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History 1601E Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Sui Dynasty, Northern Zhou, Bone Rank System

Course Code
HIS 1601E
Cary Takagaki
Study Guide

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Midterm Review
Oracle Bones pg 13, 15, 19
- It shows that the Shang king also acted as the high priest, who is best
qualified to perform sacrifices to the royal ancestors and the high god Di.
- The king also made offerings to an array of nature gods (spirits of the sun
moon, Yellow River, winds)
- The King recognized his ancestors’ wishes and responses by interpreting
the cracks made on heated cattle or turtle bones
- E.g. King Wu Ding had his diviner ask the high god Di or his ancestors
about rain, the harvest, military expeditions, dreams, sacrifices and even a
- When the king was not correct about the interpretation, he could just say
he did not get it wrong but he also did not get it right
- Important because it tells us history. E.g. we know that from oracle bone
texts, the captives not needed as slaves often ended up as sacrificial
victims. Also it tells us that writing was already a major element in Chinese
culture by 1200 BCE
The Mandate of Heaven pg 147, 229, 274, 16-17, 182, 274
- Zhou kings sacrificed to their ancestors but they also sacrificed to the
divine force called Sky or Heaven
- The Book of Documents assumes a close relationship between Heaven
and the king, who was called the “Son of heaven”
- Heaven gives the king a mandate to rule only as long as he rules in the
interests of the people
- Theory; the Mandate of Heaven does not seem to have had any place in
Shang cosmology. It was elaborated by the early Zhou rulers as
propaganda to win over the conquered subjects of the Shang
- Promoted the ideal of political unity for “all under Heaven” and legitimated
many subsequent changes
- If a king did not rule in the interests of the people, Heaven could take
away the king’s mandate and confer it on a worthier person

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- A Chinese philosopher who influenced the world
- His sayings are recorded by his disciples in the Analects
- The thrust of his thought was ethical rather than theoretical or
metaphysical. He talked repeatedly of an ideal age in the early Zhou.
- Believed that each individual must focus on fulfilling their roles: rulers and
depended and parents and children, husbands and wives, friends and
- Saw much of value in family ties; filial piety. Promotes the importance of
obedience of children towards their parents and performance of the
expected rituals for the dead. E.g. if your father steals something, it is your
duty to protect your father and not speak a word of the crime.
- Emphasized the idea of becoming true gentlemen, which is “son of a lord”.
Should advise his ruler on the best way to govern.
- Ultimate virtue was ren; humanity perfect, goodness, benevolence. Saw
significance in keeping peace; hence, war was discouraged.
- Also encouraged education not just academically but creatively (arts). He
stated that the only way for the superior to civilize people and establish
good society is through education.
- He did not touch upon supernatural beings “if you are not able to serve
men, how are you able to serve spiritual beings?”
- Focused on studying the past instead of creating new ideas
The First Emperor (Qin Shin Haung King Cheng/Zheng)
- King of the state of Qin during the Warring States Period
- Decided that the title “king” was not grand enough, so called himself the
First Emperor
- He initiated a sweeping program of centralization.
- To administer the territory that had been seized, he dispatched officials
whom he controlled through a mass of regulations, reporting requirements,
and penalties for inadequate performance.

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- To make the administering all regions easier, writing systems were
standardized, as were weights, measures, coinage, and even the axle
lengths of carts.
- He shared the Legalist suspicion of intellectual diversity.
- Li Si complained that scholars used records of the past to denigrate the
emperor’s achievements and undermine popular support, the emperor
ordered the collection and burning of all useless writings. The only were
remained were topics on agriculture, medicine, and divination.
The Silk Road
- A series of trade and cultural transmission route that connected regions of
Asian continent (West and East) by linking merchants, pilgrims, soldiers,
nomads dwellers from China
- Gets its name from the Chinese silk trade carried out during the Han
- Although product in constant demand outside China was silk, through Silk
Road, they learned new foodstuffs like walnuts, pomegranates, and
- Largely carried by Bactrian camel with a heavy coats of hair to withstand
the bitter cold of winter, they could carry about 500 of cargo
- Buddhism benefited from the dedication of missionaries who travelled
along the Silk Road
- Over the course of the fourth and third centuries
- Emphasized the need for rigorous laws, argued that strong government
depended not on the moral qualities of the ruler and his officials but on
establishing effective laws and procedures
- Qin, under the chancellor, Lord Shang, adopted many Legalist policies.
- Social distinctions were based on military ranks determined by the
objective criterion of the number of enemy heads cut off in battle
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