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Lecture 3

History 2605E Week 3

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Department
History
Course
History 2605E
Professor
Carl Young
Semester
Fall

Description
From Nara to Heian - Nara only remains capital for around 80 years - Nara temples become increasingly wealthy through land grants - Compete with aristocratic families for influence in court - Emperor Kanmu along with the Fujiwara family decide to transfer the capital to cut down on influence of Nara Buddhist clergy Heian (from 794) - Capital transferred here in 794 - Also based on Changan city plan - Many palaces and imposing temples - Later renamed Kyoto - Would remain imperial capital until 1868 The Heian State - Cone capital established in Heian, central state gained increasing control - Competition between great families over titles and offices - Structure would endure until 1868, although realities would change - Centred on the Emperor - Actual power held by great families - Council of State, Eight Ministries, and Office of Deities - State rituals based on Tang models - Sixty-six provinces - State offices increasingly hereditary - Peasants paid taxes in grain, textiles, and labour Class Structure - Highly stratified - No examination system for civil service - Confucian schools for sons of aristocrats - Society divided into court aristocrats, local elites, and commoners who farmed land guaranteed by the state The Fujiwara Family - Dominant aristocratic family in the imperial court - Cemented by providing consorts to the emperors - Sessho (regent to a child emperor) - Kanpaku (regent to an adult emperor) - Fujiwara no Michinaga (966-1027) The Emperors - Burdensome ceremonial obligations - Led to reduced political power - Arbiters between families - Retired emperors - First started by Fujiwara family to gain influence over young rulers - Later, retured emperors tried to increase imperial family’s private land holdings The Shoen - Land technically belonged to the state - Exceptions made to certain lands belonging to aristocrats, temples, and new lands - Often tax-exempt - Not necessarily contiguous - Competition for growth in private land - Growth also occurs through commendation Running the Shoen - Mandokoro (administrative council) - Absentee landlords - Administrators - Important local families - Shiki: rights to land income - Can be privately alienated and tradeable - Private armies, police forces, and sometimes justice
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