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Chinese Spring & Autumn Period (Shang and
Zhou Dynasties):

 Significance of Sun Tzu & His Book “The
Art of War”

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As we know it today,
China has been one of the most successful countries in the world, early China
is much different from what we know to be the Republic of China. Before
becoming one massive country, China was divided into many kingdoms between two
very significant rivers, the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. Today, historians
conclude that they have been able to uncover facts about the Chinese dynasties
to as early as 1700 B.C.  Artifacts,
bronze weapons, and written records show the successes of an era known as the
Shang and Zhou dynasty.

The Shang Dynasty,
known to be the longest dynasty in the history of China, was ruled by 31 Emperors
and Kings. Every king was portrayed as more than just a ceremonial official,
but rather a religious icon, they served as a connection between their people and
to the spirit world.  The people created the idea of the mandate of heaven
which would also be adopted by many dynasties. The mandate of heaven explains
that the heavens give the power to the kings to keep successful rule over the
society, if it is done in the way of pleasing the gods and protecting the interests
of the nation and its people. This Dynasty was
largely agricultural, most of the population had participated in farming,
people often were called upon to participate in wars or to construct large
scale projects. This meant that land lords were very influential, however to
avoid any conflicts of interests among the land lords with government, the king
himself appointed only family or close relatives to govern such lands. At around
1500 BC, the people had been known for their large-scale production of bronze
weapons and vessels, with the increase in bronze production, the military was
well equipped with sufficient weaponry.

This Dynasty had many contributions to Chinese civilization, but four define this dynasty: the introduction of bronze weapons in warfare, the development of a hierarchy government, the innovation of bronze technology, and the development of writing,

Firstly, This Dynasty existed during China’s bronze age, throughout
this time, bronze signified authority and capital. Only individuals with any influence
within the kingdom had access to bronze.  The Shang perfected
the skill of designing, forging, and mastered complicated practises that involved
creating specialized weaponry and vessels.

Secondly, the Shang political system was prearranged into a hierarchy
system, meaning that it had many levels of jobs and social class. The
invention of writing had a profound effect on the Shang government and its capability
to rule. It amplified the government’s ability to organize on a substantial
level, whether it be to oversee an administration, organize the mining of large
quantities of bronze, construct city walls, or to wage large military



Lastly, Historians have
demonstrated that this Dynast have already developed the principles of modern
writing techniques. In fact, Chinese literature has undergone relatively limited
amounts of change since it was first developed. Documents were initially noted
on strips of silk and bamboo that have since been decomposed.


 After numerous years of ruling, the Shang
dynasty was overthrown by an influential power known as the Zhou dynasty. The
Zhou Dynasty incorporated the same system of the previous dynasties, however
changes were made. It continued to practice the Shang’s scheme of dividing the
kingdom into sub-states.  But if the gods were dissatisfied with the king,
the mandate would be taken away from him, thus having him overthrown and
replaced by a new ruler. The concept of the mandate had definitively become the
structure of Chinese tradition. The Zhou had
constructed numerous laws for it’s society to keep a strong government. This
enabled them to begin agricultural production and the use of iron. Overtime,
the Zhou Dynasty become corrupt and avaricious. 

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