Reflections of Hindu Saivite Mythology in the Annanmar Story

The Legend of Ponnivala is an Indian story best known in the Tamil language as the Annanmar Kathai (or Tale of the Elder Brothers ). As this popular name indicates, the story is generally thought to feature the courageous exploits of two brave men: Ponnar and Shankar. But looking deer into this great tale, one…

The Legend of Ponnivala is an Indian story best known in the Tamil language as the Annanmar Kathai (or Tale of the Elder Brothers ). As this popular name indicates, the story is generally thought to feature the courageous exploits of two brave men: Ponnar and Shankar. But looking deer into this great tale, one finds a subtle commentary that offers a telling female perspective on heroism.

The mother and elder heroine is named Tamarai (“lotus woman”). She was born in a lotus blossom from a drop of Lord Shiva's own semen, which fell to earth during his love-play with his wife Parvati. Tamarai is a pillar of strength and determination, and indeed she sits on a high pillar in prayer for twenty one years. Tamarai's life, taken as a whole, closely fits with what Wendy Doniger recognized as the Classic Saiva Cycle of Myth Motifs . To paraphrase Doniger, the basic Saivite story can be outlined as:

1. The Initial Creative Impulse:

There is an initial creation where a female child emerges from Brahma (her male, and only, “parent”). After this emergence, Brahma comes to desire his lovely daughter. She takes the form of a doe and flees, with him chasing in the form of a stag. His seed falls to earth and generates sages and other lifeforms.

2. Shiva's Marriage to the Original Daughter:

Daksha, a “son” of Brahma, gives his daughter Sati in marriage to Shiva. Daksha, however, holds Shiva in very low regard, deriding him for his asceticism (meditation) and lower-class habits. Daksha performances a Vedic sacrifice but refuses to invite Shiva, who in outrage beheads Daksha. The exclusion of her husband causes Sati to burn herself to death in the hope of being reborn to a father she can respect. Shiva is finally admitted to the sacrifice, and replace Daksha's head with that of a goat.

3. Shiva's Wife Undergoes Rebirth:

Shiva, distraught at Sati's death, rescues her body and dances with it in a wild stupor of despair. Then he drops it and goes into a protracted period of meditation. Sati, meanwhile, is reborn as Parvati, and performances tapas; a form of meditation that produces intense spiritual heat; with the intent of regaining Shiva as her husband. Shiva tests her, but she remains steadfast in her devotion until finally he asks her to marry him. After performing tapas himself, Shiva returns to make love to his wife, but they are interrupted by Agni, the god of fire. Parvati is angered by this interruption and curses all the gods' wives to become childless. Agni attempts to drink Shiva's seed, but it is too hot even for him and he deposits it in a river (or pond). The six Kritikkas who are bathing there become pregnant by this seed, and their multiple pregnancies somehow result in the six-headed Murugan, who is widely considered a sort of “unnatural” son of Shiva and Parvati.

Parallels in Part One

Interestingly, Tamarai's story in The Legend of Ponnivala bears striking resemblances to this classic Saivite cycle. A key animal motif in the Saivite cycle is that of the mating deer, which love-energy begins a creation story on earth. In the Annanmar story, Shiva and Parvati likewise disguise themselves as deer in order to make love. When Lord Shiva's seed falls to earth, however, it does not form a vague group of sages and creatures. It forms a single, named girl. Tamarai's mother, desirous of a daughter, was performing tapas at the edge of a pond when this occurred. The god's seed is his gift to her, arriving in the form of a child. When she discovers the miraculous baby in the lotus flower, she adopts her as her own.

It is important to point out that the Annanmar story creatively expands on the original creation image of a mating couple in interesting ways. In addition to Shiva and Parvati's joint parenting project where they create Tamarai, each god is also seen to exercise creative powers on their own. Shiva, for example, creates Tamarai's future husband, Kunnutaiya. Knowing that Kunnutaiya's entire family has been cursed to barrenness (by Shiva himself), Lord Shiva is persuaded by Vishnu to create a child for this farming family. By creating the child himself, Shiva is able to work around his own curse. He places the baby under a pile of heavy rocks in a field, where he can be found, adopted, and cared for. The parallel here is with Brahma creating Sati out of his own flesh – a common mythological theme across many cultures.

But the most significant creative effort in the Annanmar story is that of Parvati, who at the very outset of the tale creates a clan of “first farmers” in the area. She does this with the consent of Lord Shiva, but entirely without his involvement, using her own creative energy to form both the farmers and their wives. Here, instead of a male (Brahma) giving birth asexually to a daughter (Sati), the Annanmar story begins with Parvati, the great female goddess, giving birht asexually to nine sons. This is only one of many hints that point to a set of strong female-oriented subthemes running through the Legend of Ponnivala.

Parallels in Part 2

In the second part of the Saivite cycle the Annanmar story matches with several classical motifs in creative and striking ways. It could have been labeled “Daksha Motif,” in that it is a story that revolves around a father-in-law / son-in-law rivalry, with the female figure done in the middle. In the Annanmar story, we first have to replace the father-in-law with a brother-in-law, which is not a big alteration in terms of family dynamics. Tamarai's parents are naturally absent from the Ponnivala story, with little explanation given for the absence. What we do know is that she is raised by her two substantively older brothers. She is kept confined to the family courtyard, where she plays and swings happily but alone. Kunnutaiya arrives in her world as a waif and orphan who is hired by Tamarai's brothers to work as a shepherd, although among his duties he is to push Tamarai on her swing. This is how they meet and fall in love.

Unfortunately, Kunnutaiya is far below Tamarai's social status. One day, he is encouraged to ask his masters for Tamarai's hand in marriage by Lord Vishnu, who has come to him in the guise of a wandering beggar. On his first attempt, Kunnutaiya is badly beaten by the brothers for even daring to think abuot arranging a match with their lovely sister. Nonetheless, Vishnu sees to it that the marriage happens by blackmailing the brothers with the threat of fire. Under protest they agree to the marriage, provided the wedding take place outside the village boundaries, and without the traditional blessings of the family. Lord Vishnu himself magically supplies all the trimmings and musicians, the ceremony is held in front of an ancient Ganesh temple. Tamarai's family sends a collection of insulting wedding gifts that send the clear message, “leave immediately, and never come back.”

This story of Tamarai's wedding clearly parallels Sati's wedding to Lord Shiva, and the derision her brothers feel for her shepherd groom match well with Daksha's feelings of derision towards Shiva.

After finally arriving and reclaiming Kunnutaiya's inherited lands, Tamarai realizes that she is barren and can not have children, which may be a reflection Shiva and Parvati's lack of children. Her first thought is return to her natal home to see her brothers' children and delight in their happiness, and constantly being sternly warned against doing so by Kunnutaiya she makes the journey with a few servants bearing gifts for her nieces and nephews.

