SUCCESSFUL POINTS OF THE ANCIENT CHINESE
The Ancient Chinese civilization went through a series of successful social affairs as well
as a series of social disarray. Each Dynasty resulted in slightly different reforms, but it seems as
though the overall Chinese population held the same general beliefs on such things as family,
education and the civilization as a whole. I believe that these morals are what really held the
Chinese civilization together in times of conflict and political division.
A Chinese family was traditionally very large. It was what would be called an “extensive
family” today. The grandparents, parents, and children of one family all lived together. It was
considered a sign of good luck and happiness, if five generations lived together at one time. In
Ancient China, the family was a strict hierarchy:
sons (oldest to youngest)
daughters (oldest to youngest)
Being the ruler in his home, the father assigned his children’s careers, determined their education,
arranged their marriages, gave rewards or punishments, and controlled the family finances. Every
family member gave their earnings to the father, who then decided how to redistribute the money.
The Chinese have always respected and stressed learning. All parents tried to give their
sons, rather than daughters, the best education possible. In poor families, boys were usually
trained from early childhood to do the same jobs as their fathers. At times, however, extremely
intelligent boys were able to attend school if a rich relative or group of neighbors agreed to help
pay the fees. Boys from wealthy families could either attend school or choose to learn from a
private tutor in their own homes. Girls from wealthy families might also learn at home from a
tutor. Otherwise, she would learn domestic tasks from her mother, such as sewing and
The main goal of schools was to train boys to be able to become a government official.
However, it was not easy to enter the government due to the difficult exams that must be passed.
As a result, boys started to prepare early, and began their education at the age of eight or nine. All
students had to learn and memorize the important texts that Confucious used in his teachings.
Although there were several different Dynasties during the Ancient Chinese era, they each
flourished with the different achievements of the Chinese culture.
The Han Dynasty
During this period, records were kept, enabling us to learn more about this exciting time.
Han strengths included mathematics, geography, and astronomy which led to technological
advancements. These advancements led to inventions such as the magnetic compass and the
sternpost rudder. Iron came into use, aiding the improvement of agricultural practices, which in
turn helped produce sufficient amounts of food to supply the growing urban population.
The Tang Dynasty
The Tang emperors focused on giving back to the peasants. They adopted the “equal field
system” which entitled the state to fertile land only after the death of the peasant owner. The state
then turned and reassigned the land to another worthy adult peasant for their needs and resources.
Also during this period, Chinese culture began to influence Japan due to successful foreign affairs.
The Song Dynasty
The Song rulers aggressively promoted the use of the previous dynasties’ innovations. The
use of printing was encouraged. The revolution of irrigation was made by the water pump and the
spiral worm-drive for liquids. This made mining less difficult and of course aided in the general
field of agriculture.
As stated before, it seems as though the general Chinese civilization had firm beliefs and
morals within the family and from those beliefs the population simply lived their lives. Although
they did go through several different dynasties and social/ political reforms, the basis of family and
education remained constant, forming a firm faith of the two elements.