What’s the Big Deal? China, India, Mediterranean
What’s In the Classical Period? • Built on RVC predecessors • But larger geographically • Culturally deeper AND broader • More trade, complex economy • More political consolidation
Why Was the Classical Period Bigger and Better? • Stronger militaries • Iron weapons, c. 1,500 B.C.E. • More outreach, contact for trade • Han—Middle East and India • Alexander (Greeks)—Middle East and India • Formalized religion and philosophy • Hinduism (older, but develops more) • Buddhism • Christianity • Improvements in infrastructure • New Canals • Safer Transportation (Postal Service—Persia)
Durable Cultures • Chinese more accepting authority • Confucius • Modern-day examples: • One child law • Internet censorship • One-party rule • India’s diversity makes centralization difficult. • Ethnic, linguistic, and religious differences • Modern-day examples: • Partition • The government’s inability to regulate birthrates.
Durable Cultures, pt. 2 • Romans: • law and concepts of citizenship • Habeas corpus? • Roman Catholicism • Greeks • Democracy • Science and philosophy • Theater • ^English language roots in both^
Durable Cultures Pt. 3 • The Middle East…gets conquered a lot. • Alexander • Rome • Byzantines… • Persia…always trying to assert itself
When Distinctiveness Collides • Syncretism: Buddha in Greek clothes • Conflict: Christianity v. paganism
Classical Continuities • No massive technological improvements. • No great changes in transportation (just better roads) • Rural folk often maintained older religions. • Continuation of RVC practices: • Money • Law codes • Interest in science (esp. Astronomy)
Classical China Zhou, Qin, Han
Political Patterns • Dynasty cycle (Vigor, Stagnation, Decline—often internal rebellions) • Mandate of Heaven • Rise of Confucian order and bureaucracy
Why China is Special • Isolation BUT magnificence • Advanced civilization contrasts from Aboriginal Australians. • Han the most effective bureaucracy before the modern era. • Technology • Language; writing • ALL WITHOUT MUCH CONTACT WITH OTHER CIVILIZATIONS • No missionary spirit
Dynasty Cycle • Notion of the ‘Mandate of Heaven” begun by the Zhou • a) Emperors refered to as ‘Sons of Heaven’ • b) Connecting rulers to divine power/inspiration/oversight • (1) At the start: Strong institutions, honest bureaucracy • (2) Later: Internal rebellions, corruption, external invasions, poor weather, poor flood control, famine—Lose Mandate • With the decline of one dynasty, another would rise. • a) Successful invaders, leaders of rebellions, strong generals.
Dynasty Cycle: Zhou • Northern people, replaced Shang Dynasty • Closest ties to RVC • Mandarin language • Zhou had no cohesive bureaucracy • Ruled by alliances with regional princes and noble families • Zhou authority unravels c. 8th century B.C.E. • Political conflict • Social turmoil • Nomadic invasions • Context for Confucius
Dynasty Cycle: Zhou to Qin • The Zhou have lost the Mandate of Heaven. • Shi Huangdi, 3rd Century B.C.E., warrior strongman • Tyranical/Brutal • Legalism • Conscripted labor and taxes • Son and advisors lose support of people (& Mandate of Heaven) • Peasant revolt lead to rise of the Han…etc.
Qin Dynasty • Qin=China • Shi Huangdi undercuts aristocrats • Provinces ruled by bureaucratic appointments; not noble families • Bureaucracy not tied to nobility • Expands beyond Zhou borders • South to modern-day Hong Kong • Great Wall in North
Qin Legacy • Use of conscripted (but not enslaved) labor • National census (for tax and labor purposes) • Standardized weights and measures • Good for trade • Standard axles promote standard roads… • Uniform written script • Promotion of irrigation (still happening) • Promotion of industry (silk)—(Still happening) • Intolerant of criticism: • Burned many books • Feared opposition from intellectuals (Still happening!)
Han Legacy • Peasants topple a dynasty… • Centralization without brutality • Wu Ti and Confucius • Expansion: • Korea • Indochina • Central Asia • Decline: • Weakened central control • Invasions from Central Asia (Huns!)
What’s Important About Chinese Political Structures? • Central authority • Emperor with a Mandate from Heaven • Uniform legal codes • Uniform tax system • Uniformity… • Supportive and expansive bureaucracy • Use of appointed governors for provinces • Embrace of Confucianism; Civil Service Exam • Sponsorship of industries and public works
Chinese Religion and Culture • Many religions, esp. among masses; polytheism • Tolerated if not political • Daoism promotes withdrawing from politics • Buddhism will suffer later • Emphasis on harmony, balance (yin/yang) • Emphasis on rituals and ceremony • Han worship Confucius as a god
Religion and Culture, Pt. 2 • Confucius NOT a religious leader • Emphasis on relationships & • Ruler and subject • Father and son • Elder brother and younger brother • Husband and wife • Friend and friend • Hierarchy is natural and good. It’s about knowing your proper place—harmony.
Religion and Culture, Pt. 3 • Daoism • “The Way” • Lao Tzu • Concept of Yin-Yang, order in all things • Nature-based, quiet, withdrawn life • Not endorsed by Emperor or bureaucracy, but apolitical so left alone.
Religion and Culture, Pt. 4 • Legalism • Pragmatic guide to maintaining order • Human nature is evil; must be restrained • Harsh central rule • Severe punishment for crimes • Limited thought; anti-intellectual
Religion and Culture, Pt. 5 • Art • Decorative, stressing detail, craftsmanship • Reflect geometric qualities, as in Chinese writing • Music • Scholars studied the mathematics of tone
Classical Chinese Economy • Agriculture • Wheat in North • Rice in South • Internal trade (isolation) • Iron mining • Manufacturing (e.g. textiles: silk, porcelain) • The Silk Road
Classical Chinese Technology • Skilled ironworks • Pulleys and winding gear • Yokes sans choking • Ox-driven plows • Increased production=increased population • Largest cities in the world • Water-powered mills • Paper • Chinese science and astronomy focused on practical application (e.g. calendars)
Classical Chinese Families • Tightly organized (Confucius!) • Patriarchical (Confucius) • “There are no wrongdoing parents.” (Confucius) • Primogeniture (Confucius) • Order and control start in the family (Confucius)
Classical Social Groups • Mandarins/Land owners; bureaucrats and scholars • Laborers and peasants • Mean People (traders and merchants; performing artists; dirtiest jobs) • Why are Merchants and traders so low? • Harsher punishments for crimes • Had to wear green scarves?
Big Picture • Politics and culture • Emphasized order and stability (guess who) • Divergence of Confucianism, Daoism, and (eventually) Buddhism • Technology, religion, philosophy, political structures: despite isolation • Practical science=useful technology=improved economy • Longest lasting civilization in world history