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China, a History

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #60 on: September 02, 2007, 12:52:44 am »

The Warring States Period, in contrast to the Spring and Autumn Period, was a period when regional warlords annexed smaller states around them and consolidated their rule. The process began in the Spring and Autumn Period, and by the 3rd century BC, seven major states had risen to prominence. These Seven Warring States (戰國七雄/战国七雄 Zhngu Qīxing, literally "Seven Hegemonial among the Warring States"), were the Qi (齐), the Chu (楚), the Yan (燕), the Han (韩), the Zhao (赵), the Wei (魏) and the Qin (秦). Another sign of this shift in power was a change in title: warlords still considered themselves dukes (公 gōng) of the Zhou dynasty king; but now the warlords began to call themselves kings (王 wng), meaning they were equal to the Zhou king.

The Warring States Period saw the proliferation of iron working in China, replacing bronze as the dominant metal used in warfare. Areas such as Shu (modern Sichuan) and Yue (modern Zhejiang) were also brought into the Chinese cultural sphere during this time. Different philosophies developed into the Hundred Schools of Thought, including Confucianism (elaborated by Mencius), Taoism (elaborated by Lao Zi and to a lesser extent Zhuang Zi, in that it is possible to see the philosophy espoused in the text of the Zhuang Zi as separate from what could be considered "classical Daoism"), Legalism (formulated by Han Feizi) and Mohism (formulated by Mozi). Trade also became important, and some merchants had considerable power in politics. Military tactics also changed. Unlike the Spring and Autumn Period, most armies in the Warring States Period made combined use of infantry and cavalry, and the use of chariots gradually fell into disfavor. Thus from this period on, the nobles in China remained a literate rather than warrior class, as the kingdoms competed by throwing masses of soldiers against each other. Arms of soldiers gradually changed from bronze to unified iron arms. Dagger-axes were an extremely popular weapon in various kingdoms, especially for the Qin who produced eighteen-foot long pikes.

This was also around the time the legendary military strategist Sun Tzu (Sun Zi) wrote The Art of War which is recognized today as the most influential, and oldest known military strategy guide. Along with this are other military writings that make up the Seven Military Classics of ancient China: T'ai Kung's Six Secret Teachings, The Methods of the Sima, Sun Bin's Art of War, Wu Qi, Wei Liaozi, Three strategies of Huang Shigong, and The Questions and Replies of Tang Taizong and Li Weigong (the last being made 800 years after this era ended). Once China was unified, these seven military classics were locked away and access was restricted due to their tendency to promote revolution.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #61 on: September 02, 2007, 12:54:06 am »



Bronze Music Bell Set (bianzhong) Zenghouyi (曾侯乙) dated Warring States, 433 BC. The largest bell weighs over 200 kg (440 pounds).
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #62 on: September 02, 2007, 12:55:42 am »

Partition of Jin

In the Spring and Autumn Period, the State of Jin (晉) was arguably the most powerful state in China. However, near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, the power of the ruling family weakened, and Jin gradually came under the control of six ministers belonging to six different families (六卿). By the beginning of the Warring States Period, after numerous power struggles, there were four families left: the Zhi (智) family, the Wei (魏) family, the Zhao (趙) family, and the Han (韓) family, with the Zhi family being the dominant power in Jin. Zhi Yao (智瑶), the last head of the Zhi family, attempted a coalition with the Wei family and the Han family to destroy the Zhao family. However, because of Zhi Yao's arrogance and disrespect towards the other families, the Wei family and Han family secretly allied with the Zhao family, and the three families launched a surprise attack at Jinyang, which was besieged by Zhi Yao at the time, and annihilated the Zhi.

In 403 BC, the three major families of Jin, with the approval of the Zhou king, partitioned Jin into three states, which was historically known as 'The Partition of Jin of the Three Families' (三家分晉). The new states were: the State of Han, the State of Zhao, and the State of Wei. The three family heads were given the title of Marquis (侯), and because the three states were originally part of Jin, they are also referred to as the Three Jins (三晉). The State of Jin continued to exist with a tiny piece of territory until 376 BC when the rest of the territory was partitioned by the Three Jins.

Change of government in Qi

In 389 BC, the Tian (田) family seized control of the State of Qi and was given the title of Duke. The old Jiang (姜) family's State of Qi continued to exist with a small piece of territory until 379 BC, when it was finally absorbed into Tian family's State of Qi.



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Bee Cha
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« Reply #63 on: September 02, 2007, 12:57:05 am »



A jade-carved dragon garment ornament from the Warring States period.
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #64 on: September 02, 2007, 12:58:00 am »

Early strife in the Three Jins, Qi, and Qin

In 371 BC, Marquess Wu of Wei died without specifying a successor, causing Wei to fall into an internal war of succession. After three years of civil war, Zhao and Han, sensing an opportunity, invaded Wei. On the verge of conquering Wei, the leaders of Zhao and Han fell into disagreement on what to do with Wei and both armies mysteriously retreated. As a result, King Hui of Wei (still a Marquess at the time) was able to ascend onto the throne of Wei.