When she arrives, she is met with violence. The guard at the palace door has been ordered to beat her. Shiva supplies her with a fireball, with which she burns her attacker until he backs off. She curses her brothers, who are hiding along with their children in the palace. All fourteen children suddenly die. She then erects a stone marker declaring that no one may take or give a woman in marriage to anyone from the palace, and no one may accept water from the family members there. This act effectively turns her brothers' entire household into outcasts from the community.

After a visit to Kali's temple, the goddess aids Tamarai by effectively coercing her brothers to submit and beg forgiveness. When they do this, Tamarai is supplied with a golden wand with which she resrectects the dead children. If one equates Tamarai's two brothers in the Annanmar story to Daksha's actions in the base myth, these mens' children to Daksha's “sacrifice,” and Tamarai to Lord Shiva, then this story closely parallels the original myth in its structure and intent. The son-in-law wins the contest of wills and his will becomes supreme. But note the significant twist: here again the female is the active party. Tamarai does all the destroying, forgiving and resurrecting.

We know from other aspects of Saivite mythology, it is the fallen goddess Sati who reigns supreme on earth. The locations where the body pieces land are hers (they fall from the disturbance and dancing Shiva's arms). These are the spots where temples dedicated to the goddess have sprung up. But Shiva's lingam can be found (at least figuratively) at each such place too, where it always places itself at her side as a stabilizing force. In this sense the Annanmar story accords very well with a possible greater understanding of Tamarai as a “fallen Sati” – a form of Shiva's wife who has a husband (in this case, Kunnutaiya) living beside her.

Parallels in Part 3

The concept of Tamarai as Sati grows even stronger in the next part of the Annanmar legend. Tamarai returns home to Kunnutaiya after her misadventures at her natal home. He finds her bruised and exhausted, and is outraged that she did not take his advice and stay away from her brothers' palace. He casts her out.

In a deep depression, Tamarai has a huge pillar built, from which she intends to jump to her death. Fortunately, she's stopped in this exercise by Vishnu, who persuades her instead to commit to a list of devout works, upon completion of which she may go to Shiva's Council Chambers and beg for the gift of a child. This she does, and after the long journey to Lord Shiva's Council Chambers, she patiently and devoutly meditates for twenty one years atop a pillar.

Shiva is determined to test Tamarai, and so puts her through seven deaths – a number significant in atonement for each of the seven cows her father-in-law killed (which bought the curse in the first place), as well as for each of the seven generations the family has been cursed to barrenness. It is also significant, as it reflects Sati's own self-murdered death. Even more interestingly, as a prelude to each death, Vishnu builds a sacred fire under Shiva. Here is Vishnu, acting in the role of Daksha, taunting Shiva with the heat of a sacred fire. In his annoyance, Shiva lashes out by killing Tamarai as he had at Daksha's sacrifice.

When Shiva finally agreements to grant Tamarai an audience, he agrees publicly before all the gods that he will grant her a pregnancy by placing three seeds in her womb. This is done by magic, of course, and she is impregnated on the spot with the reincarnated spirits of heroes from the Mahabharata (Bhima and Arjuna), and one girl from the seven sisters known as the Kannimar.

This lifting of a curse of barrenness parallels the Saivite cycle yet again. Recall that Parvati did a long tapas in order to win over Lord Shiva as her husband, and that due to the interruption of Agni, Parvati cursed all the gods to barrenness. When Agni consumed Shiva's seed, however, all the gods became pregnant, and Shiva's seed ended up in a river, eventually to become the six-headed Skanda or Murugan.

Another echo with this part of the story is that, just as the gods all became pregnant in a counter-measure to Parvati's curse, Tamarai returns to Ponnivala with a gift of divine water through which Lord Shiva lifts his curse of barrenness from all the mothers of that kingdom. Humans and animals in Ponnivala have been without children since the course was imposed, but through her punishment Tamarai is able to sprinkle just a few drops on all the females of the kingdom, and they quickly become pregnant.

But sprinkling water over everyone is not the end of the story. Nine months later Tamarai gives birth to twin boys . True, they are not double-headed beings let alone one boy with six heads! But the concept of multiplicity is there in this birth of triplets to the newly fertile queen. Furthermore, the two boys are a bit like Lord Murugan in their personalities. They are young, warlike and eager to enforce a just and moral rule over the land. The youngger twin (the true hero who is beloved by all) carries a spear as his ever-present weapon, just as the beloved Murugan himself carries the golden spear or vel. And Murugan, though said to have six heads, is usually portrayed with only one. It is more like he has a mix of personalities.

The twins in the Annanmar story represent contrastive personalities as well. One is gentle and concerned with justice while the other (the younger) is much more aggressive, violent and intolerant of what he believes to be wrong-doing. There is just a possibility here that the twin heroes of the Annanmar story are like two of the many faces of Lord Murugan himself. Their younger sister Tangal, on the other hand, specifically reincarnates one of the seven Kannimar virgin girls (described as the six Kritikas of the Murugan story; one of whom has a separate fate) who are like Murugan's surrogate mothers. Just like in real life, where older sisters often help raise and care for youngger children, so Tangal is given a sisterly role in relation to her brothers. But there are interesting changes, as is typical in such cases of mythical recycling. In this story Tangal is younger than her brothers and is cared for by them. The Murugan overtones are present in this legend but they are partly hidden. Like so much in this great folk epic, the singer-poets who retell the story assume that their audience is familiar with the most important and culturally ubiquitous Hindu myth cycles. The local poets take liberties with these traditions, playing with these classical relationships in a way that causes their listeners to think, to puzzle, and to dream.

Economic Expansion in the High Middle Ages

During a recent discussion about developing world economies I was asked if I knew the three reasons for the economic expansion in the High Middle Ages. The time period known as the High Middle Ages is marked as the period from 1050 through 1350. This unique time witnessed the first crusade (1096), and the famous…

During a recent discussion about developing world economies I was asked if I knew the three reasons for the economic expansion in the High Middle Ages. The time period known as the High Middle Ages is marked as the period from 1050 through 1350. This unique time witnessed the first crusade (1096), and the famous writings of Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica) and Dante's (Divine Comedy). This period of history also saw a vast, sweeping economic expansion, due, primarily to three main factors. Namely, an agricultural revolution, a commercial revolution, the resurgence of towns fueled the economic expansion of the High Middle Ages.

The invention and spread of such conventions as the heavy plow, the collar harness and a simple horse shoe provided the technical advances that eclipsed the agricultural productivity of former ages. Moreover, the wide use of water mills in the tenth century and windmills in the twelfth made the once labor intensive job of grinding grain much more labor efficient. Lastly, increased production was made possible because of the adoption of the three-field system. This new system made the diversification of crops richer and led to more produce for all.

Naturally, as agricultural production increased, less people died of starvation. Farming became big business. Many Lords converted their lands into agricultural use because of the easy profits available. All levels of society benefited from the agricultural boom. This is evidenced by the dwindling serf population which fell from 90% to 10% from 1050 to 1350. Perhaps the largest benefit of this agricultural revolution was that people had extra food, lived longer, and were then able to pursue careers in other industries. This fed perfectly into the commercial revolution.

