Shang Dynasty - from China (1766-1122 BCE)


This is one of our cool pieces of pottery.
external image china-shang.gif
Our empire isn't all that large, but that doesn't mean that it's not awesome.


Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. 3rd ed. New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.




We have all kinds of cool technology! Bronze weaponry is one of our specialties, as well as horse-drawn chariots that allow us to better impose our rule on neighboring villlages. And who doesn't love that? Finally, we keep records of important events and records on these things called oracle bones.


We are a patriarchal society and we feel strongly that our ancestors should be respected as much if not moreso than our living family. We aren't exactly helping out with women's rights either; we believe that men are better than women and that women are inferior to men.


Religion? We've never really been into that. We do believe in "tian", an impersonal heavenly power that is supposed to be what gives our rulers their "mandate of heaven", but we've never had a supreme deity of any kind.


April 29th, 1766 BCE - Today I went out to fight some Xia, which is always a good time. They got completely smoked, but it wasn't just because we're way cooler than they are. Their junky stone, wood, and bone weapons were no match for our sweet bronze weaponry. Having horse-drawn chariots was helpful too because the Xia had no way of defending against it. I bet the Xia will be gone soon...

May 9th, 1550 BCE - A few days ago I arrived in my new home at our current capital at Yin. I was very busy unpacking so I was only able to write about it now. Anyway, it's pretty nice here. There are lots of royal palaces, plenty of residential neighborhoods (one of which is where my house is), and there all sorts of workshops used by craftsmen. Even dead guys get good treatment; we have eleven large and lavish tombs in which we put dead Shang kings, and we have a lot of other tombs that are more modest. All in all, it's not too bad.

October 10th, 1122 BCE - Our government has just been toppled. Damn! Those Zhou guys decided to show up, and instead of trying to continue disciplining our king, they thought it would be a good idea to replace our government with theirs. Lame. I guess that's it for us...

The Wall

Hey, it's the Xia dynasty, and I just want to say, you guys are complete jerks, and NOT way cooler than us! We were the first known dynasty, so you basically owe us, big time. But then you DISPLACED us! Stupid bronze metallurgy...we started developing that, it's totally not fair that you used it to overcome us! Your chariots are laaaaaaaaaaame. I know that our last Xia king was a huge loser and everything, but you still don't have the right to come in and act like big shots.You're just jealous. You took our bronze metallurgy, our style of depending on a lot of political allies, AND our dynasty! Next thing you know, you'll be setting up an organization for public life like we did, too. OH WAIT YOU DID THAT ALREADY BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT ORIGINAL. Losers. Love, Xia Dynasty

Hey, hope there are no hard feelings about that whole slowly-eclipsing-you thing. You just couldn't give China what it needed. Your last couple of emperors were weak and unproductive, we just kind of helped you out the door. It was after all the Mandate of Heaven that we became the rulers of China. Don't worry, we will provide the remaining members of your dynasty with low-level governmental jobs. But don't get any ideas. China is ours now. - Zhou Dynasty