Saturday, January 26, 2008
Republic of China (on Taiwan)
The Spring and Autumn Period (Chinese: 春秋時代; pinyin: Chūnqiū Shídài) was a period in Chinese history, which roughly corresponds to the first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (from the second half of the 8th century BC to the first half of the 5th century BC). Its name comes from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle of the state of Lu between 722 BC and 481 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius.
During the Springs and Autumns, China was ruled by a feudal system. The Zhou dynasty kings held nominal power over a small Royal Domain, centered on their capital (modern Luoyang), and granted fiefdoms over the rest of China to several hundreds of hereditary nobles (Zhuhou 诸侯), descendants of members of the Zhou clan, close associates of the founders of the dynasty, or local potentates. The most important feudal princes (known later as the twelve princes, 十二诸侯) met during regular conferences, where important matters, such as military expeditions against foreign groups or offending nobles were decided. During these conferences, one prince was sometimes declared hegemon (伯 and then 霸), and took the leadership over the armies of all feudal states.
As the era unfolded, larger states annexed or claim suzerainty over smaller ones. By the 6th century BC, most small states had disappeared, and a few large and powerful principalities dominated China. Some southern states, such as Chu and Wu, claimed independence from the Zhou. Wars were undertaken to oppose some of these states (Wu and Yue). In the state of Jin, six powerful families fought for supremacy, and a series of civil wars resulted in the splitting of Jin into three smaller states by the beginning of the fifth century.
At that time, the control Zhou kings exerted over feudal princes was greatly reduced, the feudal system crumbled, and the Warring States Period began.
Beginning of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty
The first nobility to help the Zhou kings was the Duke Zhuang of Zheng (郑庄公) (r. 743 BC-701 BC). He was the first to establish the hegemonical system (bà 霸), which was intended to retain the old proto-feudal system. Traditional historians justified the new system as a means of protecting weaker civilized states and the Zhou royalty from the intruding "barbarian" tribes. Located in the south, north, east and west, the barbarian tribes were, respectively, the Man, Yi, Rong and Di.
The newly powerful states were more eager to maintain aristocratic privileges over the traditional ideology of supporting the weak ruling entity during times of unrest (匡扶社稷 kuāng fú shè jì), which had been widely propagated during imperial China to consolidate power into the ruling family.
Dukes Huan of Qi (r. 685 BC-643 BC) and Wen of Jin (r. 636 BC-628 BC) made further steps in installing the overlordship system, which brought relative stability, but in shorter time periods than before. Annexations increased, favoring the several most powerful states, including Qin, Jin, Qi and Chu. The overlord role gradually drifted from its stated intention of protecting weaker states; the overlordship eventually became a system of hegemony of major states over weaker satellites of Chinese and "barbarian" origin.
The great states used the pretext of aid and protection to intervene and gain advantages over the smaller states during their internal quarrels. Later overlords were mostly derived from these great states. They proclaimed themselves master of their territories, without even recognizing the petty figurehead of Zhou. Establishment of the local administration system (Jun and Xian), with its officials appointed by the government, gave states better control over the dominion. Taxation facilitated commerce and agriculture more than proto-feudalism.
The three states of Qin, Jin and Qi not only optimized their own strength, but also repelled the southern state of Chu, whose rulers had proclaimed themselves kings. The Chu armies gradually intruded into the Yellow River Basin. Framing Chu as the "southern barbarian", Chu Man, was merely a pretext to warn Chu not to intervene into their respective spheres of influence. Chu intrusion was checked several times in three major battles with increasing violence - the Battle of Chengpu, the Battle of Bi and the Battle of Yanling; this resulted in the restorations of the states of Chen and Cai.
Rise of the hegemonies
See main article: Interstate relations during the Spring and Autumn period.
During the period a complex system of interstate relations developed. It was partially structured upon the Western Zhou system of feudalism, but elements of realpolitik were emerging. A collection of interstate customary norms and values, which can perhaps be loosely termed international law, was also evident. As the operational and cultural areas of states expanded and intersected, diplomatic encounters increased.
Changing tempo of war
Traditionally, the Five Overlords of Spring and Autumn Period (春秋五霸 Chūn Qiū Wǔ Bà) include:
While some other historians suggest that the Five Overlords include:
Duke Huan of Qi (齐桓公)
Duke Wen of Jin (晋文公)
King Zhuang of Chu (楚莊王)
Duke Mu of Qin (秦穆公)
Duke Xiang of Song (宋襄公)
Duke Huan of Qi (齐桓公)
Duke Wen of Jin (晋文公)
King Zhuang of Chu (楚庄王)
King Fu Chai of Wu (吴王夫差)
King Gou Jian of Yue (越王勾踐) List of prominent states
Bureaucrats or Officers
Guan Zhong (管仲), statesman and advisor of Duke Huan of Qi and regarded by some modern scholars as the first Legalist.
Baili Xi (百里奚), famous prime minister of Qin.
Bo Pi, （伯噽）the corrupted bureaucrat under King He Lu and played important diplomatic role of Wu-Yue relations.
Wen Zhong文種 and Fan Li范蠡, the two advisors and partisans of King Gou Jian of his rally against Wu.
Zi Chan, （子产）leader of self-strengthening movements in Zheng
Confucius（孔子）, leading figure in Confucianism
Laozi （老子）or Lao tse, founder of Daoism
Mozi, known as Motse (墨子 Mò Zǐ) or "Mocius" (also "Micius") to Western scholars, founder of Mohism
Confucius（孔子）, the editor of Spring and Autumn Annals (春秋)
Ou Ye Zi, literally means Ou the wielder and mentor of the couple Gan Jiang and Mo Ye
Entrepreneurs and Commercial personnel
Generals, military leaders and authors
Rang Ju, elder contemporary and possibly mentor of
Sun Tzu, （孙子）the author of The Art of War
Yao Li, （要离）sent by He Lu to kill Qing Ji（庆忌）.
Zhuan Zhu,（专渚） sent by He Lu to kill his cousin King Liao
See also: Hundred Schools of Thought
Posted by imarealist hoi at 11:03 AM