In 354 BC, King Hui of Wei initiated a large scale attack at Zhao, which some historians believe was to avenge the earlier near destruction of Wei. By 353 BC, Zhao was losing the war badly, and one of their major cities Handan (邯鄲), a city that would eventually become Zhao's capital was being besieged. As a result, the neighbouring State of Qi decided to help Zhao. The strategy Qi used, suggested by the famous tactician Sun Bin (孫臏), a descendant of Sun Tzu, who at the time was the Qi army advisor, was to attack Wei's territory while the main Wei army is busy sieging Zhao, forcing Wei to retreat. The strategy was a success; the Wei army hastily retreated, and encountered the Qi midway, culminating into the Battle of Guiling (Pinyin: gu lng) (桂陵之戰) where Wei was decisively defeated. The event spawned the idiom "圍魏救趙", meaning "Surrounding Wei to save Zhao", which is still used in modern Chinese to refer to attacking an enemy's vulnerable spots in order to relieve pressure being applied by that enemy upon an ally.

In 341 BC, Wei attacked Han, and Qi interfered again. The two generals from the previous Battle of Guiling met again, and due to the brilliant strategy of Sun Bin, Wei was again decisively defeated at the Battle of Maling (馬陵之戰).

The situation for Wei took an even worse turn when Qin, taking advantage of Wei series of defeats by Qi, attacked Wei in 340 BC under the advice of famous Qin reformer Shang Yang (商鞅). Wei was devastatingly defeated and was forced to cede a large portion of its territory to achieve a truce. This left their capital Anyi vulnerable, so Wei was also forced to move their capital to Daliang.

After these series of events, Wei became severely weakened, and the Qi and Qin states became the two dominant states in China.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2007, 01:01:27 am »

Shang Yang's reforms in Qin

Around 359 BC, Shang Yang (商鞅), a minister of the State of Qin, initiated a series of reforms that transformed Qin from a backward state into one that surpasses the other six states. It is generally regarded that this is the point where Qin started to become the most dominant state in China.


Ascension of the Kingdoms

In 334 BC, the rulers of Wei and Qi agreed to recognize each other as Kings (王), formalizing the independence of the states and the powerlessness of the Zhou throne since the beginning of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. The King of Wei and the King of Qi joined the ranks of the King of Chu, whose predecessors had been Kings since the Spring and Autumn Period. From this point on, all the other states eventually declare their Kingship, signifying the beginning of the end of the Zhou Dynasty.

In 325 BC, the ruler of Qin declared himself as King.

In 323 BC, the rulers of Han and Yan declared themselves as King.

In 318 BC, the ruler of Song, a relatively minor state, declared himself as King.

The ruler of Zhao held out until around 299 BC, and was the last to declare himself as King.

Chu expansion and defeats

Early in the Warring States Period, Chu was one of the strongest states in China. The state rose to a new level of power around 389 BC when the King of Chu named the famous reformer Wu Qi (吳起) to be his prime minister.

Chu rose to its peak in 334 BC when it gained vast amounts of territory. The series of events leading up to this began when Yue (越) prepared to attack Qi. The King of Qi sent an emissary who persuaded the King of Yue to attack Chu instead. Yue initiated a large scale attack at Chu, but was devastatingly defeated by Chu's counter-attack. Chu then proceeded to conquer the State of Yue. This campaign expanded the Chu's borders to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #66 on: September 02, 2007, 01:03:02 am »



A jade-carved huang with two dragon heads, Warring States, Shanghai Museum.
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2007, 01:05:12 am »

The Domination of Qin and the resulting Grand Strategies

Towards the end of the Warring States Period, the State of Qin became disproportionately powerful compared to the other six states. As a result, the policies of the six states became overwhelmingly oriented towards dealing with the Qin threat, with two opposing schools of thought: Hezong (合縱/合纵 pinyin: hzng, "vertically linked"), or alliance with each other to repel Qin expansionism; and Lianheng (連橫/连横 pinyin: linhng, "horizontally linked"), or alliance with Qin to participate in its ascendancy. There were some initial successes in Hezong, though it eventually broke down. Qin repeatedly exploited the Lianheng strategy to defeat the states one by one. During this period, many philosophers and tacticians travelled around the states recommending the rulers to put their respective ideas into use. These "lobbyists" were famous for their tact and intellect, and were collectively known as Zonghengjia (縱橫家), taking its name from the two main schools of thought.

In 316 BC, Qin conquered the Shu area.

Around 300 BC, the Qi were almost totally annihilated by a coalition of five states led by Yue Yi of the Yan (The Qin were among those five). Although under General Tian Dan the Qi managed to recover their lost territories, it would never be a great power again. The Yan was also too exhausted afterwards to be of much importance in international affairs after this campaign.

In 293 BC the Battle of Yique against the Wei and Han resulted in victory for the Qin. This effectively removed the Wei and Han threat to further Qin aspirations.

In 278 BC, the Qin attacked the Chu and managed to capture their capital city, Ying, forcing the Chu king to move eastwards to Shouchun. This campaign virtually destroyed the Chu's military might, although they recovered sufficiently to mount serious resistance against the Qin 50 years later.

