Becoming an Expert: Part 14:43 PM
Today my topic is Ancient Chinese history. As part of my quest to become an expert on Ancient Chinese history, today I looked at http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=.
This website is the History Channel's look at Ancient China. Usually each section (i.e., the T'ang Dynasty) is brief and summarized, but it still gives well-rounded information about different time periods in Chinese history. This is a quote that raised some new questions for me:
"The Han emperors followed the Confucian principle of appointing men on the basis of merit rather than birth. Written examinations were adopted as a means of determining the best qualified people. In the late 2d century BC an imperial university was established, in which prospective bureaucrats were trained in the five classics of the Confucian school." What were the five classics? How long did you have to prepare for the written examinations? Who made the examinations? How long were the examinations, and what was the passing grade? I wish we had an exam for politicians to pass today.
Another interesting website is http://www.bartleby.com/67/138.html. According to Bartleby's article, "there were three principal classes in Shang times: hereditary nobles and their families, commoners, and slaves (often sacrificially buried) who were largely war captives." Sacrificially buried sparked some questions for me--were they buried alive? dead? Either way, it's a little grisly-sounding. It makes me wonder whether China had any limits for its different methods of punishment or law enforcement.
Information on both of these two sites sometimes "overlap," going over the same subjects, but in general, you will find a nuanced choice of facts to showcase. I greatly enjoyed looking at both websites and I hope that readers will be able to leave comments about their own observations. Join me next time for Becoming an Expert: Part 2!