From Isolationist to Worldly Entity● Due to Chinas geographical location, it developed largely apart from the other classical civilizations at the time, such as Greece and India.● Mountain ranges and deserts to the west prevented China from making contact with these other civilizations.● The creation of the Silk Road lead to Chinas becoming a major influence in world economics and the exchange of ideas.
The Spread of Culture● The advent of the Silk Road meant that not only could goods be exchanged amongst civilizations, but cultural beliefs and scientific ideas could as well.● Buddhism spread out of India all along the Silk Road. Eventually, the emperor of China himself would convert to the religion.● Later, Islam also spread along the Silk Road, but to a lesser extent than Buddhism.
The Spread of Ideas● Classical China was responsible for many of the technological advances seen during the classical period. These innovations spread throughout the Middle East and into the Mediterranean.● Some of Chinas many technological advancements include paper, gunpowder, silk, the abacus astronomy, the compass, boat rudders, iron plows, and porcelain.
Classical Society● Classical Chinese society was highly patriarchal and very family-oriented. Even the society as a whole operated in a similar fashion to a family.● Work for the good of your family, work for the betterment of the society in which you live.● Three major dynasties ruled over classical China, each bringing something different to the nation.
Zhou Dynasty● Ruled from 1029 to 258 B.C.E.● Really only flourished until about 700 B.C.E., after which it began a very lengthy decline leading to an eventual downfall.● Never a strong central government – the Zhou Dynasty ruled through alliances with regional princes and noble families.● Political system deteriorated and foreign invasions beset the country, leading to the eventual collapse of the Zhou Dynasty.
Qin Dynasty● Took power after the collapse of the Zhou Dynasty, but only lasted a few decades.● Qin Shi Huangdi, or First Emperor, ruled China with an iron fist, consolidating power within the central government and removing power from regional princes and nobles.● Though the period was brutal, the Qin Dynasty accomplished a number of things, including a national census, standardized weights, measurements, and coinage, standardized writing, and incredible military expansion.
Han Dynasty● Death of Qin Shi Huangdi left China in chaos, and the Han rose to power amongst the fighting.● Lasted from 202 B.C.E to 220 C.E.● Large, bureaucratic government that was capable of ruling over a much larger expanse of territory than the Qin Dynasty was able to.● Bureaucracy and functions of the state improved under the Han.● However, eventually deterioration of the central government coupled with foreign invasions led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty.
Chinese Philosophies● Confucianism – the basis for Chinese political structure; more secular rather than religious. ● Individuals put emphasis on personal virtue and a solid political life would result. ● Respect for social superiors.● Daoism – a more religious philosophy than Confuciansim. ● Stressed the harmony and mystery of nature; nature contains in it a divine impulse that directs all life.
Citations● Chinas Flag. 2001. Graphic. EnchantedLearning.comWeb. 7 Oct 2012. < http://www.enchantedlearning.com/asia/china/flag.shtml>.● Wild, Oliver. The Silk Road. 1998. Map. The Circle of Ancient Iranian StudiesWeb. 7 Oct 2012. < http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Geography/silk_road.htm>.● Chinese Inventions. N.d. Graphic. vhinkle.comWeb. 7 Oct 2012. < http://www.vhinkle.com/china/inventions.html>.● Sterns, Peter. World Civilizations: The Global Experience. 5th Edition. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 38-55. Print.