The Classical Period (1000 BCE * 500 CE)

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THE CLASSICAL
PERIOD
(1000 BCE – 500 CE)
Chapters 2-5
CLASSICAL CIVILIZATIONS (#2)
 Classical
civilizations, although they were
built upon the earlier river valley
civilizations, were noticeably larger in their
geographic, cultural, economic, and political
reach.
 The main factor for this growth was military
conquest due to the introduction of iron tools
and weapons.
 As the larger empires developed, so too did
new trade links, formalized religions and
philosophy, and improved technologies.
CLASSICAL CIVILIZATIONS (#1&3)
Each of these civilizations had a unique social
structure, religion, political system, system of
science, and styles of art.
 Each classical civilization set up extensive
internal trade networks and regional
specialization.
 Each civilization promoted a common culture in
order to provide bonds between its people groups.
 Trade with neighboring regions also became more
common and as a result, so to did syncretism

CONTINUITIES OF CLASSICAL
CIVILIZATION (#4)
 Classical
civilizations continued to
use many of the traditional
innovations set forth by the river
civilizations. They simply built off of
the progress that these other
societies had established.
 Each of the civilizations developed a
clear patriarchal society.
CHAPTER 2
CLASSICAL
CIVILIZATION: CHINA
Pgs. 38-54
DYNASTIC RULE (#10)
For thousands of years, China has been ruled by
dynasties.
 A “dynasty” is a family of kings that passes
rule down in a hereditary style, from one
king to another.
 As the ruling dynasty began to falter,
usually another one arose from the family
of a successful general, invader, or peasant,
and the pattern started anew.
 The three dynasties of classical China are the
Zhou, the Qin, and the Han.

DYNASTIC CHARACTERISTICS (#10)
The dynasties of China developed very strong
political institutions and encouraged a strong
economy and an emphasis on technological
advancements.
 However, each dynasty over time grew
weaker as tax revenues declined and
social divisions occurred.
 In addition, internal rebellions and
sometimes invasions from the outside
contributed to each dynasty’s decline.

THE ZHOU DYNASTY (1029 – 258 BCE)
(#12)
 They
expanded China’s territory from the
Yellow river to the Yangtze River Valley.
This area is often called the “Middle
Kingdom”.
 They promoted Mandarin Chinese as the
standard language (linguistic unity).
 They established the “Mandate of Heaven”
(p.42) concept, which stated that they had
been mandated to rule China through the
power of heaven.
 Following dynasties would all claim this
concept.
THE ZHOU DYNASTY
THE ZHOU DYNASTY (#11)
The
Zhou dynasty, unlike later
dynasties, did not develop a
strong central government, but
ruled through alliances with
strong nobles and
landlords.(a.k.a. the feudal
system)
This led to problems as regional
princes disregarded the central
government and built up power
of their own.
CONFUCIUS (#5)
 As
the Zhou Dynasty began to fail,
philosophers tried to explain the
problems.
 The most famous of these philosophers was
Confucius (551 to 478 BCE).
 He traveled through China teaching his
political beliefs, virtue, and good
government.
 He was not a religious leader but rather
saw himself as a defender of Chinese
tradition and promoted a secular system of
ethics.
CONFUCIUS
CONFUCIAN TEACHINGS
His teachings of course came to be known as
Confucianism.
 Above all, he emphasized personal virtue.
 He believed that if people had a reverence for
tradition, a solid political life would naturally
result.
 He stressed respect for one’s social superiors,
including fathers and husbands as leaders of the
family.
 Both rulers and the ruled should act with
respect, humility, and self-control.

CONFUCIAN TEACHINGS
 He
asserted that society’s leaders should not
use abusive power and should treat their
people with courtesy.
 He is quoted, “When the ruler does right, all
men will imitate his self-control. What the
ruler does, the people will follow”.
 Confucianism was primarily a set of ethics
urging citizens to do unto others as their
status dictates.
 It became the main way of thought for
Chinese citizens, with few exceptions, and is
still very popular today.
LEGALISM
An alternate system of political thought.
 They favored an authoritarian state which ruled
by force.
 According to Legalists, humans were evil by
nature. They therefore, required restraint and
discipline.
 In a proper state, the army would control and the
people would labor for the state.
 It was not as popular as Confucianism, but we
can see some of its ideas in modern China.

DAOISM (TAOISM)
This was a more religious philosophy in classical
China. It embraced harmony with nature.
 Dao actually means “the way of nature”.
 This harmony within nature was embodied
through the law of opposites. Every feature is
balanced by an opposite, every yin by a yang.
 For example, the for hot there is cold, for male,
female, and for big, small.
 Finding one’s Dao, or “way”, was a matter of
avoiding excess and appreciating the balance of
opposites.

THREE PHILOSOPHICAL MOVEMENTS OF
CLASSICAL CHINA
Confucianism
Legalism
Daoism
 All
sought to
offer guidance
and
understanding
of this worldly
life.
 All can still be
seen in China
today.
THE QIN DYNASTY (221-202 BCE) (#13)
 The
next dynasty was started by the brutal
but effective emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, or
“first emperor”
 The Qin dynasty actually gave the country its
name of “China”
 Shi Huangdi was a brutal leader, but
effective nonetheless.
 He understood that China’s problem lay
in the power of the aristocrats that the
previous Zhou dynasty had trusted.
 He made up his mind to undo this
problem.
THE QIN DYNASTY (221-202 BCE) (#13)
He ordered nobles to leave their regions
and lands and live at his court. He then
took control of their estates.
 China was organized into states that were
ruled by bureaucrats he himself appointed.
He made sure they were from nonaristocratic backgrounds so that they
would owe their power to him and not dare
challenge him.
 He also used his powerful armies to crush
resistance to his rule.
 All were ways he acquired tight control and
absolute power over China

THE QIN DYNASTY (#14)

Shi Huangdi
consolidated his
power, built the
Great Wall,
conducted a census,
standardized
weights and
measures, and
extended the
borders of his realm
to Hong Kong and
northern Vietnam
THE GREAT WALL
Shi Huangdi is most known for authorizing the
building of the Great Wall of China.
 It extended over 3000 miles, and was designed to
keep out northern invaders.
 It is probably the largest construction project in
human history.
 It was built by forced labor, most of whom were
peasants. It is believed that over 1 million died
building this wall.
 It is the longest man-made structure in the
world.

