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Shang Dynasty

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Sean Nowland

on 9 April 2018

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Transcript of Shang Dynasty

The Shang Dynasty of China 1600-1050 B.C.E.
Shang Dynasty
was one of the Three Dynasties, or San Dai (Xia, Shang, and Zhou), thought to mark the beginning of Chinese civilization: characterized by its
writing system
practice of divination
walled cities
bronze technology
, and use of
horse-drawn chariots.
Ancient China was made up of
These clans were extended families lead by
clan became powerful enough to conquer the other clans, and assert control over them.
The Shang Dynasty was believed to be a legend; a myth.
In 1928 archeologists discovered the ruins
of the Shang capital in Anyang.
The royal cities of the Shang Dynasty had palaces, temples and houses.
Shang kings and nobles were buried with
items they would need in the after life...
...including servants.
Shang kings created smaller kingdoms ruled by younger brothers and nephews.
Shang clans constantly battled other families for control of the kingdom.
The Shang were early innovators of bronze technology and weapons. Weapons made of bronze were harder and stronger than copper, stone, and bone weapons.
The society of the Shang Dynasty was made up of
six social classes:
The Shang
and their families were at the top.
were the second highest. They served in the
, and provied men, weapons, and chariots to the army in exchange for
, or being left alone to rule their own lands.
lived lives of luxury and wealth.
included bronze workers, jade carvers, potters, and stone masons
, or
were below craftspeople
but above farmers. Money talks. The modern word for merchant is "shang ren".
They mostly traded goods, but also used a type of shell as currency
The largest class were the
They grew millet, wheat, barley, rice, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
Farmers did not own the land they farmed and gave most of their crops to the landlords, nobles, and kings.
They kept only enough of their crops to survive.
Even though the Shang had brone technology, farmers used simple wooden and stone tools.
Farmers also raised livestock, such as hogs, chickens, and cattle.
Slaves were at the bottom of the social classes.
Most slaves were captured during war.
They were sometimes sacrificed to serve their masters in the afterlife.
The Shang practiced ancestor worship.
They believed in an afterlife.
Ancestors could influence the world of the living for good or for evil.
Kings were duty bound to follow the will of the ancestors.
The kings communicated with ancestors through oracle bones.
Inscriptions on turtle shells and othe bones reveal important information about Shang life.
Full transcript