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T HE C LASSICAL P ERIOD (1000 BCE – 500 CE) Chapters 2-5.

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Presentation on theme: "T HE C LASSICAL P ERIOD (1000 BCE – 500 CE) Chapters 2-5."— Presentation transcript:

1 T HE C LASSICAL P ERIOD (1000 BCE – 500 CE) Chapters 2-5

2 C LASSICAL C IVILIZATIONS (#2) Classical civilizations, although they were built upon the earlier river valley civilizations, were noticeably larger in their geographic, cultural, economic, and political reach. The main factor for this growth was military conquest due to the introduction of iron tools and weapons. As the larger empires developed, so too did new trade links, formalized religions and philosophy, and improved technologies.

3 C LASSICAL C IVILIZATIONS (#1&3) Each of these civilizations had a unique social structure, religion, political system, system of science, and styles of art. Each classical civilization set up extensive internal trade networks and regional specialization. Each civilization promoted a common culture in order to provide bonds between its people groups. Trade with neighboring regions also became more common and as a result, so to did syncretism

4 C ONTINUITIES OF C LASSICAL C IVILIZATION (#4) Classical civilizations continued to use many of the traditional innovations set forth by the river civilizations. They simply built off of the progress that these other societies had established. Each of the civilizations developed a clear patriarchal society.


6 D YNASTIC R ULE (#10) For thousands of years, China has been ruled by dynasties. A “dynasty” is a family of kings that passes rule down in a hereditary style, from one king to another. As the ruling dynasty began to falter, usually another one arose from the family of a successful general, invader, or peasant, and the pattern started anew. The three dynasties of classical China are the Zhou, the Qin, and the Han.

7 D YNASTIC C HARACTERISTICS (#10) The dynasties of China developed very strong political institutions and encouraged a strong economy and an emphasis on technological advancements. However, each dynasty over time grew weaker as tax revenues declined and social divisions occurred. In addition, internal rebellions and sometimes invasions from the outside contributed to each dynasty’s decline.

8 T HE Z HOU D YNASTY (1029 – 258 BCE) (#12) They expanded China’s territory from the Yellow river to the Yangtze River Valley. This area is often called the “Middle Kingdom”. They promoted Mandarin Chinese as the standard language (linguistic unity). They established the “Mandate of Heaven” (p.42) concept, which stated that they had been mandated to rule China through the power of heaven. Following dynasties would all claim this concept.


10 T HE Z HOU D YNASTY (#11) The Zhou dynasty, unlike later dynasties, did not develop a strong central government, but ruled through alliances with strong nobles and landlords.(a.k.a. the feudal system) This led to problems as regional princes disregarded the central government and built up power of their own.

11 C ONFUCIUS ( #5 ) As the Zhou Dynasty began to fail, philosophers tried to explain the problems. The most famous of these philosophers was Confucius (551 to 478 BCE). He traveled through China teaching his political beliefs, virtue, and good government. He was not a religious leader but rather saw himself as a defender of Chinese tradition and promoted a secular system of ethics.


13 C ONFUCIAN T EACHINGS His teachings of course came to be known as Confucianism. Above all, he emphasized personal virtue. He believed that if people had a reverence for tradition, a solid political life would naturally result. He stressed respect for one’s social superiors, including fathers and husbands as leaders of the family. Both rulers and the ruled should act with respect, humility, and self-control.

14 C ONFUCIAN T EACHINGS He asserted that society’s leaders should not use abusive power and should treat their people with courtesy. He is quoted, “When the ruler does right, all men will imitate his self-control. What the ruler does, the people will follow”. Confucianism was primarily a set of ethics urging citizens to do unto others as their status dictates. It became the main way of thought for Chinese citizens, with few exceptions, and is still very popular today.

15 L EGALISM An alternate system of political thought. They favored an authoritarian state which ruled by force. According to Legalists, humans were evil by nature. They therefore, required restraint and discipline. In a proper state, the army would control and the people would labor for the state. It was not as popular as Confucianism, but we can see some of its ideas in modern China.

16 D AOISM (T AOISM ) This was a more religious philosophy in classical China. It embraced harmony with nature. Dao actually means “the way of nature”. This harmony within nature was embodied through the law of opposites. Every feature is balanced by an opposite, every yin by a yang. For example, the for hot there is cold, for male, female, and for big, small. Finding one’s Dao, or “way”, was a matter of avoiding excess and appreciating the balance of opposites.

17 T HREE P HILOSOPHICAL M OVEMENTS OF C LASSICAL C HINA Confucianism Legalism Daoism All sought to offer guidance and understanding of this worldly life. All can still be seen in China today.

18 T HE Q IN D YNASTY ( BCE) ( #13 ) The next dynasty was started by the brutal but effective emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, or “first emperor” The Qin dynasty actually gave the country its name of “China” Shi Huangdi was a brutal leader, but effective nonetheless. He understood that China’s problem lay in the power of the aristocrats that the previous Zhou dynasty had trusted. He made up his mind to undo this problem.

