59 votes
Accepted

Why does the Great Wall of China follow such a bendy route?

The Chinese designed the wall to be an effective barrier; that was the goal. To answer your question, we need to ask: what land barrier stopped foreign troops the best? The answer in China, and ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Did Chinese emperors wear a rectangular hat with suspended gems?

You're describing the mian (冕), a style of classical Chinese head dress that was indeed worn by successive Emperors of China. The basic design consisted of a hat secured to the head with a red string (...
Semaphore's user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

Did early imperial China have a "uniform, multilevel administrative bureaucracy" that the Romans did not?

I thought MCW's answer had some very good points, and I upvoted it. But I think I will try to expand some more on the evolution of the Roman government "system". (The scare quotes express my ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 7,725
25 votes
Accepted

How did the First Emperor of Qin "burn the books" prior to the invention of paper?

The Chinese term for the Qin emperor's "burning books and burying scholars alive" is 焚書坑儒 (character by character: burn/book/bury [alive]/followers of Confucius). The character for book or ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 9,207
22 votes

Did early imperial China have a "uniform, multilevel administrative bureaucracy" that the Romans did not?

A bureaucracy is a form of work organization. The historical meaning of the term refers to a body of non-elected government officials, but is nowadays understood as an administrative system used by ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 33.7k
20 votes

Why does the Great Wall of China follow such a bendy route?

The Great Wall of China: It is the longest man-made construction in the world. In the old times, it was of great military importance of preventing the enemies' intrusion and was regarded as the '...
Ken Graham's user avatar
  • 1,910
19 votes
Accepted

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms why do people still use bamboo sticks when paper had already been invented?

Yes, this is historically accurate. Writing on bamboo slips was not entirely abandoned until the 4th century CE---over a century after the Romance of the Three Kingdoms takes place. As the Wikipedia ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of the cross on a Chinese bronze Gu Chalice?

The ➕-shaped inscription in the first image is not related to the ➕-shaped holes in the other images. Also, neither of these ➕-shapes are specific to Gū chalices, being also found in other types of ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 1,110
16 votes
Accepted

Is there any idea of why Cao Cao's parents would give him a nearly identical name to the family name?

I’m thinking I should rephrase my comment above as an answer. I believe the correct answer would be “they didn’t”, and that’s why. While the surname and name of Cao Cao almost match in modern ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
14 votes

What was the standard spoken language (dialect) in the Three Kingdoms period?

中國歷代官方語言 (Wikipedia) 漢朝的汉语标准语称“正音”、“雅言”,也称“通語”,后来的“天下通语”则用来严格指汉语标准语。揚雄著書《輶軒使者絕代語釋別國方言》,“方言”即與“通語”相對。 汉代國語為“洛語”,洛語承襲先秦时代的雅言。 There was a standard Chinese dialect during the Han Dynasty and Three ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 367
14 votes

When did Northern India and N. China begin to dominate in global demographics?

Using the delta areas as proxies for the entire river valley systems: The area of the Ganges delta (about 59,000 km2) is nearly 4 times as large as Mesopotamia (about 15,000 km2), and 3 times as ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What is the historical evidence for asserting Huns were one and the same as Xiongnu?

As I touched in the last paragraph of this answer, we don't really know who the Huns were. Its one of the great mysteries of history, up there with the identity of the Sea Peoples. It appears the ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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12 votes

What are the three major differences between the first and second silk road?

Short Answer There is support among some historians for identifying three periods of major activity along the Silk Road. Some list only two, others four (by dividing one of the three into two halves)...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,202
12 votes

Why did emperors of India and China have so many mistresses?

I think you're finding this odd because you are looking at it from the point of view of your own culture, and assuming that is "normal". In fact, different cultures evolved with different standards ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
11 votes

Why have eunuchs been so influential in Chinese history?

Chinese eunuchs were the personal servants of the emperor and his household; being close and having the ear of the emperor gives you power. An eunuch could help you by putting in a good word; eunuchs ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 14.5k
11 votes

Did early imperial China have a "uniform, multilevel administrative bureaucracy" that the Romans did not?

The quote from Fukuyama is explicitly reporting the opinion of Max Weber, one of the founding figures of modern sociology. To understand what Fukuyama means, one has to look to Weber and to what ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.7k
10 votes
Accepted

Where is an image of the oracle bone that describes the nova?

There is a picture of that oracle bone in the chapter Chinese and Korean Star Maps and Catalogs by F. Richard Stephenson in the University of Chicago's History of Cartography (p514): There is also a ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
10 votes

What does this sentence from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms mean?

The "Established Calm" refers to the jianning (建寧) era, from the first years of the reign of Emperor Ling. The actual meaning is closer to "establishing peace". The "Great ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
8 votes

Does Chinese history really span the past 5000 years?

I like @Semaphore 's answer above. I'd like to clarify a little: What kind of history are you asking about? There is an important distinction between recorded history and pre-history. Generally ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What are the best resources for studying oracle bone inscriptions?

I don't know how useful this will be to you but hopefully these links will at least lead you to what you are looking for. The British Library has more than 450 oracle bones and there are some links ...
bonzo-lz's user avatar
  • 1,304
8 votes

Did Diaochan really love Lü Bu?

Moot, because Diaochan is not a real person. She is described in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is a historical novel that is not history. In the actual history Sanguozhi (quoted in Wikipedia's ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 6,319
7 votes
Accepted

Why was the Records of the Three Kingdoms composed before that of the Later Han?

The short answer is, the historical list (i.e. the image in the question) provided with the year-stamp is not really showing the chronology properly. The key point is Chen Shou's Records of the Three ...
J Asia's user avatar
  • 6,323
7 votes
Accepted

Are fiefdoms near the Capital assigned to trusted allies or the opposite, and why?

It would be incorrect to say, ' ... China and Japan used a completely opposite rationale in assigning the fiefdoms and were both well chosen for the country'. It did happen this way but for the ...
J Asia's user avatar
  • 6,323
7 votes
Accepted

Who was 'Viscount Yi' and what did he do to survive in the court of a madman?

This doesn't precisely address a "Viscount Yi" but, as noted in my comment above, I think Mr Menosky (a) is clearly talking about chengyu, the fixed allusive idioms of the Chinese language ...
lly's user avatar
  • 2,043
7 votes
Accepted

What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties?

What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties? What were the rules of succession during the different dynasties[?] The de facto rule of ...
lly's user avatar
  • 2,043
7 votes
Accepted

Did Diaochan really love Lü Bu?

Given that is mostly fictional, not historical, it is quite unlikely. In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Wang Yun was the adoptive father of the fictional maiden ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 33.7k
6 votes

Were there ever Taoist missionaries?

Taoism gained much popularity by the end of the Southern Song period. When the Mongol Empire started invading, they had the habit of massacring the whole population after a city was sacked. Taoist ...
Yu Zhang's user avatar
  • 199
6 votes

What did ancient countries call themselves?

For many of the civilisations that had systems of writing the name that they used for their own country is preserved in the ancient texts themselves. For example, the ancient Egyptians thought of ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.5k
6 votes

Are fiefdoms near the Capital assigned to trusted allies or the opposite, and why?

China is a large country with even larger borders. Enemies are likely to come from far away, and they are likely to be people that are "unlike" you. So you want your "last line of defense," nearest ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 105k
6 votes
Accepted

How did the Chinese crossbows that shot bullets work?

"Rifle" is a bit ill defined here. A rifle is: a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls. ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar

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