Name: Hashem Abed Al Jawad
My name is Wen Yan. I was the royal scribe of the Shang dynasty at the capital of Yin where I was taught the interpretation and analyzing of the oracle bones that we were used to contact with our ancestors to know about the time of rainfall and the livelihood of crops. Moreover, I participate with the rulers ceremonial and bureaucratic routines which relied on detailed written records to integrate our urban capital with tributary states. Now, I’m using the writing skills that I learned from my ancestors to inform you about the fall of our dynasty as I’m now captured by the emperor Wu Wang who is the son of the emperor Wen Wang who come up with the idea of getting rid of our dynasty. Unfortunately, Wang could defeat us once and forever which allows him to create the bedrock of the Zhou Dynasty and diminished our existence.
Under the ruling of the Shang dynasty, our state was fighting with the states on the frontiers and with pastoral nomads from the central Asian steppes in order to expand and protect our borders. Thanks to those fightings, we could copied the chariots of the nomads and improved them by create fittings and harnesses made out of bronze which in turn gave the warriors devastating range and speed. Besides that, they were fangs people who were living in non-Shang areas but they were wealthy and rustic peoples. Thus, we held trade activities with them. Through our lives, we were having a huge advantage and an advanced step over our neighbors since we were having the access to copper, tin, and to new metallurgy technology, so that we were able to produce bronze that had been used in making made weapons, fittings for chariots, and ritual vessels, so with those superior weapons, we were able to destroy armies easily using wielding wooden clubs and stone-tipped spears. In addition, we come up with several new technologies to improve the agriculture production where the farmers could be able to cleared forested areas. As a result, the cultivation of millet, wheat, barley, and rice had been expanded. Moreover, new tools had been used to do that such as stone plows, spades, and sickles. Also, farmers could make cloths out of the cultivated silkworms and benefited from the pigs, dogs, sheep, and oxen.
After the fall of our dynasty, I have been captured by the Zhous and they threatened me with the slaughtering of my family if I do not work with them and provide them with our writing scripts. Hence, I lived with them at the capital of Xianyang and supported them with creating their writing system which in reality based on ours. However, they created a more formal system of bureaucratic governance, restructured the court and military and instituted a formal legal code. Also, the king created a royal calendar that remember him with the agricultural activities and celebrating rituals and shows if the ruler is successful in his job or not. Zhou Dynasty ruled over a much larger territory than what we did, but it was not highly centralized where Zhou were spreading military campaigns into the lands that they take control of it so that they could defend themselves from enemies. Also, rulers give their neighbors and allies power, protect them from aggression, and create an intermarriage with them to improve their relationship. In addition, Zhou dynasty derived its legitimacy indirectly from our material culture such as ritual vessels and weapons. Despite that, Zhou came with great achievements where they provide the farmers with iron plows to dig the stony lands near the river basins which increase the fertility of the soil .Moreover, cultivators learned how they could prevent the exhausting of the soil nutrients by using field rotation. In addition, they built long canals for communication and trade, created irrigation networks to convert arid lands into a fertile ones. As a result, the agriculture production flourished as the canals linked China’s two big rivers which are Yellow and Yangzi Rivers where the fields of wheat, millet and rice were located there. Despite those developments, political and social chaos happened in the country which in turn generate new ideas that dominated Chinese thinking where the political elites lose their prestige .Hence, they are tried new methods to gain prominence through social and intellectual achievements. As a result, a lot of scholars and philosophers emerged such as Confucius who tried to restore the lost ideals of the early Zhou by showing the correct performance of ritual. Also, he focused on the importance of responsibility and loyalty to the family and how could the moral character become “superior man”. In addition, he thought the society would not need laws and punishment to achieve order. Moreover, I liked his style as his ideas were different from those of past centuries because he believed that any intelligent and hardworking person could gain the education to become a gentleman of the ruling class. Another philosopher was Mozi where his approach was peaceful as he was against wars because they wasted life and resources and he also wanted to ensure material benefits of the people. As a different path, the ideology of Laozi and Zhuangzi was scorned rigid rituals and social hierarchies and focusing on the enlightened individual loving spontaneously. Another teaching which I disagreed with was legalism of Xunzi and Han Fei as it was based on the idea that human nature is primarily evil, so people need moral education and authoritarian control. Thus, strict moral code and set of laws were set to keep people in line.
Thanks to one of the priests who provide me with a magic medication that makes me live thousand year more, so I lived with the Zhou for the most of my life. However, I did not forget what they did for us and I was just waiting for the right moment to turn against them, so secretly I helped the Qin emperor to conquer Zhou Empire and get rid of it forever where Qin Empire emerged as the strongest state and replaced the Zhou dynasty at the capital of Xianyang and I was appointed as the prime minster of emperor Qin. During Qin’s interval, a lot of development had been achieved such as the invention of the crossbow and Siege warfare which caused a huge transformation in the role of projectile weaponry. Also, Qin emperor carried out wide-ranging reforms for the Qin state as he divided the state into administrative districts, appointed magistrates, vice magistrates, military commanders, overseers; divided land into households; introduced a head-tax and a harsh penal code. Moreover, standardized coinage and better infrastructure has been established which help making the trade much easier.