kings. And at this time China was little more than an isolationist nation consisting of small farming communities. * There was a definite social infrastructure, where the nobles and kings were literally at a higher level than the peasants. * Slavery and Women : Slavery was a function of Chinese culture until the twentieth century, but shockingly, slaves made up approximately two percent of the population, consisting of criminals and captured opposing soldiers. * Women had a high standing in society and for the most part were equally valued * Over time males were given a greater bonus solely because of agricultural and economic capabilities, along with their importance in ancestor veneration. * Without a male heir, a gloomy afterlife existence was imminent, so eventually males took a greater value in society. * Fall of the Shang and Remnants: The Shang people were conquered by the Zhou, a militarily inclined people from the Northwest. * The Shang impressed upon future civilizations ideology, script and artistic principles. * The Zhou period and Classical Age: The Western Zhou ruled for the first segment of the Classical Age * They kept much of the Shang culture, only making changes in usage of oracle bones and replacing Shangdi with Tian * The Zhou used a decentralized government using a system of government similar to the Feudal era. * This system ended when an invading nomad people raided the capital, killing the king and forcing his successor to abandon the capital. * After fleeing the capital, there was no real central power in China with the Zhou ruling in name only. * There was civil war, resulting in seven tribes

* Confucius: Translated from Kong Fuzi
* Lived a very modest life, achieved fame posthumously
* His teachings became the guide to Chinese social life
* Taught to be eternal learner, only completed education at age of 70 * Three doctrines
* 1) Filial Piety
* 2) Rectification of names honour your duty
* 3) Practice of courtesy
* The First Emperor of China: China’s first real dynasty began in 221 BCE, when the prince created a new title for himself -Shi Huangdi (meant “the First Emperor”) * Called dynasty the Quin, from which we get the name China * Transformed the country, and in ten short years created an enduring legacy * Working closely with his Prime Minister, Li Si, the Emperor first seized all land once held by feudal nobility, and then divided China into 42 prefectures * Shi Huangdi believed in the principle that war enriched the state, so sent out great armies, first against Aboriginal peoples south of the Yangtze River, and then against a nomadic tribe called the Huns * Expeditions greatly successful but also costly and the Emperor was determined to find a permanent solution to the problems of the northern...
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