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Shang Dynasty

The geography, government and law codes, cities, writing and record keeping, religions, and social classes of the Shang Dynasty
by

Addyson Ives

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of Shang Dynasty

Shang Dynasty
(approx. 1600 BCE - 1050 BCE)

Central Government and Law Codes
• The Shang Dynasty government was based off of a hierarchy-type society which was made easy to rule due to their writing techniques.
• Written records show that Cheng Tang was the first king (emperor) of the Shang Dynasty
• City-states existed along the Huang He and Yangtze rivers, and every city-state had a clan leader who owed his loyalty to the emperor. The ruler paid financial courtesies to the emperor and would submit themselves to military work if needed. In return, the emperor gave the leader full power over the city-state.
• If a slave (or commoner) was accused of doing a job wrong, disrespecting their place in the social ranking, or speaking wrongly to the royalty of the dynasty, the law says they are to be tortured, oppressed and exploited.

Cities
Writting and Record Keeping
Citations
Highly Organized Religions
Geography
Bordered by the Yellow river on the north and northwest section of the dynasty’s land, the Shang dynasty resided in China
Located in the northern part of modern day Henan Province, around the cities Anyang, Luoyang, and Zhengzhou.
On easter China, the Shang Dynasty was also on the edge of the country and reached the Yellow sea and the East China sea.
On the west, there was a mountain range to provide protection



The predicted border lines
of the Shang Dynasty


















The Yellow Sea

Oracle bone with laws engraved in it
Present day 'Ao'
• The first cities in China were said to be developed during the Shang Dynasty as imperial capitals used for major productions and activities
• The Great City Shang was built by the Shang ruler Pan Keng, in 1384. It was the capital of the Shang Dynasty, and home to 12 kings
• Ao was the first urban settlement rather than just a village, and was discovered in 1950. Built by the 10th Shang King, Chung Ting.

• The Shang Dynasty began writing on oracle bones.
• Inscriptions on oracle bones are the oldest known form of Chinese writing, developed approx. 3,500 years ago
• Before they wrote on oracle bones, they wrote on bamboo and silk, which would decompose
• People from the Shang Dynasty also wrote on bronze inscriptions, but what they wrote was short and did not say much.

Oracle bone - inscribed on a Turtle shell
Oracle bone -
Ancient writing
collected on cow's
bones
The Shang worshipped the “Shang Di,” who was the supreme god
that ruled over the gods of the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain,
and other natural elements and places.
The Shang also believed in praising their ancestors because they
were the ones who would give them advice. They believed that even
though their ancestors are in heaven after their death, they are still
just as involved with their family life and affairs as when they were
alive.
The emperors used oracle bones to speak to his ancestors, and
sacrifices were made often in the capital city Shang to them.
They believed in an afterlife and would build elaborate tombs
for the royal family. People also often buried their beloved
items and treasures with them to take into the afterlife.
Animal sacrifices were often made to the nature
gods that they believed in
People of the Shang Dynasty believed in a heaven after
they died, and thought very carefully about proper
burial and behavior during life
Cheng Tang, founder of the Shang Dynasty
Social Classes
Ancient Chinese
Language -
written on modern paper
Fuhao, the first woman to appear in Chinese written history, commanded an army of 10,000 soldiers during the Shang dynasty.
• The king, or emperor, had supreme power over everyone - highest in class ranking.
• The emperor’s noblemen were not as powerful as the emperor himself, but still very high on the social scale
• Extensions of the royal family (clan rulers) were second in command, and were leaders of the many city-states
• The people of ancient china were divided into two categories - royals and peasants
• Women were subservient to men
• Warriors were considered high in the ranking, just one scale below the emperors’ nobles.
• Slaves were captured and used as laborers, they were the lowest on the social scale

Statues of the ancient chinese soldiers
Depiction of the royalty giving orders to a soldier, who passes down the social hierarchy to the slave man
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Made by : Addyson Ives
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