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 the dynasty: the invention of writing, the development of a stratified government, the innovation of bronze technology, and the use of the
chariot and bronze weapons in warfare.

Firstly, Historians have
shown that the Shang had already developed all the principles of the modern
writing techniques used today. In fact, Chinese writing has undergone
relatively few changes since it was first developed 3,500 years ago. Documents
were originally recorded on strips of bamboo and silk that have long since
decomposed, the oracle bones and bronze inscriptions pertain the only written
history from the Shang era.

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
campaigns.

 Thirdly, The Shang Dynasty
existed during China’s bronze age, during this time, bronze represented power
and wealth. Only those with any degree of power in the kingdom had access to bronze.
The bronze was used mainly into two categories: weapons or vessels.  The Shang perfected a practise known as piece-mold casting, a
complicated process that involved creating a mold out of clay; carving a design
into it; pouring molten bronze into the mold; cracking the mold away; and
adding handles as a final step. The actual shape, design, and decoration of
ritual vessels

 

 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. Governs and Land lords were
appointed, and not chosen, all of which were only relatives or loyal friends of
the state, to minimize any suggestion of a rebellion. However, taxes had been
drastically increased. During this time, large factions began to speak up and
exhibited rebellions.

 

 decline
of the Zhou dynasty had commenced around the sixth century, as the power of the
central government began to weaken, and conflicts between different
principalities began to escalate due to.