Bill McCann

Bill McCann


Li Zi Chuang

Lǐ Zì Chuǎng



























When history is forgotten, the future is lost.

The Emperors of China in a Nutshell Volume 1
from the Yellow Emperor to the Xia Dynasty

Paper, the umbrella, gunpowder, the compass, porcelain, the civil service, silk, printing, ice cream, football and pasta. These and much else were first given to the world by China.
She also has longest continuous civilisation the world has ever known, stretching back for more than 4,600 years. For a little over 4,500 of those years she was ruled by a single emperor. Her history under those emperors stretches from the end of the New Stone Age, through the Bronze and Iron Ages right down to the early 20th century.
We are fortunate that the Chinese began to keep detailed records of the lives of the emperors and events in their reigns from an early date. The first reliable written records in China appeared more than 3,200 years ago. For the 1,400 years before that, we have the records of an oral tradition which was written down at a later date.
The period covered by this first volume in the Nutshell Series on Chinese Emperors covers the first 1,012 years of that oral tradition. Naturally, there are problems in assigning precise dates to events derived at a distance from any oral tradition and it was no surprise to find that this was the case here.
In fact, there is great confusion, and frequent contradiction, in the dates for the earliest emperors quoted in the various histories available to us today in libraries and on the internet. As a result, in order to remain consistent, it was necessary to go back to the basics and produce a revised chronology especially for this series.
This was actually an exciting piece of work and incorporated evidence from the latest archaeological work in the areas traditionally associated with the Yellow Emperor and the Xia Dynasty. The precise details of the methodology used in constructing this chronology are set out in Part One. Amongst other results the revised chronology has allowed us to date the first practical instrument for observing the winter solstice; has given us a date for the earliest solar eclipse on record; given us dates for the earliest two earthquakes ever recorded; and has given us a date for the first ever recorded volcanic winter in planet earth's history.
Internally, the revised chronology gives us dates for the reign of the Yellow emperor, as the Han Chinese people still look on the Yellow Emperor as the father of their civilisation and their remote ancestor, this date is of deep cultural significance.
It has also proposed a working solution to the problems surrounding the dating of the Xia and early Shang Dynasties. The chronology for the Xia Dynasty is internally consistent and can be firmly anchored to the volcanic winter associated with the catastrophic eruption at Thera in 1628 BC.
As for the Emperors themselves, we find them heroically fighting devastating floods, composing music and developing new musical instruments, building a solar observatory and maintaining it over a period of more than 500 years, indulging in ornithology and an naming new bird species and, most human of all perhaps, indulging in wild, alcohol fuelled, sex orgies on the surface of a lake filled with wine!

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Emperors of China 1

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