April 13 lecture slides

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April 11, 2006: 

April 11, 2006 Early Chinese Civilization Qin Empire Video: First Emperor of China

Chinese Unification: 

Chinese Unification Shih Huang Ti (First Emperor) unified China into a single imperial kingdom in 221 B.C. He inherited the throne of the Qin kingdom at the age of thirteen. Shih Huang Ti frequently engaged in battle, eventually conquering six other major kingdoms. Defeated greatest rival, Zhao, and reportedly killed 400,000 prisoners in the process He declared himself China’s first emperor. Instituted centralized bureaucracy over feudal system Qin empire lasted from 221 B.C.-206 B.C. but imperial China lasted until 1912

Qin Dynasty: 

Qin Dynasty Centralization achieved through standardization of laws regarding behavior and thought Wheel sizes standardized and extensive highways constructed All previous writings destroyed; all scholars killed Weapons and fortifications were made illegal National conscription Monumental architecture – Great Wall, Royal Tombs

Xianyang : 

Xianyang The Chinese empire was ruled from the capital city of Xianyang. Shih Huang Ti forced over 100,000 royal and wealthy families from throughout the empire to move to the city from their local areas, which weakened their power. Luxurious palaces that were replicas of royal residences in their homelands were built in Xianyang. The move also concentrated economic and political power in a single capital.

Qin Monumental Architecture : 

Qin Monumental Architecture Shih Huang Ti built the Great Wall along China’s northern periphery by joining walls that had been constructed by earlier feudal states. Built primarily of mud-brick (later fired brick construction occurred in the 16th century) Some have suggested that the wall was constructed for defensive purposes. Others have proposed that the wall was a means of preventing China’s heavily-taxed peasants from escaping taxes and conscription. “Longest cemetery on earth” – 1 million people buried along its length

Condition of the Wall: 

Condition of the Wall Heavily destroyed by humans and nature Development Vandalism Encroachment of Gobi desert Only 20% of the wall remains

Great Wall: 

Great Wall Most of the modern Great Wall was constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1640) 4,000 miles long Watchtowers built along its length are designed to be confusing Visible from space? First claimed in 1938 book



Tomb of Shih Huang Ti: 

Tomb of Shih Huang Ti Shih Huang Ti began building his tomb as soon as he became emperor. The project took 36 years and was worked on by 700,000 laborers. The architects of the tomb conceived of it as a miniature universe. The burial tomb, called Mount Li, was at one time 150 feet tall, and the total complex covered 500 acres. The tomb was booby-trapped to prevent looters


Mausoleum Purpose of the tomb was to serve the emperor in the afterlife Built as a minature version of Chang’an, the Qin capital Included a palace, defensive walls, mercury river, stars painted on ceiling Equipment of all kinds was provided for the emperor – most made of bronze

Terracotta soldiers: 

Terracotta soldiers A little less than a mile from Mount Li lies a three-acre gallery of terracotta soldiers. This symbolized the past practice of kings being buried with living warriors, women, servants, and horses. Eight thousand figures have been exposed, along with wooden chariots and horses. The soldiers are arranged in battle formation. A rich artifact assemblage accompanies the army.

End of the Qin Dynasty: 

End of the Qin Dynasty Shih Huang Ti died on a journey to the eastern provinces and was succeeded by his youngest son. His oldest son was given a fake order to commit suicide so that the younger son could succeed as emperor. Qin rule was succeeded by the Han dynasty, which lasted for 400 years (206 B.C. – A.D. 220). During the Han dynasty, China became even more densely settled with an estimated population of over fifty million.

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