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The Ancient World Edit
Xenophon See Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon. Xerxes (fl . 486–465 b.c.e.) Persian king Xerxes was the oldest son of Darius I, from his fi rst wife, Atossa, daughter of Cyrus II. Xerxes is familiar to students of the Bible since he appears in two books: in the book of Esther he is called by his Hebrew name Ahasuerus; and in the book of Ezra (4:6) he is mentioned in relation to an accusation lodged against the Jews in his reign. We have access to more than 20 Old Persian inscriptions written during his reign, but they do not add much to our knowledge of the man and his rule. As a result, our most important source is the Histories written by Herodotus of Halicarnassus (c. 480– c. 429 b.c.e.), a Greek who described the expansion of the Persian Empire from Cyrus to Xerxes. As the crown prince, Xerxes was trained to be emperor. Although he was not an active soldier as his father had been before him, Xerxes was schooled in statecraft through his position as viceroy of Babylon. Soon after his accession he had to deal with rebellion, fi rst in 485 b.c.e. in Egypt, and then in 484 b.c.e., and then again in 484–482 b.c.e., in Babylon. The last of these rebellions forced Xerxes’ hand, and the conciliatory policy toward Babylon that had been established by Cyrus was replaced with one of severe punishment: The great temple of Marduk, the main god in Babylon, was pulled down; a huge gold statue of Marduk was taken away and melted down for bullion; and the satrapy of Babylon lost its independent status, being merged with Assyria, its erstwhile enemy. Having dealt with rebellions relatively near at hand, Xerxes looked to the West, and in the spring of 481 b.c.e. he left Persia with what probably was the greatest ancient army ever amassed, to avenge his father’s defeat by the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon in 490 b.c.e. His army wintered in Asia Minor and continued their journey in the spring of 480 b.c.e., forcing a crossing to Europe in high summer. With the defeat of the Spartan king Leonidas at Thermopylae in August of that year, Xerxes moved on Athens. He arrives in Attica, the surrounding area to Athens, probably in early September. If Xerxes had patiently blockaded Athens, he would most likely have won, but tempted by the chance of a glorious victory in battle, he led his ships into a trap, the Battle of Salamis, that had been prepared by the Athenian general and ruler Themistocles. The Persians retreated, and Xerxes took a ship for Asia Minor, leaving his general and cousin Mardonius in charge. Two land battles were fought in the summer of 479 b.c.e. at Plataea and Mycale, both of which ended in Greek victories. Xerxes returned to Persia discouraged by his failure against the Greeks, and his focus shifted to the building of his father Darius’s palace at Susa and the fi nishing of the construction of Persepolis. The early years of his life, which had seemed to bear so much promise, now saw the full weakness of his character expressed in a fi erce temper and in lack of self-control in his relations with X 489 women. The resulting palace intrigues, accusations, and murders fostered an atmosphere of decadence in the Persepolis court and weakened Xerxes’ ability to rule effectively. The Greeks no doubt saw this, and in 466 b.c.e. Cimon led a Greek force to Asia Minor from where he gradually increased his strength. Xerxes was roused from his lethargy and sent out an expedition to deal with the threat, but the Greeks were too strong, and the Persians abandoned their ships at Eurymedon. The land battle that followed ended with the Greeks taking the Persian camp. Eurymedon proved decisive, and the Persian Empire lost Europe. The loss of Europe and the slow loss of Asia Minor marked the beginning of a steady, if unhurried, decline in the empire to its eventual defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great in the next century. In 465 b.c.e. Xerxes was assassinated in his bedchamber by several of his court favorites. He was buried in a rock-cut tomb excavated in a cliff to the east of his father’s tomb. Xerxes’ oldest son Darius was next in line for succession, but a younger son, Artaxerxes I, had Darius slain and took the throne for himself. There was a second emperor of the same name, Xerxes II, Artaxerxes’ son, who ruled for just 45 days from the end of 428 b.c.e. However, his claim to the throne was tentative and was initially only certain in Susa. One of his half brothers murdered him while he was drunk in bed following a party. See also Persepolis, Susa, and Ecbatana; Persian invasions; Persian myth. Further reading: Olmstead, A. T. History of the Persian Empire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959; Yamauchi, Edwin M. Persia and the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1990. Andrew Pettman Xia (Hsia) dynasty According to Chinese history taught until the early 20th century, culture heroes such as the Divine Farmer and Ox Tamer taught the people the arts of civilization. The Three Emperors (Yao, Shun, and Yu), also mythical, followed the culture heroes, who were venerated because they abdicated in favor of the most worthy man rather than letting their less-qualifi ed sons succeed them. The third of the sage rulers, called Yu the Great, solved the fl ooding problems that affl icted the reigns of Yao and Shun by dredging the riverbeds and channeling the water to fl ow to the sea. As a result Shun appointed Yu king (r. 2205–2198 b.c.e.). The people were so grateful that they overruled Yu’s choice of a successor and put his son Qi (Chi) on the throne. Thus began China’s fi rst dynasty, the Xia, which ended in 1766 b.c.e. with the overthrow of the last tyrant king Jie (Chieh). The Xia was followed by the Shang (or Yin) dynasty (1766–1122 b.c.e.), which was succeeded by the Zhou (Chou) dynasty (1122–1256 b.c.e.) Collectively they were called the Three Dynasties and established the foundations of the Chinese civilization. Students of the scientifi c method in early 20th-century China began a “doubting antiquity school” that rejected the traditional dating in teaching Chinese history and called both the Xia and Shang dynasties fi ctional or mythical. Scientifi c archaeology in China began in the 1920s; it has authenticated the Shang as fully historic because of the existence of writing dating to the Shang era, which has been deciphered. Archaeological excavations in China since the 1920s show that north and northeastern China, from the Yellow River valley to the coast entered the Neolithic age around 8000 b.c.e. Thousands of sites show regional differences in the development in the pottery, jade, stone, ivory tools, and vessels used for both utilitarian as well as religious and ritual purposes. They also show increasing sophistication with the passage of time, evidenced in advances in technology and differentiation in status from the quality and quantity of items buried with the dead. They also show a geographic expansion that ranged from the highlands in the northwest to southern Manchuria in the northeast, southward to the Yangtze River valley and along the coast. Interactions between them are manifested in similarities in the styles of items they produced. In the third millennium b.c.e., in present-day Shandong (Shantung) Province in northeastern China, a Neolithic culture began to make the transition to the threshold of the historic age. It is called the Longshan (Lungshan) culture. Other Longshan sites are located in Henan (Honan) and Shanxi (Shansi) Provinces, also in northern China. They date from c. 3000 to c. 2000 b.c.e. Urban centers with protective walls, elaborate tombs, and palatial sized buildings have been excavated, some clutters of settlements stretching over several hundred sq. miles. Implements were still made of stone, bone, and shell; pottery was wheel made and high temperature fi red; and objects of alloyed metals were made for the fi rst time. As ancient Chinese historians expressed it, China had entered the era of 10,000 states; while 10,000 is an exaggeration, there defi nitely were hundreds, even thousands, 490 Xia (Hsia) dynasty of such settlements, and there must have been interactions and competition among the states. Civilizations become historic with the existence of deciphered written records. Traditional Chinese historiography is the longest continuous historiographical tradition in the world. According to that tradition, China’s fi rst dynasty, the Xia, dates to between 2205 and 1766 b.c.e. As Sima Qian (Ssu-ma Ch’ien), Grand Historian and author of Shiji (Shih-chi), or Records of the Historian (a comprehensive history of the Chinese world from the beginning to his lifetime in the fi rst century b.c.e.) wrote that it was begun by Yu the Great and ended with the overthrow of the tyrant king Jie by the founder of the following Shang dynasty. Sima Qian named 13 successive rulers during the dynasty and had little information for any except the fi rst and last kings. He listed 30 kings for the Shang dynasty. No contemporary written documents have been discovered, although pottery shards bearing writing that date to the Xia have been found but have not been deciphered. On the other hand, huge amounts of Shang writing that were inscribed on oracle bones (tortoiseshells or scapula bones of large animals) have survived and have been deciphered. Shang writing is proven to be the ancestor of modern Chinese writing. Information provided by the oracle bones proved Sima Qian correct in the names of Shang kings and their relationship to one another. By the same process they proved those who doubted the existence of the Shang wrong. Excavations since the 1970s have established a major urban site at Erlitou (Erh-li-t’ou) in Henan as of the Xia era (c. 2000 b.c.e.); it was perhaps a capital city of the Xia (Sima Qian stated that the Xia moved capital cities several times). According to Sima Qian, King Yu once summoned his contemporary rulers of the 10,000 states to meet at Tushan, his wife’s home state. He went on to give details about capital cities, genealogy, and other details of Xia and not of the other states. Perhaps this indicates that by the end of the third millennium b.c.e. Xia had emerged as the leader among Chinese states, while others, including its successor dynasties, the Shang and Zhou did not become prominent until later. Since Sima Qian was right about the succession of Shang kings, perhaps in the future additional archaeological information will also prove the Xia chronology correct. See also Yao, Shun, and Yu; Yellow Emperor. Further reading: Chang, Kwang-chih. The Archaeology of Ancient China. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986; ———. Early Chinese Civilization: Anthropological Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976; Ho, Ping-ti. The Cradle of the East: An Inquiry into the Indigenous Origins of Techniques and Ideas of Neolithic and Early Historic China, 5000–1000 B.C. Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1975. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur Xiang Yu (Hsiang Yu) (d. 202 b.c.e.) Chinese general Xiang Yu was a brilliant general who contributed to the fall of the Qin (Ch’in) dynasty but failed to become the master of China. The unexpected death of the fi rst emperor of the Qin in 210 b.c.e. created a crisis that ended the 10-year-old dynasty. In the ensuing power struggle the emperor’s chief minister, Li Si (Li Ssu), and eunuch Zhao Gao (Chao Kao) got rid of the crown prince and Meng Tian (Meng T’ien), the most powerful Qin general, and placed a weak younger brother of the deceased crown prince on the throne. Later Zhao had Li murdered in jail. Since Li had been the architect of the Qin empire, his death spelled its doom. Meanwhile, popular revolts had broken out throughout China, led by desperate people who could no longer bear the oppression of Qin. The spontaneous peasant rebellions were followed by better-led and organized revolts by the survivors of the royal houses that had been conquered by Qin. The most notable noble leader was Xiang Yu, whose family had long served as generals of the southern state called Zhu (Ch’u). Xiang resurrected the house of Zhu and elevated one of its members to be king. Survivors of several other states followed suit. Another leader was Liu Bang (Liu Pang), a peasant by birth who had risen to minor offi ce. In 208 b.c.e. Xiang and Liu joined forces and agreed that whoever fi rst entered the heartland of Qin at Guangzhung (Kwanchung) would be king. Liu achieved that honor in 206 b.c.e. when his forces entered the Qin capital Xianyang (Hsien-yang) and accepted the surrender of the third Qin ruler, thus ending the dynasty. Liu won widespread respect by not allowing his men to loot, protecting the Qin royal family, reducing taxes, and relaxing the harsh Qin legal code. Two months later Xiang Yu arrived at Xianyang and, breaking the pact with Liu, had the Qin royal family murdered and looted and destroyed the Qin palaces and the imperial library. Because he was the foremost general, Xiang immediately undertook to create a new political order for China. Instead of continuing the unifi ed empire set up by Qin, he created 19 feudal states, each under a king, with himself ruler of one of them and president of the Xiang Yu 491 confederacy of states, heralding a return to the political model of China of 200 years earlier. Liu Bang was awarded a region called Hanzhung (Han-chung) in northwestern China and became king of Han. The rivalry between Xiang and Liu came to a head when Xiang attempted to have Liu assassinated. In the ensuing war Xiang won important victories, but his arrogance and cruelty lost him allies and supporters, while Liu won adherents with his generosity and administrative skills. Deserted by his followers, Xiang committed suicide in 202 b.c.e. Liu’s followers proclaimed him emperor of the new Han dynasty. Further reading: Nienhauser, William H., Jr., et al., trans. The Grand Scribe’s Records: Vol. 7, The Memoirs of Pre-Han China. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994; Twitchett, Denis, and Michael Loewe, eds. The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 1, The Ch’in and Han Empires, 221 B.C.–A.D. 220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur Xiongnu (Hsiung-nu) Chinese texts describe the Xiongnu, a nomadic people, as ferocious warriors and raiders. Powerful Xiongnu men practiced unlimited polygamy, and when a leader died, his successor married all his father’s or grandfather’s wives except his mother. Likewise a surviving brother took over his deceased brother’s widows. Differences in customs, languages, and lifestyles made relations diffi cult between the Chinese and Xiongnu. The Xiongnu language is believed to belong to the Altaic group, whereas Chinese was a Sinitic language. Moreover, the Xiongnu were nomadic, and the Chinese led a sedentary lifestyle. The Chinese were literate, whereas the Xiongnu had no written script. North and northwest of the Yellow river valley, the increasingly arid climate allowed for mixed farming and herding lifestyle in an intermediate zone, then only herding by nomads was possible. By the fourth century b.c.e. during China’s Warring States era, most of the seminomadic people had been absorbed into the northern Chinese states. As a result, Chinese and nomadic cultures came into direct contact. One of these nomadic groups was the Xiongnu. As they had no written language, the only textual accounts about them are in Chinese, starting in the fourth century b.c.e. Around 324 b.c.e. three northern Chinese states called Qin (Ch’in), Zhao (Chao), and Yan (Yen), which bordered on the Xiongnu, began building defensive walls along their frontiers. In 307 b.c.e. the king of Zhao, whose state was most threatened