The High Middle Ages were a vibrant time in business history. The commercial revolution that ensued was made possible because of the advances in trade techniques. Advances such as underwriting (insurance), currency exchange, the invention of double-entry bookkeeping (still in use today) and the development of commercial (contract) law all increased the wheels of the increased trade that transpired. From simple wandering salesmen and local trade partners there developed trade fairs and intricate trade routes which fueled the ever expanding economy.

Business progressively expanded, and another byproduct was produced, and further contributed to the boom. A resurgence of towns and town life was blossoming. Towns provided social, economic and cultural harbors where lives could flourish. These new towns surfaced mostly in trade locations. Merchants, and peasants alike, congregated in such places and labored in their respective trades. Towns provided safety and stability for families, and were a logical place to live and make money. Families had profitable businesses or gainful employment, money, and most importantly, a new freedom in town life. Towns were centers of trade and culture, and only perpetuated the growth of the period. Taken together, the agricultural revolution, the commercial revolution, and the resurgence of towns spurned and fueled the economic expansion of the High Middle Ages.

Prosperous Period of the Tang Dynasty

The Prosperous Period of the Tang dynasty (618-907) started with the first half of 7th century and ended in the middle period of 8th century, when the Tang Empire covered a vast territory with prosperous economy, enlightened politics and consolidated national defense, and it boasted the most powerful empire in the world, so the overseas…

The Prosperous Period of the Tang dynasty (618-907) started with the first half of 7th century and ended in the middle period of 8th century, when the Tang Empire covered a vast territory with prosperous economy, enlightened politics and consolidated national defense, and it boasted the most powerful empire in the world, so the overseas Chinese are still called the Tang people by foreigners. The Tang dynasty is the most glorious period in ancient Chinese history, and then the extensive and diverse Chinese civilization spread all over the world along the Silk Road (stretching from Chang'an (present Xi'an) to the Mediterranean coast), attracting the kings, envoys, merchants, monks and international students from all over the world to gather in Chang'an, all of whom marveled at the prosperous and bustling city.

As the history rolled on to the Prosperous Period of the Tang dynasty in China, the Americas and the Africa were still in sleeping state, the European was in the pioneering stage of the Frankfort Kingdom, the Roman Empire suffered invasions from the barbarian tribes and the Arab Empire was at war with Byzantium, Persia and India, however, the unpretented achievements were made by the Tang Empire in economy, politics and culture during this period. Du Fu (the most well-known realist poet in Chinese history) depict the auspicious screen of Kaiyuan Period in his poem Recalling the Past, which read, “Recalling the auspicious days in Kaiyuan Period, even a smaller county houses ten thousand households. sweet rice and the white millets are filled with both pubic and private warehouse “, fully reflecting the richness and prosperity of the Tang empire.

The agriculture industry developed rapidly during the Tang dynasty, the reasons for which are mainly as follows: fist of all, the structure of plow was greatly improved, and the working people invented the Curved Shaft Plow and scoop waterwheels (ancient Chinese irrigation tool) which greatly promoted agricultural productive force. Secondly, the new large-scaled water conservancy projects were built and the old ones were renovated successfully under imperial order. Thirdly, the wastelands were cultured, and the working people created great fortunes and contributed more to the national tax revenue. At the same time, great progress was also made in handcraft industry, and the silk fabrics from Yangzhou, Yizhou (present Chengdu) and Dingzhou were all over the world for their wide varieties and unique patterns, symbolizing the highest level in silk industry then . The porcelains from Xingzhou were as white as snow, while the ones from Yuezhou were as green as jade, and Tang San Cai (tri-colored glazed porcelain) was favored by people from both home and abroad for its bright color and attractive appearance. The paper-making industry in Xuanzhou and Yizhou were very famous all over China.

Chang'an and Luoyang were called the West Capital and the East Capital respectively in the Tang dynasty, functioning as the national economic and political centers and the cultural exchange centers for the Tang Empire and the foreign countries, where a number of foreigners lived and traded with the Tang people, making them the most prosperous cities in the word then.

Social Life in the Shang Dynasty

The Shang rulers moved the capital to Yin (present Anyang of Henan Province) in late Shang dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), and the history and social life of the Shang dynasty were known to the public primarily through the cultural relics unearthed from Yin Ruins, including inscriptions on the oracle bones, bronze wares, potteries, bone wares…

The Shang rulers moved the capital to Yin (present Anyang of Henan Province) in late Shang dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), and the history and social life of the Shang dynasty were known to the public primarily through the cultural relics unearthed from Yin Ruins, including inscriptions on the oracle bones, bronze wares, potteries, bone wares and stone wares. What attracted the historians most were the inscriptions on the oracle bones (over 100,000 pieces), which were used by the ancient imperial soothsayers for divining the future of a person or a country.

The imperial soothsayers dug a small hole on one side of a bone (not penetrating) and toasted it near the burning fire, and they divined the future of a man, a country and the universe when the other side of the bone cracked. At last, they carved the oracle inscriptions on the turtle shells or animal bones. What was interesting, the oracle inscriptions were mostly concerned to the ancestral worshiping rites and the number of animals used in a sacred rite in the Shang dynasty, and some were related to atmospheric conditions (such as rain, wind and snow), some were related with the harvest of agriculture, some were with regard to war, and some were in respect to the dreams and diseases of human beings, from which we could know much information about the Shang dynasty.

The Shang people heavily depended on agriculture industry and fed on wheat, rice, glutinous millets and soybeans, and the farming work was mainly done by manpower and the plows were used as the main farming tools. Fishing and hunting also were employed as a line by the Shang people, who preys ranged from wild boars, deer, foxes, rabbits to pheasants. What was more, the Shang people tamed the wild animals into livestock as well, including cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, pigs and elephants, and it was recorded that the elephants were sent by the ancient Shang people to war. The Shang people were very good at making bronze wares, which was proved by a number of swords, spearheads, armors, knives, arrows and axes well-preserved in Yin (Anyang) Ruins, and most bronze wares for the imperial and noble families were decorated with florid designs.

Various various bronze wares, a series of animal patterns and geometric drawings were decorated on the potteries as well, which were rather rough but vivid. The Shang people were also expert at tooth carvings, bone carvings, jade carvings and stone carvings, which were in the forms of human figures, tigers, rabbits, fishes, birds, dragons, turtles, elephants and phoenixes.

Song Dynasty

Preceded by the Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms (907-960), the Song Dynasty (960-1279) is divided into the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and it's famous for its prosperous economy, enlightened political environment and glorious culture in Chinese history. General Zhao Kuangyin designated national power through a military coup in Chenqiao…

Preceded by the Five Dynasties & Ten Kingdoms (907-960), the Song Dynasty (960-1279) is divided into the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and it's famous for its prosperous economy, enlightened political environment and glorious culture in Chinese history.

