The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han

The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han

by Mark Edward Lewis

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Overview

In 221 bc the First Emperor of Qin unified the lands that would become the heart of a Chinese empire. Though forged by conquest, this vast domain depended for its political survival on a fundamental reshaping of Chinese culture. With this informative book, we are present at the creation of an ancient imperial order whose major features would endure for two millennia.

The Qin and Han constitute the "classical period" of Chinese history—a role played by the Greeks and Romans in the West. Mark Edward Lewis highlights the key challenges faced by the court officials and scholars who set about governing an empire of such scale and diversity of peoples. He traces the drastic measures taken to transcend, without eliminating, these regional differences: the invention of the emperor as the divine embodiment of the state; the establishment of a common script for communication and a state-sponsored canon for the propagation of Confucian ideals; the flourishing of the great families, whose domination of local society rested on wealth, landholding, and elaborate kinship structures; the demilitarization of the interior; and the impact of non-Chinese warrior-nomads in setting the boundaries of an emerging Chinese identity.

The first of a six-volume series on the history of imperial China, The Early Chinese Empires illuminates many formative events in China's long history of imperialism—events whose residual influence can still be discerned today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674057340
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/30/2010
Series: History of Imperial China , #1
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 373,575
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mark Edward Lewis is Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Chinese Culture at Stanford University.

Timothy Brook is Professor of History and Republic of China Chair at the University of British Columbia.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

  1. The Geography of Empire
  2. A State Organized for War
  3. The Paradoxes of Empire
  4. The Imperial Capital
  5. Rural Society
  6. The Outer World
  7. Kinship and Gender
  8. Religion and Cults
  9. Literature
  10. Law

  • Conclusion

  • Dates and Usage
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

As the first volume in the History of Imperial China, The Early Chinese Empires sets an authoritative, reliable tone that bodes well for this important new series. The book meets a high standard of historical accuracy and covers an impressively broad range of topics. Accessible to a wide audience, it will appeal to anyone interested in the foundations of the Chinese imperial tradition.

Victor H. Mair

As the first volume in the History of Imperial China, The Early Chinese Empires sets an authoritative, reliable tone that bodes well for this important new series. The book meets a high standard of historical accuracy and covers an impressively broad range of topics. Accessible to a wide audience, it will appeal to anyone interested in the foundations of the Chinese imperial tradition.
Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania

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