Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social Philosophy of "Confucius"

His actual title was K'ung-Fu-Tzu or literally Master Kong. In the 4th & 5 centuries BCE "Confucius developed a complex code of behavior that would guide humans, making their lives more meaningful and happy.

Confucianism developed over time into an Eastern religion/philosophy based on obedience to the laws, honoring one's elders and family and treating others the way one wants to be treated. It blended well with the Chinese religious concept of Ancestor Worship as well as being popular with governments as obedience to the law is a main concept of Confucianism.

The main beliefs of Confucianism include the following concepts: Li: includes the areas of ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc. Hsiao: love within the family, love of parents for their children and of children for their parents. Yi: righteousness,being true to the belief in social moral principles. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Chung: loyalty to the state (government). Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others; this is the highest Confucian virtue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zheng He-Greatest Ming Explorer

Half a century before Columbus set sail with his three small ships and less than 200 men, Ming Admiral Zheng He made seven voyages of exploration with a fleet of 100 ships and over 20,000 men. Sailing from China to the West Coast of Africa, Zheng He brought back detailed knowledge of the many cultures and countries he encountered.
The largest ships of the Ming fleet dwarfed Columbus' flagship the Santa Maria. In fact the Chinese ships were the largest wooded sailing vessels ever built. Their water tight compartment structure was more than four centuries ahead in design to that of the European ships of the time.

For reasons still unclear, the Ming Dynasty not only suddenly stopped the expeditions, they actually destroyed all craft capable of ocean travel in the Empire, burned most of the records of the voyages and forbid Chinese from any future trade, exploration or colonization outside the current boundaries of the Ming lands. A major turning point in Chinese and World history had been reached; the greatest most advanced naval power of the age turned its back on the World and destroyed its superiority, choosing self imposed exile from the World stage. China would become an isolationist nation locked in the 15th Century for the next four centuries, all the while the rest of the World would continue to advance in technology and knowledge. The long age of Chinese technological superiority had ended

The Great Wall

Designed as much to keep Chinese in as to keep Barbarians out of China, the Great Wall is considered one of the greatest human engineering feats of all time. Its overall length has never been full established but is well in excess of 8,850km (5,500 miles). Designed to stop raids, slow down invaders and warn the empire when and where major barbarian assaults had occurred, the wall protected the northern frontiers for several dynasties (Ch'in, T'ang and Ming making the greatest use of the Wall for this purpose). The wall also served to control trade, raise taxes via trade and limit who could enter and leave the Empire as citizens, merchants and visitors traveled through the various gateways and cities that were incorporated in the Wall.
The Great Wall was first completed by Qin Shi Hunagdi in the Second Century BCE. Over the next 1800 years the wall was strengthened or allowed to fall into ruin dependent upon the dynasty ruling China. The Qin, Han and Ming Dynasties felt the Wall was a critical part of the national defense while the Yuan abandoned the Wall as useless (being the very "Barbarians" that the wall was designed to contain this was a logical move). Most of the Wall that is visible today are sections the Ming built-rebuilt in the 16th-17 centuries. The Great Wall was finally abandoned by the Qing Dynasty in the mid-1600's for much the same reasons as did the Yuan. In the end the Wall was only as good a defense as the soldiers that manned its bastions. When the quality of the army declined the defensive value of the Wall declined as well, soon the Wall was breached and the dynasty it defended died.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 2010 Study Guide

Roman/China Study Guide 2010

Be able to draw your three Chinese Characters

Be able to define/describe/explain the following:
SPQR, Constantinople/Byzantium, Pax Romana, Silk Road, Han Dynasty, Buddhism, Dynasty,
The Great Wall, Justinian, Ancestor Worship, Civil Service, Sun Tzu,
T’ang Dynasty, Dictator, Daoism, Zheng He

On the Map of Asia/China be able to locate China, Japan, Israel and seven of the following,: Afghanistan, East China Sea, India, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Pacific Ocean, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South China Sea, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam. The map on page 676 in your book has the correct locations.

Be able to discuss/list/identify five important facts for each of the following:
Ch’in Dynasty, The Julian Caesars, Ming Dynasty, Confucianism, Roman Months, Eastern Roman Empire, Chinese Religions,
Life Cycle of a Dynasty, Why Rome Fell, Chinese Inventions,
Chinese Barriers from Invasion

Sun Tzu and the Art of War

Circa 500 BCE the Chinese General Sun Tzu composed the worlds first textbook on military strategy. His basic tactics are as applicable today as they were 25 centuries ago: "All warfare is based on deception," "opportunities multiply as they are seized," "there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited" or "if ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril."
>This traditional copy of "the Art of War" is several centuries old.

Sun Tzu's book became known to the West in the late 18th Century and has been a component of military studies ever since.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dynasties Come and Dynasties Go

Life Cycle of a Dynasty

Birth: Revolts and wars following the death of the previous dynasty eventually leave a single strong victor-the new dynasty.
Youthful: full of high energy, the new dynasty aggressively extends its control over China, launches a series of social and economic “reforms” and expands or secures its borders with its neighbors.
Middle Age: content with its successes, the dynasty is now at the height of its power, secure at home and abroad the dynasty enters a state of internal and external peace and cultural advancement often referred to as a “Golden Age.”
Old Age: resistant to change, the dynasty becomes stagnant and self absorbed, the military becomes weak, border security fails, effects of natural disasters are worst due to weak central government action, unrest within the population increases as revolts become more common and the dynasty loses more and more control over the countryside.
Death: revolts and war finally overwhelm the dynasty and a new period of unrest and warfare wracks the country until the next dynasty is born.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Qin Shi Huangdi, China's First Emperor

Qin Shi Huangdi, literally First Emperor Qin, is known by many names. Ch'in Shi Hunagti, was a common version of his title in the 20th Century. Born Ying Zhang, he was heir to the throne of the kingdom of Ch'in/Qin during the Waring States period.

Through force of arms, he one by one conquered each of the independent kingdoms and in 221 BCE, created one unified empire that forever took his name Ch'in(a). Qin Shi Huangdi not only unified the Empire, he reformed the laws, and created the form of Imperial government that was to last the next 2000 years. The written language of Chinese was reworked as well. He is even credited with completion of the first Great Wall of China (at the cost of perhaps a million lives).
Today he is most famous in the West for his life size army of terra cotta warriors. Thousands of these works of art were buried to guard the tomb of the First Emperor.

>These are modern 1/3 size copies of some of the soldiers of the Qin Army.

His force of will remade China,but his dynasty barely out lived Qin Shi Hungdi. Oppressive leadership, ruinous taxes, palace intrigue and his early death, in 210 BCE, left the Empire ripe for revolt. After a brief fifteen years, the Qin Dynasty died at the hands of the Han Dynasty in 206 BCE. Short lived or not, Qin Shi Huangdi changed for ever the history of the Middle Kingdom.