General Zhao Kuangyin designated national power through a military coup in Chenqiao and established the Song dynasty with Dongjing (present Kaifeng in Henan Province) as the capital in 960, who was known to the world as Emperor Taizu (temple name). In view of these facts that the provincial rulers (in charge of civil and military affairs) maintained armies and defied orders from the central government in the Tang dynasty, Emperor Taizu learned a lesson from history and took the advice of Zhao Pu to lend the military power of a number of generals, centralizing all power in his own hands, and the fighting capacity of the national army was greatly weakened owing to missing in training.

Zhao Guangyi (brother of Emperor Zhao Kuangyin) ascended the Throne after the death of Emperor Zhao Kuangyin in 976, who further consolidated his rule through annihilating the Northern Han (951-979) in 979, and great progress had been made in the civil -service examination system as well. The Song Empire became impoverished and weak after its middle period, so Emperor Shenzong recognized the situation and appointed Wang Anshi Vice-Chancellor to take reforms, but most reform policies ended up with failure owing to the objection from Conservative Party led by Si Maguang (Chancellor ). The rulers were very degenerate and corruptive in the later Northern Song dynamy, and Dongjing (Kaifeng in Henan Province) was attacked and Emperor Huizong was captured by Jurchen ethnic group people, resulting in the demise of the Northern Song dynasty.

Zhaogou (the 9th son of Emperor Huizong) took the throne in Yingtianfu (present Shangqiu of Henan Province) and established the Southern Song dynasty, and he relocated the capital from Yingtianfu to Lin'an (present Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province) in 1138 and he was known as Emperor Gaozong in Chinese history, who pursed the peaceful policy, rendered large sums of tributes to the Jurchen rulers and suppressed domestic resistance activities against Jurchen army. Emperor Gaozong was even not hesitate to kill Yue Fei (a famous general in the war of resistance against Jurchen army) to appease the Jurchen rulers. The Song army was frequently at war with the Mongolian army later, and the Mongolian commander Kublai Khan defeated the Song army and captured Lin'an eventually, who established the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368).

The Rise and Fall of Tang Dynasty Military Power

The Tang Dynasty took place between 618 and 907. It is often considered to be a high-watermark of Chinese military power and influence. This reputation was largely built on a series of conquests in Inner Asia; especially in Xianjiang and the northern Himalayas, events which continue to have political resonances down to this day. The…

The Tang Dynasty took place between 618 and 907. It is often considered to be a high-watermark of Chinese military power and influence. This reputation was largely built on a series of conquests in Inner Asia; especially in Xianjiang and the northern Himalayas, events which continue to have political resonances down to this day.

The Early Tang Dynasty

The first Emperor of the Tang Dynasty was Li Yuan (Emperor Gaozu). He came from the north-west frontier of China and bought with him many of the military traditions of the nomadic peoples who lived in the area. The background to his ascension took place during the early years of the seventh century, a time when the central authority of the state had broken down and had been replaced by a series of local warlords. But by the 620's the Emperor had largely succeeded in wresting back control from them, in doing so he had absorbed many of these warlords into the political and military structure. These individuals were often uneducated and low-born but had managed to get them into influential positions through sheer talent and force of personality. One of the most notable of these was Li Shiji, a man who rose from being a bandit to the heights of chief minister. This transition mean that they early Tang Dynasty could rely on a pool of experienced and innovative officials who had proven talent and leadership.

On of the main changes that the Tang Dynasty imposed on the military was a new plan for dealing with troublesome frontiers. The defensive strategy was made more sophisticated and relied on large garrisons being based at strategic points; the goal was not to prevent an invasion but instead to deny it the opportunity to gain a foothold in Tang lands.

The Fubing System.

The core of the early Tang military was the fubing system. This recruited units from prefectures and was predicated on the fact that soldiers could be part-time and spend some time on military service while still supporting themselves through farming. The soldiers were essentially unpaid and expected to supply most of their own equipment, however the incentive was that they could win privileges; most notably the right to own more land.

Each unit was periodically rotated to serve as part of the Imperial Guard; the further the unit was from the capital the less frequently they had to serve but the longer the tour they did. The purpose of this rotation was to minimize the opportunity for the guards to seize power. Research has shown that in practice the fubing were not recruited from across the empire but instead were heavily concentrated in the north-west, this probably reflects both the power-base of the Emperor and the martial culture of the region.

The fact that the soldiers were tied to the land for their livelihood meant that the fubing system was far from ideal when it came to campaigning. To counter this conscripts (bingma) were regularly called up and the Emperors also relied heavily on vassal states and alliances with local tribes to augment the army.

The composition of the arms were unknown but, according to works attributed to Li Jing, a typical campaign army would have made up of a force of around 10% crossbowmen, 10% archers, 20% cavalry and the reminder as foot soldiers. Each infantry soldier was expected to carry a saber, lance, a bow and armour.

The nature of the army was heavily influenced by the sort of fighting that it engaged in. For most of the Tang dynasty the wars were bought against the mobile, nomadic tribes of Inner Asia. As a result the Tang heavily abandoned heavy cavalry in favor of the more nimble and versatile light cavalry (qingji) and battles frequently relied on feints by small forces to lure the enemy into traps (eg. Irtysh in 657). Indeed the use of cavalry is one of the most intolerable aspects of the Tang Dynasty and considering effort was invested in breeding and training horses, the result of this was that the Tang Dynasty was able to field a larger cavalry element than ever before.

The Decline of the Tang Dynasty

As the Dynasty went on there was an increasing isolation between the palace-bound Emperors and high officials from direct military experience. The inevitable result of this was that the military began to be run in an incremental bureaucratic and inflexible manner. In 702 a system of regular military examinations had been introduced, this was designed to resolve the problems but was instead counter-productive – there was now an enforced conformity and book-learning approach to leadership that did not suit the type of fast warfare that they were engaged in.

By 680 it had become clear that the fubing system was no longer fit for purpose, although it managed to continue in name until 749 when it was basically ended. The demise had been hastened by setbacks in the Korean Peninsula and in particular a large reverse in 676. The fubing concept was replaced by the mubing system – a more professional standing army which could have been augmented by conscripts when necessary. The price of this professionalism was a financial one – there is some evidence to suggest that the cost of the military increased seven-fold between 712 and 755. This approach also meant that soldiers were motivated by money and now owed their loyalty to the highest bidder , the number of mutinies soared and where soldiers were dismissed they frequently turned instead to banditry.

From the 750's there were regular uprisings by generals and other leaders who could now call upon the loyalty of the troops that they commanded. The most notable of these was the An Lushan rebellion of 755 in which An Lushan was able to rely on a force of some 100,000 soldiers to join with him.

When the Tang Dynasty ever came to its ignoble end in 907 it is not a surprise that the last Emperor was deposed by a military governor.

The Life and Legacy of the Chinese Yongle Emperor 1402-1424

His Early Life The Yongle Emperor was born in 1360. He was the fourth son of Zhu Yuanzhang – a man of exceptional talent and ambition who had risen from obscure to seize the throne as Emperor Taizu and who founded the Ming Dynasty. At the tender age of eleven Zhu Di was given the…

His Early Life

The Yongle Emperor was born in 1360. He was the fourth son of Zhu Yuanzhang – a man of exceptional talent and ambition who had risen from obscure to seize the throne as Emperor Taizu and who founded the Ming Dynasty.

