01_Ch.12- Empires in East Asia: The Sui, Tang, and Sung dynasties. (China’s Golden Age)
6th -13th Century
When Europe is 'Dark', China 'Shines'.
While Europe was in the midst of an age that many scholars consider a regression from the classical period, China offers a stark contrast. During the Tang and Sung dynasties, China experienced an era of prosperity and technological innovation. Even in their 'least favorable' manifestation, Chinese dynasties accomplish feats that were just not possible in Europe. Under the Tang, China reached its cultural apex.
China since the Han Dynasty.
II. Sui Dyanasty
581 CE: Sui Wen-ti is the founder and ﬁrst emperor of the Sui Dynasty.
Sui Wen-ti unites northern and southern regions. Imperial China is restored.
Yang-ti, son of Wen-ti becomes second, and last, emperor of the Sui Dynasty. 1. Builds Grand Canal
a. North - South Direction of Flow (China's great rivers ﬂow West - East) b. ~1000 miles in length 2. Great Wall Fortiﬁed => Raiding Turks from Central Asia were an issue.
618 CE.: Sui dynasty collapses after the reign of two emperors. The enmity of the population may have been nurtured by the following: 1. Massive public works projects that required the coerced labor of peasants. Many died during the construction of the Grand Canal and the fortiﬁcation of the Great Wall. 2. Burdensome Taxes
III. Mandate of Heaven transferred to the Tang Dynasty
Tai-tsung leads a successful rebellion. In 618, he becomes ﬁrst Tang Emperor.
Military campaign organized and executed against the Turks (NW China).
Korea becomes a tributary state.
China's Golden Age 1. Taxes on peasants are lowered. 2. Land redistributed among the peasant population. 3. Civil Service Exam System is revived. a. Women excluded from participation except during Wu-Zhao's reign. b. In theory, open to all economic classes. In practice, open to a select class that can afford the luxury of academic study and test prep. c. 'Gentry' class is the social classiﬁcation of the scholar-ofﬁcials.
Paid no taxes
Exempt from military service
Often grew long ﬁnger nails as a sign of his status/ position.
Permitted to use his position to improve personal wealth. d. Strength: Talent and knowledge are held in greater esteem than
The similarity with the Qin is quite striking. Clearly, the consolidation of power is a main concern and the maintenance of a wall is
part of that overall plan. When the grip on power is tenuous at best, homophobic reaction usually follow. The wall was more a psychological barrier than a impediment to invasion. We know that it didn't keep anyone out, but it made it easy for the Chinese to mark where 'barbarity' ended and 'civilization' began. One should also consider, in the context of Qin and Sui rule, that walls often keep people 'in' as well as 'out'.China's three great rivers; the Huang He, Yangtze, and Xi, are predominantly east-west oriented.