Loading...

HIST101: Ancient Civilizations of the World

Unit 4: The Warring States Period and the Classical Age in China   The breakdown of the Zhou Empire, in the third century B.C.E., permitted the establishment of many small kingdoms ruled by former vassals and incursions of nomadic peoples who lived on the Chinese border.  This period of internal warfare—called the “Warring States Period”—stimulated intellectual ferment and the formulation of new conceptions of political and social organization. The creation of the brief Qin Empire in 221 B.C.E. seemed to promise a return to political order.  Qin tyranny, however, produced resistance and the collapse of the dynasty in 207 B.C.E.  The Han dynasty (which replaced the Qin dynasty) ruled for nearly four centuries, and political unity was achieved through the creation of a large civil bureaucracy.

In this unit, we will examine how political and social disorder later resulted in consolidation and the emergence of a distinct Chinese state—a far different polity than the fragmentation and chronic instability that characterized the Zhou.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 9 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 3 hours

☐    Unit 4 Assessment: 0.5 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Analyze the emergence of new philosophies in the Far East, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.  - Compare and contrast the political and social organizations of the Zhou, Qin, and the Han dynasties. - Assess the political, social, and cultural legacies of the different ruling dynasties during the Warring States period and Classical Age in China.

4.1 The Emergence of New Philosophies in China   - Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Sanjiao: The Three Teachings” Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Sanjiao: The Three Teachings” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this short article to get a sense of how the “three teachings”—Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism—were perceived in classical China.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “The Far East” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “The Far East, 600-501 B.C.,” “The Far East, 400-301 B.C.” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of both articles in order to get a sense of the characteristics of the later Zhou (Chou) culture. PDF and EPUB downloads are available at the bottom of each page.
     
    About the Link: This online text was developed by Jack E. Maxfield for use in World History courses and is now part of the Community College Open Textbook initiative.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be found here and here.

4.1.1 Confucius and Confucianism   - Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Confucius and the ‘Confucian Tradition’” Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Confucius and ‘Confucian Tradition’” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage to get a sense for the teachings of Confucius as well as general understanding of how the classical Chinese state embraced these principles.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Jeffrey Riegel’s “Confucius” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Jeffrey Riegel’s “Confucius” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire article to understand the life, thought, and times of Confucius.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: City University of New York-Brooklyn College: Professor Paul Halsall’s selections from Confucius’s *The Analects* Link: City University of New York-Brooklyn College: Professor Paul Halsall’s excerpts from Confucius’s The Analects (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read all of the selections given in order to get a sense of the main tenets of Confucian philosophy.
     
    About the Link: This website was designed by Professor Paul Halsall and is hosted by CUNY-Brooklyn College.
     
    Note on the text: This document describes the teachings and philosophy of Confucius, the Chinese social thinker who lived during the Han dynasty.  His Analects, centered on the basic Confucian tenets of propriety, righteousness, loyalty, and filial piety, had an enormous impact on Chinese philosophy and moral values.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.2 Lao-tzu and Taoism   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Chad Hansen’s “Taoism” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Chad Hansen’s “Taoism” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire article to get a sense of Taoist philosophy in China.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Defining ‘Daoism’: A Complex History” Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Defining ‘Daoism’: A Complex History” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire webpage in order to get a sense of the origins and main tenets of Daoist philosophy.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.3 Buddhism in China   - Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Buddhism: The ‘Imported’ Tradition” Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators, “Buddhism: The ‘Imported’ Tradition” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire webpage to get a sense of the main tenets of Buddhism, its origins in India, and its role in Chinese history.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 The Qin   - Reading: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “The Far East, 300-201 B.C.” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History:The Far East, 300-201 B.C.” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the article in order to get sense of the characteristics of the Qin dynasty.  This material will cover the subunits below. PDF and EPUB downloads are available at the bottom of the page.
 
About the Link: This online text was developed by Jack E. Maxfield for use in World History courses and is now part of the Community College Open Textbook initiative.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be found here.

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Qin Dynasty” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Qin Dynasty” (PDF).
     
    Instructions: Please read “The Qin Dynasty” for an overview of the history of the Qin dynasty.  Pay special attention to how the Qin transformed China by uniting the Warring States into an empire. 

4.2.1 The Warring States Period   4.2.2 Qin Reforms and Bureaucracy   4.2.3 “The First Exalted Emperor”   4.3 The Han Dynasty and China’s Classical Age   - Reading: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “The Far East, 200-101 B.C.” and “The Far East, 100-0 B.C.” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “The Far East, 200-101 B.C.,” “The Far East, 100-0 B.C.” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of both articles in order to get a sense of the rise of the powerful Han Empire. PDF and EPUB downloads are available at the bottom of the page.
 
About the Link: This online text was developed by Jack E. Maxfield for use in World History courses and is now part of the Community College Open Textbook initiative.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be found here and here.

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Han Dynasty” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Han Dynasty” (PDF).
     
    Instructions: Please read “The Han Dynasty” for an overview of the history of the Han dynasty.  Pay special attention to the similarities and differences between the Qin and the Han rule. 

  • Web Media: Harvard University: Professor Peter Bol’s “State and Society in Western and Eastern Han” Link: Harvard University: Professor Peter Bol’s “State and Society in Western and Eastern Han” (Adobe Flash)

    Instructions:  Please scroll down to lecture 8, and click on the hyperlink based on your Internet connection to launch the video.  Watch the entire video lecture (51:38 minutes), which builds upon the information found in the previous resource and provides an in-depth look at life in Han China, with many valuable insights on social relations, popular customs, and economic affairs.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright terms and terms of use displayed on the site above

4.3.1 Imperial Control and Han Expansion   4.3.2 Society and Culture   4.3.3 The Later Han and Imperial Collapse   - Reading: Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “China: The Imperial Era” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “China: The Imperial Era” (PDF).
 
Instructions: Please read “China: the Imperial Era” in its entirety to get a sense of the various stages and aspects of the Han dynasty. 

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: The Global Experience: “Chapter 4, Multiple Choice Quiz” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials