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Unformatted text preview: Classical China The Zhou (C. 1100‐256 BCE) • The Zhou (also spelled Chou) followed the Shang dynasty. • The Zhou do not represent a foreign invasion. • The founder of the Zhou Dynasty, King Wu, led a rebellion against the Shang claiming that the last Shang was incompetent and had lost the “mandate of heaven.” • The Zhou would rule China longer than any of its dynasties. • Beginning of the dynasty has been variously dated from about 1122 to 1027 BCE. Zhou Dynasty (Continued)
• The Zhou age is divided into two periods, the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou.
• Western: to 771. • Eastern: 771‐256. • Eastern Zhou period is likewise divided into two phases:
• Spring and Autumn period: 722‐481. • Warring States: 403‐221. (221 BCE is about 35 years after the end of the Zhou dynasty.) Zhou Dynasty (concluded)
• Zhou system resembled other federated systems. • Ruler maintained large armies, but his governors wielded wide powers, judicial, military and administrative. • While governors were originally appointed, their positions and powers became hereditary over time. Eastern Zhou
• “King Yu” was killed and his capital sacked in 771. • The nobility installed Yu’s son, but kept the balance of power. • About 50 years later, the capital moved from Xi'an in the west to Luoyang (100 miles east), inaugurating the period of the Eastern Zhou. • Disunity prevailed, but one major factor limited its proliferation: the growth of towns, merchants and a middle class. • Individual lords added territory; about half of the geographic area traditionally associated with China fell under the rule of the Zhou. • Parts of the great wall were first constructed. Philosophical Schools
• In large part classical Chinese philosophy can be divided into three schools: the Confucians, the Daoists and the Legalists. Confucius (551‐479)
• Confucius (Kong Fuzi) emphasized ethical behavior, both for individuals and for the state. • His teachings profoundly influenced later China, as well as Korean and Japanese thinkers. • Confucius’ Analects are considered largely authentic, although written later. The Thought of Confucius
• Knowledge is essential to happiness. • The State existed for man, not man for the state. • He stressed 5 cardinal human relationships:
• • • • • ruler/subject; father/son; elder brother/younger brother; husband/ wife; 5) friend/friend. • He advocated a paternalistic state: welfare and harmony gained by efforts of commoners from below and the scholar‐officials from above. Core Confucian Concepts
• Yi: righteousness. It has been characterized as behaving in the right way for the right reasons. • lǐ: closely related to Yi. One needs to act in ways that help bring about an ideal human society. But part of that is balancing what is necessary to maintain an ethical social system with the need to violate that system’s norms in the interest of achieving a specific good outcome. • Rén: fulfilling one’s obligations to others. Mencius (c. 373‐288)
• Mencius was the most important thinker of the Confucian school. Two teachings in particular are associated with his teaching: • Human nature was essentially good and that education could mitigate the corrupting effects of society. • When a ruler becomes a tyrant, his subjects have the right to overthrow him (the ruler loses the “mandate of heaven”). Xunzi (c. 300‐237)
• Xunzi, considered to be the third great thinker of the Confucian school (after Confucius and Mencius) thought that human nature was basically evil. • A person is born with desires and will seek to satisfy them without limit. Only society constrains the individual through laws, customs and institutions. • Education and discipline can thus redeem humanity. Daoism
• The sixth‐century Lao‐Tzu, or Laozi (old Sage) is credited with the work Daodejing (The Way and the Power). Daoism is thought by some to date to as late as the third century BCE.
• Boundless or absolute. • Yin/Yang. • The teachings of Laozi were possibly directed against the Confucians, who stressed involvement in the state as a means of perfecting society. • Daoists, on the other hand, taught personal contemplation, non‐involvement in worldly affairs, freedom from form, ritual and (to some degree) from the state. Qin Dynasty (221‐206)
• The Qin state was one of the warring states of the later eastern Zhou period, the most successful one. • Its rulers were noted followers of the Legalist school. This philosophical school taught that human nature was evil. • Contrary to Confucian thinkers, legalists believed that the people existed to serve the state. • The Qin ruler Shihuangdi finally consolidated his control over China in 221. Shihuangdi (259‐210)
• Shihuangdi (also Qin Shi Huang) reorganized the Chinese government. The relatively loose ties between regions an provinces was replaced by a centralized provincial system and a bureaucracy. • Created 36 provinces and about 1000 regional administrative centers (i.e., counties). The basic outline has remained largely unchanged in the last 2000 years. Shihuangdi (continued)
• Vigorous conqueror. • Built more than 4000 miles of roads. • Built regional canals and the famous magic canal. • Standardized Chinese script. • Issued currency. • His tomb was discovered, complete with terra cotta army, in 1974. The Han (202 BCE‐220 CE)
• After the death of Shihuangdi in 210, a period of war led to the establishment of the Han dynasty, which governed for the next 400 years and was contemporary with the Roman empire. Han Dynasty (Continued)
• About 202, a commoner military commander, Liu Bang, defeated his chief rival and founded the Han dynasty. • Under Han Wu (141‐87), Confucian doctrines were adopted as the official ideology of the state. • In effect, the Han state became blended the legalistic, centralizing doctrines of the Qin and Confucianism. Tang Dynasty (618‐907)
• After the collapse of the Han dynasty, the period of disunion ensued. The Sui dynasty (589‐618) re‐unified China and rebuilt the bureaucracy. • The Tang benefitted from these developments. A Few Inventions and Achievements
• Han initially develop a Civil Service Examination system, later perfected by the Tang dynasty. • Porcelain (Han dynasty). • Paper (first century). • Printing blocks (mid‐seventh century). • Gunpowder (mid‐ninth century). ...
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