19 T HE Q IN D YNASTY ( BCE) (#13) He ordered nobles to leave their regions and lands and live at his court. He then took control of their estates. China was organized into states that were ruled by bureaucrats he himself appointed. He made sure they were from non- aristocratic backgrounds so that they would owe their power to him and not dare challenge him. He also used his powerful armies to crush resistance to his rule. All were ways he acquired tight control and absolute power over China

20 T HE Q IN D YNASTY (#14) Shi Huangdi consolidated his power, built the Great Wall, conducted a census, standardized weights and measures, and extended the borders of his realm to Hong Kong and northern Vietnam

21 T HE G REAT W ALL Shi Huangdi is most known for authorizing the building of the Great Wall of China. It extended over 3000 miles, and was designed to keep out northern invaders. It is probably the largest construction project in human history. It was built by forced labor, most of whom were peasants. It is believed that over 1 million died building this wall. It is the longest man-made structure in the world.



24 F ACTS ABOUT THE G REAT W ALL 1) The Great Wall was not a single, continuous, unbroken wall when it was first constructed. Rather, the wall was a network of segments built by different dynasties. 2) Human remains have never been found inside the wall. 3) The Great Wall is often compared to a dragon. In China, the dragon is also seen as a symbol of protection, like the Wall. 4) During the Qin and Han dynasties, many convicted criminals were punished by being sent to work on the Wall. 5) In order make construction on the wall easier, the Chinese invented the wheelbarrow. 6) The Great Wall of China is 25 feet high in some places and ranges from feet wide.

25 T HE Q IN D YNASTY Upon his death, massive revolts broke out. (Why?) One peasant leader established control and started China’s 3 rd dynasty, the Han. Shi Haungdi had the famous terra cotta army constructed to guard his tomb.

26 T HE H AN D YNASTY (202 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) (#15) The Han rulers lessened the brutality of the Qin but maintained its centralized rule. Early Han leaders, like Wu Ti, expanded Chinese territory (pushing into Korea, Indochina and central Asia) and set up formal training, based on Confucian philosophy, for bureaucrats. During a long decline, the Han faced invasions and eventually fell to outside forces, especially the Huns.

27 P OLITICAL I NSTITUTIONS OF C HINA (#16) AND (#18) Throughout the Qin and Han periods, China had roughly 130,000 bureaucrats (the largest number in the world, by far) all trained by the government to carry out the emperor’s policies. (#16) These bureaucrats mainly collected taxes and enforced law codes. (#16) Emperor Wu Ti established exams for his bureaucrats to take to ensure their competence. Examinees had to master the principles of Confucianism. These were the first examples of civil service tests. (#18)

28 P OLITICAL I NSTITUTIONS OF C HINA Most Chinese believed in the importance of respect for those in power.(A key element of Confucianism) This can help to explain why the Chinese political structure was able to survive decline, invasion, and rebellion for so many centuries. The amount of power that its government controlled was enormous.

29 C HINESE C ULTURAL A CHIEVEMENTS ( P.48) The Chinese had many cultural achievements. Because they were so isolated, they encouraged innovative and practical solutions to their problems. What resulted were impressive inventions and breakthroughs for that time period. They developed an accurate calendar based on a year of days, calculated the movements of Saturn and Jupiter, invented the seismograph, and developed hygiene principles to promote longer life.

30 C HINESE S OCIETY AND E CONOMY (#23) There were large gaps between China’s upper class (about 2 percent of the population) and the peasant farmers. Officially there were three main social groups in classical China. 1) Land-owning aristocracy and bureaucrats 2) laboring peasants and urban artisans 3) The “mean people,” those who performed unskilled labor and lacked meaningful skills. * Generally, social status was passed from one generation to the next, but unusually talented individuals could rise in society.

31 C HINESE E CONOMY AND S OCIETY External trade became increasingly important during Han era. It focused mainly on luxury items like silks, jewelry, leather goods, and furniture.

32 T HE S ILK R OAD (#27) The demand for China’s high quality silk reached all the way to the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean. This trade generated a network of roads through central Asia known collectively as the Silk Road.

33 C HINESE T ECHNOLOGY It was in the area of technology that the classical Chinese excelled. They were centuries ahead of their counterparts in Europe and Asia. Some of their achievements include: Ox-drawn plows to increase farming productivity A new collar for draft animals that allowed them to pull carts and wagons without choking. Iron mining pulleys. Iron tools and lamps were created and improved The first water-powered mills. Paper was invented in the Han period, helping with record keeping.

34 C HINESE F AMILY S TRUCTURES (#19) The Chinese had a very tightly knit family structure. It emphasized the power of the male figure. Remember: Societies in which the men rule or exercise most of the power are known as patriarchal societies. Parents wielded high levels of authority over their children. Women were subordinate to men but had clearly defined roles in the family and in larger society.

35 C HINESE C IVILIZATION IN S UMMARY (#26) It is imperative to note that Chinese politics and culture worked together to strengthen the nation.(Ex. Confucianism and Legalism strengthened politics) Classical Chinese technology, religion, philosophy, and political structure evolved with little outside contact. Chinese political stability led to economic growth. Science focused on technological innovations that also spurred economic growth. Because of their pride in their culture and its durability over the centuries, the Chinese had neither the need or desire to learn from other societies.

36 C LASSICAL C HINA AND THE W ORLD Chinese civilization was the longest lasting in world history and one of the most creative and influential. They created the best-run bureaucracy and a whole range of technologies, and they were the source of the world’s largest trade network, the Silk Road. Silk Road networks provided the framework for later global trading patterns.

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