Essay on Chinese Civilization

It is significant to underline that the Chinese are the people who share the longest common culture on the planet. Being one of the cradles of the human race, China has given birth to many vitally important inventions. By 3000 BC the Chinese settlements already had wheels, pottery, farming and silk. By the 12th century the power hierarchy was rather developed and included the king, the nobles, the commoners and the slaves. By 2000 BC unique picture writing based on ideograms was developed. It was rather complex system which testifies for the high level of development of the early Chinese civilization. The full flowering of this civilization coincides with the reign of Zhou Dynasty (1122 ”“ 221 BC). The empire was unified. The social structure was modified by the establishment of middle class. During this period iron was introduced and the main state religion appeared. First of all, the code of ethics was introduced by Confucius (551 ”“ 479 BC). Being an outstanding philosopher, Confucius worked out a doctrine on practical moral rules which became the basis for Confucianism. As a philosophical and ethic teaching, Confucianism was based on the ideal of humanism. Confucius believed that people can change for better through self-creation and self-cultivation. According to the teaching, the values to be developed are ren, yi and li. The first stands for being unselfish and attention and care to other people. The second stands for the moral disposition to virtue and good. The third is associated with the way one should act within a community (Bentley and Ziegler 128). Two more important virtues are zhi and xin. The first stands for knowledge and the latter stands for integrity. Furthermore, loyalty, filial piety, continence and righteousness accompany among other elements.

During Han dynasty (202 BC-AD 220) Confucianism was established as the official doctrine of the state. To understand the roots of such decision, it is probably worthwhile to turn to the early Chinese shamanistic beliefs (Reilly 299). According to them, the king was seen as an axle between the Sky, the Earth and the people. In the teachings of Confucius much attention was paid to being a right governor. It was stated that to govern others, one should first of all gain the governance over himself. He must develop his personal virtues and be steady to make the world rotate around him with his minimal motion.

Confucianism also contributed to legalism. This philosophical current was originally formed by Shang Yang (390 ”“ 338 BC) and was later improved by Li Si (280 BC ”“ 208 BC) to provide a well-structured guidance for governing the state and reinforcing the adherence to the law. This political philosophy was utilitarian and was based on three key concepts: fa, shu and shi. The first can be translated as “law”¯ or “principle”¯. According to it, the law should be well developed and explained to the public (Bentley and Ziegler 397). The law must be followed by all the citizens. It was believed that even a weak ruler can be strong if the law is strong. The second concept was method, or tactic. It means that the ruler makes decisions based on current situation, not the instructions defined in advance. The last key principle was the notion of “charisma, power or legitimacy”¯. A true ruler combines the strengths the context provides for him.

Furthermore, Confucianism widely illustrates the basics of Chinese culture formed during Imperial era. As for religion, initially the supreme god Shang Di was worshipped. During Zhou dynasty, however, this image was expanded to the concept of heaven on the whole. To a great extent Chinese culture is focused on the notion that there is a spiritual world to believe in. Many religious beliefs and mythological elements gave origin to traditional Chinese holidays. Many ancient traditions (like Chinese fortune telling) are still popular in the state despite thousands of years left behind. The role of women varied in accordance with their family’s social status or social status of their husbands. Anyway, the main role was to give birth to the son who will become a good heir and continue the family name. There was always an essential gender gap between males and females. In feudal China hardly any trace can be found about any outstanding woman.


The points reflected help to realize the similarities and differences in the way Roman and Chinese civilizations arose and pushed through the ages. All in all, both Roman and Chinese civilizations had their own laws of development. The history of the Roman civilization is full of military events, conquests and rebels. Chinese history

Is not free of them either, but the expansion of the Chinese empire seems to be more one-way and more concentrated on the inner development. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire, having inherited the Roman Republic reality, grabbed different outer resources and can be regarded as multifaceted in culture. As for the role of women, they enjoyed more freedom and authority in Rome than in China, although in both empires much of their welfare depended on their social status.

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