The song dynasty in China: history, culture


2018-03-19 02:55:59




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The Medieval Chinese song dynasty originated in the year 960, when the commander of the guards Zhao Kuanyin seized the throne in the Kingdom of the Later Zhou. It was a small state, which emerged and existed in conditions of endless wars and chaos. Gradually it brought together the whole of China.

End of the political fragmentation

The Period of 907-960., culminating in the beginning of the era of sun, is considered in the history of China five dynasties and ten kingdoms. Political fragmentation of the time was the result of the decomposition and weakening of the former Central authority (the Tang dynasty), as well as due to prolonged peasant war. The main force in this period was the army. She shifted and changed governments, causing a few decades, the country could not return to civilian life. Independent armed groups were the provincial officials, monasteries and villages. The masters in the provinces began tzeduki (military governors).

In the tenth century, China faced a new external threat-the tribal Union of the Khitan invaded the North-Eastern region of the country. These Mongol tribes survived the decay of tribal orders and were on the step of the origin of the state. The leader of the Khitan Abassi in the year 916 announced the creation of their own Empire called Liao. New menacing neighbor began regularly to intervene in the Chinese civil war. In the mid-tenth century, the Khitan hostile already controlled 16 of the Northern districts of China in the territory of modern areas of Shanxi and Hebei and often troubled southern province.


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It is with these internal and external threats began to fight the young song dynasty. Founder Zhao Kuanyin received the throne name of tai zu. He made his capital the city of Kaifeng and began the creation of a unified China. Although his dynasty in the historiography is often called the sun, the term sun is also indicated by the whole era and the Empire that existed in 960-1279., and dynasty (the family) Kuanyin also known by his first name Zhao.

the song dynasty in China


Not to be on the side of history, the song dynasty from the first days of its existence, adhered to the policy of centralization of power. First, the country needed to weaken the power of the militarists. Zhao Kuanyin abolished military districts, thus depriving military governors tzeduki impact on the ground. This reform was not over.

In the year 963 the Imperial court reassigned all the military units in the country. A Palace guard, which has often staged coups, lost a significant part of its independence, and its functions were reduced. Chinese song dynasty focused on civil administration, seeing it as a pillar of stability and power. True to city officials at first were sent even to the farthest provinces and cities. But potentially dangerous military officials lost their right to control population.

The song Dynasty in China conducted an unprecedented administrative reform. The country was divided into new provinces, consisting of counties, the military departments, major cities and field offices. The smallest administrative unit was the County. Each province was governed by four key officials. One was in charge of the proceedings, the second – in granaries and irrigation, the third – over taxes, fourth – for military Affairs.

The song dynasty was distinguished by the fact that the government has used the practice of transferring officials to a new place of service. This was done to ensure that the appointees do not acquire too much power in his province and could not organize a conspiracy.

War with the neighbors

Although in the country the dynasty was stabilized, its foreign policy position left much to be desired. The Khitan continued to pose a serious threat to the whole of China. The war with the nomads did not help to regain lost during the disintegration of the Northern province. In 1004 the song dynasty made with cyganskoj Empire Liao contract, under which were confirmed by the border of the two States. The country was recognized as the ‘brotherly’. At the same time China undertook to pay annual tribute in the amount of 100 thousand taels of silver and 200 thousand silk cuts. In 1042 was signed a new contract. The size of the tribute was increased almost two times.

In the middle of the XI century, the song dynasty in China faced a new opponent. On its South-Western borders, a state of Western Xia. The monarchy has created the Tibetan people, the Tanguts. In 1040-1044. between Western Xia and song Empire was at war. It ended that the Tanguts for some time, acknowledged his vassal status in relation to China.

song dynasty reign

The Invasion of the Jurchen and looting Kaifeng

The Current international balance was broken in the beginning of the XII century. Then, in Manchuria there was a state of the Tungus tribe of the Jurchen. In 1115 it was proclaimed by the Jin Empire. The Chinese, hoping to return the Northern province, has signed with the new neighbours of the Union, directed against the Liao. The Khitan were defeated. In 1125 the Liao state Palo. The Chinese regained some of the Northern provinces, but now they had to pay tribute to the Jurchen.

New fierce Northern tribes did not stop Liao. In 1127, they captured the song capital of Kaifeng. Chinese Emperor Qin-Zong, along with most of his family were captured. The invaders took him North to his native Manchuria. Historians believe the fall of Kaifeng catastrophe, on the scale comparable to the sack of Rome by the vandals in the V century. The capital was committed to the fire and in the future and are unable to regain the former glory of one of the largest cities not only in China but also around the world.

From the ruling family of strangers wrath was averted only brother of the deposed Emperor Zhao GOU. It was not in the capital in a rock for city days. Zhao GOU moved in the southern province. There he was declared the new Emperor. The capital was the city of Lin'an (modern Hangzhou). The invasion of aliens dynasty southern song lost control over half of China (all its Northern provinces), which received the prefix “southern”. Thus, in 1127 was a turning point for the entire history of China.

Southern song

When the Northern song dynasty in the past (960-1127 gg.), the Imperial government had to mobilize all available forces in order to maintain control over at least South of the country. China's war with the Jin Empire lasted 15 years. In the year 1134 at the head of the loyal song dynasty troops stood a talented military leader Yue FEI. In modern China it is considered one of the main medieval national heroes.

The Troops of Yue FEI was able to halt the triumphant advance of the enemy. However, by that time in the Imperial court formed a powerful group of nobles, seeking as quickly as possible to conclude a peace Treaty. The troops were withdrawn, and Yue FEI was executed. In 1141 the song and Jin signed the agreement, which has become almost the most shameful in Chinese history. Jurchen ceded all the land North of the river Huaishui. Song dynasty Emperor acknowledged himself a vassal towards the ruler cinisomo. The Chinese began to pay annual tribute in the amount of 250 thousand taels.

Jin, Western Xia and Liao were created by nomads. However, the state owned a considerable part of China, gradually fell under the influence of Chinese culture and traditions. This was especially true of the political structure. Therefore, although the southern song dynasty, years of reign which occurred in 1127-1269., has lost much of their possessions, she managed to remain the centre of a great Eastern civilization that has survived many invasions of foreigners.

dynasty briefly


Many of the war ravaged China. Particularly affected the Northern and Central province. South region remaining under the control of the song dynasty, remained on the periphery of conflict and therefore survived. Trying to restore the country's economy, the Chinese government spent significant resources on the maintenance and development of agriculture.

Emperors used the traditional tools of the time: supported by irrigation, the peasants were made tax breaks, were given to the use of abandoned land. Improved methods of cultivation, expanded acreage. In the late tenth century in China saw the collapse of the former system of land tenure, which was based on plots. A growing number of small private courtyards.

City Life

For China's economy in X-XIII centuries was characterized by the widespread growth of cities. They played an increasing role in public life. It was a city-fortresses, administrative centers, ports, centres of trade and crafts. At the beginning of the song major was not only the capital Kaifeng, but and Changsha. All of the faster growing cities in the South-East of the country: Fuzhou, Yangzhou, Suzhou, Jiang Ling. One of these fortresses (Hangzhou) was the capital of the southern song. Even then, in most large Chinese cities have population of over 1 million people – an unprecedented figure of medieval Europe.

Urbanization was not only quantitative but also qualitative. The city has got a major jail outside of the fortress walls. In these areas lived merchants and craftsmen. The importance of agriculture to the daily life of Chinese citizens is gradually eroding. The former confined quarters left in the past. Instead, they constructed large...

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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