Essay On The Shang Dynasty

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A peasant living during the Shang dynasty would work all day in the fields, constantly plowing away in order to produce crops. He would have “lived in sunken houses of stamped earth and made offerings to local gods of the soil and kitchen hearth” (Stearns et al. 57) Living with him would be his wife, whom he probably would not have known previous to their marriage. Similar to any other man throughout all the social classes, he would have had complete control in his household and maintain all of the power. However, he would have very little power in his community compared to the king and nobles. This was because the king and the elite part of the Shang dynasty’s culture held all of the control. There was a clear divide between those in the higher classes and those…show more content…
Ultimately, those who were considered as elites in society had a better quality of life.

During the Shang Dynasty, the king and the elites lived very comfortable lives. To become part of the highest group in their social hierarchy, you had to be related to the king or your family had to be one of a high ranking. At the bare minimum to be verified as a superior in their culture it was necessary to have “control of superior armaments like bronze dagger-axes and horse-and-chariot teams” (De Bary and Bloom, 16). More importantly, “the elites’ legitimacy derived from their ability - through divination - to define, explain and control reality, a reality that, in a Bronze Age theocracy, was primarily conceived in a religious and familial terms” (De Bary and Bloom, 16). Once considered a superior in their society, one was able to conduct sacrifices and other religious practices. The king was one of the leaders of religion and seen as a person who was in between the gods and humans. He had servants who lived with him alongside his extended family. The aristocrats and the king were the only people able to have extended family living with them because they had the money to support all of them, while the rest
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