by the Xiongnu, ordered his troops to practice archery, changed their uniform to the Xiongnu style, and began to acquire a large cavalry—with good results, winning both battles and lands. China was unifi ed under the Qin in 221 b.c.e. The fi rst emperor of the Qin (Ch’in) dynasty, either pursuing expansion or to give work to his huge army or, as he stated, to prevent Xiongnu aggression, ordered his most capable general, Meng Tian (Meng T’ien) to clear all land south of the northern bend of the Yellow River of nomads. General Meng defeated the Xiongnu shanyu (king) named Touman with an army of more than 100,000 men (some records say 300,000) and annexed land across present-day Manchuria, through Inner Mongolia to Gansu (Kansu) Province in the west. He linked existing walls and extended them to form the Great Wall of China with heavily fortifi ed outposts, settled the frontier lands with convicts and colonists, and built roads that linked the borderland with the metropolitan area. Touman and his followers fl ed northward. However, Qin victories were quickly undone. The fi rst emperor died in 210 b.c.e., followed by the forced suicide of General Meng in a power struggle; widespread revolts toppled the dynasty in 206 b.c.e. Defeats by the Chinese forced the loosely knit confederation of Xiongnu tribes to reorganize. In 209 b.c.e. Touman’s son Maotun (Mao-t’un) murdered him. As the new shanyu, Maotun solidifi ed his forces into a disciplined and loyal fi ghting unit. He defeated other nomadic tribes called the Yuezhi (Yueh-chih) and the Dong Hu (Tung Hu), forcing them to fl ee. The Dong Hu fl ed to Manchuria, and the Yuezhi were broken up. One group moved south of the Great Wall, while the main group, called the Great Yuezhi, moved west, eventually settling in present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also confronted the ruler of the new Han dynasty in China. In a battle in 200 b.c.e., 300,000 of Maotun’s cavalry defeated Liu Bang’s mostly infantry forces. The two sides concluded a treaty in 198 b.c.e. that stipulated peaceful relations between the two equal states, trade, fi xed gifts between the two states (Han gave Xiongnu large quantities of silks, silver, liquor, and other valuables, for token return gifts by Xiongnu), and a Han princess as wife for Maotun. This was called the Heqin (Ho-ch’in) Treaty, the word meaning “peace and amity.” A total of 10 Heqin treaties were signed between 198 and 135 b.c.e., when a new ruler succeed- 492 Xiongnu ed to either throne. Several more Han princesses were given as wives to Xiongnu rulers, and each revision entailed additional gifts from the Han. China agreed to the terms because the newly established dynasty was too unstable and the people were too exhausted from previous wars to pursue an aggressive policy. Although the treaties brought a measure of peace, Xiongnu raids continued. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Chinese died annually from these continuing raids, in addition to seized people (for slaves) and property. In 134 b.c.e. the Han, fully recovered and under a young, vigorous ruler, Han Wudi (Han Wu-ti), ended the appeasing Heqin treaties. The fi rst indecisive campaign in 129 b.c.e. had four Han armies, each 100,000 strong in simultaneous attacks. In 127 b.c.e. the Han scored a major victory, chasing the Xiongnu north across the Gobi Desert to the shores of Lake Baikal in present-day Russia. It was a prolonged struggle, which fi nally broke the Xiongnu but also cost the Han huge losses in lives and treasures. Wudi sent an emissary, Zhang Qian (Chang Ch’ien) to fi nd the Yuezhi and offer them an alliance against their common enemy, but when the envoy fi nally found them in Afghanistan, the Yuezhi were settled and no longer interested. He did fi nd other allies, willing to become Han vassal states, from as far away as Ferghana and Sogdiana in Central Asia. Xiongnu power was fi nally broken in 60 b.c.e. The reasons were superior Han resources and leadership, the declining ability of later Xiongnu shanyu, the inability of the Xiongnu tribal structure of government to handle expanded power, and better treatment of vassal states by the Han. Civil wars ensued among the Xiongnu, which broke them into two groups in 54 b.c.e. The Southern Xiongnu surrendered to the Han dynasty and became vassals; their leaders came to pay homage at the Han capital and received subsidies, while many of the tribesmen were settled along the border regions. Campaigns against the Northern Xiongnu continued sporadically until the end of the fi rst century c.e. when they were fi nally defeated in present-day Outer Mongolia and Central Asia. Some were forced to move west; those remaining became intermingled with other nomadic groups. After the fall of the Han in 220 c.e. groups among the Southern Xiongnu formed brief regional dynasties in northwestern China, and some claimed to be descendants of the Han imperial family through Han princesses who had become wives of their rulers. By the sixth century the Xiongnu had been absorbed into Chinese culture. Further reading: Jagchid, Sechin, and Van Jay Symons. Peace, War, and Trade along the Great Wall, Nomadic-Chinese Interaction through Two Millennia. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1989; Sinor, Denis, ed. The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur Xunzi (Hsun Tzu) (300–235 b.c.e.) Chinese philosopher Xunzi means “Master Xun” in Chinese; his personal name was Qing (Ch’ing). He was a heterodox Confucian philosopher, and his collected writings of 32 chapters are named the Xunzi. Each well-argued chapter is devoted to a single topic, such as self-cultivation, proper kingly rule, the recruitment of offi cials, military affairs, and music. Xunzi’s great mind ranked him third in importance among Confucian philosophers, after Confucius and Mencius. He spent most of his life studying and teaching, with a brief interlude as a magistrate. Living at a time of intense interstate warfare as China struggled toward unifi cation, he despaired of a restoration of the old order that Confucius and Mencius had hoped for. This may explain Xunzi’s hardheaded realism and opposition to excessive idealization of the past. He also looked to more recent role models from Chinese history, going back to the founders of the Zhou (Chou) dynasty rather than the remote legendary sage rulers such as Yao, Shun, and Yu. He also rejected traditional concepts that heaven rewarded virtuous rulers and punished wicked ones; instead he postulated a mechanical universe that operated independent of the doings of humans. Xunzi’s interpretation of Confucian teachings on human nature was opposite of that of Mencius. Whereas Mencius taught that human nature was innately good and became corrupted because of poor environment and lack of moral education, Xunzi believed human nature was evil and selfi sh. However, he also believed in the crucial role of education and trusted that a good moral education could make sages of all men. Therefore, Xunzi made the role of a wise and strong teacher key to moral progress. He also concluded that humans had a choice, a key element that made them superior to animals. He said: “The nature of man is evil; his goodness is only acquired by training. The original nature of Xunzi 493 man today is to seek for gain, if this desire is followed, strife and rapacity results and courtesy dies . . . therefore the civilizing infl uence of teachers and laws, the guidance of the ‘li’ [proper good conduct] and justice is absolutely necessary. . . . Hence they [ancient kings] established the authority of the prince to govern man; they set forth clearly the ‘li’ and justice to reform him; they established laws and government to rule him; they made punishments severe to warn him, and so they caused the whole country to come to a state of good government and prosperity.” However, Xunzi agreed with Mencius’s social and economic welfare plans and agreed that unworthy rulers should be overthrown, saying, “Heaven does not create people for the sake of the sovereign. Heaven made the sovereign for the sake of the people.” While Xunzi’s interpretation of Confucianism had great infl uence during his lifetime, it waned during the Han dynasty (202 b.c.e.–220 c.e.) and thereafter, and the more altruistic interpretations of Mencius were accepted as the Confucian orthodoxy. Two of his students, Han Fei and Li Si (Li Ssu), would become leaders of the Legalist school, gained great power under the Qin (Ch’in) state, and engineered the unifi cation of China under the Qin (Ch’in) dynasty. See also Hundred Schools of Philosophy; Legalism. Further reading: Fung, Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy. 2 vols. Translated by Derk Bodde. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983; Knoblock, John, trans. Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works. 3 vols. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988–94; Watson, Burton, trans. Hsun Tzu: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
The Expanding World 600 CE to 1450 Edit
Xixia (Hsi Hsia) As the Tang (T’ang) dynasty (618–907) was crumbling, several regional states came into being that occupied outlying areas of the once great empire. One of them was called Xixia or Western Xia (982–1127). Although it included several ethnic groups, among them many Han Chinese, the ruling dynasty and dominant ethnic group of Xixia was called Tangut, who were related to Tibetans. The Tangut fi rst entered Chinese history during the Tang dynasty when they were invited to settle in frontier regions in present day Sichuan (Szechwan), Qinghai (Ch’inghai), and Gansu (Kansu) Provinces as a bulwark against Tibetan tribes. The most important prefecture they settled in was Xia (Hsia), the name of China’s fi rst dynasty and a hallowed name to the Chinese. In 893 the Tang court appointed a Tangut chief military governor of the region, gave him the title duke of Xia, and also conferred on him the surname Li of the Tang imperial house. His descendants continued to use it after the Tang fell. This is the origin of the name Xixia for the Tangut state. Later the Song (Sung) dynasty also conferred its ruler’s surname, Zhao (Chao), on the Xixia rulers and gave them the title king of Xia, but they continued to use Li as their surname until the 11th century. A written script for Tangut was created in 1037 under a ruler named Li Yuanhao (Li Yuen-hao). It had about 6,000 characters and was based on the Chinese script, possibly because like Chinese, Tangut was monosyllabic and tonal, but the two are not mutually intelligible. During the next two centuries written Tangut was widely used, much more so than Khitan was used by the Liao dynasty, or Jurchen was by the Jin (Chin) dynasty. This was so despite the fact that many Tangut offi cials of Xixia were bilingual and fl uent in written Chinese. Li Yuanhao’s order to invent a Tangut script is interpreted as an assertion of his native culture as opposed to the Chinese. (He also dropped his Chinese surname Li and substituted it with a Tangut one.) However Xixia was so thoroughly destroyed by the Mongol forces of Genghis Khan that the language became forgotten until scholars in the mid-20th century began to study it from dual language (Chinese and Tangut) inscriptions on surviving stones and from documents recently excavated. There was no Xixia history written by its own people. Later when the rulers of the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) in China ordered dynastic histories for its immediate predecessors compiled, the board entrusted to do so acknowledged the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties as legitimate ruling houses of China and wrote extensive and detailed histories of each. However they did not acknowledge Xixia as a dynasty. Therefore there is no Chinese dynastic history of Xixia, only chapters about them in other historical works. In 1038 Yuanhao proclaimed himself emperor of a new dynasty called Da Xia (Ta Hsia), meaning “Great Xia.” It is reminiscent of the Khitan’s creation of an imperial state in 916 with Chinese trappings. At its maximum extent at the end of the 11th century Xixia measured over 800 miles from east to west and over 500 miles from north to south. It bordered the Gobi Desert in the north and included the Gansu Corridor in the west, which was important because that was the route of trans-Eurasian trade from which it received much revenue. The core of the state was the Xia area, which contained extensive irrigation works originating from the Han dynasty (202 b.c.e.–200 c.e.) that sustained a mixed agricultural and pastoral economy. Beyond the agricultural core much of the land was desert. Xixia had two capital cities, Xiping (Hsi-p’ing) on the east side of the Yellow River and Xingqing (Hsing-ching) on the west side near present-day Ningxia (Ning-hsia); a royal cemetery was located nearby with tombs built on the Song model. At the height of its power under Yuanhao, Xixia defeated the Song and under a peace signed between the two states, Song gave large annual gifts of silk and silver to Xixia. As with the Song, Xixia adopted Confucianism as state ideology, shrines were built in the capital to honor Confucius, schools were established in cities to teach the Confucian Classics, and a national academy was established to train advisers to the rulers. As the dynasty progressed, the trend toward Sinicization in philosophy, arts, ritual, and even fashion grew. Several among the nine Xixia rulers had Chinese mothers and wives. To the Xixia elite Chinese things represented sophistication, and they became more assimilated to Chinese values than their contemporary Khitan nobles in the Liao dynasty were. This trend also produced tension and division because some Tangut continued to honor their traditional tribal values; these confl icts were never resolved. Although Daoism (Taoism) was patronized and Nestorian Christianity and Manicheanism had adherents, most Tangut followed the Tibetan model of Buddhism, deviating from the Chinese. Many Buddhist texts were translated to Tangut and printed from carved wood blocks. Xixia existed internationally in complex relationships with the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties in shifting alliances, war, and peace, until the rise of the Mongols. The fi rst Mongol attack occurred in 1205; Temujin, who became Genghis Khan one year later, led it. A request for aid from Jin (who would later be a Mongol victim also) was refused. Xixia sued for peace and became a subject ally of the Mongols under very oppressive terms. When Xixia revolted later, their doom was sealed. In 1226 Genghis Khan personally led an army to destroy Xixia, which they did systematically and continued even after Genghis died in 1227. When the capital surrendered every inhabitant was killed and the royal cemetery was plundered. The state and dynasty, which had produced nine rulers, disappeared. It is unclear what happened to the survivors. There is evidence that some of the ruling clan members and followers fl ed to the upper reaches of the Yarlung River in present day western Sichuan province. Other small groups fl ed to northeastern China, where fragments of their culture survived for some time. See also Tibetan Kingdom. Further reading: Dunnell, Ruth W. The Great State of White and High, Buddhism and State Formation in Eleventh Century Xia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996; Franke, Herbert, and Denis Sinor, eds. The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 6, Alien Regimes and Border States 907–1368. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur Xuanzang (Hsuan-tsang) (c. 600–664) Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang was a Chinese monk who journeyed to India to study Buddhism. He was preceded by others, among them Fa Xian (Fa-hsien), but was surpassed by none. Together the pilgrims’ translations and other writings enhanced China’s knowledge of many lands and added to the understanding of Buddhism. A precocious boy from a literati family, he followed his elder brother to pursue a monastic life at 12 and was given the religious name Xuanzang upon ordination at age 20. In 629 he embarked on a 16-year journey to India, leaving China at night and in secret because Emperor Taizong (T’ang-tsung, r. 626–649) of the newly founded Tang (T’ang) dynasty had forbidden his subjects to leave the country. His journey involved crossing formidable deserts and high mountains, with rest periods among monastic communities and as guest of rulers in the oasis towns, across modern Afghanistan, down the Indus River valley, across Kashmir, to the Ganges valley. In India he studied, lectured, and debated with Buddhist scholars and teachers of other religions and was entertained and honored by kings. Twice he was the guest of King Harsha Vardhana, the powerful ruler of northern India. Xuanzang traveled widely throughout the subcontinent except the southern tip. He studied and lectured at Nalanda, where Buddhist scholars from many Asian lands studied at the famous university. He also visited holy sites such as Bodh Gaya and Sarnath that were associated with Gautama Buddha’s life and 430 Xuanzang famous Buddhist monuments at Ajanta and Pataliputra. He also collected manuscripts and relics. In 643 Xuanzang participated in a fi ve-day-long religious debate among leaders of different schools sponsored by King Harsha and witnessed a spectacular almsgiving ceremony during which Harsha gave away all his wealth except his warhorses and elephants. Finally and reluctantly Harsha granted him permission to return to China and provided him with a military escort to the border of his kingdom, money for the trip, and beasts of burden to carry the manuscripts. Following the southern Silk Road and after many perils Xuanzang arrived home after 16 years and having traveled 10,000 miles. News of his arrival preceded him and he entered Chang’an a national hero in 645. Taizong, who had meantime gained the reputation as a heroic warrior and wise ruler, welcomed him to court in a special audience and eagerly listened to his reports of lands, rulers, and peoples he had seen. Taizong also asked Xuanzang to join his government as a minister, unsuccessfully. The monk did however agree to write an account of his travels, titled Record of Western Regions. Xuanzang lived in Chang’an for the rest of his life. Under the emperor’s patronage he headed a team of monks that translated a prodigious quantity of Buddhist texts to Chinese (73 works, and over 1,000 scrolls). His Record of Western Regions remains important in aiding archaeologists’ work from China through Central Asia to India. Another result of his journey was an exchange of ambassadors between Taizong and Harsha. The third Chinese embassy to India found Harsha assassinated, whereupon the ambassador gathered an army aided by the Tang tributary state Tibet, captured the usurping assassin, and brought him to China for punishment. The effort, however, could not save Harsha’s kingdom. Further reading: Beal, Samuel, tr. The Life of Hiuen-Tsiang. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1973; Waley, Arthur. The Real Tripitaka. London: Allen and Unwin, 1952; Wriggins, Sally Hovey. Xuanzang, A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur Xuanzong (Hsuan-tsung) (685–762) Chinese emperor Li Longji (Li Lung-chi) reigned 712–756 as Minghuang (Ming-huang means Brilliant Emperor; Xuanzong was his posthumous title). He was the grandson of Empress Wu Zhao and son of Ruizong (Jui-tsung, r. 710–712), who abdicated in his favor. His youth was spent under house arrest in his grandmother’s court. His reign marked the zenith of the Tang (T’ang) dynasty, the fi rst 40 years of which were of peace and prosperity. His court was brilliant and elegant, with 2 million people living within and outside the walls of his capital city, Chang’an (Ch’ang-an), then the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the world. His reign inaugurated the golden age of Chinese poetry; the works of the great poets Li Bo (Li Po), Du Fu (Tu Fu), and others are still celebrated in China and Japan. A patron of the arts, he set up the Hanlin Academy at court, where the best scholars, writers, and artists were nurtured. Minghuang began his reign by sweeping away the favorites and corrupt offi cials who had been allowed to fl ourish during Empress Wu’s last years and during the ineffective reigns of her two sons, Minghuang’s uncle and father. He was a conscientious ruler who worked hard in administration, kept himself informed of the conditions of his people, kept down court extravagance, abolished capital punishment, and pursued a vigorous foreign policy that kept peace along the borders. Minghuang however lived too long for his and the dynasty’s good. At age 60 he fell in love with Lady Yang, concubine of one of his sons. He forced his son to divorce her and brought her to his own court with the rank of Guifei or Exalted Consort. She was famous for her obesity and made being fat fashionable. Doting on her, he abandoned his responsibilities and settled to a life of luxurious indulgence