At the tender age of eleven Zhu Di was given the title of Prince of Yan. This was more than simply an honorific title and his responsibility in this position was to help to secure the northern borders against the constant threat of raiders and invasion. He based himself in Beiping – which was by then a large derelict city but which remained as the strategic center from which to guard the north of the Empire.

Zhu Di grew up in what was effectively a military encampment. By the time he was in his early twenties had already led a series of successful offs against the Mongols. He very quickly distinguished himself as a leader possessed of significant courage and energy but also of huge ambition. In his formative years he helped to reform the structure of his army by making more intensive use of light cavalry, this enabled him to match the Mongols and meant that it was possible for him to chase the enemy across the steppes.

When the Crown Prince died in 1392 there was a power struggle over who should be nominated as the new heir. The ever-ambitious Zhu Di lost out to his nephew Zhu Yunwen.

Rebellion

In 1398 Emperor Taizu ever died. The twenty-one year-old Zhu Yunwen was crowned as Emperor Jianwen. Almost immediately there was tension between Jianwen and Zhu Di. This first manifested itself in an argument when Jianwen, fearful of Zhu Di's intentions, refused to allow Zhu Di and his military retinue to come to the capital and visit his father's tomb. Jianwen then began to move more decisively against Zhu Di, firstly by issuing edicts to strip away the powers away from the princes and then by appointing loyalists to key positions around him.

Occasionally, in July 1399, Zhu Di began to openly revolves against Emperor Jianwen. He claimed that he had been forced into taking this action in order to purge the court of the bad influences and bad advisers.

What followed was three years of civil war during which Zhu Di and his son Zhu Gaoxi demonstrated their military acumen and bravery in a series of battles. In 1402 he boldly gambled on a march on Nanjing and on the Emperor's Palace. This plan worked perfectly and caught Jianwen by suprise. In the chaos which ensued as Zhu Di entered the city the Palace caught fire. Emperor Jianwen and his wife were almost certainly burned to death in the inferno, although his remains could not be identified.

As Emperor

Four days after the fire Zhu Di assumed the throne as the Yongle Emperor. He selected the regnal name Yongle (or Yong Le) which means 'Perpetual Happiness'; however he could scarcely have chosen a less appropriate name given his actions in the following few months. He first set about ruthlessly purging all of Jianwen's supporters and anyone who he felt might be a threat to him. He made extensive use of the punishment of 'nine exterminations' which not only meant the execution of the person themselves but of their own extended family. Most famously he ordered the execution of the scholar Fang Xiaoru for refusing to write him an inaugural address, together with all his family and students – reputedly a total of some 870 people.

Altogether some 10,000 people were thought to have been executed in the weeks following the access of the Yongle Emperor. One of the few survivors of this purge was Jianwen's two-year old son Zhu Wengui who was imprisoned and then forgotten for fifty years.

Forbidden Palace

With the Nanjing Palace destroyed the Yongle Emperor returned to Beiping which became the de facto capital. In 1406 he finally began building a palace in the city – to match his ambition this palace was built on an epic scale. In 1421, after a huge cost in both money and in lives, the palace was completed. The palace would probably become known to the world as the Forbidden City. With his palace complete he decided to formally declare Beiping as his new capital. In doing so he changed the name from Beiping (meaning North Pacified) to Beijing (North Capital). As part of the infrastructure work he had also invested huge resources into repair and improvements on the Grand Canal as it vastly improved transport to the city.

Zheng He

From 1405 until his death he sent the eunuch Zheng He and a huge fleet of ships on a series of expeditions around Asia and Africa and, as, as far as the Americas. It is rumored that the main purpose of these missions was to try to find Emperor Jianwen, as the Yongle Emperor became increasingly worried that he may have survived the palace fire and be ready for revenge. Other motives could have been to search for the elixir of life or simply curiosity.

Death

During his reign he personally led five expeditions to the northern borders to subdue raiders and to pacify the region. In 1424 he commanded an expedition against the Mongol Chief Alutai, however in doing so he contracted an illness and died on his way back to Beijing.

In 1407 Empress Xu had died and the Emperor had chosen a site for her tomb near to Beijing and began the construction of a huge mausoleum. This area was previously used by successful Emperors and is now known as the Ming Dynasty Tombs. His tomb (and that of the Empress) is called Changling.

Legacy

His reign is considered one of the golden periods of Chinese history and coincided with a zenith in Chinese power. However, despite this his personal achievements are considerably overshadowed by his legendary violence. Although towards the end of his reign he began to publicly express remorse at his actions these were not matched with deeds – in 1420 he believed that one of his favorite concubines had been poisoned and so ordered the execution of 2,800 ladies of the court by the lingering method of 'death by a thousand cuts'.

Agriculture in the Qing Dynasty

Emperor Kangxi rewarded those who reclaimed wastelands, provided large sums of money for water conservancy projects and reduced the land tax during his 60-year's reign, which greatly stimulated the recovery and development in agriculture of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Emperor Yongzheng followed his father '(Emperor Kangxi) footsteps and continued to encourage agricultural industry. The social…

Emperor Kangxi rewarded those who reclaimed wastelands, provided large sums of money for water conservancy projects and reduced the land tax during his 60-year's reign, which greatly stimulated the recovery and development in agriculture of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Emperor Yongzheng followed his father '(Emperor Kangxi) footsteps and continued to encourage agricultural industry. The social economy was very prosperous during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, so the later historians called this period “The Golden Age of Three Emperors”.

Large wastland was put under the plow in the first 100 year of the Qing dynasty, with the national farming land covering an area of ​​5,260,000 hectares in the 18th year (1661) of Emperor Shunzhi's reign, which increased to 8,510,000 hectares and 17,250,000 hectares in the 61st year (1722) of Emperor Kangxi's reign and 3rd year (1725) of Yongzheng's reign respectively. With the output of grains increasing year after year, the number of population had reached 360,000,000 by the 3rd year (1725) of Yongzheng's reign, and the high-yielding sweet potatoes planted in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces had spread to the Yangtze River area and the Yellow River area. The planting area for industrial crops had also greatly expanded, including tea, cottons, sugarcanes, tobaccos and mulberries, most of which became commodities in the Qing dynasty.

The number of farmers who specialized in planting vegetables greatly increased in the Qing dynasty, some of what planted cucumbers and leeks in winter with the help of tunnel greenhouses, gaining more and more profit. With the cotton-planting anticipating across the nation in Qianlong Period, the cotton-planting area took up 4/5 of the total area in Hebei Province, and the sugarcanes were broadly planted in Guangdong Province and Taiwan, while the tobaccos were broadly cultured in Shandong Province, Zhili and Shangyu, all of which provided more raw materials for further development in handicraft industry.