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
FACTS ABOUT THE GREAT WALL
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1) The Great Wall was not a single, continuous,
unbroken wall when it was first constructed. Rather,
the wall was a network of segments built by different
dynasties.
2) Human remains have never been found inside the
wall.
3) The Great Wall is often compared to a dragon. In
China, the dragon is also seen as a symbol of
protection, like the Wall.
4) During the Qin and Han dynasties, many convicted
criminals were punished by being sent to work on the
Wall.
5) In order make construction on the wall easier, the
Chinese invented the wheelbarrow.
6) The Great Wall of China is 25 feet high in some
places and ranges from 15-30 feet wide.
THE QIN DYNASTY
Upon his death,
massive revolts
broke out. (Why?)
 One peasant leader
established control
and started China’s
3rd dynasty, the Han.
 Shi Haungdi had the
famous terra cotta
army constructed to
guard his tomb.

THE HAN DYNASTY (202 B.C.E.-220 C.E.)
(#15)
 The
Han rulers lessened the brutality
of the Qin but maintained its
centralized rule.
 Early Han leaders, like Wu Ti, expanded
Chinese territory (pushing into
Korea, Indochina and central Asia)
and set up formal training, based on
Confucian philosophy, for
bureaucrats.
 During a long decline, the Han faced
invasions and eventually fell to
outside forces, especially the Huns.
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS OF CHINA (#16)
AND (#18)
 Throughout
the Qin and Han periods, China
had roughly 130,000 bureaucrats (the
largest number in the world, by far) all
trained by the government to carry out
the emperor’s policies. (#16)
 These bureaucrats mainly collected taxes
and enforced law codes. (#16)
 Emperor Wu Ti established exams for
his bureaucrats to take to ensure their
competence. Examinees had to master
the principles of Confucianism. These
were the first examples of civil service
tests. (#18)
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS OF CHINA
 Most
Chinese believed in the
importance of respect for those in
power.(A key element of
Confucianism)
 This can help to explain why the
Chinese political structure was able
to survive decline, invasion, and
rebellion for so many centuries.
 The amount of power that its
government controlled was
enormous.
CHINESE CULTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS
(P.48)
 The
Chinese had many cultural
achievements. Because they were so
isolated, they encouraged innovative and
practical solutions to their problems.
What resulted were impressive inventions
and breakthroughs for that time period.
 They developed an accurate calendar
based on a year of 365.5 days, calculated
the movements of Saturn and Jupiter,
invented the seismograph, and developed
hygiene principles to promote longer life.
CHINESE SOCIETY AND ECONOMY (#23)
There were large gaps between China’s upper
class (about 2 percent of the population) and the
peasant farmers.
 Officially there were three main social
groups in classical China.

1) Land-owning aristocracy and bureaucrats
 2) laboring peasants and urban artisans
 3) The “mean people,” those who performed
unskilled labor and lacked meaningful skills.
* Generally, social status was passed from one
generation to the next, but unusually talented
individuals could rise in society.

CHINESE ECONOMY AND SOCIETY
 External
trade
became
increasingly
important during
Han era.
 It focused mainly
on luxury items
like silks, jewelry,
leather goods, and
furniture.
THE SILK ROAD (#27)
The demand for
China’s high quality
silk reached all the
way to the Middle
East, India, and the
Mediterranean.
 This trade generated
a network of roads
through central Asia
known collectively as
the Silk Road.

CHINESE TECHNOLOGY
It was in the area of technology that the classical
Chinese excelled. They were centuries ahead of
their counterparts in Europe and Asia.
 Some of their achievements include:
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Ox-drawn plows to increase farming productivity
A new collar for draft animals that allowed them to
pull carts and wagons without choking.
Iron mining pulleys.
Iron tools and lamps were created and improved
The first water-powered mills.
Paper was invented in the Han period, helping with
record keeping.
CHINESE FAMILY STRUCTURES (#19)
 The
Chinese had a very tightly knit
family structure.
 It emphasized the power of the male
figure. Remember: Societies in which the
men rule or exercise most of the power are
known as patriarchal societies.
 Parents wielded high levels of authority
over their children.
 Women were subordinate to men but had
clearly defined roles in the family and in
larger society.
CHINESE CIVILIZATION IN SUMMARY (#26)
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It is imperative to note that Chinese politics and
culture worked together to strengthen the nation.(Ex.
Confucianism and Legalism strengthened politics)
Classical Chinese technology, religion, philosophy,
and political structure evolved with little outside
contact.
Chinese political stability led to economic growth.
Science focused on technological innovations that also
spurred economic growth.
Because of their pride in their culture and its
durability over the centuries, the Chinese had
neither the need or desire to learn from other
societies.
CLASSICAL CHINA AND THE WORLD
 Chinese
civilization was the longest
lasting in world history and one of the
most creative and influential.
 They created the best-run bureaucracy
and a whole range of technologies, and
they were the source of the world’s largest
trade network, the Silk Road.
 Silk Road networks provided the
framework for later global trading
patterns.

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