In 260 BC, the Battle of Changping was fought between the Qin and the Zhao, resulting in a catastrophic defeat for the latter. Although both sides were utterly exhausted after the titanic clash, the Zhao, unlike the Qin, could not recover after the event.

In about 50 years the Qin superiority was secure, thanks to its powerful military and, in part, constant feuding between the other states.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #68 on: September 02, 2007, 01:06:57 am »



King Goujian's bronze sword, about 500 BC. Goujian was the king of the Yue State in the late Spring and Autumn Period.
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #69 on: September 02, 2007, 01:08:11 am »

Military developments

The Warring States Period saw the introduction of many new innovations to the art of warfare in China, such as the use of iron and cavalry.

The various states fielded massive armies of infantry, cavalry and chariots. Complex logistical systems maintained by efficient government bureaucracy, was needed to supply, train, and control such large forces. The size of the armies ranged from tens of thousands to several hundred thousand men.

Iron became more widespread and began to replace bronze. Most armour and weapons of this period was made from iron.

The first native Chinese cavalry unit was formed in 307 BC by King Wuling of Zhao. But the war chariot still retained its prestige and importance, despite the tactical superiority of cavalry.

Crossbow was the preferred long range weapon of this period due to many reasons. The crossbow could be mass-produced easily, and mass training of crossbowmen was possible. These qualities made it a powerful weapon against the enemy.

Infantrymen deployed a varieties of weapons, but the most popular was the dagger-axe. The dagger-axe came in various length from 918 ft, the weapon comprising a thrusting spear with a slashing blade appended to it.
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2007, 01:09:55 am »

Qin's conquest of China

In 230 BC, Qin conquers Han.
In 225 BC, Qin conquers Wei.
In 223 BC, Qin conquers Chu.
In 222 BC, Qin conquers Yan and Zhao.
In 221 BC, Qin conquers Qi, completing the unification of China, and ushering in the Qin Dynasty.
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Bianca
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« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2007, 06:27:56 pm »



Bee Cha: 

Superb and fascinating.  Thank you!!!

Love an Peace,
Bianca
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bee Cha
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« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2007, 06:03:02 am »

Thanks, Bianca, a lot of work put into this!  And, a lot more to go, hope you and everyone else  stays interested! 
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Bee Cha
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« Reply #73 on: October 07, 2007, 06:03:53 am »

Qin Dynasty

The Qin Dynasty (Chinese: 秦朝; pinyin: Qn Cho; Wade-Giles: Ch'in Ch'ao) (221 BC - 206 BC) was preceded by the feudal Zhou Dynasty and followed by the Han Dynasty in China. The unification of China in 221 BC under the First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi (or Shih Hwang-Tih) marked the beginning of Imperial China, a period which lasted until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The Qin Dynasty left a legacy of a centralized and bureaucratic state that would be carried onto successive dynasties. At the height of its power, the Qin Dynasty had a population of about 40 million people.

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Bee Cha
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« Reply #74 on: October 07, 2007, 06:18:41 am »



Qin empire in 210 BC

Qin Shi Huangdi imposed the State of Qin's centralized, non-hereditary bureaucratic system on his new empire in place of the Zhou's quasi-feudalistic one. The Qin Empire relied on the philosophy of legalism (with skillful advisors like Han Fei and Li Si). Centralization, achieved by ruthless methods, was focused on standardizing legal codes and bureaucratic procedures, the forms of writing and coinage, and the pattern of thought and scholarship. Characters from the former state of Qin became the standard for the entire empire. The length of the wheel axle was also unified and expressways standardized to ease transportation throughout the country. To silence criticism of imperial rule, the emperor banished or put to death many dissenting Confucian scholars and confiscated and burned their books.

To prevent future uprisings, Qin Shi Huangdi ordered the confiscation of weapons and stored them in the capital. In order to prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he also destroyed the walls and fortifications that had separated the previous six states. A national conscription was devised: every male between the ages of seventeen and sixty years was obliged to serve one year in the army. Qin aggrandizement was aided by frequent military expeditions pushing forward the frontiers in the north and south. To fend off a barbarian intrusion (mainly against the Xiongnu in the north), the fortification walls built by the various warring states were connected to make a wall; this is usually recognized as the first Great Wall of China, although the present, 4,856- kilometer-long Great Wall of China was largely built or re-built during the Ming Dynasty. A number of public works projects, including canals and bridges, were also undertaken to consolidate and strengthen imperial rule. A lavish tomb for the emperor, complete with a Terracotta Army, was built near the capital Xianyang, a city half an hour from modern Xi'an. These activities required enormous levies of manpower and resources, not to mention repressive measures.

Qin Shi Huangdi's behavior reportedly increasingly became erratic in the latter years of his rule. This may have been the result of drinking solutions containing mercury as well as other deadly compounds. Ironically, Qin ingested the mixtures in an increasingly desperate search for an elixir that would prolong his life. It has often been speculated that this was at least partially responsible for many of his later acts such as building the terracotta army. The elixirs may also have been the cause of his eventual death.
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