Some plants imported from South American also contributed a lot to the increasing number of population in the Qing dynasty, including maize, sweet potatoes and potatoes, which had begun to grow in China from South America via Southeast Asian Countries since the Ming dynasty. The planting, storing and processing method of sweet potatoes was fully described in the Agriculture Encyclopedia written by Xu Guangqi from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), which enjoyed a high reputation in the filed of agriculture, and the planting method of sweet potatoes was perfected in Qi Min Si Shu written by Bao Chichen from the Qing dynasty.

The Military and Political System in the Qing Dynasty

The Military and Political System in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was mainly composed of the Eight-Banner System, the Six Ministry System, the Privy Council and the Han Green Army. 1. Eight-Banner System The Eight-Banner System (administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed.) Was founded by Nurhachi (the founder of the Qing dynasty), composed…

The Military and Political System in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was mainly composed of the Eight-Banner System, the Six Ministry System, the Privy Council and the Han Green Army.

1. Eight-Banner System

The Eight-Banner System (administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed.) Was founded by Nurhachi (the founder of the Qing dynasty), composed of the Border Yellow Banner, the Plain Yellow Banner, the Plain White Banner, the Plain Red Banner, the Bordered White Banner, the Border Red Banner, the Plain Blue Banner and the Bordered Blue Banner, which combined the army and the common people perfectly as one. The political power was centralized in the hands of nobilities, and the important decisions were discussed and decided by Manchu Council of Princes and Ministers. Hong Taiji (the son of Nurhachi) imitated the political system of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and established the Six Ministries in the 5th year (1631) of Tianchong Period, trying to weaken the power of Manchu nobilities. Emperor Shunzhi reformed the Eight-Banner System by ordering the Plain Yellow Banner, the Plain White Banner and the Bordered Yellow Banner, centralizing all power in his own hands.

2. The Six Ministries

The Six Ministries were established by Emperor Hong Taiji, with a Shangshu (the senior minister) in charge of each ministry, and the vice-senior minister was called Shilang (assistant minister). It was stipulated that the two ministers (served as Shangshu) in each ministry should be chosen from the Manchu ethnic group and the Han ethnic group respectively in the first (1644) year of Shunzhi Period, when a number of coordinate administrative institutions were set up in addition to the Six Ministries, including Hanlin Academy, the Ministry of Tribal Affair, the Imperial Hospital, the Ministry Internal Affair and Court of Censors, so the officials were classified into nine grades based on their ranks in the Qing dynasty.

3. Privy Council

The Qing army was at war with Mongolian army in the 7th (1729) year of Emperor Yongzheng, and the Privy Council was established under imperial order to handle military intelligence, which became the core organ of state power after the 2nd year of Emperor Qianlong's reign and it lasted to the 3rd year of Emperor Xuantong's reign in the Qing dynasty.

4. Green Standard Army

The army was divided into the Eight-Banner Army and the Green Standard Army in the early Qing dynasty. The Eight-Banner Army was composed of the Manchu Eight-Banner, Mongolian Eight-Banner and the Han Eight-Banner, which were directly controlled by the emperors, and the local governors had no rights to call up them. The Green Army was established by the local governors, playing a more and more important part in the late Qing dynasty.

The Economy in the Tang Dynasty

The Tang dynasty was very prosperous in the history of China, during which the ancient Chinese people created a great civilization with their own hard-work and intelligence, and great achievements were made in the field of economy, politics, culture and diplomacy, ranking itself “The Top Four Civilizations in the World History” then. 1. Currency The…

The Tang dynasty was very prosperous in the history of China, during which the ancient Chinese people created a great civilization with their own hard-work and intelligence, and great achievements were made in the field of economy, politics, culture and diplomacy, ranking itself “The Top Four Civilizations in the World History” then.

1. Currency

The Tang rulers quickly drew out the monetary policy after the foundation of the Tang Empire, destroying Wuzhu Coins issued by the Han dynasty (206-220) and issuing the gold & silver Kai-Yuan-Tong-Bao coins. At the same time, the tradition that the silk fabrics could circulate in the market was inherited by the Tang rulers (618-907), so the coins and silk could both circulate in the market then, of which the coins mainly referred to copper cashes , and the silk fabrics included silk, satins and poplins.

Population

It was estimated that the number of households had reached 3,800,000 by the end of 650 and 6,150,000 by the end of 705, with a total population of 52,880,488 by the end of 754 (one year before the Anshi Rebellion). The household registration and management were rather confused in the late period of the Tang dynasty owed to the consecutive wars. It's broadly considered by the modern schools that the population peak appeared in 13th year (754) and 14th year (755) of Emperor Xuanzong's reign with a total population of 800,000,000, not including peasants who lost their lands, soldiers, monks, Taoists, slaves and maids.

2. Tax Revenue

The Semiannual Tax System was transported out in the middle period of the Tang dynasty with the tax revenue of 108,908,000 taels of silver in 780, including the salt profit of 2,780,000 taels of silver, which reduced to 9,250,000 taels of silver in 853. With the Tang rulers' oppression upon the salt merchants, the national-spread rising led by Huang Chao broke out.

3. Agriculture

The new progress was made in farming tools during the Tang dynasty, including two-wheel beam ploughs, water mills and scoop waterwheels. Over 160 large water conservancy projects were carried out in the early Tang dynasty, of which the famous ones included Yuliang Cannel, Jiangyan Lake and Jinghu Lake, and agricultural land covered an area of ​​8,500,000 hectares in the Tianbao Period of Emperor Xuanzong's reign, contributing a lot to increasing agricultural production. The agricultural production in the South China was greatly improved in the late Tang dynasty owed to a large number of population moving southward and the water conservancy projects built in South China.

4. Handicraft

The handicraft industry was divided into the state-run workshops and the private-run ones in the Tang dynasty, and the former was under control of the Ministry of Industry, from which the products only served for the royal families and officials. The main handicraft industry in the early Tang dynasty included textile industry, porcelain industry, mining and metallurgical industry, while the shipping-making industry and the papermaking industry were very prosperous later.

Jack Canfield Biography, Chicken Soup For The Soul

Jack Canfield was born on August 19, 1944. Jack is a motivational speaker and an author. He is a supporter of “The Secret” and appeared in the movie as well. He lives and practices the LOA in his daily life. He enjoys many hobbies such as; tennis, traveling, skiing, jogging, playing pool, reading, and playing…

Jack Canfield was born on August 19, 1944. Jack is a motivational speaker and an author.

He is a supporter of “The Secret” and appeared in the movie as well. He lives and practices the LOA in his daily life. He enjoys many hobbies such as; tennis, traveling, skiing, jogging, playing pool, reading, and playing guitar.

Mr. Canfield completed high school in 1962 from the Linsly Military School in West Virginia. In 1966 he earned his Bachelor of Arts in the history of Chinese from Harvard. Mr. Canfield went on to earn a MED from a Massachusetts University in 1973. He has been twice married, first to Georgia Lee Noble on September 9, 1978. This marriage has one son son which they named Christopher. This marriage unfortunately ended in late 1999. Canfield married his second wife; Inga Marie Mahoney on July 4, 2001.

