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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
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...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '14