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The Shang: Order from Chaos

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Posted on 11th of October 2014


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The Shang were the most powerful Bronze-era empire in China, ruling over much of what is now Northern China. The Shang developed writing and a codified system of government that influenced succeeding Chinese dynasties for millennia.


One cultural facet that distinguished the Shang was their proclivity towards ancestor worship. The Shang believed the success of crops and the health and well being of people were based on the happiness of their perished forebears. Respecting those that came before them was not only wise, it was essential.   

Shang

Name: The Shang Dynasty

Continent: Asia

Time Period: 1600-1000 BCE

Succeeded/Conquered By: Zhou Dynasty

Currently: China

But what really set the Shang apart -- aside from their oracle bone inscriptions being the oldest known form of Chinese writing -- is their mastery of metal, their brilliance with bronze. Their use of bronze weapons gave the Shang significant military advantages over their enemies, perfecting such martial innovations as the bronze-tipped halberd and spear, the compound bow, and the true champion of the epoch’s wargame apparatus -- the chariot (originally invented by another line in our ancient 12: the Sumerians).


Their resounding success on the battlefield notwithstanding, what contributed to the Shang’s impressive longevity was their deep respect for the past.  It is a lesson that goes seemingly unheeded in today’s world, another baffling omission in our contemporary cultural trainwreck. Time to sift through the wreckage and listen closely to history’s echoes.  

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