The Zhou Dynasty: The Fall Of The Shang Dynasty

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The Fall of the ShangIn 1046 BCE, the Zhou, a subject people living in the western part of the kingdom, overthrew the Shang Dynasty at the Battle of Muye. This was a battle between Shang and Zhou clans, over the Shang 's expansion. They largely had the support of the Chinese people: Di Xin (the final king of the Shang Dynasty) had become cruel, spent state money on drinking and gambling, and ignored the state. The Zhou established authority by forging alliances with regional nobles, and founded their new dynasty with its capital at Fenghao (near present-day Xi 'an, in western China). Map of Zhou Dynasty This map shows the location of the ancient Zhou Dynasty. The map shows that the Zhou Dynasty covered portions of modern-day mid-eastern…show more content…
This was a battle between Shang and Zhou clans, over the Shang 's expansion. They largely had the support of the Chinese people: Di Xin (the final king of the Shang Dynasty) had become cruel, spent state money on drinking and gambling, and ignored the state. The Zhou established authority by forging alliances with regional nobles, and founded their new dynasty with its capital at Fenghao (near present-day Xi 'an, in western China). Map of Zhou Dynasty This map shows the location of the ancient Zhou Dynasty. The map shows that the Zhou Dynasty covered portions of modern-day mid-eastern China. The Mandate of HeavenUnder the Zhou Dynasty, China moved away from worship of Shangdi ("Celestial Lord") in favor of worship of Tian ("heaven"), and they created the Mandate of Heaven. According to this idea, there could be only one legitimate ruler of China at a time, and this ruler reigned as the "Son of Heaven" with the approval of the gods. If a king ruled unfairly he could lose this approval, which would result in his downfall. Overthrow, natural disasters, and famine were taken as a sign that the ruler had lost the Mandate of Heaven. The Chinese Character for "Tian" The Chinese character for "Tian," meaning "heaven," in (from left to right) Bronze script, Seal script, Oracle script, and modern simplified. The Mandate of…show more content…
The years of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty were a golden age for Chinese philosophy. Confucius lived during this era, teaching his ideals of duty to society, individual virtue, and tradition. Also in this period, a philosopher named Laozi founded Taoism, which emphasized passivity and social inaction to achieve individual peace. On the other hand, philosophers who advocated Legalism claimed that the state was much more important than the individual and that individuals had to conform completely to the decrees of their supreme rulers. Finally, Mohism was a philosophy that advocated equality for all people, as well as merit-based power and universal love. Philosophy was so prominent in this period that scholars often note that there were a Hundred Schools of Thought. Lesson SummaryCheng Tang founded the Shang Dynasty about 1600 BC when he overthrew the mysterious Xia Dynasty. The Shang Dynasty lasted about 500 years and was extremely hierarchical and patriarchal. It was ruled by kings, or wangs, at the top of the social scale, which extended all the way down to the peasant farmers who lived very difficult lives. The Shang Dynasty 's accomplishments and characteristics include bronze work, military technology, including horse-drawn chariots, writing, a calendar, and religion, which featured ancestor worship and oracle bones. The Shang Dynasty was overthrown by King Wen of the Zhou Dynasty about 1100 BC. The Zhou rulers claimed the Mandate of Heaven, by which, the gods gave them
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