Chinese Civilization

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1. Relationship between Western Zhou and Nomadic Communities

During the reign of Chinese emperors, the Northern and Western partsof China were inhabited by nomadic communities. The Nomads were war-mongers always attacking the southerners who were primarily farmers.Since they inhabited the desert parts of China, quite often theyinvaded the plantations of Southern Farmers whenever drought hittheir homes. Historians describe them as barbaric groups ofindividuals who took the plight in killing farmers and taking awaytheir food. The nomads were a major headache to the Chinese emperorsbecause of their fighting skills especially on horsebacks.

The Liao Dynasty was the first barbarian group to rule China. Most ofthe smaller territories paid allegiance to Liao because of itsferocious leaders. Liao emperors fuelled the proxy war that later ledto the fall of Tang. It also formed an alliance with Goryeo and SongChina after it failed to conquer Goryeo. Jin was able to conquerChina because the Jurchen tribes that formed it were united by thefirst Jin emperor called Wanyan Aguda. Wanyan Aguda came into powerafter overthrowing the former emperor of the Liao Dynasty. The MongolYuan Empire was able to defeat the Jin Dynasty because of itsexistence as a confederation that was formerly a Jurchen vassal.Mongol Yuan had extensive military prowess spanning to a period ofsix decades. It started by conducting small raids before being thefirst regime to conquer the whole of China.

2. The Use of Exams to Select Chinese Officials

During the Han Dynasty, the full implementation of the imperial examshad not yet been accomplished. Appointments were primarily on thebasis of recommendations by prominent aristocrats and localofficials. Later on, the emperor invented imperial exams in whichlocal officials selected the eligible individuals. The tang dynastyadopted the personal selection system. The imperial exams involvedsubjects such as Law, mathematics, calligraphy and art. Thecandidates were students or intelligent people in the county. Duringthe Song Dynasty, candidates for imperial examinations made formalapplications to be a Jinshi. The Yuan emperors opted not to useimperial examinations while appointing officials. Instead, theyappointed them based on their ethnicity.

The differences in the imperial exams between the dynastiesprincipally lie in how they were conducted. For instance, During Han,the local officials and aristocrats nominated the candidates. InTang, the candidates were students or intelligent people from thesociety. The examinations created a sense of importance in educationthat is still evident up to date in Chinese communities.

3. The Role of Women in Chinese Dynasties

In the Han Dynasty, women were not allowed an education. As womengrew up, they were taught to be the not only respective but alsosubmissive to men, especially their fathers and husbands. Their mainroles were cooking, cleaning and doing other house chores. Theseroles, mostly confined them to the homes, and were not vocal oractive in the issues of the society or making decisions. As a result,they had no say in the community except for the royal empresses.

The Tang Dynasty changed most of the past injustices against women.Women had the same rights as men and they enjoyed the privileges ofmarriage and education. They began to study subjects such as law andpolitics. They could also sing loudly and drink their hearts out.

Women during the Song dynasty were assertive, active, and moresocially liberated than those in Tang. While men dominated the publicsphere, women were responsible for most of the decisions made athome.

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