Early China: History, Legends, and Myths

Discussion in 'Military History' started by solarz, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. vesicles
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    vesicles Major

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    The distinction between Confucianism and Legalism has not been as clear as you would have thought. In virtually every dynasty, there has been a blend of both Confucianism and legalism. When the society becomes chaotic, the government tends to invoke Legalism policies. Then they shift to more calm Confucianism policies when the society becomes more harmonious and prosperous.

    For instance, Tang Dynasty has a prolonged period of Legalism when Wu Zetian was in power. She used the infamous “Ku Li” (or brutal officials) to purge anyone who dares to oppose her. When she felt that the society was more stable, she abolished the brutal tactics and implemented more calm policies. One of her most capable brutal officials was so proud of his own heinous work that he actually wrote a book on how to purge other officials. He especially emphasized how to frame those innocent officials, various ways to turn their family members against them, etc etc etc.

    The Martial Emperor of the Han dynasty also used “brutal officials” extensively to force everyone to follow his orders. Similarly, he went to more mild policies later on. Of course, the Martial Emperor became paranoid in his old age and started another around of Legalism harsh policies. He later wrote an article to publically apologize for his harsh treatment of his people.

    Ming dynasty’s Jin Yi Wei and the infamous East Factory were other excellent examples of the implementation of the Legalism, which emphasizes self-monitoring among co-workers, neighbors and family members.

    There is a famous Chinese saying: you must be heavy handed during chaotic times. This is exactly the Legalism belief. And the Chinese have followed this belief all this time, even though their central believe is the Confucianism. I view Mao’s period is an extension of the Legalism. Everything done during the Cultural revolution has been done by others in ancient China. Yes, the scale is so much bigger, but the nature of things has not been changed. If you read a little on the history of the brutal officials in Han, Tang and Ming dynasties, you will see that.
     
    #51 vesicles, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. taxiya
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    taxiya Major
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    Maybe you have not heard of "外儒内法"? Confucianism cloth over Legalism?

    Translation:
    Apparently, Chinese emperors have never relied on Confucianism alone in their rule from the very beginning. I have to say that "Chinese cultural = Confucianism" is an over simplicity in the a similar way as "in the western eyes all Chinese eat rice" or "All Chinese are short and thin" or "Chinese food are healthy".
     
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  3. taxiya
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    taxiya Major
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    No, Yin (殷) is the name of the capital city of the later half of Shang dynasty from around 1200BC. It is the modern day city of Anyang. The clan name of the royal house of Shang is Zi (子), which later developed to many family (branch of clan) names.

    Yin as a family name was only adopted by some decedents of the royal house after Shang dynasty was replaced by Zhou dynasty.

    Formally, the dynasty is always and only "Shang", informally it is called "Yin Shang", but never "Yin dynasty". Yin in "Yin Shang" is prefix/adjective to differentiate the later half of Shang after 1200BC after the relocation of the capital from the earlier half. It is the same practice of "Li Tang" to distinguish the Tang dynasty (618-907) from other "Tang dynasty" established by other houses such as the Turkic Shatuo's Later Tang dynasty (Shatuo adopted Li as their family name). Other examples include "Zhao Song" dynasty vs. earlier "Song" kingdom in the Zhou dynasty. When there is no ambiguity, there is never such prefix, such as Sui is not called "Yang Sui". There are times when Qing was referred by "Man(Manchu) Qing" by modern Han nationalists on the racial/ethnical ground, but that is a modern invention that is not based on historical purpose nor based on Chinese traditional political theory.
     
    #53 taxiya, Mar 17, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  4. Tam
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    Tam Senior Member
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    Searching for archaeological evidence of the Xia.

     
  5. Tam
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    Tam Senior Member
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    Timeline recently released this amazing documentary about the life and times of the Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty. A ruthless dictator that ruled with an iron fist, or an efficient and humane administrator that brought an empire to an unprecedented golden age, emancipated women, and made sure that her people and her soldiers were always fed.

     
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    Tam Senior Member
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    The story of General Qi Jiguang and the effort to build the Great Wall. Two hour documentary.

     
  7. Tam
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    Tam Senior Member
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    Timeline's documentary about China's tomb pyramids that is the resting place of the Qin and the Han Emperors, and the evolution to the more efficient and humane use of natural pyramids by the Tang Emperor. It is interesting that none of the imperial tombs have been opened. I have a theory that Chinese archeologists may already know where the tombs are, but in respect to the dead especially these being the emperors, they have not opened these tombs, or revealed their locations to preserve them. They have only gone on to open the tombs of relatives of royalty, officials, rich and prominent people, and generals of that time.

     
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  8. vesicles
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    vesicles Major

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    Most of the Qin (only two emperors), Hang and Tang imperial tombs have been found. In fact, for Hang imperial tombs, as soon as the tombs were finished and the dead emperor was moved in, almost all of the Hang imperial tombs had villages built next to them (typically on the northeastern corner of the tombs). Military troops and workers, with their families, had been moved to these villages to guard and maintain the tombs. For ancient Chinese, these tombs are not only the sites for burying the dead emperors, but also a place for praying and commemorating. So in addition of the actual tombs, they built temples for praying. Not only that, they also built palaces so that people can rest after they are done with the praying. So these tombs are typically huge complexes. Thus, the locations of these tombs are well-known. I can now tell you that most of the Hang imperial tombs are located to the north/northeastern side of modern-day Xi An. Most of them are now well-known tourist attractions.

    As to opening the tombs, most of the tombs have been opened and studied by archeologists. The only unopened tomb would be the one of the First Emperor. There have been many rumors as to why they don’t want to open his tomb. The only logical one would be that scientists have detected high level of mercury coming from the tomb. This is consistent with the myth that the First Emperor ordered his workers to build rivers using mercury in his tomb. The modern scientists are worried that they would cause serious mercury contamination of the surrounding areas if they opened the tomb too soon. So now they are waiting until someone can come up with ways to contain the potential outbreak of mercury once they open the tomb. Of course, this is only rumor.
     
    #58 vesicles, Apr 17, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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