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Anna Marie HeadStudent ID: AC1406767HS 150 World Civilizations IAssignment 06Date of Submission: September 10, 2016The Impact of the Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties“It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide.”("Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Vol. 1 Quotes by Luo Guanzhong," n.d.) China had experienced hundreds of years that many consider comparable to the middle ages of Europe. The people experienced unity, disunity and a rigid, warrior-type regime and chaos for quite a long time. In 589 the reunification of China began again. The Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties had such political, social and economic impact that their legacies are still evident in China’s culture today. Lasting only 38 years, the legacy and impacts of the Sui Dynasty are often overlooked when in fact the political structure, and social and economic development that was formed during this Dynasty, created the framework for the following dynasties to expand upon. Yang Jian, who ruled as Emperor Wen (Judge & Langdon, 2012, p. 312) of the Sui Dynasty, ended the age of disunity and unified the Northern and Southern regions of China. Emperor Wen established a centralized government by instituting the Three Departments and Six Ministries. (Wu, 2016) He introduced civil service exams and embedded in the people the importance of exams as a means to success from a social perspective. (Denlinger, 2014) This political structure reduced the military power and increased the power of the emperor.
While many dynasties after the Sui worked towards improving the Grand Canal, it was under Emperor Wen that the Grand Canal’s construction began. Connecting the north and south, this became the lifeline for shipping and transporting and was a main source of wealth for China. (Wang, 2014) The Grand Canal remains the longest waterway canal in the world today. Lending also to unification and economy, Wen standardized the currency and mandated the use nationwide. The rebirth of Buddhism during the Sui Dynasty is thought to have been one of the main contributions in uniting the culture of China and uplifting the people from the preceding disunity they experienced. Emperor Wen had converted to Buddhism, and considered himself to be a “Buddhist monarch who would use military force to defend the Buddhist faith”.