Xia and Shang dynasties of China

stevev

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Apr 2017
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Las Vegas, NV USA
The Xia Dynasty is said to be before 2000 BC. Since these are "legendary" what does modern historical research indicate about the actual state of Chinese civilization at this time? The name "China" itself comes much later with the short lived Qin (Chin) dynasty, followed by the Han dynasty.
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,532
China
please re-phrasing your opinion or question. is it about when "china" forms or something else?

xia is not considered as a civilization in western sphere, due to a reason that it appears to have not written language.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,560
Las Vegas, NV USA
please re-phrasing your opinion or question. is it about when "china" forms or something else?
It's about whether these early dynasties are really part of China's prehistory rather than history. We still relate this to China even though the name came later.

xia is not considered as a civilization in western sphere, due to a reason that it appears to have not written language.
Thank you. I guess this would be late the Neolithic period. Would the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC) then represent perhaps the early Bronze Age period? When would an urban civilization have arisen based on evidence?
 
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heylouis

Ad Honorem
Apr 2013
6,532
China
It's about whether these early dynasties are really part of China's prehistory rather than history. We still relate this to China even though the name came later.



Thank you. I guess this would be late the Neolithic period. Would the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC) then represent perhaps the early Bronze Age period? When would an urban civilization have arisen based on evidence?
they (professional guys) consider Long Shan and/or Er Li Tou to be Xia remaining, and there they found bronze tools.

i am not sure how to define a urban civilization.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,560
Las Vegas, NV USA
they (professional guys) consider Long Shan and/or Er Li Tou to be Xia remaining, and there they found bronze tools
Thank you. I believe Luoyang is considered the oldest city in China being continuously inhabited for 4000 years, initially as a village.
i am not sure how to define a urban civilization.
"There are 7 characteristics that define a civilization.
  • Stable food supply - Social structure.
  • System of government - Religious system.
  • Highly developed culture - Advances in technology.
  • Written language." (google)
To this I would add a significant number of people not engaged in primary production: magistrates, traders, professionals and non agricultural workers to be an urban civilization.
 
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heavenlykaghan

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,446
The Xia Dynasty is said to be before 2000 BC. Since these are "legendary" what does modern historical research indicate about the actual state of Chinese civilization at this time? The name "China" itself comes much later with the short lived Qin (Chin) dynasty, followed by the Han dynasty.
The name "China" is not what the Chinese called themselves or their state, even today. Whether it actually came from the Qin dynasty is itself just a theory (dating to the early medieval period, raised by monks such as Xuanzang). The name is first used by Indian texts to refer to China, and later spread to the rest of the world. The Chinese name for its own state or region "Zhongguo" and its people "Xia" or "Hua" dates to the Zhou period. The Chinese civilization vs foreign mentality was clearly around by the Zhou period. The Shang called its own state "Center" in the oracle bones but without the term "Guo" or state after it. The Zhou already had a fairly sophisticated bureaucracy and is already a territorial state. We know much less about the Shang political structure but it is quite probable that it is similar to the Zhou and influenced the later.
 
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robto

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Jun 2014
6,178
Lisbon, Portugal
The name "China" is not what the Chinese called themselves or their state, even today. Whether it actually came from the Qin dynasty is itself just a theory (dating to the early medieval period, raised by monks such as Xuanzang). The name is first used by Indian texts to refer to China, and later spread to the rest of the world. The Chinese name for its own state or region "Zhongguo" and its people "Xia" or "Hua" dates to the Zhou period. The Chinese civilization vs foreign mentality was clearly around by the Zhou period. The Shang called its own state "Center" in the oracle bones but without the term "Guo" or state after it. The Zhou already had a fairly sophisticated bureaucracy and is already a territorial state. We know much less about the Shang political structure but it is quite probable that it is similar to the Zhou and influenced the later.
I read in the book The Cambridge History of Ancient China (1999), that the Shang dynasty was probably just a very powerful city-state that subjugated other different city-states around the Central Plains in late Shang period.
The Zhou dynasty in most of its history was also probably a confederation of various City-states, mostly in the Central Plains, in which the Zhou dynasty ruled in a sort of a primus inter pares kind of system.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,178
Lisbon, Portugal
It's about whether these early dynasties are really part of China's prehistory rather than history. We still relate this to China even though the name came later.



Thank you. I guess this would be late the Neolithic period. Would the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC) then represent perhaps the early Bronze Age period? When would an urban civilization have arisen based on evidence?
Urban civilization probably arise in China during the Late Shang period.
 

heavenlykaghan

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
4,446
I read in the book The Cambridge History of Ancient China (1999), that the Shang dynasty was probably just a very powerful city-state that subjugated other different city-states around the Central Plains in late Shang period.
The Zhou dynasty in most of its history was also probably a confederation of various City-states, mostly in the Central Plains, in which the Zhou dynasty ruled in a sort of a primus inter pares kind of system.

The fact that the Zhou dynasty is a territorial state with a developed bureaucracy has already been noted in detail by Li Feng's studies of bronze inscriptions. For example:
"Feudalism" and Western Zhou China: A Criticism on JSTOR Li has published a number of books on this subject too.
The idea that its a confederation is now simply outdated; the decentralized Eastern Zhou hegemonic system and ideas of loose Zhou investiture system might have been a posterior construct. The Western Zhou had a far greater centralization compared to European feudal states and its bureaucracy, while not as developed as the Qin, was still very sophisticated and had a tremendous impact on the later bureaucracies of the warring states. The Western Zhou had a complex hierarchy of ministers, officials send to inspect its invested territory (guo), it also had a large standing professional army probably numbering 175,000 (quite large for its time). The Shang might have likewise been similar in structure.
 
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robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,178
Lisbon, Portugal
The fact that the Zhou dynasty is a territorial state with a developed bureaucracy has already been noted in detail by Li Feng's studies of bronze inscriptions. For example:
"Feudalism" and Western Zhou China: A Criticism on JSTOR Li has published a number of books on this subject too.
The idea that its a confederation is now simply outdated; the decentralized Eastern Zhou hegemonic system and ideas of loose Zhou investiture system might have been a posterior construct. The Western Zhou had a far greater centralization compared to European feudal states and its bureaucracy, while not as developed as the Qin, was still very sophisticated and had a tremendous impact on the later bureaucracies of the warring states. The Western Zhou had a complex hierarchy of ministers, officials send to inspect its invested territory (guo), it also had a large standing professional army probably numbering 175,000 (quite large for its time).
I think this subject is still under academic debate and still didn't reach a consensus.

The Shang might have likewise been similar in structure.
That's quite a big of a stretch....present me sources, please.