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The Zhou Dynasty
Transcript of The Zhou Dynasty
Origins of the Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was the first dynasty to consolidate all of China under one government.
Establishment of the Zhou Dynasty
After killing King Zhou, King Zhou Wuwang instituted the Zhou Dynasty and established a new capital city: Haojing.
Wenwang, chief of the Zhou tribe, believed they should attack the Shang Dynasty, but died before accomplishing his goal. His son and successor, King Wuwang, fulfilled his father's wish by killing the emperor of the Shang Dynasty, King Zhou.
Originally, much of China was being ruled by the Shang Dynasty.
Thus, the Shang Dynasty was overthrown, and the Zhou Dynasty emerged.
The Shang Dynasty was ruled by King Zhou
King Zhou was cruel to his people and caused discord among them.
The Shang Dynasty was known for implementing a writing system.
In 771 B.C., the King of the Zhou Dynasty was murdered, so the capital city was changed to Luoyang.
Because of this, the Dynasty is considered to be split between two time periods:
The time period was 1027 B.C. to 771 B.C.
The social culture was very similar to the Shang Dynasty:
-Belief in divination
The government was a feudal monarchy.
-Clear social classes
There were 13 emperors during this time period.
The Western Zhou dynasty was ended when King Youwang was overthrown by the Queen's father, Shen Hou.
Split into two time periods:
Lasted from 770-221 B.C.
Capital city: Luoyang.
The Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.)
The Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.)
Named after a novel written by Confucius named The Spring and Autumn Annals.
Established by Xuan Jiu, who was the son of King You.
Separated into over 140 different states, as the royal authority began to diminish.
Five overlords declared their power during this time.
There were over 480 wars, 52 states were conquered, and 36 Kings were murdered.
The most powerful states conquered and annexed the weaker ones, until only seven states remained.
Within these seven states, there was at first political stability. However, from 338 B.C. to 288 B.C., the states of Qin and Qi controlled the other states. Eventually, Qin annexed the other states, bringing an end to the Warring States period.
The land was worked intensively throughout the entire time period. Both the Western Zhou and Eastern Zhou contributed to the development of agriculture.
After the Shang dynasty was overthrown, agriculture in the Western Zhou dynasty improved quickly. They made tools of bronze and used furrowing, an advanced agricultural technique, to plant products such as wheat, millet, and rice.
During the Eastern Dynasty, some iron tools were used, causing an improvement in productivity. Tools such as iron axes and hoes were commonly used. Yet another improvement was the use of cattle to plow their fields.
Method of Distributing Land
During the Zhou Dynasty, the land system was much like that of the early Europeans. All land was owned by nobles. The nobles then distributed their land among their servants. Each piece of land would often be divided into nine blocks, with the middle block reserved for the nobility.
Confucius was one of the most famous philosophers in Chinese history. He was born September 6, 551 B.C. in the state of Lu,
and lived until 476 B.C.
Confucius was dedicated to improving life in
China. He joined the government for four years,
and spent the rest of his life teaching. He was widely respected and his teachings are still followed today. During the Spring and Autumn period, people traveled from all of the neighboring states to hear him speak.
The Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism
The Five Virtues of Confucius
The Four Books of Confucianism
1. The Great Learning
(A guide to self-actualization)
(A collection of Confucius' teachings)
(A collection of conversations between Confucius and Menecius)
4. The Doctrine of the Mean
(Also called the The Constant Mean or Maintaining Perfect Balance; a book about maintaining moral balance and peace)
The Five Classics of Confucianism
1. The Book of Documents
(A compilation of the history of China)
2. The Book of Odes
(Also called the Book of Songs or the Book of Poetry; a compilation of 308 poems)
3. The Book of Rites
(Describes the conduct and rituals of China)
4. The Book of Changes
(Contains divination practices and the principles of yin and yang)
5. Spring and Autumn Annals
(Possibly written by Confucius; chronicles the history of the state of Yu)
Yi: Righteousness, generosity
Xiao: family values
The Writing System
During the end of the Shang Dynasty and the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty, the form of writing changed to "Gold Writing", the symbols often found engraved in bronze objects. They also used "guwen" (ancient figures) in scrolls.
However, the main form of writing during the Zhou Dynasty was the dazhuan, which means "great seal".
Colour and Clothing
During the Zhou Dynasty, clothing was very important, and each colour was significant.
Symbol: A green-blue sun
Main Guardian God: a green-blue dragon
Main Guardian God: A red sparrow
Main Guardian God: A white sparrow
Main Guardian God: A black tortoise
The colour red was honoured by the people of the Zhou Dynasty. Red symbolized fire, and fire was considered to be stronger than gold.
The color yellow was only worn by the emperor because it symbolized gold.
"Pure" or "Superior" Colors:
The clothing a person wore was also an indication of social class and their position in society. Nobles would wear clothes made of silk, an expensive material. Peasants would wear long garments made of hemp or other cheap materials.
Mandate of Heaven
The Mandate of Heaven is an ancient Chinese theory that is derived from the Zhou Dynasty.
There are four principles of the Mandate of Heaven:
The Zhou leaders used the Mandate of Heaven to justify overthrowing the Shang King. They claimed that the Shang leaders had lost the Mandate of Heaven and Heaven wanted them removed.
The Mandate determined whether or not an Emperor was fit to to rule over China. Emperors who weren't virtuous were considered to have "lost" the Mandate and therefore lost the right to be Emperor.
Heaven grants the emperor the right to rule.
Since there is only one Heaven, there can only be one Emperor at any given time.
The Emperor's virtue determines his right to rule.
No one dynasty has a permanent right to rule.
Signs an Emperor had lost the Mandate of Heaven were drought, famine, floods, earthquakes, and invasions by foreign powers.
Why They Disappeared
The Zhou Dynasty ended when Shi Huangdi, who was to be the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, conquered the six Warring States in 221 B.C.