Jack is best known for being the co-author of a series of books called “Chicken Soup For The Soul”, which as of 2008 had almost two hundred titles. Further, these books are now available in forty languages. In July 2004, Mr. Canfield established a members only leadership group. This group of individuals is influential in the field of developing one's overall life using LOA concepts. The members of the group meet twice a year to exchange ideas, unite, share thoughts and experiences with each other and to boost the member's success and involvement in the world around them.

Jack's book “Success Principals” was published in 2005. The “Success Principals” is a diagram for anyone determined to attain their professional and personal dreams and goals. The “Success Principles” touches each factor of our lives; The “Success Principles” offer sixty-four no-nonsense and stimulating doctrines to get any individual from where they are to where ever they choose to be.

As mentioned previously Canfield has appeared in “The Secret” DVD in 2006 and shared his thoughts regarding the power of positive thinking as well as pointing for attaining victory in one's life.

In 2008 he published his book the “Success Principals For Teens.” This book followed on the lines of the “Success Principals” book he wrote a few years earlier but was geared towards helping motivate teens envision and accomplish their desires and dreams. The book was written in a friendly and informative manner that any teen can grasp and appreciate.

Jack Canfield has been seen on several TV talk shows such as 20/20, PBS, Oprah Winfrey and the BBC plus several more. Jack Canfield has created many seminaries on self esteem and he is instrumental in the creation of the self-esteem foundation.

In total Jack has written nineteen different motivational books and has numerous Teleseminars available for those determined to change their life and embrace their dreams to their full potential.

Jack Canfield has studied and lived his belief for going on thirty years now and it does not look like stopping anytime soon.

What Is Church Planting?

The terminology “Church Planting” just looks like an old-fashioned, traditional, not out of the box approach to things. Granted there have been countless successful, innovative church planters. But the expression, “church planting” seems so uninviting. When I begin to think of planting, I picture a sweaty, blistered, struggling man drudging his way way through the…

The terminology “Church Planting” just looks like an old-fashioned, traditional, not out of the box approach to things. Granted there have been countless successful, innovative church planters. But the expression, “church planting” seems so uninviting.

When I begin to think of planting, I picture a sweaty, blistered, struggling man drudging his way way through the fields planting seeds with a hopeful optimism that all of the agricultural aspects of a successful harvest are present. Granted, building a church is hard work and takes an extremely dedicated, resilient person. But our mindset must be adjusted a little bit into thinking that building a church is more than some painfully, arduous task that has to be a slow and even at times unproductive. Look at the words of Jesus when He begins to encourage the disciples to reach the lost, John 4: 34,36.

Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. to harvest? Well, I'm telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what's right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It's harvest time! [36] “The Harvester is not waiting. He's taking his pay, gathering in this grain that's ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That's the truth of the saying, 'This one sows, that one harvests.' I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others. “

In this text He breaks ALL the rules for typical planting and harvesting.

1. Successful Church Growth Must Take A Long Time- “… would not you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest?” What Jesus is saying here is that according to your preconceived ideas of planting and harvesting that there are laws that should restrict you from experiencing growth. It's unfortunate that the guy who is experiencing rapid growth is always accused of doing something wrong. “Oh, well they are not really a church. Or the ever more popular accusation “They really are not preaching the message any longer!” In doing this and mischaracterizing church planters that are experiencing tremendous growth we have almost severed the possibility of our churches experiencing similar results. When we look at the first church in the book of Acts growing from 120 to 3000 in the blink of an eye, we have to question if these statements would be accurate (Acts 2:41). The book of Acts church growth is further described as “growing daily” (Acts 2:47). It is a sobering question that is often worth asking “Are we like the book of Acts church?”

2. Sometimes We Just Have To Wait For Growth to Happen- “The harvester is not waiting …” There are countless fields that have already been planted, watered and are waiting for some brave, bold individual to step in to them and harvest the fields. I would never want to minimize the laboratories of those that have diligently plowed the fields and opened doors of opportunity for others to step through, but there are fields that are white and ready to harvest. Jesus is asking the question “What are you waiting for?” Our prayer must be that God would open our eyes to see the hungry masses that are longing for someone to come to them and offer them that hope their heart has been searching for.

Lady Liberty stands in the New York's Harbor with this inscription at her base-

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,

The wretched refusal of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

This so aptly describes the spiritual state of people around the world. They are hungry, homeless, yearning to breathe a life of spiritual freedom. As God's church we have what they are looking for, but we have to be more than an unmoveable statue standing with the Light lifted in the air. We can not wait for the lost to come to the Light, we must take the Light to the lost.

3. Our Growth Will Be Equal to How Much We Work- “I sent you to harvest a field you never worked” . I know this can sound like a misleading statement and be perceived by some that church growth is like winning the evangelism lottery. But again, let me stress, planting a church is extremely hard work and not for lazy people! But understand this is not purely some secret career path or something that can be done with just our own personal gifts and talents. This is more than doing a work for God, this is doing a work with God. Your growth is not limited or limited to the amount of work that you do, but it is connected with a God who is able to give increase that breaks all the laws of the natural. We see all through the book of Acts that the first “Church-Planters” often times found themselves stepping into a city and entire communities were transformed by their message. It's easy for us to come to the conclusion that it was more than just hard work, sweat and perseverance. This came about by God giving increase.

There are principles and truths that we must gleam from in the first church. Our mission must never to redefine or change the church into what we think it should be, but rather, let us rediscover what the church was in the book of Acts and use them as our model. We must be a living, breathing body that is willing to change our approaches and methods, while we still hold firmly to the message of Jesus Christ.

The Crisis of the Third Century

What was the crisis of the Third Century “and how did Emperors Diocletian and Constantine respond to it? Simply put, the crisis of the Third Century was the end of the Roman Empire. freemen in the empire were granted citizenship. This opened the floodgate to army enlistment, and the standard of the Roman military quickly…

What was the crisis of the Third Century “and how did Emperors Diocletian and Constantine respond to it? Simply put, the crisis of the Third Century was the end of the Roman Empire. freemen in the empire were granted citizenship. This opened the floodgate to army enlistment, and the standard of the Roman military quickly deteriorated. The Roman army was no longer wholly devoted to the Empire's welfare. the Persians and the Gauls of France. With declared ability to enforce the Roman way of life, the Crisis of the Third Century was eminent.

This, along with the economic instability that had been brewing for years led to the marked decline and fall of Rome. Emperors Diocletian and Constantine (AD 285 – 305 and 306 – 337, respectively) tried to remedy the spiraling situation, but their efforts only delayed the inevitable fall of Rome.

Emperor Diocletian demanded obeisance of all Roman subjects, and rescinded the long standing rule of local self governance throughout the various provinces. Emperor Diocletian also attempted to reinvigorate the faltering military by hiring German mercenaries and drafting prisoners of war. These were clearly desperate, fruitless efforts. His failed dictatorial policies only choked what little life remained in the citizens of this once great empire. There was no hope for gain or advancement, no future to look forward to.