with her, while ennobling her sisters and other relatives and making her brother Yang Guozhong (Yang Kuo-chung) chief minister. Under the Yang family’s dominance honest offi cials lost all infl uence. Yang Guifei’s scandalous behavior included “adopting” the clownish and scheming Turkic general An Lushan (An Lu-Shan) as her son and promoting him to the rank of prince. An rose to be commanding general of over 150,000 of the empire’s best troops stationed in the north. In 755 An rose in rebellion, captured the eastern capital Luoyang (Loyang), proclaimed himself emperor, then marched on Chang’an. Minghuang and the court fl ed the capital and headed southward, seeking refuge in Sichuan (Szechwan) province. However his guards refused to fi ght until they had killed Yang Guozhong. They then forced him to hand over Yang Guifei and strangled her. Minghuang abdicated in shame and grief in 756. It fell to Minghuang’s Xuanzong 431 son and successor Suzong (Su-tsung) to quell the rebellion, at great cost, in 763. The Tang dynasty never recovered from its consequences. The tragic end of Minghuang and Yang Guifei’s love has inspired great poetry and became the subject of famous paintings. See also An Lushan (An Lu-Shan) Rebellion. Further reading: Pulleyblank, Edwin G. The Background of the Rebellion of An Lu-shan. London, 1955; Twitchett, Denis, ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. III Sui and T’ang China 589–906. London: Cambridge University Press, 1979. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur
The First Global Age 1450 to 1750 Edit
Age of Revolution and Empire 1750 to 1900 Edit
Crisis and Achievement 1900 to 1950 Edit
Xi’an (Sian) incident (1936) The Long March (1934–35) severely damaged the Chinese Communists, who continued to fight from their new base in northern Sha’anxi (Shensi) province in northwestern China. Pursuing his policy of “first domestic pacification, then resisting Japan,” Chiang Kaishek, leader of the Nationalist government, appointed Zhang Xueliang (Chang Hsueh-liang), the ousted warlord of Manchuria, and his Manchurian army units to complete the task of finishing off the Communists. But Zhang and his troops had been persuaded by rising popular sentiment that all Chinese should unite against Japan, and the campaign ground to a halt. In December 1936, Chiang convened a military conference at Xi’an, a city in northern China, where he planned to fire Zhang and send in fresh troops willing to fight. Fearful that his plan to form an anti- Japanese united front would be thwarted, Zhang, a recently recovered heroin addict, seized Chiang and his aides on the night of December 12. This was the Xi’an incident that shocked China and the world. Zhang presented Chiang with eight demands that included immediate cessation of the anti-Communist campaign and reforming of the Nationalist government to form a united front against Japan. Chiang refused to comply, choosing death if necessary. He also allowed Zhang to read his diary, which revealed his plans to resist Japan. Zhang was completely at a loss on what to do next. Across China popular support rallied around Chiang as the only leader capable of leading the nation against Japan. At their headquarters at yan’an (Yenan) one faction of Communist leaders advocated killing their enemy Chiang. Another led by Zhou Enlai (Chou En-lai) pushed for a peaceful settlement. The Soviet Union had also concluded that Chiang was the only Chinese leader capable of uniting China against Japan. Under Nazi German pressure in Europe, Joseph Stalin supported a Chinese leader capable of resisting Japan. Zhou flew to Xi’an, as did Madame Chiang and a number of leaders from Nanjing (Nanking), and the parties negotiated and came to an unwritten agreement. On December 25, Chiang and his party were released, flying back to Nanjing in triumph accompanied by Zhang. Chiang submitted his resignation, which was rejected. Zhang was tried for mutiny by a military court, received a 10-year sentence, was pardoned, but was put under house arrest; his Manchurian army was reorganized. Importantly, a session of the Nationalist Party leadership convened in the spring of 1937 agreed to stop the anti-Communist campaign, reform and reorganize the government, and negotiate with the Chinese Communist Party to form a united front against Japan. Zhou Enlai arrived in Nanjing to conduct talks on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese moves toward unity propelled Japan’s militarists to speed up their agenda of aggression, resulting in the Marco Polo Bridge incident on July 7, 1937. This attack developed into an all-out war, which pushed the two parties in China to conclude a second United Front against their X common enemy. Thus, the Xi’an incident changed the course of Chinese history. See also Mao Zedong; Sino-Japanese War; warlord era in China (1916–1927). Further reading: Bertram, James M. China in Crisis: The Story of the Sian Mutiny. London: 1937; Chiang Kaishek and Mme. Chiang. The Account of the Fortnight in Sian When the Fate of China Hung in the Balance. New York: Book League of America, 1937; Wu Tien-wei. The Sian Incident: A Pivotal Event in Chinese History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1976. Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur