Ch1-The Birth of Civilization

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: moss Tree Tai + foot = trample Bird Tai + horse = a nag Mouth Tai + heart = idle Horse Other characters combined two pictures to express an idea. The following examples use modern characters: The last Western Zhou king was so infatuated with a favorite concubine that, to please her, he repeatedly lit bonfires signaling a barbarian attack. His concubine would clap her hands in delight at the sight of the army assembled in martial splendor. But the army tired of the charade, and when invaders actually came, the king’s beacons were ignored. The king was killed and the Zhou capital sacked. The heir to the throne, with some members of the court, escaped to the secondary capital at Luoyang, 200 miles to the east and just south of the bend in the Yellow River, beginning the Eastern Zhou period. The first phase of the Eastern Zhou, sometimes called the Spring and Autumn period after a classic history by that name, lasted until 481 B.C.E. After their flight to Luoyang, the Zhou kings were never able to reestablish their old authority. By the early seventh century B.C.E., Luoyang’s political power was nominal, although it remained a center of culture and ritual observances. (See Document, “Human Sacrifice in Early China.”) Kinship and religious ties to the Zhou house had worn thin, and it no longer had the military strength to reimpose its rule. During the seventh and sixth In each case the sound comes from the, and the meaning from the other element. Note that the may be at the bottom, the top, or the right. This positioning, too, is a matter of convention. Source: Tables by A. Craig; calligraphy by Teruko Craig. centuries B.C.E., the political configuration was an equilibrium of many small principalities on the north-central plain surrounded by larger, wholly autonomous territorial states along the borders of the plain (see Map 1–7 on page 34). The larger states consolidated the areas within their borders, absorbed tribal peoples, and expanded, conquering states on their periphery. To defend themselves against the more aggressive territorial states, and in the absence of effective Zhou authority, smaller states entered defensive alliances. The earliest alliance, in 681 B.C.E., was directed against the half-barbarian state of Chu, which straddled the Yangtse in the south. Princes and lords of smaller states elected as their hegemon (or military overlord) the lord of a northern territorial state and pledged him their support. At the formal ceremony that established the alliance, a bull was sacrificed. The hegemon and other lords smeared its blood on their mouths and swore oaths to the gods to uphold the alliance. That the oaths were not always upheld can be surmised from the Chinese expression, “to break an oath while the blood is still wet on one’s lips.” CRAIMC01_001-039hr.qxp 34 8/12/10 3:57 PM Page 34 Part 1 Human Origins and Early Civilizations to 500 B.C.E. ow R . During the next two centuries, alliances shifted and accelerated in the late hegemons changed. At best, alliances only slowed sixth century B.C.E. after the start of the down the pace of military aggrandizement. Iron Age. With iron The second phase of the Eastern Zhou is tools, farmers clear...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online