Emperor Constantine replaced Emperor Diocletian as emperor in AD 306. In the BBC article, “Christianity and the Roman Empire”, Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe writes, “One of the supposed watersheds in history is the 'conversion' of the emperor Constantine to Christianity in, or about, 312 AD. ” His conversion coincides with the growing popularity of Christianity in the third century despite the intense victory that the early church faced, in large part at the hands of the Romans and their emperors.

What was significant about Constantine's conversion was the law that he established declaring Christianity the state religion. This was compulsory. This had a soothing effect on the population. Many resistant pure strains of Christianity, and incorporated their former idol worship under the banner of this new Roman religion. What appeared earlier as a devotion to the root religions and cultures of the conquered peoples was now given a license in this new mandatory jurisdiction. What the intellect could not provide, Constantine's religion did. This again, undermined the founding principle of the Roman Empire, previously empirical logic and intellect over mysticism and religion.

Taken together, all of these events led to the fall of the Roman Republic. The history of the Roman Republic ended with this Crisis of the Third Century due to the weight of a weakened military, the ascendency of foreign religious forces, and the missteps of Emperors Diocletian and Constantine

Works Cited:

Lunn-Rockliffe, Sophie. Christianity and the Roman Empire. BBC. Feb. 17, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/christianityromanempire_article_01.shtml

The Pax Romana Period of Ancient Rome

In a recent discussion of politics, a friend asked me if I knew what signs of trouble appeared during the Pax Romana that weakened Rome. I had an idea about the decline and fall of Rome, but he further shaped my thoughts about the issue. Essentially, from 27 BC to AD 180 the full-fledged Roman…

In a recent discussion of politics, a friend asked me if I knew what signs of trouble appeared during the Pax Romana that weakened Rome. I had an idea about the decline and fall of Rome, but he further shaped my thoughts about the issue. Essentially, from 27 BC to AD 180 the full-fledged Roman Empire revealed in the fulfillment of their chief aims. They had created what they thought to be a utopian like society. None would argue the advances in science, literature, improved conditions for women and slaves, art, engineering, entertainment and the like engendered by this Greco-Roman world order. In hind-sight, what is obvious now, however, are the under currents of trouble that were pervasive even amid the time of Rome's greatest period, the Pax Romana.

The Pax Romana, or the “Time of Happiness,” as it was known, was characterized by peace within the Roman Empire during this two hundred year span. Rome was ruled by light handed emperors, and the people enjoyed relative peace and prosperity. Several troubles were brewing, however, chief of which were economic weakness, and weak cultural allegiances.

By economic weakness, we mean poor trade and employment conditions. Although the roads that connected Rome to the 'world' were legendary, they were found to be poor for shipping the goods of merchants to different areas of the empire. The shipping costs, being prohibitive, led to price hikes, and historically lost revenues. The increased use of slave labor through the empire led to vast employment among the governed residents. This, in turn, led to decreased spendable cash, and again, contributed to weak sales. Needless to say, the people greatly increingly angered by these conditions.

Throughout during the Republican era, before the introduction of rule by the emperors, the consuls would have addressed these civic issues head on and found appropriate remedies. Fat on her own prosperity, and drunk from her lavish entertainments, however, the new Roman Empire of this Pax Romana Period ignored these early uprisings, to its peril.

Additionally, weak cultural allegiances under Rome's extended hand as well. The Empire had conquered a broad range of peoples, each with their own heritage, values, cultures and religions. The temporary benefits of the Empire placated these core instincts for a while, but when the merits of Roman rule began to be questioned by the unsatisfied masses, the people simply reverted to their primal roots. This splintering effect was deep, and substantive.

Outwardly, each province and city appeared Roman during the Pax Romana Period. Underneath the veneers were the people themselves, disenchanted with the intellect, so revered by Greco-Roman thought. As the Greco-Roman idea of ​​humanism lost its footing among the people, Mithraism and other eastern cultures and religions took its place and began to shape the minds and actions of the people. The decline of the Roman Republic had begun.

The roots of the Roman Empire were withering. As the nature of roots is, this decay went on heavily unnoticed. The fall of the Roman Republic was eminent. The might of Romans was challenged, the wisdom of its economic practicality was failing, and its base, wisdom and intellect was seen as insufficient in the face of the common ills of the day. The writing was on the wall. The peace would end, Rome would fall and the Pax Romana Period would pass.

The Ming Dynasty

The peasant uprisings broke out successively owing to the corrupt and degenerate rule in the late Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), and Zhu Yuanzhang established Xiwu Regime in 1364 after fighting battles across the country, directly confronting with the Ming territory, and he claimed himself emperor of a new dynasty- the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in Yingtianfu (present…

The peasant uprisings broke out successively owing to the corrupt and degenerate rule in the late Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), and Zhu Yuanzhang established Xiwu Regime in 1364 after fighting battles across the country, directly confronting with the Ming territory, and he claimed himself emperor of a new dynasty- the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in Yingtianfu (present Nanjing) in 1368. Zhu Di (later Emperor Chengzu) moved capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1421 and took reforms in economy, political and culture, making the Ming empire more prosperous and stable.

To publicize national prestige and strengthen the bonds with foreign countries, Zheng He was sent to travel to the west under Emperor Chengzu's order for seven times, and he sailed with a fleet of 62 ships to the Southeast Asian Countries, Africa and the Indian Ocean. The national power of the Ming empire declined in the Zhengde Period and was restored in the early period of Emperor Jiajing's reign, which declined again later due to problems at home and aggression from abroad, including the contradictions between the emperor and the officers and the invasion from Japanese pirates. Zhang Juzheng took reforms under Emperor's Wanli's order in middle Ming dynasty, followed by “Wanli Resurgence” through putting down rebellions in Gansu and Guizhou and assisting Korea to fight against Japan. The capitalism rudiment appeared in the late Ming dynasty, when the Ming Empire covered an area of ​​150,000,000 square kilometers with Korea to the west and Tubo (present Tibetan) to the east, and An'nan (present Vietnam) was a part of the Ming Empire as well.

Owing to the enlightened political and social environment, the science and technology surpassed the European couturieres in the Ming dynasty (especially in topography and gun powers), when great ideologists such as Wang Shouren and Li Zhi emerging. What was more, great progress was made in novels, of which the representative ones were the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, All Men Are Brothers, Journey to the West and the Golden Lotus. “The Four Masters of the Wu Painting School” (Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Tang Ying and Qiu Ying) rose in the middle period of the 15th century, who absorbed the essence of the painting techniques in the Tang dynasty (618-907) , Song dynamic (960-1279) and the Yuan dynasty and formed their own unique painting styles. The outstanding painter Xu Wei drew numerous excellent splash-ink paintings, and Zhang Hong found a new path to drawing landscape paintings that were very true to life.

With the large-scaled peasant uprisings breaking out in 1627 and the Black Death widely spread in Beijing in 1643, Li Zicheng took this opportunity to capture Beijing in 1644, and the last Ming-era emperor, Emperor Chongzhen, committed suicide in the Meishan Mountain (present Jingshan Mountain), resulting in the demise of the Ming dynasty and the rise of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).