Questions tagged [ancient-china]

Ancient China refers to the oldest period in Chinese history, prior to unification under the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.) and the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220).

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Why did Cao Cao slaugther the inhabitants of towns?

Cao Cao besieged Yongqiu for some months and eventually conquered it, after which he massacred its population, along with Zhang Chao and his family. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Miao Was ...
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Did generals really fight in ancient China?

When we think of generals, we usually think of someone that leads. We don't see General MacArthur charge in front of his soldiers to personally slaughter thousands of regular troops. In fact, even one ...
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Did cavalry in China use spears instead of swords?

In Japan, yaris (spears) seem inferior to katanas. In Shogun: Total War, for example, spear-wielding troops are "cheaper" than samurai. The spear-wielding troops are peasants. The samurai are members ...
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What did Kong Rong say about Cao Cao that got Kong Rong killed?

The Wikipedia article on Kong Rong says: In 208, Kong Rong spoke ill of Cao Cao before an emissary from Sun Quan, a warlord occupying southeast China. Cao Cao then sentenced him to death. ...
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When is the first recorded instance of the lo-shu square?

The lo-shu square (洛書) is a 3×3 grid of numbers, usually written as dots: Legend traces its origin to the legendary Yu the Great (大禹) or Fu-hi (伏羲) ~3000 years ago, but I'm interested in historically ...
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How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
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How did pre-modern historians explain Qin's unification of China?

The Qin state unified China at the end of the Warring states period. After centuries of incessant warfare, in just under a decade Qin managed to conquer its opponents in quick succession. Modern ...
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Chinese legendary figures with European appearance [closed]

I've been fascinated by the discovery of the Indo-European origin of the mummies in the Tarim basin. This article says: The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that ...
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What broad changes to "world thought" happened in the 6th and 5th centuries BC? [closed]

The 6th and 5th centuries BC saw the appearance of a remarkable number of philosophers and thinkers all over Eurasia whose influence continues to this day: Socrates (470 - 399 BC), "father of Western ...
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Did the Great Wall of China help cause the fall of the Roman Empire?

I recently came across a saying that "Rome fell essentially because China built the Great Wall" (to protect itself against the Xiongnu people, if I remember correctly) in a lecture series on peoples ...
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What is the oldest excavated/discovered piece of silk textile made for clothing or writing?

Chu manuscript dating back to circa 300 B.C., middle of the Warring States era. Mawangdui robe's dating back to ~ 200..150 B.C., beginning of the Western Han. Do you know any older examples of silk ...
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What are the oldest primary sources of recorded history in China?

There is for instance Sima Qian, according to Wikipedia the first Chinese historian, who wrote the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) in 109 BCE. But does this primary source still exist, or do ...
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What ideas diffused into China via the trade route established by emperor Han Wudi with the area around Persia? [closed]

China was relatively isolated in the far east, but suddenly the situation changed as emperor Han Wudi, famous for his vital foreign politics established economic relations with Bactria and Iran.
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How were Chinese Dynasties named?

What were the rules or conventions for choosing the name of a new dynasty chosen? Was there a single method for naming all of the Chinese dynasties?
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What were the cultures of peasants in China during the Hundred Schools period (600-221BCE)?

During the Hundred Schools period (600-221 BCE) Chinese cultures changed significantly as ideas were contested amongst the ruling elite. What do we know of peasant cultures in China during this ...
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What was the available level of agricultural technology in late 2nd century China?

How would you characterize the situation of the agricultural technology around the time of the Yellow Turban rebellion (A.D. 184-205), when technological breakthroughs were yet about to come?
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Does Chinese history really span the past 5000 years?

Chinese kids the world over are frequently taught that there is "5000 years of Chinese history". What basis is there for this claim?
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How big were Ancient China military forces?

When reading about warfare records in ancient China, I see a lot of references to "# of chariots" instead of "#k soldiers" or something like that. Do we know how big these armies actually were? As in, ...
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Did the Romans know about China?

Could there be a possibility that some Romans knew that there was a country north east of India? Because as far as I know the Romans traded with Indians.
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Did ancient people use punctuation? [closed]

For example, Chinese, Indian,.. did they use something like dot mark to separate sentences? If not, how can they know something is an object of the first sentence or the subject of the latter sentence?...
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What was the order of precedence for ancient China nobility ranks?

I would like to ask a question about ancient Chinese nobility. I was researching some background on Confucius, and I found a weird discrepancy on Wikipedia about his homeland, Lu. About its ruler, the ...
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How historical are early Chinese (Shang dynasty and earlier) dynastic records?

Early Chinese dynastic records look like actual history in some places (in particular the exact dating of reigns, back to and including the Yellow Emperor). Elsewhere, there is clearly a lot of myth ...
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Did Mete Khan and Hsiung-nu serve the Chinese Emperor?

I was reading Nicolae Jorga's "History of Ottoman Empire vol. 1" and he gave information that Mete Khan, who freed Hsiung-nu people from the rule of Yue-chi, was a servant of the Chinese Emperor. But ...
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Battle of Xiaoting: was Shu's invasion doomed from the start?

The Battle of Xiaoting was one of the three major battles of China's Three Kingdoms period; after the kingdom of Wu invaded Jing province a few years earlier, the state of Shu amassed an army to ...
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How strong is the current theory of the beginnings of Chinese writing?

I've heard the claim that the current Chinese calendar was introduced some times around 2637 BCE by Emperor Huang Di. Apparently, written records date back to about 4,000 years ago and before that the ...
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Why did Chinese use high tin bronze for swords?

Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17–21% tin) which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually 10%),...
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Song school vs. Han school of Confucian thought in the Qing dynasty

The Song school eventually prevailed due to favor from the Qing emperor and also because some Han texts were determined to be not genuine by scholars of the time. My question is, were the scholars ...
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How has Chinese GDP as a percentage of world GDP changed over time and why?

I've heard it's 33% during the Qing dinasty. 4% during cultural revolution. Now it's climbing up steadily to 11%. Where can I see the table of those actually tracking those numbers? What were the ...
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Did Chinese Hundred Schools of Thought influence Ancient Greek Philosophy?

As a beginning student of Chinese I am also learning a bit more about Chinese history. As such I am more and more impressed by the quality of thought that has been left behind by Chinese philosophers ...
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Did the Chinese Develop Steam Engines Prior to the 17th Century?

I vaguely remember seeing a documentary on the history channel that was discussion on ancient Chinese technology. The basic theme of the program was that China developed many industrial technologies ...
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Did Emperor Gaozu of Han allow people he conquered to keep their cultural identities?

Did he force them to assimilate with his people or did he allow open practice of the conqueree's culture?
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Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?

In the ancient world, the states around the Mediterranean were ruled by various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, each of which had varying levels of success. Meanwhile, in China, monarchy ...
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What events led to the fall of the Zhou Dynasty during the Warring States period?

The title above is fairly broad, so more specifically, what specific events led to the Warring States period experienced towards the end of the Western Zhou Dynasty in ancient China? As the lineage ...

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